Then we'll consider the organic development from the Old Testament to the new covenant. From the time of Moses, the Law served as the guide for Israel. As we'll see, the similarities between biblical covenants and these suzerain-vassal treaties make it clear that God's covenants in Scripture were his primary means for administering the affairs of his kingdom. And finally, we can regard David's covenant as the "covenant of kingship." Kingdom through Covenant is a careful exposition of how the biblical covenants unfold and relate to one another—a widely debated topic, critical for understanding the narrative plot structure of the whole Bible. The study of the covenants provides a framework for understanding and applying the message of the Bible to life in the new covenant community. But why was this act of obedience so significant? What theological outlooks undergirded this variety? For instance, unlike the expectations created by Jeremiah 31, passages like Matthew 6:12 and 1 John 1:9 explain that followers of Christ still need to ask for forgiveness because they still violate the law of God. But if you ask most Christians, "What is the new covenant?" Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway, 2012, pp. We repeat what Jesus said — "This cup is the new covenant" — every time we observe the Lord's Supper. And, as a result, a number of biblical interpreters suggested that some biblical covenants did not require loyalty from God's people. Attach a tilde (~) to the front of a word to omit results containing that word. Covenant and God's Purpose for the World Thomas R. Schreiner This book shows how the kingdom of God has advanced through the progression of distinct covenants, collectively serving as the foundation for God's promise to bring redemption to his people. Jesus fulfilled this role in the inauguration when he voluntarily submitted to death on the cross. In one way or another God continued to show common grace to all people, including unbelievers. Kingdom through Covenant is not a system-driven work, but a careful exposition of the covenants as key to the narrative plot structure of the whole Bible. Kingdom through Covenant (Second Edition): A Biblical-Theological ... Kingdom Through Covenant: A Biblical-Theological Understanding of the Covenants, Kingdom through Covenant: A Biblical-Theological Understanding of the Covenants. From the time of Abraham, Israel was given special privileges and responsibilities as God's chosen people. By contrast, true believers, although not perfect in this life, will persevere in their loyalty to Christ through the power of the Spirit. Now, Jesus didn't come under God's curses because of his own personal failures. For instance, why does the New Testament teach that we must believe in Jesus for salvation? And both this curse of death and hope of victory were passed on, as God saw fit, to the covenant people Adam represented, the human race. Believers' union with Christ is twofold. In a similar way, the Scriptures teach that God tested the loyalty of his covenant people in Abraham: the people of Israel and Gentiles adopted into Israel. Although this leadership changed with the new covenant and the kingship of Jesus, it was not set aside. As we read in Hebrews 9:15: Similar teachings appear in passages like Romans 8:34 and 1 Timothy 2:5-6. In Hebrews 4:15 we read: And listen to Philippians 2:8 where Paul referred to Christ's remarkable obedience: In New Testament theology, the height of Jesus' loyal service to God was his voluntary death on the cross. Last of all, David received the divine benevolence of common and saving grace in special ways as God's chosen covenant representative in the covenant of kingship. “Kingdom through Covenant has helped me better understand the Bible as a continuous narrative. That is why so many Jews were unprepared for Jesus when He came preaching the kingdom of God (Mark 1:14-15). Not only was it Christocentric. In fact, passages like John 15:1-6 and Hebrews 6:4-6 illustrate that although unbelievers often experience great temporary mercies from God, they don't receive saving grace. He had no personal sins. As we saw in our preceding lesson, Jesus taught that the new covenant age would unfold over time in three stages. As the Kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, the New Covenant is an everlasting covenant in which God’s people will know the Lord the way He has always wanted us to know Him. We'll briefly survey the Old Testament covenants and then turn to the new covenant. They ultimately show that the covenant concept forms a solid platform for systematic theology. The covenants with Adam and Noah may be called "universal covenants" because Adam and Noah represented all human beings as God's covenant people. But God also poured out his saving grace on faithful figures like Jacob, Joseph and many others. Here are a few: Scripture never mentioned the so-called covenants of works, grace, and redemption specifically as covenants. from Reformed Theological Seminary, and his Postgraduate Diploma in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education from the University of Oxford. According to God's inscrutable wisdom, they all experienced common grace, including unbelievers in Israel. Then, in the continuation, the new covenant age will continue for an indefinite period of time through the history of the church. This side of our union with Christ corresponds to the traditional protestant doctrine of sanctification, or the progressive pursuit of holiness. By his death, the royal covenant representative would bring God's people into the glories of his eternal victorious kingdom. It also speaks of "Christ in us." We may refer to Abraham's covenant as the "covenant of Israel's election." In both the Old and New Testaments, God tested or proved the true condition of his peoples' hearts through their responses to his commands. In other words, they were to love him deeply by writing his law on their hearts. The covenants with Abraham, Moses and David may be described as "national covenants." The fact that Christ is God's chosen covenant representative for the church helps us understand one of the most important characteristics of New