A Biblical Worldview Primer:
Part 4A – Bible as Law: The Divine Covenants: The Revealed Law
by Gerald R. Thompson
Intro: A Biblical Worldview Primer
Part 1: Creation Laws: The Laws of Nature: The Lex Non Scripta
Part 2: Human Conscience: Moral Awareness
Part 3: Jesus Christ: The Living Word: Christology 101
Part 4B: Bible as Government: Four Great Commands: God’s Laws of Authority
Part 5: A Biblical Worldview: Putting It All Together
GOD OF LAW AND GOVERNMENT
God is Law
1. The world was created with a fixed legal order
2. Before there was sin, there was law
3. Before there was redemption or a gospel, there was law
4. Law (in general) is compatible with, not antithetical to, the gospel
5. Law gives efficacy to the gospel
6. Jesus came to keep/obey the law, not abolish it
7. When redemption is complete, there will still be law
God is Government
– For the Lord is our judge; the Lord is our lawgiver; the Lord is our king; he will save us. (Isa. 33:22)
– Executive, legislative and judicial branches
– God defines the scope of all human government
– All human government is subject to God
Lawkeeping is Important to God (even in the Church Age)
– Ps.19:7-11; Ps. 119:1-8
– Mt 5:17-19
– 1 Jn 3:23-24; 5:2-3; 2 Jn 4-6
“Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams.” (1 Sam. 15:22).
“The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.” (Ecc. 12:13).
“By this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. (1 Jn 2:3).”
In the Millennial Kingdom, Jesus will visibly, personally, rule over every aspect and facet of both a worldwide civil government and a world-wide religious government (total theocracy). (Heb. 2:7-8).
– Nonetheless, individuals will still be free to govern themselves and their families as they see fit with liberty
A KEY QUESTION:
How to organize scripture?
– By Dispensations?
– By Divine Covenants?
– By Testaments?
What is a dispensation?
– (Gr. oikonomia, “stewardship,” “economy”)
– A dispensation is a period of time during which man is tested in respect of obedience to some specific revelation of the will of God.
Dispensations tend to be mutually exclusive (limited duration, separate parties)
1. Innocence (Creation to the Fall)
Be fruitful – Subdue earth – Care for garden – Dietary provisions
2. Conscience (Fall to the Flood)
Dominion forfeited – the curse – promise of the seed
3. Government (Flood to Tower of Babel)
Dominion over animals (but not the earth) – eat meat – capital punishment – rainbow and promise not to flood – Dispersion after Babel ended the reign of government
4. Promise (Abraham to Kadesh-Barnea)
A great nation – blessed descendants – circumcision – Promised Land – Ended with Israel’s rejection to enter the Promised Land
5. Law (Exodus to Crucifixion)
Temple worship & priesthood – suspended until Millennium
Also is under the umbrella of the promises to Abraham
6. Grace (Pentecost until the Rapture)
Church age – “parenthesis” btw. Daniel’s 69th & 70th weeks – signified by indwelling of Holy Spirit – Law and Promise are suspended
(6½. Tribulation (7 Years of Wrath))
Holy Spirit is taken “out of the way” – Church is gone – Time of Jacob’s Trouble – Only unbelievers will enter
7. Millennium (2nd Coming to the end of time)
Post-Tribulation – Satan bound – Only the saved may enter. Promises to Israel resumed / restored
1. God’s dealings with men are always eternal, not temporary
– Nothing God does expires (Dominion Mandate, Noahic covenant, Mosaic law, etc.)
– Nothing man does affects what God does (Fall of Jerusalem, etc.)
2. Dispensations are based on apparent circumstances, not any explicit text (contrived by men, not spoken by God)
3. God never said any covenants have terminated, expired, or changed
4 God does not have any backup plans (He doesn’t need them) – God knows everything that will happen before it does
– Hence, there are no “parentheses” or “gaps”
– God doesn’t need to allow for any contingent possibilities.
Reformed theology views the various divine covenants as chapters in a single book, building on all prior covenants, culminating in the Church covenant, which fulfills all the promises of the Old Testament concerning Israel. Sometimes called “supersessionism” or Replacement Theology
Divine covenants only apply to God’s elect, and they are dictated by God (man’s agreement is irrelevant) – “Testamentary” view of covenants.
