Understanding the "Abrahamic Covenant" is key!

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Mocha

Puritan Board Freshman
As I study the subject of "baptism", I'm becoming more and more convinced that understanding the "Abrahamic Covenant" is key!

Over the past few weeks I have been seriously studying the "baptism" issue, and I must admit, I have begun to see the whole issue in a new and compelling light. When I began to understand the "Abrahamic Covenant" from the paedobaptist point of view, many verses in the Bible began to look very different to me. For example, God's protection of families (Noah, Lot, Rahab, etc.), the many verses that mention "you and your children", Jesus' blessing of the children, the household baptisms, a verse that mentions children of a Christian parent as being 'holy' (1 Cor. 7:14), verses that seem to show that someone that belongs to Christ can be removed (John 15, Romans 9, and Hebrews 10, etc.), external and internal aspects of the covenant, and more. I am convinced that your interpretation of the "Abahamic Covenant" and its implications will determine whether you are paeodobaptistic or baptistic. The verses and passages mentioned above can only be used as proof texts when the meaning of the "Abrahamic Covenant" is read into them, therefore, it seems to me, the best way to resolve the "baptism" issue is to understand the "Abrahamic Covenant". To study the other verses and passages that seem to support or refute infant baptism, without first understanding the Abrahamic Covenant, is just a waste of time (in my opinion).

With this in mind, I want to start this thread with one question in mind. Here's my question:

When infants were circumcised, was it a confirmation that one was in the covenant or was it the token of God's covenant promise to Abraham?

Ligon Duncan expresses the Paedobaptistic position in the following quote:

Now that is interesting language. The covenant is the relationship which exists between Abraham and the Lord and it has existed since Genesis 12. And yet now, in Genesis 17, God is saying, look at the words again, you can look in your Hebrew text there, especially in verse 10, this is the covenant. "œThis is My covenant, which you shall keep between Me and between you and your seed after you. To be circumcised every male among you." Isn´t that an interesting way to define the covenant. God says first in verse 9, you must keep My covenant. And then He defines the covenant, not in terms of the relationship that He has with Abram, but in terms of the sign of circumcision. Isn´t that an interesting way of speaking? In this context, the closest possible identification is made between the sign of the covenant and the covenant itself. The closest possible identification is made between the covenant sign, which is circumcision, and the covenant relationship. In fact, they are so closely related that the sign is said to be the covenant and the covenant is said to be the sign. This is My covenant that every male among you shall be circumcised.
Well, I don´t think that it would be improper at all to translate it by the way of dynamic equivalents, "œThis is My covenant sign, that every male among you be circumcised." But the literal language is, "œThis is My covenant, that you be circumcised." So what we have here is a relationship between a covenant and the covenant sign in which God is stressing the closeness between those two things. To be in the covenant is to be in the covenant sign. To reject the covenant sign is to reject the covenant.

...The sign provides an outward sign of entrance into the external covenant community. To receive circumcision, God makes clear in Genesis 17, is to be considered part of the covenant community. Now again, notice, receiving the sign of circumcision does not in and of itself make you even part of the visible covenant community. It confirms the fact that you are already part of the covenant community, whether you are an adult or child. (click here to see article)


Arthur Pink expresses the Baptistic position in the following quote:

The next thing we would observe is that circumcision was "a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had." Again we would say, Let us be on our guard against adding to God´s Word, for nowhere does Scripture say that circumcision was a seal to anyone but to Abraham himself; and even in his case, so far was it from communicating any spiritual blessing, it simply confirmed what was already promised to him. As a seal from God, circumcision was a divine pledge or guaranty that from him should issue that seed which would bring blessing to all nations, and that, on the same terms as justifying righteousness had become his"”by faith alone. It was not a seal of his faith, but of that righteousness which, in due time, was to be wrought out by the Messiah and Mediator. Circumcision was not a memorial of anything which had already been actualized, but an earnest of that which was yet future"”namely, of that justifying righteousness which was to be brought in by Christ.

But did not God enjoin that all the males of Abraham´s household, and in those of his descendants, should also be circumcised? He did, and in that very fact we find definite confirmation of what has just been said above. What did circumcision seal to Abraham´s servants and slaves? Nothing. "Circumcision neither signed nor sealed the blessings of the covenant of Abraham to the individuals to whom it was by Divine appointment administered. It did not imply that they who were circumcised were accounted the heirs of the promises, either temporal or spiritual. It was not applied to mark them individually as heirs of the promises. It did not imply this even to Isaac and Jacob, who are by name designated heirs with Abraham. Their interest in the promises was secured to them by God´s expressly giving them the covenant, but was not represented in their circumcision. Circumcision marked no character, and had an individual application to no man but Abraham himself. It was the token of this covenant; and as a token or sign, no doubt applied to every promise in the covenant, but it did not designate the individual circumcised as having a personal interest in these promises. The covenant promised a numerous seed to Abraham; circumcision, as the token of that covenant, must have been a sign of this; but it did not sign this to any other. Any other circumcised individual, except Isaac and Jacob, to whom the covenant was given by name, might have been childless.