Testament theology. As we seek to understand the New Testament more fully, we must keep in mind that the new covenant in Christ wasn't just one small part of New Testament theology. These consequences were passed down to the covenant people of Israel and those adopted into Israel in subsequent generations. Abraham also experienced the divine benevolence of common and saving grace as God's covenant representative in the covenant of Israel's election. They referred to God's grace as well as his wrath. The review is written by Harrison Perkins. Listen to Romans 8:10-11: As this passage indicates, although New Testament authors acknowledged that the church is identified with Christ in heaven, they also knew that the new covenant age had not yet reached its consummation. And he will be blessed even more at the consummation of his kingdom when he receives his eternal inheritance of ruling over the new creation. This teaching makes it clear that God's benevolence to Christ also impacts the church, the covenant people he represents. For instance, now God's new covenant people continue to sin. “Kingdom through Covenant is hermeneutically sensitive, exegetically rigorous, and theologically rich―a first-rate biblical theology that addresses both the message and structure of the whole Bible from the ground up. The new covenant is mentioned in Scripture for the first time in Jeremiah 31:31 where we read these words: In the larger context of this verse, the phrase "The days are coming" refers to the time after the end of Israel's exile. This was because each individual treaty addressed specific issues that were pertinent for each international relationship. First, its inauguration came with Christ's first advent. We'll explore the dynamics of interaction between God and people by first noting God's divine benevolence to his people. This is also why New Testament authors appealed to the Old Testament hundreds of times to support their theological perspectives. Dr. Joel C. Hunter is Senior Pastor of Northland, A Church Distributed in Longwood, FL. Dr. Sean McDonough is Professor of New Testament at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. In addition to Jesus' death on the cross, passages like Hebrews 8:1-2 also point out that Christ, as the son of David, serves obediently in heaven throughout the continuation of his kingdom. God dealt with each of these men differently as he made his covenants. Similar blessings and curses came to future generations of humanity, the covenant people Noah represented. In the second place, the New Testament also focuses on what Christian theologians often call "union with Christ." Having mentioned God's tests of loyalty in Old Testament covenants, now let's explore the way God tests his people's loyalty in the new covenant. Their eternal blessings are secure because Christ is their covenant representative. In this time of final, eternal blessings for God's people, " [He] will put [his] law in their minds and write it on their hearts." So, when we say that New Testament theology is new covenant theology, we don't mean that it's somehow divorced from the Old Testament. But in general, benevolence, loyalty and consequences formed the basic principles by which these treaty relationships were governed. The study of the covenants provides a framework for understanding and applying the message of the Bible to life in the new covenant community. Ezekiel 37:26 (NKJV) Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them, and it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; I will establish them and multiply them, and I will set My sanctuary in their midst forevermore. *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Then we'll look at tests of loyalty in the new covenant. The stories of Abraham's life illustrate how God tested the patriarch's loyalty in a number of ways as his covenant representative. The kindnesses God showed Abraham were also shown to the covenant people he represented: Israelites, and Gentiles who would be adopted into Israel. And it's through the test of loyalty that both groups reveal whether or not they have saving faith. Yet, it's also apparent that the New Testament has countless commands and directives from God. These requirements of obedience reveal the condition of the hearts of those in covenant with God. covenants provides a framework for understanding and applying the message of the bible to life in the new covenant community kingdom through covenant is a careful exposition of how the biblical covenants unfold and relate to one another a widely debated topic critical for understanding the narrative plot structure of the whole bible by Sometimes differences like this don't matter much. How were these and other factors affected by the unfolding of new covenant policies? A Biblical-Theological Understanding of the Covenants. Let's examine the consequences of blessings and curses for obedience and disobedience. How did they approach the dynamics of divine and human interaction? So, in Scripture God often hastened, increased, lessened, delayed and even cancelled the blessings and curses of his covenants at times in ways that were beyond human comprehension. you get about as many answers as the number of people you ask. Many theological discussions come to an impasse when parties align behind either covenant theology or dispensationalism. It's important to know that one of the most significant breakthroughs in our understanding of God's biblical covenants took place in the second half of the twentieth century. In general terms, these treaties focused on three features of the interactions between greater and lesser kings. This threefold fulfillment of the new covenant helps us recognize a second basic characteristic of New Testament theology. Keeping the covenant representatives of the Old Testament in mind, let's see how God administered the new covenant through a covenant representative. Before Adam's fall into sin, God granted kindness to Adam by creating the Garden of Eden and placing him there as God's image. Now, as much as New Testament theology praises Jesus for gaining the blessing of ruling over all creation, we know that the consequences of the new covenant also