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8.04.2012

Covenant Theology in one, easy, aggravated and with little patience left, post

It amazes me how rare a basic understanding of classical Covenant - Federal - Theology is. Perhaps it's because Federal Theology itself is not really very well understood, or maybe it's that it is not known that Federal Theology is Covenant Theology systematized.

Now we've got a movement of dispensationalists and former dispensationalists deciding that they are going to 'discover' the subject of covenants in the Bible, and they are going to explain to all of us just what it all means.

I.e. as if Reformed Theology (which is Covenant - Federal - Theology) has never existed.

This post of a review of one of these new books is a good example:

http://www.aomin.org/aoblog/index.php?itemid=5184

This is what happens when a person can't see the parts in relation to the whole (which is a practical definition of understanding of anything, seeing the parts in relation to the whole).

For instance, if you hold to a soteriology that is anywhere near Reformed soteriology, and yet you either don't see, or refuse to see, or don't see the importance of, a Covenant of Works in the Garden then you clearly are not able to see the whole. Not only that, but you are unable to defend justification by faith alone (and probably unable, ultimately, to even understand it).

Reformed theologians don't help. They are horrible teachers of Covenant Theology. When they're not petulantly using different terminology or denying one or another aspect, or, better yet, 'folding in' one big aspect into another yet never really mentioning it to their audience (folding in the Covenant of Redemption to the Covenant of Grace), again, when they are not doing those things they are flattening everything out in their presentation (as in systematic theologies) leaving the reader to see the significance of each data point and sorting it out by weight. I.e. a chapter on the Covenant of Works over here in this section of the ST, then a chapter on the Covenant of Redemption in a totally different section over there; then a chapter on the Covenant of Grace in a yet different section, just laying out the data, yes, in a logical, or systematic way, but still in a sort of raw material way putting the burden on the student to put it all together. Which is not a completely bad thing, but it doesn't make for wide-spread understanding of the subject.

The two Adams (Adam in the Garden, and Jesus Christ Himself) are the spine of Covenant - Federal - Theology. Jesus came to fulfill what the first Adam failed to fulfill. To get out of the maze and hall of mirrors commentators and theologians make of National Israel's role (regarding for instance the Mosaic Covenant) you just have to know that *National* Israel was as unique a player in God's plan of redemption as the first Adam and as the Second Adam Jesus Christ Himself was/is. National Israel was a prototype of the coming Messiah and was also given special roles by God that no other people have ever been given, such as protecting the Royal bloodline from Adam to King Jesus, and having their very history become the substance of special revelation (not to mention being the guardians of the written word of God). This is speaking of *National Israel.* Individual Israelites are like all fallen human beings, only being saved by justification by faith alone. So *National Israel* as prototype of the Messiah had a works relationship to the Mosaic Covenant (just as the incarnated Jesus did) that fallen individuals don't have. This is also why the Mosaic Covenant is a republication of the Covenant of Works. Jesus came to fulfil what the first Adam failed to fulfill. So do you think Jesus was supposed to 'not eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil'? No, everything in that command God made to Adam was republished in obviously elaborated form on Sinai. Jesus was to be *born under the law.* That law was republished on Sinai. And I shouldn't even have to add this, but *it is part* of the Covenant of Grace that the Mosaic Covenant is a Covenant of Works *for Jesus.* And for the prototype of Jesus before His incarnation, National Israel. NOT INDIVIDUAL ISRAELITES. *National* Israel.

The three covenants - Covenant of Redemption made from eternity, Covenant of Works (in the Garden), and Covenant of Grace (which plays out in history) - are not equal in any way to the other covenants mentioned in Scripture. They are foundational. Once you see these three covenants as they relate to the two Adams, and as they relate to Reformed (i.e. biblical) soteriology, you see God's plan of redemption.

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