Jon Moffitt: In this section, we are going to be covering the covenant of grace. This is an introduction. We’re not going to give you an exhaustive view of this. We talk about this all of the time so we are going to do our best to keep this as an introduction.
The covenant of grace is an unconditional covenant, meaning that if we look at the two parties involved, we have God and us, the elect people of God. Then the one acting is God and all of the conditions are placed upon God. He will do this. He is the one who has all of the conditions that must be met. Then for us second party members, the reason why it’s unconditional is that there’s nothing placed on us to do. This is why we use the language of grace.
Sometimes people confuse mercy and grace. Mercy is to not receive what you deserve and grace is to receive that what you don’t deserve. When we talk about the covenant of grace, God is making this promise. He is putting conditions upon Himself and we are the recipients of it. We are going to receive forgiveness of our sins through Jesus Christ, and we’re going to receive the righteousness or the obedience of Jesus Christ – and all of that comes to us by grace through faith alone. That is a quick definition and an overview of the covenant of grace.
Justin Perdue: In the covenant of grace, we talk about what it is that we are receiving. We are receiving the merits of Christ; he has satisfied for our sin, he has atoned for it. He has provided us positively with righteousness and everything that is his is ours, and that includes an inheritance of a new creation. We will be a part of his people forever in that sense.
It might be good right now to explain the term “covenant of grace”. Even further, someone may ask legitimately why it is called the covenant of grace? Why don’t we just call it the new covenant or the old covenant? Why is this type of language used? One, the covenant of grace is a helpful term in that it makes very clear the contrast of grace and works that we see throughout the New Testament. One other thought here is that the covenant of grace is promised before the new covenant comes. It is helpful for us because there is one covenant of grace in all of Scripture through and under which all of God’s people from all time are saved. It is useful to use this covenant language of the covenant of grace because it helps us to explain that united plan of salvation that God has always had.
Jon Moffitt: Old Testament and New Testament people are saved by the same covenant.
Justin Perdue: They are trusting in the promises of God realized in the Messiah.
Jimmy Buehler: We need to explain or show where this covenant of grace is revealed and taught in Scripture. Where we need to begin is in Genesis 3:15. What we see is what is known historically as the proto-euangelion or the first gospel. It is the announcement, the promise, and the revelation that is made to Adam and Eve. Though the serpent has won the battle that day, he will ultimately not win the war. There will come one from the line of Eve that will crush the head of the serpent.
In essence, this contrasts it with the covenant of works that there will come someone from the line of the woman; there will come someone who will do this for his people. That’s the first place to go. This kicks off this whole idea that we see throughout the Old Testament. We’ve mentioned this before in previous sessions of this idea of types and shadows.
Justin Perdue: Before we start talking more specifically about types and shadows, for the sake of clarity, we want to be really precise in how we understand the covenant of grace. We understand that the covenant of grace is promised and revealed beginning in Genesis 3:15. It is continually revealed through farther steps throughout the rest of the Old Testament. Then the covenant of grace proper is established and accomplished through Christ in the new covenant. It is promised and revealed in the Old Testament, beginning in Genesis 3:15. Through farther steps, it becomes increasingly clear as we get to Abraham and Moses and David, and it becomes clearer until finally we get to Christ. The covenant of grace is established and accomplished through him in the new covenant.
Jon Moffitt: That language of promise becomes really important. In this promise to Adam and Eve in the Old Testament, you will always hear “the seed of”. It is always in reference to the man – the seed of the man. What is interesting is that in this promise that God gives Eve, He does not say the seed of Adam because if it was, that means that the sin of Adam would be passed down and he couldn’t be the replacement. He would have to pay for his own sin. So God says something very fascinating: He says the seed of Eve. Jumping to Luke 2, you have a virgin and the Spirit will come and bring that seed.
Justin Perdue: The question is who is the father going to be?
Jon Moffitt: You’re seeing a connection now between the covenant of redemption and the covenant of grace. The covenant redemption says God will come and save His people. Then you see this tiny promise. The covenant of grace, the actual covenant that saves people, is not there yet. But it’s promised to Eve. Then you have this big question: how do we know which one?