1. Covenant of Works / Life (Adam to the Fall)
– God promised Adam that he would have eternal life if only he would obey God’s command – Broken by the Fall
2. Covenant of Grace (from the Fall to Christ)
– Men were justified by their faith in God just as they would be under the gospel – only the means of administration was different – grace was ushered in with the promise of the seed of the woman
3. Covenant of Redemption (Christ to the end)
– simplification of the means of exercising faith – promises to Israel are fulfilled in the Church
– Christ as federal head replaced Adam as federal head
Role of Specific Covenants
1. Adamic Covenant – the redemption of Adam and Eve (clothed by God)
2. Noahic Covenant – salvation of Noah’s family from judgment
3. Abrahamic Covenant – faith, not works – applies to Abraham’s spiritual descendants
4. Mosaic Covenant – points to the gospel of salvation by a mediator
5. Davidic Covenant – hope of restoration under a Davidic king who will bring peace and justice
6. New Covenant (in Christ) – fulfillment of Jer. 31 – signified by baptism and Lord’s Supper
1. Ignores plain language of scripture that ALL O.T. covenants are not directed to God’s elect, but rather to biological descendants of discrete groups of people
– Descendants of Adam and Noah are, for all practical purposes, the same (i.e., everyone)
– But descendants of Abraham, Israel and David are completely separate from the rest of humanity and cannot be commingled (Jew vs. Gentile).
2. Essentially an allegorical understanding of covenants
– At their core, ALL O.T. covenants are not based on faith, but on biological descent. No one ever became a Jew, heir to Israel’s throne, or benefitted from the rainbow based on faith.
3. Essentially a redemption-centric view of covenants NOT supported textually
– Yes, circumstances around Adam & Eve show a redemptive thread, but the terms of the Dominion Mandate have nothing to do with redemption
– Same for Noahic Covenant
– Under Abrahamic Covenant, sign of circumcision is by definition NOT a sign of faith, but of biological descent.
– The Mosaic law was a mere shadow of the gospel of Christ to come, a tutor by example of sorts, but no one was ever saved by following the law. Gal. 3:24; Heb. 8:5; 10:1. How then can it be redemptive?
THE THIRD OPTION – LEGAL COVENANT VIEW
1. All the Divine Covenants are eternal (they never end during the present created order, i.e., they last until the “new heavens and new earth.”
2. All the Divine Covenants can potentially apply to different people
– As a practical matter, the Adamic and Noahic covenants apply to everyone alive today (everyone on earth is a descendant of both Adam and Noah).
– The Abrahamic, Mosaic and Davidic covenants only apply to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, that is, Israel (or the Jews).
– The Church covenant only applies to those who choose to believe (no one becomes a Christian by ancestry or genealogy).
3. The Divine Covenants do not ever blend or merge together, but run separately in parallel at the same time.
– The start of any new covenant neither ends, or modifies, any prior covenant.
– No covenant supersedes or absorbs any prior covenant.
– God can do more than one thing at the same time.
THE DIVINE COVENANTS
Importance of Divine Covenants
1. The verbal revelation of God’s law (revelation of divine law)
2. The exclusive way in which God rules people (necessity to rule by covenant)
3. The way in which God gives people authority (means of delegating authority)
4. The model for how we are to rule each other, i.e., human covenants
5. Consistent with law of nature (creation laws)
Elements of Divine Covenants
1. Mutual consent (an agreement)
2. Irrevocable (perpetual)
3. Changes are limited (to means, not purposes)
4. Binding on descendants (generally)
5. A framework for God’s relationship with people
Divine Covenants Overview
1. Adamic (Creation until eternity) – Gen. 1:28-30
Dominion Mandate (families/children / dominion over earth and animals) – plants only for food – modified by the Fall (made harder, but not terminated)
2. Noahic (Flood until eternity) – Gen. 8:20-9:17
Dominion repeated / affirmed – animals fear and dread – eat meat – capital punishment – rainbow and promise not to flood
3. Abrahamic (Call of Abraham until eternity) – Gen. 12:1-3; 15:12-21; 17:1-14
Father of many nations – son of promise and a people for God’s own possession – Promised Land – sign of the covenant (circumcision)
4. Mosaic (Exodus until eternity) – Exo. 19:5-6 (preamble); Exo. 20:1-17 (terms)
The national covenant (constitution) of Israel – a kingdom of priests and a holy nation – Levitical priesthood and system of worship
5. Davidic (David until eternity) – 2 Sam 7:12-16
Throne of Israel would not depart from the descendants of David – Christ terminated David’s line – throne is vacant until 2nd Coming
6. Church (Crucifixion until eternity) – Mat 28:18-20
Church age – not a “parenthesis” – indwelling of Holy Spirit – not binding on physical descendants
7. New Covenant (2nd Coming until eternity) – Jer. 31:31-34; Heb 8:6-13
All Israel will be saved – God will write His laws on their hearts – Mosaic covenant slightly modified as to ceremonial laws
(8. Millennial Covenant (2nd Coming until eternity)). Probable covenant regarding the rule of Christ over the Gentile nations. (Yes, this is speculation. But God always chooses to rule people by covenant. He has never ruled by the “right of conquest.”)
