There is Only the One Israel Now, So You Don’t Want or Need what the Judiazers Offer You

Galatians 3:16 Now the promiseS were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, “And to seedS,” referring to many, but referring to one, “And to your seed,” 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.

21 Is the law then contrary to the promiseS of God? Certainly not! For if a law had been given that could give life, then righteousness would indeed be by the law. 22 But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that THE PROMISE by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those AS MANY AS WHO believe.

23 Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. 24 So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we would be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, 26 for in Christ Jesus YOU are all sons of God, through faith. 27 For AS MANY AS YOU many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, heirs according to promise.

I am not somebody who reduces the Abrahamic promises to one promise. I am all for noticing the various promises, beginning in Genesis 12. Abram will become a great nation (goy, polis), and he can’t have a great nation without land, territory for many people, mostly all biologically related to Abram, a land with no other altars allowed except to Yahweh the King. God also promises blessings for other nations based on their relation to Abram’s nation, with curses for those nations which don’t relate favorably to Abram’s nation.

So I am not the one reducing all these promises to one promise. I deny that the Abrahamic covenant is the new covenant. I deny that the Abrahamic covenant is “the covenant of grace” or “part of the covenant of grace” or “an administration of the covenant of grace”. Since I know how to talk about the continuity of the Abrahamic covenant to the Mosaic covenant and to the new covenant without saying that they are one covenant, I very much want to notice the various promises associated with Abraham, and to see how they are fulfilled in the circumcision of Christ on the eighth day (Luke 2).

Circumcision is not simply about “spiritual cleaning”. The sign of circumcision is not even only about pointing to the bloody sacrifice of Christ, which cuts the justified elect off from legal solidarity with Adam. Circumcision is an initiation rite for priests, and every male in Abraham’s family (even if one parent did not go testify before the presbytery!) was obligated by Abrahamic law to be circumcised as a sign that Abraham’s family consisted of consecrated priests.

So circumcision was a sign of many things, but  not a sign to any person in particular (except Abram himself )of  election to justification and eternal life and faith in the gospel.

What belonging to Abraham’s family means now and what it meant then is not the same thing. Zwingli and other Reformed folks like to start with what they think it means now and then read that back as if that were what belonging to Abraham’s family meant then. Thus they notice the promise about the one seed which will bring in the righteousness, but they don’t notice some of the other promises.

To put it a different way, instead of saying “you already have what the judiasers offer”, better to say” what the judiasers offer, you don’t need, and couldn’t have anyway.” There is no more Abrahamic economy, and you can be children of Abraham now in only one way, not in the ways you could be before.

Now that Christ has been born and circumcised, it’s not possible for every jewish male infant to be born as types of the birth to come. The land promise needed for the jewish people to remain the genetic incubator for the Seed is now abrogated.
Many Reformed paedobaptists (besides Meredith Kline and Gary North) don’t like talking about the bothersome “intrusive” stuff ( negative sanctions) which otherwise does not fit with their neat straight-line continuity?

We should all agree about that the Abrahamic covenant is one unit (all or nothing), but paedobaptists can’t stay with that, because they need to harmonize (homogenize) covenants  so that we then identify the Abrahamic covenant with the new covenant (or with “the covenant of grace”)

Sure,  the promises to Abraham are typological. But they put  non-Abrahamic people out of the territory, to make room for the biological-political heirs of Abraham. Why not talk about all the promises, unless your confessions have already told you what “that one promise” is?

So is the “inheriting the world” promise about Christ (the one seed) bringing in the righteousness so that the world belongs to Him and His elect? Or is “inheriting the world” about some conditional promise being made to everybody with one parent who professes to be Christian? Galatians 3 speaks of a promise given to “as many as believe”, and not about a promise given to the children of as many as who believe.

We need to notice the different “seed of Abraham”.   Galatians 3 talks about the one seed, not the many, but then it ends with the many who believe the gospel. So two different seeds are in Galatians. But the seed born to the seed are not in Galatians 3, and the only way they can get there is in the collective imagination of some paedobaptists (not Lutherans or Roman Catholics but Reformed)

I am glad to recognize (as I have many times) that the Abrahamic covenant included by design many who were non-elect. Being circumcised and getting in was not the only thing one had to do to “stay in”. But if Reformed folks want to argue that the new covenant people of God are the same set as the people who were in the Abrahamic covenant, they are going to have to make their case.

These Reformed folks need to back up to the beginning by affirming that Christ did not die for any non-elect people.  If it is not Christ who kept all the conditions of the elect being in (and staying in) the new covenant, then we need to hear a lot more from these folks about the kind of “conditionality” involved in the new covenant. Is “election” simply a corporate thing, with which individuals to be decided later?

