Meredith Kline, Kingdom Prologue, Lecture 9
††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† © 2012, Dr. Meredith Kline and Ted Hildebrandt
The ancient Near Eastern texts parallel to Genesis
††††††††††† There are documents which not only parallel one event like the flood or something like that but you have documents, for example, like the Atrahasis Epic which includes that whole outline. So what we have in Genesis 1 through 11 is something that is found in other ancient texts. This whole question comes up: which one was first? There are some striking similarities between the biblical account, letís say of the flood and the account of the flood that you get in something like the Gilgamesh epic in the eleventh tablet. Is the Bible borrowing from the Gilgamesh epic?† The biblical account is the later one.
††††††††††† Once again I think the only way to treat it is to recognize that these events really happened. †Letís say that here is the creation of man, the alienation of man, and hereís the flood. These things really happened and there was a true pristine account of those things that was handed down. Finally, you come to Moses and he records them in Genesis 1 through 11.
††††††††††† Meanwhile, there were all kinds of perverted versions of this real history that were circulating in the world. Some of these happened to be available to us because we come upon these documents. Some of these perverted versions are earlier than Moses. So how do we explain them? With some, even the language is strikingly similar.† Has Moses borrowed it from that and therefore is it just useless mythology? No, I think the way to see it is that these accounts, like this one, are perversions of the true version which was being handed down among Godís people until finally it finds its deposit in Genesis 1 through 11. They are perversions of it but nevertheless give an essential outline of human history. This essential outline of the alienation of man from God and the development of the City of Man, and the flood, that basic outline, wasn't lost from the raceís memory. But it was picked up and formulated in these other documents. So the basic outline is the same. Along with the basic similarity, however, what we should note, of course, is the tremendous theological differences between the two.
††††††††††† So the fact that a biblical text is a little later than something that is going on in the world out there and has certain evidence even of reflecting the language of it doesn't mean thatís the ultimate source of these things though God and his true tradition here is the ultimate sign. In other words, that kind of question keeps coming up all over the place and taking your position reminds us that God originated the covenant form.
††††††††††† Other things relating now to this pattern maybe okay.† Along then with the documents that were so strikingly like those in the Bible, the ceremony of covenant ratification was also very similar. The text would be read and there would be sacrifices, animals would be slain.† As we said last time, so much was the oath and the curse of the covenant an essential part of the arrangement that the particular ritual of dramatizing the curse whereby you took an animal and killed it became the idiom for making a covenant. So in Hebrew karat berit meant to ďcut a covenantĒ is the way to say ďto make a covenantĒ referring to the slaying of an animal that was part of that. So in these rituals thatís the kind of thing that would be taken, an animal would be taken.
Covenant donkey and cutting a covenant
††††††††††† Here is one little interesting detail that you might find helpful because thereís a little pattern in Messianic prophecy later on. In one text that comes from the site of Mari on the upper Euphrates from about the eighteenth century B.C. there is a text where an officer of the king is reporting back to him that he has been engaged in the ratification of a treaty between a couple of subordinate parties. What is interesting is his description of the cutting up of the animal symbolizing the curse that would befall either party to the covenant that broke their covenant oath. He says that they sacrificed a particular kind of donkey itís a colt of a she-ass. But it was a particular breed of donkey that was the one that would serve to make the covenant, and not just any animal, but this is the one you would have to use.
