Two House Chronicles

The Insufficiencies of the Presuppositions of Covenantalism in Rendering John's Apocalypse

(or Why I Do Not Want to Be a Covenantalist)

Common Law Copyright 2016 by Hope Helen Huerta

Paul’s testimony concerning God’s foreknowledge and other NT (New Testament) evidence pertaining to God’s attributes provide the premise by which Covenantalists deduce their doctrines and concepts on predestination.1 Reformed theology maintains a fixed number of predestined heirs who are chosen, “before the foundation of the world,” from many generations (Eph 1:4).2 Predestination is an expression of God’s foreknowledge regarding all his chosen or elected—as grasped in Covenantalism’s reading of Paul, specifically Romans 8:29-30, which they call the Golden Chain: foreknowledge, predestination, effectual calling, justification, and glorification.

   For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate [to be] conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.” Romans 8:29-30

Covenantalists hold a predestined salvation concerning individuals, but until recent times have held little regarded for predestined corporate salvation in order to maintain their traditional perception that God repented on Israel’s future destiny. Covenantalism still maintains God repented on the destiny of the elect biological descendants of Abraham to be the means by which the conversion of the Gentiles ensues. Inadvertently this is an acknowledgement that corporate Israel had been destined to covert the Gentiles.3 The 18th and 19th century commentators John Gill and Adams Clarke express Covenantalism’s traditional perception of Israel’s future in their commentary of the Parable of the Tenants in Matthew 21:33-44.

     and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof…. Though God may take away the Gospel from a people, as he did from the Jews; yet he does not, nor will he, as yet, take it out of the world: he gives it to another ‘nation’; to the Gentiles, to all the nations of the world, whither he sent his apostles to preach and where it must be preached before the end of the world comes, in order to gather his elect out of them: for not one particular nation is meant, unless the nation of God's elect, among all nations, can be thought to be designed.”4

     Therefore say I - Thus showing them, that to them alone the parable belonged. The kingdom of God shall be taken from you - the Gospel shall be taken from you, and given to the Gentiles, who will receive it, and bring forth fruit to the glory of God.

     Bringing forth the fruits - As in Matthew 21:34; an allusion is made to paying the landlord in kind, so here the Gentiles are represented as paying God thus. The returns which He expects for his grace are the fruits of grace; nothing can ever be acceptable in the sight of God that does not spring from himself.”5

Notwithstanding, God had elected the nation of Israel to inherit the promises to Abraham—founded on his, “oath which he had sworn,” to the patriarch—as opposed to merit of any construct (Dt 7:6-8; Isa 41:8-9; 43:10, 20; 44:1-2). As such, the OT (Old Testament) substantiates the nation’s salvific destiny is of the same efficacy as individual election—the destiny of the nation corresponds to the election of its chosen citizens. Covenantalism has failed to perceive that the corporate election of the body of Israel was correlative with the election of its individual citizens, which fostered the fallacy that the former election upon the biological descendants was grounded on merit and forfeited at the first advent.

 

Foundational to the issue of corporate predestination is the nature of the body elected in texts such as Deuteronomy 7:6-8.

   “For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth. The LORD did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, becauseye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people: But because the LORD loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the LORD brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.” Deuteronomy 7:6-8

Adjective clauses in the context such as, “thou art an holy people,” and, “them that love him and keep his commandments,” introduce a distinction that omits the reprobate in the election of the corporate body of Israel. (The ordination by grace substantiates keeping the commandments are also by grace as expressed in Ephesians 2:10.) Paul maintains this same distinction concerning corporate Israel in Romans chapters 9-11 when addressing the remnant, Israel, that had not been cast off, in contrast to those who were cast off and hardened. The 19th century Covenantalist David Brown affirmed this distinction when he commented on Romans 9:6, concerning the Israel of God's irrevocable choice.

for they are not all Israel which are of Israel—better, ‘for not all they which are of Israel are Israel.’ Here the apostle enters upon the profound subject of ELECTION, the treatment of which extends to the end of the eleventh chapter—‘Think not that I mourn over the total loss of Israel; for that would involve the failure of God's word to Abraham; but not all that belong to the natural seed, and go under the name of “Israel,” are the Israel of God's irrevocable choice.’… the argument of this verse is, that ‘all Israel is not rejected, but only a portion of it, the remainder being the “Israel” whom God has chosen in the exercise of His sovereign right.’ And that this is a choice not to mere external privileges, but to eternal salvation, will abundantly appear from what follows.”6

Brown substantiates the correspondence between individual and corporate salvation, which substantiates the distinction expressed in Deuteronomy 7:6-8. Covenantalist Thomas R. Schreiner inadvertently conceded said correspondence concerning the Church.

     “All God's choice of a corporate group means is that God chose that all who put their faith in Christ would be saved. Those who put their faith in Christ would be designated the Church.

     “Those who defend corporate election are conscious of the fact that it is hard to separate corporate from individual election, for logic would seem to require that the individuals that make up a group cannot be separated from the group itself.”7

In Schreiner’s zeal to renounce Arminianism, which is the object of his essay,8 he inadvertently concedes the correspondence between corporate and individual election but fails to comprehend that it is at variance with Covenantalism’s perception that God repented on the corporate election of the biological descendants of Israel to convert the Gentiles and replace them with the Gentiles, which is a fallacy. This is especially conflicting when considering that Covenantalism claims there is great continuity between Israel and the church, in contradistinction to what Dispensationalism promotes.

 

Concerning the Covenantalist’s want of discontinuity between the Church and Israel, Covenantalist Russell Moore stresses the continuity is wrongly placed in viewing both bodies as, “mixed bodies of regenerate and unregenerate members.” 9 Moore’s correction of the traditional Covenantalist view rather affirms the promises to the bodies of the church and Israel were to the elect individuals as distinct from the reprobates who mix with them, which corroborates the distinction in Deuteronomy 7:6-8 established above and, again, corporate and individual correspondence in salvation. This distinction is not new and has long been perceived as the visible and invisible church, the latter being comprised of only the elect,10 but Covenantalists stifle the notion that this applies to corporate Israel also. Moore sees this misapprehension as a failure to perceive the “Christocentric nature of biblical eschatology.”

     “Both covenant theology and dispensationalism, however, often discuss Israel and the church without taking into account the Christocentric nature of biblical eschatology. The future restoration of Israel has never been promised to the unfaithful, unregenerate members of the nation (John 3:3-10; Rom 2:25- 29)-only to the faithful remnant.

     “The church is not Israel, at least not in a direct, unmediated sense. The remnant of Israel-a biological descendant of Abraham, a circumcised Jewish firstborn son who is approved of by God for his obedience to the covenant-receives all of the promises due to him.11

Moore’s analysis, “The future restoration of Israel has never been promised to the unfaithful, unregenerate members of the nation,” is synonymous with David Brown’s commentary on Romans 9:6 and his perception of the Israel of God's irrevocable choice. It calls for the distinction in Deuteronomy 7:6-8 mentioned above, which conveys salvific corporate predestination. Covenantalist C. Matthew McMahon has also inadvertently acknowledged corporate predestination in his analyzation of the Hebrew term bachar, translated as chosen in Deuteronomy 7:6. After producing the few extraneous uses of the word he analyzes where:

“… it is used of God to choose the ultimate destinies and eternal salvation of particular people or of the nation Israel… It is a specific choosing of a people who will be holy before Yahweh to do His will. This choosing or election is not based on their own merit but on God’s good pleasure and for His glory as seen in Deuteronomy 7:7.”12

In McMahon’s book, The Two Wills of God, he percieves a hermeneutic that God expressed his will in more than one sense. Unless we accurately perceive these senses tension results in revelation and the truth does not prevail. McMahon develops a previous theologian’s work, Francis Turretin, as the hermeneutic of the compound and divided senses.

