In our next bioarchaeography, we’ll be exploring the life of Sennacherib, King of Assyria, using archaeological remains. Sennacherib is mentioned by name 16 times in Scripture, more than any other Assyrian ruler. From a biblical perspective, he is most famous for his invasion of Judah in 701 BC and his siege against King Hezekiah and […]
ABSTRACT: Are our current crises God’s judgment on the world? The answer to that question depends on the meaning of the word judgment. Crises such as the coronavirus may not be specific judgments against specific people for specific sins, but neither are they mere “natural disasters.” According to the book of Revelation, calamities like hurricanes,…
The King’s Business, the monthly magazine of the Bible Institute of Los Angeles, published a strongly worded editorial in its September 1921 issue. With the arresting title, “Growing Like Hell,” managing editor Keith L. Brooks described the violence that had taken place in Tulsa, Oklahoma during the summer of ’21. Brooks’ editorial is short and…
Yesterday, the Supreme Court of the United States, in the case Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, ruled in a 6-3 decision that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers from discriminating against their employees on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. The Court’s opinion was written by Justice Gorsuch…
Heb. 11 is a passage that answers or defines what faith is and has been used by inquirers for centuries. Overall, the bible is the best source to illustrate faith and explain it.
The New Covenant
Jesus summarized what the New Covenant will look like in Jn. 6.45: It is written in the prophets: They will all be taught by God. Everyone who has heard the Father and learned from Him, comes to Me. This is a reference to Jer. 31. 31-34:
“The days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them,” declares the LORD. “This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the LORD. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the LORD,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the LORD. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”
Notice particularly v. 34 where it indicates an implicit teaching by God instead of the human teaching of the Old Covenant. This is the conceptual framework of what Jesus was talking about. Jesus, Paul, and the Book of Hebrews all acknowledge Jer. 31.31-34 as the definitive text promising a New Covenant. Many bibles with cross references will indicate Is. 54.13 as the verse that Jesus is quoting in Jn. 6.45; but this is not the case. While is seems the verse is an almost exact match, the bible is more concept oriented than word for word oriented. This is not to say that word correspondence is not operative, but, that concepts tend to feature more than quotes between the two Testaments.
Jesus goes on to explain further in Jn. 6.45 that the New Covenant involves the initiation of the Father and response of learning, and finally accepting Jesus the Messiah. One might ask: where does faith come into the discussion?
Aspects of Faith
Connected to the message of Christ.
Rom. 10.17: So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. This indicates faith is wrapped up with hearing God’s message of Christ. The text in Rom. 10 goes on to seemingly include some measure of general revelation when quoting Psalm 19. Also, Rom. 1. 20-21 says that all humans have known and understood aspects of God since He personally revealed it to them. Therefore, the faith and knowledge about God are not mysterious entities needing profound theological explanations.
Faith is a Gift.
All humans on earth have a propensity for selfishness, pride, and a desire of independence from God. Even Christians were dead to God at one stage (Eph. 2.1-3). Humans need a new birth from God. During the early spread of the church, the Apostle Peter gave the mechanics, if you will, about becoming a Christian: By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has completely healed him, as you can all see (Acts 3.16). Faith comes from a person, namely Jesus.
A favorite verse of many Christians to help them through adversity is Phil. 1.29: For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him. Both Christian suffering and initial faith are granted by God. Of course there is a fight of faith where a person knowing God will need to fight that internal battle to believe and not resort to shrinking back in fear.
2Peter 1.1 states that saving faith is something to be received: Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours. We were persuaded by God is why we believe so it was a gift.
Also, God teaches a person aspects of discernment indicating a prior relationship in Jn.7.17: Anyone who chooses to do the will of God will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own.
Finally, though many other bible passages can be used to show the gracious nature of faith, perhaps an examination of the confession of Peter in Mt. 16.17-18 will illumine truths to inform us:
Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock (Petra) I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.
Jesus is creating an organism, The Church, which is comprised of those who know Him. I do not want to go into controversies about how these verses has been misinterpreted by The Roman Catholic Church or others, but simply state what this passage means based upon the totality of scripture. The Church is not a building or an organizational institution, rather, its the persons individually and collectively. This aspect is clearly seen since Christians are a temple individually and corporately (1 Cor.6.19 shows this individually while 1 Cor. 3.16 gives the corporate picture by use of the plural in the Greek text).