Is the new covenant “unbreakable” only in the sense that the covenant stands even if no individuals do what they have to do to “get connected” (and stay connected) with Christ’s death? If water baptism has no efficacy for the non-elect, what efficacy did water baptism have for the elect? Does water baptism promise that anybody will believe? Does water baptism cause anybody to believe? The gospel promises grace only to those who believe the gospel. It’s not the faith given to the elect which causes grace to be given. It’s grace that gives faith to the elect, and those who are never given faith in the gospel were NEVER given grace.

Ephesians 2 says covenantS, plural. The text in no way proves that the Abrahamic covenant is the new covenant, or that the Abrahamic covenant is “the covenant of grace.”. Nobody I know denies that the promise of the gospel concerning the one seed is one of the Abrahamic promises. But Reformed folks ignore the other promises, as they ignore other covenants.

When God says “not all Israel is Israel”, God is not saying “you gentiles can now be the kind of Israel you always wanted to be, the kind that there was before Christ was born”. Rather, there is only one kind of Israel now, and you can be in this Israel, and if Jews want to be in Israel now, this is the only Israel even for them now.

So sure, there’s continuity, but don’t ignore the great redemptive-historical change. Before those in the Abrahamic covenant could be in Israel and then become strangers to Israel. But now there is an Israel, the only Israel, and those in that Israel know the Lord.

Jews who don’t believe the gospel aren’t Israel anymore. They were ( in a real sense) before Christ was born. But not anymore. Only as many as are called by the gospel (Acts 2) are now the rightful heirs. If your children are among the “as many as God shall call”, they too are rightful heirs. If not, not.

Many Reformed folks like to associate credobaptism with dispensationalism. It makes for a simple equation, and then they don’t have to think too much! But  many of us credobaptists are NOT dispensationalists (who just don’t know it). There is only one Israel now and it’s the justified elect of God. Nor am I am of the tribe (John Murray, many amills as well as postmills) that says God has promised those with Abraham’s DNA something extra in the future. There is only one Israel, not a different second Israel which has been promised some land the others of us have not. There is only one Israel, not a different second Israel which are children born to one professing Christian, who are not yet allowed to eat at Israel’s table.  The dividing wall is gone.

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18 Comments on “There is Only the One Israel Now, So You Don’t Want or Need what the Judiazers Offer You”

  1. markmcculley Says:

    Who are the they for whom God “will be their God ? Only the ones who believe the gospel? Only the ones who profess to believe the gospel (I mean we don’t know fur sure, but if they profess to be Muslims or atheists, we can be pretty sure that they are not justified yet,can’t we?)

    God is not the God of those without one parent who professes to believe the gospel? Acts 2 says “as many as the Lord shall call”, but God is the God of some of those who will not be called also, but not the God of others who won’t be called?

    jGalatians 3 insists that there is more than one kind of seed Abraham has, and yet paedobaptists do not acknowledge the difference between jewish infants being types of the infant Messiah and the one seed who is the fulfillment of those types. Nor do they agree to the basic difference between the biological children of those who believe and those who believe, even though the Galatians 3 text says nothing about a promise for those who don’t believe.

    Indeed, we are talking about two basic related but different realities. First, not to many but to one seed. Second, as many as believe the gospel are children of Abraham. There’s nothing in
    Galatians 3 about the children of those who believe.

    a paedobaptist: Whether The new and Abrahamic are two distinct covenants, still and all, Eph 2 is teaching clearly that in Christ, we are no longer foreigners to those covenants. We are members of the Abrahamic covenant.

    mark: You say you are not “particular” about the way we cut the cake, and then–once again-you cut the cake the way you want and need to. I don’t mind your disagreeing, but it’s gets us nowhere for you to say that only one of us is making an inference.

    The paedobaptist says–we (the justified elect?, plus our children?, all for whom Christ died?, also some of the non-elect?, the “we” keeps hanging) are members of the Abrahamic covenant. And I say–no, we (nobody now) are NOT members
    of the Abrahamic covenant. So we disagree. It won’t do to say–I don’t care, and then say–but I am correct.

    If there is no more Abrahamic covenant, since that covenant has been fulfilled by Christ and the new covenant, then all of us are “strangers” to the Abrahamic covenant. And if the new covenant is a distinct covenant, don’t say it doesn’t matter, because it means that the “we” of Ephesians 2 are now members of the new covenant.