     “In dealing with God’s will, we must then ask the question “Does God desire things He does not decree?” First, we must answer this question in the compound sense... God, in this sense, never desires anything He does not decree. All things are accomplished in the exact way— the only way— He has ordained from the foundation of the world. His pursuit of His own glory is fulfilled in the execution of His decrees concerning the compound sense, the wide angle lens, of His desire….     

   “However, in the divided sense, in His preceptive will, “Does God desire things He does not Decree?” Do we see things happening in the world around us that seem like God desires them, but has not actually decreed them to come to pass? Absolutely.”13

McMahon clearly asserted that God chose the corporate body of Israel to do his will and decreed a salvific destiny in the compound sense, which also agrees with Brown’s commentary on Romans 9:6 and his perception of the Israel of God's irrevocable choice.

 

It is apparent that both McMahon and Moore agree with Brown’s perception that the election of the body of Israel pertained to the Israel of God's irrevocable choice, as distinguished from the reprobate mixed with them, which epitomizes individual and corporate salvific correspondence. In truth, their perception of God’s salvific calling in Deuteronomy 7:6-8 cannot be repented as it did not apply to the reprobate and conflicts with their notion that Israel forfeited its destiny to the Gentiles at the first advent. In truth, the narrative and citations of OT prophecy in the NT confirm the judgment and exile of the reprobates as prophesied by Ezekiel, Zechariah and many other prophets, which are presented in this essay. Furthermore, it is inaccurate to simply view the diaspora of the elect biological descendants as punishment when Christ declared:

   “And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel's, But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.” Mark 10:29-30

Promised prosperity cannot be reconciled with the loss of inheritance and exile, but substantiates the gifts and calling of Israel as irrevocable, which is precisely what Peter and Paul (Ro 11:29) affirmed.

   “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.” 1 Peter 1:1-2

The objective evidence shows Peter addressed members of the ten northern tribes yet scattered, but to some degree were still aware of their heritage at that time, which truly overcomes any objections to the contrary.14 Part of the evidence is from the first century Jewish historian, Flavius Josephus, who wrote, “the ten tribes are beyond Euphrates till now, and are an immense multitude, and not to be estimated by numbers,”15 which also confirms fulfilment of the birthright of Israel’s fecundity, particularly Josephs’ branch (Ge 48:16; 49:22). But as previously mentioned, the circumstances were prophesied by Ezekiel and Zechariah concerning the house of Ephraim, also known as Joseph, Israel, and Samaria—as contrasted from Judah. As revealed, some Covenantalists like McMahon and Moore have made advances in viewing, “the gifts and calling,” of descendants of Abraham, “are without repentance,” (Ro 11:29) but have failed to grasp their view does not support that Israel forfeited its destiny at the first advent, specifically the destiny to covert the Gentiles.

 

Calvinists McMahon and Moore believe they have something more exact to relate concerning sense in scripture than earlier Covenantalists, although Moore does not use the same terminology. Coming from a determined compatibilist16 sense they rightly perceive that God does not repent17 on election, which is why it is fallacious for them to also hold any form of change in destiny at the first advent. Further analysis of McMahon’s book, The Two Wills of God, reveals the fallacy, concerning 1 Peter 2:8, that the reprobate were ordained to reject Christ and at the same time he asserts they had choice.

     “But Peter does not simply leave us to our imagination to decide what it means for those who reject Christ to ‘stumble.’ He says that they were appointed to stumble. God appoints men to stumble at Christ. The word “appoints” is τίθημι (tithemi) which means “to set, put, place,” or “to establish, and ordain.” God appoints men to eternal damnation according to His good pleasure, just as He elects men to salvation accordingly as well….

     “Peter says, “They [those whom God passes by] stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for” (1 Peter 2:8)….

     “God had told Abraham that he would be a blessing to many nations, and that the whole world would be blessed by him. The Pharisees, Scribes and rulers of Jerusalem should have taken up that commission to bless the nations with the Word of God, but they did not... they turned in on themselves, reveling in ethnic privilege rather than in converting the nations… Jesus gives His reaction to this when he says that their house has become “desolate” as a result of this hardness towards Him.”18

McMahon has failed to grasp he has violated the rule of non-contradiction.19 He asserts the fallacy, those destined to be the lost “should have taken up that commission to bless the nations.” The commission to bless the nations was to the elect not the reprobate. McMahon shifts from a Compatibilist to an Arminian or Open Theist sense here. In the corporate sense the nation was irrevocably chosen as a people with an ultimate destiny and salvation, which McMahon acknowledged in his book.20 McMahon's use of adverbial phrase, “should have taken up that commission to bless the nations,” promotes the fallacy that the conversion of the Gentiles was the destiny of the reprobate, which they miscarried and God failed to foresee. McMahon simply cannot escape returning to the old Covenantalist misrepresentation that God repented on Israel’s destiny at the first advent and replaced them with the Gentiles. The only relief from such a fallacy is to concede the reprobates did exactly what they were ordained to do as it was not their destiny to convert the Gentiles; rather, it was the destiny of the biological remnant of Israel to convert the Gentiles, the Israel of God's irrevocable choice, which is precisely what happened. McMahon succumbs to Arminianism and even Open Theism in his assertion that the Jewish rulers’ choice determined their destiny when in truth, God preordained their destiny apart from the elect (1 Pe 2:7-8). Thus, McMahon is an example of a minority of Covenantalists attempting to maintain the contradiction that God does not repent on his elections—yet, due to the failure of the biological descendants to avow Christ they were replaced by the Gentiles who supplant the biological descendants’ destiny to convert the Gentiles. The only view that satisfies the Compatibilist perception21 is the Two House theological model. The Two House model is the object of this discourse and it will be substantiated as the only model consistently holding to the Compatibilist perception and sufficient in properly rendering the NT and John’s apocalypse.

 

As stated, McMahon contradicts himself when stating that the reprobate Jews at the first advent were ordained to reject Christ then, by arguing they had choice. He acknowledges that the prophecy of Psalms 118:22-23 prophesied Christ, as cornerstone, was ordained to be rejected by the builders.22  This is also prophesied in Isaiah 8:14-5 where Christ is prophesied as, “a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel.” The Arminian perception of prevenient grace is incompatible with the requisite that God appointed the time of Christ’s rejection by the reprobate who mixed with Israel; the Arminian conceptualization of freewill has the disposition of men determine the appointed time—not God. The moment the Arminian concedes God influences man’s will, it conflicts with their conceptualization of freewill. Matthew 10 speaks directly to the reaction of the biological descendants of Israel to Christ and verse 23, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come,” conveys how long Israel would continue to stumble on the cornerstone.

   “These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand... verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come... Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 10:5-7, 23, 32-33

The pronouncement that preaching the Gospel would continue, “till the Son of man be come,” affirms that the first advent was not the appointed time of the Davidic kingdom foreseen in 1 Samuel 7:10-11, but was rather the appointed time the descendants of both houses of Israel would find, “grace in the wilderness,” as they were dispersed throughout the nations; and it was by this circumstance that they were to play the major role in converting the Gentiles (Jer 31:2). The phrase, “till the Son of man be come,” pertains to the second advent, not the first. Jeremiah 31:2 as well as Ezekiel 34:17-31, Hosea 2:14-23, Amos 9:9-10 and Zechariah 10:7-9 are but a few OT texts that prophecy Israel, specifically the biological descendants of the northern tribes, find grace in the wilderness, in exile, but they are not directly restored to the promised land when all said texts are properly examined. In anthropomorphic illustrations, the remnant of Israel are redeemed and then sown throughout the world, like the good seed in Christ’s parables of the sower and of the tares; the correspondence between the aforementioned OT texts and Christ’s parables is an integral object of this work and substantiates the Two House model.