THE ADAMIC COVENANT
TERMS – Gen. 1:26-30.
1. Made in God’s image (chiefly, individual moral responsibility and authority)
2. Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth (procreation)
3. Subdue the earth (exploration, settlement, property)
4. Dominion over the fish, birds and animals
5. Plants yielding seed & fruit-bearing trees for food
6. (Implied) Equality of all men before God and the law
7. Binding on all descendants of Adam (Gen. 5:1; 9:3; Rom. 5:12) – which is everyone alive today – no exceptions
– Adam is representative of offspring in authority (procreation, food, dominion, family, etc.) Gen. 9:3.
– and he is also representative of offspring in disobedience (Hos. 6:7 and 1 Cor. 15:22)
– Don’t eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. (Gen. 2:16-17).
– No dominion granted over men, oceans, or space (No Implied Powers)
MODIFICATIONS – The Fall (Gen. 3:14-19)
1. Conflict in creation instead of harmony
2. Pain in childbearing – but procreation continues
3. Exacerbated authority structure in marriage
4. Curse of the ground – but dominion continues
5. Instead of life everlasting – death
1. Commands only apply to God’s elect. (By definition, covenant applies to people based on ancestry, not faith).
2. Only importance is spiritual: 1) promise of the seed of the woman; and 2) redemption of Adam and Eve by God. (This completely ignores the express words of the Dominion Mandate, which have NOTHING to do with spiritual things.)
3. Dominion has been lost or forfeited. (Ahh – this is the big one).
– Main argument: The Adamic Covenant is a package deal, spoken to the same people in the same context at the same time. The pieces cannot be separated from one another.
– Thus, God’s image, families and procreation, dominion and equality all rise or fall together.
– If dominion has truly been forfeited, then so have God’s image, families and procreation, and equality. However, these things have not ceased. – Therefore, dominion cannot have ceased either
DOCTRINES OF MEN OPPOSED TO THIS COVENANT
1. Collective sins, collective salvation
2. Family authority structure reversed or denied
3. Abortion; zero population growth
4. Marxism/Communism – No private property
5. Leave nature alone! Goddess earth
6. Government regulation of dominion (if gov’t can do that, it can regulate procreation, too)
1. Covenant continues to the end of time
2. Effects of curse will not be removed until the new heavens and new earth (Rev. 22:3).
3. No marriage post-resurrection (Mat. 22:30)
4. Dominion and work will be rendered unnecessary in eternity, and procreation will necessarily cease
5. Man’s sinful nature will be eliminated only in eternity (1 Cor. 15:53-54).
THE NOAHIC COVENANT
TERMS – Gen. 8:20-9:17
1. God’s promises: not to curse the ground again, not to kill all the living creatures again, not to flood the earth again, not to disrupt the seasons or night and day
2. Re-affirmation of duty to procreate and fill the earth
3. Fear and dread between men and animals, birds & fish
4. Every moving thing is added as food
5. Institution of capital punishment
6. Sign of the covenant – Rainbow
7. Binding on all descendants of Noah and all living creatures of the earth (including birds) – which is everyone alive today – no exceptions
8. Covenant continues to end of time
– Capital punishment limited to instances of bloodshed
– Must not eat blood (“flesh with its life”)
1. Operates as a further modification of Adamic Covenant by altering man’s relationship to animal kingdom
– and by altering food laws
2. (Huge environmental impact due to the flood – falling of vapor canopy (rain), flood geology, mountains & continents)
1. Dominion restored over animals only (not the earth). Wrong! Dominion was never lost or forfeited to begin with.
2. Only importance is spiritual: 1) salvation of Noah & family; and 2) grace of God in restraining His judgment. (Again, this completely ignores the express words of the covenant, which have NOTHING to do with spiritual things.)
3. Capital punishment is not a legal requirement for the nations today. However, the Noahic covenant is a PACKAGE DEAL – it is indivisible.
– the rainbow, eating meat, and capital punishment all rise or fall together.
– If capital punishment is no longer required, then God is no longer obligated not to flood the world, etc. However, His promise is still valid and binding.
– Therefore, capital punishment must still be binding
DOCTRINES OF MEN OPPOSED TO THIS COVENANT
1. Vegetarianism: refusal to eat meat for “moral” reasons – what morality?
2. Veganism: refusal to treat animals as commodities – a denial of dominion
3. Vampirism: drinking blood
4. The outlawing of capital punishment
5. Denying flood geology in favor of uniformitarianism (everything evolved slowly over very long periods of time by current processes).
1. Partial rollback during Millennial kingdom (Isa. 11:6-9; Hos. 2:18). Reversal of enmity between man and animals and possible reversal of eating meat.
