8.1 Redemptive History and Biblical Covenants

Redemptive History

The term used to describe the study of God’s actions to redeem his creation is “Redemptive History.” And according to Scripture, God has always had only one plan to redeem His creation. This plan is centered on and finds fulfillment in Jesus Christ and the New Covenant. Ephesians 1:8-10

The Adamic Covenant

Although the Bible does not use the word “covenant”, Scripture may imply that there existed a covenant arrangement between God and Adam wherein Adam was the first representative of man. This is further reinforced by the fact that the New Covenant has Christ as our representative, and the Bible clearly tells us that we were represented by Adam beforehand. 1 Corinthians 15: 21-22, 1 Corinthians 15:45, Romans 5:12-21, Hosea 5:9
Note: Most theologians within the NCT camp believes that such a covenant before the fall never existed, but there are those who does. Therefore as a church we welcome differing opinions on this matter, since we believe this to be a secondary or even a tertiary issue.

The Noahic Covenant

The Noahic Covenant is a covenant between God and all living creatures and it is a promise by God not to destroy the earth again by water. This is not a salvation covenant but rather a guarantee that the earth will continue until God’s plan to save a people is accomplished. Genesis 9:8-17

The Abrahamic Covenant

This is the agreement between God and Abraham and his descendants. It is a picture of God’s plan of salvation that was revealed through the physical descendants of Abraham. God promised to give Abraham many descendants, the land of Canaan, and to make him a blessing to others. Jesus Christ is the true seed of Abraham. All of those who were represented by Jesus Christ on the cross are the true children of Abraham. The fulfillment of the promises of the Abrahamic Covenant that were made to Abraham’s physical descendants functioned as a picture of the true fulfillment that only true believers experience. The spiritual descendants of Abraham are all the elect in Christ. The land is heaven. The promise that Abraham would be a blessing to all the earth is fulfilled in the Great Commission when the gospel is taken to the entire world to bring in the elect from every tribe nation and tongue. Genesis 12:1-3, Genesis 13:14-17, Genesis 15, Genesis 17, Genesis 22:15-18, Galatians 3, Galatians 4:21-31, Hebrews 3:7-4:11, Revelation 5

The Old Covenant

The Old Covenant is also called the Mosaic Covenant or the First Covenant. This was a legal agreement between God and the nation of Israel that was given to Moses on Mount Sinai. This covenant was not a gracious covenant. Although the Lord had a gracious purpose in giving this covenant, the covenant itself was a legal covenant that demanded perfect obedience. The failure to obey would result in the curse of God. This covenant was used to prepare the way for the Messiah. Israel, as a whole, was not a believing people. The Old Covenant caused the Israelites to become all the more guilty. It was never the means of anyone’s salvation. The Old Covenant functions as a physical picture of many spiritual truths that can be used to teach believers today. The Ten Commandments are the essence of the Mosaic Law or Mosaic Covenant. The pouring out of the Spirit at Pentecost brought to a close the Old Covenant era. 2 Corinthians 3, Hebrews 7-10, 1 Corinthians 10:1-13, Exodus 20:1-21, Deuteronomy 5, Deuteronomy 27-28, Hebrews 3:7-19, Romans 5:20, Romans 9:1-5, Galatians 3-4, Colossians 2:16-23, Acts 2

The New Covenant

This is a description of the saving work of Jesus Christ. He purchased a people who will all be God-lovers. Each of those who are a part of the New Covenant will necessarily experience a changed life. Although all true believers are part of the New Covenant no matter when they lived. The New Covenant era as a unique historical period began with the pouring out of the Spirit at Pentecost. Hebrews 7-8, Hebrews 10:1-18, Romans 5:15-19, Romans 6, Romans 4, Matthew 27:45-56, Acts 2