Justin Perdue: Who is this promised seed? That is really what the rest of the Old Testament is getting us ready for. That question is bringing increasing amounts of clarity, too.
Jon Moffitt: There is drama in the story too, because all these people are being born and the world is growing. All of them have the rebellious nature of Adam. It’s clearly none of these people. It gets so bad that God wipes out the earth but still keeps the promise because He said it has to come through the line of Eve. So Noah is preserved and now we at least know it’s coming through Noah. Then God says He will never destroy everyone again, otherwise, He would go back on His promise.
Justin Perdue: He’s going to sustain the creation because the seed of Eve is coming. He is making sure that the world into which that seed is going to be born is going to be sustained. That’s the purpose of the Noahic covenant in that regard.
Jon Moffitt: All those who believed the promise that came from Adam and Eve, which I’m sure they told their children, it was accounted to them, and they were saved. We’ll learn more about this as we get into the New Testament and Romans when he says that God passed over former sins reenacting the covenant of grace.
Justin Perdue: Shortly after Noah, we get to Abraham, which is a big milestone. Beginning in Genesis 12, we hear of a man. Initially, his name is Abram but God changes his name later to Abraham, and we’ll just refer to him as Abraham throughout this time.
Jon Moffitt: I want to make one interjection here before we go forward, because what we’re about to explain to you is our perspective of the covenant of grace and the covenant of Abraham.
If you were to take the Westminster Confession and the Savoy Declaration if you were to take Reformed theology and understanding covenant theology, we are in almost 100% agreement on it – the covenant of works, the covenant of redemption, that there are two covenants or bicovenantalism. In the 1689 London Baptist Confession, there is even more broad language that would allow some variants here. During the time of the 1689 being formulated, for the Baptists, there was a full commitment to understanding how the new covenant works. There are going to be some differences in how we’re going to explain the Abrahamic covenant and our view, which is the 1689 Federalism view. It was the view that was held by the majority during the time of the confession being made. This is also where you’re going to see come changes between us and the Presbyterian view. You can make that comparison later because that’s not really what this podcast is for. We want to give you an overview of what we would say is the majority view of the 1689.
Justin Perdue: Let’s pick up with Abraham beginning in Genesis 12. We see that God calls Abraham out and He makes a promise to him in Genesis 12, that we would see as the promise of the covenant of grace. Paul will even pick up on this in Galatians 3 and say the gospel was preached beforehand to Abraham, and he cites Genesis 12:3.
There is the promise of the covenant of grace made to Abraham. Then there is a covenant formerly made with him in Genesis 15, and in particular in Genesis 17, where there is land promised to Abraham. He has promised that kings and rulers will come from him from his line.
It’s important that we see that God promises that these things will happen. “I’m going to make sure that a nation comes from you, that rulers come from you, and that a land will be given to your offspring.” It’s unconditional in that sense.
But then there is a conditional piece of this covenant of circumcision that is established in Genesis 17 where it is very clear that individuals may be cut off from the people of God through disobedience. If they are not circumcised, they are cut off. There is an unconditional promise to the nation – land, rulers, and people – and there is a conditional promise to individuals underneath the covenant of circumcision. Alongside that, with Abraham, we see the promise of the covenant of grace that is unconditional, and it is to the elect, to the spiritual seed of Abraham. That is our understanding.
Jon Moffitt: When he makes the promise “from your seed,” singular, “all the nations of the world will be blessed,” he is talking about Jesus. You are hearing that language of seed again. Eve is protected in the Noahic covenant, and now we know what is coming through Abraham through this nation.
I think it’s important that you are able to explain the difference of the conditional and unconditional well. Abraham and this land are going to start becoming a type and a shadow – it’s not the actual substance, and it’s not the actual covenant of grace yet. It’s a covenant of circumcision with Abraham that has conditions that the people must meet, but it’s a shadow of that which is to come.
