Paul's Passing Thoughts

The Potter’s House: Biblical Covenants: An Overview and Relevance to the Gospel, Parts 1 &2

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on January 4, 2015

HF Potters House (2)

Revised Covenants

Part 1: The Fact that Clarifies: God Never Made a Covenant with Adam

    If there is an area where the laity is very confused, it is in regard to biblical covenants. This booklet seeks to clarify the issue.

    So, let’s get into the primary covenants.  There are six, NOT seven. They follow: Noahic, Abrahamic, Palestinian, Mosaic, Davidic, and the New Covenant.

    God never made a covenant with Adam. How do we know this? Because when God makes a covenant, He states it as such. God never calls any arrangement He made with Adam a “covenant.”

    In the Garden of Eden, God calls them “trees” not a covenant. How do we get “covenant” from “tree”? In the six actual covenants, God says, “I will make a covenant.” God’s work arrangement with Adam was never called a covenant. His relationship with Eve was never called a covenant. When God covered Adam and Eve’s nakedness after the fall, He didn’t call that a covenant either. In all cases it’s pure assumption. However, when God says, “I will make a covenant,” that’s not an assumption.

    Curiously, Adam is said to have broken the covenant, but the issue is that he disobeyed and ate from the tree of good and evil which is a separate issue from these other considerations: his task of caring for the garden, being fruitful, etc. Clarifying what this covenant was exactly and how Adam broke it by eating from the tree is speculative at best. Whenever God makes a covenant, He calls it a covenant, He specifies who the covenant is to, and also specifies the terms.

    Granted, the tree of life ends up in the New Jerusalem, but what we primarily look for as Christians is the city built by God, not the tree. The tree of life is one of the results of the Abrahamic covenant, but it isn’t THE covenant or even a salvific covenant. The tree is never called a covenant. Those who posit the idea that God made a covenant with Adam must now split that covenant into two different covenants: the Edenic covenant of innocence, or the covenant of works prior to the fall and the Adamic Covenant of grace. This is what happens when you make something a covenant that isn’t a covenant; you have to come up with more covenants to explain the first covenant that wasn’t a covenant.  You search in vain for the covenants of innocence, works, or grace.

    Ultimately, Christians look for the fulfilment of the Abrahamic covenant, not some Adamic covenant. Let’s look at some Scripture:

2Peter 3:13 – But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.

We aren’t waiting for a tree, we are waiting for a new heaven and a new earth.

Hebrews 11:10 – For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.

Abraham was looking for a city, not a tree.

    The definition of a salvific biblical covenant follows:  they are NEVER based on anything man does, nor are they predicated on an agreement between God and man. Covenants are predicated on one thing and one thing only: God’s promises. The six covenants are covenants of promise. They are NOT agreements between God and man, they are promises TO man.

Where Does Election Fit In?  

    Furthermore, ELECTION is the means by which God executes His promises. Why must God elect the means? Because He cannot break His promises. He elected Christ to make the promises possible, He elected angels to enforce the covenants of promise, and He elected Israel to execute the covenants on a human level aided by the Holy Spirit.

    God does not elect individuals, but rather the means of fulfilling His Promises. God is only limited by His character, but is not limited by any of His attributes. God cannot break a promise, and He cannot be unjust.  Individuals are not elected; only the means for fulfilling His promises are elected. Otherwise, the promises cannot be to anyone in particular; in other words, if individuals are elected, they themselves cannot know definitively that the promise is to them.

    Hence, the promises are to everyone who will believe. If that is predetermined, the promise is useless because it is only a promise to those who have been predestined which means the promises of God must be qualified with an “IF.”

“Yes, it’s a promise; you just don’t know whether it’s to you specifically or not.” The Bible states that the promises of God are to all who believe. If the promises are only to the elect, that should be easily stated and clarified. It is worth noting that God never calls the Gentiles His elect. Why? Because they were never His means of bringing salvation to the world—they are merely recipients.

John 4:22 – You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews.

Any reference to Gentiles being elect is speaking to the salvation they obtain by inheriting the promises made to the Jews:

Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people, And hath raised up an horn of salvation (Jesus) for us in the house of his servant David; As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began: That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us; To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant; The oath which he sware to our father Abraham (Luke 1:68-73, also see Eph 2:12).

    This is much like the gospel, or “good news.” Why is, “Maybe you’re in, but maybe you’re not” “good news”? You really have no way of knowing whether it is necessarily good news for you or not. In the same way, you are presented with THE promise without any way of knowing whether the promise is really to you. The only way you can know for certain that the promise is to you is if the “IF” relies on your choice to believe the promise which is to EVERYONE who believes. Let’s look at an example of this:

Acts 3:36 – Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.” 37 Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” 40 And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” 41 So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.

    See the words “the promise”? Whenever you see that in the New Testament it is referring to the Abrahamic Covenant. An example is the aforementioned 2Peter 3:13. Peter stated on Pentecost that the promise was to them, their children, and those far off which probably referred to the Jews not present that day. Yes, it could also refer to the Gentiles, but more than likely refers to the Jews who didn’t make it to Jerusalem for Pentecost that year. The promise is to all of them, but the promise must be obtained by faith. God calls all men to Himself, but they must come by faith, and that being faith in the Son of God.

    We will not stop here to examine all of the gospel implications of what Peter said, but a few things should be mentioned. Saving faith believes God’s promises. But past a mere mental assent, I think it also involves a desire to be a recipient of the promise. Salvation does not come by any kind of obedience to the law—it comes by believing God’s promises. Abraham, the father of our faith, was made righteous because he believed God’s promise concerning an heir and being made a great nation (Genesis 15:1-6). Saving faith believes what God says. Saving faith believes God’s promises. Why should anyone believe if they cannot be sure the promise is to them?

