« STR Radio Today |
| Moral Blind Spots »
Posted by Gregory Koukl on January 03, 2011 at 03:30 AM in :Greg Koukl, Theology, Video | Permalink
One interesting thing about Mark 7 is that the statement in question--7:19b, "(Thus he declared all foods clean.)"--was not actually made by Jesus. It is Mark's commentary on Jesus' statement. The same account appears in Matthew 15 with no commentary on food laws.
Also interesting is that when Peter has his vision of the sheet in Acts 10, years after Jesus' resurrection and ascension, he claims that he has never eaten anything unclean. "And there came a voice to him: 'Rise, Peter; kill and eat.' But Peter said, 'By no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean.'" Doesn't it stand to reason that if Jesus had made explicit comments about all foods being made clean, Peter would have known this?
A question I have is whether it is correct to equate the Law with the Old Covenant, so that when the Old Covenant is done away with, the Law is also. Since sin is defined as "lawlessness" (1 John 3:4), the Law is obviously still in effect in some way. Is it possible that the Law stands as God's expectations for righteousness, but that the terminology of "covenants" refers to the way that he interacts with us regarding his expectations?
January 03, 2011 at 06:13 AM
"A question I have is whether it is correct to equate the Law with the Old Covenant, so that when the Old Covenant is done away with, the Law is also"
I can see how you can think this as a natural progression. However, since the law is written on the hearts of men, the law must continue to be in effect. There is no mention that the law written on the heart has been erased and that law is the same as that under the Old Covenant.
Louis Kuhelj |
January 03, 2011 at 07:53 AM
There needs to be some precision in how one views law and covenant since the covenant made with Moses at Sanai did expire. I think CMM is right to question in this way. There are eternal law concepts that were in and part of the pact made between God and Israel, but the Sinaiatic covenant was a temporary covenant of types and shadows that were meant to pass away as Jesus came to fulfill them not abolish them.
Brad B |
January 03, 2011 at 09:48 AM
The Law is not done away with nor is it expired. The Old Covenant was an oath between God and Israel and was put in place before the Law was given. Israel agreed to the covenant before they knew what the Law was (Exo 19:5-8).
If the Law was expired how would people be "shut up under sin"? The Law still points the unsaved to Christ.
Why the Law then? It was added because of transgressions, having been ordained through angels by the agency of a mediator, until the seed would come to whom the promise had been made. Now a mediator is not for one party only; whereas God is only one. Is the Law then contrary to the promises of God? May it never be! For if a law had been given which was able to impart life, then righteousness would indeed have been based on law. But the Scripture has shut up everyone under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed. Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's descendants, heirs according to promise.
January 03, 2011 at 10:23 AM
Doesn't it stand to reason that if Jesus had made explicit comments about all foods being made clean, Peter would have known this?
I think that's reasonable, but you also have to take into account that on several occasions, Jesus said things to his disciples that his disciples misunderstood or didn't fully grasp until sometime later. For example, Jesus predicted his death and resurrection at least three times, but when Jesus was finally crucified, the disciples seem to have lost all hope. So maybe Jesus did intend to declare all foods clean, but Peter didn't understand him right away.
If you believe Mark's gospel is God-breathed, inerrant, authoritative, etc., then it shouldn't matter that it was Mark who added the comment about Jesus declaring all food clean rather than Jesus. In either case, it would be true.
January 03, 2011 at 04:24 PM
in my view, the "Old Covenant" was initiated after the arrival of Sin, although its not as clear to see, as if i could quote a single verse for proof.
i see folks talking about the old covenant as if it started at Mt. Sinai. There was indeed a bilateral covenant, made between God the Creator, and Adam and Eve, Genesis 3 is evident of this. Does everyone remember the coats of skins God himself fashioned for Adam and Eve? where would they have come from? this was not a goat roast, it had meaning, and a cause. i see it, that an agreement was made between the Creator and Adam/Eve before they were evicted from the Garden, that there would be a way back home, effectively through salvation. Adam and Eve had to have kept this blood oath, because Abel knew how to perform it as an offering to God. the requirements for salvation has always been the same. obedience through faith. when God says, "if you will be my people, and if you believe in me, and if you obey me, THEN i will be your God", this is contingent upon the other party in the agreement. Same deal was made with Israel (due to God's Unilateral covenant to Abraham), but Mosaic Law enumerated the requirements, and offered Israel to be a nation of priests, something particular to Israel only.
Mosaic Law is distinct and separate from God's Law, eg. the Ten Commandments, the tablets were kept inside the arc, and the mosaic law was kept in a pouch on the outside. one is eternal, written by the finger of God, one was temporary written by the hand of Moses under God's instructions.
So, Mosaic Law expounded upon the old covenant. The Mosaic Law ramped up the conditions, of the bilateral agreement. the old covenant is both perpetual, and temporary. began with Adam/Eve, lasted through Noah, and was fulfilled at the cross, it was not fulfilled over a time period. Jesus died right on time, and not a day before or after he was supposed to.
