Of Red Cats and Republication

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R. Scott Clark

Puritan Board Senior
A PB member has posted a PB blog post suggesting that my views regarding the question of whether the Mosaic covenant was a "republication" of the covenant of works might have changed.

I was unable to comment there so I will comment here.

1) The ethics of the post. I hadn't logged on to the PB for several days and when I did this AM I saw that I had two private messages asking whether this blog post was correct. It might have been helpful for the author of the post to write to ask whether my views have changed before posting the hypothesis but since the post is up and public it seems to call for some sort of response. To the best of my limited knowledge I am not dead and since 80 bazillion spammers seem to be able to find my email address I'm surprised that the author of the blog post could not do so.

2) My views. To the best of my limited knowledge, my views have not changed. For anyone who knows the history of Reformed (covenant) theology, the idea that the Mosaic covenant was, in some sense, a re-statement of the covenant made with Adam before the fall, is entirely ordinary.

3) This history of the doctrine. Through the history of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries there were several versions of the view expressed in a wide variety of ways. In no way did any of those views imply that the Mosaic covenant was not also an administration of the covenant of grace or that justification under the Mosaic covenant was by works. The older Reformed writers spoke thus as a way of accounting for the relatively more legal quality of the Mosaic covenant relative to the Abrahamic and New covenants.

The suspicion with which all versions of the idea of the republication is an indicator of the degree to which we have become disconnected from our own tradition(s). Another explanation for the hostility that exists is the rise of dispensationalism. In react to Dispensationaism some of our theologians, in the 20th century, either ignored or rejected any doctrine of republication in the interests of asserting continuity between the old and new covenants.

The sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Reformed faced a similarly radical disjunction in the form of the Anabaptist and Socinian movements, both of whom, in different ways, set the Old (in the broad sense) and New Testaments against each other. It is interesting, however, that the sixteenth- and seventeenth-century theologians did not react the Anabaptists and Socinians by denying any connection whatever between Moses (Sinai) and Adam (the covenant of works).

One of the first places I encountered this allegedly dangerous doctrine of republication was in my study of Caspar Olevianus (d. 1587), one of the major Heidelberg theologians and a contributor to the Heidelberg Catechism.

These themes are interwoven through his 1567 Vester Grund. He began with Adam as the federal head of humanity in whom the law was “implanted” as a matter of “human nature” and it was this law that was “repeated and renewed in God’s Commandments.” The law promised eternal life condition of perfect inward and outward obedience. He was working with the same ideas that would become the covenants of works and grace. In contrast with the legal covenant, the covenant of grace is found in the “Surety who completely satisfies the just judgment of God for us.” He described the creational law as the “knowledge of God naturally implanted” and “the work of the law by nature written on the heart” so that sin is “against the law of nature.” He identified the substance of the “law of nature” known by the Gentiles with the decalogue revealed to the Jews. The itself is righteous, but because humans are fallen in Adam and therefore corrupt, the law of nature, like the law of Moses, is adequate to convict but never to justify.

The theme of the republication of the creational law under Moses was closely related to his developing doctrine of a natural, legal, prelpsarian covenant. Indeed, his discussions of the creational law often move fluidly into discussions of the Mosaic law, which he described as the “foedus legale.” In his explanation of our inability to observe the Mosaic law, he correlated it to obligation to obey “the law of creation” (ius creationis) and then he moved immediately back to the discussion of the Mosaic law and circumcision. This natural obligation is written on human minds and on the two tables of the law. The law, whether published in creation, in the “natural pact,” or under Moses, demands perfect obedience and convicts the unrighteous of their sin and prepares them to hear the gospel and to receive it by faith.


Franciscus Junius (d. 1602) did essentially the same thing. Within the general framework of the unity of the covenant of grace, he described in some detail the legal, typological, and pedagogical aspects of the Mosaic covenant the “scope” of which was teach the Israelites to repent and to look forward to Christ.


Robert Rollock (d. 1598) also saw the creational law and covenant republished, under Moses, in the Decalogue, and as for Olevianus, this republication served as a proof of the existence of a prelapsarian covenant of works. This list could, of course, continue but this material is to appear in print sometime in the next decade or so (Dv).


Indeed, one of the oddest parts of the recent reaction against any version of the old doctrine of republication is that the classical authors regularly appealed to the legal character of the Mosaic covenant in order to prove the existence of the prelapsarian covenant of works. This connection helps explain why WCF ch 19 re-states ch 7 on the covenant of works and then moves, in the next section, to the law under the Mosaic covenant. That's why Thomas Boston said that it was impossible for him to understand how some people could not see the doctrine of republication in ch 19.


Another partial explanation for the reaction against republication is the suspicion with which the historic and confessional doctrine of the prelapsarian covenant of works has been viewed since Barth's rejection of it. It's not the case that everyone who rejects the covenant of works is a Barthian but it is true that Barth's influence changed the plausibility of the covenant of works. Rhetorically it seemed much better to be in favor of "grace" rather than "works" in a time when "works" was being characterized as "legalistic" and "grace" was being characterized positively.

3) The blog post however is a quite useful illustration of the problem of the a priori, i.e., stuff one knows must be true before one gets to the facts. If one knows (a priori), apart from the facts, that the next cat one sees will be red, it's likely that the next cat seen will appear red even if, the empirical evidence actually suggests that the cat is a tabby. In this case the a priori seems to be that there is only one way to say something and thus, if the form of expression changes then the doctrine must have changed.

No, the cat is still a tabby.
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
For the record, blog posts (as well as forum posts for that matter) represent the views of the author regardless of the status they have on this board. That said, Scott, I wonder if you you might allow me to ask you a few clarifying questions.
To the best of my limited knowledge, my views have not changed. For anyone who knows the history of Reformed (covenant) theology, the idea that the Mosaic covenant was, in some sense, a re-statement of the covenant made with Adam before the fall, is entirely ordinary.
I assumed you had not changed your views. I think some people assume that when they hear you affirming one thing that you are denying another. The issue is a nuanced one so I appreciate the nuance you add here to help people understand what you're affirming (and not denying).

That said, could you clarify for me whether there is a distinction historically as to how some qualify the idea that the Mosaic law was "in some sense" a republication of the CoW? I think it is axiomatic that all Reformed people have to acknowledge one sense that this is true. That is to say that the Decalogue, as you note, is a more explicit statement of the law written on men's hearts.

What I have read (and in my interactions with more modern variants) the "sense" of the republication that I think might be new is that republication is seen to be a CoW with respect to the Nation and the Land. That is to say, that modern variants seem to create not only a sense of the CoW but state that a real CoW exists between the Nation and the Land - perfect obedience or you lose the land.

In other words, if all republication of the CoW implies is that the Decalogue (in a sense) is an explicit recapitulation of the moral law written on human hearts then that's not very controversial. As you noted, the perfection of the Law has been understood to be in the service of the CoG to drive men to Christ (under the OT sacraments) but was never intended to be the way of salvation. It seems some modern republication theories see the land promise as a "Do this and live..." which would then seem to place a portion of the intention of the Mosaic Covenant (with respect to the nation) outside of the CoG and truly make it a CoW with respect to the nation as a whole. That is to say, the individuals might have the Gospel but the Nation is expected to live and do and there's no Gospel for the Nation as an entity.