    Of course saying we are in the Abrahamic covenant doesn’t get you all the way you need to go, because Galatians 3 doesn’t say anything about the children of those believe, but paedobaptists must say that that new covenant believers are in the Abrahamic covenant, because if they don’t do that, they won’t be able to bring the genealogical principle along with them.

    a paedobaptist—I *am* particular that when Paul says “you are children of Abraham because you are in Christ”, that we not second-guess him and start reading him as “you are children-but-not-really-children of Abraham.”

    mark: You are no less precise than I am. We simply disagree, You insist that if we don’t say “in the Abrahamic covenant” then we are not “really” saying “children of Abraham”. I guess that means I may be saying it but I don’t “really” mean it. Because, you see, I am not saying it precisely as you would, in such a way as to bring along the genealogical principle.

    The Abrahamic covenant had a genealogical principle. On that we agree. All the children of Abraham now are in that old Abrahamic covenant. On that we disagree. And then you infer that if I don’t say it the way you say it, then I am not really saying it.

    A paedobaptist: You are choking on the “external administration” idea. Why? Doesn’t it make sense that the Lord knows who are His, but we don’t?

    mark: Actually I don’t think I have as much of a problem with the visible/invvisible idea as John Murray did, and he was fervently paedobaptist. (If I wanted to be more precise, I would contrast visible gatherings-plural-now in contrast to the one visible ecclesia then, at Christ’s coming.) So my problem is not my being “gnostic” or pietist or some such thing.

    I agree very much that the Lord knows who are His, although I also agree with what the WCF says about assurance, so I can’t simply say “we don’t”, because that would imply that we
    ourselves can and should have no degree of assurance. But,that said, I agree that visible congregations discern by “creditable profession of faith.’ Even though what’s in the heart tends to come out of the mouth, we judge by what comes out of the mouth.

    So the problem is not “external adminstration” or creeds. Credobaptists judge by means of creeds and professions of faith. The problem is that we have different “external adminstrations” in mind.You want those with professions and their children. I want only those with professions. But we both are going by profession. My constant suggestion has been that, if you don’t like my “external adminstration”, that you could just baptize everybody and welcome everybody to the table, and do away with discipline all together. If you think credobaptism is inherently presumptuous, don’t do it yourself, and then confine yourself to two marks of the church, Word and Sacrament, and forget
    this “profession” stuff.

  2. markmcculley Says:

    Ask Neusner (Children of the Flesh, Children of the Promise) if being a Jew has anything to do with genetic inheritance.

    Matthew 10:35 For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.

    Matthew 10:37 Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.

    Matthew 12:50 For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”

    Matthew 19:29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life.

    Luke 12:53 They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against

    Luke 14:26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.

    Many paedobaptists don’t want to talk about the conditional or political aspects of the Abrahamic covenant. It’s as if those negative sactions were only in the Mosaic covenant. They don’t want to talk about the land, or about the second and third generations, or about holy wars. They want to read the Abrahamic covenant as if it were the new. But they do want to talk about ‘family structure’” Since there are no New Testament rules for infant initiation into a visible congregation, they want to
    reach back into the Old Testament (ignoring the intrusions) and find an adminstration for a new covenant church. And then of course if you don’t agree that what they think is the proper administration for a new covenant church, then they will simply assume that you don’t have any.

    If you don’t agree with him–then you can’t have a visible church. If you don’t agree with him, then you must be a “gnostic” who only thinks of invisible individuals. Maybe Reformed paedobaptists should talk to some Lutheran or Roman Catholic friends and tell them that they don’t have any visible administration since their principles for inclusion are not the same.

    A paedobaptist asks: What does it mean to be inheritors of a covenant that has passed away? I might as well sell you my title to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

    mark: What does it mean to be a biological child of Abraham today? I would say–nothing. I am not running for president, and I know this goes against premills but also many amills and postmills. But I argue from texts like Romans 2 and Philippians 3. We are the true circumcision, and judiasers have nothing to offer anybody. I am not going to promise people what Judiasers promise them..

    What does it mean to be a “child of the promise” today? it means being a Christian, not excluded from the covenants of grace, being included forever in the new covenant?

    What does it mean to be a biological child of a Christian today? It means you most likely are going to hear the gospel more than other people who don’t have Christian parents. But there is no way we should be taking promises to Abraham about his having many biological children and then one day the one seed being born, and apply those promises to ourselves. I know you can say that “every promise in the book is mine” but you are wrong if you say that. The gospel is only good news for the elect. The new covenant is only for the elect. And we need to tell our children that they can’t know if they are elect until and unless they believe the gospel.