††††††††††† Now whatís interesting about that is that striking little expression that particular description of that particular breed is found in Genesis 49 and in Zechariah 9 and in the account that in translated form is reflected in Jesusí triumphal entry into Jerusalem. In Genesis 49 it appears in Jacobís blessing on Judah where heís speaking about the Messianic line that is going to be in Judah and in mysterious closing verses of that around verse 11, I guess it is, he makes mention that in the Messianic age there will be this equivalent Hebrew expression of this particular kind of a donkey will be tethered to the vine. Then you come to Zechariah 9 which is an exposition of Genesis 49. Here is where then you read about this same kind of a donkey ďand behold your king,Ē the Messianic king comes and ďyou rejoice, O Jerusalem, behold your king comes.Ē It describes him lowly and afflicted and so on, ďriding upon,Ē and here is this covenant donkey, the kind of a donkey that would be used to ratify a covenant. Thatís the significance of it. So that when you come to the story of the triumphal entry and you're preaching and you're trying to explain why is it that Jesus comes riding into Jerusalem, the point is not simply the donkey is a peaceful animal and it expresses humility against proud arrogance of someone riding on a horse. The magnificent point is Jesus comes riding, he's the lamb of God, and he comes riding on the donkey of God, the covenant donkey. This is the donkey that is going to shed its blood to be sacrificed and thatís exactly what Jesus is doing. Thatís what the donkey says in that passage.
††††††††††† So hereís that kind of little detail part of the continuing parallelism, some illumination of Scripture you wouldnít be looking for in an ancient text and low and behold something like that.
††††††††††† Student question
response:† Thatís the only place that Iím familiar with that one text speaking
about covenant ratification that mentions the donkey. It is the only reference
Iím familiar with outside of the Bible.
††††††††††† Student question.
response:† Yes, it is something related to treaty diplomacy. So along with the
documents then there were rituals in each case that were similar. Then you know
this parallel again brings up this same problem: †Is God dependent on things
that are out there in his own dealing with his own people in the way we are
describing. What weíre saying is, yes, he sovereignly makes the instruments
available and he uses them.
††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Covenant Renewal
††††††††††† Now let me
just go on. Here a treaty relationship is made between the great king and his
vassal.† Now that the relationship is established, how does it work itself out?
From time to time there would be need for these covenants to be renewed. Theyíd
have to be renewed.† One occasion for a covenant renewal was that a vassal
might break the covenant and he had to be dealt with. Then after heíd be dealt
with maybe there was a possibility of renewing the covenant. †
††††††††††† Another occasion that would call for a renewal of the covenant was when one of the two principals, here you have the great king and he's making the covenant with the vassal king who, of course, represents his people. But when one of these two parties would die then obviously there was a need to renew that covenant. This is very important when we come to the book of Deuteronomy. Someoneís going to die as the occasion for the book of Deuteronomy is Moses. It was his last year, this is the last day of his life and Godís about to take him up. Heís going to die and Godís going to take him. Moses who is in the opening section of Deuteronomy the one who represents the Lord, the great king. Now the Lordís official representative is about to die and before he dies, so that there shouldn't be turmoil and chaos about the succession, God has selected Mosesí successor. Of course, it is Joshua who has been Mosesí minister over these years. †Joshuaís to be the successor. †That is the central point of this covenant renewal which we have in the book of Deuteronomy. It is to assure that Israel will be ready to accept Joshua as Mosesí successor.
††††††††††† Thatís the explanation to some key things that are in the book like the 27th chapter. Whatís going on there is reflected in one of the ancient treaties. This one does happen to come from the Assyrian empire but we have a treaty where Esarhaddon doesnít have long to live. So he gets his vassal people together and he exacts from them a commitment to one of his sons whom he has selected to be his successor. The key line in the thing is that when he, the king of Assyria, dies then this succession arrangement will be in force. Then, of course, the treaty commitment to accept his appointed successor will take place. But when the king dies is when the treaty becomes effective.
††††††††††† Now the whole thing in Deuteronomy is Moses is about to die. It sets things up so that Israel will accept Joshua. Then you come to chapter 34 and, of course, this is the puzzler when you talk about the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch. †Moses didn't write the account of his death did he? No he didnít. But why then is that account of his death tacked on there? Because thatís the thing that sort of notarized this whole deal. Whoever added it whether Joshua or the high priest or someone else takes this treaty and appends the notice that shows that now it is effective because the king, the representative of the great king has died. Now itís time to accept Joshua as his successor. So now not just the original documents show parallelism but the ongoing administration of biblical covenants show parallels to whatís going on over here.