Animal sacrifice lasted ~4000 years, and the old covenant was to be fulfilled upon Jesus' death, which was the payment of the blood oath, the flawless lamb (Jesus), as was the first sacrifice i'd wager - that the coats were made from - a flawless lamb. the bilateral covenant, which was, periodic animal blood would have to be shed and offered, until Jesus' blood was shed in payment, for man's salvation, and restoration.
The old covenant pertained to men and women who were also around, before there was even a nation of Israel. It did not begin with Mosaic Law.
January 03, 2011 at 09:17 PM
I also might add, that the animal sacrifice, was THE object lesson, for what it stood for. Jesus' payment of blood, in exchange for Man's life.
which should have been carried out as soon as Adam and Eve, sinned. "in the day thereof, ye shall die". intercession was granted, but came with a price. A price the Creator paid on behalf of all his Creation, thereby, fulfilling the blood oath.
The new covenant, does not only necessarily deal with just salvation alone, but its Jesus' way of also fulfilling his Unilateral covenant to Abraham. Paul's teaching confirms this. that it is no longer about the physical Israel, but the spiritual Israel. still Israel nontheless, remember Israel is still considered the seed of Abraham. Israel still is to be the descendants of Abraham, but through the spirit, not physical seed.
but the new covenant is still not demanding anything new. If you believe in Him, which still entails the same faith, and same obedience, then He will be your God. although obedience can be done through faith, or be done through conformity. someone could have partaken of old covenant animal sacrifice, but not just because it is the "right thing to do", that is not faith. Just as in Abel's case, faith can be most clear, when it comes with a price, Cain refused to understand.
January 03, 2011 at 09:36 PM
"If you believe Mark's gospel is God-breathed, inerrant, authoritative, etc., then it shouldn't matter that it was Mark who added the comment about Jesus declaring all food clean rather than Jesus. In either case, it would be true."
I don't question whether the Bible is inerrant, but I do question whether the common understanding of this verse (Mark 7:19) is correct in light of its context in the rest of Scripture.
I think it's also fair to question this particular translation ("'since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?' (Thus he declared all foods clean.)" This is ESV, but all modern translations say basically the same thing. I'm not a Greek scholar by any means, but a simple word study will reveal some interesting things about this verse. I think that the KJV rendering is probably more accurate: "Because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats?" (Mark 7:19).
Also, there are several other places in the Gospels where Jesus commands his followers to abide by the Law (e.g., Matthew 5:17-20, 23:1-2). I'm not sure that it's logical that Jesus would be teaching against the Law here in Mark 7. Especially when the gist of his point to the pharisees is that they set aside the commands of God in favor of the traditions of men: "'You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.' And he said to them, 'You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition!'" (Mark 7:8-9).
January 04, 2011 at 04:05 AM
"Also, there are several other places in the Gospels where Jesus commands his followers to abide by the Law (e.g., Matthew 5:17-20, 23:1-2). I'm not sure that it's logical that Jesus would be teaching against the Law here in Mark 7."
i think the big thing that sticks out in Matthew 5:17-20, is that Jesus is saying that not one aspect of the Law of Moses will be diminished, until everything is accomplished, or fulfilled. meaning its still binding, but he's pointing out you cant follow the law without a contrite heart. if your just not gonna eat clean foods because there is a Law saying so, then your missing the object of the lesson. its not because the food is corrupting the person, but its the failure to obey the Law, or teach that you need not follow the Law, that is corrupting. so not mere faith through obedience (conformity), but obedience through faith.
by the time Jesus rolled through town, they had added to many more restrictions to the original Mosaic Law, that it was becoming a state of legalism. Jesus warned that they had taken Moses seat, implying that they had made their own laws of man.
January 04, 2011 at 06:54 AM
I completely agree. Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for putting their own traditions equal to or above the commands of God. I didn't mean to imply anything about faith or ability to keep the Law. I only meant that I'm not sure Jesus would say what he said in Matt. 5:17-20, and then say somewhere else that the Law is done away with. It seems to me that Jesus taught from the Law and sought to correct misunderstandings and corruptions.
January 04, 2011 at 07:33 AM
"I didn't mean to imply anything about faith or ability to keep the Law."
oh, i know you didnt, i didnt mean to sound like i thought you did.
but cant Jesus forewarn that he is fulfilling the old covenant, and at the same time show why the literal taking of the Law is wrong anyway? Mosaic law was almost always full of object lessons. not always, but the rest did have legal uses. its the legal side of the Law that got out of hand, and became traditions of men. if you take the object lessons out all together, then the law was JUST legalism. one misunderstanding was that the mere eating of unclean foods was because it was taken at face value, and not viewed as its intended purpose, which the lesson would have gone more toward that end. i guess im just having difficulty putting it into words that clearly make my point.
January 04, 2011 at 09:26 AM
In the Garden, God did initiate the first atonement for sin by shedding blood. This is very significant, but scripture does not reveal any covenant that was made.