    Look above to Romans 9, or look to Galatians 3-4. The texts say that there are two kinds of Israel, two kinds of seed. But some paeodbaptists say there was never really but one Israel.
    I never ever heard a credobaptist talk about “covenantal diapers”. But I have heard that from many paedobaptists, not all of whom can be described as new school revivalists. Of course I am interested in hearing more about the “covenantal efficacy”. If some folks without such diapers believe the gospel (even some who were not born to paedobaptist parents), then what is the efficacy of those “covenantal diapers”? If they don’t cause the faith, what is the efficacy which kicks in?

    As for the vipers, I agree with what the Westminster Confession teaches about original guilt and corruption. Saying that your children are not lost doesn’t change a thing. Nobody begins saved and then loses salvation.

    Abraham is a father in more than one way. We can agree that the more important way Abraham is father is not at all about genetics (except that Jesus is genetically the seed of Abraham), without denying that Abraham was also father to Ishmael and other children of the slave woman.

    After Abraham believed the gospel, he was circumcised. Romans 4 makes much of the sequence. But some paedobaptists want infants to be outwardly given the sign of a covenant (like they were during the Abrahamic covenant), and then explain to them if they “break the covenant” that they were never “really in” (thus you never really broke).

    In the new covenant, it’s perfectly fine for a Christian to be single and not even have a biological family.

  3. markmcculley Says:

    paedobaptist: Likewise, the purpose of the Law has been substantially fulfilled. Hence, both the sacrifices and also the judicial laws expire. Some things do not change about this outward administration. The structure of the covenant community does not change (for God did not tell us to change it). Accordingly, our children are holy (“sanctified”, “set apart”) just as Abraham’s were.

    mark: how do you know which things change and which don’t? Cherry-picking. But I have discussed this before. It’s “ceremonial” and not of the “moral” essence, even though God commanded it. How do it know it’s ceremonial? Well, it’s now abolished. How do you know it’s abolished? Well, it’s abolished. But the Abrahamic covenant is an unity, an entire package, take it or leave, say it’s fulfilled or not…..and so on. But it turns out that, for Jeff, saying it’s an unity is not quite as simple as it seemed, because along side the covenant is this “visible administration” which is not the covenant but which changes, or some of it changes, and some of it doesn’t change….

    paedobaptist: What are we to call this outward administration? Because it is the covenant as man sees it, we can reasonably call it “the covenant” for short. But in calling it “the covenant”, we must be clear that belonging to the covenant (“as man sees it”) conveys NOTHING eternally unless there is faith. So while I do not fault Kline for talking about “the covenant”, I mentally translate him to mean “the outward administration of the covenant”, which is what I believe he means.

    mark: I think you are going to need to discuss faith as a condition or a result of the covenants (Abrahamic, Mosaic, new). Surely you must agree with me that faith in the gospel is a sovereign gift of God. But that still leaves diverse ways of talking about faith and covenants. Did Christ meet all the conditions of the new covenant so that all in the new covenant will have faith in the gospel? I think so, and you might agree with that since you agree that only the elect are in the new covenant (unlike Kline and Horton and Hodge). But then again, you might speak of grace as enabling the elect to meet the conditions. I am not going to speculate about where you are on this, but I would commend the Westminster Ca collection of essays The Law is Not of Faith.

    paedobaptist OK, so that’s my position in short. What is yours, and specifically how does it differ and why? To be really specific,
    * What are the conditions you see in the Abrahamic Covenant?

    mark: To be specific, I would need to know if you want me to talk about the covenant (Genesis 17) of the “visible administration of the Abrahamic covenant.

    * How do you account for men such as Moses who had faith, but were denied entrance into Canaan?

    mark: I am not sure what’s implied in this question. Is the idea that I would have more trouble explaining that people were under the Mosaic covenant than you or others would? Some people under the Mosaic covenant were people who believed the gospel and some people under the Mosaic covenant did not believe the gospel. But even the believers were under the obligations of the Mosaic law. To some extent, we could talk about Christ Himself coming under the curse of the Mosaic covenant, but I think that would get a bit more complicated. One, Christ came to save some who were never under the Mosaic covenant. Two, there is an unique arrangement (covenant of redemption, a covenant of works between the Trinity and Christ with specific tasks which transcend anything the first Adam was obligated to do). Interesting topic, but I guess I am left wondering why you think we would differ on this.

    * What does it mean that the Law was not in operation from Abraham to Moses?

    mark: Do you really want me to exegete two chapters of Galatians for you? I might give you a taste in another post. But short answer: there are different laws associated with different covenants, as Hebrews reminds us, and it will not do to simply say some laws are “ceremonial” or “political” because there are different covenantal economies and therefore different laws. For example, the law given to Adam (do not eat from that one tree) is not the Mosaic law. So the Mosaic law is not in operation until the Mosaic covenant is “cut” in history. See Exodus 24. This seems so obvious that I must have missed your question. My wife keeps telling me—just because somebody asks your opinion doesn’t mean that you have to give it.