and the Prophets
††††††††††† Finally, thereís something in treaty diplomacy that explains the whole phenomenon of biblical prophecy. When we have a question of prophecy, hopefully we will have a course on the prophets here, thatís one of the things I try to emphasize is that the role of the biblical prophets fits into this whole scheme of covenant administration where we find that when vassals broke their terms of their covenant that they were not immediately clobbered but there would be a lawsuit that would be instituted that would go through a couple of stages. The first stage would be where the great king would send his ambassadors, his representatives, or his lawyers to remind the people of the danger that theyíre in because they had violated the stipulations. Now they are in danger of the curses which they themselves by solemn oath invoked upon themselves. Then mend your ways and if you don't then, of course, the lawsuit is going to move into its second stage which will be the rendering of the word of doom and will be followed up by the troops that will come and so forth.
††††††††††† Now when you read the prophets and you find so very much in the pages of the prophets is precisely that the prophets are Godís lawyers. †Israel has broken the covenant and he sends them. Youíll see that there are like the two stages and in the early stage heís warning them and thereís this call to repentance and so on. Then at last I come to the closing pages of 2 Chronicles 36 which is summing up this whole history of Godís lawsuit through the prophets.† It says how God sent to them continually through his messengers, his angels, his prophets, ďcalling to them to repentance and they would not until there was no remedy.Ē Very tragic language there. There was no longer Godís forbearance he had reached his limits. There was no more remedy. Then he sends his forces from the east. Heís enacted the curses from the covenant. But the whole function of the prophets corresponds to whatís going on in the Near Eastern world. A lot of the language of the lawsuit of the Near Eastern ambassadors can be reconstructed. Again we find a lot of close literary parallels with language in the biblical prophets. So this is a whole area you can see where the study of ancient Near Eastern sources, and particularly the treaties, sheds a tremendous light on the Bible.
††††††††††† Okay, I think Iíll let that go. I wonít get into the higher critical theories. I said something earlier that the forms of the second millennium treaties are the ones that correspond to the treaties that the Bible says come from Moses which is what we would expect. Whereas if you come now down from the first millennium treaties there are big differences. They no longer have the historical prologue. They no longer have any blessing sanctions, only curse sanctions. Thereís no appeal to gratitude or anything like that, itís just raw brute strength. †There is a completely different spirit about them as well as certain differences in the outline. So itís rather significant then in Exodus which we call the ďTen Commandments.Ē †Look at the book of Deuteronomy, it corresponds to the early second millennium forms of the treaty not to the first millennium form. This completely contradicts tons of stuff that modern Old Testament critics have been turning out on the origin of these books.
††††††††††† I donít know what time it is but maybe some among us can resort to the coffee pot. Why donít we take five minutes and do that.
Covenants of Grace and Common Grace
††††††††††† The glory of the kingdom and the people for whom the Son came into the world, indeed, what the Son basically committed himself to do was to enter into the world as a second Adam and to fulfill the task that the first Adam failed to accomplish. As the Son whose incarnation is victory over Satan and so on he fulfilled that. Then in his resurrection and ascension he began to receive the reward of his obedience. Part of that, of course, was that he should receive the Holy Spirit by whom he should win through history and elect people for himself.† That process whereby he shares his glory with the people whom he calls out of the world by his Holy Spirit through the earth is then the Covenant of Grace. Itís the covenant of the Lord with the church. So these two are related in that way. It is as a reward for his service as the Son. In that eternal covenant the Son is a servant. So because he fulfills his probationary task he now receives the honor of functioning as the Lord--the Lord now, of this covenant which he administers through history and in which we then put together what theologians call the Covenant of Grace. Although as we read through the Bible we find itís being administered in a whole series of covenants there from the fall with the consummation of the world.
