Mosaic in the CoG

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Smeagol

Puritan Board Senior
Can you link me to any articles that help explain the Mosaic being in the Covenant of Grace? I am new to CT and often times my mind tries to “relapse” back to my typical SBC days. FYI... I do not believe the mosaic is a republication of the CoW. Just looking for a refresher.

P.S. Particularly when I read the book of Hebrews (Old vs. New)... this relapse occurs. It seems in Hebrews, the context defines Old as the mosaic.
 
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Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
Strictly speaking, the Old Covenant is the Siniatic, per Jer.31:31-32.

The OPC GA report on Republication (http://opc.org/GA/republication.html) contains as a necessary byproduct defense of the Siniatic covenant being essentially an administration of the Covenant of Grace. From the conclusion:
Administrative republication is consistent with our standards in that it coherently maintains that the Mosaic covenant is in substance a covenant of grace. Examples of administrative republication include declarative, material, and misinterpretive republications, as well as an indirect, redemptive reenactment of Adam’s sin and exile (as described in our report).

Views of substantial republication which are theologically inconsistent with our standards include: pure and simple republications, subservient republications, mixed republications, and a direct, non-redemptive reenactment of Adam’s pre-fall covenantal probation.

Furthermore, our standards affirm that the merit of Christ, the God-man and mediator, consists in his perfect, personal, proportional, profitable, and free obedience. Christ offers his covenant-obedience and sufferings as the representative head of the elect. He thereby fulfills the requirements and removes the penalty of the original covenant of works. Precisely because fallen man cannot fulfill these conditions, he is unable (properly speaking) to merit a reward from God of any kind.
What is it about reading Hebrews that instigates the perception in your mind that God could have dealt with the nation of Israel in a strictly legal manner? Or, do you have some third way in mind?
 

Smeagol

Puritan Board Senior
What is it about reading Hebrews that instigates the perception in your mind that God could have dealt with the nation of Israel in a strictly legal manner? Or, do you have some third way in mind?
Bruce,

Thank you for the two above questions that helpped me get back on track. To be sure there is no third way. We die the covenant of works or we die in the covenant of grace with Christ as our head. I guess what always causes me to trip when I read Hebrews is how it really shows separation between the mosaic and the new covenant (almost to the exclusion of the other subcovenants. In other words the amount of focus Hebrews places on the mosaic causes me, at times, to question... whether the framework of CT is as solid as I understood it to be (that is my own flaw not any flaw in reformed CT). To be clear I fully believe that covenant theology is the best way to understand the Bible. Thank you very much for the linked article and thank you very much for posting those two questions to me at the end. The implied answers to both of those questions are what I needed to remind myself of.


Also Hebrews at times seems to refer to the Mosaic as the 1st covenant. Example Hebrews 8:13. What are your thoughts on this verse?
 
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Afterthought

Puritan Board Senior
Within the many listed articles and books already given, Wilhelmus a Brakel has a helpful section in his Christian's Reasonable Service, although he pretty much copies/expands what Turretin says in his Institutes. A key observation is that the 10 Commandments are given as a rule to live by after being freed by grace (the preface to the 10 Commandments).
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
I guess what always causes me to trip when I read Hebrews is how it really shows separation between the mosaic and the new covenant (almost to the exclusion of the other subcovenants. In other words the amount of focus Hebrews places on the mosaic causes me, at times, to question... whether the framework of CT is as solid as I understood it to be (that is my own flaw not any flaw in reformed CT).
There are some interpreters of our Baptist brethren, who regard the justly famous J.Owen on various places in Hebrews as carrying their water. How is this possible, when Owen was not--nor is it likely in my estimation he could have ever been--a Baptist? Couldn't it have been the case, had he a few more years to live (time and grace to think through the implications of his Hebrews commentary) he would have joined Bunyan among the Baptists?

Rev.Winzer (in the past a prolific PB poster, and profoundly well read) points us to the true solution to the apparent-in-Baptist-eyes conflict. It is the distinction between biblical and systematic theology. In other words, the question to be answered with respect to Owen's Hebrew exegesis, narrowly considered, is simply: what is the authorial intent with the words he's chosen under inspiration at this place?

In other words, to address your issue: the forms of words that supply the purpose of the author of Hebrews may not necessarily serve as suitable expressions of universal maxims, the kind that do wide service in the whole systematized study of theology. Such pieces of our theology do exist, and Hebrews contains those elements; though there is always the need of care in unpacking crossreference application and explanation.

But does the author's focused argument, comparing aspects of OC & NC, reward stripping it down for the part/parts that are then used to explain--as by a pair of bifocal lenses--a much wider perspective on the whole Bible? I don't think so. Hebrews is about proclaiming the supremacy (by way of fulfillment) of Christ; it is not about teaching (in-depth, anyway) the means by which, or proving whether, the Siniatic covenant administered the Covenant of Grace in its time.