    Also note that the promise includes the gift of the Holy Spirit. That necessarily means the new birth. That’s part of the promise. This is where we must conclude that Peter is talking about more than just water baptism. Peter exhorted them with “many other words” that may have very well included more information about the new birth and baptism. The new birth means the old us dies with Christ and a new us is resurrected with Christ (Rom 6:1-14).

    Let me take opportunity here to put all of this lordship salvation chaos to rest. Telling people that they have to do something in order to follow Christ and be saved is beside the point. Frankly, I don’t endorse telling people that they have to do anything other than believe God’s promise in order to be saved. But if they have something in their life that they don’t want to give up that is clearly opposed to God’s life prescription, they are basically saying they don’t want the promise! The death of who you are and the resurrection of a new you is part of the promise. This is not complicated.

    Before we move on, we will pause here for a moment to revisit this whole idea that God made a covenant with Adam though God never said He made a covenant with Adam. A whole bunch of this is tied up in the granddaddy of all theologies, Covenant Theology, which shows up in the 16th century. It posits the idea that the one command given to Adam about the tree of good and evil was a covenant of works, also referred to as the covenant of life, or as mentioned earlier, a covenant of innocence.  Adam was promised life/blessings for obedience, and death/cursing for disobedience.

    We could spend hours plunging the depths of all of this while including Dispensationalism to boot, and all of the various views on this which are myriad, as if God is a god of confusion, but let me make it really, really easy for you. As the theories go, born out of this idea that God made a covenant with Adam, when Adam sinned, and thereby breaking the first covenant, God instituted the “Covenant of Grace.” And what is this Covenant of Grace? It is the promise of the seed in Genesis 3:15—that’s the Covenant of Grace according to the Protestant brain trust. So, let’s turn now to where that takes place:

Genesis 3:14 – And Jehovah God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, cursed art thou above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: 15 and I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed: he shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel (ASV).

    Do you see the glaring problem here? Who is God talking to? When you make a covenant with someone, wouldn’t it be with the person you are talking to? Note what takes place after verse 15; God then addresses Eve, and then afterward addresses Adam separately. If there is a Covenant of Grace, it was made with the serpent! Adam and Eve are right there, and according to the Covenant Theology federal headship of Adam, any covenant made at that point should be addressed to Adam, no?

    This whole idea that God made a covenant with Adam is at the root of almost every errant view of biblical covenants that there is, and is also the basis of the Reformed doctrine of double imputation. This is the belief that Christ fulfilled the covenant of works that Adam violated through perfect law-keeping when He was on earth as a man. Hence, paradise is restored due to Christ fulfilling this covenant, which is a law covenant.

    In addition, key to understanding the salvific covenants of promise is Ephesians 2:11,12.

11 Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— 12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.

     Notice that being unregenerate is synonymous with being alienated from the “commonwealth of Israel” and the covenants (PLURAL) of “promise.” Any salvific covenant must be defined as a covenant of promise, and NOT agreement, and MUST be attached to Israel. Problem: Adam had nothing to do with Israel. And…even if God did make some kind of covenant with Adam, it depended on something Adam did and not a promise despite any action by Adam. In other words, it was supposedly an agreement that was dependent on the actions of two parties. In order for God to fulfil His promises to a certain party, they have to remain faithful to their part of the contract. When Adam supposedly violated the covenant, God replaced it with another one. This is all fraught with speculation.

    At best, it would have to be some kind of law covenant, and shockingly, the Reformed crowd actually concedes this and makes the primary covenant of promise a law covenant. This is clearly a plenary affront to Scripture.  Nevertheless, this is how the Reformed, and frankly many others, including dispensationalists, interpret Romans 5:18,19.

18 Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. 19 For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.

    Supposedly, the one act of Christ is His “passive obedience,” and the overall obedience of Christ is His “active obedience.” Hence, Christ came to fulfil a law covenant. Regardless of what Protestant camp you dwell in, you hear this all the time; viz, Christ kept the law perfectly for us; viz, Christ’s resurrection was proof that God was satisfied with His perfect obedience; viz, Christ had to keep the law perfectly in His life first before He could be the acceptable sacrifice; viz, we have the righteousness of Christ. Whether Calvinist or Arminian—you hear these truisms constantly.

    Here is where I want to enter in a quotation from Present Truth magazine because it perfectly articulates John Calvin’s view on this from his commentary on Romans:

After a man hears the conditions of acceptance with God and eternal life, and is made sensible of his inability to meet those conditions, the Word of God comes to him in the gospel. He hears that Christ stood in his place and kept the law of God for him. By dying on the cross, Christ satisfied all the law’s demands. The Holy Spirit gives the sinner faith to accept the righteousness of Jesus. Standing now before the law which says, “I demand a life of perfect conformity to the commandments,” the believing sinner cries in triumph, “Mine are Christ’s living, doing, and speaking, His suffering and dying; mine as much as if I had lived, done, spoken, and suffered, and died as He did . . . ” (Luther). The law is well pleased with Jesus’ doing and dying, which the sinner brings in the hand of faith. Justice is fully satisfied, and God can truly say: “This man has fulfilled the law. He is justified.”

We say again, only those are justified who bring to God a life of perfect obedience to the law of God. This is what faith does—it brings to God the obedience of Jesus Christ. By faith the law is fulfilled and the sinner is justified.

On the other hand, the law is dishonored by the man who presumes to bring to it his own life of obedience. The fact that he thinks the law will be satisfied with his “rotten stubble and straw” (Luther) shows what a low estimate he has of the holiness of God and what a high estimate he has of his own righteousness. Only in Jesus Christ is there an obedience with which the law is well pleased. Because faith brings only what Jesus has done, it is the highest honor that can be paid to the law (Rom. 3:31) [see The Truth About New Calvinism pp. 100, 101].