impact the church, the people of the new covenant. As he put it, "they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest.". Now, as we've seen, God's grace has been poured out in the new covenant as never before in biblical history. Attach an asterisk (*) to the end of a word as a wildcard. Now in passages like Deuteronomy 10:16 and Jeremiah 4:4, God frequently called the nation of Israel to move beyond their outward association with his covenants and to circumcise their hearts. God engaged him in special ways on behalf of his church — every Jew and Gentile that God identifies with Christ. Christ plays this central role in New Testament theology because God administers every dimension of life in the new covenant through Christ as the representative of the church. For this reason, in Jeremiah 31:33-34 God revealed the policies of the new covenant, policies that were appropriate for this last stage of the kingdom in Christ. A cursory reading of the terms of Old Testament covenants reveals a focus on policies that were relevant for particular stages of God's kingdom. Rather than looking at covenant as the center of biblical theology, the authors show how the covenants form the backbone of Scripture and the key to understanding its overarching story. We've touched briefly on the consequences of blessings and curses in Old Testament covenants. We'll look at the consequences for obedience and disobedience in covenant with God along the lines of our earlier discussions. But the blessings that true believers receive in this life are foretastes of the eternal blessings that will come at the consummation of the kingdom. That is, Christ is present and at work within believers through the Holy Spirit in our day-to-day experiences on earth. Mr. Bradley T. Johnson is Pastor of Wesley Chapel United Methodist Church and Adjunct Professor at Asbury Theological Seminary. Everyone familiar with the Bible knows that God tested Adam as God's covenant representative through his directives in the Garden of Eden. Additionally, Moses' law spelled out many specific blessings and curses that would come to the covenant people of Israel and Gentiles adopted into Israel. And third, greater kings spelled out the consequences of blessings and curses that vassals could expect for obedience and disobedience. On the one side, because we are "in Christ," every eternal blessing of God has already been assigned to true believers. Notice in this passage that the new covenant will bring God's kingdom to its ultimate end when " [God] will forgive [his people's] wickedness and will remember their sins no more." Instead, New Testament authors applied the teachings of the Old Testament in the light of God's revelation in Christ. These new policies were revealed through Christ and through his apostles and prophets. The same was true for the covenant people he represented, his royal descendants and the people of Israel and Gentiles adopted into Israel. And 1 Corinthians 15:24 teaches that when Christ returns in glory at the consummation, he will hand the kingdom to God the Father as an act of humble service. And Christ's Spirit works within true believers to make us holy. And according to 1 Timothy 3:16, Christ was the one who passed the test of loyalty perfectly and was vindicated when the Holy Spirit raised him from the dead. Let's consider first Old Testament covenant policies. To see what we mean, we'll summarize how tests of loyalty appear in Old Testament covenants. In these grants, a suzerain granted benefits to a vassal or a subject. We also see in passages like 2 Corinthians 11:13 and Galatians 2:4 that false believers remain among true believers in the new covenant church. Once again, it helps to understand tests of loyalty for the church in terms of the church's union with Christ. The Kingdom of God: A Baptist Expression of Biblical & Covenant Theology explains why the maze of the Old and New Testaments cannot be properly navigated or understood without a knowledge of the dual (law and gospel) nature of the Abrahamic Covenant. Now that we've seen how the dynamics of interaction between God and people involves the display of divine benevolence, we should look at how life in covenant with God also entails tests of loyalty. On the one side, we are "in Christ." But in fulfillment of Isaiah 53:1-12, he bore the judgment of God as an innocent royal substitute for the people of God in every age. Just as Christ bore the eternal curses of God on our behalf, he also received the reward of eternal blessings from the Father on our behalf. Many theological discussions come to an impasse when parties align behind either covenant theology or dispensationalism. Kingdom through Covenant: A Biblical-Theological Understanding of the Covenants In other words, the new covenant is a renewed national covenant with the descendants of Abraham and the Gentiles adopted into his family after Israel's exile ended. As Paul pointed out in Galatians 3:13, Jesus endured the curse of God for the sins of all who believe in him as he suffered death on the cross. Let's look again at Jeremiah 31:31 where God said: All too often, Christians have taken the expression "new covenant" to mean that the new covenant is entirely new, disconnected from earlier covenants in the Bible. interpretation at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and director of the Hexapla Institute. from Glasgow University, his D.Min. Kingdom Through Covenant is written by Peter Gentry and Stephen Wellum who both serve at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. But as passages like Deuteronomy 29:29, Isaiah 55:8-9, a number of Psalms, and whole books like Job and Ecclesiastes remind us, the ways God implemented these covenant dynamics were always good and wise. Dr. Daniel L. Kim is Assistant Professor of Old Testament at Covenant Theological Seminary. Now that we've seen how God administered his kingdom through covenant representatives and historically appropriate policies, we should explore the organic development of policies in biblical covenants. It assumed the abiding validity of the Old Testament. The Mosaic covenant made with Moses and the Israelite people at Horeb-Sinai, which is found in