If you are you saying that the “Old Covenant was initiated after the arrival of Sin”, this would be right around the same time Adam & Eve were removed from the Garden. I conclude that you’re saying the OC predated the Abrahamic Covenant. You also said you have no scriptures that prove your conclusion. I beg to differ with scriptural evidence.
A study of covenants throughout the bible reveals that the Old Covenant was initiated at Mt Sinai between God and the children of Israel (Exo 19:5-8, 24:5-8). The Law was initiated the same time as the OC and was in fact a part of the covenant ceremony. Gal 3:17 is clear that the Law came 430 yrs after the Abrahamic covenant (Gen 12, 15 & 17). 2 Chron 5:10 says the same thing, “There was nothing in the ark except the two tablets which Moses put there at Horeb, where the LORD made a covenant with the sons of Israel, when they came out of Egypt.”
And just to be clear, the Law was given by God and mediated by Moses (Neh 9:13-14).
The Law revealed sin as told in Rom 3:20 “through the Law comes the knowledge of sin”. So you’re right, sin did exist before the Law, however sin was not realized until the Law was given. As made clearer in Rom 5:13 “for until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law” and Gal 3:19 that says the Law was added because of transgressions.
You are also correct in saying that the stone tablets containing the Ten Commandments are separate from the Law – at least physically they are. The Law was first called the “book of the covenant” (Exo 24:4, 7). Since scripture says that Moses wrote all that God said, I think it’s safe to say that book included the Ten Commandments – especially since the tablets were not accessible and since its included in the Pentateuch that we have today. 40 yrs later Moses wrote the Pentateuch that was referred to as the book of the Law (Deut 31:23-26). Before Moses died he told Israel, “Take to your heart all the words with which I am warning you today, which you shall command your sons to observe carefully, even all the words of this law.” The Law in this statement is referring to the book of the Law he just wrote that included the Ten Commandments and the book of the covenant.
Throughout the rest of scripture it’s referred to as the “book of the Law” or “book of the Law of the Lord given by Moses”. So, the Book of the Law (Mosaic Law or Pentateuch) includes the OC Law (book of the covenant) which includes the Ten Commandments.
This is carried into the New Testament too. Gal 3:10 refers to the “book of the Law” as just the Law. There is no separation of Mosaic Law and “God’s Law” (as you refer to it). To go one step further, Jesus expands the Law even more to include the Prophets (Matt 5:17-20).
January 04, 2011 at 10:41 AM
No problem. Didn't mean to seem defensive.
In what way was the literal application of the law wrong? If God said not to eat XYZ, how was one wrong for obeying that? Even if they obeyed it simply because it was a command and they had no knowledge of the object lesson it taught, I still don't see how that's wrong.
Now, if a person did this with the expectation that their submission to a command brought them salvation, or they did it not out of obedience but out of an effort to gain good standing with God, that would be wrong.
But none of this is even in view in Mark 7. The issue being discussed is the Pharisees' teaching that eating with unwashed hands defiled a person--a teaching that was not from God's law, but that was a Pharasaical tradition.
I definitely think it is an error to view and try to obey the Law without understanding what it actually teaches and how it points to Jesus as the Messiah. However, I think it's also an error to turn all of the commands into nothing but object lessons at the expense of the commands themselves.
For example, a person can't understand intellectually and theologically why adultery is wrong and how unfaithfulness in marriage mirrors unfaithfulness to Christ, etc., and then still go out and commit adultery. One has to understand why a command is given, what it points to, and then actually abide by the command. That's not legalism. It's obedience.
Apologies if I'm misunderstanding your point.
January 04, 2011 at 10:45 AM
"In the Garden, God did initiate the first atonement for sin by shedding blood. This is very significant, but scripture does not reveal any covenant that was made."
i disagree. i said not one "single" scripture can be used in support. but a total sum or comprehension of scripture (plural) is the reason.
why did God slay an animal for hides, to cover Adam and Eve? why is Able still shedding blood, and offering it to God? why is Cain reprimanded for not doing as was instructed (by implication)?
Mosaic Law given at Mt. Sinai expounded on what was already in practice, but with new terms, and new opportunities.
what do you feel atonement actually is, from God's perspective? isnt it a representation of His end of the deal? thats a Bilateral covenant. two parties are to uphold their end of the agreement.
"If you are you saying that the “Old Covenant was initiated after the arrival of Sin”, this would be right around the same time Adam & Eve were removed from the Garden. I conclude that you’re saying the OC predated the Abrahamic Covenant. You also said you have no scriptures that prove your conclusion. I beg to differ with scriptural evidence."
yes i am saying the OC was initiated after the arrival of Sin, RIGHT after it. God himself said "But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat of it: for in the day that you eat thereof you shall surely die."
intercession was performed, right after Adam/Eve sinned. it had to be, or else they were to be executed, the wages of sin.
i didnt say i had no scriptural evidence, i said i dint have a single verse to prove it. i gave Gen 3 as support.
as i call it, God's eternal Law, the 10 commandments, were at least in part present before Moses at Mt. Sinai. We have examples in Genesis, of some of the 10 being followed. Why would they follow them, if they were unknown?
i have more to say, but im pressed for time, im headed home, i'll post later tonite.