    So, what does church become? Or rather, what has church in fact become? It has become a ritual that we partake in for the purpose of Christ’s obedience fulfilling a law covenant. “Christians” verbalize these ideas all the time.  The Reformed call this “the obedience of faith.” Our faith alone in Christian living—Christ’s imputed obedience to fulfill the law covenant as long as we walk by faith alone. I had one person from the anti-Calvin, anti-Lordship salvation crowd tell me that Christians only obey one time—when they believe. After that, it’s all Christ’s obedience perpetually imputed to our account. I had another anti-Calvinist refer to en nomos to Christ. What’s that? It means in-lawed to Christ; the law is fulfilled for us in Christ. Calvinists call this the “vital union.” As long as we are walking by faith alone, Christ continues to satisfy the law for us.

    Listen, do you know why Calvinists and Arminians bicker back and forth in the SBC but will not separate? Do you know why an anti-Calvinist president of a major SBC seminary wrote me and stated that Calvinism isn’t a false gospel? The answer is simple; they all believe in the same law covenant. When it gets right down to it—they believe the same gospel. The tie that binds is this whole idea that God made a covenant of works with Adam. Note the two different charts below; one from the dispensationalist camp disdained by the Reformed, and the other one from the latter:

Dispensational Chart

Covenant Theology

    The Abrahamic covenant, the covenant that all of the other covenants of promise are based on, is based on promise and NOT law.  It doesn’t matter who keeps it—it’s NOT a law covenant. The apostle Paul spent all of his Christian life refuting this very idea.

Galatians 3:15 – To give a human example, brothers: even with a man-made covenant, no one annuls it or adds to it once it has been ratified. 16 Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, “And to offsprings,” referring to many, but referring to one, “And to your offspring,” who is Christ. 17 This is what I mean: the law, which came 430 years afterward, does not annul a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to make the promise void. 18 For if the inheritance comes by the law, it no longer comes by promise; but God gave it to Abraham by a promise.

    If Christ had to keep the law for us, that makes the promise what? Right, “void.” Who keeps the law is not the point, law period is the point. Paul goes further to make his point with the ONE SEED argument. What’s that? If the law is part of the Abrahamic covenant, there are two life-giving entities and not just one being Christ. Verse 21, the law cannot give life. We are going to come back to this text when we get to the Mosaic covenant.

Part 2: Overview of the Covenants and Their Gospel Significance

    Let’s now do an overview of the covenants of promise starting with the Noahic  covenant.

Genesis 9:8 – Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him, 9 “Behold, I establish my covenant with you and your offspring after you, 10 and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the livestock, and every beast of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark; it is for every beast of the earth. 11 I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.”

    This is pretty straight forward, but let me again point out that when God makes a covenant with someone, he tells them about it directly. In every case where God makes a covenant, He says, “I establish my covenant with you.” God never said to Adam, “I establish my covenant with you.” Moreover, in the text cited by Calvinists and Arminians alike to make a case for a “Covenant of Grace,” God is talking to Satan. In every other covenant of promise, God establishes the covenant with those he is talking to.

The Abrahamic Covenant  

    The foundational covenant of promise that the rest of the covenants of promise are based on is the Abrahamic covenant. To get the full breadth of this covenant, you really have to study Genesis from chapter 12 to pretty much the end of the book, but I would like to point primarily to chapter 15. In what is obviously some kind of ritual to establish a covenant, because verse 18 states such, God put Abraham in a deep sleep and executed the covenant Himself—He performed the ceremony with Abraham in a deep sleep. Why? Because the promise will be kept by God alone. It’s not some kind of mutual agreement commonly found in law covenants.

    This is the essence of law covenants: they are based on some kind of agreement. This is why the idea that the church is the bride of Christ is so popular; this makes the idea of a law covenant more feasible than a one direction covenant of promise.  Hence, “Christians” keep themselves “faithful to our covenant with Christ” by being “faithful members” in the local church by showing up every time the doors are open, tithing, serving, and being a “blessing to the pastors.” How often have we heard these things all of our Christian lives? When I was a member of the institutional church, every time I was able to spend some time with my family, we were packing everyone up and heading to church because “the doors were open.” Not being a “blessing” to the church equals being a bad wife to the bridegroom who is supposedly Christ.

    But when it gets right down to it, being a “faithful member” results in the “covering of Christ” that continues to fulfill the righteous demands of the law because the institutional church covenant is a law covenant. As long as we are faithful to the covenant; i.e., a member in “good standing,” Christ will continue to cover us with His perfect obedience in order to keep us righteous. Some pastures refer to this as, “keeping ourselves in the love of God.”

The Palestinian Covenant

   The Palestinian covenant (Deu 30:1-10), again, a covenant of promise, is a land promise to the nation of Israel. This is also included in the Abrahamic covenant. Dispensationalists contend with the Reformed that this is a promise God will keep while the Reformed argue that Israel broke their covenant with God, a marriage covenant, or law covenant, resulting in God divorcing Israel, and replacing them with the Gentile church.

    Therefore, this promise no longer stands because Israel was unfaithful to the law covenant. Nevertheless, on this wise, the Reformed are more consistent in regard to their partnership with Arminians in believing the same gospel based on the fulfillment of a law covenant. If Calvinists and Arminians appear to be like an old married couple constantly bickering back and forth—it’s because that’s what they are. They will never get divorced; it’s a marriage of institutional convenience.

The Mosiac Covenant

    Now we come to the Mosaic covenant and as mentioned beforehand we will go back to Galatians to shed some light on this covenant. After Paul’s argument that the Abrahamic covenant is according to promise and not law, does that mean the law is kaput?

Galatians 3:19 – 21 Is the law then against the promises of God? Certainly not! For if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness would have been by the law. 22 But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. 23 But before faith came [Chrsit], we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. 24 Therefore the law was our tutor [guardian v.23] to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor [guardian v.23] (NKJV).