††††††††††† Now as we follow that then, well letís follow this thing. †Here is this eternal covenant.† Here now is this Covenant of Grace in history whereby Godís kingdom is being administered. Then to fill out our chart, along with the covenant with Adam before this, between the fall and the consummation we would also want to include the Covenant of Common Grace. So this is the Covenant of Saving Grace and then thereís the Covenant of Common Grace that is found within this. Now weíre not going tonight then to be dealing a lot with that but just to explain it. This is an arrangement as we noted when we were talking about definitions of covenant that does not involve God setting aside a holy family from the midst of the earth. Nor does it envisage that in terms of this covenant that Godís holy kingdom is going to be bestowed on anyone. That happens under the Covenant of Grace. In the Covenant of Grace God is setting aside a particular holy people for himself. What is envisaged is that they should at last inherit the kingdom of glory in heaven.
††††††††††† The Covenant of Common Grace is not something that gets consummated that way. The Covenant of Common Grace is something that gets terminated. The terms of the covenant there in Genesis 9 where you do find this arrangement covenantalized is that as long as the earth endures. The part of the arrangement of common grace involves the stability of nature that seasons will follow one another in an appropriate way there will not be such a devastating disaster like the flood again and so on. This is an arrangement then that God says will endure. †These particular guarantees of the stability of nature along with the other benefits especially following the institution of the state that God sets up as a place of common political coexistence of believers and unbelievers together. That whole arrangement will continue, it will serve its purpose as sort of a platform on which the history of redemption can work its way out. But itís only an interim arrangement. It provides instead of all hell breaking loose at the fall and the stars falling from their courses and the sun darkening.† Instead of that, God keeps the ultimate curse of hell in check. †How does he keep it in check? He keeps it in check by means of his common grace. By his common grace he provides some historical space, a chunk of space, an opportunity within which his eternal purposes then can work themselves out. So the common grace arrangement is a theater, itís a platform, itís a space in which common grace can make its way. But common grace itself doesn't bring in the kingdom. When the time comes it gets terminated. The earth and the works that are therein that man has produced by the City of Man by virtue of Godís common grace, all of this will be destroyed in order to make way for the kingdom of heaven to come in, to consummate and to crown the history of the covenant of grace. So thatís the overall pattern then of covenants and as we move along we will be dealing with them separately.
††††††††††† This is the sphere of the holy coming into the fallen, profane, world outside the Eden. Eden itself is holy. Outside of Eden itís profane, not holy. Adam and Eve are driven out of the holy place obviously therefore theyíre not going to be put into another holy place. Theyíve forfeited that, theyíre disqualified. So theyíre outside of Eden, east of Eden which is the whole world thatís common, thatís profane. Then by means of his redemptive program God intrudes. Iíll be using the word ďintrusionĒ in connection to this from time to time. God intrudes into the common world, this principle of holiness and thatís what characterizes that sphere.
††††††††††† What do we mean by common? By common for one thing we mean the non-holy. Thatís not the equivalent of evil or illegitimate or something like that. Itís just non-holy. What happens in this sphere which is the whole sphere of cultural activity therefore is non-holy. This of course, has large implications then of how we understand the nature and function of the state and all of kinds of other such things. Thatís the nature of this common grace era. It is common in the sense that it is shared both by believers and unbelievers. Secondly, †itís common in the sense that itís the sphere of the non-holy. You and I are engaged in both of these things. We are engaged in the church, in the covenant community--the holy. We are also engaged in common grace. It is common not just unbelievers, itís shared by both believers and nonbelievers. So we are engaged in this area, the area of culture, the area say of the state and the family and so on. Although itís non-holy we do it as unto the Lord but that doesn't change it.
††††††††††† This area is still non-holy but to recognize that then keeps us from projecting upon our cultural activities that are upon the state that we belong to utopian expectations. The kingdom of God is not going to come through this sphere of general culture, thatís the old liberal gospel that the kingdom of God is coming from out there in the world apart from Christ. Oh no, the kingdom of God, the holy kingdom of God, is coming only through Christ. We shouldnít therefore be expecting, or as I say, projecting on the kingdom of God utopian identification and expectations on whatís going on out there in that sphere.
