Special Sermon Studies
Following are three sermon outlines which together constitute a comprehensive and greatly beneficial study of the ongoing controversy regarding Covenant Theology. Brother Jamerson has done a fine job, and we are pleased to be able to supply you with the fruits of his study.
Covenant Theology (1)
The term "covenant theology" is a denominational concept that is being revised and promoted as a Scriptural concept.
B. The doctrine is in flux among brethren.
1. Stanley Paher has written three books: "The Eternal Covenant of Peace," 1996; "The Eternal Covenant - God's Invitation to Faith and Life," 1997, and "The Eternal Covenant - God's Peace Treaty With Man," 1998.
C. Denominational teachers use "one covenant theology" to prove that baptism is not essential. It is being advocated by some brethren who believe in "new hermeneutics," and some who believe that Deut. 24 is God's marriage law for today.
2. In his last book, he said: "Continuity and oneness are the hallmarks of covenant. God is no respecter of persons, so all Old Testament saints are also our covenant brethren. The everlasting covenant thus binds all of God's elect into one body or church, one everlasting kingdom, one sheepfold with one heavenly destination. Two-covenant theology, which emphasizes contrastable laws (Moses', which was supposedly nailed to the cross, and the 'law of Christ', which allegedly soon followed) militates against biblical 'ones' as expressed in Ephesians 4:3,4 and elsewhere" (p. 11).
3. Jim Puterbaugh's tapes are being distributed by "Truth on Tape," Stanwood, Wa.). In Stanley's first book he said: "Appreciation of this great biblical theme, as well as an understanding that the great promises and comforting statements of the Jewish prophets find fulfillment not only in the messianic era but also in the Jewish period, was gained in the early 1980s through studies with James Puterbaugh" (T.E.C. of Peace, p. 286).
Definition of the word covenant:
1. George Ricker Berry (International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Electronic Database (c) 1996 by Biblesoft): a. Between God and men - it cannot be between "parties who stand on an equality, but God the superior, always takes the initiative." b. The covenant made with Abraham includes his promise "to multiply the descendants of Abraham, to give them the land of Canaan, and to make them a blessing to the nations (Gen. 15:18; 17:2-21)." c. "A covenant was made with the nation of Israel at Sinai (Horeb) (Ex. 19:5; 24:7-8; 34:10,27-28), ratified by a covenant sacrifice and sprinkling of blood (Ex. 24:4-8) ...This covenant was renewed on the plains of Moab (Deut. 29:1). In these national covenants the individual had a place, but only as a member of the nation." d. "The prophets also speak of a new covenant, most explicitly in Jeremiah, but with references elsewhere...He speaks of the old covenant as passed away (Jer. 31:32). Accordingly he speaks of the new covenant (31:31,33)... In the old covenant, as already noted, it was the nation as a whole that entered into the relation; here it is the individual, and the law is to be written upon the heart."
2. W.E. Vine (Vine's Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words) "Covenant is parallel or equivalent to the Hebrew words dabar (word), hog (statute), piqqud (precepts, Ps. 103:18, NASB), edah (testimony--Ps. 25:10), torah (law, Ps. 78:10) and checed (lovingkindness--Deut. 7:9, NASB). These words emphasize the authority and grace of God in making and keeping the 'covenant,' and the specific responsibility of man under the covenant. The words of the 'covenant' were written in a book (Exod. 24:4,7; Deut. 31:24-26) and on stone tablets (Exod. 34:28)" (Copyright 1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers).
3. Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon: "A disposition, arrangement, of any sort, which one wishes to be valid...a compact, covenant...the ark of the covenant or law, in which those tables were deposited, Heb. 9:4...we find in the N.T. two distinct covenants spoken of (Gal. 4:24), viz. the Mosaic and the Christian...This covenant Christ set up and ratified by undergoing death (Heb. 10:29); my blood by the shedding of which the covenant is established (Mt. 26:28)...By metonymy of the contained for the container is used in 2 Co. 3:14 of the sacred books of the O.T. because in them the conditions and principles of the older covenant were recorded" (pg. 136,137). (Christ was not just a "covenant victim," (a sacrifice for sin), but His blood dedicated a covenant that is contrasted with Moses' law, Heb. 10:28,29.)