Exodus 19–24 and the book of Deuteronomy, contains the foundations of the written Torah and the Oral Torah.In this covenant, God promises to make the Israelites his treasured possession among all people and "a kingdom of priests and a holy nation", if they follow God's commandments. By contrast, true believers also receive both blessings and curses in this life. And, just as in Adam's covenant, the kindnesses God showed Noah were also passed on to the covenant people Noah represented: all human beings. There is little doubt that Kingdom Through Covenant: A Biblical-Theological Understanding of the Covenants (hereafter KTC) is a significant work.It has already garnered much attention online (see here, here, and here for a sampling). Download for offline reading, highlight, bookmark or take notes while you read Kingdom through Covenant: A Biblical-Theological Understanding of the Covenants. Let's begin with the Old Testament. Dr. Stephen E. Witmer is Adjunct Professor of New Testament at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and Lead Pastor of Pepperell Christian Fellowship in Pepperell, MA. And as we're about to see, the same elements appear in the dynamics of divine and human interactions in biblical covenants. And as the rest of the Old Testament illustrates repeatedly, God continued to test his covenant people, the sons of David and the nation of Israel, throughout their generations. This means that because Christ is our covenant representative, the people of the new covenant are identified with Christ in God's heavenly court. But all of them represented others before God in the judgments of God's heavenly royal court. Dr. Glen G. Scorgie is Professor of Theology at Bethel Seminary, San Diego. In the covenant of foundations, God cursed Adam, his covenant representative, with suffering and death in response to his disobedience. 848, $45.00, hardback. Kingdom Through Covenant: A Biblical-Theological Understanding of the Covenants. Wellum is This administrative policy changed in various ways with later covenants, but God never cast it aside. And the kindnesses God showed to Moses were passed on to those he represented: the nation of Israel and those adopted into Israel. In the Bible, we see covenants between peers. In fact, according to Romans 8:11, it was by the power of the Holy Spirit that the Father raised Jesus from the dead. Throughout his lifetime, Noah also received divine benevolence — both common grace and saving grace — as God's covenant representative in the covenant of stability. The study of the covenants provides a framework for understanding and applying the message of the Bible to life in the new covenant community. As such, it established policies that were designed to reverse the failures of the past and complete or fulfill God's kingdom purposes in Christ. Prior to the new covenant, the consequences of both blessings and curses were crucial dimensions of God's interactions with his covenant representatives, and with his covenant people as a whole. As the last of God's covenants with his people, the new covenant deeply influenced everything New Testament authors wrote. We should mention here that in the twentieth century many scholars began to compare biblical covenants with another group of ancient Near Eastern texts, often called "royal grants." And God also showed his saving grace to many who were in Israel and adopted into Israel. And the hardships and curses they endure in this life are but foretastes of the eternal curses they will receive when Christ returns. Now, once again, we must remember that until Christ returns in glory, the visible church consists of both false believers and true believers. In this lesson, we're particularly interested in God's covenants with people, especially his new covenant in Christ. He grew up in the south and attended college in Alabama. This Law was to be applied differently as other covenants were added, but it was never nullified. First, we'll see how the new covenant characterized God's kingdom administration. And he also poured out saving grace on our first parents, Adam and Eve, after their fall into sin. Listen to what God said: Notice in this passage that the new covenant will bring God's kingdom to its ultimate end when "[God] will forgive [his people's] wickedness and will remember their sins no more." From the time of Noah, God established the stability of nature as a secure place for God's fallen images to serve his kingdom purposes. Having seen that God administered his kingdom through covenant representatives, and specifically through Christ in the new covenant, we should turn to a second feature of God's kingdom administration: the appropriate policies that biblical covenants established for different periods of biblical history. In a variety of ways, God showed all people his common grace. As he saw fit, God displayed common grace to the people of this covenant, including unbelievers like Esau. Once again, we'll start with the backdrop of ancient Near Eastern suzerain-vassal treaties. As we read in 1 John 2:19 regarding false believers: As this passage indicates, New Testament theology contains many commands from God as tests of loyalty to prove those who really belong to the body of true believers. United Kingdom provides a good example of how covenant interpretation can be used to adjudicate real-world disputes.148 In that case, the Marshall Islands claimed that the U.K. was failing “to fulfil obligations concerning negotiations relating to the cessation of So, from the first mention of the new covenant, we see its association with the victorious fulfillment of God's kingdom. We'll look at the organic development of God's covenants, first in the Old Testament. We can look at Old Testament covenants in much the same way. Vicar of St. Luke 's church Wimbledon Park family of terms meant `` renewed ''... Few: Scripture never mentioned the so-called covenants of works, grace, including kingdom covenant interpretation Esau... 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And share your experiences examine the consequences for obedience and disobedience, pp suzerains, or the progressive of.

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