Two House Chronicles
The Insufficiencies of the Presuppositions of Covenantalism in Rendering John's Apocalypse
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The Insufficiency of the Presuppositions of Covenantalism
in Rendering John's Apocalypse
by Marsue and Jerry Huerta
Paul’s testimony concerning God's foreknowledge and other NT evidence pertaining to God's attributes provide the premise by which covenantalists deduce their doctrines and concepts on predestination.1 Reformed theology maintains that a fixed number of predestined heirs are chosen “before the foundation of the world” (Ephesians 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 position concerning individuals but until recent times have had little regard for predestined corporate salvation in order to maintain their traditional perception that God repented on Israel’s future destiny. Covenantalism still maintains that God repented on the destiny of the elect biological descendants of Abraham as intended to be the means by which the conversion of the gentiles was to ensue. In truth, this is an acknowledgement that corporate Israel had been destined to convert the gentiles, contrary to what covenantalist Russel Moore asserts.3 The eighteenth and nineteenth century commentators of John Gill and Adams Clarke express covenantalism’s traditional perception of Israel’s future in their comments concerning 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
“ - 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. - 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
41:8-9; 43:10, 20; 44:1-2). the former election upon the biological descendants was grounded on merit and was forfeited at the first advent
“—better, ‘for not all they which are of Israel are Israel.’ 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 also addresses the distinction and notes that the elect are correspondingly regarded as 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, he substantiates the correspondence between corporate and individual election but fails to comprehend that his acknowledgement is at variance with covenantalism’s claims that God repented on the corporate election of the biological descendants of Israel and replaced them with the gentiles. Schreiner’s, or covenantalism’s continuity between Israel and the church is contradictory to their assertion that God repented on the corporate election of ethnic Israel; it would be more precise to say that God merely changed the management and gave it to the other house of Israel, Ephraim, which is the subject of the next chapter of this work.
Concerning the dispensationalist’s failure to affirm continuity between the Church and Israel, covenantalist Russell Moore posits that their lack of continuity stems from their misapprehension that the promises to Israel were to both the, “regenerate and unregenerate members,” but in reality the “future restoration of Israel has never been promised to the unfaithful, unregenerate members of the nation.”8 Moore inadvertently corrects the traditional covenantalist view and affirms the concept that the promises to the body 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 as well as corporate and individual correspondence in salvation. This distinction is not new and has long been perceived as the visible and invisible church,9 the latter being comprised of only the elect, but covenantalists .
“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.)10
In McMahon’s book, , he perceives a hermeneutic that God expressed his will in more than one . Unless we accurately perceive these tension results in revelation and the truth does not prevail. As mentioned previously, McMahon develops another theologian’s work, Francis Turretin’s, as the hermeneutic of the compound and divided .
It is apparent that both McMahon and Moore agree with Brown’s perception that the election of the body of Israel pertained to They perceive that God cannot change his mind regarding the salvific calling in Deuteronomy 7:6-8 because it did not apply to the reprobate, which conflicts with their notion that Israel forfeited its destiny to the gentiles at the first advent. Furthermore, it is inaccurate to view the diaspora of the elect biological descendants simply as punishment when Christ declared:, as distinguished from the reprobate mixed with them, which epitomizes both individual and corporate salvific correspondence.
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 rather substantiates that the gifts and calling of Israel as irrevocable, which is precisely what Peter, below,11 and Paul (Romans 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 that Peter addressed members of the ten northern tribes yet scattered, but who, to some degree, were still aware of their heritage and his epistles truly overcome any objections to the contrary. Further evidence is provided by the first century Jewish historian, Flavius Josephus, who wrote12 this also confirms fulfilment of the birthright of Israel’s fecundity, particularly Joseph’s branch (Genesis 48:16; 49:22). But as previously mentioned, these 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 the descendants of Abraham “are without repentance” (Romans 11:29) but have failed to that this understanding undermines the reasoning in their argument 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 than earlier covenantalists had to relate concerning Coming from a determined compatibilist13 they rightly perceive that God does not change is mind,14 which is why it is contradictory for them to also assert any form of change in destiny for the biological descendants of Abraham at the first advent. Further analysis of McMahon’s book, , reveals a fallacy, concerning 1 Peter 2:8. He proposes that that the reprobates were ordained to reject Christ and at the same time he asserts they had choice. in scripture, although Moore does not use the same terminology.