††††††††††† This is not the kingdom of God, we shouldn't be talking about our activities outside of the church as kingdom activities as goes on, of course, all the time in our circles. For example, you run a school, an education program and you're told thatís kingdom activity. This is not kingdom activity this is common grace activity and that kingdom of God, the Holy kingdom of God, is developing only in terms of this. Everything you do you do as a service for the king over all of these realms, in ultimate reality. So everything you do whether in the holy or the non-holy you do as a service for the king but not everything you do is a developing of the kingdom. This is the developing of the kingdom. Okay, so these are some of the themes we address as we move along.
Covenant of Works: Adam and Christ
††††††††††† But now let that suffice as an overview of the whole covenant scheme. Now we come back to a major problem that we got to at the end of our discussion last time. The covenant with Adam here which we called a Covenant of Works. The Covenant of Works with the first Adam. Then, as a matter of fact, there was another Covenant of Works as we said between the Father and the Son envisaged as coming into the world as a second Adam as one other place along the line where this principle of works emerges. Letís take again that line we were just tracing between the fall and the consummation, the line of the Covenant of Grace. Now here is Christ then administering his blessings to his people calling them out of the world by his Holy Spirit. He comes into the world at his incarnation in the fullness of time here and yet his administering of the Covenant of Grace, heís bestowing of the Holy Spirit, heís winning a people for himself, his establishment of a covenant on the earth, already has begun back there right after the fall and throughout history.
Covenants of Grace
††††††††††† As we said this overarching Covenant of Grace gets subdivided into a whole series of covenants leading up to the New Covenant preceded by the Old Covenant preceded by the Abrahamic covenant and the Noahic covenant and so on and so on down the line.
††††††††††† Now here is a whole series of ways in which Christ organizes the covenant people that are being called out of the world to faith in him either as the Messiah to come or as the Messiah who has come. What we find--letís pick it up after the flood, on then this is all ultimately leading to the great eternal theocratic kingdom of God where it will not just be a matter of Godís spiritual presence and reign within the hearts of people but it will involve the whole cosmos--the new heavens and the new earth.
††††††††††† The kingdom of God will take shape as a geophysical and geopolitical entity. It has this physical cosmic context to it. Is that the case now during the church age? Hereís the first coming of Christ. Hereís the second coming of Christ. There is no millennium after that second coming. The millennium happens to be now but weíll discuss that later. But after the second coming, here is the eternal kingdom of God, and here is the church age now. Does the church exist as a geopolitical entity? No, it doesn't. Itís not identified with earthly turf, it is a time when Christ is king and he is ruling but he's ruling by his Holy Spirit within our hearts. But here is a church building and so on. We, as the covenant community, do not constitute an earthly kingdom or nation. We shouldn't have been pretentious along that line, we shouldn't have been making attempts along that line. We are a purely cultic community. We donít have, we don't possess, geographical terrain as being the ultimate jurisdiction in any such thing. So we don't exist as an earthly kingdom right now.
††††††††††† Nor did Abraham in his day. Hereís the patriarchal period, Genesis 12-15. Abraham has the promises of the kingdom but meanwhile he is a pilgrim and he practices pilgrim politics. He doesn't act as if he has any earthly power and precede to dispose the king simply because God said this land was ultimately going to be yours. No, he functions in terms of common grace. During this period Abraham is functioning in a way where he recognizes that he belongs to the time of common grace. In the time of common grace nonbelievers have the same economic political rights as you. †When Abraham needs a piece of land to bury his wife, he just canít go to Ephron the Hittite and say ďoff with your head, you have the land I want Iím going to take it from you.Ē †It doesn't work that way. †So he has to deal in terms of common grace and bargain and so on for a piece of land. He practices pilgrim politics.