January 04, 2011 at 02:01 PM
"In what way was the literal application of the law wrong? If God said not to eat XYZ, how was one wrong for obeying that? Even if they obeyed it simply because it was a command and they had no knowledge of the object lesson it taught, I still don't see how that's wrong."
not the literal application (it was meant to be literally applied), but literally just obeying it. grrr i wish i could phrase it better than that. i think we are close to saying the same things, its just that when i see Jesus reexplaining a meaning to his disciples, after he asks, "you mean to tell me you didnt understand it either?" then its a meaning totally lost, because the people were simply obeying for obeying's sake. They followed generation after generation of a ever more growing list of strictness. Shouldnt someone have ask "why are we doing this?".
so after the issue with the hand washing came up, He's saying: "yeah sure, its not what goes in the body that makes a guy corrupt, but what comes "out of" the heart(of the body), that makes a person evil." It was never about the straight forward act of eating clean foods then was it? seemed to me, this went over the heads of both disciple and probably those in the crowd, they always did, when he says, "he who has an ear, let him hear", as if its an understanding thats not on the surface, or at least deeper.
so could he not reiterate why a tradition of men was outright foolishness to begin with, when it obviously just added to the "idea" of clean foods, and not the reason for the idea?
Pharisee 1: "im eating clean food deemed by Law"
Pharisee 2: "oh yeah? Well did you also wash your hands?"
Pharisee 1: "No, do we have too?"
Pharisee 2: "No, but we should, i mean that would make it super clean right? Moses probably forgot to add that part"
Pharisee 1: "Splendid, well, we should amend that to the existing law, another one wont hurt!".
dont take this too serious, im just trying to make a point, even if its in a corny way. =P
the fact that some continued to follow Mosaic Law after it was fulfilled by Jesus' death, to me at least, hints that everyone didnt understand why they were following the law in the first place.
January 04, 2011 at 03:21 PM
Jeremiah 7:22-23 (KJV)22 "For I spake not unto your fathers, nor commanded them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices: 23 But this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you."
if you can see that this bilateral covenant was at least established BEFORE Mt. Sinai, which is basically the same that was given by Moses when its reduced to its core, then i dont see a problem at the very minimum, saying the Old Covenant is older than Mt. Sinai.
i will leave it here for now, until these issues are discussed further.
January 04, 2011 at 07:20 PM
I think I get what you're saying, to a point. I would encourage you to look more closely at Jesus' interactions with the Pharisees throughout the Gospels, and notice the context for each encounter. They repeatedly try to trap Jesus with questions about the Law, or attempt to catch him breaking the Law. Each time, he turns it back on them, correcting their misunderstanding and/or abuse of the Law. So Jesus doesn't teach against God's law, he teaches against the Pharisees' oral tradition (which is not Scripture) and their abuse of God's written law.
January 05, 2011 at 04:04 AM
I don't think that there's any such thing as the time when the Old Covenant ended and the New Covenant replaced it.
What exactly is the Old Covenant?
It seems to me that the first expression of the Old Covenant was this:
The LORD God commanded the man, saying, "From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die." (Genesis 2:16-17)
The Old Covenant, then, is the covenant of obedience and remains in full effect to the sorrow of the disobedient...that is, to the sorrow of all men.
What is the New Covenant?
Here is what Jesus said:
And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, "This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood."
The New Covenant is the covenant of atonement and sacrament...a sharing in the body and blood of Christ and His atoning work. It is in full effect today and has been since the expulsion from the garden, when God promised that the seed of the Woman would bruise the head of the serpent and clothed Adam and Eve in the skin of the sacrificed animals.
In the days before Christ, the system of circumcision and sacrifice was the sacramental system established by God as part of His New Covenant with man. The system of baptism and communion is the sacramental system established by God in the Person of Christ Jesus.
All the rules, dietary or otherwise, about cleanness and uncleanness had to do with temple sacrifice and were, thus, part of the BC sacramental system. They were, therefore, part of the New Covenant. These rules became void when the modes of the sacraments changed. While I think Greg is wrong about the significance of this change (because it is not a change from old to new covenant), I do think that he is right that this change was gradual. Communion had replaced Sacrifice at least by the time of the Last Supper. Baptism had replaced Circumcision at least by the time of the Ascension, though it had already begun when Jesus Himself was baptized by John.
