The Two Covenant Theory
by Dr. Michael Schiffman
Some people have said that Jewish people already have a covenant with God and do not need Jesus because they have the Law of Moses. This idea, known as the “Two Covenant Theory,” teaches that since
Jewish people already have the Law, they need no other covenant or savior. This view is purported by many rabbis. People in favor of this view argue that believers in Jesus need not be concerned for the salvation of the Jews and should not seek to evangelize.
The Two Covenant Theory is becoming more acceptable to believers, but its problem is that it is contrary to New Testament teaching and the very words of Jesus. In John 14:6, Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Those who hold to the Two Covenant theory claim this only applies to Gentiles because “the Jews have always been with the Father.” The fact is, when Jesus said this, He was speaking to Jewish people. No one, Jew or Gentile comes to the Father, except through Jesus. Jewish people do have the Law, but it is the Law that speaks of Jesus.
The issue still centers around the Messiahship of Jesus. If he is the Messiah, fulfilling the promises God made to Israel, then it stands to reason that He must be the Messiah for Israel. If he is not Messiah for the Jewish people, then He is not Messiah for any people. When Simon Peter stood up on the day of Pentecost, as recorded in Acts 2:14-39, he declared Jesus to be both Lord and Messiah. When the people (all of whom were Jewish worshipers present for Shavout) asked, “Brothers, what shall we do?,” Simon Peter did not say, “You have the Law, but go tell the Gentiles about Jesus,” He said, “Repent and be Baptized all of you in the name of the Messiah Jesus so that your sins may be forgiven.” In the minds of the apostles, Jewish people need Jesus.
Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles, in Romans 10:1 said, “Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved.” If Jewish people were saved by the Mosaic Law, the Lord, Peter, and Paul would not be speaking as if they needed it.
People have said that because of many centuries of anti-Semitism committed in the Name of Jesus, Jewish people should not be bothered with the Gospel because of all their sufferings. Such people claim we need to earn the right to share our faith, and should get our own houses in order.
The Scripture has given us a mandate to share the Good News of the Messiah with all people, especially Jewish people. The question is not whether or not to share with Jewish people, but rather HOW to share the Gospel with Jewish people. “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: First for the Jew, then for the Gentile” (Romans 1:16 NIV). God has called believers to bring the Good News to everyone, including Jewish people. Let us be faithful to God’s call.
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