The Kingdomís intrusion into the Covenant of Grace
††††††††††† If heís engaged in a military affair he makes covenants with the military forces around him to expel the kings who have come from the east (Genesis 14). See this is his nature during this period. Then all of a sudden when you get beyond kingdom prologue when you move beyond the book of Genesis, now we come to the book of Exodus. Now the kingdom comes. Now the Abrahamic promises Godís promise to a kingdom people, land, and king; they all come to pass. They come to expression in the form of an earthly kingdom such as we said we do not have though any longer in the church. But thatís precisely what you had in the form of Israel, the kingdom of God in the land of Canaan.
††††††††††† Here the kingdom of God was identified with a specific geophysical reality--the land of Canaan from the river Euphrates to the brook of Egypt and so on, as the promises of Abraham define that particular land and with a mandate of conquest. You no longer make covenants with your Amorite and Canaanite neighbors. You go in and you wipe them out. You destroy them. You may not make covenants with them any longer. You need a piece of land you donít buy it from Ephron the Hittite you kill him and take it. This is the conquest, this is the holy war. Thatís what happens at the end of historyóan intrusion with a vengeance, common grace up to that point. Up to that point unbelievers are allowed certain rights within this world. They can have their property, they can have their political rights and so on, until God says the doors are closed. Thatís what final judgment is, thatís what the return of Christ is all about, and thatís the end of common grace. Thatís the end of all rights that belong to those who know not God and believe not the gospel. Now Jesus comes against all of those taking vengeance and destroying them and sending them to hell. Thatís the way in which the eternal theocracy gets established by the introduction now of final judgment which is the opposite of whatís going on in terms of common grace. The amazing thing is now that here in Israel this is precisely what was going on. †
††††††††††† God pedagogically is presenting a historical parable for the eyes of all people of what he intends to do through Jesus Christ at last. So this gets intruded into history in the form of the Israelite nation. Canaan wasnít heaven but it was a prototype of heaven. So for the time being the covenant community was organized as a geopolitical, as an earthly nation. Just as the eternal kingdom is introduced by the Messianic final judgment, so the old kingdom, the prototype kingdom, likewise was introduced by an act of Messianic judgment in which God took away the common grace rights, not of the whole world, but within that particular sphere that he defined. God said, ďthis is mine.Ē He carves out by eminent domain, a piece of territory that he says now this is going to be my kingdom. This is holy unto me. In order to take it, I deny the normal common grace rights of the Canaanites who were there. So you shouldnít try to justify what the Israelites did to do to the Canaanites in terms of common grace procedures such as might be going on in the United Nations or so on. In terms of United Nations procedures, Israel is the aggressor, the murderers and so on in that thing. But the Israelites were not murderers, were not aggressors because common grace ethics situation had been annulled at that point. Just as God is the sovereign one and he can decide when permanently universally heís going to annul common grace. He can and heís going to do that and you shouldnít argue with him about that unless youíre ready to argue with the ethics of God.
††††††††††† Nor should you argue with him then if he has seen fit to anticipate the kingdom in this type of local situation in Israel. Thatís the explanation of the so called ethical problems in the Old Testament. You shouldn't try to whitewash them and say nothing is different and nothing is going on, itís totally different. Whatís going on there is totally different than what Godís people should normally be doing. Normally we should be praying for our enemies not killing them. But here the unbelievers are killed off because this whole thing here is a typological situation
††††††††††† Student question.
response:† Well this continues to be an administration of the covenant of grace
just as the final judgment and introduction of †heaven will be an
administration of the covenant of grace. Even though it involves the fact that
the judgment of our enemies is part of our redemption. Weíre not just redeemed
from the wrath of God, weíre redeemed from the coils of the devil and the
hostility of the hoards of the devil that he thrusts against the church. The
antichrist, Magog and so on thatís part of our redemption, thatís part of the
covenant of grace. Is that what youíre asking?
††††††††††† Student question.
††††††††††† Klineís response:† What Iím saying is that our situation today is in many respects much more like the Abrahamic covenant than it is immediately preceding Israelite conquest.