“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 (15) 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).”16
“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.”17
McMahon has failed to grasp that he has violated the rule of non-contradiction.18 He asserts the fallacy that those who were destined to be lost “should have taken up that commission to bless the nations.” The commission to bless the nations was to the elect not to the reprobate. McMahon shifts from a compatibilist to an Arminian or open theist In the corporate sense the was irrevocably chosen as a people with an ultimate destiny and salvation, which McMahon acknowledged concerning the use of bachar, above. here. 19 The only relief from such a fallacy is to concede that 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 elect remnant of Israel to convert the gentiles, Thus, McMahon is a typical covenantalist attempting to maintain the contradiction that God does not —and at the same time, says that those who were appointed to disavow Christ, “should have taken up that commission to bless the nations.” It was those who were appointed to avow Christ that were to convert the gentiles, not those who disavowed him. The only view that satisfies the compatibilist perception is the Two House theological model. , which is precisely what happened. McMahon succumbs to Arminianism and even open theism in his assertion that the Jewish ruler’s choice determined their destiny when in truth, God preordained their destiny apart from the elect (1 Peter 2:7-8). 20 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 proving to be sufficient in properly rendering the NT and John’s apocalypse.
grace in the wilderness,” as they were dispersed throughout the nations. It was by this circumstance that they were to play the major role in converting the gentiles. The phrase 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, finds , in exile, but we see that they are not directly restored to the promised land when all the relevant texts are properly examined. In anthropomorphic illustrations, the remnant of Israel is 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, have taken up that commission to bless the nations … but they did not.”22 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 who are given no consideration as being the singular, fruit bearing of Matthew 21:43. As stated, this conflicts with Moore and McMahon’s that God’s elections are inviolable. It also conflicts with the NT testimony relating the accepted knowledge that there were great numbers of the descendants of the northern tribes dwelling as exiles in communities scattered throughout the known world at the time (John 7:35; 11:51-52; James 1:1; 1 Peter 1:1). The nineteenth century covenantalist Adam Clarke’s writing is of some use here in that he conceded that the phrase, “ ” in John 11:52, pertained to the and not the gentiles, differing from the view held by many of his fellow covenantalists.
“John 11:52 … - 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.”23
It speaks well of Clarke that he did not make the same mistake that many of his contemporaries make who interpret the phrase as referring to the elect gentiles;24 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 , 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 hitherto 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 from the historical-grammatical point of view.25 Their contemporary view of the Jews as the nation of Israel cannot be reconciled to said texts, which affirms that the other house of Israel, Ephraim, must be considered in eschatological phenomena. 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 who as such were still aware to some degree of their origins (John 11:51-52). Samaria has never been re-occupied 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’s, a Pharisee, intent in John 11:51-52 pertained to gentiles. McMahon’s comment, above, 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 that 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 Ephraim took the commission; it did not just cease to exist, and has relevance as the singular, fruit bearing 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 at the second advent. Matthew and Mark agree, Christ came —which affirms that Christ’s first advent presented us with a suffering redeemer and (husband) 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 of the kingdom that the Jews expected. The prophets grasped the phenomenon as the sole will of God at his appointed time; God must first before the consummation of the kingdom (Deuteronomy 30:6). Evidence that the kingdom was not offered at that time is witnessed subsequently to the commission portrayed in Matthew 10, where Christ dismissed the impression that “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” (Matthew 10:23) can only be interpreted as being protracted phenomenon as conveyed in Luke 19:11-27. From this evidence the phrase “the cities of Israel” verse 23, achieves a greater than merely the cities of Judah, but develops to include wherever the descendants of Israel abide in the illustrated in Hosea 2:23 and Zechariah 10:9. The OT affirms that the children of God 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 that this is the in which the good seed, the remnant of Israel, is planted.