January 05, 2011 at 05:28 AM
"It seems to me that the first expression of the Old Covenant was this:
The LORD God commanded the man, saying, "From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die." (Genesis 2:16-17)"
I disagree, this scripture was the first UNILATERAL covenant given to man, not bilateral. It was one sided. not two sided like what is needed before the gift of salvation is bestowed in return of faith. "IF" you do "this", then I will be your God.
there are many covenants through out the Bible. some unilateral, some bilateral. the distinctions are very important, and all need to understand them.
there were many unilateral covenants given before Mt. Sinai. 5 to my counting ( i count all three given to Abraham as one). but i also think that a oral account which we do not have written record of was also given as a bilateral covenant, which is evident by the sacrifices we see Abel, and Noah partaking in. So it is recorded, just indirectly. There had to be Law that was known, by whatever means, that people were held accountable too. or else how could God condemn a whole world for transgressing against non-Law? God has never held anyone accountable without the serving of a witness thats held against you. If the Law can be said to be written on the Gentile's heart, then why not the patriarch's as well?
if Noah was to preach 120 years, what would he have to preach about if there was no such thing as Morality, or transgressions that we see in the 10 commandments? these ideas are universal if you are a Christian. a Christian would not say that any of the 10 commandments did not apply at any point in time. its always wrong to worship false idols, always wrong to murder, always wrong to steal, ect... Do we really think Noah just gave a 120 flood forecast only? disbelieving a flood, is that really evil? was that the evil thoughts God talked about?
January 05, 2011 at 06:50 AM
"They repeatedly try to trap Jesus with questions about the Law, or attempt to catch him breaking the Law. Each time, he turns it back on them, correcting their misunderstanding and/or abuse of the Law. So Jesus doesn't teach against God's law, he teaches against the Pharisees' oral tradition (which is not Scripture) and their abuse of God's written law."
Ok, since you put that so well, i think i can make my point more clear, because i completely agree with you.
Jesus wasnt teaching "against" the Law per se, but against why you shouldnt only just conform to it, this was evident each time Jesus has to re-explain a parable or point he tried to make. Because when taken literally, the larger purpose (of the Mosaic law) is hidden. He can teach HOW NOT to follow the existing Law, along with condemning the oral traditions the Pharisee's were so fond of all together, and not be strictly teaching against the very laws he gave Moses at Sinai.
January 05, 2011 at 07:00 AM
Savvy. I completely agree.
Thanks for the exchange. I'm always encouraged when comment exchanges sharpen iron rather than beat somebody over the head.
January 05, 2011 at 07:47 AM
In the days before Christ, the system of circumcision and sacrifice was the sacramental system established by God as part of His New Covenant with man. The system of baptism and communion is the sacramental system established by God in the Person of Christ Jesus.
All the rules, dietary or otherwise, about cleanness and uncleanness had to do with temple sacrifice and were, thus, part of the BC sacramental system. They were, therefore, part of the New Covenant.
All the rules, dietary or otherwise, about cleanness and uncleanness had to do with temple sacrifice and were, thus, part of the BC sacramental system. They were, therefore, part of the New Covenant.
January 05, 2011 at 09:02 AM
"In the days before Christ, the system of circumcision and sacrifice was the sacramental system established by God as part of His New Covenant with man. The system of baptism and communion is the sacramental system established by God in the Person of Christ Jesus.
All the rules, dietary or otherwise, about cleanness and uncleanness had to do with temple sacrifice and were, thus, part of the BC sacramental system. They were, therefore, part of the New Covenant."
These new systems were not part of the New Covenant, or else Paul has a gross misunderstanding of what the Old Covenant was.
This is how i view the bilateral covenants that we are talking about since Adam/Eve to present day.
The OC started the day Jesus acted as intercessor on behalf of Adam/Eve, this was a perpetual agreement on ALL MEN until the covenant is fulfilled, and a fulfilled covenant is covenant no more.
The Mosaic Covenant was an extension to the already existing bilateral covenant to all men, but only applied to Israel, precisely dealing with God's unilateral promises made to Abraham, remember, the ceremony (blood oath) was carried out (walking through the guts of a calf - in Abraham's presence) but it wasn't ratified until Mt. Sinai, when the children of Abraham actually verbally agreed (twice) to what God proposed to Moses. It had to be ratified later, because God told Abraham it was going to be 400 years later, cant ratify it, til the time is right, and the other party is present, right?
people such as Abraham, Noah, Enoch, Abel, and Adam/Eve, all still fell under the original bilateral covenant that im calling the Old Covenant, the shedding of blood, signifying the oath, thereby signifying your faith. But faith was still the core component. Faith still saved Noah, Abraham, ect.... just read Hebrews chapter 11 (i think), for the long list of those saved by "faith".
the personal salvation did not change at Mt. Sinai, what was offered, was a national agreement, to make Israel what had never been before, an official representation, of God's people. And this Mosaic covenant was fulfilled also, as was the original bilateral covenant, the moment Jesus paid up his end, with his life. at this point its over, the bilateral covenant was fulfilled, making both bilateral covenants null, Israel's Mosaic covenant regarding their deal, and all of mankinds old covenant regarding animal sacrifice/ect. payment was made, the bargain was done with. Jesus wasnt just dieing for Israel, he was dieing for all of man, past and present!