2. Millennial period does not reverse the curse
THE ABRAHAMIC COVENANT
Part 1 – Gen. 12:1-3,7; 13:14-15 – age 75
1. A great name and a great nation
2. “I will bless those who bless you, and curse those who curse you.”
3. In you all families of the earth will be blessed (“the Promise”)
4. To your offspring I will give this land
Part 2 – Gen. 15:1-17 – age 86
1. A son of promise and numerous offspring
2. First given boundary of the Promised Land
3. Offspring will sojourn 400 years, they will come out with great possessions, returning in the fourth generation
Part 3 – Gen. 17:1-14 – age 99
1. Father of a multitude of nations and kings 2. An everlasting covenant with offspring
3. Everlasting possession of the land
4.Sign of the covenant: circumcision (not a sign of faith)
1. The physical descendants of Abraham via Isaac and Jacob (does NOT include spiritual descendants). See Rom. 2:29; Gal. 3:14.
2. Spiritual blessings of faith (the Promise) vs. physical blessings of lineage (the Covenant).
3. Covenant and Promise not the same – keep them distinct!
– Confirmation of covenant promises to Isaac and Jacob. Gen. 26:1-5; 28:12-15. Land, offspring, blessings.
ALL FAMILIES ON EARTH TO BE BLESSED
1. “In you” – Gen. 12:3; Gal. 3:7-9. – The model of righteousness through faith
2. “In your offspring” (singular) – Gen. 22:18; Gal. 3:14,16-17
– Christ as the sole offspring through whom the Gentiles will be blessed. See also, Rom. 15:8-9
3. “In your offspring” (plural) – Gen. 26:4; 28:14; Exo. 19:5; Isa. 61:9; Zech. 8:23; Rev. 5:10; Acts 3:25 (?)
– Israel (as a nation) as a means of blessing the Gentiles
1. Both physical and spiritual descendants
2. But only physical descendants inherit the covenant (Jews alone)
3. Abraham is a model for saving faith by example
4. But faith, as such, is not a part of the covenant either
5. A chosen people from among all the nations based solely on ancestry
6. A whole lot of confusion about the relationship between Israel and the Church
7. A lot of bickering over who gets the land
LEGAL DEEDS OF TITLE
1. Gen 15:18-21. “From River of Egypt to the Euphrates.”
2. Similarly – Exo. 23:31; Josh 1:3-4; Deut. 11:24
3. Legal description: Num. 34:3-12 – metes and bounds description
4. Anchor point for the world (Deu. 32:8-9, Acts 17:26) – “center of the earth”
1. Possession of the Promised Land has been interrupted (but not ownership of title) due to disobedience and judgment
2. Dispersion followed by regathering. First foretold in Lev. 26:27-33. Deu. 28:64-65.
Regathering – Deu. 30:1-7 & many others.
DOCTRINES OF MEN OPPOSED TO THIS COVENANT
1. False claims to be the people of promise (Arabs – Ishmael’s heirs)
2. False claims to be God’s covenant people (circumcision practiced by Muslims & other non-Jews)
3. False claims to the land of Canaan (Palestinians, etc.)
4.Genetic perversion: Anglo-Israelism (the Anglo-Saxons of Britain and America are the “lost ten tribes” of Israel)
1. Israel’s rejection at Kadesh-Barnea forfeited or terminated the covenant (esp. land title)
– Dispensational claim – but Israel’s title to Promised Land has not been lost
2. Replacement Theology – spiritual descendants (Church) have replaced physical descendants (Jews)
– Faith is the important thing not real estate
– Reformed/Covenantal claim – but what does the Church need the Promised Land for?
1. Everlasting covenant with Abraham and his offspring. Gen. 17:7; Ps. 105:8-11. 2. Not terminated by Mosaic covenant. Gal. 3:16-18.
3. Not terminated by Christ. Rom. 15:8.
4. Final fulfillment in Millennium – full restoration of possession of the Promised Land (Eze. 47:13-23).
THE BORDERS OF ISRAEL
As described in Num. 34
THE MOSAIC COVENANT
Terms – The Ten Commandments (or, Decalogue). Exo. 20:1-17; Deu. 5:6-21.
– And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments. (Exo. 34:27-28).
– And he declared to you his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, that is, the Ten Commandments. (Deut 4:13).
Stated Purpose: Establishment of Israel as a treasured possession, a kingdom of priests and a holy nation (Exo. 19:3-6).
– Initial ratification. (Exo. 19:7-8; 24:7-8).
– 1st covenant renewal at Sinai/Horeb. (Exo. 34:1-28).
– 2nd covenant renewal in Moab. (Deu. 29:5-9).
– so-called “Palestinian covenant” (after 40 years).
These are all one covenant, not several
– The people of Israel and their descendants (Exo. 19:3-6).