Moore also exhibits the continuing influence of past covenantalists who ignore the biological , 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, , 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 (Galatians 5)-but it does so only because Jesus is the vine of Israel.”26
In the same essay he writes:
“The future restoration of Israel has been promised to the unfaithful, unregenerate members of the nation (John 3:3-10; Romans 2:25- 29)-only to the faithful remnant.”27
In the latter quote Moore clearly concedes Israel’s irrevocable corporate election in his affirmation that the reprobate who were mixed with them were not regarded in the election. This is simply another way of affirming, God’s appointment of the corporate body of the biological descendants of Jacob was predetermined as , apart from the reprobate who were mixed with them.
One can concede that the NT Gentile converts are perceived as joining , but in what are they according to Moore—or in what does Moore interpret the verb in texts such as Acts 1:6. The he eschews is the principal biological ; only the biological descendants can suffer loss, be for a time in Micah 5 and ultimately be .
Therefore, will he give them up, until the time she which travaileth hath brought forth: then the remnant of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel. (Micah 5:3)
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 only the elect biological descendants, the northern can represent the woman in Hosea and Micah, above, that is at an appointed time. In this work, the phrase, , pertains to the as defined by covenantalist and amillennialist Vern S. Poythress in his book: .
“This 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.”28
Sound reasoning maintains that the historical-grammatical interpretation corresponds with the and in this sense the woman in Micah 5:3 and Hosea 2:23 must be rendered as the elect biological descendants of Jacob, specifically the elect of the northern nation of Ephraim. Poythress is not examining the term , above, but the word “ to argue that context can alter the meaning of words into other less used or can become idiomatic of another word or phrase altogether.
“When, however, once we are given even a little bit of context, our guesses about the meaning may change radically.”29
Poythress is setting up the covenantalist’s argument which radically alters the term with the reasoning that the distant and earthshaking eschatological context warrants the drastic shift from the historical-grammatical, .
“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.”30
Poythress violates the rule of non-contradiction when later he states this shift, “should not undermine or contradict grammatical-historical interpretation,” 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.”31
One must agree with Poythress that the distance and earthshaking event of the eschatological context and NT revelation does diminish, “the most prosaic biological sense,” in the way the term Israel must be interpreted, but it would be wrong to maintain that the context the altogether, which unequivocally, “undermines or contradicts the grammatical-historical interpretation,” and this is precisely what covenantalists attempt concerning eschatological prophecy. Herein lies Poythress’s violation. In returning to Moore’s use of the term concerning Israel, the biological simply 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 that covenantalists undermine the hermeneutic persistently. Furthermore, it must be considered that 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” (Ephesians 2:12) and as such they cannot be in the as the biological descendants.
As stated above, one can concede Poythress’s assertion, “the earthshaking, transformational character of the eschatological coming of God,” has its effects on how Israel is perceived, but only in the that “in Christ” elect Jews and are no longer held to the Old Covenant (OC) laws prohibiting intermarriage or that genealogies are germane (Deuteronomy 7:3-5; Galatians 3:28; Ephesians 2:13); even so, in another they still remain the distant biological descendants which maintains that God’s elections are irrevocable, as they are , by whom the gentiles are blessed (Genesis 12:3; 18:18; 26:4). Certainly, this is one of, “the earthshaking, transformational,” changes, “of the eschatological coming of God,” using Poythress’s words above. In Christ, Jew, Ephraimite and Gentile become corporately perceived as one, but in the biological women remain women, as Ephraimites remain biological heirs of Abraham no matter how diminished that biological becomes due to the end of the prohibitions against intermarriage and when the concern for genealogies is quashed (1 Timothy 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 (Genesis 48:3-4, 16-20) which renders them a copious people in Providence, much greater and more numerous than the hardened Jews who covenantalists perceive as the only Israelites. First Samuel 15:29 affirms that God “is not a man, that he should comprehending the term in scripture, specifically in eschatological prophecy. the biological descendant’s commission to bless the nations at the first advent, even as their biological identity diminished; in a , it became the means to bless the nations. It is precisely this perception that accounts for, “information not available in the original historical and cultural context,” of the prophets, as Poythress expressed it, above, as this understanding neither harms, nor undermines or contradicts the historical-grammatical interpretation of Judah and Ephraim. Any principle in determining how one discerns the term in eschatological context must avoid tension between OT and NT revelation, tension which Poythress subsequently expressed, perplexing as it may be.