I might be stating it crudely. My intention is fraternal dialog and it would be good to get your sense of how accurately I'm describing the concern and the historic support for the idea that the Nation itself was under a CoW.
 

R. Scott Clark

Puritan Board Senior
Rich,

That said, could you clarify for me whether there is a distinction historically as to how some qualify the idea that the Mosaic law was "in some sense" a republication of the CoW?

I think Brent Ferry has found something like 17 different versions in the British Isles alone in the 17th century. Hence the expression, "in some sense."

I think it is axiomatic that all Reformed people have to acknowledge one sense that this is true. That is to say that the Decalogue, as you note, is a more explicit statement of the law written on men's hearts.

I wish that were so. I take it as so but it seems that, for a lot of Reformed folk presently, it's axiomatic that the Mosaic law could not have been a re-statement or republication of the covenant of works in any sense whatever--and this despite the rich variety of approaches to republication within the Reformed tradition(s).

What I have read (and in my interactions with more modern variants) the "sense" of the republication that I think might be new is that republication is seen to be a CoW with respect to the Nation and the Land. That is to say, that modern variants seem to create not only a sense of the CoW but state that a real CoW exists between the Nation and the Land - perfect obedience or you lose the land.

It's true that this view exists but it's not particularly new. This view was held in the 17th century by orthodox men. I suspended the survey above in the early 17th century there's more to the story. See Ferry's chapter (and ThM thesis).

It's probably not entirely correct or perhaps potentially misleading to describe this view using the adjective "real." "Typological" would be more accurate. It is thought to be a covenant of works but not on the same order as the prelapsarian covenant since it's after the fall and under grace. Nevertheless, the tenure in the land and Israel's status as a national people is said to be premised on works as a twofold illustration that looks back to Adam and looks forward to Christ.

Some advocates of this view do tend to stress the legal aspect to the exclusion of grace, at least rhetorically. Others, on the other hand, would try to account both rhetorically and theologically for the covenant of grace.

For myself, I cannot see how, after the fall, the Israelite national covenant could have been strictly legal since a) they were fallen; b) they broke the covenant before Moses made it back down the mountain and nevertheless God entered into a typological relation with them. That God continued any relation with them has to be described as grace. Further, I think there's a strong Reformed consensus in the classical period that the Mosaic covenant was also an administration of the covenant of grace. I don't think is is really in doubt. It is a confessional doctrine.

Nevertheless, the Lord did speak to Israel as if their national status and land tenure was premised on obedience. This is why so many, including Calvin, have described the Mosaic as a legal covenant.

I think that the recognition of Israel's typological role in an ostensibly legal covenant relative to the land and national status while simultaneously functioning as an administration of the covenant of grace is fair attempt to do justice to both the principles of grace and works under Moses-David-prophets.

I can see, however, why that account might bother some so I certainly wouldn't make it a measure of orthodoxy but neither do I think it should be demonized (e.g., as Pelagian) the way it has sometimes been.
 

PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member

First off, Dr. Clark I truly meant no disrespect to you. Concerning the ethics of the post, well, it is what it is. I have tried to contact you before and I am not a spammer. We can just leave it at that. As for the post I am truly working this out as I keep wrestling through this issue and updating my thoughts. I admittedly told everyone on that Blog that I should be questioned and you held in esteem. I am sincerely asking questions and making charges that I might grow in understanding and help others in the same pursuit. Thanks for your patience.

As you know I come from a very inquisitive and challenging background. I am not one to just accept what any historical writer says without much meditation on a topic. I come from a background that dichotomized law and gospel so much that I remained a Reformed Baptist for years and argued for the Republication issue in the vein that a Covenant of Works was reconstituted in some form (More like John Owens or Samuel Bolton's views). I just don't see it any longer as I have noted. I also argued that there was no law involved with the Gospel of Grace in the New Covenant at one time. It was totally unconditional in my estimation. The Gospel was totally void of the implications of law in my understanding. I find that is much of what is being taught today as a modern definition of Gospel. In Fact, I just had a talk with a young man this week that couldn't understand that we are punished as Christians for disobeying the Law of God. He had a problem putting that together since Christ took our full punishment on the Cross, as he put it. This view of Gospel without Grace and Law is leading to an antinomianism in increments. I believe it is dangerous.


Nevertheless, the Lord did speak to Israel as if their national status and land tenure was premised on obedience. This is why so many, including Calvin, have described the Mosaic as a legal covenant.

I see no problem with legality in a Covenant. That doesn't make it a Covenant of Works though in my estimation. The above describes what membership in the Covenant Community looks like in both Testaments. The Church under the Covenant of Grace's administration looks just like this for us as individuals and for our Churches corporately. It doesn't resemble anything like the prelapsarian Covenant of Works. This picture looks like the New and the Old Covenant Dr. Clark. Remember Chapter 2 of Revelation where the Candlestick would be removed (Corporate) . Do you remember the member of the church at Corinth that was handed over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh and in the Second book that member is restored back into fellowship after repentance (Individual). This is New Covenant Community living and abiding. It isn't just Old Covenant. It doesn't seem it can be a Covenant of Works reinstated as these things are doctrines and practices of the New Covenant and Old Covenant as Administrations of the Covenant of Grace. That is precisely why I posted a link to this blog as I believe this is confusing language.

Now since the law that was delivered at Mt. Sinai was the moral law, it is the same law that was given to Adam in the garden. Indeed it is the same law that binds all men in every age as the Confession rightly says. Consequently, it is correct say that part of the content of the covenant of works was republished at Mt. Sinai and for that matter in the new covenant since the moral law is restated there as well. This is what Brent Ferry calls material republication (see TLNF, 91-92). It is important to note, however, that this is republication of the law and not the covenant of works. This is why it is misleading to refer to material republication as a sense of the republication of the covenant of works. There is a difference between law and covenant or at least the Puritans thought there is. In other words, to say that the law (or content of the covenant of works) was republished is different from saying that the covenant of works was republished at Mt. Sinai.
http://www.puritanboard.com/blogs/puritancovenanter/wcf-republication-769/


I have no problem with republication as stated in the fact that the Law is restated. But as you noted it has taken on many different colors, views. My charge is that the Law is not a Covenant of Works in the Sinaitic Covenant because it can't be used the same way as it was in the Prelaparian Covenant.