B. How does the Bible use the word "covenant"?
1. Covenants of promise:
a. Gen. 9:11-15 - promise not to destroy with a flood.
2. Covenants of law (instruction): (The statement "law is never covenant; laws structure covenants" is contrary to both the definition and Biblical use of the words.)
b. Gen. 15:18 - the land promise to Abram.
c. Ex. 6:4,5 - promise to Israel to give the land (cp. Lev. 26:42; Judges 2:1,2).
d. Gen. 17:2-4 - Abraham's descendants to be multiplied.
e. There were "promises" to Abraham - not just one promise (Gen. 12:1-3; Heb. 7:6; Gal. 3:16,17; Eph. 2:12).
a. Gen. 17:9-14 - the covenant of circumcision (part of the law, Gal. 5:2-4). (It was both a covenant (law) and a sign of a special relationship, v. 11).
3. Man covenants (promises) to keep God's covenants (laws):
b. Ex. 24:7; 34:27-28 - The "book of the covenant," the "words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments." (Cp. Dt. 4:13; 5:2,3; 9:9,11,15).
c. 1 Kgs. 8:9,21 - The ark of the covenant contained the ten commandments - not the spiritual promise.
d. 2 Kgs. 23:21 - The Book of the Covenant (or of the Law, 2 Kgs. 22:8) included teaching about the Passover.
e. Psa. 78:10 - The covenant was "His law."
a. Gen. 17:9-14 - Abraham was to keep God's covenant of circumcision.
b. 2 Kgs. 23:3,21 - Josiah covenanted to keep the covenant (cp. 2 Chron. 34:31).
c. Ezra 10:3 - Shechaniah said "let us make a covenant" to put away foreign wives "according to the law" (cf. Dt. 7:3).
d. Jer. 11:6-10 - Men are to "hear the words of this covenant and do them." Israel and Judah had "broken My covenant" - obviously God's instructions, not His promises.
C. Is there one "everlasting covenant"?
1. Gen. 9:15,16 - God's promise of no more flood.
2. Gen. 17:5-7 - Promise to bless the descendants of Abraham.
3. Gen. 17:10-13 - The command of circumcision.
4. Lev. 24:8 - The command to observe the Sabbath.
5. Lev. 24:9 - The sacrifices of Aaronic priesthood (cp. Ex. 29:9).
6. Isa. 24:5 - Men had "transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant."
(NONE OF THESE WERE THE "EVERLASTING COVENANT" OF HEB. 13:20!)
7. God promised "I will make an everlasting covenant" (Isa. 55:3; Ezek. 37:27). This was fulfilled in the covenant dedicated by the blood of Christ (Heb. 10:20; cp. 13:10-13; 10:9,10,28,29; 9:18-23). It is not the covenant with Abraham nor the Sinaitic covenant.
a. Christ did not die for a "broken covenant with Abraham" as "one everlasting covenant" advocates teach. The covenant God made with Abraham was a unilateral covenant and God did not break it (Gen. 15:1-18; Gal. 3:20). Christ's blood was shed for the remission of sins (Rom. 5:6-8), which result from violating law (Rom. 4:15). This began long before Abraham.
b. Christ did not die to ratify the Old Covenant (Ex. 24: 3-8; Heb. 9:18-21). c. These brethren say that Christ did not die to establish a last will and testament. "Christ did not experience the cross for the purpose of ratifying a new testament or establishing a new law" (T.E.C. of Peace, p. 72). The same author said: "Hebrews 9:16 explains the covenantal significance of Jesus, who had to die to ratify His Father's covenant, to confirm the agreement. As in Genesis 15-18, a covenant is established over the exhibition of dead things; it is not of force while that which established the covenant is alive. In verse 17 these assertions are amplified, explaining how a covenant is ratified: 'A covenant is firm over dead sacrifices (when somebody has died), seeing it never has force while the appointed sacrifice lives' (New Translation by Macknight)" (p. 62). So, "the appointed sacrifice" (Christ) had to die before the "covenant" of Heb. 9 could become effective! Whether you call it a "covenant" or a "testament" does not change the fact that Christ had to die before it went into effect!
