Typically, the New Covenant is understood in Christianity as signifying a renewed relationship between God and humanity, instigated through Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection. This is seen differently by various theologies – Covenant Theology views the New Covenant as a fulfillment of the Old Covenant with Israel, whereas Dispensational Theology views it as distinct, yet present, with some aspects still to come. Nevertheless, both agree that the Old Covenant’s laws and sacrifices foreshadowed Christ, and the New Covenant is based on faith in Christ’s work on the cross.

Traditionally taught key elements of the New Covenant include divine forgiveness of sins, the promise of eternal life for believers, the guiding presence of the Holy Spirit, transformative experiences leading to a life imbued with virtues, and the creation of a community of believers called to serve one another.

Jeremiah 31:31-34 paints a detailed biblical picture of the New Covenant’s promises. But if these promises do not align with the current situation of Israel, the New Covenant has yet to be established. This would entail redefining the New Covenant from the Biblical representation to one that leans on spiritual or metaphorical interpretations.

For instance, many Christian theological traditions interpret “Israel” in a spiritual sense in certain biblical passages. “Israel” may encompass all those with faith in Christ, irrespective of their Jewish or Gentile descent. Promises of the New Covenant, in this understanding, are seen as being fulfilled spiritually through Christ’s life, death, and resurrection, and the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit.

However, if we interpret the Bible literally, several implications arise. The fulfillment of the New Covenant could still be a future event, set to occur with national Israel upon Jesus’ return. This could lead to an emphasis on the role of Israel in eschatology and current events. A literal view for some might also suggest that elements of the Old Covenant could still be operative for believers today. I reject this due to the teachings of Paul, as well as the revelation of Hebrews 8:6 which presents Jesus as the mediator of a better covenant. In my view, we are not currently under any covenant. Rather, we are under the mediation of Jesus Christ. The Old Covenant has passed away, but the New Covenant, as outlined in Hebrews 8, has yet to begin. This calls for a reevaluation of our understanding and a preparedness to accept that we may not yet be in the New Covenant era.