So back to my original question. Is the Law in Paragraph 2 of Chapter 19 a republication of the Covenant of Works as it was in the Prelapsarian Covenant or is it different? You seemed to suggest something quite different to me in a discussion we had months ago. From what I am hearing now in your revised blog and what you seem to be saying above you seem to be backing away from saying that this law in Paragraph 2 is the Covenant of Works republished (reconstituted). That is how I was hearing you say it before. I may have been mistaken but I did understand you as putting forth the teaching that was discussed in this blog from our discussions and previous writings. I just think you are sounding a bit different now. Maybe a bit more clearer. Maybe the cat is still a tabby but it appears that there is a dye or (peroxide) bleach being applied that wasn't there before. I tried to use bleach one time. I learned you use peroxide. That is part of the problem with this discussion. Words mean things. And I can misapply them as I have done before. Maybe the sun is bleaching the coat of the tabby to make it look a little more adaptable to the color it should look. I am still having problems with many of the things that have been written in the past and I am still trying to sift through them to help the young men I know and myself to avoid such confusion.

In two of your bullet points of the Theses you state that the Mosaic in regards to one thing is an administration of the Covenant of Grace. I used that terminology as a Reformed Baptist who plainly saw this Covenant as a subservient Covenant. But in relation to the law it was a Covenant of Works. Is this what you are saying or implying below?
  1. With regard to the land promise, the Mosaic covenant was, mutandis, for pedagogical reasons (Galatians 3:23-4:7), a republication of the Adamic covenant of works.
  2. With regard to justification and salvation, the Mosaic covenant was an administration of the covenant of grace.
  3. The Israelites were given the land and kept it by grace (2 Kings 13:23) but were expelled for failure to keep a temporary, typical, pedagogical, covenant of works (Genesis 12:7; Exodus 6:4; Deuteronomy 29:19-29; 2 Kings 17:6-7; Ezekiel 17).


I have a question. Do you affirm that the Mosaic is purely an administration of the Covenant of Grace or do you believe it has some form of mixture with a Covenant of Works? Do you affirm that the Mosaic Covenant is a Subservient Covenant? I just want to know where you stand on this issue.

Thanks for your help in allowing me to peer behind your thoughts.
 

PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
Oh, and another thing, I thought I had my blog set up so I could get comments. I have a few. I do have to approve them first. But I do have it set up so I can receive comments I believe. If not I need to know how to set it up for them.
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
Scott,

Thanks for the reply. Very useful.
See Ferry's chapter (and ThM thesis).
I'll look for it.
Some advocates of this view do tend to stress the legal aspect to the exclusion of grace, at least rhetorically. Others, on the other hand, would try to account both rhetorically and theologically for the covenant of grace.
I think it is in the rhetoric where party spirit troubles begin. I think folks tend to draw battle lines and tend to refuse to acknowledge any spectrum of belief over where that sense lies. While there is a tendency to accuse of antinomianism from one side there is a tendency as well to brand the other as legalistic or conflating law and gospel. I think one of the things you might have failed to note in your initial post is that part of the problem stems, therefore, from the rhetoric of some who are identified with a republication view who not only seem to rhetorically repudiate the Law as an administration of the CoG but also label those who fall on a different portion of the spectrum as non-Reformed in their law/gospel views.

I think there are also those who completely cross the line (on both sides) but it's hard to sort out because the rhetoric that typifies the conversation doesn't allow for careful nuance. Within the last 12 years I've seen both extremes on this from Lee Irons as an exemplar of one extreme and the Federal Vision as an exemplar of another. Rhetorically, the dialog gets pushed to the point where the parties who are within the orthodox spectrum feel compelled to defend what otherwise would be rebuked if the nuance on the issue was maintained but the excesses which preceded discussion on these particular cases make it difficult for the issues to be clearly seen and it takes much longer than it otherwise would. I think we're still dealing with a delay in disciplining some FV men in the PCA because some hide behind the skirts of the rhetorical excess. I think it would help the case of discipline if both sides more clearly acknowledged that not all views that differ from them on the spectrum are outside the bounds of orthodoxy and it would strengthen the ability for Church men to deal with the cases that fall outside that spectrum.

Anyway, I appreciate your thoughts. I know of another project that's coming up (hopefully) that I pray will serve to advance the dialog in a more positive direction. I would ask more questions but I have to exhort this AM.
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
I think one of the problems is that there was (is?) confusion -or debate among the Reformed about the status of the CoW and Man's relationship to it after the Fall vs pre the Fall.

Dabney brings this out in his Systematic Theology

We conclude then, that the two methods of obtaining an
adoption of life cannot be compounded; that, namely, by a probation
of works; and that by gospel grace. The adoption of
the one must exclude the other. This conclusion raises at
once the question ; Has not the Covenant of Works, then, been
abrogated ? To this many of the Reformed reply: Yes : and
they refer us, fox proof, to such passages as Heb. viii : 13.
Arminius also asserted an abrogation of the legal covenant
with Adam, but it was in a far different sense, and for a different
scope from those of the Reformed. Hence has arisen confusion
and intermingling of views, which calls for careful disentanglement.(p 635)

Dabney's conclusion on Man's relationship to the CoW post-Fall is:
The obvious statement is this: The transgression
has indeed terminated the sinner's right to the sanction of
reward ; but it has not terminated his obligation to obey, nor to
the penal sanction.(p 637)

This last state of things may be reflected in the Mosaic settlenment. The law is restated, as summarised in the Ten Commandments. The judicial law to an extent reflects the penal sanction of the law, especially the exemplary use of the death penalty for presumptious sin which the Mosaic sacrificial system couldn't cope with, not being perfect. The sacrifices speak of God's grace to sinners in Christ. The temporal rewards of tenure in the Land and prosperity in the Land remind us of God's gracious rewards to sinners who put their trust in Christ and seek to be obedient by God's grace.

Where does this leave the idea of OT Israel as a type of Christ under the CoW? This area of typology is multifaceted and complex. OT Israel is a type of both Christ and His Church, but the leaders of OT Israel, the priests, kings and prophets are more peculiarly and distinctlytypes of Christ. Although the kings, prophets and priests were part of Israel, from Israel, and one with Israel, they were also different to Israel because the were the representative heads of Israel. In the New Testament although Christ is part of His Church and one with His Church and comes from among His Jewish and Christian brethren, He is also distinct and different from them, being the anointed Head, Representative and Surety of the Covenant.

So the typology of the idea that because Christ fulfilled things for us in a CoW, ergo the whole people of OT Israel must have been under some kind of Covenant of Works, may be flawed.

Better to look at the typology of how Israel's anointed leaders, being in a more specific sense typological of Christ in the CoW, failed to be adequate representatives of Israel whereas Christ succeeded.

In what sense, for example - if at all - was the OT High Priest in his actions as High Priest, being typological of Christ, operating in a "typological Covenant of Works" ?
 
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mvdm

Puritan Board Junior
In looking at the blog post, I did not discern any change in Clark's position.

Lest anyone be confused by the suggestion that "republication" is just standard historic Reformed theology, the controversy exists because folks are seeing the modern "cats" as introducing a novel view of the Mosaic. Some dead theologian's use of the term "restatement" or "republication" does not mean they were speaking of the same thing folks today are advocating.

The following resources help show that in general, the majority consensus was against republication and the minority republicationist view had more in common with views held by the Lutherans and the Amyraldians.

The following resources are helpful.