The Old Covenant was given to the Israelite nation (Dt. 5:1-3, 15; Rom. 3:1,2), not to the Gentiles (Rom. 2:12-14).
B. It was a "middle wall of partition" between Jews and Gentiles that was taken away at the cross of Christ (Eph. 2:14-16).
C. Abraham was not baptized for the remission of sins. (Did he break the Abrahamic covenant? Did he break the Old/Sinaitic covenant? Did he break the New covenant?) Did anything in God's plan of redemption (salvation) change? Has God always saved man on the same conditions?
D. Moses was not baptized for the remission of his sins. (Did he break the Abrahamic covenant? Did he break the Sinaitic covenant? Did he break the New covenant?)
E. If a person today is not baptized for the remission of sins - which covenant has he violated? The Abrahamic? The Old? or the New? (Matt. 28:18-20; Rom. 1:16)
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Covenant Theology (2)
The word "covenant" may refer to a promise/agreement, or instructions/law, as discussed in lesson one.
B. In Feb., 1995, Jim Puterbaugh presented three lectures in Issaquah, Wash., on "covenant." This lesson will be a review some of the arguments from the video tape of those lectures, and cross-reference them in Stanley Paher's books.
Jim said "the theme of the Bible is God being in covenant relationship with man." Then he used Ex. 6:2-9 to prove that God remembered His relationship, not His laws. In Stanley's third book he tries to explain the context of Ex. 6. First he said that the "so-called 'land covenant'" is not concerned with the spiritual promise, then he said "this one covenant involves giving Israel the promised blessing of land initially given to Abraham" (T.E.C. - God's Peace Treaty With Man, pg. 51,52). The next paragraph says "the 'land promise' is temporally affixed to the everlasting covenant of peace." (In T.E.C. - God's Invitation to Faith and Life, pg. 150,151, he gives five different uses of the word covenant.)
1. No one contends that "covenant" always means "law."
2. The context of this passage is God's covenant/promise, to give Israel the land of Canaan (vs. 4,5,6,8).
3. Is this part of the "one everlasting covenant," or is it temporarily affixed to the seed promise?
4. If the land promise is part of the one covenant, why do we not have that promise today?
B. Lev. 26:14-15,42-45 is used to argue that "covenant has law, but is not law. Jim said that God's covenant with Jacob, Isaac and Abraham was not His covenant (law) through Moses, therefore law is not covenant. Stanley said God is "not remembering two separate and distinct covenants - a spiritual one (sanctioned by cursings for disobedience, as in verse 43) and a land covenant mentioned in verse 42. Only one covenant is spoken of, not two. When God remembered His covenant, he had in mind the one instituted with Abraham of spiritual blessings through His seed, with spiritual terms, together with an adjunct promise of land, as part and parcel of the spiritual everlasting covenant of peace and salvation" (T.E.C. - God's Peace Treaty With Man, p. 51).
1. The chapter uses "covenant" to refer to the promise to Abraham (vs. 9,42,44), and to God's instructions/law (vs. 14,15,45,46; cf. 1 Kgs. 8:21).
C. Jim tries to prove an absolute distinction between covenant and commands from Deut. 7. Israel was to make no covenant nor show mercy to their enemies (v. 2). God "keeps covenant" (v. 9). This does not mean that God keeps the ten commandments, therefore they cannot be a "covenant." Stanley says: "The Bible defines covenant as (1) the oath sworn to Father Abraham (...Lk. 1:17-73); (2) a holy promise (Psa. 105; cf. Gal. 3:15-18); and (3) a display of mercy as in Deut. 7:2" (Ibid, p. 7).
2. No one denies that covenant often refers to God's promise, and that is not the ten commandments, but it is poor scholarship to ignore, and deny, another use of the word in the same chapter.
1. Again, they take the use that fits their purpose and ignore another use of the word.
D. Jim constructs a theory from Gen. 15 that God died for the broken covenant with Abraham. He said "God gave His Son to die the death that the covenant required." Stanley said: "God alone passed between the mounds of flesh, taking Abraham's place in the ceremony as well (Gen. 15:7-18). Therefore the covenant with Abraham depended upon him in no sense, for he slept through it all, doing no works. In this ceremony God solidified His promises, swearing by Himself, that Abraham would be blessed materially and spiritually" (T.E.C. of Peace, p. 20). He later said: "For example, when God confirmed the everlasting covenant with Abraham, there were animal sacrifices (Gen. 15:9-17)" (pg. 58,59).