– See also, Deu. 29:10-15, 29. *No one else*
“Hear, O Israel” – Deu. 5:1 & many other places
– Who was, is, and will be under “the law” (of Moses)?
Jesus was under the law because He was born a Jew. Gal. 4:4.
“Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian.” (Gal. 3:23-25). – Who is we/our?
How best to interpret? Options:
1. Churches in Galatia (Gentiles) – Gal. 1:2
2. A reference to Jewish believers – Gal. 2:15-16
3. All believers
– Paul wrote from his own frame of reference as a Jew, which does not carry over to everyone.
THE MOSAIC LAW
Originally given to the Jews Only
– never made directly or indirectly applicable to Gentile nations or to the Church. So, why should we care about the Mosaic laws, then?
Central Question: If we take the law of nature (which by definition applies to all people in all places at all times), adding those principles of the divine covenants which also apply to all people living today because of the rules of descent (Adamic and Noahic covenants), what other principles of eternal and universal law can we glean from the Mosaic laws (based on reason) which, when added to the others, will give us a complete and comprehensive under-standing of the laws of God for all mankind?
That is, how do we discern and describe eternal and universal principles (God’s will for all people, or “God’s laws”) infused among specific laws given to a specific nation for a specific time? That is the challenge.
Rules of Interpretation
1. Forget about M&M (mandatory unless modified) and R&R (repealed unless repeated) – these have no basis in scripture
2. Forget about merger & supersessionism (which violate the nature of divine covenants)
1. Moral law – the law which commends us to love God and to mutually love one another
– legal rule: none other than the law of nature
2. Ceremonial law – the tutelage of Israel which foreshadowed Christ
– legal rule: the law pertaining to the Levitical priesthood
3. Judicial law – forms of justice and equity delivered to the polity of Israel
– legal rule: the law peculiar to the national polity of Israel as a theocracy
But in truth, all these divisions are artificial, that is, man-made. God Himself makes no divisions in what is a single covenant with His people.
What Eternal Rules Can We Discern?
1. The Ten Commandments, as statements of right and wrong derived from the laws of nature
– but all punishments in the Mosaic law are limited to Israel only
2. Sexual immorality – See Lev. 18:6-23. Applicable to all nations.
3. Common Laws (laws pertaining to contracts, private and public wrongs – torts and crimes – and how to love one’s neighbor), especially commercial and economic laws
– These offer a fertile ground for extracting principles of timeless and universal applicability
– This should be the task of the Christian lawyer
“Non-mixing” laws by which Israel was to be a people set apart do not apply to Gentiles or the Church
– Intermarriage restrictions
– Mixing fabrics, meat and cheese, etc
Other laws peculiar only to Israel
– Religious crimes and punishments
– Laws concerning the king and throne
– Land division and transfer laws
– Sabbath restrictions
Kosher food laws. I regard the dietary laws (Lev. 11:1-47) as part of the “make the people of Israel set apart” laws, and an aspect of being “God’s own possession.”
– Ditto for sanitation laws and rules for cleanness and uncleanness
Feast days and observances. The feast days (Lev. 23:1-44), are inextricably tied to either the altar in the Jewish temple (which does not presently exist) or to being present in the Promised Land, and are therefore difficult or impossible to be observed by Jews today. They are in any event not applicable to Gentiles or the Church.
AS FOR HUMAN PRIESTHOODS …
The essential elements of the Levitical priesthood are completely inapplicable to the Church and to Gentiles, including without limitation:
– any class of persons set aside for full-time religious work; any positions in the Church being tied to genealogy or physical ancestry;
– physical rituals intended to produce atonement or a covering for sins, including baptism or communion when used to secure or continue a state of forgiveness;
– prohibiting any religious workers from owning property or exempting any religious workers from general laws applicable to everyone else (i.e., benefits of clergy);
– a physical temple, house of worship or house of God, or temple structures including an inner sanctum, a narthex and an altar;
– special clothes that can only be worn by certain persons, special tools and instruments that can only be used by certain persons, or special rooms or spaces that can only be used by certain persons;
– ceremonies or sacramentsthat can only be performed by certain persons; and so on.
– Ouch! I know, but don’t shoot the messenger
The Levitical Tithe
– Tithing under the Mosaic law was inextricably bound to the nature and existence of the Levitical priesthood:
1) But for the existence of a physical temple and an animal sacrifice system, there would have been no Aaronic priesthood;
2) But for the Aaronic priesthood, the Levites would not have been set apart to assist the priests; and
3) Both the Aaronic priests and the tribe of Levites were defined by ancestry (genealogy), not by the personal choice of any individuals; and
4) But for the Levites being set apart, – and deprived (as a matter of law) of the ability to earn a living by any other means (and even to own property) no tithes would have been instituted. (See, Num. 18:1-7,21-24.)