Except, Israel failed to uphold their end, "your house is left unto you desolate". The Temple, God's dwelling place was abandoned, because of Israel's failure to be faithful as a nation, although there were individuals that were no doubt deemed righteous and faithful, the Bible shows us this in scripture. the covenant on the individual basis was still there all along, remember, it started with Adam. the requirements for salvation do not change, ie: faith.
Israel is the case in point, for what any nation's fate would have been, any nation would have failed, we all fall short individually as it is, if it wasnt Israel, it would have been someone else, only the names would have been different. Same with Adam, had you or I been in his place, we would have done the same thing, and probably worse, because we were not created perfect, he was. we're already born with a propensity to sin, he wasnt.
But nonetheless, God is still liable for his end of the unilateral covenant made to Abraham. the beauty is, even though Israel failed to hold up their end, God will not fail to hold up his end. The whole world will still be blessed by Israel, Abraham's descendants will still be a numberless multitude, it was out of Judah, that Jesus came, directly from Abraham, back to Noah, back to Adam. That was the physical seed under that covenant, now the New Covenant says we are the spiritual seed of Abraham, so now any believer is a descendant of ole Abe now.
However, there are still parts of the unilateral promise to Abraham yet to be fulfilled, and thats the allotted land that will be given to Israel (spiritual now), at the end of the 1000 year Sabbatical in Revelation, where the new Jerusalem will rest, only then will God's promise be fulfilled, in regards to the land specification.
sorry i got to rambling... i better stop, cause i got off point..
other than to say, Covenants begin, and they end. understand who's part of which one, and its easy to see where they are fulfilled at.
January 05, 2011 at 09:52 AM
good deal, and i like a sharp knife as well!
January 05, 2011 at 10:26 AM
I'm not sure that I've seen and understood your argument for why the Old or New Covenants must be bilateral.
But FWIW, Gen. 2 is definitely a two-sided covenant. You may eat from any tree (including the tree of life), but if you eat from the good-and-evil tree, you will die.
The First Covenant is not about a way to salvation for the fallen...the Law was never a way to salvation. The only time the Law gives life is to the unfallen. For the unfallen, the Old Covenant is the way to stay forever in Eden. Obey and live. The fallen only ever experience the aspect of the Old Covenant the gives death: Disobey and die.
The New Covenant is, at bottom, a unilateral covenant. God makes a promise to us that He will save us. For God does all the work. Insofar as I do anything...kill a ram, drink a cup of wine, confess a sin etc...I'm only doing it because God is working through me. The New Covenant is made to those dead in their sin. And the dead can't perform their end of a bargain.
In some ways, this makes Baptism and Circumcision the most perfect expressions of the New Covenent, because Circumcised and Baptized infants don't do anything except get carried to the knife or to the font.
I'm not sure how these musings would make Paul grossly wrong. I take it that it has something to do with his harsh words toward those who wanted to circumcise Christians. The difficulty with the Judaizers was that they were treating what was sacramental in the era before Christ as a Law to be followed in the era of Christ. But all sacrament is the vehicle of the New Promise that the Seed of the Woman (Christ) would crush the head of the serpent (Sin, Death and the Devil).
It is possible today to treat Communion, Baptism and Confession/Absolution as if they are a law that we fulfill as well. That is what was going on, for example, with the system of indulgences that Luther criticized. It was the same sin that the Judaizers committed in Paul's time. It was likewise possible, in the time before Christ, to treat Sacrifice and Circumcision as if they were a law to be fulfilled. To a large extent, this is what Christ criticized the Jews for. The Jews had long since stopped worshiping false gods, that was really over from the second temple forward. But they had turned temple worship into Law.
The one thing that is different in the case of Paul and the Judaizers is that Christ had replaced circumcision with baptism. So in the AD era, the only way that you can treat circumcision as a spiritual ritual is as a law.
You said this:
"Covenants begin, and they end. understand who's part of which one, and its easy to see where they are fulfilled at."
I disagree. God's covenants may have a beginning. For each of us, individually, both covenants begin when we come into the world, for we had no prior existence. We were born into Sin that Christ paid for. But the New Covenant in Christ's blood, at least, has no end. Thank God. There is no time at which Christ's blood will stop being for me for the remission of my sin.
And who is part of the New Covenant? If, in the time of Christ, the Church is Israel, it is also true that in the time before Christ, Israel was the Church. And in the time before Israel, the Church was the children of Abraham, Shem, Noah, Seth and Adam. It is all one people of God. And the New Covenant that God makes in the blood of Christ is one covenant that He makes with all of His people.
January 06, 2011 at 08:01 AM
"I'm not sure that I've seen and understood your argument for why the Old or New Covenants must be bilateral.
But FWIW, Gen. 2 is definitely a two-sided covenant. You may eat from any tree (including the tree of life), but if you eat from the good-and-evil tree, you will die."
lets look at the text, and how it is stated. It is not two sided. The rule is the rule, whether despite the consequence.
Genesis 2:16-17 (ASV)16 And Jehovah God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
did you notice that this was more of a command, than a proposition?
"do not eat from this tree"
there may be consequences, but the command is unilateral. Adam has no say, contingency upon the statement.