Justin Perdue: Even the fact that a land of Canaan is promised. When the covenant of grace comes, what is Canaan a type of? It’s the new heaven and the new earth.
Jon Moffitt: The land by which Hebrew says they were looking forward to.
Justin Perdue: “Rulers will come from you, Abraham.” What is that a type of? It’s a type of the great King named Jesus.
Jon Moffitt: Right before they go into Egypt, it is said that through Judah will come a King. Before that happens, they are going to spend 400 years in captivity and then they will be redeemed. You have these little promises. If you’re reading your Bible and you don’t have this covenant, and you’re anticipating what’s going on, it’s a jumbled mess. But with it, now you are understanding that it is all connected. There is this fine line that is connecting every single word and it has a purpose and it’s rolling in its narrative.
Jimmy Buehler: This is where it’s helpful to understand and have this covenantal language and framework. What does it prevent us from doing? It prevents us from looking at Abraham as an end in himself and that Abraham is some great hero of the faith. Abraham believed God and it was counted to him as righteousness.
Justin Perdue: This is also the pattern that Paul sets up for us for redemption.
Jimmy Buehler: In the book of Romans.
Jesus has a conversation with the Pharisees, and what did they appeal to? They claimed to be children of Abraham. And how does Jesus respond? He says he can turn rocks into children. What’s important to note is that ultimately in Jesus’ mind, in that moment, he is saying essentially that the promise made to Abraham is about himself because ultimately he is coming from Abraham.
Justin Perdue: John 8. Jesus is on the scene and he is telling the Jews that the Son, meaning himself, will set them free. They defend themselves by saying they are children of Abraham. Why is this man saying they will become free? Jesus even says to them, “I know that you are offspring of Abraham, yet you seek to kill me because my word finds no place in you.” Jesus means that they are the physical seed of Abraham. Then the Jewish audience goes on just a few verses later in John 8:39, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus says, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would be doing the works Abraham did.” Meaning if they were his spiritual seed. Jesus later says, “Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad.” They were geeked up about Abraham but Abraham was excited about Jesus. Abraham rejoiced to see Jesus’ day and he saw it. What is that? The gospel was preached beforehand to Abraham: a seed has come as a promise, Abraham believed the promises of God to be realized in the Messiah, and therefore he was saved.
Jimmy Buehler: Even the story of Abraham shows us how God, in the covenant of grace, works in spite of people. What does Abraham immediately do? He goes to the slave woman and essentially takes matters into his own hands. That’s really what these religious leaders, the Pharisees, are contrasting themselves with. “We are not sons of the slave woman but sons of the free woman.” Jesus says they have no idea what it means to be free. They are slaves to their own self-salvation and self-righteousness project. Jesus, again, can make anything children of Abraham.
To circle back to what I said in the beginning, it is important to have this covenantal framework because we see, one, just how gracious God is that even in light of Abraham who looked forward imperfectly is still saved under that promise. Two, it prevents us from looking at Abraham as the Pharisees and religious leaders did, as this great pillar to look to. Jesus says Abraham is a mirror that ultimately points to him.
Justin Perdue: What matters is not whether you are related to Abraham physically. What matters is whether you have Abraham’s faith. That’s the point. That’s Galatians 3:7. Those who have faith are the sons of Abraham. Then you also have Romans 4 where Paul says that Abraham was trusting in the One who justifies the ungodly. He is trusting in God who justifies ungodly people, which is a scandalous message that no other religion preaches.
That is the pattern of Abraham that is going to carry over into the new covenant where the covenant of grace is established.
Jon Moffitt: The story keeps moving. You have these unbelievable promises. You have a man and a woman in their nineties. They are barren and they have no children. The most unbelievable promise is that God is going to bless all the nations of the world, and they’re going to have a nation that is larger than the sands of the sea. Abraham is hearing all this going, “You are going to do that through me?” It’s a wonderful story of the mercy and grace of God who uses incapable, messed up people. Abraham was not a moral man. Let’s just put it that way. He lied a lot.