The first is an aggregation of historical views of the Mosaic:

https://sites.google.com/site/themosaiccovenant/

Specific reviews of the modern republication thesis are discussed here:

http://www.puritanboard.com/f31/venemas-review-law-not-faith-64085/

http://www.kerux.com/pdf/Kerux.24.03.pdf

Katek
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
It's difficult to think of even the OT High Priest being in a typological or ceremonial or symbolical covenant of works, when we know that he offered sacrifices for himself as well as the people, but it is at least the case that we know that the behaviour of the priests, kings, and prophets, the anointed leaders, including their behaviour with regard to ceremonial and under-age typological law, was representatively significant for the nation of Israel, in a way that the behaviour of our church leaders isn't for us - or political leaders, if we are to go furth of Israel - because they pointed to the Anointed One who was to come.

But typology can be multi-faceted, because it is imperfect and shadowy by nature and not everything that needed to be said in the types could be said at once. We see this for example in the different types of sacrifices that anticipated Christ in Leviticus 1-7.

So maybe there are some aspects of the anointed leaders and their offices that typologically point to Christ as being in a CoW on behalf of His people.
 

Unoriginalname

Puritan Board Junior
Since moral perfection was not possible and since it was a corporate command for obedience, I am just wondering what the criteria or the measuring rod for obedience was if you believe that the Mosiac economy had a COW element. It also seems as Mr Snyder pointed out earlier that the notion of corporate apostasy and corporate punishment carry over to the NC, so I do not understand where the Mosiac dispensation differs dramatically in form from this. I understand the greater revelation of the law given at Sinai could both point to the failure at Eden and the need for the Messiah but what trips me up most about the notion of a republication of the COW is how it would be graded? I am just a lay person and a young one at that and I am not trying to challenge anyone these are just honest questions I have.
 

brandonadams

Puritan Board Freshman
Hi Eric,

I look forward to hearing Clark's response to your question regarding the measuring rod of obedience. In the meantime, I have found A.W. Pink's answer to your question helpful (he was a proponent of republication). Subheadings here are mine:
Pink : The Sinaitic Covenant
We write, therefore, for those who desire answers to such questions as the following:

What was the precise nature of the covenant which God entered into with Israel at Sinai?
Did it concern only their temporal welfare as a nation, or did it also set forth God’s requirements for the individual’s enjoyment of eternal blessings?
Was a radical change now made in God’s revelation to men and what He demanded of them?
Was an entirely different “way of salvation” now introduced?
Wherein is the Sinaitic covenant related to the others, particularly to the everlasting covenant of grace and to the Adamic covenant of works?
Was it in harmony with the former, or a renewal of the latter?
Was the Sinaitic covenant a simple or a mixed one: did it have only a “letter” significance pertaining to earthly things or a “spirit” as well, pertaining to heavenly things?
What specific contribution did it make unto the progressive unfolding of the divine plan and purpose?
We deem it of great importance that a clear conception be obtained of the precise nature and meaning of that august transaction which took place at Sinai, when Jehovah proclaimed the Ten Commandments in the hearing of Israel… Yet it must be frankly acknowledged that the subject is as difficult as it is important: the great diversity of opinion which prevails among the theologians and divines who have studied the subject is proof thereof. Yet this is no reason why we should despair of obtaining light thereon. Rather should it cause us to cry to God for help, and to prosecute our inquiry cautiously, humbly, and carefully.

…what was the nature and design of that covenant? Did God mock His fallen creatures by formally renewing the (Adamic) covenant of works, which they had already broken, under the curse of which all by nature lay, and which He knew they could not keep for a single hour? Such a question answers itself. Or did God do with Israel then as He does with His people now: first redeem, and then put under law as a rule of life, a standard of conduct? But if that were the case, why enter into this formal “covenant”? Even Fairbairn virtually cuts the knot here by saying that the form of a covenant is of no consequence at all. But this covenant form at Sinai is the very thing which requires to be accounted for. Christians are not put under the law as a covenant, though they are as a rule. No help is to be obtained by dodging difficulties or by denying their existence; they must be fairly and prayerfully grappled with.

There is no doubt in my mind that many have been led astray when considering the typical teaching of Israel’s history and the antitype in the experience of Christians, by failing to duly note the contrasts as well as the comparisons between them. It is true that God’s deliverance of Israel from the bondage of Egypt blessedly foreshadowed the redemption of His elect from sin and Satan; yet let it not be forgotten that the majority of those who were emancipated from Pharaoh’s slavery perished in the wilderness, not being suffered to enter the promised land. Nor are we left to mere reasoning at this point: it is placed upon inspired record that “behold, the days come saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers, in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord” (Heb. 8:8, 9). Thus we have divine authority for saying that God’s dealings with Israel at Sinai were not a parallel with His dealings with His people under the gospel, but a contrast!

Witsius
Herman Witsius took the view that the Sinaitic compact was neither, formally, the covenant of grace nor the covenant of works, but a national covenant which presupposed them both, and that it promised “not only temporal blessings . . . but also spiritual and eternal.” So far so good. But when he states (bk. 4, sec. 4, par. 43-45) that the condition of this covenant was “a sincere, though not, in every respect, a perfect obedience of His commands,” we certainly cannot agree. Witsius held that the Sinaitic covenant differed from the covenant of works—which made no provision or allowance for the acceptance of a sincere though imperfect obedience; and that it differed from the covenant of grace, since it contained no promises of strength to enable Israel to render that obedience. Though plausible, his position is not only erroneous but highly dangerous. God never promised eternal life to men on the condition of an imperfect but sincere obedience—that would overthrow the whole argument of Romans and Galatians.

Purpose of the Mosaic Covenant
Confining ourselves to that which relates the closest to our present inquiry, let us remind ourselves that under the preceding covenant God had made it known that the promised Messiah and Redeemer should spring from the line of Abraham. Now, clearly, that necessitated several things. The existence of Abraham’s descendants as a separate people became indispensable, so that Christ’s descent could be undeniably traced and the leading promise of that covenant clearly verified. Moreover, the isolation of Abraham’s descendants (Israel) from the heathen was equally essential for the preservation of the knowledge and worship of God in the earth, until the fullness of time should come and a higher dispensation succeed. In pursuance of this, to Israel were committed the living oracles, and amongst them the ordinances of divine worship were authoritatively established.

A National Covenant
“The national covenant with Israel was here (Ex. 19:5) meant; the charter upon which they were incorporated, as a people, under the government of Jehovah. It was an engagement of God, to give Israel possession of Canaan, and to protect them in it: to render the land fruitful, and the nation victorious and prosperous, and to perpetuate His oracles and ordinances among them; so long as they did not, as a people, reject His authority, apostatize to idolatry, and tolerate open wickedness. These things constitute a forfeiture of the covenant; as their national rejection of Christ did afterwards. True believers among them were personally dealt with according to the Covenant of Grace, even as true Christians now are; and unbelievers were under the Covenant of Works, and liable to condemnation by it, as at present: yet, the national covenant was not strictly either the one or the other, but had something in it of the nature of each.