Therefore, attempting to leverage important points of contrast (OC & NC) key to the author's argument into the kind of utter contrast of OC & NC, or further still of OT & NT, is unpersuasive to someone of my conviction. And, I can safely argue of J.Owen's conviction. We very much doubt of an ontological contrast between these covenants, let alone the Testaments as a whole, basically to the level of CoW & CoG.

Also Hebrews at times seems to refer to the Mosaic as the 1st covenant. Example Hebrews 8:13. What are your thoughts on this verse?
In what sense does the author use "first" (protos)? Is it the absolute first covenant in the Bible? No, not even with an insistence on the use of the term (berit) initially employed by Moses. In the context of Heb.8, it is the Law (Sinai) that is referred to, Ex.25:40 (a chapter I happen to be preaching at this very time). So, the use of "first" is most likely as a comparative adjective, not an absolute term as related to any context imagined.

It is the prior covenant (that first covenant), when compared to the second, v7, also called a better covenant, v6, where we clearly have the comparative adjective rather than the superlative (best). It isn't the case that no one would ever refer to the NC as the "best" covenant; this author isn't making that point, but rather is making a comparative one. Meanwhile, protos is a workhorse adjective, and we rely on its context to adequately explain what the subject is first in relation to.
 

Smeagol

Puritan Board Senior
In what sense does the author use "first" (protos)? Is it the absolute first covenant in the Bible? No, not even with an insistence on the use of the term (berit) initially employed by Moses. In the context of Heb.8, it is the Law (Sinai) that is referred to, Ex.25:40 (a chapter I happen to be preaching at this very time). So, the use of "first" is most likely as a comparative adjective, not an absolute term as related to any context imagined.

It is the prior covenant (that first covenant), when compared to the second, v7, also called a better covenant, v6, where we clearly have the comparative adjective rather than the superlative (best). It isn't the case that no one would ever refer to the NC as the "best" covenant; this author isn't making that point, but rather is making a comparative one. Meanwhile, protos is a workhorse adjective, and we rely on its context to adequately explain what the subject is first in relation to.
Bruce,

Thank you. I think I follow. So using the word "First" does not imply it was in fact the first covenant in history..but rather First highlighting the uniqueness of the Mosaic (in comparison to the better) in God giving the Law on Sinai and the following Judicial & Ceremonial Laws...that sound non-heretical?

@Scott Bushey shared the below with me. I hope helps others as well.

In James Fishers Catechism, he writes:

Q. 23. If both covenants, of grace and works, were exhibited on Mount Sinai, were not the Israelites, in that case, under both these covenants at one and the same time?


A. They could not be under both covenants in the same respects, at the same time; and therefore they must be considered either as believers or unbelievers, both as to their outward church state and inward soul frame.​


Q. 24. In what respects were the believing Israelites, in the Sinaitic transaction, under both covenants?


A. They were internally and really under the covenant of grace, as all believers are, Rom. 6:14, and only externally, under the above awful display of the covenant of works, as it was subordinate and subservient to that of grace, in pointing out the necessity of the Surety-righteousness, Gal. 3:24.​


Q. 25. In what respects were unbelievers among them, under these two covenants of works and grace?


A. They were only externally, and by profession, in respect of their visible church state, under the covenant of grace, Rom. 9:4; but internally, and really, in respect of the state of their souls, before the Lord, they were under the covenant of works, chap. 4:14, 15.[2]
 
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Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
So using the word "First" does not imply it was in fact the first covenant in history..but rather First highlighting the uniqueness of the Mosaic (in comparison to the better) in God giving the Law on Sinai and the following Judicial & Ceremonial Laws...that sound non-heretical?
What is "unique" about the Mosaic covenant? I don't think the use of the term "first" pertains to any proof of the "one of a kind" nature of Sinai's arrangement. Heb.8:13 is not referring to the first covenant in time, in terms, or to the OT with all its RH-covenants rolled up together. And that final proposal may be what you are getting at with your "unique" reference (Moses as distinct from other RH covenant expression in the OT).

The author is perfectly unambiguous in his own meaning: that he means the prior, former, earlier covenant associated with the Aaronic priesthood (v4), the shadowy Tabernacle (v5), and Moses mediation (v5); and made with the fathers who left Egypt in the Exodus (v9), which is now obsolete (v13). It is that covenant God intended to supplant by a new (v13), second (v7), better (v6) covenant, a thing he promised unmistakably to do through the prophet Jeremiah (vv8-12).

The covenant of fulfillment (the latter answering the original) is a means to an end of establishing a permanent and perfect High Priest, v1ff. And, we can say further that the covenant made with Abraham is not supplanted and replaced in the same way as the Sinaitic. Nor is the Davidic.
 

JTB.SDG

Puritan Board Junior
Check out ruinandredemption.com on Sinai 1 and 2. Part 1 deals with the proofs that Sinai is part of the CoG, Part 2 deals with the objections in a fairly in-depth way.
 