 

In returning to the reaction of the biological descendants to Christ, McMahon conveys they “should have taken up that commission to bless the nations… but they did not.”23 McMahon exhibits the continuing influence of past Covenantalists who mistakenly viewed the end of the biological descendant’s administration of the kingdom of God in their interpretation of Matthew 21:43 and 23:38, as if the elect biological descendants merely ceased to exist and have no consideration as the singular, fruit bearing nation of Matthew 21:43. As stated, this conflicts with Moore and McMahon’s sense that God’s elections are inviolable. It also conflicts with the NT testimony of the common knowledge that there were great numbers of the descendants of northern tribes dwelling as exiles in communities scattered throughout the known world at the time (Jn 7:35; 11:51-52; Jas 1:1; Pe 1:1). The 19th century Covenantalist Adam Clarke is of some use here in that he conceded that the phrase, “the children of God that were scattered abroad” in John 11:52, pertained to the Jews and not the Gentiles, differing from the view held by many of his fellow Covenantalists.

“John 11:52… Children of God that were scattered abroad - Probably John only meant the Jews who were dispersed among all nations since the conquest of Judea by the Romans; and these are called the dispersed, John 7:35, and James 1:1; and it is because he refers to these only, that he terms them here, the children of God, which was an ancient character of the Jewish people: see Deuteronomy 32:5; Isaiah 43:6; Isaiah 45:11; Jeremiah 32:1. Taking his words in this sense, then his meaning is this: that Christ was to die, not only for the then inhabitants of Judea, but for all the Jewish race wheresoever scattered; and that the consequence would be, that they should be all collected from their various dispersions, and made one body. This comports with the predictions of St. Paul: Romans 11:1-32.”24

It speaks well of Clarke that he did not make the mistake many of his contemporaries who interpreted the phrase as the elect Gentiles;25 nevertheless, the epistles of James and Peter carry significant bearing on the issue and correctly render the phrase pertaining to the twelve tribes, properly addressed as Israel, as opposed to Jews, as not all Israelites are Jews. Failure to recognize John 7:35, 11:52, James 1:1 and 1 Peter 1:1 as pertaining to the yet exiled northern tribes at the first advent is an anachronism that subordinates the accuracy of Covenantalism in interpreting the scriptures, specifically the NT; they apply contemporary perceptions to terminologies that must be rendered first from the grammatical-historical point of view.26 Their contemporary view of the Jews as the nation of Israel cannot be reconciled to said texts, which affirms the other house of Israel, Ephraim, must be considered in eschatological phenomenon. Caiaphas spoke in terms of the tribes of Israel that had not dwelt as one sovereign nation in the promised land since the time of David and Solomon, but were still aware to some degree of their origins (Jn 11:51-52). Samaria has never been reoccupied by the ten tribes, which substantiates that Ephraim did not return with the Jews from the Babylonian captivity; the dominion of Samaria had been settled by foreigners who still dwelt in the land at the first advent. It strays from reason that Caiaphas’, a Pharisee, intent pertained to Gentiles. McMahon’s comment that the Jews “should have taken up that commission to bless the nations… but they did not,” violates the rule of non-contradiction, when one takes into account the other house of Israel had taken up the commission in fulfillment of Hosea 2:23 and Zechariah 10:7-9. Peter and James testify that the other house took the commission and it did not just cease to exist and have no consideration as the singular, fruit bearing nation of Matthew 21:43.

   

Matthew 10 and other NT evidence substantiate that the Messianic kingdom was not offered at the first advent as it was predetermined to be consummated only upon the return of the Son of man, the second advent. Matthew and Mark agree, Christ came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many—which affirms Christ’s first advent as the suffering redeemer, the Ishi’s (husband) entity in Hosea 2—who returns as king, depicted in Revelation 19. The evidence that Christ came not to be ministered unto undoubtedly defeats the presumption of a conditional offer of the kingdom the Jews expected. The prophets grasped the phenomenon as the sole will of God at his appointed time; God must first circumcise their hearts before the consummation of the kingdom (Deuteronomy 30:6). Evidence that the kingdom was not offered is witnessed subsequently to the commission portrayed in Matthew 10, where Christ dismissed the impression, “the kingdom of God should immediately appear.” Luke 19:11-27. “Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come,” can only be interpreted as protracted phenomenon as conveyed in Luke 19:11-27. From said evidence the phrase, “the cities of Israel,” verse 23, achieves a greater sense than merely the cities of Judah, but develops to include wherever the descendants of Israel abide in the illustrated sowing in Hosea 2:23 and Zechariah 10:9. The OT affirms they were to be scattered throughout the world in this age, which renders Christ’s testimony, “Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come,” as a greatly protracted phenomenon over the expanse of the world. Christ’s parables affirm this as the world in which the good seed, the remnant of Israel, is planted.  

Moore also exhibits the continuing influence of past Covenantalists who ignore the biological sense, lineage and heritage in the preordained administration of the kingdom of God in their misinterpretation of Matthew 21:43 and 23:38. In Moore’s essay, Is There a Future for Israel, he wrote:

“Covenant theologians argue that the future restoration of Israel will be fulfilled-but fulfilled in the church, a largely Gentile body that has “replaced” the Jewish theocracy since the nation rejected her Messiah at Jesus’ first advent… The future of Israel then does belong to Gentile believers but only because they are in union with a Jewish Messiah… The church, as Israel was promised, does now “bear fruit”-the fruits of the Spirit (Gal 5)-but it does so only because Jesus is the vine of Israel.”27

 In the same essay he wrote:

“The future restoration of Israel has never been promised to the unfaithful, unregenerate members of the nation (John 3:3-10; Rom 2:25- 29)-only to the faithful remnant.”28

In the latter quote Moore clearly concedes Israel’s irrevocable corporate election in his affirmation that the reprobate mixed with them were not regarded in the election. This is simply another way of affirming, God’s election of the corporate body of the biological descendants of Jacob were predetermined as the Israel of God's irrevocable choice, apart from the reprobate mixed with them.

 

One can concede the NT Gentile converts are perceived as joining the Israel of God's irrevocable choice, but in what sense are they restored according to Moore—or in what sense does Moore interpret the verb restore in texts such as Acts 1:6. The sense he eschews is the principal biological sense; only the biological descendants can suffer loss, be given up for a time in Micah 5 and ultimately restored.

 “Therefore will he give them up, until the time that she which travaileth hath brought forth: then the remnant of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel.” Micah 5:3

Only the biological descendants of Ephraim can be restored in the capacity illustrated in Hosea. 

“And I will sow her unto me in the earth; and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them which were not my people, Thou art my people; and they shall say, Thou art my God.” Hosea 2:23

In the principal sense only the elect biological descendants of the northern nation can be interpreted as the woman in Hosea and Micah that is restored at an appointed time. The phrase, principal sense, pertains to the first-thought meaning of Covenantalist and Amillennialist Vern S. Poythress in his book, Understanding Dispensationalists.