Back to Mt. 16. 17-18 which shows the work of revealing to Peter by God the Father of who Jesus was. This shows exactly what the foundational rock is (v. 18-Petra) that Jesus will build His church upon: God working in individuals to bring them to Himself (since it was not “flesh and blood”-the O.T. “brother” of Jer. 31.34 but God Himself who called them). This is God’s foundation which stands sure: Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.” (2Tim. 2.19).
I’m going to talk about two kinds of leaders in Mark 10:42-45, but the discussion will make fullest sense if I spend some time in the rest of Mark’s Gospel setting the stage for this. Jesus throughout Mark’s Gospel displays one kind of leadership. Some scholars like to play Jesus’s “Messianic secret” (his invoking silence…
N.T. Wright (some call him N.T. Wrong) claims that scholarly focus should be on the literature of Jesus’ time. I counter because Jesus appealed consistently to promises found in the text of scripture long ago written (at His time) and not to the faulty ideas circulating during His time. Jesus, instead, refuted many of the popular notions such as: 1. Wealth indicating divine favor. 2. Beneficence of Abraham extending to his descendants. There are more examples.
Also, Jesus had to correct His own disciples who were dedicated followers because of their misunderstanding of the fuller picture and attendant mystery (the need for the two offices-High Priest and King to be joined in one person). The best way, in my opinion, to understand Jesus and His incarnation is to more fully understand the Law, Prophets, and Psalms (Lk. 24.44).
In a succinct manner, Kevin DeYoung distills the bible’s account of the Ascension to make it relevant for Christians. He didn’t mention Christ’s Priesthood directly which is what He just accomplished in His death before he ascended.
Heb. 5.1-2 tells us the representative nature of a priest that he needs to mediate ignorant and straying people before God. A human High Priest knows this inherently since he is also somewhat ignorant and straying. Christ knows our nature exhaustively (since He is Creator) and can represent us to God. This is why He entered the material realm in a humble state instead of a warrior such as when He appeared to Joshua (Jos. 5.13-15).
In Is. 42 He is set forth as a servant, One who will not break a bruised reed or quench a smoldering wick. This is what humanity needed and received in the earthly ministry of Jesus before He ascended as a Priest on His throne (Zech. 6.11-13 cf. Zech. 3.8-9).
Jesus was King over Israel before they asked for a king like all the other nations (1 Sam. 8.7). Therefore, in His humanity, Jesus was born a king as his rightful position.
By Kevin DeYoung
Having triumphed over death and the devil in his resurrection, Christ ascended into heaven locally, visibly, and bodily—locally in that he spatially left earth below for heaven above, visibly in that the disciples saw with their own eyes (as a public event) that he departed from them, and bodily in that the physical flesh of the Son of God is no longer with us on earth.
We can think of Christ’s state of exaltation (as opposed to his state of humiliation) as consisting of four events, each part tracking with a phrase in the Apostles’ Creed: resurrection (he rose again from the dead), ascension (he ascended into heaven), session (and is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty), and physical return (from there he will come to judge the living and the dead).
The ascension is more prominent in Scripture than we might realize. Luke describes the ascension in the most detail, first in his Gospel (Luke 24:50-53) and then in Acts (Acts 1:9-11). Peter’s Pentecost sermon on Pentecost is, in part, about the ascension and enthronement of Christ (Acts 2:32-36).
Likewise, John’s Gospel is full of references to the ascension of the Son of Man (John 3:13, 6:62) and the importance of Jesus returning to the Father (John 14:2-3; 16:5). The ascension is not simply how Jesus gets to heaven, it is a further fulfillment and vindication of the triumph of the resurrection (John 16:5; 20:17).
It’s no wonder that the ascension is highlighted throughout the New Testament, as a necessary precursor (1) to the giving of Messianic gifts (Eph. 4:8-10), (2) to the intercession of our High Priest (Heb. 4:14-16), and (3) to the subjection of all things under Christ’s feet (1 Peter 3:22).
What, then, does the oft-overlooked ascension mean for us?
Second, the ascension means God’s people are, in a manner of speaking, already in heaven. We set our minds on things that are above, because our lives are hidden with Christ who dwells above (Col. 3:2-3).
