What is a covenant?
What was the tower of Babel?
Why does it matter that Nimrod was a mighty hunter?
How old is the earth?
Will we see Adam in heaven? How?
Did Abraham believe in Christ?
Was Noah really 950 years old?
Why was Abraham commanded to slaughter his son?
What happened between Ham and Noah?
Must we conduct courtship near wells?
Your question here:
Who: Me teaching + you & other people studying and learning
What: A weekly study through the book of Genesis
Where: 146 N. Grand St. (Portico Classroom)
Orange, CA 92866
When: Every Wednesday night, 7-8:30 (starting 3/25)
Why: All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.
How: Show up, ask questions, listen
The name of my blog is contrast. If you take a look on the about page, you will see why I chose that name. I believe that contrast is essential to learning. We learn what something is by learning what it is not. Now, a lot of what I have been thinking about regarding the covenants has to do with types and antitypes. Isaac was a type. Christ was the antitype. There were many similarities between Isaac and Christ and certainly we can see much of God’s plan of Redemption foreshadowed in Isaac. Yet Isaac is not Christ.
This seems clear enough, but when we begin to talk about the nation of Israel, suddenly the blender gets switched on.
A good example of this is the discussion I have read regarding Law and Grace in the Mosaic Covenant. This post from Mark Jones is a good example of the problem (IMO): Law and Grace at Sinai. Give it a read if you’re not familiar with what I am referring to, or this Re-Publication of the Covenant of Works from R. Scott Clark.
Basically, proponents of Re-Publication see the obvious conditional statements in the Mosaic Covenant and thus argue that it is a Re-Publication of the Covenant of Works. Opponents of this rightly say Sinai cannot possibly be a Re-Publication of the Covenant of Works for various reasons. But they then conclude that the Mosaic Covenant is entirely gracious!
The way they do so is they compare Israel with the church. Or, rather, they say Israel is the church. They then say that our salvation in Jesus Christ does not exempt us from work. Though we are justified, our sanctification involves us working and bearing the fruit of our justification. The same thing is true of Israel, they say. Israel was saved out of slavery in Egypt and brought to the Promised Land. Thus the Mosaic Covenant is a law given to an already redeemed people, not as a requirement for them, but rather as a means of sanctification.
An example from Mark Jones:
I think we also need to recognize that there are unconditional promises and conditional promises in Scripture. A promise doesn’t somehow lose its promissory value because there are conditions attached. And this principle is not limited to the OT. Just read 1 Peter 1 (esp. 1:8; 1:9; 1:17; 2:2; 2:19-20; 3:1-2; 3:7; 4:14; 5:7; 5:9-10). Right conduct in Peter leads to blessing. Peter hasn’t somehow becomes a Judaizer!
Notice what he is doing. He is attempting to view everything in Scripture through the lens of the New Covenant. In the New Covenant, members are justified and eternally saved by grace apart from works, and the law is a response and a means of blessing – therefore it must be the same in the Old Covenant!
His reasoning goes something like this:
The Mosaic covenant includes Exodus 17-24, not just chapter 20. In chapter 19 the call for obedience to God’s commands is based on redemption. In fact, imperatives in Scripture are based on the indicative (see Ex. 20; Deut. 26; Eph. 1-6; 1 Peter 1; 2 Cor. 5:14-15; Rom 6). Israel, in chapter 19 of Exodus are God’s people!
Note what he is referring to: Ex. 20:2 “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.” God “redeemed” Israel from slavery in Egypt. They no longer belonged to Israel, but now they are “God’s people.” This is a beautiful type of our salvation in Christ. But it is a type. It is not actual eternal salvation through faith. The nation of Israel was not “God’s people” in the same way that members of the New Covenant are “God’s people” (though certainly individual true believers existed within Israel).
Continuing in his defense for viewing the Mosaic Covenant as pure grace, Mark notes:
These verses speak of the glorious privileges of being bondservants to the Lord. What a perversion to treat the law as a burden when we are talking in the realm of having been redeemed. Notice the rewards: prosperity, life, and righteousness! This might be offensive but we clearly read that Moses is assuming belief and thus they are in a position to be righteous as they keep his commands.