    What this is saying is that Christ ended the law for righteousness (Rom 10:4) when he died on the cross. Until then, until “faith came,” all the sins of the righteous were imputed to the law: “But the Scripture has confined all under sin… we were kept under guard” (also see Rom 7:6). All sin is transgression against the law (1Jn 3:4), so all sins that believers committed until Christ came were imprisoned in the law, and then Christ ended the law. Therefore, our sin is not merely covered by some law covenant, but actually ended. Where there is no law, there is no sin (Rom 5:13, “Apart from the law, sin lies dead” Rom 7:8).

    If Christ kept the law for us, this posits the idea that there is a law that can give life. “But Paul, Christ kept it for us.” So what? That’s still saying that the law gives life if kept perfectly, but there is no law that can give life (Gal 3:21).

    This is why the Mosaic law is not ended. It still functions as a covenant of death to those who do not believe, for those whom faith has not come yet, or faith in Christ has not come. All sin is transgression against the law, so if belief in Christ ends the law, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom 8:1). But if the Mosaic law is ended, there is no law in which to judge anybody—everybody is going to heaven. In this way, the Mosaic law is an instrument of the gospel because all of the sins of unbelievers are imputed to it. If they would only believe in Christ—their sins are ended and there is no law to judge them. We implore unbelievers to escape the law by fleeing to the blood of Christ.

    The Bible also refers to the Mosaic covenant as an inheritance, or a will. When Christ died on the cross, believers received their inheritance:

Hebrews 9:15 – Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant. 16 For where a will is involved, the death of the one who made it must be established. 17 For a will takes effect only at death, since it is not in force as long as the one who made it is alive. 18 Therefore not even the first covenant was inaugurated without blood.

    The New Covenant is a better covenant. Why? Because the Old Covenant only COVERED sin, the New Covenant ENDS sin. This is why the old is “becoming” obsolete and “passing away” (Heb 8:13). Also, let’s not forget the elect angels that enforced this covenant when God came down to make it on Mount Sinai. Undoubtedly, the forces of darkness were present that day, and when the God of Israel came down to meet with Israel to enact this covenant, we have this apocalyptic scene of the angels making a protective perimeter for the event. Angels are also at work daily in ministering to those who are God’s ambassadors, and will again be covenant enforcers in the last days (see the book of Revelation).  The angels are elected for this purpose.

    The Mosaic covenant is also a covenant of promise regarding blessings and cursings. This is a promise of blessing for obeying God’s law for purposes of love. Since the law cannot condemn us because it has been ended for righteousness, Christians can now be assured that their law-keeping is faith working through love (Gal 5:6). We can be assured that the law of condemnation is now the Spirit’s law that He uses to sanctify us (Jn 17:17).

Romans 8:1 – There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. 3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 6 For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

And, we are blessed for obeying:

Ephesians 6:1 – Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), 3 “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.”

James 1:25 – But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.

Philippians 4: 8 – Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9 What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

These are promises for sanctification; we can only believe to receive the promises of justification, but in order to receive reward in sanctification, we must act in love:

Hebrews 6:10 – For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do.

The Davidic Covenant

    We will spend little or no time on the Davidic covenant. It’s a promise that Christ will rule on David’s throne in the millennial kingdom. It’s founded on the Abrahamic covenant, and Peter eludes to it in his gospel presentation at Pentecost.  Again, all salvific covenants of promise are tied to Israel.

Lastly, the New Covenant.

    We have touched on the New Covenant to a point in discussing the Mosaic Covenant. The New Covenant which, here we go again, is a covenant to Israel specifically (Jere 31:31), was inaugurated by the death of Christ, but will not be fully consummated until the millennial kingdom. The inauguration of the New Covenant ended the law for righteousness, and ushered in the beginning of a better covenant. The Old is fading away, but we may assume that it will not be completely obsolete until the end of the millennial kingdom because that’s when the final judgment takes place. The law will be needed, unfortunately, to condemn those who appear at that judgment.

    How do we know that the New Covenant is not fully consummated at the present time? Read the covenant in Jeremiah 31:

33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith Jehovah: I will put my law in their inward parts, and in their heart will I write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people: 34 and they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know Jehovah; for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith Jehovah: for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin will I remember no more (ASV).

    Are we in those days when Israel is completely given over to God and there is no need for teachers or the written law? Obviously not. Is all Israel saved according to Romans 11: 25-27? Obviously not. And by the way, this particular writing of the law on hearts does NOT refer to present-day Christians and does NOT abrogate the Old Testament law written on tablets of stone etc., ad nauseam.

This is how we know that the New Covenant is not fully consummated at this time. Besides, when Christ instructed us on the remembrance of the Lord’s Table, He said He would not drink of that cup again until he did so with us in the kingdom. I think this speaks to the full consummation of the New Covenant as well.

Conclusion

    Another thing we can associate with the covenants is the vanquishing of God’s enemies. Christ came proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and performed a lot of healing of diseases. This is indicative of the millennial kingdom where there will be little disease if any. The Bible states that an infant will be 100 years old. In the new heaven and new earth, the last enemy to be defeated will be death. The new heaven and new earth is the consummation of the Abrahamic covenant when the city Abraham was looking for, heavenly Jerusalem, the real bride of Christ (Rev 21: 9ff), will descend from heaven and God will dwell among men.

    When Christ came and died on the cross, sin was defeated because the power of sin is the law (1Cor 15:56). That was the first enemy of God to be defeated. Why would Christ want to fulfil the law in our stead for righteousness? All that would do is empower sin that much more! “But Paul, what’s Matthew 5:17 talking about?” Answer: see Romans 8:3,4.

    The second enemy that will be defeated is disease in the millennial kingdom which is why healing was a major theme during Christ’s ministry.