Third, the ascension means we can receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Once ascended to heaven, Jesus sent another Helper (John 14:16; 16:7) to give us power from on high and to be with us forever.
Fourth, the ascension means human flesh sits enthroned in heaven. God has granted all power and authority to a man (Matt. 28:19; Eph. 1:21-22). Jesus Christ is exercising the dominion that human beings were made to have from the beginning (Gen. 1:28). The ruin of the first Adam is being undone by the reign of the second.
Because of Christ’s ascension we know that the resurrection is real, the incarnation continues, Christ’s humanity lives on in heaven, the Spirit of Jesus can live in our hearts, and a flesh-and-blood, divine human being rules the universe.
Earlier this week a friend asked where he should start in reading Calvin’s Institutes. I suggested, as I often do, beginning with Calvin’s A Little Book on the Christian Life which is an excerpt of the larger work, and one focused largely on Christian living. Here’s a wonderful and timely extract from the new edition…
In our series of bioarchaeographies, we’ve alternated between Old Testament people, such as Tiglath-Pileser III, Nebuchadnezzar, Cyrus, Shishak, King David, Ahaz, Hezekiah, and Omri, and New Testament figures, like Caesar Augustus, Quirinius, Herod Agrippa I and II, Herod Antipas, Pontius Pilate, Gallio, and Sergius Paulus. In this article, we’ll explore the life of one of […]
By Albert Mohler
This New York Times obituary celebrates the late Dr. Richard Friedman as having shown that sexual orientation was largely biological. I’m saying that’s not true. He did not show any such thing. He did raise patterns in research including biological factors that were used in the transformation of the American Medical Society, and by that I mean the society of doctors writ large and most importantly by the American Psychiatric Association. The research was used by those organizations in order to justify a complete 180 degree turn when it came to the understanding of homosexuality.
But in a process I’ve traced in my book, We Cannot Be Silent, published just a few years ago, it was an intensely political process and we know that because the people who were at the center of the story indicated just how political it was. Political pressure brought on groups of the American Psychiatric Association and along the same time the American Psychological Association, but you’ll notice how affected the propaganda is on this, so much so that it shows up in this obituary. If it is true that Dr. Friedman showed that sexual orientation was largely biological, then what is the biological explanation? The fact is there isn’t one and there’s no actual argument for one. It’s an argument from patterns, and by the way, no intelligent, intellectually honest Christian should deny those patterns. There are bigger issues here, but one of the things to note is that even in an obituary, the culture war goes on—an effort to try to remind Americans, oh, this is what we know. American Christians need to stop for a minute and think, wait a minute, do we really know that at all?
There’s another aspect in this obituary that’s absolutely fascinating. There are two alternative views about the origin and explanation of male homosexuality in this article. There is the so-called biological view presented by the psychiatrist, psychoanalyst Richard Friedman, and then there is the Freudian view. You’ll notice what’s completely absent from the entire perspective here and that would be say, an historic Christian view. Here you have just two plausible views presented, the Freudian and you might say the new one promoted by Richard Friedman. That’s the whole point of the obituary. This is where Christians have to pause for a moment and say, “Wait a minute. We never signed on to the Freudian understanding of homosexuality.”
Later in the obituary Severson writes, “Although the American Psychiatric Association, the dominant mental health organization in the United States, changed its diagnostic manual in 1973 and stopped classifying homosexuality as an illness, psychoanalysts continued to describe homosexuality as a perversion and many believed it could be cured.” The big issue here is as the article says that Friedman’s research and argument “led to a model in which analyst and patient simply assumed that homosexuality was intrinsic.” Well, they pretty much gave away the store with that argument. They gave their argument away. They are admitting here as is recorded in the New York Times that the analyst and the patient “simply assumed that homosexuality was intrinsic.”
Once again, what we see here is that it’s presented in the lede paragraph as biology and science, but when it comes down to it, it’s really more an act of the will when it comes to making the argument.