Woah, wait a minute. I thought we were talking about how God “redeemed” Israel out of Egypt. Now we’re supposed to understand redeemed to mean that God gave the entire nation of Israel new hearts and justified them by the blood of Christ, producing in them true faith? What happened to Israel’s redemption being a type? Do you see the jump that was made from type to antitype?
The issue here is that the Mosaic Covenant is clearly works based. In order to get around this, Mark and others say that the Old Covenant is essentially the same as the New Covenant. And thus they interpret the Old Covenant along New Covenant lines.
In the end, I’m happy with the WCF; I’m happy to vigorously separate law and grace in justification, but in sanctification (obedience) I see a basic pattern in Scripture that allows me to posit a single covenant of grace in the history of redemption.
So Mark solves the dilemma by claiming that the Mosaic Covenant is concerned only with sanctification for a redeemed people. But this is quite absurd. I would not call exile and famine sanctification. I would call it a curse.
In bringing the issue into the New Testament and trying to understand Paul’s commentary on the Mosaic Covenant in Galatians, Mark notes that “The Judaizers had abused Moses.” This is true, but how exactly? Mark would seem to be saying that the Judaizers abused Moses by thinking that obedience to the Mosaic Covenant earned them something, when in reality they should have viewed it as a proper response to already being redeemed, and that it did not earn them anything.
I disagree. I believe that the Judaizers’ abuse of Moses was their belief that the Mosaic Covenant was about eternal life. It never was. It was about temporal life and temporal blessings. And they had to work for those temporal blessings, or they would be physically cursed and/or physically killed. The error of the Judaizers was not their proper understanding of the merit basis of the Mosaic Covenant. Their error was a misunderstanding of the blessings promised by the Mosaic Covenant. Eternal life was never offered as a reward for adherence to the law of Moses.
And thus I would close by paralleling Mark. I am not happy with the WCF. I am not happy to conflate the type with the antitype. I do not see the Mosaic Covenant as “an administration” of the New Covenant of Grace.
There is no doubt in my mind that many have been led astray when considering the typical teaching of Israel’s history and the antitype in the experience of Christians, by failing to duly note the contrasts as well as the comparisons between them. It is true that God’s deliverance of Israel from the bondage of Egypt blessedly foreshadowed the redemption of His elect form sin and Satan; yet let it not be forgotten that the majority of those who were emancipated from Pharaoh’s slavery perished in the wilderness, not being suffered to enter the promised land.
Nor are we left to mere reasoning at this point: it is placed upon inspired record that “behold, the days come saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah: not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers, in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord” (Heb. 8:8,9).
Thus we have divine authority for saying that God’s dealings with Israel at Sinai were not a parallel with His dealings with His people under the gospel, but a contrast!
-Mr. Pink, The Divine Covenants
Holy Scripture does not yield up its treasures to the indolent; and as long as the individual preacher is willing to let Dr. Scofield or Mr. Pink do his studying for him, he must not expect to make much progress in divine things. Ponder Proverbs 2:1-5!
There is no one plot of ground on earth on which will be found growing all varieties of flowers or trees, nor is there any part of the world in which may be secured representatives of every variety of butterflies. Yet by expense, industry, and perseverance, the horticulturalist and the natural historian may gradually assemble specimens of every variety until they possess a complete collection. In like manner, there is no one chapter in the Bible in which all the truth is found on any subject. It is the part of the theologian to diligently attend unto the various hints and more definite contributions scattered throughout Scripture on any given theme, and carefully classify and coordinate them. Alas, those genuine and independent theologians (those unfettered by any human system) have well-nigh disappeared from the earth.
Mr. Pink (A.W.) The Divine Covenants
11 months ago I made a post about John Delling. Take a look at that post for the story. I went to high school with John Delling. Over a year ago he went on a rampage and murdered two people, and attempted to murder a third. One of the victims was Dave Boss, who I went to elementary, junior high, and high school with. Delling had a lot of problems and Dave was one of the few people who cared about him, and Delling shot him for it.