Consequently, apart from the Levitical priesthood, tithing cannot exist, and does not exist in the Church or for Gentiles.
TWO SYSTEMS OF GIVING
| TITHES & OFFERINGS
THE MOSAIC COVENANT & LAWS ARE ETERNAL (but only for Israel!!)
1. God doesn’t do anything temporarily
– all of His covenants are perpetual
2. Examples: Exo. 31:14-17; Lev. 24:8 (Sabbaths); 1 Chr. 16:15-18; Ps 105:7-11 (the land promised to Abraham); 2 Sam 7:16; 2 Chr 21:7 (throne of David); Exo 19:5-6; Deu. 7:6-10 (Israel’s as God’s chosen possession)
3. Levitical Priesthood: Num. 18:19; 25:12-13 (a covenant of perpetual priesthood). See, Eze. 44:9-14 regarding the Levites generally, and Eze. 44:15-31 re: the Levitical priests specifically, and the religious/sacrificial services each will render in the future Millennium.
Take these scriptures seriously!
4. Israel will never be absorbed or subsumed by the Church, as long as the sun, moon and stars remain in the heavens. Jer. 31:35-37
5. However long Christ’s claim to the throne of David is in effect, then so is the Levitical priesthood – Jer. 33:20-21
6. Christ came to confirm the promises to the patriarchs (including Moses) – Rom. 15:8, and denied He came to abolish the Law – Mat. 5:17-19
7. Conclusion: Not even the ceremonial law has ended. The Mosaic covenant cannot be divided – if one part remains, it remains in entirety.
The Mosaic Law as a “Broken Covenant”
– “The house of Israel and the house of Judah have broken my covenant that I made with their fathers.” Jer. 11:10.
– To say the Mosaic law is a “broken covenant” is to say nothing more than Israel, as a nation, has violated the terms of the covenant.
– But what of the covenant itself? Has it been altered, suspended or terminated? No.
– It continues unchanged. Only God can change it, which He has not.
– Israel can do nothing, by its own conduct or volition, to alter, suspend or terminate God’s covenant with them. The covenant is eternal, notwithstanding Israel’s non-compliance.
– Israel’s compliance is, in fact, irrelevant to the question of the status of the covenant.
Text – I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. (2 Sam. 7:8-16.)
– Abraham – promise of a great nation
– Moses – promise of a holy nation
– David – promise of a great & eternal kingdom
THEME 1 – THE CHOSEN SEED
– Abraham – special descendants: Isaac and Jacob
– Moses – special descendants: Aaron and Levites
– David – special descendants: males heirs of David
1. Seed of the woman foretold.(Gen. 3:15)
2. “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder.” (Isa. 9:6). – Who is “us”? (Israel)
3. “There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.” (Isa. 11:1).
4. “I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king.'” (Jer. 23:5-6).
5. “The man whose name is the Branch shall build the temple of the Lord. He shall sit and rule on his throne. And there shall be a priest on his throne, and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.” (Zec. 6:12-13).
6. “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.” (Mt. 1:1).
7. “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law.” (Gal. 4:4)
8. Of David’s offspring God has brought to Israel a Savior, as promised. (Acts 13:22-23)
9. “I, Jesus, am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.” (Rev. 22:16). Jesus was born a Jew, of the house of David.
THEME 2 – THE SHEPHERD KING
1. He chose David his servant and took him from the sheepfolds; he brought him to shepherd Jacob his people. (Ps. 78:70-72).
2. And the Lord said to David, “You shall be shepherd of my people Israel, and you shall be prince over Israel.” (2 Sam. 5:2).
3. The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. (Ps. 23:1).
4. Behold, the Lord God will tend his flock like a shepherd. (Isa. 40:10-11).
5. I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep… declares the Lord God. (Eze. 34:15).
6. And I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David. (Eze. 34:23).
7. My servant David shall be king over them, they shall all have one shepherd. (Eze. 37:24).
8. When Jesus saw the crowds, they were like sheep without a shepherd. (Mat. 9:36).
9. Jesus answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” (Mat. 15:24).
10.”I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” (Jn. 10:11,14).
11. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. (1 Pet. 2:25).
12.For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd. (Rev. 7:17).
Jesus as David’s heir:
To whom did Jesus come as Savior? (Jn. 3:16)
To whom did Jesus come as King? (Mk. 15:2)
To whom did Jesus come as Shepherd? (Mt. 15:24)
Jesus is the Shepherd King of Israel.
Does the scripture ever once refer to Jesus as:
– the king of the Church?
– the shepherd of the Church?
What is the relationship between Jesus and the Church?
Head => Body, not King => Subject or Shepherd => Sheep
THEME 3 – EARTHLY KINGDOM
1. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom. (Isa. 9:7)
2. For thus says the Lord: David shall never lack a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel. (Jer. 33:17).