    The last enemy to be defeated will be death at the consummation of the Abrahamic covenant (1Cor 15:24-28). That is also the Sabbath rest that yet remains for God’s people (Heb 4:9).

    In vogue in our day is the idea that Christians are still under condemnation and must live our Christian life by grace ALONE. We hear this constantly. Why? Because the protestant gospel is clearly grounded in a law covenant, not a “holy covenant” based on promise. Living by the same gospel that saved us, or living by faith alone, keeps us in the love of Christ resulting in Christ fulfilling an Adamic covenant that never existed.

It is a gospel based on a law covenant, and not promise.

Gnosticism and the Contemporary Institutional Church

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on September 1, 2014

The Potter’s House: Israel and Revelation 12

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on August 31, 2014

Potters House logo 2

PART ONE TRANSCRIPT

All right. Tonight we’re going to be looking at Revelation 12, if you want to go ahead and turn there. The big news right now is the conflict between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, and per the usual when Israel is in the news like this, the anti-Israel rhetoric is ratcheted up to a great degree. I figured we’d weigh in on this before we continue on our Roman series next week. Our particular interest coincides with our ministry, which is research on Reformed Theology, and there is no lack of discussion to be found when discussing the Reformed view on Israel. The subject of Israel clashes with the Reformed thought in many areas.

First, let me say this. Anti-Israeli sentiment is simply satanic, all right? When it gets right down to it, the Bible in Ephesians 6:12 says that we don’t wrestle against flesh and blood. Primarily, that’s a good thing to remember. But against the rulers, against authorities, against cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil and heavenly places. Save that thought. Hold on to that thought because I really want to apply it to what we’re going to be learning in Revelation 12, okay? This is something that we ought to remember often that humanity is in the middle of cosmic warfare between Satan and God. Our subject today is not at all far off from what we’ve been looking at in regard to predestination and election. The more we learn, the more we suspect that God has predetermined the outcome of this cosmic war as way of election. So what we’ve learned is, learned positively from other places in the word of God, that God elects outcomes, okay? We all want a good ending to the story, right? And he’s elected groups of people to bring about that end. But as we move through time from past history to the future, people have free will to take sides in the warfare, okay? The Bible states that God created hell for the devil and his angels. Matthew 25:24 states, “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into eternal life prepared for the devil and his angels.'” So notice that when people are judged by God in the end, they are sent to a place that was not prepared for them. I think this is worthy of notation that man did not create hell, or that God did not create hell for men. Well, if God has predetermined some for destruction and some for salvation, why wouldn’t it be prepared for them? Add to that that Christ died for all people, John 3:16 and 2 Peter 2:1, and God is not willing that any should perish, 2 Peter 3:9 and 1 Timothy 2:3-9. Also, God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked, Ezekiel 18:32.

One thing we must understand is that the Reformed tradition struggles with the grammatical biblical view of Israel for a couple of reasons. First, this whole Promised Land thing, the geography thing, emphasis on earthly soil does not fit in to the Reformation’s Gnostic view of the visible or the material being evil and the invisible being good. A plot of land also means a literal kingdom on earth for Israel, which throws their whole progressive justification soteriology and the contradiction in confusion, okay? An actual literal plot of land is good for a dispensational view but not a Reformed view of progressive justification. Secondly, and worse yet, Israel as a nation, having salvation ramification completely turns the Reformed applecart upside down. The Reformed crowd likes to make a very distinct separation between Israel as a nation and what they call spiritual Israel.

Before we get into Revelation 12, a word about confused Calvinists. Always remember that Israel is a big problem for the tie that binds. Gnosticism with progressive justification is the application. There will be many variances of the central idea but progressive justification, the idea that salvation isn’t a finished work, or that justification likewise is not a finished work is still the underlying false gospel that drives most denominations in our day, especially those of the Reformed sort. Now I think around 2009, John MacArthur Jr. opened up an annual shepherd’s conference with a controversial message propagating the following. Supersessionism or replacement theology contradicts election. Israel is elect, so the idea that the Church replaced Israel must be a contradiction. The message caused a lot of stir, and MacArthur’s Calvinist friends thought that they had been ambushed at the conference. But the idea that one’s election can be lost is in no wise contradictory to what Calvin taught. So what John MacArthur was teaching is that, hey, you know, we Calvinists, we believe in election. So how can you not be for a dispensational view to some point of the Bible? MacArthur is confused about many aspects of Reformed Theology, and this is one of them. Calvin believed that the called were a class of elect who are temporarily illumined. And I’m not going to cite the citations. I’m worn out from citing the Calvin Institutes on this. The idea that people can lose their election is not inconsistent with Reformed Theology at all.

This Calvinist approach can also be split up into two groups. What some prefer to call immutable justification and mutable justification. The former believe that three groups are predetermined: the non-elect, the temporary elect, and those who persevere. The latter holds to the idea that people can actually determine their final faith if they persevere by remaining faithful to the New Covenant. What does that entail? For all practical purposes, remaining faithful to a local expression of the institutional church–show up, tithe, and make life easy for the elders. This is the Galatian problem all over again because their justification is progressive. They must do the right things to stay justified. But the requirements are a dumbed-down version of the law in the form of traditions of men. And I’ve talked at length about some Calvinists about this, and they say that it’s not keeping the law per se that keeps you safe, it’s being, and this would be the crowd from the mutable justification or changeable justification, the idea that if you’re faithful to the Covenant, i.e. the local church, and that you’re as faithful as you can be, you’re in. That keeps you justified.