    * What change does the Law bring?

    mark: I assume that when you say “the law” you mean the Mosaic law. Where there is no law, there can be no sin imputed. But Romans 5:12-14 is pretty convincing that there was law before the Mosaic law. There was law for Adam, and all those without law to them are imputed with the guilt of Adam’s sin against law.

    * What does it mean that we are “children of Abraham”,

    mark: Before I rush in to repeat all that I have said about distinctions about the word “seed” (still waiting your response on texts like John 8), I guess I should simply repeat my question above. Are we talking about the Abrahamic covenant now, or about its “visible adminstration”, or about the new covenant. You have assured me that Romans 9 isn’t talking about the new covenant. So which promiseS are we talking about? The promise made to Abraham about him having many children and a nation and a land? Or some “visible administrative” promises made to somebody other than Abraham?

    paedobaptist Do you agree that the promise of inheritance of the world is to all of us believers?

    mark: I am not so much a fan o “us believers” because that sometimes takes in Mormons and Arminians. But if you mean is that promise (along with promise about the Seed who will bring in righteousness) made to those who believe God’s gospel, yes of course. The justified elect are children of Abraham, and have no need of being put into the covenant God made with Abraham (or some of its “visible administration”). The justified elect do not need what the Judiasers offered, not even if they could get it without being circumcised.


    “Reformed covenant theology” is on the way to a general ineffective atonement

    Ineffective Unjust Indefinite atonement says that Christ is the priest for all the non-elect and that all the non-elect are in the new covenant

    new covenant theology say that as many as are elect (no more , no less) will be in the new covenant

    Reformed “covenant theology” says that all the covenants are really one “the covenant of grace” and thus they say that the new covenant includes some who are non-elect. While they don’t teach that all of the non-elect are in the new covenant, they do teach that some of the non-elect are in the new covenant.

    Of course, the continuity they so firmly affirm, they also later qualify and take back, when they make a distinction between those who are only externally in “the covenant of grace” and those who are internally in “the covenant of grace”. They also have a distinction between “in the covenant” and “of the covenant”.

    Lutherans have two kinds of “new covenant people”—
    1. Those who have their sins paid for, who eat the humanity of Christ in the sacrament, but who do not have the Holy Spirit and who do not believe the gospel.
    2. Those who have their sins paid for, who eat the humanity of Christ in the sacrament but who also have the Holy Spirit and believe the gospel.

    For Lutherans, both believer and unbeliever partake of the substance of Christ but with differing outcomes, one to life but the other to judgment. For Calvin, a person either receives both Christ and the Spirit, or neither Christ nor the Spirit. Unbelievers do not receive the Spirit, therefore they do not (in the “sacrament”) receive Christ.

    “The matter now disputed between us, is whether unbelievers receive the substance of Christ without his Spirit.” Lutherans say that, if Christ is truly present he is present independent of the communicant’s new birth or faith or unbelief.

    Calvin says that one cannot truly partake of Christ without partaking of His life-giving Spirit.
    Since Christ was baptized with the Holy Spirit, Christ is not where the Spirit is not.

    Garcia, “Christ and the Spirit”, in Resurrection and Eschatology, ed Tipton and Waddington, p430

  5. markmcculley Says:

    Brandon Adams–There are two Israels. One of the flesh, the other of the promise. Both Israels are considered the people of God, but are so constituted on a different covenantal basis. Israel according to the flesh is constituted a people on the basis of the Mosaic Covenant – typical of the true Israel of God, constituted on the basis of the New Covenant. And both of these covenants and both of these peoples flow out of the Abrahamic Covenant, as Galatians 4:21-31 says. Herman Hoeksema was wrong that the children of the flesh were outside of any covenant with God.

    Today, the only way to be of the “people of God” is by faith, because the former means of being considered a people of God (Abraham’s carnal seed) has now ceased and the branches were cut off (a one time event, not a continual pruning taking place even today). Romans 11:16-21 does not teach that children of believers are grafted in to the olive tree at birth and are later cut off. Rather, the passage teaches that the only way to be of the tree is by faith.