"thou shalt not eat of it"
sounds like a few other "thou shalt not's" that we all know.
these rules are unilateral, there is nothing outside of them, in which it is contingent upon. only the consequences are contingent upon the breakage of the rule.
January 06, 2011 at 10:46 AM
i dont wanna get ahead of the argument, but i just wanted to respond to this, even though we are still arguing things lower down on the ladder so-to-speak....
quote from WL:
"I disagree. God's covenants may have a beginning. For each of us, individually, both covenants begin when we come into the world, for we had no prior existence."
haha, well if i may, i disagree with your disagreement!
anyway... the covenant for US begins at birth, but from God's perspective, the covenant with Mankind began with sin. Once the deal is done, the covenant is very much over with, its no longer available for new entries, that has nothing to do with whether or not God continues to honor his end of the deal (paying the price). dont misunderstand me, when i say the covenant is over with, it does not follow that the covenant never happened, or ceases to have happened...
the covenant can be present and available to you, but that doesnt mean it just began with our individual existence. Its mankind's existence as a whole, that marked the beginning of the deal.
"We were born into Sin that Christ paid for."
"But the New Covenant in Christ's blood, at least, has no end. Thank God."
if you mean that his fulfillment of the covenant has no end, then yes, you are correct, it has no end. Thank God indeed.
But implying that there was an Old Covenant, that wasnt about Christ's blood, is fallacious. not sure that your implying that or not. Nevertheless, its always been about Christ's blood. Adam knew this, his death was postponed, due to a later payment by God.
"There is no time at which Christ's blood will stop being for me for the remission of my sin."
but that has nothing to do, with a promise being carried out, or not carried out. Christ's payment IS the deal, so of course we should have faith that he would continue to honor His Covenant, which He voluntarily entered into, as did we.
Consider this, there will be a time, where that blood covenant, will no long be available to man. God will no longer offer his intercession. How can a covenant be both existing, and not existing, at the same time? it either is, or isnt. remember, dont misunderstand me, this isnt the same, as saying the covenant never happened, or will continue to have happened, implying, in the past (from a future perspective).
January 06, 2011 at 11:19 AM
I don't have time for an extensive point-by-point response right now, but it seems to me that if you are right, then not only is the Old Covenant done, but also the New Covenant is done. After all, Christ fulfilled it on Calvary didn't He?
January 06, 2011 at 01:18 PM
"but also the New Covenant is done. After all, Christ fulfilled it on Calvary didn't He?"
No. I do not hold the belief, that the New Covenant is done, it began at Jesus' death, what he fulfilled is the Old Covenant. The NC is in effect right now, its the way to salvation. There is no more Mosaic or Old Covenant. they were fulfilled, by the blood Jesus paid. The New Covenant, is what Paul taught so well. That there is no more gentile or jew, if you believe in Christ, then you are Abraham's spiritual seed. Spiritually Israel. Only near the end of the great tribulation, will this covenant be done, during the judgment of the living, the offer will no longer be available, but that follows, since once a finite amount of people have chosen one way or the other, then there is no longer anyone new, to offer it to. Logically speaking, once everyone has either accepted or rejected whats offered in the New Covenant, the covenant ends. After the second coming, why would there still be a covenant such as this available? who's gonna not believe, out of the saints, who are made out of believers?
January 06, 2011 at 02:01 PM
remember, im calling the OC, as Paul did, the one that "passed" away. it fulfilled the moment Jesus paid his end of the blood oath. im also including the original blood oath given to Adam, and saying the "old covenant" was an expansion upon that, exclusive only to physical Israel though, Abraham's seed. i will admit though, its tough to find direct reference to the original blood covenant, but i still think its there.
Hebrews 11:4 (ASV) By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which (his end of the blood oath) he had witness borne to him that he was righteous, God bearing witness in respect of his gifts: and through it he being dead yet speaketh. (insertions mine)
Hebrews 12:24 (ASV) and to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaketh better than that of Abel.
During his message in Hebrews, one of the points he was making is that through Israel, the new covenant was made perfect.
although the original (Adam)covenant and "first" covenant to Israel, i consider to be closely melded together, i do recognize the exclusiveness that Israel had over their fathers.
Hebrews 9:15-20 (ASV)15 And for this cause he is the mediator of a new covenant, that a death having taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first covenant, they that have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. 16 For where a testament is, there must of necessity be the death of him that made it. 17 For a testament is of force where there hath been death: for it doth never avail while he that made it liveth. 18 Wherefore even the first covenant hath not been dedicated without blood. 19 For when every commandment had been spoken by Moses unto all the people according to the law, he took the blood of the calves and the goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, 20 saying, This is the blood of the covenant which God commanded to you-ward.
see? where there is a testement there is also a testor (sacrifical death).
we are under a new blood oath, the second covenant made to Israel (spiritual), the new covenant, much like the first one given to Adam (by faith), and much like the first one given to Israel, but with no regulations and Mosaic law with carnal ordinances. those were part of that bilateral covenant only. the 10 commandments are unilateral, like the command "thou shalt not eat the fruit thereof", its not a mutual agreement, Adam has no choice but to obey, or else, death.