Jezreel The meaning of “Jezreel” (יִזְרְעֶאל, yizre’e’l; LXX Ιεζραελ) appears to be either “God sows” or “may God make fertile/fruitful.” Jezreel sits opposite Shunem (1 Samuel 28:4; 2 Kings 4:8–10) and near halfway between Megiddo and Bethshan/Beth-shean with each being about ten miles distant from Jezreel. The junction of the Via Maris and the Way…
For missiological, theological, evangelistic, and strategic reasons, Evangelicals must engage Roman Catholicism in today’s world. L’articolo 175. Why Evangelicals Must Engage Roman Catholicism sembra essere il primo su Vatican Files.
It may not show up on Christian motivational posters, but Colossians 2:15 is one of the great verses of victory in the New Testament. “He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.” Our great captain has won the contest. The seed of the woman has bruised the head of the seed of the serpent (Gen. 3:15).
While not as familiar to us, Colossians 2:15 was beloved in earlier periods of Christian history. It is also regularly invoked in academic theology to support a certain understanding of Christ’s atonement known as the “Christus Victor” model, which argues that Christ’s saving work consists in defeating the evil powers that afflict and enslave humanity. Unfortunately, some go on to argue that this way of looking at Christ’s atonement excludes other important aspects of his work, particularly his satisfaction of divine justice on our behalf.
As we’ll see, properly understanding Colossians 2:15 can help us avoid this error by rightly affirming Christ’s victory over evil in and through his sacrificial death on the cross.
Who Are the Rulers and Authorities?
Colossians 2:15 states that Christ “disarmed the rulers and authorities.” To whom does this phrase refer? The combination of “rulers and authorities” appears elsewhere in Paul’s writings in reference to human authorities (Titus 3:1), but more often it applies to spiritual powers (Eph. 3:10; 6:12). When we compare Colossians with Ephesians (its parallel epistle), we see that “thrones, dominions, rulers, and authorities” are obviously spiritual entities, whether angels or demons (Eph. 1:21; 2:2; 3:10; 6:12).
But if Christ disarmed Satan and his demons and took away their power, how exactly did he do it? At this point, the history of interpretation gets rather interesting.
Did Jesus Harrow Hell?
Many commentators have connected this verse to the so-called “harrowing of hell.” There are varying versions of this concept, but the general story goes like this: after the crucifixion, Jesus descended into the underworld where he defeated Satan and his demons and freed the souls who’d been held captive under the old covenant. Proponents of this view combine Colossians 2:15 with Ephesians 4:8–10 and 1 Peter 3:19 in order to fill out the story.
This is certainly an inspiring narrative. It seems like perfect material for a C. S. Lewis novel. But despite its literary quality, it actually confuses important biblical and theological content.
First, these three passages aren’t necessarily talking about the same thing, but even if they are, none of them says that Christ rescued believers from an underworld. First Peter 3:20 specifies the spirits were disobedient spirits, so this isn’t a reference to the faithful being rescued but rather bad guys (whether human or demonic) being judged. Ephesians 4:8–10 says that he leads a host of “captives” in his train. The captives are those whom Christ has defeated, not those he’s rescuing.
Additionally, there is no biblical reason to believe that Satan was in hell during the old covenant. To the contrary, Satan is presented as prince of the “air” (Eph. 2:2), entering into heaven itself (Job 1:6; Zech. 3:1; Rev. 12:7) and roaming the earth (Job 1:7; Gen. 3:1; Matt. 4:1). Only at the last day is Satan cast into hell (Rev. 20:10).
We must also deny that old covenant believers went to “hell.” What most of us today think of as hell is “Gehenna” and “everlasting fire” (Matt. 5:30; 10:28; 25:41; Mark 9:43; James 3:6; Rev. 20:10). It’s a place of punishment, where God pours out his wrath against sin. Believers do not go here. They are saved from it.
There are two other biblical terms for an “underworld” in a more general sense, and these are the Hebrew sheol and the Greek hades. These terms are used frequently in the Scriptures, and they can refer to the literal grave or the spiritual realm of the dead. They don’t necessarily imply a place of torment. When Jesus tells about Lazarus being taken to “Abraham’s bosom” after his death, this is said to be a place of “comfort” (Luke 16:23).
Nailing Satan’s Chief Weapon to the Cross
Colossians 2:15 isn’t talking about some war in the underworld, then, but of Christ’s victorious work on the cross. In the prior verses, Paul speaks about the “legal debt” sinners were under. Christ has now “set this aside” by “nailing it to the cross” (Col. 2:14). Because of this, no one can condemn us (Col. 2:16).