The courts have spent a year deciding if Delling was fit to stand trial (see my previous post for details). They have finally decided that he is fit, so things are slowly proceeding. Now, Delling’s attorney is trying for the insanity plea, even though you can’t use the insanity defense in Idaho.
That didn’t stop Delling’s attorney, public defender Gus Cahill, from filing a motion last week telling 4th District Judge Deborah Bail that he planned to put on psychological evidence during the upcoming trial that “Delling was incapable of forming mens rea” at the time of Morse’s murder.
Mens rea is a legal term for malice aforethought – the thoughts and intentions behind a wrongful act, including knowledge that the act is illegal, according to a legal definition provided by Princeton University. In Latin, mens rea is literally “guilty mind.”
How could John Delling not have a guilty mind? Sin. The effect of sin on the mind is extensive. We are all born totally depraved.
All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
no one does good,
not even one.”
“Their throat is an open grave;
they use their tongues to deceive.”
“The venom of asps is under their lips.”
“Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.”
“Their feet are swift to shed blood;
in their paths are ruin and misery,
and the way of peace they have not known.”
“There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
Now, Delling might very well think he is innocent of the blood on his hands. Does that mean that he is in fact innocent? No. Consider, if you will, your guilt. Many of you, no doubt, believe you are innocent of your guilt before a holy God because, quite simply, you do not believe there is a God. You have no mens rea. Yet the same reason that Delling is guilty and deserves justice at the hands of the state is exactly the same reason you are guilty and deserve justice before God’s throne:
the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.
And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them. (Romans 1)
Note that envy and murder are of equal offense before God. My covetousness, my jealousy of you and the things you have, is an affront to a holy God who has shown me the wickedness of such thoughts. Can you read that list and come away with a clean conscience? If not, then you are damned, just as John Delling is. No one may use the excuse that they do not know such things are wrong, because “God has shown it to them.” You “show that the work of the law is written on [your] heart, while [your] conscience also bears witness, and [your] conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse [you] on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.” (Romans 2:15-16)
Though this law is written on the heart of every man, not every man acknowledges it. Rather, you and John Delling suppress that truth in unrighteousness. Far from proving your innocence, your lack of conscience is proof of your guilt: Since you did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave you up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. And if you object that you do have a conscience, that you do believe such things are wrong, then you have condemned yourself, for if they are wrong, why do you do them?
Now you, John Delling, and myself must face the judgment of God. It is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment (Hebrews 9:27). We will face an eternal sentence for our crime. But that time is not yet. The Idaho courts are not the throne of God. The judges dispensing justice are not God. What then are they to do? How are they to judge Delling?
After God saw that the thoughts of man were only evil continually, and God destroyed the earth through a flood, saving only Noah and 7 others, God made a covenant with Noah. As we are all descendents of these 8 people, the covenant remains binding on us. Part of it reads:
…For your lifeblood I will require a reckoning: from every beast I will require it and from man. From his fellow man I will require a reckoning for the life of man.
“Whoever sheds the blood of man,
by man shall his blood be shed,
for God made man in his own image.
Delling deserves death because he murdered Dave Boss. The sentence is not primarily concerned with the criminal, it is primarily concerned with upholding the image of God in creation. Delling deserves death, not because Dave was an innocent human being (before God he was not), but because Dave bore the image of God and Delling sought to destroy that image.
To prove this point, make note that God requires a reckoning from every man and from every beast. In Exodus 21, as God laid out his law for Israel, he commanded that “When an ox gores a man or a woman to death, the ox shall be stoned.” Delling’s attorney, if he were representing such an ox, would likely argue that the ox “was incapable of forming mens rea.” Yet such a plea would go unheard. For the command is clear:
“Whoever sheds the blood of man,
by man shall his blood be shed,
for God made man in his own image.
Just as Delling must be killed in order to satisfy the injustice of murdering Dave Boss, an image bearer of God, so too must you be destroyed eternally in order to satisfy the injustice of your rebellion against a holy God.