Question: If the new covenant, the better one, replaced the first covenant (Hebrews 8), what was the first covenant? Are there are only two?
Answer: Hebrews 8 is indeed comparing an old and a new covenant. The fault with the old covenant was not the covenant; it was the people (8:9). The people broke the covenant and that was its problem. Hebrews 8:10 shows who the new covenant is for: Israel and Judah.
This is pointing forward to the Millennial Kingdom, which I spell wrong every time. I think it’s Milennial or Millenial, wait, maybe I had it right at first Millennial. No, that can’t be it, MMillenniall. Anyway, the fulfillment is in the Kingdom.
I will be their God, they will be my people, everyone knows who I am, no need for teachers. God will create a people who cannot violate the covenant, therefore, the promises to Israel will indeed be kept for eternity, unlike the first covenant, which they broke.
How does the Church fit in this? Some say the Church replaces Israel. Others say the Church has nothing to do with it. Others say that the Church has the spiritual side of the covenant realties but Israel will still get the land part and the Kingdom is the ultimate realization of the new and better covenant.
I’d go with option three. In order for the Kingdom to work all things have to be dealt with physically and spiritually. Under the Law the physical side was all there–the law, temple, priests, and land. In our age the spiritual side is all taken care of because of Christ’s death and resurrection–he is the priest, we’re the temple, heaven is our land, the indwelling Spirit teaches.
Not until the Kingdom will everything be in place to fulfill the original covenant originally made with Abraham–you will be My people and this will be your land.
So, in summary, Millennial is spelled correctly as Millennial. 2 l’s and 2 n’s. I was right the first time and that’s really all that matters.
In further summary, the covenant in question is the original covenant with Abraham. It has not yet been fulfilled. The New Covenant is what Christ did–the New Covenant in His blood. He will seal the deal because He will seal and indwell His people. It has happened spiritually now for present age believers and will ultimately be fulfilled for Israel just as He originally promised.