8.2 Christocentric Hermeneutic

How Christians should interpret the Bible

Christians must strive to interpret all of Scripture with the person and work of Jesus Christ as the central focus and interpretative key to understanding the Bible (Hebrews 1:1-2, Colossians 1:16, 2 Corinthians 1:20, John 5:39, Luke 24:27). All the persons, events, and institutions of the Old Testament find their culmination in Christ. Jesus is the last Adam (Romans 5:12-21; 1 Corinthians 15:45), the second man (1 Corinthians 15:47), the true image of God (2 Corinthians 4:4), the seed of Abraham (Galatians 3:16), the final sacrifice (Romans 3:25; John 1:29), the authoritative prophet like Moses (Deuteronomy 18:15; Acts 3:22), the Passover lamb (1 Corinthians 5:7), the one who brings about the new exodus (Luke 9:31), the inaugurator of a new and better covenant (Luke 22:20), the true tabernacle (John 1:14), the eternal priest after the order of Melchizedek (Hebrews 7), the end-time temple (John 2:19), the faithful son of David (Matthew 1:1), the King anointed with the Spirit (Matthew 3:16-17), and the suffering servant (1 Peter 2:24)

8.3 The Law

How Christians view the Law

The Mosaic Law was given by the Lord to Moses on Mount Sinai for the nation of Israel. The Ten Commandments are the essence of the Mosaic Law. The Mosaic Law was binding on the Israelites during the period of time from the giving of the law at Mount Sinai to the ushering in of the New Covenant Era at Pentecost. As such, it was temporary by divine design. God intended for it to be an interim covenant, and those who are in Christ are no longer under the law. Scripture teaches that all of history is divided between two ages: this present age and the age to come. The present age is considered evil and consists of sin, flesh, and death. But when the Messiah comes, he would usher in the new age which consists of righteousness, Spirit, and life. The Old Covenant is part of the old age and was given by God as a temporary, interim guardian for His people until it would eventually be replaced by the New Covenant. 1 Corinthians 9:20, 2 Corinthians 3, Romans 6:14, 7:6, Galatians 1:4, 3:15-25, 4:21-31, 5:18, Hebrews 8, Jeremiah 31:32, Exodus 19, 20, Exodus 34:27-28, Deuteronomy 4:12-14, Deuteronomy 9:7-10, Hebrews 7:11-19, Acts 2:1-21

How Christians interpret the Law

The old covenant was given and presented to Israel as a unit. There is no distinction between moral, civil, and ceremonial law. God is the holy Creator of all things, and refusal to obey any of His commands is considered to be immoral. As such, the old covenant should be viewed as a foreshadow of things to come in the new covenant. Hebrews 7:11-12, Colossians 2:16-17

How Christians apply the Law

The essence of all Law is summed up in these two commandments, “Jesus replied: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:37-40) Summarily, Christians are not under the Mosaic Law. However, this does not mean that christians can live godlessly. Scripture tells us that we are now under the Law of Christ. We are to carry each other’s burdens, love God with all of our faculties, love His people, and have compassion for the world. The Law of Christ can be defined as those prescriptive principles drawn from the example and teaching of Jesus and His apostles, which are meant to be worked out in specific situations by the guiding influence and empowerment of the Holy Spirit. This is because in the New Covenant, unlike the Old (wherein not all within Israel were genuine believers), every member is fully forgiven and has the Holy Spirit. Luke 10:27, Ezekiel 36-37, Joel 2, Isaiah 32:15, 44:3, 1 Corinthians 9:19-23, Galatians 6:1-5, Ephesians 4:25-32

8.4 Israel

How Christians view Israel

Scripture clearly teaches that Jesus is the “seed” of Abraham. Christians in the New Covenant are considered the offspring of Abraham because they are united to Jesus. This means that Christians ought not say that Israel is the church or the church is Israel, nor ought they say that God has a separate plan for Gentile believers from Jewish believers. Rather, Christians should say that the “true” Israel is Christ and all those who believe in Him are united to him. Galatians 3:7, 3:29, 6:15-16, Philippians 3:2-3, Romans 2:28-29, 2 Corinthians 1:20