This is how Jesus has disarmed the powers. He has taken away Satan’s power to hold sinners to the debt of their sins and trespasses.
Indeed, accusation is the chief activity for Satan. He attempted to undermine God’s righteous verdict over Job (Job 1:9–10), stood ready to accuse Joshua the high priest (Zech. 3:1), and accused all believers before God day and night (Rev. 12:10). The power of sin is the law (1 Cor. 15:56), and Satan attempted to use the demands of the law to destroy God’s people. But Christ, in taking the law’s curse on himself (Gal. 3:13), has wrested this weapon from Satan.
He has disarmed him and triumphed over all the forces of evil precisely in his sacrificial death on the cross. As John Calvin put it, “There is no tribunal so magnificent, no throne so stately, no show of triumph so distinguished, no chariot so elevated, as is the gibbet on which Christ has subdued death and the devil, the prince of death.”
Making a Spectacle of Satan
This understanding also explains the nature of Satan’s defeat. He hasn’t yet been so utterly destroyed or defanged that he can’t do battle against the believer. But he cannot hurt us spiritually or bring a successful charge against us (Rom. 8:33). We’re now free to wrestle against the spiritual forces of evil knowing we will get the victory. In the words of John Davenant, “Those who are vanquished are always more angry than powerful.” While Satan and his minions rage, they can only express frustration that their fate is sealed.
Indeed, Satan was made a spectacle in the cross. Believing that Jesus had been defeated, Satan made his grandest boasts. And yet, the death of Christ was the greatest victory. The cross crushed Satan’s head for good. His boasting became foolishness and his glory shame, as the justification of all God’s people now makes plain.
The cross crushed Satan’s head for good.
Perhaps there is a little something of Lewis in this version of the spoiling of Satan. After all, in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, it was the laws of Narnia that Edmund had violated and that the White Witch tried to use against Aslan. “The Law” (or “the deep magic”) in Narnia was from the Emperor, which Aslan would not contradict. But the deeper magic from the dawn of time—or we might say, from the before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4)—reconciled the demands of the law with the redemption of lawbreakers, bringing about the witch’s defeat.
We could summarize Colossians 2:13–15 along similar lines: the satisfaction of divine justice shames the powers and shows Christ to be our victor.
By Lee Irons
It is very important to understand that Kline [Meredith] viewed the Mosaic economy as a two-layer cake. The underlying layer (what he called “the substratum”) is an administration of grace having to do with the eternal salvation of the individual elect Israelites. The overlying layer is what he called “the typal kingdom.” The typal kingdom is the land of Israel, a territory completely set apart as holy unto God, functioning as a theocracy, focused on the central temple where God dwells and reigns as King over his people. It is a picture or type of the eschatological kingdom of the new heavens and the new earth. Just as the new heavens and new earth will be free from all evil, a new creation “in which righteousness dwells” (2 Pet 3:13), so the typal kingdom of Israel was to be rid of Canaanites and idolaters. Just as the eschatological kingdom will be ushered in by purifying judgment, so the typal kingdom was ushered in by Joshua’s conquest and the devoting of the idolatrous inhabitants of the land to destruction.
You might be wondering where Kline got this two-layer metaphor. At first it looks like a neat visual metaphor that Kline just made up. He was a very visual and poetic thinker, so it is a plausible theory. However, there is a biblical basis for it – an exegetical one and a biblical-theological one.
First, the exegetical basis
Kline got the metaphor from Paul in Gal 3:15-19, where he teaches that the Abrahamic covenant was not annulled by the coming of the Mosaic law, nor did the Mosaic law change the terms of the Abrahamic covenant by making the promise dependent on law-keeping. Rather, the law was “added” or “superimposed” (v 19) until the coming of the Seed promised in the Abrahamic covenant. Here is the paragraph:
15 To give a human example, brothers: even with a man-made covenant, no one annuls it or adds to it (ἐπιδιατάσσεται) once it has been ratified. 16 Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, “And to offsprings,” referring to many, but referring to one, “And to your offspring,” who is Christ. 17 This is what I mean: the law, which came 430 years afterward, does not annul a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to make the promise void. 18 For if the inheritance comes by the law, it no longer comes by promise; but God gave it to Abraham by a promise. 19 Why then the law? It was added (προσετέθη) because of transgressions, until the offspring should come to whom the promise had been made. (ESV)
Verse 18 is critical: “For if the inheritance comes by the law, it no longer comes by promise; but God gave it to Abraham by a promise.” This verse makes clear that for Paul “the law” and “the promise” are opposed to one another. In the one, the inheritance is by works; in the other, it is by grace. And yet somehow the two principles, though coexisting in the Mosaic era, are not ultimately in conflict. How can this be?
