Israel were a special, chosen nation that God brought up out of slavery in the land of Egypt and then gave them the land of Israel to live in (Exodus 19:3 – 6).  He made a covenant with them, an agreement which meant that they would get the land that he had promised them, but also meant that they had to obey the laws that he gave them.  It does not seem that there was any other nation which had a similar covenant with God.  However, there are a number of related examples:

  1. I think the closest to God making a covenant with another nation was when he made a covenant with Cyrus, the king of Persia (prophesied a couple of hundred years before it happened in Isaiah 45).  However, this covenant was not made with the nation of Persia, and did not last beyond the time of King Cyrus.  It is also interesting that (unlike the covenant with Israel) this covenant was not based on Cyrus knowing God, but was made in spite of the fact that he did not know God.
  2. God made promises to Abraham and Hagar about Ishmael, Abraham’s son, and the nation that would come from him (Genesis 16:10 – 12; 17:19 – 21; 21:10 – 21).  Like the promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob about the nation of Israel, these promises predicted that he would have many children and would become a great nation.  It says that God was with Ishmael and blessed him.  However, the promises also make it quite clear that God’s covenant would come through Isaac, not through Ishmael.
  3. God took other nations from where they were living and gave them other land in the same way as he did for Israel (Deuteronomy 32:8 – 9; Amos 9:7 – 10).  However, it is quite clear that he did not make the same kind of covenant with them, and did not choose these other nations in the same way as he chose Israel.  The reason why he was telling Israel about it was to remind them that though they were a special nation, they were not unique, and that God expected them to act on their part of the covenant, not just presume on it.

The final hope of all followers of God who are not Israelites is the covenant that God has made with all nations through Jesus.  Though God had a covenant with Israel, the covenant only really applied to those who chose to obey it and to obey him.  Now through Jesus God calls individuals from all nations to respond in the same way as he called individuals in the nation of Israel to respond to his covenant with the nation of Israel.  This is spoken about in the prophecies of the servant in Isaiah 42:6 – 7 and Isaiah 49, and the ultimate aim is that salvation be available to people in all parts of the world, whatever nation they come from, as God is building up a new nation of all those who choose to follow him (1 Peter 2:4 – 10).

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2 Responses to Did God make a covenant with any nation other than Israel?

  1. bradhamtl says:

    There’s only one covenant people and that is Israel, Jeremiah 31:31 and Hebrews 8:8 says the new covenant is maid with the House of Judah and with the House of Israel, if you are not grafted in one of those two houses you are on the outside looking in. Israel is the olive tree and the branches are Israel and Judah, because of the kingdom being split after the death of King Solomon. The wild olive branches get grafted into the olive three, “Israel”. If there is a church and Israel then the kingdom is split again, and divided against itself.
    Until the church stops throwing away the truth or what ever doesn’t fit into their theology, like for example the Law, then they will continue to reap all the wonderful benefits like……..33,000 different denominations. I know that it sounds like I’m blasting you pretty hard and I am but for good reason. Jesus is not at the root of all this division, we are. There is only one body and its not new at all. Jesus came speaking only words from his father he was bound by them. Restoration of the Kingdom was what the father had in mind not some entity.
    The reason the jews want listen to you is that church is trying to say that the law is done away with and Jesus made some new commandments for us to follow. According to Deuteronomy 13, this is impossible and so the jews just walk away. The jews know that you can’t add to or take away from the commandments, “the law” or chase after other gods. This is one of those contradictions that I was speaking of earlier.

    • Jonathan Morgan says:

      Since you quote from Hebrews, I assume you agree with Hebrews 7:12? (where there is a change in the priesthood, there is necessarily a change in the law as well). What do you think this means? Does it fit into your ideas of not adding or taking away from the law?

      While it is true that individuals need to be grafted into the olive tree, as discussed in Romans 11, it is also true that individuals are gaining salvation through the covenant with Abraham (not Israel) and through becoming heirs of Abraham through baptism into Jesus, as discussed in Galatians 3.

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