“The national covenant did not refer to the final salvation of individuals: nor was it broken by the disobedience, or even idolatry, of any number of them, provided this was not sanctioned or tolerated by public authority. It was indeed a type of the covenant made with true believers in Christ Jesus, as were all the transactions with Israel; but, like other types, it ‘had not the very image,’ but only ‘a shadow of good things to come.’ When, therefore, as a nation, they had broken this covenant, the Lord declared that He would make ‘a new covenant with Israel, putting His law,’ not only in their hands, but ‘in their inward parts’; and ‘writing it,’ not upon tables of stone, ‘but in their hearts; forgiving their iniquity and remembering their sin no more’ (Jer. 31:32-34; Heb. 8:7-12; 10:16, 17). The Israelites were under a dispensation of mercy, and had outward privileges and great advantages in various ways for salvation: yet, like professing Christians, the most of them rested in these, and looked no further. The outward covenant was made with the Nation, entitling them to outward advantages, upon the condition of outward national obedience; and the covenant of Grace was ratified personally with true believers, and sealed and secured spiritual blessings to them, by producing a holy disposition of heart, and spiritual obedience to the Divine law. In case Israel kept the covenant, the Lord promised that they should be to Him ‘a peculiar treasure.’ ‘All the earth’ (Ex. 19:5) being the Lord’s, He might have chosen any other people instead of Israel: and this implied that, as His choice of them was gratuitous, so if they rejected His covenant, He would reject them, and communicate their privileges to others; as indeed He hath done, since the introduction of the Christian dispensation” (Thomas Scott).

The above quotation contains the most lucid, comprehensive, and yet simple analysis of the Sinaitic covenant which we have met with in all our reading. It draws a clear line of distinction between God’s dealings with Israel as a nation, and with individuals in it. It shows the correct position of the everlasting covenant of grace and the Adamic covenant of works in relation to the Mosaic dispensation. All were born under the condemnation of their federal head (Adam), and while they continued unregenerate and in unbelief, were under the wrath of God; whereas God’s elect, upon believing, were treated by Him then, as individuals, in precisely the same way as they are now. Scott brings out clearly the character, the scope, the design, and the limitation of the Sinaitic covenant: its character was a supplementary combination of law and mercy; its scope was national; its design was to regulate the temporal affairs of Israel under the divine government; its limitation was determined by Israel’s obedience or disobedience. The typical nature of it—the hardest point to elucidate—is also allowed. We advise the interested student to reread the last four paragraphs.

Understanding it’s place in the Historia Salutis
(History of God’s work of Redemption)

…Much confusion will be avoided and much help obtained if the Sinaitic economy be contemplated separately under its two leading aspects, namely, as a system of religion and government designed for the immediate use of the Jews during the continuance of that dispensation; and then as a scheme of preparation for another and better economy, by which it was to be superseded when its temporal purpose had been fulfilled. The first design and the immediate end of what God revealed through Moses was to instruct and order the life of Israel, now formed into a nation. The second and ultimate intention of God was to prepare the people, by a lengthy course of discipline, for the coming of Christ. The character of the Sinaitic covenant was, in itself, neither purely evangelical nor exclusively legal: divine wisdom devised a wondrous and blessed comingling of righteousness and grace, justice and mercy. The requirements of the high and unchanging holiness of God were clearly revealed; while His goodness, kindness, and long-suffering were also as definitely manifested. The moral and the ceremonial law, running together side by side, presented and maintained a perfect balance, which only the corruption of fallen human nature failed to reap the full advantage of.

Outward Obedience
The covenant which God made with Israel at Sinai required outward obedience to the letter of the law. It contained promises of national blessing if they, as a people, kept the law; and it also announced national calamities if they were disobedient. This is unmistakably clear from such a passage as the following: “Wherefore it shall come to pass, if ye hearken to these judgments, and keep and do them, that the Lord thy God shall keep unto thee the covenant and the mercy which he sware unto thy fathers: And he will love thee, and bless thee, and multiply thee: he will also bless the fruit of thy womb, and the fruit of thy land, thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep, in the land which he sware unto thy fathers to give thee. Thou shalt be blessed above all people: there shall not be male or female barren among you, or among your cattle. And the Lord will take away from thee all sickness, and will put none of the evil diseases of Egypt, which thou knowest, upon thee; but will lay them upon all them that hate thee. And thou shalt consume all the people which the Lord thy God shall deliver thee” (Deut. 7:12-16).

…The Sinaitic covenant in no way interfered with the divine administration of either the everlasting covenant of grace (toward the elect) nor the Adamic covenant of works (which all by nature lie under); it being in quite another region. Whether the individual Israelites were heirs of blessing under the former, or under the curse of the latter, in no wise hindered or affected Israel’s being as a people under this national regime, which respected not inward and eternal blessings, but only outward and temporal interests. Nor did God in entering into this arrangement with Israel mock their impotency or tantalize them with vain hopes, any more than He does so now, when it still holds good that “righteousness exalteth a nation; but sin is a reproach to nations” (Prov. 14:34). Though it be true that Israel miserably failed to keep their national engagements and brought down upon themselves the penalties which God had threatened, nevertheless, the obedience which He required of them was not obviously and hopelessly impracticable: nay, there were bright periods in their history when it was fairly rendered, and the fruits of it were manifestly enjoyed by them.

Republication?
“Wherein is the Sinaitic covenant related to the others, particularly to the everlasting covenant of grace and the Adamic covenant of works? —was it in harmony with the former or a renewal of the latter?” These questions raise an issue which presents the chief difficulty to be elucidated. In seeking its solution, several vital and basic considerations must needs be steadily borne in mind, otherwise a one-sided view of it is bound to lead to an erroneous conclusion. Those important considerations include the relation which the Sinaitic compact bore to the Abrahamic covenant; the distinction which must be drawn between the relation that existed between Jehovah and the nation at large, and between Jehovah and the spiritual remnant in it; and the contribution which God designed the Mosaic economy should make toward paving the way for the advent of Christ and the establishment of Christianity.

…But the real problem confronts us when we consider the relation of the law to the great masses of the unregenerate in Israel. Manifestly it sustained an entirely different relation to them than it did to the spiritual remnant. They, as the fallen descendants of Adam, were born under the covenant of works (i.e., bound by its inexorable requirements), which they, in the person of their federal head, had broken; and therefore they lay under its curse. And the giving of the moral law at Sinai was well calculated to impress this solemn truth on them, showing that the only way of escape was by availing themselves of the provisions of mercy in the sacrifices—just as the only way for the sinner now to obtain deliverance from the law’s condemnation is for him to flee to Christ. But the spiritual remnant, though under the law as a rule of life, participated in the mercy contained in the Abrahamic promises, for in all ages God has been administering the everlasting covenant of grace when dealing with His elect.