  6. markmcculley Says:

    John Owen—It is true, they were the children of Abraham according to the flesh: but on that account they can have no other privilege than Abraham had in the flesh himself; and this was, as we have showed, that he should he set apart as a special channel, through whose loins God would derive the promised Seed into the world. In like manner were they separated to be a peculiar people, as his posterity, from among whom He should be so brought forth.
    That this separation and privilege was to cease when the end of it was accomplished and the Messiah exhibited, the very nature of the thing declares; for to what purpose should it be continued when that was fully effected whereunto it was designed? But they would extend this privilege, and mix it with the other, contending that, because they were the children of Abraham according to the flesh, the whole blessing and covenant of Abraham belonged unto them…
    It is true, the former carnal privilege of Abraham and his posterity expiring, on the grounds before mentioned, the ordinances of worship which were suited thereunto did necessarily cease also. And this cast the Jews into great perplexities, and proved the last trial that God made of them; for whereas both these, — namely, the carnal and spiritual privileges of Abraham’s covenant, — had been carried on together in a mixed way for many generations, coming now to be separated, and a trial to be made (Malachi 3) who of the Jews had interest in both, who in one only, those who had only the carnal privilege, of being children of Abraham according to the flesh….

  7. markmcculley Says:

    Brandon Adams—When God says he will establish His covenant with Isaac instead of Ishmael, God is not commenting one way or the other on Ishmael’s salvation. He is simply saying that the Messiah will be born through the line of Isaac,

    PRCA commentator Robert C. Harbach—The meaning rather is, a wish that Ishmael, who is not destined to be the means of transmitting the blessings of the covenant to its future generations, nevertheless may be in the covenant and share its blessings… Abraham desired nothing less than eternal salvation for his son Ishmael-Studies in the Book of Genesis (17:18)

    Inasmuch as we do not hold with the opinion that God’s grace and blessing are general and common, we can not so regard him. For scripture teaches that God’s goodness is always particular, and that this being true, we may not make the false distinction that some blessings are temporal and for all, while others are eternal and only for the elect. That distinction does not hold… Ishmael is not, therefore, excluded from the covenant and its blessings: but he is not the transmitter of the seed through whom Christ would come.

    Brandon Adams—When God says He will establish His covenant with Isaac instead of Ishmael, God is not commenting on the salvation of either because God is talking about the covenant of circumcision. Paul uses the example of God sovereignly choosing through whom the promised seed will come in the covenant of circumcision and applies it to the question of individual salvation.
    This interpretation has the added benefit of answering Arminians who argue that the Old Testament contexts of the election quotes Paul uses refer to “election to service” rather than individual salvation.

  8. markmcculley Says:

    the sign of the new covenant is NOT ABOUT REGENERATION
    the sign of the new covenant is about the death of Christ (and His resurrection, His ascension, His future second coming)

  9. markmcculley Says:

    Jack Cottrell—Paul’s thesis is that God’s word of promise to Israel has not failed (Rom. 9:6a). Why not? The answer is Romans 9:6b (NASB), “For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel.” Here Paul is not distinguishing between two groups within Israel, the saved and the lost… the contrast is of a different sort altogether. There are two groups, but they are not completely distinct from each other. One is actually inside the other, as a smaller body within a larger body. Both groups are called Israel, but they are different kinds of Israel. The larger one is ethnic Israel, the physical nation as a whole; the smaller belongs to this group but is also distinguished from it as a separate entity, i.e., as the true spiritual Israel, the remnant of true believers who enjoy the blessings of eternal salvation.

    The smaller (saved) group is also a part of the larger body. What is the difference between these two Israels, and why does Paul even bring it up here? The key difference is that God’s covenant promises to these two groups are not the same. The promises God made to ethnic Israel are different from the promises he has made to spiritual Israel. Paul is saying, in effect, “You think God has been unfair to ethnic Israel because all Jews are not saved? Don’t you know there are two Israels, each with a different set of promises? You are actually confusing these two Israels. You are taking the salvation promises that apply only to the smaller group and are mistakenly trying to apply them to Israel as a whole.”

    Here is the point: there are two “chosen peoples,” two Israels; but only remnant Israel has been chosen for salvation. Contrary to what the Jews commonly thought, ethnic Israel AS A WHOLE was not chosen for salvation. God’s covenant promises to physical Israel as such had to do only with the role of the nation in God’s historical plan of redemption. The Jews themselves thought that this election involved the promise of salvation for individuals, but they were simply mistaken.

    John Piper writes that “each of the benefits listed in Romans 9:4, 5 has saving, eschatological implications for Israel,” and then proceeds to try to explain why such benefits were not enjoyed by all Jews. …But the terms of the covenant God made with Abraham and later with Israel as a whole did not include a promise to save anyone simply because he or she was a member of the covenant people. The key promise God made to Abraham and his seed was this: “In you all the families of the earth will be blessed” (Gen. 12:3 NASB), a promise that was fulfilled when “the Christ according to the flesh” ultimately came from Israel (Rom. 9:5 NASB).