Poythress’s work is described as perplexing because in truth, covenantalism does not maintain the “ while preserving correspondence between Old and NT revelation. As previously mentioned, it violates the rule of non-contradiction to maintain that the gentiles are in the same 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 title 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 violates the 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 , that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.
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, relatively, while the promise and prophecy of the institution of the NC was eschatological in relation, dealing with the distant future as affirmed by NT revelation (Jeremiah 29:10; 31:31-43; Hebrews 12:24). Texts such as Jeremiah 7:1-7, 18:7-10 as well as the book of Jonah are cited by covenantalists, not unlike the use of dispensationalists, to assert that all promises and prophecies concerning Israel were conditional or contingent, and that God is restrained by man’s will, in contradiction to the reality of God’s omniscience and omnipotence. As stated, concerning the dispensationalists, the perception of contingency in prophecy stems from a libertarian and open theist view of free will,which is incompatible with the compatibilist’s view.33 While one expects this from dispensationalists because of their notion of the parenthesis, covenantalists are Calvinist and should know better. In the previous chapter we established that progressive revelation vindicates the fact that the law was not intended to promote obedience according to Romans 7:5 and 8-11. It was the NC that was intended to put God’s laws into the mind and write them in the hearts of the chosen or elect (Hebrews 8:7-11). Furthermore, this work conveyed that the libertarian or open theists’s perception of free will cannot endure against Paul’s testimony in Romans 7 that man’s will is subject to his CN and causes him to sin against his will however, without nullifying his accountability. Paul concludes that only those “in Christ” are manumitted from the CN and are released to obey God’s law and will receive justification for their sins (Romans 8:1-4). The Calvinist’s perceptions of God’s foreknowledge in texts such as Romans 8:29-30 indicate that God was familiar with the elect before creation (Jeremiah 1:5; Ephesians 1:4), which also concurs with his foreknowledge of how man responds to what appears as contingencies (conveyed appropriately as anthropomorphic shepherding). Scripture affirms that sin is caused by an organic influence capable of overpowering the will and reminds us that man is accountable, which repudiates contingency in regards to prophecy and the perception of free will by Libertarianism. What we can also garnered from the examination 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 remarkable sacrifice of Christ, and the glorious inauguration of the Israel’s NC.
Like dispensationalists, Calvin affirmed that God had an appointed time when Christ would come as determined from the Persian decree to restore Judah’s nationhood and the Hebraic cultus in the prophecies of Daniel 9.
“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”34
As stated previously, the incompatibilist’s arguments pertaining to accountability and against causal determination are overcome by Paul’s testimony concerning the subjection of the will to the CN. Again, Paul revealed that it was Christ’s propitiation that released man from the CN (Romans 8:1-4), which confirms that Calvin actually refutes the covenantalist’s understanding of conditional prophecy. Just like the dispensationalists, Calvin’s commentary on Daniel 9:25, concerning the appointed time of, “Messiah the Prince,” actually advocates that the time for the propitiation of sin was determined from the seventy weeks in Daniel 9, which was determined from Judah’s rejection of God’s call to repent in Jeremiah 18:7-10. This important correlation substantiates that God indeed, had foreknowledge that Judah would not repent and this is a representative application of the divided sense in prophecy; consequently, Jeremiah 18 cannot be used to prove that man causes God to repent or alter his plans for the unforeseeable. Such foreknowledge confirms, with NT evidence, that man was in subjugation to the CN and could not keep the law until the manumission mentioned above, being God’s will, at God’s appointed time. What appears as contingencies to man is rudimentary revelation, perceived as contingencies, where God merely abstains from moving against the CN in order to carry out his Divine Providence. The appearance of contingences in Jeremiah 18:7–10 and the book of Jonah, from whence covenantalists draw their conclusions concerning contingency in regards to prophecy, are only contingencies as they appear to man, but God’s plans are ordained. The lesson to be learned in this case is that man is incapable of complying with God’s law without his causal direction (Psalms 37:23; Proverbs 3:6; Jeremiah 31:9, 28; 2 Thessalonians 3:3; 2 Peter 2:9). Could Yahweh be Elohim without divine providence?