“The example shows that for most words there is something like a first-thought meaning, a meaning that one would naturally give when asked, “What does this word mean?” Not everyone might say exactly the same thing, but one sort of answer would usually dominate.”29

There is no debate, the grammatical-historic interpretation is the first-thought meaning or principal sense the woman was perceived in Micah and Hosea, which is rendered the elect biological descendants of Jacob, specifically the elect of the northern nation of Ephraim in the latter citation above. Poythress is not examining the term Israel, above, but the word battle to argue that context can alter the meaning of words into other less used senses, or can become idiomatic of another word or phrase altogether.

“However, once we are given even a little bit of context, our guesses about the meaning may change radically.”30

Poythress is setting up the Covenantalist’s argument for radically altering the term Israel by reason that the distant and earthshaking eschatological context warrants the drastic shift from the grammatical-historical, principal sense.

“The important question at this point is not about a specific passage but about principle, a principle of prophetic interpretation. I claim that there is sound, solid, grammatical-historical ground for interpreting eschatological fulfillments of prophecy on a different basis than preeschatological fulfillments. The Israelites of Jeremiah’s day should have absorbed (albeit often unconsciously) the earthshaking, transformational character of the eschatological coming of God. It is therefore a move away from grammatical-historical interpretation to insist that (say) the “house of Israel” and the “house of Judah” of Jeremiah 31:31 must with dogmatic certainty be interpreted in the most prosaic biological sense, a sense that an Israelite might be likely to apply as a rule of thumb in short-term prediction.”31

Poythress violates the rule of non-contradiction when later he states this shift, “should not undermine or contradict grammatical-historical interpretation because of context,” even as it goes beyond its bounds.

“In other words, one must compare later Scripture to earlier Scripture to understand everything. Such comparison, though it should not undermine or contradict grammatical-historical interpretation, goes beyond its bounds. It takes account of information not available in the original historical and cultural context… True, grammatical-historical interpretation exercises a vital role in bringing controls and refinements to our understanding of particular texts. But we must also undertake to relate those texts forward to further revelation that they anticipate and prepare for.”32

One must agree with Poythress, the distance and earthshaking event of the eschatological context and NT revelation does diminish, “the most prosaic biological sense,” the way the term Israel must be interpreted, but to maintain the context ends the principal sense altogether, unequivocally, “undermines or contradicts the grammatical-historical interpretation,” which is precisely what Covenantalists attempt concerning eschatological prophecy. Herein lies Poythress’s violation. In returning to Moore’s use of the term restoration concerning Israel, the biological sense concerning this restoration cannot be omitted without, “undermining or contradicting the grammatical-historical interpretation,” which Poythress affirmed must be avoided, as perplexing as his statement is in light of the fact Covenantalists undermine the hermeneutic persistently. This is further supported by the truth the Gentiles, “were without Christ… aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world,” (Eph 2:12) and as such are not restored in the principal sense as the biological descendants.

 

 As stated above, one can concede Poythress’ assertion, “the earthshaking, transformational character of the eschatological coming of God,” has its effects on how Israel is perceived, but only in the sense that in Christ elect Jews and Ephraimites are no longer held to the OC (Old Covenant) laws prohibiting intermarriage (Dt 7:3-5; Gal 3:28; Eph 2:13); even so, in another sense they still remain the biological descendants and maintain that God’s elections are irrevocable as they are the Israel of God's irrevocable choice, by whom the Gentiles are blessed (Ge 12:3; 18:18; 26:4). Certainly, this is one of, “the earthshaking, transformational,” changes, “of the eschatological coming of God.” In Christ, Jew, Ephraimite and Gentile become corporately perceived as one, but in the biological sense women remain women as Ephraimites remain biological heirs of Abraham no matter how diminished that biological sense becomes, due to the end of the prohibitions against intermarriage and concern for genealogies is quashed (1 Tim 1:3; Titus 3:9). Moreover, the Covenantalist’s perception omits the birthright of fecundity passed down from Jacob to the descendants of the northern tribes (Gen 48:3-4, 16-20), which renders them a copious people in Providence, much greater than the hardened Jews who Covenantalists perceive as the only Israelites. 1 Samuel 15:29 affirms God, “is not a man, that he should repent.” Poythress, McMahon and Moore fail to maintain this principle in comprehending the term Israel in scripture, specifically eschatological prophecy. God did not repent concerning the biological descendants’ commission to bless the nations at the first advent, even as their biological identity diminished; in a sense, it becomes the means to bless the nations. It is precisely this perception that does no harm, nor undermines or contradicts the grammatical-historical interpretation of Judah and Ephraim and accounts for, “information not available in the original historical and cultural context,” of the prophets, as Poythress expressed it, above. Any principle in determining how one discerns the term Israel in eschatological context must avoid tension between OT and NT revelation, which Poythress subsequently expressed, perplexing as his expression may be. 

 

Poythress’ work is described as perplexing because in truth, Covenantalism does not maintain the principle of accounting for information not available in the original historical and cultural context while preserving correspondence between Old and NT revelation. As previously mentioned, it violates the rule of non-contradiction to maintain Gentiles are restored in the same sense as the biological descendants of Ephraim, or that the free will of the reprobate shepherds of Judah determined the destiny of the elect biological descendants of Israel. The Covenantalist’s perception of the tile Israel in eschatological prophecy also violates the rule of non-contradiction concerning the omniscience and omnipotence of God when Covenantalists acknowledge these attributes but maintain prophecy as conditional. The perception of conditional prophecy violates OT revelation that when a prophet spoke for God it must come to pass, which is deduced from Deuteronomy below. 

   “When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come topass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.” Deuteronomy 18:22

Eschatological prophecy was essentially linked to the immediate predictions of the prophets, Jeremiah being a salient example. The seventy years of exile determined upon Judah was promptly fulfilled, while the promise and prophecy of the institution of the NC (New Covenant) was eschatological in relation, dealing with the distant future as affirmed by NT revelation (Jer 29:10; 31:31-43; Heb 12:24). Texts such as Jeremiah 7:1-7, 18:7-10 as well as the book of Jonah are cited by Covenantalists to assert that all promises and prophecies concerning Israel were conditional or contingent, that God is restrained by man’s will, in contradiction to the perception of God’s omniscience and omnipotence. In truth, the perception of contingency in prophecy stems from a Libertarian and Open Thesis view of free will,33 which is incompatible with the Compatibilist’s view.34 Compatibilists claim causal direction concerning human action, which Libertarians repudiated at some lengths on the grounds of indifference; freedom and moral accountability must remain indifferent to causation. Modern Libertarians have abandoned indifference and conceded causal direction but claim it must be under man’s sole direction to maintain their perception of free will. Since Open Theism is built upon the Libertarian perception of free will, if the Libertarian concept of free will is repudiated then contingency in regard to prophecy is also repudiated. In truth, Libertarian perception of free will was repudiated by Paul in his epistle to the Romans in the texts below.

   “For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.” Romans 7:15-23

Paul affirms that ultimately man has no power over his CN (carnal nature); it causes sin even when the will resists. The CN efficaciously circumvents the will to consummate sin; this repudiates Libertarianism. First, man’s will is not in complete control of his actions; the CN also directs man and resists his will. Secondly, man is conscious of sin, it troubles his conscience as Hebrews 10:2 states, which verifies accountability. Paul clearly affirms the mind is aware when it wrongs. The Incompatibilist’s arguments pertaining to accountability and causal determination are eradicated by Paul’s testimony. Furthermore, Old and NT revelation affirms we do not die for Adam’s sin, but for our own; death follows sin. 

“Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth [it] not, to him it is sin.” James 4:17

   “The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.” Ezekiel 18:20

This also concurs with the Calvinist perception that the elect are called by God and not vice versa, as the converse suggests the sinner calls on God, who then answers man.

“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” Revelation 3:20

 Arminianists and Open Theists think they stand at God’s door and knock and he answers to their beckoning. But only the causal direction of, “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ,” emancipates man from the CN and allows him to answer God’s call.    

   “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” Romans 8:2-4

Calvinist’s perceptions of God’s foreknowledge, in texts such as Romans 8:29-30, indicate God was familiar with the elect before creation (Jer 1:5; Eph 1:4), which also concurs with his foreknowledge of how they respond to what appears to man as contingencies (conveyed appropriately as anthropomorphic shepherding). In summary here, scripture affirms sin is caused by an organic influence capable of overpowering the will, while maintaining accountability, which repudiates the perception of free will by Libertarianism and contingency in regards to prophecy.

 

 What is also garnered from the circumstance of the CN, is that the power of the flesh was sanctioned until an appointed time, when manumission would be made possible for the elect by the crucifixion of Christ, at the inauguration of the Israel’s NC. Calvin affirms this appointed time in his commentary on Daniel, below; yet, he failed to grasp the ramifications of the appointed time being calculated from the Babylonian captivity. The dependency reveals Jeremiah 8:7-10 contingent only from the perception of man. From God’s perception he had already ordained to, “pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy,” the nation as the means to determine the appointed time of Christ’s first advent.

“We shall now treat the sense in which the going forth of the edict ought to be received. In the meantime, it cannot be denied that the angel pronounces this concerning the edict which had been promulgated about the bringing back of the people, and the restoration of the city. It would, therefore, be foolish to apply it to a period at which the city was not restored, and no such decree had either been uttered or made public. But, first of all, we must treat what the angel says, until the Christ, the Messiah Some desire to take this singular noun in a plural sense, as if it were the Christ of the Lord, meaning his priests; while some refer it to Zerubbabel, and others to Joshua. But clearly enough the angel speaks of Christ, of whom both kings and priests under the law were a type and figure”35

The presented evidence concurs with the foreknowledge of Israel’s ordained responses in what appears as contingencies to man. Where man perceived contingencies—God perceived his power over the CN to carry out his plans to free man from his fallen nature but only at an appointed time.

 

The appearance of contingences in Jeremiah 18:7–10 and the book of Johan, from whence Covenantalists draw their conclusions concerning contingency in regards to prophecy, are only contingencies as they appeared to man, but as they appeared to God they were ordained to affirm man was incapable of complying with his declarations without his causal direction (Ps 37:23; Pr 3:6; Jer 31:9, 28; 2Th 3:3; 2Pe 2:9). 

“Lord, thou hast heard the desire of the humble: thou wilt prepare their heart, thou wilt cause thine ear to hear.” Psalms 10:17

“A man's heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.” Proverbs 16:9

God ordained that Israel would ultimately fail to comply with the law under the SC without his direction. This evidence substantiates that the warnings under the SC appeared to man as contingency, but are perceived by God as ordained; he either moves36 against the CN or allows it to run its course, the former case being the example of the book of Jonah. In Jonah God moved the wicked Ninevites and the prophet to act contrary to their CN, which demonstrates Compatibilism, as opposed to Open Theism. It is man’s perception of contingency in prophecy that leads to the misapprehension of Open Theism. Covenantalists C. Matthew McMahon properly analyzed the narrative in Jonah as giving, “us a glimpse of God’s true intention for the Ninevites through Jonah’s actions (the compound sense), while the stated text exhibits His coming wrath against the city in forty days (the divided sense).”37 McMahon developed the 17th century Calvinist’s work of Francis Turretin in his hermeneutic tools of the compound and divided senses, which substantiates all the previous evidence on contingency in regards to prophecy. In Jonah the compound sense perceives God moving against the CN of Jonah and the Ninevites in performance of his will, while the divided sense, the way man sees it, contingency is perceived in regards to prophecy. Jonah demonstrates God’s sovereignty over the city-state as in the prophecy in Revelation 17:17, where God puts his will into the hearts of the ten kings to, “give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled.” Texts such as Jeremiah 7:1-7 and 18:7-10 are conveyed in divided sense, the appearance of contingency, as only God can cause them to amend their ways and their doings to dwell in Jerusalem. The assertion of contingency in prophecy stems from the fallacy the declarative law could be complied with without the need of the NC but Paul makes it very plain the SC was never intended as such, but was a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ and justification (Gal 3:24). The doctrine of contingency in prophecy is a fallacy. Prophecy is preordained, the foreknowledge of God, his compound will and the decretive sense (Isa 41:21-23; 42:9; 44:7; 45:11; 46:10; 48:3,5,6; Jer 1:5; Act 15:8; Rom 8:29).

 

God knows how man will respond beforehand, which appears to man as contingency but is mere appearance. All the prophets anticipated Israel would fail to comply with the SC but then God would intervene at an appointed time to establish the NC and would impart the ability to comply with God’s law before the consummation of the kingdom (Jer 31:31-34; Ez 11:14-21 ). Romans 9-11 affirms that in God’s judgments upon Israel he hardens some and intervenes for the elect remnant.  

“Except the LORD of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah.” Isaiah 1:9

   “What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?” Romans 9:22-24

 At the first advent the vessels of wrath were ordained to reject Christ (Ps 118:22-23; 1Pe 2:7-8), while those who avowed him were chosen, “before the foundation of the world,” (Ro 8:29-30; Eph 1:4). This affirms only the appearance of a contingent offer of the kingdom. It is this perspective that informs us God foreknows nothing contingently.38 Covenantalists maintains the fallacy that the reprobate Jews who were appointed to wrath (Ro 9:21) were offered the kingdom they were never destined to inherit, which is due to the appearance of contingency in prophecy.

 

The epistles of Peter are fundamental in determining the sense the title Israel is comprehend in eschatological fulfillment, specifically 1 Peter 2:10. The Covenantalist’s presuppositions in interpreting Israel in Peter fails to maintain the grammatical-historical hermeneutic and Calvin is a salient example. Calvin acknowledged the biological sense in the phrase, “in time past were not a people,” in Peter but applied it to the Jews, which omits the grammatical-historical, principal sense, concerning Hosea 1:10 and 2:23.39 The grammatical-historical principle maintains the texts from Hosea pertains to Ephraim, not Judah. Calvin described the Jewish condition in the same comment as, “they seemed to be no longer God’s people, no worship remained among them, they were become entangled in the corruptions of the heathens,”40which can hardly be applied to the Jews of the time still scattered in the nations, as substantiated in Acts 2:5. The citation from Hosea pertains to the northern kingdom, the ten tribes of Israel, also called Ephraim, who were cast off and scattered by God because of their idolatry and because they entered into alliances with the Syria and Egypt, which was clearly anthropomorphically depicted by Hosea. No doubt Calvin misconstrued texts in 1 Peter such as 1:14,18, 2:9b-10 and 4:3-4 as the basis of his defective remarks. These same texts in recent times have been used by Covenantalists to assert Peter addressed his epistles to Gentiles moving even farther away from correspondence between Old and NT revelation. The mention of past idolatries in 1 Peter 4:3 has been used in their contemporary assertions Peter addressed his epistles to Gentiles, making his citation from Hosea 1:10 and 2:23 allegorical as opposed to actual execution. Such perceptions are wanting in the principal sense that the idolatries mentioned in Hosea pertained to the ten northern tribes taken captive by the Assyrians clearly conveyed in Hosea. Peter’s epistle was addressed to the elect descendants of these ten tribes that were still dwelling in great numbers in the provinces he mentioned and the Covenantalist’s perception is found wanting the information not available in the original historical and cultural context.