All were saved by faith though. Heb 11. That unilateral covenant was a test to Adam's faith and obedience.
except, before Christ's death, they (all men) were to believe that God would make the payment of the blood oath, and we are to believe that he already did pay it. same salvation through faith, in all three blood covenants.
January 06, 2011 at 06:24 PM
I think you've got me on the Hebrews 8 and 9 passages. (And, by extension, on the Jeremiah and Isaiah passages quoted there.)
I was, essentially, trying to identify the Old Covenant with the Law and the New Covenant with the Gospel. But I think you are right that the Hebrews passages you mention are speaking of something else. There it seems that the Old Covenant is referring to the sacramental system as it existed before Christ and the New Covenant to the sacramental system as it exists now in the time of Christ. In essence, suggesting that both covenants are about the means of Grace. Given this way of making the distinction, then, I agree with you that the Old Covenant started shortly after the Fall.
(The Law, of course, was still present before the Fall in God's command about the trees that I mentioned above).
I'm still not seeing the bilateral vs. unilateral issue. It seems to me that the priests couldn't offer the sacrifices unless God first gave it to them to do so. And in the case of circumcision, the point is palpable. The 8-day old baby is not performing on his side of any covenant, yet he becomes part of it. This can only be because God gives it to him unilaterally to be part of the covenant.
January 09, 2011 at 02:52 AM
"(The Law, of course, was still present before the Fall in God's command about the trees that I mentioned above).
I'm still not seeing the bilateral vs. unilateral issue. "
sorry i just now seen your response, but i'll try to clarify on the unilateral vs. bilateral.
i see a distinct difference in the two stemming from the way the relationship is formed, between the two parties.
a unilateral covenant is tied to the choice of the 2nd party. do, and do not are the choices. BUT, notice the promise is not contingent on the choice, this has to be clear. the promise is there, no matter the choice, it was the Creator's prerogative to establish the promise according to His will. so the choice doesnt make light of the promise, the promise makes light of the choice....
God's unilateral promise to Abraham made light of Abraham's choices (his faith). It was God's will and prerogative to promise what he did. God's foreknowledge still says that He made this promise before Abraham was born, so the promise was still made before Abraham carried out his choices, not the other way around. This truth is often looked over.
a bilateral covenant offers no choice to the 2nd party: You do this, and i will do that. The covenant offers no choice, even though choices are made. this at first looks counter intuitive, but really there is no other option. "this" has to happen, before "that" does, no way around it. so in context of the covenant becoming a reality, no option but the one agreed upon, can "make it so".
let me expand on the bilateral issue. it may seem like there is indeed a choice being offered, but there isnt. when the "if" is not done, neither is the "then". thats not a choice, thats simply a "no deal".
"if" you be my people, "then" i will be your God. do note though, this is in the context of corporate agreement, not personal.
but the same bilateral covenant is still offered to the individual. "if" you believe(faith through obedience) that i will pay your "wages of sin", "then" i will. this was the first blood oath. the oath(by extension its participants) is dictating the outcome.
note: even though there is no choice, in the way i described up above, we do ultimately choose. Through our desires and motives, we either agree, or forfeit our end of the blood oath (hence the name). which means we pay our own wages of Sin (as agreed upon), which is the second death.
i call the 10 commandments, God's Law. They are all statements of commands. "thou shalt not murder" is direct and unwavering. it was His prerogative that this be Law, according to His will.
remember the "do" or "do not" relationship? this is what binds us to God's law, this relationship is what will be witness either for, or against us.
now.... either doing, or not doing those commandments will be evident by our obedience through faith (of the blood oath). so whether we follow the Law, there is a choice. But being under the Law, there is no choice. Thats why salvation (blood oath) is needed. His grace is a gift to us if we accept it.
But against the blood oath, there is no choice. failure to do our end, means a failure to see the other end carried out.
The Law you mentioned in the Garden, before Sin, was all that was needed in the Garden. Does that make sense?
It represented the only thing that was needed, to ensure perpetual "good standing" in the Garden of Eden. Remember there was no Sin for a time in the Garden. This one rule, kept that good standing in check.
So, just as the 10 commandments are used, these things are the only things needed, to ensure a perpetual good standing, in a world with Sin.
consider what Jesus says here, and think about what the 10 commandments represent...
Matthew 22:34-40 (ASV)34 But the Pharisees, when they heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, gathered themselves together. 35 And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question, trying him: 36 Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law? 37 And he said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second like unto it is this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. 40 On these two commandments the whole law hangeth, and the prophets.
the first 4 commandments can be said to show how to love God.
the last 6 commandments can be said to show how to love your neighbor.
Jesus' words ring truth, because what he just explained in a couple of sentences(which i loved about Him), is the boiled down essence of the 10 commandments.
January 09, 2011 at 10:35 PM
The comments to this entry are closed.