Smeagol

Puritan Board Senior
Check out ruinandredemption.com on Sinai 1 and 2. Part 1 deals with the proofs that Sinai is part of the CoG, Part 2 deals with the objections in a fairly in-depth way.
As always the studies you provide from this site are very very helpful. Thank you for sharing this... in skimming the address of common objections I was already able to pick up ona helpful reminder for wading through Hebrews: the NT use of the LAW Largely and Specifically. This was a reminder I needed.

Did you write this study?
 
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Charles Johnson

Puritan Board Sophomore
Within the many listed articles and books already given, Wilhelmus a Brakel has a helpful section in his Christian's Reasonable Service, although he pretty much copies/expands what Turretin says in his Institutes. A key observation is that the 10 Commandments are given as a rule to live by after being freed by grace (the preface to the 10 Commandments).
I also endorse Brakel's treatment of the covenant of grace. In his section on the CoG he explains why God cannot and did not make a separate external covenant from the CoG and in the appendix (volume 4) he gives a relatively concise sum of the economy of the covenants in redemptive history. I think Fisher is in error in viewing the Mosaic administration as externally legal. As Brakel points out, the simple existence of promise of reward for obedience is not sufficient to denote an administration as a covenant of works, since works are a condition of the new covenant also (but not an instrumental condition; only a consequent condition of grace) and rewards for obedience are promised in the new covenant, for example, in Eph. 6:1.
 

Regi Addictissimus

Completely sold out to the King
Can you link me to any articles that help explain the Mosaic being in the Covenant of Grace? I am new to CT and often times my mind tries to “relapse” back to my typical SBC days. FYI... I do not believe the mosaic is a republication of the CoW. Just looking for a refresher.

P.S. Particularly when I read the book of Hebrews (Old vs. New)... this relapse occurs. It seems in Hebrews, the context defines Old as the mosaic.

Do you by chance have John Brown of Haddington's commentary on Hebrews? I would suggest you work your way through it. He is a great resource on Covenant Theology. I would also recommend consulting his "A Compendious View of Natural and Revealed Religion" or now released as "Systematic Theology." It is on sale for $15. That is a phenomenal price for a beautifully put together book.

https://www.heritagebooks.org/produ...w-of-natural-and-revealed-religion-brown.html

Here is an article that I found but haven't worked through yet. It may be of some help.
http://feedingonchrist.com/geerhardus-vos-mosaic-covenant-covenant-grace/
 

Regi Addictissimus

Completely sold out to the King
I also endorse Brakel's treatment of the covenant of grace. In his section on the CoG he explains why God cannot and did not make a separate external covenant from the CoG and in the appendix (volume 4) he gives a relatively concise sum of the economy of the covenants in redemptive history. I think Fisher is in error in viewing the Mosaic administration as externally legal. As Brakel points out, the simple existence of promise of reward for obedience is not sufficient to denote an administration as a covenant of works, since works are a condition of the new covenant also (but not an instrumental condition; only a consequent condition of grace) and rewards for obedience are promised in the new covenant, for example, in Eph. 6:1.
I third the vote for à Brakel. The "Christian's Reasonable Service," Gurnall's "Christian in Complete Armour," and the Scriptures would be my desert island library.
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
I think Fisher is in error in viewing the Mosaic administration as externally legal.
I may be misunderstanding you here, but so far as Fisher's own statements go in the above excerpt, they do not support this interpretation of him.

Q.'s 24 & 25, read in tandem, speak (in the first place) of that external--and subordinate--legal aspect of the covenant of Sinai as it respects the believer, thus maintaining the principle of Q.23 that there are two but unequal exhibits; followed by explicit statement of that external exhibit of the gracious aspect of the same covenant of Sinai as it respects the unbeliever, who is (sad to say) still internally bound to the covenant of works.

Fisher does not say the Mosaic covenant is exclusively externally legal, much less that there are two covenants; he says the one covenant has both legal and gracious external aspects. The questions, as framed, 1) assume the believer's precognition of the gracious external exhibit toward him; and 2) assume the unbelievers' precognition of the legal external exhibit toward him. The answers given are for proving the less obvious aspects.
 

JTB.SDG

Puritan Board Junior
As always the studies you provide from this site are very very helpful. Thank you for sharing this... in skimming the address of common objections I was already able to pick up on helpful tool for wading through Hebrews: the NT use of the LAW Largely and Specifically. This was a reminder I needed.

Did you write this study?

I did Grant. Sinai 1 and 2 took a whole 2 years.
 

Smeagol

Puritan Board Senior
I did Grant. Sinai 1 and 2 took a whole 2 years.
2 years well spent! They were both a true blessing for me brother. May the Lord continue to use you. You have a gift of laying things out clearly and in "layman" terms. I feel sure I will reference them often for years to come. Thank you for putting time into both works they have edified me and will likely edify other saints for far longer than 2 years.:detective:
 
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