This twofold application of the law, as it related to the mass of the unregenerate and the remnant of the regenerate, was significantly intimated in the double giving of the law. The first time Moses received the tables of stone from the hands of the Lord (Ex. 32:15, 16), they were broken by him on the mount—symbolizing the fact that Israel lay under the condemnation of a broken law. But the second time Moses received the tables (Ex. 34:1), they were deposited in the ark and covered with the mercy-seat (Ex. 40:20), which was sprinkled by the atoning blood (Lev. 16:14) —adumbrating the truth that saints are sheltered (in Christ) from its accusations and penalty. “The Law at Sinai was a covenant of works to all the carnal descendants of Abraham, but a rule of life to the spiritual. Thus, like the pillar of cloud, the law had both a bright and a dark side to it” (Thomas Bell, 1814, The Covenants).

The predication made by Thomas Bell and others that the covenant of works was renewed at Sinai, requires to be carefully qualified. Certainly God did not promulgate the law at Sinai with the same end and use as in Eden, so that it was strictly and solely a covenant of works; for the law was most surely given to Israel with a gracious design. It was in order to impress them with a sense of the holiness and justice of Him with whom they had to do, with the spirituality and breadth of the obedience which they owed to Him, and this, for the purpose of convicting them of the multitude and heinousness of their sins, of the utter impossibility of becoming righteous by their own efforts, or escaping from the divine wrath, except by availing themselves of the provisions of His mercy; thus shutting them up to Christ.

The double bearing of the Mosaic law upon the carnal in Israel, and then upon the spiritual seed, was mystically anticipated and adumbrated in the history of Abraham—the progenitor of the one and the spiritual father (pattern) of the other. Promise was made to Abraham that he should have a son, yet at first it was not so clearly revealed by whom the patriarch was to have issue. Sarah, ten years after the promise, counseled Abraham to go in to Hagar, that by her she might have children (Gen. 16:3). Thus, though by office only a servant, Hagar was (wrongfully) taken into her mistress’s place. This prefigured the carnal Jews’ perversion of the Sinaitic covenant, putting their trust in the subordinate precept instead of the original promise. Israel followed after righteousness, but did not obtain it, because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law (see Rom. 9:32, 33; 10:2, 3). They called Abraham their father (John 8:39), yet trusted in Moses (John 5:45). After all his efforts, the legalist can only bring forth an Ishmael—one rejected of God—and not as Isaac!

When Thomas Bell insisted that the Sinaitic covenant must be a renewal of the covenant of works (though subservient to the Abrahamic) because it was not the covenant of grace, and “there is no other,” he failed to take into account the unique character of the Jewish theocracy. That it was unique is clear from this one fact alone, that all of Abraham’s natural descendants were members of the theocracy, whereas only the regenerate belong to the body of Christ. The Sinaitic covenant formally and visibly manifested God’s kingdom on earth, for His throne was so established over Israel that Jehovah became known as “King in Jeshurun” (Deut. 33:5), and in consequence thereof Israel became in a political sense “the people of God,” and in that character He became “their God.” We read of “the commonwealth (literally “polity”) of Israel” (Eph. 2:12), by which we are to understand its whole civil, religious, and national fabric.

That commonwealth was purely a temporal and external one, being an economy “after the law of a carnal commandment” (Heb. 7:16). There was nothing spiritual, strictly speaking, about it. It had a spiritual meaning when looked at in its typical character; but taken in itself, it was merely temporal and earthly. God did not, by the terms of the Sinaitic constitution, undertake to write the law on their hearts, as He does now under the new covenant. As a kingdom or commonwealth, Israel was a theocracy; that is, God Himself directly ruled over them. He gave them a complete body of laws by which they were to regulate all their affairs, laws accompanied with promises and threatenings of a temporal kind. Under that constitution, Israel’s continued occupation of Canaan and the enjoyment of their other privileges depended on obedience to their King.

Returning to the questions raised at the beginning of this section, “Was the Sinaitic covenant a simple or mixed one: did it have only a letter significance pertaining to earthly things, or a ‘spirit’ as well, pertaining to heavenly things?” This has just been answered in the last two paragraphs; a “letter” only when viewed strictly in connection with Israel as a nation; but a “spirit” also when considered typically of God’s people in general.

Pink on Moses (& Republication) « Contrast
 

PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
Witsuis needs to be understood in context a little better Brandon. Maybe our understanding of Owen does also. I am being lead to read his Preface of Hebrews in Volume 17 to help me understand his whole thought and then read his underlying contributions. I am not so sure either Witsius or Owen are being presented in a full light. I just read his Hebrews commentary on Chapter 6 yesterday and much thought is left out in the modernized version. It is much more complex than the simple statements that are being made in the updated versions. He definitely held to a view of the Covenant of Grace that isn't coming out as clear in the thought of many good men. We need to present things in a little better and more full Context here in the light of their whole writings.

I do know that it seems the Subservient view of the Covenant was rejected at the Westminster Assembly. WCF 7.6 seems to indicate this. And that is the issue I am trying to get at. What is that view and why was it rejected?


Here is a part of Witsuis.


This national covenant was typical of the new covenant. It is noteworthy that it did not typify or symbolize the CW. Rather, it pointed forward to the new covenant by the giving of the law in outward form only. The difference or contrast between the MC and the new covenant is not found in the condition (i.e. one of works, the other faith), but in the power to keep the covenant. The Israelites had the law written on external tablets of stone. Such a law provided no ability to trust and obey the Lord. It was not efficacious in the lives of the Israelites. Consequently, they broke the covenant via their apostasy. In this way, the MC looked forward to the new covenant, wherein the law would be written on the heart, providing the strength of covenant keeping. Once again, this did not mean that the elect within Israel did not have grace to follow the Lord. The point is that this grace came from the Abrahamic covenant. Hence, the opposition between the old and new testaments is not between the CG found in the old and new testaments but between the “covenant of grace, as in its full efficacy under the New Testament, to the national covenant made with the Israelites at mount Sinai; and as a spiritual covenant to a typical."

Herman Witsius. The Economy of the Covenants Between God and Man, (trans. William Crookshank; 1822; repr., Escondido, CA: The den Dulk Christian Foundation, 1990), Book 4, 12, XXVI.
 
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brandonadams

Puritan Board Freshman
Hi Randy,

1. Pink was quoting Witsius, not me. And he was only doing so to help explain his own view. My point was to show Pink's answer. My apologies if his quotation of Witsius was distracting
 
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PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
Actually, I have never been a big fan of Pink. For 30 years I was a Reformed Baptist as you know. So it isn't because I didn't understand what was being said in a manner.

As noted we both need to get a better picture of Owen maybe. That is what you and I are being encouraged to do. I suggest we do this. Read his Preface to Owen and then let's talk. I believe we are friends on Facebook. Either find me on FB or PM me on the PB for my email addy.
 