Justin Perdue: It’s wild. God says, “Abraham, a nation is going to come from you and the purpose of that nation is that it will produce a seed that will bless the nations.”
Jon Moffitt: The purpose of Abraham’s nation was to produce the seed and the Pharisees standing before Jesus totally didn’t get that. They thought the blessings come through being a part of Abraham. But Jesus points out that the blessing comes from the seed of Abraham.
Now you have the question what is God doing with this nation? They move into Egypt through Joseph, which births a beautiful statement from Joseph: “You meant this for evil. God meant this for good.” Meaning that God is following His plan.
Jimmy Buehler: There was famine in the land and Jacob moves his family into Egypt, or Israel, as they become known. Jacob is renamed Israel and his family becomes known as the nation of Israel. The book of Exodus says they grow great in number, Egypt is threatened, and they become enslaved by Pharaoh. They become enslaved by the people of Egypt.
What does God do? He raises up Moses who also is a shadow and a type. He’s a prophet. He is a mouthpiece of God. He goes and he mediates on behalf of his people.
The book of Exodus is echoed all throughout Scripture.
Justin Perdue: Absolutely. The greatest work of redemption before the cross, without question, is the Exodus.
Jimmy Buehler: And as you read through the Old Testament, particularly in the Psalms, what do the song leaders and the writers of the Psalms constantly point back to? The Exodus. The Psalms are the contemporary Christian music of their day as we sing of the cross on Sunday mornings.
Jon Moffitt: And the constant shadow of being in enslavement. What do they celebrate? The Passover. We continue to celebrate the shadow of it as well. It becomes part of their culture that they didn’t even fully understand the blood being put over their doorposts.
Justin Perdue: There’s the blood of a lamb that God looks at and sees, so He passes over us and we are saved. Those who are not covered by that blood or are killed.
Jon Moffitt: At that moment they wanted to get out of Egypt and they didn’t want to die so they obeyed. But as the New Testament writers go back and explain that, they’re using, this glorious shadow that was pointing to Jesus, and God passes over our sins because of the blood of Jesus. He is the one that takes away the sin of Abraham and Isaac up on the mountain. It’s one of the glorious shadows that we look right past.
Jimmy Buehler: As the Bible progresses, ultimately Moses leads God’s people out of Egypt. As we know from the well-known Bible story parts, they walk through the Red Sea, which is later referenced in the New Testament as another type, another shadow. They pass through the Red Sea. The unbelievers, if you will, are drowned in the waters of judgment. Then what we see is Israel. After they get tired of wandering and not having bread, they want to return to slavery. They want to go back to Egypt. They wander throughout the desert.
Jon Moffitt: What we don’t realize is for 400 years, they don’t have a Bible. They don’t have a system like we do today. They have passed down verbally the promises given to their fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob – the promise to be given a land, but they were not in there yet. They’re supposed to be a great nation though they did become big in population. But these people have had 400 years of paganism. What do they do the moment Moses goes up on the mountain?
Jimmy Buehler: They get to Mount Sinai, and this is where Moses goes to meet with the Lord. This is where we really begin to understand and see another step further in revealing this covenant of grace in the Mosaic covenant. Not to say that the mosaic covenant is the covenant of grace. That is not what we’re saying.
Let’s break the Mosaic covenant down a little bit and explain.
Justin Perdue: God, through Moses, gives the Law. This nation is being made and the people that He promised to Abraham is becoming a reality. Now God is going to make another covenant with them. He is going to tell them essentially how they are to live and He says if they live this way, then they will be blessed.
Jimmy Buehler: It is a theocratic nation, meaning God is at the head of the only nation He has ever led, which is Israel.
Justin Perdue: So God gives the Law and He says, “If you do these things, then you will prosper. You will live long in the land. If you fail to do these things and you violate these laws, then you will be cursed. You will face judgment from me.”
We do not understand the Mosaic covenant to be the covenant of grace. If anything, we understand that the Mosaic covenant, in one sense, is almost a type of a covenant of works. It’s conditioned. There are conditions to be met.