2. The "covenant and mercy" in verses 12-16 refers to the nation-land promise to the fathers. Is that the covenant that has been "renewed"?
3. The same context says God "keeps covenant" with those who "keep His commandments" (7:9), which is the ten commandment law, or "His covenant which He commanded you to perform" (9:9; 4:15). Did Israel "perform" God's promise?
1. The death of Christ had no connection with the events of Gen. 15:7-18.
2. God was confirming His promise to give the descendants of Abraham the land (vs. 7,8,18). If Jesus died for this covenant, He died for one that had already been fulfilled. (Rom. 4:3,21 quotes Gen. 15:6 in showing Abrahamic faith, but this is not what was confirmed in Gen. 15:7-18.)
3. Christ died for remission of sins (Rom. 5:6-8), which result from violating law (Rom. 4:15), and that began long before Abraham's time (Rom. 5:12-14). His blood also dedicated a "new covenant" (Lk. 22:19,20; 1 Cor. 11:23- 26). It did not "renew" the old covenant, which had been dedicated with the blood of animals (Heb. 9:15-20; Ex. 24: 7,8), nor was it shed because God, or man, broke the covenant made with Abraham.
E. Jim read Hebrews 6:13-20 and said that this was a shocking conclusion from Heb. 5:11-6:12. Then he said that God "did not change the covenant but confirmed it to the Hebrews and to us by Christ's death on the cross." Stanley commented: "The sacrifice at Calvary, then, is a declaration both in heaven and on earth that the everlasting covenant had been perfected and that all men - Jew and Greek alike - could potentially benefit" (T.E.C. - God's Invitation..., p. 48).
1. This section of Hebrews draws a clear contrast between the old and new covenants.
F. The ten commandments are described as being "set up like a covenant structure." They "begin with His personal name LORD - and these rules cannot be different from God's nature. Grace cannot give an ungracious law." He said the ten commandments are laws from a gracious God in a gracious system, and that they "were God's training seminar to train them for going out into the world." They were going to be "put into a box - the ark of the covenant." Stanley says: "The ethical and moral law of Moses reflects God's character and righteousness, and continually the prophets identified it as the law of God," and "anyone setting aside these precepts of the ethics and morality of Moses' law is considered 'least in the kingdom of heaven'" (T.E.C. - God's Invitation..., pg. 97,98).
2. Heb. 6:1-3 says "leaving" (abandoning) the elementary principles of Christ we should "go on to perfection." They were not to be "renewed" but abandoned! (Those "elementary principles" included the "washings" of the old law, cp. Heb. 9:10; Mk. 7:4,8).
3. Perfection was not by the Levitical priesthood (Heb. 7:11) but by the "offering perfected forever" (Heb. 10:1,14). This is a clear contrast between the system under the Levitical priesthood (the Old Covenant) and under Christ (the New Covenant).
4. God's oath to Abraham involved the nation and land promises as well as the seed promise (Gen. 22:16-18). The "hope" discussed in Heb. 6:17-20 is clearly the fulfillment of the seed promise under the new covenant (Heb. 7:11,12,18,19,22).
1. The ten commandments were "set up like a covenant" and they were put in the "ark of the covenant," but according to them, covenant is never law!
2. The only thing in the "ark of the covenant" was the ten commandments (2 Chron. 5:10). Neither the promises to Abraham nor God's eternal purpose to redeem man in Christ was in the ark!
3. Jim said that the mercy seat was typical of Christ, which is true, but the mercy seat, as well as the ark of the covenant, the blood that was sprinkled on the mercy seat, and the covenant that was in the ark all ceased.