 

Concerning Hosea 2 the grammatical-historical rule conveys a distinction between the biological descendants of the northern and southern nations, descended from Jacob. The anthropomorphic betrothal pertains specifically to the descendants of Ephraim, the northern nation. The most relevant information not available in the original historical and cultural context in the NT is Romans 7:1-4, which alludes to Deuteronomy 24:1-4 and reveals that Ephraim’s release from the marriage contract (Jer 2:3; 3:14; 31:32; Eze 16:32) was required before they became eligible to return to the husband again, anthropomorphically depicted in Hosea.

   “For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man. Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.” Romans 7:2-4

Judah was not divorced but also needed release from the covenant to be betrothed to Christ. It is apprehensible that in the original historical and cultural context Israelites were not allowed to see the particulars concerning release from the SC; nevertheless, they were aware of the prophecies of Hosea and aware of the impediment of Deuteronomy 24:4 conveyed by two of the prophets below.

   “Her former husband, which sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after that she is defiled; for that is abmination before the LORD: and thou shalt not cause the land to sin, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.” Deuteronomy 24:4

   “They say, If a man put away his wife, and she go from him, and become another man’s, shall he return unto her again? shall not that land be greatly polluted? but thou hast played the harlot with many lovers; yet return again to me, saith the Lord.” Jeremiah 3:1

   “Thus saith the Lord, Where [is] the bill of your mother’s divorcement, whom I have put away? or which of my creditors [is it] to whom I have sold you? Behold, for your iniquities have ye sold yourselves, and for your transgressions is your mother put away.” Isaiah 50:1

Romans 7:1-4 provides the particulars in resolving the impediment as the death of Christ and his resurrection by which the elect biological descendants were released from the OC to be betrothed with Christ in the NC. This confirms the husband in Hosea that divorced Ephraim was Christ, before his incarnation. By deduction Christ is revealed as the entity that Israel married at Sinai, as it was he that had to die to release them. What is not apprehensible is that the Gentiles fulfill the prophecy in Hosea as they were not joined to Christ by the OC like Israel.

   “Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision… being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world.” Ephesians 2:11-12

Only Ephraim fulfills the woman in Hosea 2 as it was only Ephraim that was divorced in Hosea’s narrative as well as Jeremiah’s and Isaiah’s above. Isaiah 50 pertains specifically to Christ and God’s call to Israel to obey his servant Christ.

   “The Lord GOD hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back. I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting… Who is among you that feareth the LORD, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? let him trust in the name of the LORD, and stay upon his God.” Isaiah 50:5-6, 10

Calvin failed to accurately account for the grammatical-historical interpretation, the principal sense pertaining to the query, Where is the bill of your mother's divorcement?” in Isaiah 50:1.

“In order to have a general understanding of it, we must observe that union by which the Lord everywhere testifies that his people are bound to him; that is, that he occupies the place of a husband, and that we occupy the place of a wife. It is a spiritual marriage, which has been consecrated by his eternal doctrine and sealed by the blood of Christ.”41

Asserting the marriage as sealed by the blood of Christ Calvin clearly narrows the marriage to the NC (Heb 10:12-13); the OC was sealed by the blood of animals (Ex 24). Calvin is guilty of omitting the principal sense; the divorced women represents Ephraim and the revealed marriage to the OC. Calvin did conflate the NT revelation in his rendition by revealing Christ is the servant, who gives his, “back to the smiters,” and his, “cheeks to them that plucked off the hair,” and, “hid not,” his, “face from shame and spitting.”42 Calvin proceeds in the dividedsense about the Jews, under the OC, disregarding God’s pleas to return to him as the reason they were sent away, divorced, which more accurately applied to Ephraim under the grammatical-historical rule of interpretation.

“Thus, when the Jews were oppressed by calamities so many and so great, that it was easy to conclude that God had rejected and divorced them, the cause of the divorce came to be the subject of inquiry.”43

Yet Calvin proceeds and renders verse 10 as—among the reprobate remain a remnant, which Calvin labels believers, who answer the servant, and these believers can be none other but the elect, which Calvin must hold as predestined and foreseen by God.

“Yet he addresses them separately, that they may detach themselves from the mixed crowd, and not take part in counsels which are wicked, and which God has condemned… there are some left who shall profit by his doctrine.”44

Calvin wisely used the NT to interpret the servant in Isaiah 50 as Christ, but foolishly omitted the grammatical-historical principal sense, which blinded him from seeing the people in Isaiah are the very people in the narratives of the gospels and epistles: “God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew… Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.” Romans 11:2, 5. The promise and prophecies concerning the remnant, elect are determined by God’s decrees, for appointed times; they are not to be perceived in the divided sense. The first advent was the determined time for the divorced woman in Hosea, Jeremiah and Isaiah to be betrothed to her husband once again. It is this nation that bears the fruit in Matthew 21:43, which is maintained in the Two House model.

 

Paul’s analysis of the circumstances at the first advent corresponds with the precedent in Jeremiah 29:4-7, which the book of Esther also confirms. In times of judgement and reform God intercedes for the elect remnant in exile and the Gentiles are blessed because of them.

   “Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, unto all that are carried away captives, whom I have caused to be carried away from Jerusalem unto Babylon; Build ye houses, and dwell in them; and plant gardens, and eat the fruit of them; ye wives, and beget sons and daughters; and take wives for your sons, and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters; that ye may be increased there, and not diminished. And seek the peace of the city whither I have caused you to be carried away captives, and pray unto the LORD for it: for in the peace thereof shall ye have peace.” Jeremiah 29:4-7

The dichotomy between the two responses to Christ at the first advent was explained by Paul as the distinction between the children of the promise and the children of the flesh. The same distinction conveys the response to Jeremiah’s prophecy in the Babylonian exile. At the first advent the majority of Judah represented the children of the flesh and caused the nation to be cast off, which brought about the circumstances where God interceded for the remnant, the children of the promise, and they became a blessing upon the nations in fulfillment of Genesis 12:2-3. In like manner the remnant that went peaceably to Babylon became the means by which the heathen cities prospered as in the case of Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah (Da 1-6). Christ, as the supreme prophet Moses anticipated (Dt 18:15-19; Ac 3:22-23), represented the anti-type of Jeremiah who rebuked the false prophets who claimed God would save Jerusalem (Jer 29:8-9; Jn 11:45-53) and interceded for the children of the promise who submitted to him and ultimately went peaceably into the world and propagated the gospel, in fulfillment of the parables of Matthew 13, and the prophesies of Hosea 2:19-23 and Zechariah 10:7-9. The prophets agree, many of the elect are the biological descendants of Abraham, propagated with Gentiles in a protracted exile (Jer 31:27; Hos 2:23, 7:8, 8:8-9; Am 9:9; Mic 5:7; Zec 10:7-9). They also agree, these descendants populate the world due to Ephraim’s gift of fecundity (Ge 12:3, 17:5-6, 35:11, 41:52, 48:16, 19; Zec 10:7-9).45 They further agree, they are redeemed or saved, their sins blotted, while in exile, dispersed in the world (Isa 43:1, 5, 25; 44:22, 24; 51:5, 11; 14 26; Hos 2:23; Jer 31:1-2, 5-6; Zec 10:6). The NT reveals the blotting of Israel’s sins was done once, beginning NC Christianity (Heb 10:9-10), and the call to receive the ongoing gifts until Christ returns, as illustrated in many of his parables, especially the marriage banquet (Mt 22:1-14; cf. Rev 19:7). The marriage banquet corresponds with the predestination presupposition that explains Zechariah 10.