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)
Without God’s direction, the will of man is enslaved to the CN. Texts such as Jeremiah 7:1-7 and 18:7-10 are conveyed in the divided sense, the appearance of contingency, as only God can cause men to amend their ways and their doings. The assertion of contingency in prophecy stems from the fallacy that the declarative law could be complied with without the need of the NC but Paul makes it very plain that the SC was never intended as such but was a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ and justification (Galatians 3:24). The doctrine of contingency in prophecy is a fallacy. Prophecy is preordained, it is the foreknowledge of God, his compound will and the decretive sense (Isaiah 41:21-23; 42:9; 44:7; 45:11; 46:10; 48:3,5,6; Jeremiah 1:5; Act 15:8; Romans 8:29).
God knows how man will respond beforehand, which may appear to man as contingency but is just that, mere appearance. All the prophets anticipated that Israel would fail to comply with the SC. God well knew it and planned to intervene at an appointed time and establish the NC which would impart the ability to comply with his law—so necessary for the consummation of the kingdom (Jeremiah 31:31-34; Ezekiel 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 (Psalms 118:22-23; 1 Peter 2:7-8), while those who avowed him were chosen “before the foundation of the world” (Romans 8:29-30; Ephesians 1:4). This affirms that God did not offer the kingdom of heaven at the first advent. It is this perspective that informs us that .37 Covenantalists maintain the fallacy that the reprobate Jews who were appointed to wrath (Romans 9:21) were offered the kingdom which they were never destined to inherit, wrongfully surmising the notion of contingency in prophecy.
The epistles of Peter are fundamental in determining the in which the title is comprehended in eschatological fulfillment, specifically 1 Peter 2:10. The covenantalist’s presuppositions in interpreting Israel in Peter fails to maintain the historical-grammatical hermeneutic and Calvin’s own misinterpretations are a salient example of the same. Calvin acknowledged the biological in Hosea’s phrase “in time past were not a people” when he stated that, “Hosea, after having in God’s name declared that the Jews were repudiated, gives them a hope of a future restoration.”38 The historical-grammatical principle maintains the texts from Hosea pertain to Ephraim, not Judah. Calvin went on to describe the first century Jewish condition 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,”39 which 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 a number of texts in Peter’s epistles on the basis of his defective hermeneutics. These same texts in recent times have been used by Covenantalists to assert that Peter addressed his epistles to Gentiles, and such positing moves them even farther away from correspondence between Old and NT revelation. The mention of past in 1 Peter 4:3 has been used in their contemporary assertions to endorse the claim that 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 in that the 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, thus the Covenantalist’s perception is found wanting.
Concerning Hosea 2, the historical-grammatical 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, which we dealt with in the previous chapter. The most relevant 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 (Jeremiah 2:3; 3:14; 31:32; Ezekiel 16:32) was required before they could become eligible to return to their husband again, anthropomorphically depicted in Hosea. While God had not divorced Judah, they also needed to be released from the covenant to be betrothed to Christ. It is perceivable that in the Israelites were not allowed to see the particulars concerning their release from the SC; nevertheless, they were aware of the prophecies of Hosea and aware of the impediment of Deuteronomy 24:4 conveyed in Isaiah 50:1 and Jeremiah 3:1, 8.