What does the Mosaic covenant do in helping us better understand the covenant of grace? It makes God’s requirements clear. This is what God requires for righteousness. It helps us understand that however we are going to be saved, there must come one. This seed needs to come and do all of this in order that we might be counted as righteous before the Lord.
Jimmy Buehler: This is where you see the apostle Paul write extensively in places like Galatians and Romans about the Law. Moses is often seen as the representative of the Law. Paul writes that the Law came and what does it do? It reveals the trespass. The Law increases the trespass.
An example is this: when you go to a hotel and there’s a sign there that says don’t splash in the pool, what is your first gut reaction? Most likely it is to splash in the pool. This is what we mean by the Law increasing the trespass.
Justin Perdue: If that were not posted, you would splash in the pool and think it’s not a big deal. But then when that’s posted, there is a realization that you have broken something.
Jon Moffitt: This again is a good example of how the New Testament will come and further explain. Originally, when God gave the Law to Moses, it was to govern them in the land so that they could have peace, protection, and blessing from God. There is a gracious provision in the Mosaic law, but it’s not the covenant of grace. That gracious provision is this: God knew they would fail the Law, and because of that, He set up the sacrificial system by which their failure to the Law could be covered. But it was always a temporary covering. It’s always moving us along farther and farther down. The sacrificial system becomes a shadow and a type of Christ.
Justin Perdue: We have violated God’s Law, we are guilty, we stand condemned, and now atonement must be made. Blood must be shed. Whoever the sacrifice is must be perfect so that we then are clean. God is teaching His people even through those gracious provisions of the sacrificial system. He is giving them Law and then He is giving them a teaching on atonement and how they can be made clean. Like you said, it’s advancing us down the field so we have a better understanding of how we are going to be redeemed.
Jimmy Buehler: What’s mind-boggling as we’re marching through the Old Testament as quickly as we are, we have to realize that God teaches His people through the course of generations. Centuries. Great, great, great grandfathers are learning this and teaching it to their grandchildren, and they teach it to their children, and so forth. There is such an anticipation that God is building to the coming of His Son, the seed of Eve, and it will be established from this nation.
Justin Perdue: If anybody is questioning how we’re thinking about the covenant with Moses, the Law, and the sacrificial system, just pick up the book of Hebrews and read it. Pointedly Hebrews 3. But through the entire book, the writer of Hebrews helps us make these connections to things.
Jon Moffitt: One of the ways that the Law ends up being used is that how do we know we have the right seed? The Mosaic law becomes for us a fuller or another way of explaining the covenant of works because you have Adam failing the work that was given him, you have the initial purpose of the Law, which was to establish blessings and to govern people in the land, but then Jesus comes and he says the most amazing statement. They’re all thinking that the King is here and he’s going to get rid of the Law, but Jesus says he did not come to get rid of it but to fulfill it. When you hear Paul say that the first Adam failed but the second Adam succeed, that is what Jesus is saying. When Christ is up on the cross and says it is finished, that is what he is referencing.
What’s fun about the Old Testament is that you get a little bit more puzzle pieces. It’s not all fully there. If a guy is casting a fishing pole and can’t see where the line is going, that’s what happened with the Law. The Law was thrown out and there is a connection that is going to happen when Christ shows up on the scene, but we don’t have that yet.
What we have to understand is there is the original revelation of what’s going on, and there’s always this line, this promise, that’s coming. So let’s back up and make the connections for that. We can keep moving on with this. You have the conditional promise given to Abraham, and it is having a fuller revelation.
Jimmy Buehler: It’s being realized in the days of Moses, but even in the passing of Moses with Joshua, who was instructed to go into the Promised Land.
Jon Moffitt: But all of these types and shadows that are established in the Mosaic are going to be pulled apart by the prophets.
Justin Perdue: Just thinking types and shadows, that I don’t think is insignificant with Moses and Joshua, Moses – who represents the Law – is not the one who will take the people into the Promised Land. But Yeshua is raised up to take the people into the land. Who will be the Savior? Yeshua. Jesus. You can’t make this stuff up. God wrote it.