G. Commenting on Ex. 31:12-16, Jim said Adam had work to do because of sin and once a week God gave a reprieve from sin - rest. He said "the Sabbath is the most complete sign of Christ in the Old Testament." He said Col. 2:16,17 teaches that four things are no longer in effect: daily observance - "food and drink;" weekly observance - "the Sabbath;" monthly observance - "the new moon," and yearly - "feasts." He said we do not keep the Sabbath because it was a picture of Christ and we now have Christ. Stanley said: "Jesus did not blot out any law on the cross but removed its damning evidence - the curse and debt it created because of sin...nothing ever happened to the law itself at the cross" (T.E.C. of Peace, p. 176).
1. Adam had work to do before he sinned (Gen. 2:15). There is no evidence that Adam was given a Sabbath rest because of sin.
H. Jim argues from Gen. 17:7-11 that circumcision is "the sign of the covenant," with Abraham - not a covenant. Likewise, the ten commandments are the "sign of the covenant" with Israel, and Christ is the "sign of the covenant" today. Stanley says: "Gen. 7:7... Circumcision, not the covenant itself, is the sign...in this case a physical act illustrates the everlasting covenant (17:7)" (T.E.C. - God's Peace Treaty, p. 36).
2. The Bible nowhere says that the Sabbath was typical of Christ. It was typical of Canaan and heaven (Heb. 4:1-11).
3. Col. 2 does not teach that the Sabbath was typical of Christ. Verse 17 says "these were a shadow of things to come" (cp. Heb. 8:5; 9:11; 10:1).
4. If only sin, or the debt of sin, was nailed to the cross when and why did the things in Col. 2:16 end? It was the "handwriting of requirements" that was nailed to the cross (Col. 2:14,20; Eph. 2:14-16).
1. This ignores the definition of "covenant" and its usages in the Bible. In T.E.C. - God's Invitation to Faith and Life, (pg. 150,151), Stanley gives five uses of the word:
a. In Isa. 42:6; 49:8 Christ Himself is personified in the word "covenant."
b. In Gal. 4, two women personifying covenants are known as "present Jerusalem" and "Jerusalem from above." "In the context, the word covenant actually contrasts two different religious systems."
c. In 2 Cor. 3, "a covenant is equated with 'the reading of Moses' (vv. 14,15). In this context, therefore, it is not an agreement." (He says it is a stand-in for "a perversion of Moses' law.")
d. In Heb. 8, "the covenant is God's gracious agreement, but the word is associated with the adjective 'new' - a true irony, in that none of the terms of the old covenant was altered in any way to inaugurate in the first century an alleged innovation in the history of God's dealing with man: a new covenant to be contrasted with an old one." (On page 108 he said: "The new covenant described in Hebrews 8:6-13 is 'better' because temporal animal sacrifices had been replaced by the permanent, sufficient sacrifice of Jesus. The temporality of the Levitical arrangement yielded to an endless priesthood after the order of Melchizedek. Further, the covenantal agreement now embraces Gentile God-fearers and part of the worldwide household of God, with Christ as Head and Sustainer, reinforcing every hope and promise revealed to Israel by the ancient prophets and teachers of old.")
e. In Deut. 5:1-3 "the word 'covenant' is associated with the Ten Commandments. In this usage, the fluidity of the word 'covenant' is displayed, for here the eternal covenant which brings salvation to man is not in view."
2. Circumcision is both an act (a covenant to be kept, Gen. 17:13,14), and a sign of a special relationship. The ten commandments are both instructions/law (Jn. 1:17; Rom. 7:7), and, at least the Sabbath, was a sign of God's relationship with one nation (Ex. 31:13-17).
3. Christ is "a covenant to the people" and "light to the Gentiles" (Isa. 42:6), because He gave "His law" (v. 4; cp. Isa. 2:3; Lk. 24:46,47), or is the "Mediator of a better covenant" (Heb. 8:6), or "the new covenant" (Heb. 9:15;24).
I. On Jer. 31:31-34, Jim said God is "dealing with one basic everlasting covenant, but different ceremonies - progressive but all one eternal plan of God." He uses Jer. 16:14-16 to try to prove that Jeremiah's prophecy was fulfilled when Judah came from the "land of the North" (Babylon). Stanley says Jer. 31 does not have exclusive reference to the time of the apostles, but "was fulfilled when Israel and Judah returned from Babylonian exile in about 536 B.C." (T.E.C. - God's Peace Treaty, p. 13).