The key is to note that there are two different Greek verbs translated similarly in English as “add to” and “add.” The first verb, ἐπιδιατάσσομαι (v 15), rendered by the ESV as “add to,” is a technical term for adding a later codicil to a covenant (or will) that changes the terms of the covenant (or will). The NASB’s rendering, “adds conditions to it,” is more precise.
The second verb, προστίθημι (v 19), rendered by the ESV as “add,” has a different nuance. In this context it has the sense of a temporary, removable overlay, since it is clear that the law was “added” in such a way that it did not annul or modify the underlying Abrahamic covenant. It was given with a terminus in view, “until the Seed should come.” Or, as Paul will explain a few verses later, the law was a guardian or pedagogue for Israel in her minority “until the date set by the father” (Gal 3:24; 4:2). In the fullness of time, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, so that the Abrahamic promise, which was there all along, might be brought to fulfillment and the people of God might take up the inheritance no longer as slaves but as sons (Gal 4:1-7).
So the principle of inheritance by law and the principle of inheritance by grace coexisted in the Mosaic era, without the law canceling or annulling the promise, because the law was “added” as a temporary overlay but not as a codicil that modified the terms of the Abrahamic covenant. Kline appeals to this key passage (Gal 3:15-19) again and again in his writings. For example:
“On the classic covenantal understanding, the law that came 430 years later did not disannul the promise (Gal 3:17) – not because the old covenant did not really introduce an operative works principle, but because works and faith were operating on two different levels in the Mosaic economy” (“Gospel until the Law,” 436).
Second, the biblical-theological basis
Not only did Kline derive the two-layer cake metaphor from Paul in Gal 3:15-19, but he further developed the metaphor by his biblical-theological analysis of the Abrahamic covenant itself. The Abrahamic covenant was God’s promise concerning the seed and the land. Everyone knows that. However, what most miss (especially dispensationalists) is that God’s promise to Abraham was fulfilled in two stages. The first-level fulfillment was unfolded historically in the formation of the nation (the seed) and the bringing of the nation into the promised land. This first-level fulfillment of the Abrahamic promise is actually a long process that begins with the exodus, continues in the conquest of Canaan, takes many generations to drive out the Canaanites from God’s holy realm, and culminates under Solomon when the temple is finished. The kingdom of God finally arrived when God was dwelling in the midst of his people, in his holy temple, in the holy land, and exercising his authority through his appointed vassal king, the anointed son of David.
But this first-level fulfillment was not the true fulfillment. It was only a “typal kingdom” pointing ahead to the eschatological fulfillment in Christ. Christ is really “the Seed” that the promise referred to (Gal 3:16), and all who belong to Christ are Abraham’s offspring in the collective sense (Gal 3:29). And the land that God promised Abraham, with God dwelling in it as a holy kingdom, was not some earthly real estate but the new heavens and the new earth (as Hebrews 11 makes clear).
And yet, all during the time of the first-level fulfillment, generations of godly individual Israelites were able to see in and through the types and shadows, especially in the sacrificial system, the coming Seed and his atoning sacrifice, so that they were saved, forgiven, and justified by faith in the Messiah to come.
“The Mosaic economy [was] an administration of grace on its fundamental level of concern with the eternal salvation of the individual” (KP 109).
“Paul, perceiving the works principle in the Mosaic law economy, was able to insist that this did not entail an abrogation of the promises of grace given to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob centuries earlier (Gal 3:17), precisely because the works principle applied only to the typological kingdom in Canaan and not to the inheritance of the eternal kingdom-city promised to Abraham as a gift of grace and at last to be received by Abraham and all his seed, Jew and Gentile, through faith in Christ Jesus” (KP 237).