Romans 7:1-4 provides the particulars in resolving the impediment—it was 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 that the husband in Hosea who 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. It is not acceptable to say that it is the gentiles who fulfill the prophecy in Hosea as they were not joined to Christ by the OC as was 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 type to be 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. 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 historical-grammatical interpretation, the pertaining to the query, in Isaiah 50:1.
1. Arminianism and Calvinism acknowledged God's foreknowledge but parts ways on the issue of free will.
2. John Calvin held double predestination, that man was, “predestinated either to life or to death.” Institutes, (Book Ill, Ch. XXI, Sec. 5)
3. Avowed covenantalist and president of Ethics and Religious Liberties Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention (ERLC), Russell Moore, states: “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.” “Is There a Future for Israel?” Russel Moore.com, https://www.russellmoore.com/2009/01/09/is-there-a-future-for-israel/
4. John Gill's Exposition on the Whole Bible, s.v. Matthew 21:43
5. Adam Clarke’s Commentary, s.v. Matthew 21:43
6. Jamieson Fausset Brown Bible Commentary, s.v. Rom 9:6.
7. Thomas R. Schreiner, “Does Romans 9 Teach Individual Election Unto Salvation? Some Exegetical and Theological Reflections,” JETS 36/1 (March 1993), 38
8. Moore, “Is There a Future for Israel?”
9. Wikipedia, “The invisible church or church invisible is a theological concept of an ‘invisible’ body of the elect who are known only to God, in contrast to the ‘visible church’—that is, the institutional body on earth which preaches the gospel and administers the sacraments,” last modified July 2017, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Church_invisible&action=history
10 . McMahon, The Two Wills of God, Kindle location 5856.
11. As stated previously, the superior translation of ἐκλεκτοῖς παρεπιδήμοις Διασπορᾶς is “elect exiles of the dispersion.”
12. Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews
13. Theopedia, s.v. Basic beliefs, “Compatibilism . . . teaches that people are free, but defines freedom differently.”
14. McMahon, “God never repents, never gets angry, never is jealous, etc. He is without passions and emotions in the compound sense,” The Two Wills of God (Puritan Publications, 2005), Kindle location 370.
15. Ibid., Kindle location 3034.
16. Ibid., Kindle location 6249.
17. Ibid., Kindle location 6825.
18 Ibid., “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.” Kindle location 445.
19. Ibid., Kindle location 5856.
20. Theopedia, “God is said to influence our desires, and thus is able to have exhaustive control of all that goes on,” s.v. God’s involvement, http://www.theopedia.com/compatibilism
21. McMahon, The Two Wills of God, Kindle location 3031.
23 Adam Clarke’s Commentary, s.v. John 11:52
24. John Gill, “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.” John Gill's Exposition on the Entire Bible, s.v. John 11:52.
25. Wikipedia, “The historical-grammatical method is a Christian hermeneutical method that strives to discover the Biblical author's original intended meaning in the text.” s.v. Historical-grammatical method, last modified May 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historical-grammatical_method
26. Moore, “Is There a Future for Israel?”
28. Vern S. Poythress, Understanding Dispensationalists (Presbyterian and Reformed Pub. Co., 1994), 79.
30. Ibid., 107.
31. Ibid., 116
32. 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.” Free Will, s.v. Libertarian freedom, http://www.theopedia.com/free-will
33. Theopedia, “Libertarian free will maintains that for any choice made, one could always equally have chosen otherwise, or not chosen at all.” Compatibilism, s.v. Basic beliefs, http://www.theopedia.com/compatibilism
34. Calvin’s Commentaries, s.v. Daniel 9:25
37. Martin Luther, The Bondage of The Will
38. Calvin's Commentary on the Bible, s.v. 1 Peter 2:10, Study Light.org, https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/1-peter-2.html
40. Ibid., s.v. Isaiah 50:1
41. Ibid., s.v. Isaiah 50:4
43. Ibid., s.v. Isaiah 50:10
44. Poythress, Understanding Dispensationalists, 79.