1. First, Jer. 16:14-16 says nothing about a "new covenant." The passage is talking about their return to the land, but that had to be under the Law (Deut. 30:1-10).
J. Jim said that Heb. 8:1 begins a section on priests that ends with 10:18. It is all "talking about the work of priests. They did not give law, but offered for sin. Priests gave no new law - neither did Jesus." Stanley said the covenant, like a renewed car, can "be made new (renewed, refashioned), made better - but such advances would not constitute a different covenant" (T.E.C. of Peace, p. 68).
2. Jim says it is "new" like the moon is new - the same moon just "renewed."
3. We will discuss this more in the next lesson, but such an interpretation contradicts Heb. 8:7-13; 10:16-18.
1. The first verse he mentions (Heb. 8:1) says "We have such a High Priest, who is seated at the right hand..." That sounds like a KING as well as a PRIEST (cf. Zech. 6:13).
2. Was not Moses acting as a priest when he spoke to the people and ratified the Book of the Covenant with blood? (Ex. 24:3-8). Why is it considered strange that the antitype could ratify the new covenant with His own blood? (Matt. 26:28; 1 Cor. 11:25).
3. He is "Mediator of a better covenant" (8:6), "for if the first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second" (8:7), "in that He says a new covenant, He has made the first obsolete" (8:13).
4. The "first covenant had ordinances of divine service and the earthly sanctuary" (9:l). Were these "renewed"? He is "Mediator of the new covenant," but also died to redeem those "under the first covenant" (9:15). The "first covenant" was dedicated with the blood of animals (9:18- 20), but "the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these" (9:23). Did the "better sacrifices" dedicate the first covenant? "He takes away the first that He may establish the second" (9:10). The "second" what? (Was it Priesthood? This requires a change in the law, 7:12.) Was it Sacrifices? Did the sacrifices cease but not the law that taught them? Was it the law of priesthood? How could the law of priesthood end and not the priesthood, sacrifices and law that was part of that system? (Heb. 7:11,12).
Christ's blood was not shed because God, or Abraham broke the covenant of Gen. 15, and His blood did not dedicate that covenant.
B. Christ's blood was not what Moses sprinkled on the Book of the Covenant (Ex. 24:7,8), therefore it did not ratify the old covenant.
C. Christ's blood was the "blood of the new covenant" (Lk. 22:20) and He said the cup is "the new covenant in My blood" (1 Cor. 11:25), not "the old covenant in My blood."
D. If there is a second covenant (Heb. 8:7), there was a first; if there is a new covenant (Heb. 9:15), there was an old.
E. God's eternal purpose - to redeem man in Christ has not changed (Gen. 3:15; 12:1-3; 22:18; Eph. 1:3-6), but that promise (covenant) is traced in two major covenants, one of which has been fulfilled and ceased (cf. Matt. 5:17,18; Note the word "till" and cp. Matt. 1:25; 5:26; Gal. 3:19).
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Covenant Theology (3)
Those who advocate "one everlasting covenant" contend that the covenant mentioned in Isaiah 24:5 is the one in Heb. 13:20. They say all other covenants were either a part of, or supported this one. (Review point "C" in lesson one.)
B. In this lesson we will study some of the passages that clearly teach two covenants and discuss the objections that are made to these passages.
Before the old covenant was given, its demise was prefigured (Gal. 4:21-31). (Stanley "interprets" the covenant in this passage as "entrenched legalism...present Jerusalem with the Christ-rejecting, first-century Judaistic parties whom he and his Master continually encountered...Here is a stinging, emphatic rejection of legalistic Judaism...All the key words in Galatians 4:21-31 - covenant, promise, bondage, and law - should be interpreted in light of their usage in Galatians 3...God had graciously employed a tutor - miracles, the Passover, types and shadows, and sacrifices (Heb. 10:1-10) - to lead to Christ (Gal. 3:24). These transitory aspects of Mosaic law may be dismissed, but not the entire body of Old Testament scriptures, for its moral precepts are timeless" (T.E.C. - God's Invitation..., p. 109).
1. Sarai suggested her husband go to her handmaid (Gen. 16:2) then she told Abraham to "cast out this bondwoman and her son" (Gen. 21:10).