Unoriginalname

Puritan Board Junior
Since moral perfection was not possible and since it was a corporate command for obedience, I am just wondering what the criteria or the measuring rod for obedience was if you believe that the Mosiac economy had a COW element. It also seems as Mr Snyder pointed out earlier that the notion of corporate apostasy and corporate punishment carry over to the NC, so I do not understand where the Mosiac dispensation differs dramatically in form from this. I understand the greater revelation of the law given at Sinai could both point to the failure at Eden and the need for the Messiah but what trips me up most about the notion of a republication of the COW is how it would be graded? I am just a lay person and a young one at that and I am not trying to challenge anyone these are just honest questions I have.
I have a another question that I hope can maybe sorted out by a republicationist, ideally Dr Clark since this was initially about his views. (That and I like reading his stuff even when I must humbly disagree with him). Is required obedience in the Mosaic Covenant tied to all three divisions of the law or primarily one (either moral, civil or ceremonial)? I understand a believer could not throw away one part of the law without neglecting the others but would one aspect of the law be considered the test of Israel's faith? In other words the defining act of Israel's apostasy would be neglecting the sacrificial system, or the rejection of the civil society or so on. Also would it be proper to say that specifically in the Mosaic Covenant the law has four uses unlike the other major covenants with the fourth use being land grant?
 

PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
Eric, the ceremonial is fulfilled in Christ. 1)The book of Hebrews is an admonition to see Christ and not return to the shadows and types. That is idolatry. To love the shadow and hold it in esteem after the anti-type of the type has arrived is an insult and full idolatry. 2)The Civil is bound up in general equity and based upon the moral law. 3)The Moral Law is the guide and rule for life for all who live. It is not abrogated.

Now I will not speak for Dr. Clark on the Civil Law. I do know that there is something called Radical Two Kingdom Theology but I really don't want this thread to delve into that even though I believe it is a symptom of this issue with which I am trying to understand. So let's just try to keep the focus on the idea of the Subservient Covenant and the Mosaic. I want to discuss whether or not the Mosaic is a Covenant of Works mixed in with the Administration of the Covenant of Grace or if the Mosaic is purely an Administration of the Covenant of Grace as I understand in WCF 7.6. According to it the Old and New are of the same substance.
 

Rich Barcellos

Puritan Board Freshman
... I want to discuss whether or not the Mosaic is a Covenant of Works mixed in with the Administration of the Covenant of Grace or if the Mosaic is purely an Administration of the Covenant of Grace as I understand in WCF 7. According to it the Old and New are of the same substance.

R. Martin (who looks way older than me but is actually younger), two things: 1. I am not sure the two options you mentioned are stated the way the old writers stated it; and 2. how do you understand the meaning of the term "substance"? I think I know what you mean by "same." :) Both stating the question clearly and defining terms is of utmost importance so as not to talk past each other. This we affirm; our adversaries deny, for the Turretinians among us. :)
 

PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
Will reply when I get home Rich. I am up North at the RPC International conference. I just logged on for a few moments. Thanks for the question OLD MAN! We Dutch Hybrids can look old but we have an endurance in tribulation that very few can bare. LOL. Californians, what are we to do with those who can't see they are falling into the Ocean. I guess we must think they are missional. LOL. They are definitely closer to the gates of Hell.
 

PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
... I want to discuss whether or not the Mosaic is a Covenant of Works mixed in with the Administration of the Covenant of Grace or if the Mosaic is purely an Administration of the Covenant of Grace as I understand in WCF 7. According to it the Old and New are of the same substance.

R. Martin (who looks way older than me but is actually younger), two things: 1. I am not sure the two options you mentioned are stated the way the old writers stated it; and 2. how do you understand the meaning of the term "substance"? I think I know what you mean by "same." :) Both stating the question clearly and defining terms is of utmost importance so as not to talk past each other. This we affirm; our adversaries deny, for the Turretinians among us. :)

Definition of same.... a like

Definition of substance.... essence or material of something

There are not, therefore, two covenants of grace differing in substance, but one and the same under various dispensations.

In other words both the Old Covenant and New Covenant do not differ in essence nor doctrine. They are made of the same stuff and don't differ even though one illumines the Covenant of Grace more clearer. Jesus Christ is the substance of both the Mosaic and New Covenant. The Forgiveness of Sin is promised in both Covenants as is the reconciliation to God and a promise of a resurrection as Christ is preached in both Covenants. The reminder of the deadness of the soul. As Jesus said They are already condemned who do not believe in John chapter 3. The Psalms are replete with these expressions and full of the doctrine of Christ as are the Prophets and Law of the Old Mosaic period. The Mosaic was fully gracious in revealing this condemnation as the New Covenant does also. The Mosaic has the same promises looking toward Christ as the New Covenant has after Christ came. The Old Covenant is Gracious with the Start that God is remembering His Covenant in Exodus and extending it to and through Abraham's posterity and Christ.

(Exo 2:24) And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob.
(Exo 2:25) And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God had respect unto them.

(Exo 6:2) And God spake unto Moses, and said unto him, I am the LORD:
(Exo 6:3) And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by my name JEHOVAH was I not known to them.
(Exo 6:4) And I have also established my covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their pilgrimage, wherein they were strangers.
(Exo 6:5) And I have also heard the groaning of the children of Israel, whom the Egyptians keep in bondage; and I have remembered my covenant.
(Exo 6:6) Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments:
(Exo 6:7) And I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God: and ye shall know that I am the LORD your God, which bringeth you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.
(Exo 6:8) And I will bring you in unto the land, concerning the which I did swear to give it to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob; and I will give it you for an heritage: I am the LORD.

(Deu 8:18) But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day.

(Deu 8:18) But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day.

(Luk 24:27) And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.

(Joh 5:46) For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me.
(Joh 5:47) But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?


(Heb 4:2)
For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.
(Heb 4:3)
For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.



As I said in many other places, I am still working this out and I believe I am starting to get a better handle on it. But then again I have felt I had a handle on so much before. I know not as I ought to know. Keep asking me these questions so I can keep working it out brother. Thanks for always being there at the drop of a hat, always being Pastoral with me,.and being my brother.

I believe I address many of the concerns people have in this blog.
http://www.puritanboard.com/blogs/puritancovenanter/mosaic-covenant-same-substance-new-724/

 

Rich Barcellos

Puritan Board Freshman
R. Martin said: Definition of substance.... essence or material of something
>>>>

Let's start with definitions. Assuming substance = "essence or material of something," let's posit the sacrificial system of the Sinai Covenant. Was it of the substance of that which it was typological of? Were the types of the substance of their antitypes? Or, take the promised land and ask the same question. Sleep well, og!
 

PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
Okay, I am sorry Rich, I think I said essence and doctrine in the first sentence also to define what I meant. Substance being used here is the same way that many use it when referring to the Trinity. I am referring to doctrine and the Covenant of Grace. If I am not mistaken, many have used the word substance when they say the persons of the Trinity are of the same substance in essence but we know that there is no physical material because God is invisible. It is poor terminology.

NPNF1-03. On the Holy Trinity; Doctrinal Treatises; Philip Schaff
Moral Treatises
Table of Contents


4That the Son is Very God, of the Same Substance with the Father. Not
Only the Father, But the Trinity, is Affirmed to Be Immortal. All Things
are Not from the Father Alone, But Also from the Son. That the Holy
Spirit is Very God, Equal with the Father and the Son..