The other immutable crowd comes from the position that it’s all predetermined. There’s absolutely nothing you can do except to work out your own salvation with trembling and fear to see if you make it in the end. And you can come to have an assurance of salvation as long as you see yourself being faithful, but you won’t know for certain whether the called temporarily illumined, or those who receive the gift of perseverance and persevere to the end, okay? And this is arguable. I’ve quoted the Calvin Institutes on this constantly. Paul warned the Galatians that if they wanted to be justified by the law, they were accountable for all of it, not the dumbed-down traditions of men versions. Now that’s Galatians 5:3. Paul goes on to say that justification is a finished work wherein there is no law. Law is now a guide for works of love and sanctification. And that’s in Galatians chapter 5:6-7.

So I got away from my main point a little bit in that let’s look at a few things here from Revelation 12. Let’s kind of go through and look at the verses, and let’s focus on the very important point that I want to make in this passage that Israel as a nation is part and parcel with redemption, the redemption plan, okay? The redemption plan that is elected by God. And we had a study on this from the book of Romans where we went into this pretty – people like to make a big dichotomy between national Israel and spiritual Israel. And the Church is now spiritual Israel and the true Jew is really one who is part of the church that has replaced Israel because it fell from its position. The Bible plainly says Israel is elect. How can they say that that was lost? Especially if you read Jeremiah 31 where it’s absolutely clear. Well, again, in Calvinism and the Reformed doctrine in general, there’s a difference between the called and those who have been granted the gift of perseverance. When you’re saved, you’re entered in to the salvation lottery. You’re entered in to the race. And the race is not for rewards. The reward is salvation.

Now let’s look then at Revelation 12:1. “And a great sign appeared in heaven. A woman clothed with the sun with the moon under her feet and on her head a crowd of 12 stars.” Though this passage uses a lot of symbolism, it is not difficult to interpret. The woman is national Israel, and this passage shows how Israel as a nation cannot be separated spiritually from soteriology. We will see this as we progress. But let me drive the point a little more with Ephesians 2:11-12. So let’s borrow from Ephesians a little bit here in our study. Verse 11, Paul says, “Therefore, remember that at one time, you Gentiles in the flesh,” okay, those once slave to the flesh before they’re saved, “called the uncircumcision by what is called the circumcision which is made in the flesh by hands,” verse 12, “Remember that you were at that time,” when they were unsaved, “You at that time were separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel.” All right, what’s a commonwealth? We’ve looked at this before in our study of Romans sometime ago. The idea of commonwealth has national connotations to it, and you were strangers to the covenants of promise. And we also looked at covenants being used in the plural there. Why is that? Because all of the covenants in the Old Testament work together to build and culminate on the one final New Covenant in the end.

And I note that in my notes here that we spent a whole lesson on making all these points and the fact that Israel as a nation, Israel’s identity as a nation cannot be separated from God’s salvation plan. And that’s why we love Israel, the nation, and that’s why we look at great interest with what’s going on in Israel today. Well, Israel is a secular nation, and remember, we’re learning more and more that secular is not always necessarily evil. The United States was founded as a secular nation. Obviously, it was a secular nation in regard to the decision that they would stay neutral in religion, that they would focus on freedom of religion but as a government, not take sides, okay? So that’s not necessarily evil for a government to say, “We’re going to rule and not take sides in regard to religions.” Well, Paul, then, what’s their standard? Well, first of all, they were ordained by God. And secondly, as we often talk about, all men born into the world have the law of God written on their hearts with their consciences, either accusing or excusing their behavior. All right? We’ve talked about this before. The Nuremberg trials, what law was used? They got to gather these nations and brought these Nazi war criminals up on charges before I guess you would call the World Court because what they did was horribly wrong. Well, says who? From what law book? Why did men all gather together and agree that really along with the rest of the world that this was absolutely horrible behavior? Where has such a law come from? Only one place. Man is created with that intuitive knowledge of good built in, part of the creation.

Okay. So verse 2, “She was pregnant and was crying out in birth pains in the agony of giving birth. And another sign appeared in heaven. Behold a great red dragon with seven heads and ten horns. And on its heads, seven diadems.” Go down to verse 4. “His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven and cast them to the earth, and the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth so that when she bore her child, he might devour it.” Okay, so what’s this a picture of? This is obviously a picture of Christ coming out of Israel, the nation Israel, which gave birth to Christ. This is a woman with, what was it? 12 stars on her head, which is obviously the 12 tribes of Israel, okay? And so the dragon stood before the woman who’s about to give birth so that she bore her children that he might devour it. Well, okay, yes, this could pertain directly to – remember when Herod tried to have Christ murdered by murdering all the infants in Israel, amongst the Jews from two years old down. But I think this speaks generally to the kingdom of darkness trying to destroy Christ.

Verse 5, “She gave birth to the male child, one who is to rule all the nations with an iron rod, but her child was caught up to God and to his throne.” So what we have up until verse 5 is the introduction of national Israel, the fact that the Messiah or the Savior came out of Israel, the fact that the kingdom of darkness, Satan, tried to destroy the Christ who came into the world as a man. And notice that he will rule all of the nations with an iron rod. She gave birth to a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron. This is literal. This is the millennial kingdom. This is where Christ will rule on David’s throne in Jerusalem for a thousand years, and Israel as a nation will be the head of the world and not the tail. And there’s much, much information about this and the details of the millennial kingdom in the Old Testament. He wasn’t able to destroy Christ. Israel’s child was caught up to God and to his throne. That of course is the resurrection. Okay. “And the woman fled into the wilderness where she has a place prepared by God in which she is to be nourished for 1,260 days.”

So basically, what we have in chapter 12 is a thumbnail of all redemptive history up to the tribulation period is what we have, and really beyond with the mentioning of the millennial kingdom where Christ will rule the nations with an iron rod. Now we all look forward to heaven for many things, but this is one reason we look forward to redemption. As we study the Bible, it’s not heaven per se, I suppose. We’ll be given assignments and work to do, and I guess that will be in heaven and in the millennial kingdom. But we know that at the end of the millennial kingdom and after the white throne judgment that there is a new heaven and a new earth, and heavenly Jerusalem comes down from heaven, and that’s where God tabernacles with man on earth. Again, this kind of upsets the Gnostic applecart big time, right? You’ve got the invisible coming and dwelling with the physical. You have God coming down from heaven and dwelling with man, which of course the Exodus and everything with the tabernacle with Israel was what God wanted then, right? So basically, that finally comes about. The tabernacle represented God’s desire to dwell on earth with men.