   “And they of Ephraim shall be like a mighty man, and their heart shall rejoice as through wine: yea, their children shall see [it], and be glad; their heart shall rejoice in the Lord. I will hiss for them, and gather them; for I have redeemed them: and they shall increase as they have increased. And I will sow them among the people: and they shall remember me in far countries; and they shall live with their children, and turn again.” Zechariah 10:7-9

Zechariah 10 is in part the inspiration for the parable of the marriage of the king’s son and the mustard seed. In abstracts the first five verses in Zechariah relate the flock is scattered because of the neglect of the shepherds of Judah (Jn 7:35; 11:51-52), but out of the remnant of Judah (Mt 12:49-50), depicted as a goodly horse, they persevere over the reprobate shepherds, become the husbandmen of the vineyard who avowed Christ. Calvin affirmed Christ represents the symbolism of the corner, the nail, the battle bow and the exactor in verse 4 (Mt 21:42; Mk 3:33-35; 1 Pe 2:6-7).46 The neglectful shepherds correspond to those siting on Moses’ seat who refused to come to the marriage; consequently, God destroys the city and scatters the reprobate and intercedes for the remnant as he sows them in the world, verse 9 above (Mk 14:27; Zec 13:7). God gathers them in Christ (Eph 1:10) when he calls (hisses) for the elect descendants of Ephraim, Judah and the Gentiles to come to the marriage, as they find themselves on highways when scattered—with the blotting of their sins accomplished (Heb 9:28; 10:10). He secures their inheritance in the age to come after sojourning for generations in the nations with their children—becoming a great multitude in fulfillment the promise of fecundity passed down to Ephraim and Manasseh, the sons of Joseph (Ge 48:17; 49:22). Zechariah 10:7-9 affirm Ephraim is redeemed and then sown in distant countries and is concurrent with the betrothal of Ephraim, “in righteousness, and in judgment, and in lovingkindness, and in mercies,” and, “in faithfulness,” in Hosea 2:19-23 before they are sown in the earth. The prophets agree, many of the elect are the biological descendants of Abraham propagated with Gentiles in a protracted exile (Jer 31:27; Hos 2:23, 7:8, 8:8-9; Am 9:9; Mic 5:7; Zec 10:7-9). They also agree, these descendants populate the world due to Ephraim’s gift of fecundity (Ge 12:3, 17:5-6, 35:11, 41:52, 48:16, 19; Hos 1:10; Zec 10:7-9).47 They further agree, they are redeemed or saved, their sins blotted, while in exile, dispersed in the world (Isa 43:1, 5, 25; 44:22, 24; 51:5, 11; 14 26; Hos 2:23; Jer 31:1-2, 5-6; Zec 10:6). What is revealed in the NT is that Christ released Israel from their marriage to him under the SC and his resurrection made them eligible to be espouse to him (Ro 7:1-4) and especially Ephraim, the unfaithful, divorced wife returned to her husband.

 

The Covenantalist’s presuppositions of God’s omniscience, omnipotence, immutability and etc., are touted as forming the basis of their perceptions on predestination and God’s foreknowledge but are not taken to their logical conclusions when they continue to foster fallacies in contradiction to the aforementioned. They continue to violate the rule of non-contradiction when they maintain Gentiles are restored in the same sense as the biological descendants of Ephraim, or that the free will of the reprobate shepherds of Judah determined the destiny of the elect biological descendants of Israel. They violate the rule of non-contradiction when they maintain the fallacy the Jews could comply with the declarative law without the establishment of the NC or that they could avow Christ without the aid of the Holy Spirit moving on the human will, which under their doctrine only applies to the predetermined elect. One cannot hold that God does not repent like a man and render the NT as anything other than the fulfillment of God’s declarative will and is proceeding precisely according to how the prophets anticipated, and all the NT merely does is compliments the grammatical-historical principal sense; it clearly does not end or abolish the first-thought meaning of the title of Israel.48 Because of their fallacies they are simply unqualified in properly rendering John’s apocalypse or prophecy in general. They may pay lip-service to their presuppositions, but do not take them seriously enough to render the identity of the tribes of Israel in the Revelation chapter 7 as the literal descendants of the biological descendants—even as they are hidden by God and imperceptible to the spiritually naïve.  

   “Keep not thou silence, O God: hold not thy peace, and be not still, O God. For, lo, thine enemies make a tumult: and they that hate thee have lifted up the head. They have taken crafty counsel against thy people, and consulted against thy hidden ones. They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance.” Psalms 83:1-4

Only the Two House model adheres to the presuppositions of predestination and Compatibilism and reconciles the Old and NT.

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1 Early Arminianist and Calvinism acknowledged God’s foreknowledge of who is saved, “before the foundation of the world,” (Eph 1:4), but parts ways on the issue of free will.  

2 John Calvin held double predestination in Institutes, Book III, Ch. XXI, Sec. 5: “Predestination we call the eternal decree of God, by which He has determined in Himself, what He would have to become of every individual of mankind. For they are not all created with a similar destiny; but eternal life is foreordained for some and eternal death for others. Every man, therefore, being created for one or the other of these ends, we say he is predestinated either to life or to death.”

3 Avowed Covenantalist and president of Ethics and Religious Liberties Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention (ERLC), Russell Moore, states in his essay, Is There a Future for Israel? (www.russellmoore.com/2009/01/09/is-there-a-future-for-israel): “Covenant theologians argue that the future restoration of Israel will be fulfilled-but fulfilled in the church, a largely Gentile body that has ‘replaced’ the Jewish theocracy since the nation rejected her Messiah at Jesus’ first advent.” Moore speaks corporately of the, “the Jewish theocracy” and its destiny to convert the Gentiles, forfeited at the first advent.

4 John Gill's Exposition on the Whole Bible

5 Adam Clarke’s Commentary

6 Jamieson Fausset Brown Bible Commentary, Romans 9:6, for they are not all Israel which are of Israel.

7 Thomas R. Schreiner, Does Romans 9 Teach Individual Election Unto Salvation? Some Exegetical and Theological Reflections, JETS 36/1 (March 1993), pg. 38

8 Ibid., pg. 39, “In fact it seems to me that those who insist that human freedom and individual faith must rule out divine determination of all things are those who end up subscribing to western logical categories.”

9 Russell Moore, Is There a Future for Israel? (www.russellmoore.com/2009/01/09/is-there-a-future-for-israel), January 9, 2009, “Covenant theology then (quite wrongly) sees great continuity between Old Testament Israel and the new covenant church-both are mixed bodies of regenerate and unregenerate members (believers and their children),

10 The distinction is found in the Westminster Confession, chapter 25: “The catholic or universal Church, which is invisible, consists of the whole number of the elect, that have been, are, or shall be gathered into one, under Christ the head thereof; and is the spouse, the body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all.”

“The visible Church, which is also catholic or universal under the gospel (not confined to one nation as before under the law) consists of all those, throughout the world, that profess the true religion, and of their children; and is the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ, the house and family of God, out of which there is no ordinary possibility of salvation.”