Jon Moffitt: And we’re not trying to. I know sometimes there’s a confusion with covenant theology and people say that we spiritualize the text. We’re trying to be very careful to show you that we’re not trying to make spiritual connections. We’re going to the New Testament and helping you see how they interpreted this unfolding narrative.
Jimmy Buehler: We have Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. We see the story of Israel becoming a nation. We see Moses disobeying, he does not lead his people into the Promised Land, but Joshua rises up. That’s where we begin to see the people of Israel begin to take over the Promised Land. We have the book of Judges where there becomes a cry for the people of Israel to have a leader. I don’t think that those cries are insignificant because you have to think that in the minds of these people who have been taught for generations, they have been told that somebody is going to come unite them and quit this mess. The people of Israel are now in the Promised Land but what do they see? Neighboring nations are coming. They’re creeping in. They’re defiling them. There are some pretty bad things going on. The people began to cry out for that promised somebody who is going to come and get rid of all this mess.
Justin Perdue: This brings us to beginning, especially in the book of 1 Samuel, where not only the prophet Samuel shows up on the scene, but there is a demand on the part of the people for a king.
Jon Moffitt: A king like the other nations.
Justin Perdue: Initially they demand a king of their own making in Saul but Saul is not the one that was chosen. Then Samuel finds the anointed one named David and God makes a covenant with him, which is where we are now.
David’s throne is established. He’s a man after God’s own heart. He is fallible, he makes tons of mistakes, but he is a type of the King who will come. He is a type of Jesus, but his rule, throne, and kingdom are established in God. Then in 2 Samuel 7, God makes a covenant with him. God says that somebody from David’s line will sit on the throne and he is responsible to obey God’s Law and sit on the throne eternally if he obeys. If he disobeys, he will be disciplined and chastised. The big thing with the Davidic covenant is it is conditional upon the King’s obedience. It becomes quite clear now that the one who is coming is going to be a son of David. He’s going to be a King and he will represent the nation before God. As the King goes, the nation goes.
Jimmy Buehler: I’m glad that you said that because this is really setting us up for the history books of the Old Testament: the Kings, Samuel, Chronicles, and even into the major and minor prophets. This is where the story really begins to collapse in on itself, but I don’t mean it in the way you’re thinking. Essentially it becomes this interwoven story told from different angles and through the mouths and minds of different prophets. As you said, Justin, as goes the heart of the king, so goes the heart of the nation. Where does that leave us in the Old Testament? Ultimately what we see is God punishes or rewards the nation based off the merits of the king.
Jon Moffitt: Solomon thinks it’s him at one moment. But then there’s a clarification that says he has to perfectly obey the Law. You see the initial explanation of the Law in Moses, and now you’re seeing a further explanation in all of this. You have to understand that every single one of these covenants is pushing us toward the covenant of grace. All of them are promising in the revealing.
Now the people of Israel are not looking to try and obey. They are saying they need someone who will do it for them. But of course, in history it goes up and down, up and down, until they get to a moment where there is no king.
Justin Perdue: After Solomon, because of Solomon’s disobedience, the kingdom of Israel is split. There is the northern kingdom called Israel still, its capital is in Samaria, then there is the southern kingdom of Judah, and its capital is Jerusalem. There are now two kingdoms. None of the kings of Israel do right in the eyes of God. There are some good ones in the southern kingdom, maybe most notably Josiah, but what’s incredible is that even upon the southern kingdom, there comes God’s judgment.
The northern kingdom is conquered by the Assyrians, but then the southern kingdom is conquered by the Babylonians and exile is the order of the day. It is incredible. Isaiah writes a lot of these things, so do Jeremiah and Ezekiel write about the southern kingdom, the exile, the oppression under Babylon, and all these things. You get words like this from Jeremiah. Everything looks lost, but what is it? There is a son of David who is coming and will represent the nation. What is it going to be? Listen to Jeremiah 23: 5-6: “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. And this is the name by which he will be called: ‘The Lord is our righteousness.'”