B. At the time the law was given God symbolized its demise (2 Cor. 3). (Stanley said Paul was describing "legalistic Judaizers whose minds and hearts showed that they had not turned to Jesus Christ and thus were blind to God's ways...Paul's legalistic adversaries had essentially petrified the eternal covenant, making the God-given law that regulated it a text that killed. The apostle called such party-centered religion an 'old covenant'" (Ibid., pg. 100,102).
2. This is "symbolic" of two covenants (Gal. 4:24).
1) Hagar - the old covenant, from Mt. Sinai (v. 24).
2) Sarah - the new covenant, from Jerusalem above (v. 26; Heb. 12:18-25).
1) Ishmael - Jews under the bondage of the old covenant persecuting Christians - but rejected.
2) Isaac - Christians under the new covenant blessed by the spiritual promise - persecuted, but free.
a. Was the covenant given from Mt.Sinai (Gal. 4:24), "legalistic Judaism"? b. Was the law that was given "till the Seed should come" (Gal. 3:19), "legalistic Judaism"?
c. Before "the faith" was revealed, were the Jews "kept under guard" by legalistic Judaism? (v. 23).
d. Did that legalistic Judaism bring the Jews to Christ and then cease? (vs. 24,25).
1. The fading of the glory on Moses' face symbolized the passing of the covenant being given (Ex. 34:29-33).
C. While it was in effect, Jeremiah prophesied that it would end and a new covenant would be given (Jer. 31:31-34). (Stanley says: "Jeremiah's famous new (renewed) covenant, first prophesied in about 593 B.C., was realized about 60 years later when God's people in the houses of Judah and Israel returned from Babylonian exile...So, instead of Jeremiah 31:31-34 teaching the existence of two contrasting covenants, with the first (old one) forever abolished, and another (entirely new one) in force in the Christian era, the prophet spoke of God's interaction with the covenant faithful among Jeremiah's people in two ways: (1) before and after the Babylonian exile, well before the cross; (2) with the people of Christ from every nation after the cross, as amplified by the author of Hebrews 8:8-12" (Ibid., pg. 78,84).
2. The contrast in 2 Cor. 3:
a. The Old Covenant (v. 14) The New Covenant (v. 6)
b. The letter The Spirit (v. 6)
c. Ministry of death (v. 7) Ministry of Spirit (v. 8)
d. Ministry of condemnation Ministry of righteousness (v. 9)
e. Reading Moses (v. 15) The Lord (v. 16)
f. Veil remains in reading Taken away in Christ (v. 14)
g. Glorious & Passed Away More Glorious & Remains
a. Was legalistic Judaism written and engraven on stones?
b. Was reading of the Old Testament, reading legalistic Judaism?
c. Was reading Moses, reading legalistic Judaism?
d. Do people who say the Old Covenant did not pass away have "minds that are hardened"? (v. 14).
1. The covenant God made with Israel was when He brought them out of Egypt (1 Kgs. 8:21; 2 Chron. 5:10; 2 Kgs. 22:8; 23:2).
D. After it ended, Paul affirmed that we are not under the old covenant (Col. 2:14-16; cp. Eph. 2:15,16; Rom. 7:4-7). (Stanley said: "These verses (Col. 2) do not say that the law itself was nailed to the cross; it was rather the bond, which is the curse or the debt it placed upon the Jews" (T.E.C. of Peace, p. 112).
a. The covenant given when Israel came out of Egypt was not a "renewed" covenant, though many of its principles were true before Sinai (Deut. 5:2,2,15).
2. No post-exilic prophet quoted Jeremiah's prophecy as being fulfilled, nor referred to a "new" covenant in effect.
b. Jeremiah contrasts a covenant "made with their fathers, which they broke" with "but this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel..." (which was "not according to the covenant" He made at Sinai) (31:32,33).
a. Haggai 2:5 - "according to the word I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt" (not Babylon).