11 Russell Moore, Is There a Future for Israel? (www.russellmoore.com/2009/01/09/is-there-a-future-for-israel), January 9, 2009

12 McMahon, C. Matthew, The Two Wills of God, Puritan Publications, 2005, pg. 282

13 Ibid., pg. 86, 87

14 The salutation, eklektois parepidēmois Diasporas, in the commencement of Peter’s first epistle, whose mission was to the circumcised, is best translated: the elect exiles of the dispersion, under substantive exegesis. The 18th century Bible commentator John Gill acknowledged a likely interpretation of 1 Peter 1:1 was, “the ten tribes carried captive by Shalmaneser, and of the two tribes by Nebuchadnezzar.” The dominions of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, Bithynia and Mysia were in northern-eastern Asia Minor, the latter is mentioned in Acts 16 as a dominion Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles, was inhibited to enter by the Holy Spirit. Peter’s epistle as well as that of James confirm Mysia and the other provinces were given to the apostles who ministered to the circumcised, as the NT clearly substantiate a division between the ministries of Paul and Peter (Gal. 2:7-9). John 7:35 and 11:51-52 substantiate the first century Jews were well aware great numbers of all the tribes remained exiles in foreign lands, which had at length been conquered by the Greeks before the Romans. Furthermore, recent archaeological evidence and discovered work of historians of the time, such a Flavious Josephus and Diodorus Siculus, placed many of the descendants of the of the ten tribes in the dominions mentioned in Peter’s epistle.

15 Flavius Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews - Book XI Ch. 5

16 Theopedia.com: Compatibilism, in contrast to Libertarian free will, teaches that people are free, but defines freedom differently. Compatibilism claims that every person chooses according to his or her greatest desire. In other words, people will always choose what they want-- and what they want is determined by (and consistent with) their moral nature. Man freely makes choices, but those choices are determined by the condition of his heart and mind (i.e. his moral nature). Libertarian free will maintains that for any choice made, one could always equally have chosen otherwise, or not chosen at all.

17 McMahon, C. Matthew, The Two Wills of God, Puritan Publications, 2005, pg. 370, “God never repents, never gets angry, never is jealous, etc. He is without passions and emotions in the compound sense.”

18 Ibid., pg. 141, 299-300, 326

19 Ibid., pg. 24, What does the law of non-contradiction teach? The law of non-contradiction states the following: “A” cannot be both “A” and non-A at the same time and in the same relationship.

20 Ibid., pg. 282, “The term bachar... is used of God to choose the ultimate destinies and eternal salvation of particular people or of the nation Israel... This choosing or election is not based on their own merit but on God’s good pleasure and for His glory as seen in Deuteronomy 7:7.”

21 Theopedia, “Compatibilism, in contrast to Libertarian free will, teaches that people are free, but defines freedom differently... God is said to influence our desires, and thus is able to have exhaustive control of all that goes on.” http://www.theopedia.com/compatibilism

22 Ibid., pg. 141, “Here Peter refers to Psalm 118 where Christ is called the chief cornerstone, but to those who reject Him He is a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense.”

23 Ibid., See footnote 17

24 Adam Clarke’s Commentary

25 John Gill's Exposition on the Entire Bible, Jn 11:52... the children of God that were scattered abroad; by which may be meant... the Jews, who were scattered amidst the nations of the world... but rather the elect of God among the Gentiles, called "the children of God", in opposition to a notion of the Jews...”

26 Wikipedia, The historical-grammatical method is a Christian hermeneutical method that strives to discover the Biblical author's original intended meaning in the text.

27 Russell Moore, Is There a Future for Israel? (www.russellmoore.com/2009/01/09/is-there-a-future-for-israel), January 9, 2009

28 Ibid.

29 Vern S. Poythress, Understanding Dispensationalists, Presbyterian and Reformed Pub. Co., 1994, pg. 79

30 Ibid.

31 Ibid., pg. 107

32 Ibid., pg. 116

33 Theopedia, “In libertarianism (not to be confused with the political ideology), free will is affected by human nature but man retains ability to choose contrary to his nature and desires. Man has the moral ability to turn to God in Christ and believe of his own "free will," apart from a divine, irresistible grace. Indeed, according to Open Theism, God is anxiously waiting to see what each person will do, for he cannot know ahead of time what the choice might be. Or, according to Arminianism, God chooses to save those whom he foresees will believe of their own free will.” (added emphasis) http://www.theopedia.com/free-will

34 Theopedia, “Compatibilism, in contrast to Libertarian free will, teaches that people are free, but defines freedom differently... God is said to influence our desires, and thus is able to have exhaustive control of all that goes on.” http://www.theopedia.com/compatibilism

35 Calvin’s Commentaries, Daniel 9:25

36 Moves means God’s ability to overpower the carnal nature by his causal direction as a display of his power as stated in Romans 9:21-24 and Revelation 17:17

37 McMahon, C. Matthew, The Two Wills of God, Puritan Publications, 2005, pg. 86-87, 250, “In dealing with God’s will, we must then ask the question “Does God desire things He does not decree?” First, we must answer this question in the compound sense... God, in this sense, never desires anything He does not decree. All things are accomplished in the exact way— the only way— He has ordained from the foundation of the world. His pursuit of His own glory is fulfilled in the execution of His decrees concerning the compound sense, the wide angle lens, of His desire….

     “However, in the divided sense, in His preceptive will, “Does God desire things He does not Decree?” Do we see things happening in the world around us that seem like God desires them, but has not actually decreed them to come to pass? Absolutely.”

38 Martin Luther, The Bondage of The Will, 1525

39 Biblical commentaries by John Calvin, translated by John King, “1 Peter 2:10 Which in time past were not a people For Hosea, after having in God’s name declared that the Jews were repudiated, gives them a hope of a future restoration.”

40 Ibid., “Peter reminds us that this was fulfilled in his own age; for the Jews were scattered here and there, as the torn members of a body; nay, they seemed to be no longer God’s people, no worship remained among them, they were become entangled in the corruptions of the heathens; it could not then be said otherwise of them, but that they were repudiated by the Lord.”

41 Biblical commentaries by John Calvin, translated by John King, “Isaiah 50:1

42 Ibid., Isaiah 50:4… “This passage is commonly explained so as to relate to Christ, as if it had not been applicable to the Prophet, because he afterwards says, that he had been beaten with rods, which we nowhere read was done to Isaiah.”

43 Ibid., Isaiah 50:4

44 Ibid., Isaiah 50:10

45 This does not preclude the preponderance are thoroughly mixed with the Gentiles and oblivious of their ancestry in this age (Hos 7:8, 8:5).

46 Biblical commentaries by John Calvin, translated by John King, “Zechariah 10:4 “If anyone asks when has this been fulfilled, my answer is, that some preludes of this were given when God raised up the Maccabees, and made the Jews again to live according to their own laws, and to enjoy their own rights; but no doubt the Prophet includes the whole course of redemption. As then God redeemed his people only to a small extent until Christ appeared, it is no wonder that Zechariah, in speaking of full and complete redemption, extends his words to the kingdom of Christ, and this was necessary. We hence learn, that the Church stands abundantly firm, and is also furnished with all needful things, while it continues under the protection of God, and that it is endued with sufficient power to resist all its enemies.”

47 This does not preclude the preponderance are thoroughly mixed with the Gentiles and oblivious of their ancestry in this age (Hos 7:8, 8:5).

 

48 Vern S. Poythress, Understanding Dispensationalists, Presbyterian and Reformed Pub. Co., 1994, pg. 79, “The example shows that for most words there is something like a first-thought meaning, a meaning that one would naturally give when asked, “What does this word mean?” Not everyone might say exactly the same thing, but one sort of answer would usually dominate.”