    Jack W. Cottrell (2006-11-01). Perspectives on Election, p 125

  10. markmcculley Says:

    John Owen, comments on Hebrews 8:6-13)—This Sinai covenant thus made, with these ends and promises, did never save nor condemn any man eternally. All that lived under the administration of it did attain eternal life, OR perished for ever, BUT MOT BY VIRTUE OF THIS SINAI COVENANT. IT…. was “the ministry of condemnation,” 2 Cor. iii. 9; for “by the deeds of the law can no flesh be justified.” And on the other hand, it directed also unto the new covenant promise, which was the instrument of life and salvation unto all that did believe. But as unto what it had of its own, it was confined unto things temporal. Believers were saved under it, but not by virtue of it. Sinners perished eternally under it, but by the curse of the original law to Adam. …No man was ever saved but by virtue of the new covenant, and the mediation of Christ in that respect.

    Calvin—The Old Testament fathers had Christ as mediator of their covenant… The Old Covenant that the Lord had made with the Israelites had not been limited to earthly things, but contained a promise of spiritual and eternal life. (2.10.23)

    The covenant made with all the patriarchs is so much like ours in substance and reality that the two are actually one and the same. Yet they differ in the mode of dispensation. (2.10.2)
    Calvin on Hebrews 8:6-13

    Here we are to observe how the covenant of the law compares with the covenant of the gospel, the ministry of Christ with that of Moses. For if the comparison had reference to the substance of the promises, then there would be great disagreement between the Testaments. …But the covenant that he once established as eternal and never-perishing. While such confirmation was awaited, the Lord appointed, through Moses, ceremonies that were, so to speak, solemn symbols of that confirmation.

    The ceremonies were only the accidental properties of the covenant, or additions and appendages, and in common parlance, accessories of it [as opposed to the substance of it]. …The Old Testament of the Lord was the eternal covenant wrapped up in the shadowy and ineffectual observance of ceremonies and delivered to the Jews. It became new and eternal only after it was consecrated and established by the blood of Christ. Hence Christ in the Supper calls the cup that he gives to his disciples “the cup of the New Testament in my blood” [Luke 22:20]

    Brandon Adams: Owen said the Old Covenant elect were saved by the promise, and that the promise was separate from the Old Covenant.

    Calvin also said they were saved by the promise, but he said the promise was the very substance of the Old Covenant, not separate from it.

    Owen said Christ’s mediation was limited to the New Covenant, while Calvin said Christ was mediator of the Old Covenant

  11. markmcculley Says:

    Israel of God, p 76—“The betters build on each other—a better priesthood, a better law to go along with this priesthood, and a better covenant that embraces both the better priesthood and the better law.”
    Hebrews 7:24 but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he lives forever.
    Palmer Robertson–“the person concerning whom God swears in Psalm 110 is an individual. This priesthood could be fulfilled by only one person. ‘Permanently’ has been interpreted to mean either perpetual or non-transferable. Because Christ holds his office perpetually, it cannot be transferred to somebody else.”

    Hebrews 3:
    1 Therefore, holy brothers, you who share in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession,
    2 who was faithful to him who appointed him, just as Moses also was faithful in all God’s house.
    3 For Jesus has been counted worthy of MORE glory than Moses—as much more glory as the builder of a house has more honor than the house itself.
    4 (For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.)
    5 Now Moses was faithful in all God’s house as a servant, to testify to the things that were to be spoken later,
    6 but Christ is faithful over God’s house as a son. And we are his house

    II Corinthians 3: 7 Now if the ministry of death, chiseled in letters on stones, came with glory, so that the Israelites were not able to look directly at Moses’ face because of the glory from his face—a fading glory— 8 how will the ministry of the Spirit not be MORE glorious?9 For if the ministry of condemnation had glory, the ministry of righteousness OVERFLOWS with even MORE glory. 10 In fact, what had been glorious is NOT glorious NOW by comparison because of the glory that SURPASSES it. 11 For if what was fading away WAS glorious, what endures WILL BE even MORE glorious.

    Luke 9: 33 Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it’s good for us to be here! Let us make three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah”—not knowing what he said. 34 While he was saying this, a cloud appeared and overshadowed them. They became afraid as they entered the cloud. 35 Then a voice came from the cloud, saying: This is My Son, the Chosen One; listen to Him!