3. “Jesus will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, of his kingdom there will be no end.” (Lk. 1:30-33)
4. “Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” (Mat. 19:28).
5. “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand.” (Mk 1:14-15).
6. Jesus went throughout all the cities, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom. (Mat. 9:35).
7. This gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations. (Mat. 24:14).
8. “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.” (Rev. 11:15).
9. Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world” (Jn. 18:36).
What does the statement mean, “My kingdom is not of this world”?
1. “I will only ever rule as a king as to spiritual matters” (and physical matters do not concern me).
2. “I will only ever rule as king off planet” (or on the “new earth”), but not on this earth or “in history.”
3. “I am not ruling as a king on earth yet, but I will later when it is time.”
4. “I am not ruling as a king on earth yet, but I will when you get it ready for me.”
Will the kingdom of Christ be like the kingdom of David (earthly), or something unrelated?
Will the kingdom of Christ be the kingdom of Israel, or of the Church?
Basis – “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” (Mat. 28:18)
Terms – “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Mt. 28:19-20). (The “Great Commission.”)
Which is it? 1) Make disciples; 2) Baptize; and 3) Teach. OR, Make disciples by baptizing and teaching?
A perpetual covenant. Heb. 9:12, 13:20. See also, Rom. 8:38-39.
The Church covenant is perfect and will never need any modification. Heb. 10:14.
A COVENANT OF FAITH
Individual faith (“I believe” – “second birth”), not by ancestry (corporate “we” – first birth). No one can decide for another.
1. Just because the Church covenant does not apply to descendants, does not prevent it from being a divine covenant. The scripture consistently refers to it as a covenant. Mat. 26:26-28; 2 Cor. 3:4-6; Heb. 7:22, 9:15.
2. For by grace you have been saved through faith. … it is the gift of God. Eph. 2:8.
3. Everyone who believes in Jesus receives forgiveness of sins through his name. Jn. 1:12; Jn. 3:16-18; Acts 10:34, 43; Rom. 1:16; 1 Jn 5:1, 5.
4. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. (Rom. 10:9-10).
In this way the Church covenant is different from all O.T. covenants – none of which are based on faith, but on ancestry alone.
TEACH THE COMMANDMENTS OF CHRIST
The Great Commission (make disciples by baptizing and teaching) is equal parts evangelism and teaching right and wrong behaviors. The Church is pretty good at evangelizing. How is it doing with the rest?
1. What are the commandments of Christ? Words in red ink? N.T. only? If Jesus is God, aren’t all of God’s commandments (both O.T. and N.T.) the commandments of Christ, since Jesus is the Word of God? And how are Christ’s commandments different from God’s law, if at all?
2. “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. … until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” Mat. 5:17-19.
3. Is the Mosaic ceremonial law “one of the least of these commandments? What are the implications of this?
4. What does it mean to “fulfill” the law? Keep and obey it as is – or bring it to a conclusion or consummation? If the law is brought to a consummation, how is that any different from abolishing it?
5. And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 1 Jn 2:3-4.
6. If anyone thinks that he is a prophet, or spiritual, he should acknowledge that the things I am writing to you are a command of the Lord. 1 Cor 14:37.
7. How well is the body of Christ teaching the nations of God’s laws of right and wrong behavior? (Be honest now)
Decoupling the Mosaic law from the Church
– i.e., the beginning of one cannot end the other
– Israel and the Church cannot ever possibly be the same, because one is a nation defined by biological descent, the other is a body defined by individual faith
– How can the inauguration of a community of faith terminate the biological descendants of Jacob? It cannot.
– why not understand the Church as merely being added to what already pre-existed?
– the Mosaic covenant did not terminate the Abrahamic covenant just because it came along later. No one annuls a covenant ratified by God, not even God. Gal. 3:15, 17.
– the new covenant in Christ did not annul the promises given to Abraham (and Moses) either
Bottom line: Israel and the Church have NOTHING in common. They will never merge, subsume, or be the same. The beginning of the Church has no impact on the end of Israel. Let not man join together that which God has made separate.
NEW COVENANT WITH ISRAEL
“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the Lord. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” (Jer. 31:31-34).
1. It will perfect/complete the Mosaic covenant.
2. All Israel will be saved (see below).
3. God’s laws will be written on their hearts
4. “I will be their God, and they shall be my people”
APPLIES TO ALL ISRAEL IN MILLENNIUM
All Israel Will Be Saved
1. A partial hardening on Israel until the fulness of the Gentiles has come in. Then all Israel will be saved. The gifts and calling of God are irrevocable. (Rom. 11:25-29).