God did not give the Mosaic law with its works principle to be the means by which the individual elect Israelite would be saved. Personal salvation was always administered, in every epoch of redemptive history, including the Mosaic epoch, through the promise, that is, through the Abrahamic covenant of grace, founded as it was on the paradigm of Abraham’s own soteriological experience, “Abraham believed God and it was counted to him as righteousness” (Gen 15:6).
Kline’s analysis of the Abrahamic promise as finding fulfillment in two stages (the first-level typological fulfillment in the land, and the second-level antitypical fulfillment in Christ and the eschaton), combined with a recognition that individual Old Testament believers were saved by faith as they looked ahead to the antitype through the type, provides further support for the concept of the two-layer cake.
In the next post, I’ll answer the question: If God did not give the Mosaic law and its works principle to Israel to be a means for individuals to be saved and attain eternal life, why did God give the Mosaic law and establish this second typological layer?
Paul, as a Pharisee, recognized the promise of eternal life in Lev. 18.5 before he was a Christian and sacrificed as needed to keep his slate clean in anticipation of the resurrection. Thus Heb. 2.15 speaks of those in slavery to death (all the obligations of observance such as Sabbaths, 3 Yearly feasts, dietary restrictions, and further. Heb.2.14 argues that Christ’s purpose was render the devil powerless. He could accuse any for falling short especially if they didn’t fast and give the half shekel yearly on the Day of Atonement where sins were remembered yearly (Heb. 10.1-3).
This is the “Stronger man” of Lk. 11.22. Also, Col. 2.14-15 speaks of the debt of obligation which, taken away, leaves the adversary powerless.
Therefore, when looking at Paul’s use of our verse in Rom. 10.4, the end of the Law is Christ because He kept it perfectly as under the Law and God raised Him from the dead. People seeking salvation by trying to keep the Law have a burden that is impossible to bear and, and also, was only the shadow of greater realities in heaven. (Gal.3 Paul uses the same argument). Notice what Jesus claims in Jn. 8.26- “Which of you can prove me guilty of sin?” The man Jesus was sinless and so was granted eternal life, and, as the second Adam, gives it to us.
In order to understand the Trinity students will need to pay close attention to all of scripture and consider it divine revelation. Here is a good summary of eternal generation and where to find resources to explain the nature of God found in the scriptures: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/is-the-eternal-generation-of-the-son-a-biblical-idea/
Its time for me to drop the “Evangelical” label and refer to a better idea captured in the term Paleo-Orthodox. The term “Evangelical” indicates the Christian belief that one needs a conversion from their fallen state to faith in Christ. Of course I believe this but I also believe a lot more. “Evangelicalism” as a term has become too shallow for me to use anymore but Paleo-Orthodoxy describes my position more accurately. Here is an interview of Thomas Oden by Al Mohler (the transcript has a few spelling hiccups but its not too hard to catch every point- or one could listen). Thomas C. Oden coined the term Paleo-Orthodoxy.
Some of my current studies include 2 Kings 24-25, which tell of the reigns of Judah’s last three kings: Jehoiakim (r. 609-597 BC), Jehoiachin (597 BC), and Zedekiah (597-586 BC). For so long down to that point in time, God’s people had repeatedly turn to idols, such as Baal (other names included Teshub, Hadad, etc.), […]
We’ve learned about two of the Herodian Rulers in our bioarchaeographies thus far: Herod Agrippa II, who was the ruler before whom the Apostle Paul made his defense in Acts 25-26, and Herod Antipas, who killed John the Baptist (Mt 6:17) and interviewed Jesus before his crucifixion (Lk 23:9). In this archaeological biography, we’ll explore […]
In the past few weeks and months, ancient biblical texts have made their way into major news outlets. Recently, National Geographic revealed that all of the newly discovered “Dead Sea Scrolls” in the Museum of the Bible’s collection are forgeries. On the New Testament side, there was much made of a sensational “First-Century Mark Fragment”…
In the midst of discussing a textual reading at John 1:28 in his “Commentary on John” Origen of Caesarea (ca. 184 – 253 CE) waxed long on the various place names found in the Gospel accounts and the variations in spelling that can be seen in the manuscript tradition.“We are aware of the reading which…
An article I contributed to the April 2020 issue of Tabletalk magazine.