Dabney
Objections All Materialistic.The Socinian would say here: "Precisely so; and that is why we reason against the impossibility of a trinity in unity. If divisibility is totally irrelevant to infinite Spirit, then it is indivisible, and so, can admit no trinity."Inspect this carefully, and you will find that it is merely a verbal fallacy. The Socinian cheats himself with the notion that he knows something here, of the divine substance, which he does not know. By indivisible here, he would have us understand the mechanical power of utterly resisting division, like that imputed to an atom of matter. But has Spirit this material property? This is still to move in the charmed circle of material conceptions. The true idea is, not that the divine substance is materially atomic; but that the whole idea of parts and separation is irrelevant to its substance, in both a negative and affirmative sense. To say that Spirit is indivisible, in that material sense, is as false as to say that it is divisible. Hence the stock argument of the Socinian against the possibility of a trinity is found to be a fallacy; and it is but another instance of our incompetency to comprehend the real substance of spirit, and of the confusion which always attends our efforts to do so. We cannot disprove here, by our own reasonings, any more than we can prove; for the subject is beyond our cognition.I pray the student to bear in mind, that I am not here attempting to explain the Trinity, but just the contrary: I am endeavoring to convince him that it cannot be explained. (And because it cannot be explained, it cannot be rationally rebutted.) I would show him that we must reasonably expect to find the doctrine inexplicable, and to leave it so. I wish to show him that all our difficulties on this doctrine arise from the vain conceit that we comprehend something of the subsistence of God’s substance, when, in fact, we only apprehend something. Could men be made to see that they comprehend nothing, all the supposed impossibilities would vanish; there would remain a profound and majestic mystery.

So, I need to tighten up my language a bit.

There are promises of eternal blessing (Spiritual) and earthly blessing in the Covenant of Grace as the meek shall inherit the Kingdom of God as well as the earth. There is also the physicality of the Kingdom of God on earth as well as it is spiritual. So yes, I know and believe it is type and anti-type in someways and yet spiritual and physical in both. The hardcore types were sacramental like the Lord's Table is sacramental but they point forward to something. The Lord's Table points back to something and proclaims it also. So yes, there are types and anti-types. There is the first sacrifice for Adam and Eve, the sacrifices of Noah, Abraham, Jacob, and they keep becoming more defined covenantally through progressive revelation. They progressively reveal the coming work of the Messiah and His Lordship and the Covenant of Grace in the Pascal Lamb. Then we meet the anti-type in full. The Covenant is renewed and remembered as all the promises and progressive revelation are fulfilled in Messiah the Prince. The Covenant is fulfilled and we have forgiveness in the Covenant of Grace just as the Old Covenant had in looking forward. We just look back with full revelation as we in both Testaments look forward to the consummation of all things. We have the same promise that God will be our God and our sins are forgiven.

I am a physical natural man as described in 1 Corinthians 2:14. Then I became a Christian. I am now a member of the Church. I am a new man in Christ. I became a Spiritual man as described in 1 Corinthians 2:12. Did I cease being physical? No, but because I became a spiritually alive being didn't take away from my physical aspects. In fact I still wrestle with them. I am a Spiritually alive man and still physical. Unfortunately, there is still a now and not yet (but will be) aspect to much of what we still even see today.

I hope I have cleared up and tightened up my language a bit.
 
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Rich Barcellos

Puritan Board Freshman
Randy, a yes or no answer is what I was looking for. Either types are of the substance or material of their anti-types or they are not. Which is it? I think they are not. If they were they would render themselves as non-types; they would be the things themselves. The Sinai Covenant contains many types/shadows of that which was to come. That which was to come has come. And it is that which was to come which is of the essence and substance of the covenant of grace, "made with Christ as the second Adam, and in him with all the elect as his seed" (WLC 31), formally covenanted when He shed His blood (Heb. 13:20). Until then, it was the covenant to come, though its redemptive virtue, power, and efficacy cast its saving shadow "unto the elect in all ages successively from the beginning of the world, in and by those promises, types, and sacrifices, wherein [Christ] was revealed and signified to be the Seed of the woman, which should bruise the serpent's head, and the Lamb slain from the beginning of the world, being yesterday and to-day the same, and for ever" (WCF VIII.6).
 

rbcbob

Puritan Board Graduate
My apologies to Richard Barcellos for misreading his post. But given its potential for being misread by others and derailing the thread from the OP I will it deleted.
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
I think if Republication is still being spoken of as "Republication in some sense" by those who hold to it, it is still, as yet, a woolly and ill-defined and mysterious concept.

It is important to realise - as pointed out above - that hypothetical republication, or even typological republication, in the ceremonial and civil law,with symbolical pointers to Christ's eventually being born under the law is not real republication.

The Israelites were dependent on saving grace, including sanctification, in order to the continued tenure and prosperity in the Land.

Our Lord Himself engages in hypothetical republication, with the Rich Young Ruler. Hypothetical republication, therefore, should be regularly used by the Gospel preacher.
 

PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
Either types are of the substance or material of their anti-types or they are not.

I think I answered your question Rich. Maybe I am not doing a good job.

The hardcore types...
So yes, there are types and anti-types.
There is the first sacrifice for Adam and Eve, the sacrifices of Noah, Abraham, Jacob, and they keep becoming more defined covenantally through progressive revelation. They progressively reveal the coming work of the Messiah and His Lordship and the Covenant of Grace in the Pascal Lamb. Then we meet the anti-type in full. The Covenant is renewed and remembered as all the promises and progressive revelation are fulfilled in Messiah the Prince. The Covenant is fulfilled and we have forgiveness in the Covenant of Grace just as the Old Covenant had in looking forward. We just look back with full revelation as we in both Testaments look forward to the consummation of all things. We have the same promise that God will be our God and our sins are forgiven.

I defined substance and removed material Rich as defined above. Are Covenants Material?


I think you are overstating this and missing the truth about what I said. By your either or situation you are missing the point. Are you implying that substance defined must always bare the assimilation of having material attached to it in our discussions? I don't believe that is true. If that were true then we couldn't speak of the Trinity with the term of substance. I have tried to explain that. Did I do a bad job?

BTW, I do know Christ and reconiliation to God (the Person and Work of Christ) is the substance of the Covenant of Grace. Is not Christ Present in the Old? Is reconciliation a material aspect? Christ is. But I believe He is present in both the Old and New.
 

Rich Barcellos

Puritan Board Freshman
Randy, thanks for the interaction. I must tend to sermon prep. Our discussion helped me. Iron sharpens iron. That makes you deflowered iron. :cool:
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
The representative place of Israel's anointed kings in relation to the people, was a typological pointer - for instance - to Christ's representation of us.

If kings - such as Solomon - behaved well they could bring blessing on the nation; if they behaved badly they could bring swift trouble, because they represented God's kingly rule in a way other leaders have never done, and because they pointed to Christ.

No-one would suggest however that they were in a real republication of the CoW; nor should it be suggested that OT Israel as a whole was.

The Israelite kings were just pale shadows of Christ that failed where He succeeded, and succeeds. Moreover they needed grace to be relatively "good".
 
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