William Dumbrell is said to have uttered:
“[T]he Sermon on the Mount is a ‘covenant recall to Israel’ which ‘recalled Israel to the covenant and had the reconstitution of scattered Israel in mind.'”
EXACTLY, and others have likewise concluded the same.
The Sermon on the Mount is not for the Church of Jesus Christ to assume as a direct ethical prescription. To miss the covenantal framework in which this passage is set, is to miss the heart of what Christ was declaring as the Last and Greatest Prophet of Israel. The majority view has long been one of assuming Christ is here conveying the ethical scheme the New Covenant Community would live and die by, when in reality it is the Scheme Christ himself would live and die under.
Unfortunately, this (the majority view) is nothing more than an abstract, a-covenantal reading of the text.