So let’s say instead of talking about going to heaven, let’s talk about redemption. One of the things that we will look forward to enjoying is in the millennial kingdom, there will be justice, okay? This is the point here. Christ will rule from David’s throne in Jerusalem with an iron rod or a rod of iron, and things are going to be done right. There’s going to be justice. There’s going to be fairness, okay? We’re going to be able to look at that and see that happen as set against the injustice that we have to live with all the time in this world. Things are going to be done right, and that’s going to be a glory. Also, another thing that will be glorious as set against what we’re used to, and I look forward to this, Israel will no longer be the ugly stepchild of the world that everybody beats on. They’re going to be the head, the Old Testament said, they’re going to be the head of the nations and not the tail. And all of this frustrating persecution and horrible treatment and anti-semitism that we see against Israel, we’re going to be able to set that against the extreme opposite being true in the millennial kingdom. For me, that’s something to look forward to. And when I see this incessant anti-semitism that we experience in our culture and in history, I’m always encouraged and I always think, even though it makes me angry and frustrates me, the thought that comes to mind is, “The day is coming. The day is coming when all of that is going to be made right.”

Now verse 6, “And the woman fled into the wilderness where she has a place prepared by God in which she is to be nourished for 1,260 days.” So what Revelation 12 does here is we have the creation of Israel as a nation; we have the fact that the Messiah comes out of that nation, the fact that Satan tries to devour that child, then we have in verse 5 him going back to God and his throne. So this is up to the resurrection, and you can throw the birth of the Gentiles being grafted into Israel in there. Now we’re jumping in to verse 6 which is definitely during the tribulation period, the seven-year tribulation period. Now look, this is the only place 1,260 days fits into anything. That’s what? Three and a half years, right? Okay. There’s no place else in all of scripture to put these 1,260 days. There’s only one place these days can go, and that is the seven-year tribulation period.

What we see here is that there’s a persecution of the woman in these days, and somehow Israel is protected for that many days from being wiped out. I don’t know what happens. One day we will study the book of Revelation. For now, suffice it to say, Israel as a people is protected as a people for these many days. Now a war arose in heaven. Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fight back. This is interesting. Eight, “And he was defeated and there was no longer any place for them in heaven.” Now we know up until this time from other scriptures, especially in the book of Job, that Satan and his demons have access to heaven and apparently even go there and dialogue with God. I think Satan is also called the Accuser of the Brethren, and what the Hebrew writer talks about in regard to Christ being our advocate, I think this is where Christ is our advocate in heaven. Now the Reformed crowd teaches that he’s an advocate for a continued imputing of his righteousness to us to keep us justified, but I don’t think that’s the case at all. I think Christ is our advocate in sanctification because even though we’re sanctified and our justification is a done deal, we’re continually accused in heaven by the accuser of the what? The brethren.

So verse 9, “And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent who’s called the devil and Satan and the deceiver of the whole world.” I find this interesting too. The concept all through the Bible as Satan being a deceiver of the world. I just find that interesting in that this is in the mix – how should I say? If our eternal faith is predetermined, why have the kingdom of darkness being capable of deception? Why is that even in the mix? And if we’re so totally depraved, if mankind is in general totally depraved, why do we need a deceiver? So just a thought. I’m not saying that’s a big deal but just something to think about. Anyway, he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. Now this is undoubtedly in the middle of the tribulation period. During this time when Israel is protected somehow, whether supernaturally or God used his other nations to protect Israel, I don’t know. I know this for a fact. The book of Revelation is going to read like the daily newspapers during that time. In the book of Daniel, we find that during this time knowledge will increase, we read in the book of Daniel. I think what will increase is the book of Revelation is what’s going to increase. That’s the knowledge that’s going to increase. This is where all heck breaks out on earth. We have the seven-year tribulation period, and I think when Satan is cast out of heaven, I think this is where we have the great tribulation, which is the last three and a half years.

Verse 10, “And I heard a loud voice in heaven saying now salvation and the power of the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before God.” So again, this is where I believe the Hebrew writer talks about Christ being our advocate. I think this is what’s going on.

Verse 11, “And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony for they love not their lives even unto death.” Hold the fort. Wow. What translation do you have?

Susan: King James.

Okay. I believe what I have is the ESV, and I believe we’re missing something. Wow. Okay. It’s going to be in verse 6, okay? “And the woman fled into the wilderness where she has a place prepared for God and where she was nourished for 1,260 days.” Is there any more to that verse?

Susan: No. And it’s “prepared by God,” not “prepared for God.”

Okay. Somewhere in there, I’m not finding it, when there’s a – he puts out a flood to try to destroy the woman. But anyway, when he can’t destroy the woman, he wages war against her offspring.

Susan: That’s in verse 15, 13, 14, and 15.

Oh, okay. We’re not there yet. Okay. So anyway, “And they conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they loved not their lives unto death. Therefore, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell on them, but woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath because he knows that his time is short.” So the heavens will rejoice that he’s finally been cast out, but woe unto the earth because this is when this great wrath comes.

All right, 13. “When the dragon saw that he had been thrown down to earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child.” Now who is that?

Susan: Israel.

That’s Israel, the Jews. Verse 14, “But the woman was given the two wings of a great eagle so that she might fly from the serpent into the wilderness to a place where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time,” and again, that’s the three and a half years. So you can kind of coincide this with what Christ said in Matthew 24, I believe, when he said, “When you see the abomination of,” or the…

Susan: Abomination of desolation.