††††††††††† Student question
††††††††††† Klineís response:† Yes, thatís right--the normal common grace. Exactly, thatís nicely put. Only this eschatological reality is still typological, it wasnít heaven actually, of course. It came in as Hebrews 4 points out not as the real Sabbath land. It was only the prototype but in terms of the principle involved itís the abrogating of the normal common grace arrangements in order to express this eschatological reality
††††††††††† Now what Iím trying to get at then is that this is an utterly unique thing thatís going on in Israel. Itís not going on today, it wasnít going on before that. Just while weíre at it, if we used squares to represent the theocracy thereís the eternal new heavens and new earth--the big cosmic universal square. In Israel thereís another one, the kingdom of God, the covenant community organized as a kingdom of God. The kingdom of God intruded into history. Thereís one other such intrusion in history thatís why I said letís start after the flood. The flood was a one year intrusion. Israel represents this intrusion for hundreds of years when that situation existed on earth.
The Flood as an Intrusion
††††††††††† Now the flood is exactly the same thing, the same principals about intrusion and final judgment and the establishing of Godís kingdom.† This also comes to expression in the episode of the flood. Remember we talked about how Peter described the whole history of the world that then was? So we came to the point of typological fulfillment. Now weíre in the world that now is and the world that then was culminated in an experience where once again the common grace rights of all the peoples of the world where at least the flood applied were denied them. They were all destroyed and there was life only within the ark and the ark itself in terms of its architectural form etc. etc. is symbolic of Godís cosmic temple. Weíll discuss it later on. So thereís another example of the kingdom of God coming in the form of an outward kingdom namely the ark but otherwise apart from that little one year exception, apart from Israel, Godís people are organized not as an external geopolitical entity.
Unity and Diversity of the Covenant
††††††††††† So here we are in Israel. Now weíre talking about works and we said there was a covenant of works with Adam. Thereís this eternal covenant of works with the Father and the Son. Hereís the third place now where we encounter this in the Torah covenant, in the law covenant, in the Mosaic covenant, in the old covenant-- whichever of †these terms you want. We encounter this complex reality where hereís the bottom line, hereís this covenant of grace. This is how Christ is winning individuals to himself, how they are earning the right to heaven, namely by faith in Christ. So how do individuals get to the ultimate heaven over here? Itís in terms of Christ, of course, and the cross and faith. Thatís the bottom line of the Mosaic covenant. It isn't that the Mosaic covenant is just this outward typological kingdom. It, of course, includes the one way of salvation through Christ which is always the case after the fall.
††††††††††† So weíre not denying that. Weíre emphasizing that weíre covenant theologians. We believe in the unity of all the redemptive covenants. We do not believe in the unity of all covenants. We in fact insist and thatís one of the points weíll not be† making. We will be insisting on a big difference between the Covenant of Works with Adam and the Covenant of Grace that follows. But we believe in the unity of all redemptive covenants. They're all unified by having one way of salvation which is Christ.
Three features of Israelís Covenant
††††††††††† Now, however, we come to this strange thing where God anticipates heaven with this typological kingdom. So here is that typological kingdom and in connection with it we have the principle of works introduced.† So that you might say that there are three features when youíre thinking about Israel and this whole phenomenon of the old covenant.
††††††††††† There are three things that belong to this period. Theyíre are mutually conditioning. Theyíre packets you don't have one without the other. You always have these things together. †The first is the national election of Israel. Israel as a nation is elected to this particular historical privilege. Theyíre representing God and possessing the land that God claims for himself and having his temple and his presence among them. Israel experiences a national election.
††††††††††† Now this is not the same as individual election. Individual election is functioning here on this bottom line, of course, with this covenant of grace. But this is the national election of Israel. This is a corporate election. This is not election to heaven, this is an election through this particular experience that lasted from Moses to Christ. So thatís the first feature, national election.
††††††††††† The second feature then is that the national election is as I just said, election to enjoy the typological kingdom. Not to inherit heaven but to possess the typological kingdom. Now we come to the third one and what is the principle whereby this national elect people are going to continue to enjoy Godís blessings.
Transcribed by Kimberly Sandiford
††††††††††† Rough edited by Ted Hildebrandt