  12. Bryan Estelle (the law is not of faith)— By the time of the New Testament Israel’s disobedience has triggered the curse sanctions. Therefore, the new covenant context has essentially changed matters … What was prototypical during the Abrahamic covenant has been eclipsed by what is antitypical [eternal life]

  13. Ligon Duncan — So as far as Moses is concerned, there is no radical dichotomy between what God is doing with His people in the time of the Exodus and what God promised to Abraham. In fact, he says that the reason God came to His people’s rescue was because He remembered the promise He had made with Abraham. In Genesis chapter 15, God went out of His way to tell Abraham about the oppression of Israel in Egypt and about the fact that He was going to bring them out of Egypt as a mighty nation, and that He was going to give them the land of Canaan. Moses goes out of his way in both Genesis and in Exodus 2 to link the Mosaic Economy with the Abrahamic Covenant, so that the Mosaic Economy isn’t something that is replacing the way that God deals with His people. under Abraham. The Mosaic economy is expanding what God was doing with His people through Abraham.

  14. To get at the root of the problem, we are going to need to see the unity of the Abrahamic and the Mosaic covenants, and then see that the Abrahamic covenant is not the same as the new covenant, because the Abrahamic covenant results in both the Mosaic covenant and also in the new covenant. Abraham was not only the father of believers but also the father of a typical seed. God did not promise blessings to “believers and their children” . The Abrahamic covenant community is not the new covenant community. We cannot remove all typical promises from the Abrahamic covenant, and then pretend that the Abrahamic covenant only had gospel promises.

  15. Abraham had two sons. Not only Ishmael and Isaac, but also Christ and Moses.. The Abrahamic covenant has been fulfilled and has expired. ow is the land promise distinctively Mosaic in contrast to Abrahamic? The typological land promise was something the Abrahamic and Mosaic covenants shared in common. So how can anybody categorize Mosaic elements as temporary and thereby distinguish them from the Abrahamic types that are not “distinctively Mosaic”? , Why is the “ceremonial law” not “moral law” and how do we know which is which?

    Who gets to decides that all the Abrahamic types are not Mosaic? Aren’t all types temporary? Unless you have your mind already made up that the new covenant is no different from the Abrahmaic covenant, you will see that Abraham had two sons.

  16. Scott Clark—Even though there were typological (land) and even national elements in the promises given to Abraham (Gen 12 and 15) they were only temporary expressions of the more fundamental promise to send a Savior.

    Scott Clark—There is a hermeneutical conspiracy, if you will, to turn Abraham into Moses. And Abraham isn’t Moses. Moses is temporary. Moses is national. Abraham is not national. The seed promise that God made to Abraham in 12 and 15 is a promise that the nations will all come out of Abraham, and that’s what begins to happen in the New Covenant. When Peter says the promise is to you and your children,” he’s saying that the fundamental essence of the Covenant of Grace that God made with Abraham is still in effect. And Jesus, Paul says, is the seed, in Galatians 3:15-16, and we, then, he says later on in Galatians, are seeds in Christ.

    According to Scott Clark, the seed God promised to Abraham was only Christ and the land God promised to Abraham was only heaven. “The land and seed promises came to be administered through and under the Mosaic covenant but that Old Covenant administration was distinct from the Abrahamic.”

    Scott Clark is saying that the temporary, typological application in the Mosaic Covenant of the promises God made to Abraham were not actually derived from Abraham. Those types were something added to the Abrahamic Covenant.

    Scott Clark— The national, Israelite, Sinaitic covenant, the Mosaic covenant, was a temporary addition, a codicil, added to the Abrahamic promises. That temporary national covenant expired with the death of Christ. Paul reckons the old covenant as a temporary, national, pedagogical, typological arrangement superimposed upon the Abrahamic covenant of grace.

  17. markmcculley Says:

    od promised to Abraham a land and a seed (Gen chapters 12; 15; 17). The land promise will be fulfilled by the new earth and the seed promises was fulfilled in Abraham’s physical children and also in Christ (Gal 3:16) and also in the justification of all of God’s elect when they believe the gospel.

    The new covenant is now permanent and is distinct from the temporary Abrahamic covenant

    Judaizers still seek to present their infants to God on the basis of their parents being Chrsitians , as if God’s promises to Abraham meant that God had made a promise about the children of Christians.

    But Christ did not die for all the children of Christians, and God will save nobody for whom Christ did not die. Saying that God has grace for the children of Christians is cheating, because the gospel taught in the Old and New Testament teaches no such thing.

    Even those who add the water baptism of John the Baptist to their circumcision are not promised the lasting life which is knowing Jesus Christ.

    Judaizers take the three different promises to Abraham and try to turn those promises into a promise to them about their children being in the new covenant. And then these Judaizers talk out of both sides out of their mouths, on the one hand suggesting that their children may be born in the new covenant and then lose that “grace”. and then on the other hand, agreeing that their children are only in the new covenant “in a conditional sense” so that their children may end up with greater condemnation than those who have no Christian parents.

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