Yeah, abomination of decimation [SOUNDS LIKE] or whatever it was, where Satan goes into the temple and sits there and proclaims himself, he says, “Flee.” He says, “Don’t even go back to the house to get anything. Flee.” So apparently, this happens suddenly. And I don’t know what all happens there, but wherever they flee to or whatever they do, they’re protected for these three and a half years. “So the serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman.” And I believe people during that time are going to be able to read in the book of Revelation and know exactly what that’s talking about. I don’t know what that symbolizes, but they’re going to know then what it symbolizes. “So the serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman to sweep her away with a flood. But the earth came to help the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed the river that the dragon had poured from its mouth.” Again, we don’t know what that’s going to symbolize. It may be some kind of supernatural event or it may be something else.

Verse 17, “Then the dragon became furious with the woman and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring on those who keep the commandment of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus. And he stood on the sand of the sea.” And what I think that is referring to, the dragon can’t destroy Israel, so then he goes after her offspring. Who do I think that is? I think that’s the Gentiles, okay?

Susan: The believing Gentiles.

The believing Gentiles who are alive during the tribulation period. He can’t destroy Israel. Somehow Israel is protected for three and a half years. Satan knows his time is short. He can read the Bible too and know what’s going to happen. So basically, here is where you, I believe, get this great slaughter and persecution of Christians during the tribulation period. Apparently, that’s going to be mostly Gentiles. I do believe the offspring spoken of here is the Gentiles because they came out of Israel. Again, I want to make the point here that Israel as a nation is very relevant to God’s redemptive plan, and we got to keep that in mind. Any questions or comments?

Susan: It’s obvious from what is written in Revelation that this is a national Israel and not a spiritual Israel that we’re talking about here.

Right. And that’s my point. I think we make a big mistake in scripture when we try to make this huge dichotomy between spiritual Israel, whatever that is, and national Israel. And that’s why as Christians, we don’t look at Israel as just a “sliver of geography” that people use to eclipse the glory of Christ. And do you know how many Reformed people have said this to me and the dispensational people in general that you’re accused of making a plot of land more relevant than Christ himself, you know? So again, there’s this dichotomy. When it gets right down to the nitty-gritty, their real problem is that we’re talking about material land. And if it’s material land, it can’t have relevance because it’s evil, because it’s material. So yeah…

Susan: Nowhere in the scripture was the material land promised to Abraham given then to David ever described as being evil. It was Promised Land, a land of covenant, a land of promise, a land of hope. Now did evil happen there? Yes. There were evil rulers, et cetera. We all know the history of the nation of Israel. But all throughout scripture, there’s always that connotation that it is a land significant to God, not evil, significant, blessed and important to God for redemptive purposes and for his elect. And how much more we as believing Christians need to bless the land of Israel?

Right. Absolutely. So any other comments? All right, well, we’ll wrap that up for tonight, and hopefully that will be useful for some folks.

PART 2 TRANSCRIPT

PAUL:  So we’re going to look at Revelation 12 again, and the reason we are is because Israel, of course, is in the news, and we all know that, and we’ve all been following that. But what is prompting me to look at Israel on the Bible, particularly at Revelation 12 is when Israel is in the news like this, the anti-semitism just comes out of the woodwork. It’s crazy, especially among professing Christians. I was on a back on forth on Facebook till two o’clock in the morning about this. And granted, it’s primarily the Reformed crowd, their unabashed anti-semitism is just over the top. And of course what we’re saying is – the reason we’re saying this is because we’re in an era right now in the American Church that is the return to the hardcore Protestant doctrine and gospel. I mean, this is a return to the authentic article, and that is where this anti-semitism comes from, or replacement theology, this whole idea that Israel fell from grace and has been replaced by the Gentile church, which is exactly what the Apostle Paul warned against in Romans 11, very sternly warned about “boasting against the branches,” so to speak. Okay? (more…)

Some Passing Thoughts On Comments Regarding Law/Gospel

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on June 17, 2011

In recent days there has been considerable discussion on this blog regarding the relationship between Law/Gospel. As I have said, to some degree I am on a journey in regard to this issue because I think the present-day church is in a law dark age. Let me also mention that my research in regard to Law/Gospel has introduced me to significant teachers among Reformed Baptist, and I find myself greatly blessed accordingly. Many of the comments here are lengthy treatises, and I will be printing them and carefully reviewing them.

The first thing I have discovered in my journey is that the supposed spiritual brainiacs of our day have made so-called “legalism” parishioner enemy number one. This is clearly not true from a scriptural standpoint, in fact, the concept can barely be found anywhere in Scripture. What can be found everywhere from Genesis to Revelation is “anomia.” “I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of [anti-law] anomia” (lawlessness).

Secondly, I find the theological dichotomies foisted  upon Scripture by respected teachers of our day very suspect. We must remember: there are ten commandments listed in the Bible, but the Holy Spirit never makes them a category apart from the rest of Scripture. “Decalogue” is not a biblical word. And certainly, whole theologies / doctrine should not be formulated from those supposed dichotomies. ALL of Scripture contributes to spiritual life in some way (Matthew 4:4; 2Timothy 3:16,17).

Thirdly, I believe we have been sold a bill of goods on covenants. I am uncomfortable with all schools of thought available on this issue. Ephesians 2:12 has incited me to look into this for myself.

Fourthly, hyper-dispensationalism aside, I have never really had any bones to pick with dispensationalism until one reader’s comments caused me to think. Yes, New Covenant Theology is clearly rank antinomianism, but dispensationalism with its emphasis on a law age and a grace age has clearly led to a severe devaluing of law in Christian circles—especially among Southern Baptist where I witness it firsthand.

Thanks for the input,

In Him,

paul

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