2. Shall a land be born in one day? Shall a nation be brought forth in one moment? (Isa 66:8-9). (Yes)
3. No longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.
4. See also, Heb. 8:5-13. (Repeats Jer. 31:31-34).
THE UNIQUE PEOPLE OF GOD
1. “I will take you to be my people, and I will be your God.” (Exo. 6:7).
2. “My treasured possession .. a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” (Exo. 19:5-6).
3. “I will be your God, and you shall be my people.” (Lev. 26:12).
4. “They shall be my people, and I will be their God.” (Zech. 8:8).
Israel (not the Church) will remain a unique people before God so long as the fixed order of the sun, moon and stars remains. Jer. 31:35-37.
Resumption of Temple Sacrifices
1. Resumption of regular burnt offerings foretold in prophecy. Dan. 8:13-14; 9:25-27; 12:11.
2. “The Levitical priests shall never lack a man in my presence to offer burnt offerings, to burn grain offerings, to make sacrifices forever.” (Jer. 33:14-26)
3. Partially revised and reintroduced under the future new covenant. (Eze. 40:38-43; 42:13).
4. “But the Levites who went far from me, going astray from me after their idols when Israel went astray, shall bear their punishment. They shall be ministers in my sanctuary, having oversight at the gates of the temple and ministering in the temple.” (Eze. 44:10-11).
What does the resumption of temple sacrifices assume?
– the Levitical system (structure, segregation) is still intact.
– but the Levitical system is a creature of the Mosaic law only. If it exists, then the Mosaic law must still be in force.
– The New Covenant with Israel has already been fulfilled in the Church (Heb. 8:5-13).
– How can it be, when Israel and Church will never be the same or merge, and have nothing in common? Christians do not become Jewish.
– Consider the text carefully! “For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion to look for a second.” (Heb 8:7).
– What is the “first covenant”? (Mosaic)
– What is the “second covenant”? (New Covenant w/ Israel – not the Church!)
– Fundamentally, why is Jer. 31 quoted in Heb. 8? Simply to show that the Mosaic law was imperfect from the beginning, and needed to be replaced someday.
– Then Christ came and offered a covenant made on better promises (Church), but that still doesn’t solve Israel’s problem
– “In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.” (Heb 8:13).
– Note what the text does NOT say: The Mosaic law (1st covenant) has become obsolete, and has grown old and vanished.
– None of the verbs in Heb. 8:13 are in the past tense. They are all in the future tense. If Jer. 31 had actually been fulfilled by the Church covenant, the verb tenses would be reversed.
TO THE JEW FIRST, THEN THE GREEK
1. (Jesus) answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” (Mat. 15:24).
2. The gospel is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. (Rom. 1:16).
3. Christ became a servant to the circumcised (Jews) to show God’s truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. (Rom. 15:8-9).
4. God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. (Gal. 4:4-5).
5. There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. For God shows no partiality. (Rom. 2:6-11).
Examples of Jew first, then Greek:
1. The blessings of Abraham – Jew first (physical blessings), then Gentiles (spiritual blessings)
2. A covenant people – Jews first (Mosaic), then Gentiles (Church)
3. The spread of the Gospel – Jew first, then Gentiles. From Jerusalem, to Samaria, then elsewhere
4. Priesthoods – Jew first (Aaron), then Christ for Gentiles (Melchizedek)
5. Discipline and persecution – Jew first (diaspora), then Church/Gentiles (martyrs)
6. Wrath, fury and Tribulation – Jew first (Jacob’s Trouble), then Gentiles (Tribulation)
7. Restoration in the Kingdom – Jew first (all Israel will be saved), then Gentiles (gradual conversion of the nations)
Where will the Church be during the Millennium?
DIVINE COVENANTS SUMMARY
For what purpose did God give us His divine covenants?
Adamic – procreation, dominion, provision, family & work
Noahic – repopulate, expanded diet, capital punishment & rainbow
Abrahamic – a great nation, Promised Land, a people for God’s own possession
Mosaic – a treasured possession, kingdom of priests, & holy nation
Davidic – a chosen kingly line (Messiah, Shepherd) whose kingdom will never end and will never lack an heir
At any point in time prior to Christ, were God’s covenants with man ever primarily directed to salvation or redemption?
Compared to the Gospel, are they As/More/Less Important?
The divine covenants tell us how we should then live.
“For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” (Rom. 15:4).
“Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did. … Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come.” (1 Cor. 10:6, 11).
Intro: A Biblical Worldview Primer
Part 1: Creation Laws: The Laws of Nature: The Lex Non Scripta
Part 2: Human Conscience: Moral Awareness
Part 3: Jesus Christ: The Living Word: Christology 101
Part 4B: Bible as Government: Four Great Commands: God’s Laws of Authority
Part 5: A Biblical Worldview: Putting It All Together