3. The writer of Hebrews quotes Jer. 31 twice:
b. Ezra 10:2,3 - "let us make a covenant...and let it be done according to the law" (cf. Dt. 7:3). Was this part of the "renewed" covenant? How would that apply to marriages today?
c. Neh. 8:1,8; 9:29 - "the Book of the Law of Moses...That You bring them back to Your law" (not "the new law").
d. Mal. 2:4 - "That My covenant with Levi may continue" (not the new covenant); v. 8 "you have caused many to stumble at the law" (not the new law); v. 10 "profaning the covenant of the fathers" (not the new covenant).
a. Heb. 8:6-12 - and then concludes "In that He says, A new covenant, He has made the first obsolete (not renewed). Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away (not be renewed)."
b. Heb. 10:16,17 - and then concludes: "Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin" (v. 18). When the "forgiveness" of Jer. 31 was fulfilled, sacrifice for sin ceased. Did animal sacrifices cease in the post-exile period? Genuine forgiveness could not take place under the old law (Heb. 10:1,4; 7:19; 11:40). Jeremiah was not fulfilled in the post-exile period.
1. The theme of this section begins in verse 10 - "you are complete in Him." It concludes by saying "Therefore let no one judge you in food or drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ" (vs. 16,17).
E. Does the Bible teach a distinction between "moral" and "ceremonial" laws?
2. Lenski (commentary on Colossians) says: "misleading conceptions are introduced when the word (cheirographon) is thought to mean a debtor's bond." He says the word has been found 13 times, "five were debtor's bonds, two concerned deposits made, two were labor contracts, one gave authority to act, three were business agreements."
3. Vincent (Word Studies) says: "The law with its decrees was abolished in Christ's death, as if crucified with Him."
4. The word "requirements" (ordinances) appears also in v. 20 and Eph. 2:15. The "handwriting" is modified by "of requirements," not "of the sin debt."
5. Eph. 2:14-16 says "the middle wall of division" which was "the law of commandments contained in ordinances" was abolished in the cross. (Wallace Little has an "explanation" that the middle wall was in Jerusalem - between the Court of the Women and Court of the Gentiles - "a single gate divided the two." Then he concluded "The 'middle wall of separation' between the Jews and Gentiles was the ceremonial aspects of the Mosaical Law" (letter, 5/97).
6. The "requirements" nailed to the cross made it possible for men not to be judged "in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths" (Col. 2:16). These were shadows of "things to come" (v. 17; cf. Heb. 8:5; 9:11; 10:1). (They were not just a shadow of Christ, as some teach, but of "things to come." Jim says the Sabbath ceased because it was a picture of Christ. How were unclean meats, the new moon, the feasts of Tabernacles and Pentecost typical of Christ? If the law that taught these things did not cease, must we find an antitype of every Old Testament practice to say it ended?)
1. A position build upon a human distinction (though it may have some merit) that is nowhere taught in Scripture is built on a flimsy foundation. The Bible nowhere mentions a distinction between "moral" and "ceremonial" laws.
2. Some say morals cannot change - "if it was moral before the cross, it is moral after the cross." (Granted that basic morals have not changed - because God did not change them. But He did change some things that we would call "moral.")
3. Is what God permitted in Deut. 24:1-4 moral or ceremonial? (Does the New Covenant permit everyone who is divorced to remarry? Matt. 19:3-10; 1 Cor. 7:10,11.)
4. What about a brother marrying his brother's widow? (Dt. 25:5).
5. What about polygamy and concubines? (2 Sam. 12:8; 1 Kgs. 11:3). (Rom. 7:1-3; 1 Cor. 7:1-3; Heb. 13:4).
6. What about putting away wives who are not "in covenant" with God? (Ezra 10:3,4)
7. What about marrying a half-sister? (Gen. 20:12) Was it moral for Abraham? Why did Moses forbid it? (Lev. 18:6-9)
8. If a "moral law" cannot change - why did Paul say that the Jews "died to the law" (Rom. 7:4)? Which law was that? Why did he teach that the "ministry of death written and engraved on stones" passed away (2 Cor. 3:7)?
The things written before were written for our learning (Rom. 15:4; 1 Cor. 10:6), but we do not live under that covenant.
B. God spoke to the fathers through the prophets, but today He speaks through His Son (Heb. 1:1,2).
C. The "word spoken through angels" (Acts 7:53; Gal. 3:19) is contrasted with the "great salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him" (Heb. 2:2,3).
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