I have goosebumps sitting here talking about this. This son of David is coming. In the midst of exile, everything seems lost but he is coming.
Jon Moffitt: The prophet Isaiah says that from Jesse, David’s father, is coming one, and he brings and restoration in the land. You’re having these prophecies and then at the end of it, he’s describing what this King is going to bring. In verse 11, it says, “they shall not hurt or destroy,” talking about the mountain. At the very end of it, he says this, “The King’s resting place shall be glorious.” All of this torment that the people of Israel are now feeling shows they don’t live in a resting land. Canaan is definitely not glorious in any way, shape, or form.
Jimmy Buehler: What you have is a groaning people who are in Babylon. We get Daniel right there to be Daniel. What does Daniel do? He interprets dreams to leaders. One of the fantastic dreams is the kingdoms of the earth that mock, spit, destroy, feed, and steal. This is where Psalm 1-2 comes into view where you have the blessed man who does not take counsel from the wicked, but walks in the way of the righteous. Then Psalm 2 – why do the nations rage? In a part of the dreams that Daniel interprets, what we see is that one is coming whose kingdom will destroy all other kingdoms, all other kingdoms will bow down to his, and he will bless the nations. Why do the nations rage? Who is this talking about? This is talking about what was promised to Eve, what was promised to Abraham, what we long for with Moses, who is promised in David, who is longed for throughout Joshua, Judges, the history of the Kings, and the prophets who looked forward and saw dimly. Ultimately what we get are all of these promises and we’ve got three pretty good concrete ellipsis of the Old Testament.
Jon Moffitt: To help clarify some of our position, we believe that God fulfilled promises to Abraham, they are in the land, the nation is established, and the kings did come. You just see that every promise that God made, He never once failed.
In certain stories in the Bible, you see the nation gets down to one person, and God preserves this. The promise of the seed continues to go down to it. On top of this covenant language, it is an amazing ride to see how much Israel tried to destroy, even interweaving themselves into other nations when God tells them they need to be pure. God continually preserves it. We can go to the very end, right before there is going to be 400 years of silence. You’re not going to hear any more from the prophets. You’re not hearing any more from God. The last thing that Malachi says before the angel shows up on the scene in Luke, he tells him to remember one thing: to remember the law of Moses. Why? Jesus even says the Law the prophets wrote of me. Malachi is saying don’t forget this because this is where the Messiah is coming. But I would interpret that to say, “You have seen all of these promises of the grace that is to come. Don’t forget this.”
Jimmy Buehler: as you travel to the end of the Old Testament, it’s easy to be depressed because it is a mess. You thought slavery in Egypt was bad. What the Old Testament reveals is that physical slavery has nothing on spiritual slavery. That is where God’s people are – their hearts are hearts of stone.
Many of you probably know where I’m going. This is what Jeremiah, the weeping prophet, the one who weeps over the exile of God’s people, ultimately promises that we hang onto so dearly. Jeremiah 31:31 says, “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like,” we see contrasting language, “not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” That is a great ellipsis moment that probably very few people listen to. Poor Jeremiah.
Jon Moffitt: Now we’ll go and actually read Malachi 4, “Remember the law of my servant Moses, the statues and rules that I commanded him at Horeb for all of Israel. Behold, I will send you a Elijah.” What does that actually mean? It’s a reference to someone. Who is it? John the Baptist. “I will send you a lodge of the prophet before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes. And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a degree of utter destruction.”
Justin Perdue: But the hearts of the people will turn, and then we get 400 years of silence. Finally, an angel shows up on the scene and talks to this woman named Mary. He says this about the child that is going to be conceived in her by the Holy Spirit: “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
When that child is born and presented in the temple, there is a man named Simeon who sees him and says he can finally pass on because he has seen the salvation of the Lord.
Jimmy Buehler: That’s where we are and that’s where we leave off.
Justin Perdue: And that’s where we’ll pick up in the next one.