"Circumcision did not import to any individual that any portion of the numerous seed of Abraham should descend through him. The covenant promised that all nations should be blessed in Abraham"”that the Messiah should be his descendant. But circumcision was no sign to any other that the Messiah should descend from him,"”even to Isaac and Jacob this promise was peculiarly given, and not implied in their circumcision. From some of Abraham´s race, the Messiah, according to the covenant, must descend, and circumcision was a sign of this: but this was not signed by circumcision to any one of all his race. Much less could circumcision "˜sign´ this to the strangers and slaves who were not of Abraham´s posterity. To such, even the temporal promises were not either "˜signed´ or sealed by circumcision. The covenant promised Canaan to Abraham´s descendants, but circumcision could be no sign of this to the strangers and slaves who enjoyed no inheritance in it" (Alexander Carson, 1860).

That circumcision did not seal anything to anyone but to Abraham himself is established beyond shadow of doubt by the fact that circumcision was applied to those who had no personal interest in the covenant to which it was attached. Not only was circumcision administered by Abraham to the servants and slaves of his household, but in Genesis 17:23 we read that he circumcised Ishmael, who was expressly excluded from that covenant! There is no evading the force of that, and it is impossible to reconcile it with the views so widely pervading upon the Abrahamic covenant. Furthermore, circumcision was not submitted to voluntarily, nor given with reference to faith, it was compulsory, and that in every instance: "He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money must needs be circumcised" (Gen. 17:13)"”those refusing, being "cut off from his people" (v. 14). How vastly different was that from Christian baptism!

It maybe asked, If, then, circumcision sealed nothing to those who received it, except in the one case of Abraham himself, then why did God ordain it to be administered to all his male descendants? First, because it was the mark He selected to distinguish from all other nations that people from whom the Messiah was to issue. Second, because it served as a continual reminder that from the Abrahamic stock the promised Seed would spring"”hence, soon after He appeared, circumcision was set aside by God. Third, because of what it typically foreshadowed. To be born naturally of the Abrahamic stock gave a title to circumcision and the earthly inheritance, which was a figure of their title to the heavenly inheritance of those born of the Spirit. The servants and slaves in Abraham´s household "bought with money" beautifully adumbrated the truth that those who enter the kingdom of Christ are "bought" by His blood. (Read point # VIII here for more on this )

The question again is:

When infants were circumcised, was it a confirmation that one was in the covenant or was it the token of God's covenant promise to Abraham?

Ligon Duncan, representing the paedobaptist position, says "circumcision was a confirmation that one was in the covenant", and Arthur Pink, representing the baptist postion, says "circumcision was a token of God's covenant promise to Abraham".

Which is right? I believe your answer to this question will determine which side you come down on with regard to the baptism issue!

I'm leaning towards the baptist position but I would like to be challenged on this and therefore would like to see your responses!

Mike

PS - I was hoping to put this question in a poll but I don't know how to use it. Can anybody help me to figure how to do it?
 

WrittenFromUtopia

Puritan Board Graduate
WCF "” Chapter XXVIII: Of Baptism
1. Baptism is a sacrament of the New Testament, ordained by Jesus Christ, not only for the solemn admission of the party baptized into the visible Church, but also to be unto him a sign and seal of the covenant of grace, of his ingrafting into Christ, of regeneration, of remission of sins, and of his giving up unto God, through Jesus Christ, to walk in newness of life: which sacrament is, by Christ's own appointment, to be continued in his Church until the end of the world.

Q. 166. Unto whom is baptism to be administered?
A. Baptism is not to be administered to any that are out of the visible church, and so strangers from the covenant of promise, till they profess their faith in Christ, and obedience to him, but infants descending from parents, either both, or but one of them, professing faith in Christ, and obedience to him, are in that respect within the covenant, and to be baptized.
 

Mocha

Puritan Board Freshman
Originally posted by WrittenFromUtopia
WCF "” Chapter XXVIII: Of Baptism
1. Baptism is a sacrament of the New Testament, ordained by Jesus Christ, not only for the solemn admission of the party baptized into the visible Church, but also to be unto him a sign and seal of the covenant of grace, of his ingrafting into Christ, of regeneration, of remission of sins, and of his giving up unto God, through Jesus Christ, to walk in newness of life: which sacrament is, by Christ's own appointment, to be continued in his Church until the end of the world.

Q. 166. Unto whom is baptism to be administered?
A. Baptism is not to be administered to any that are out of the visible church, and so strangers from the covenant of promise, till they profess their faith in Christ, and obedience to him, but infants descending from parents, either both, or but one of them, professing faith in Christ, and obedience to him, are in that respect within the covenant, and to be baptized.

Gabriel,

How would you respond to Arthur Pink's argument that the covenant was made with Abraham alone and that the circumcision of an infant was a token of that covenant with Abraham and that the one being circumcised had no personal interest in the covenant?

Mike
 

Casey

Puritan Board Junior
I think I may be sniffing a false dichotomy here. :chained: Could you, perhaps, say that both are true? The new covenant is a continuation/progression of the old. Paul declared (1) that Abraham is the "œfather of all who believe" among both Jews and Gentiles (Rom. 4:11-12), and (2) that all who belong to Christ "œare Abraham´s seed, and heirs according to the promise" which God gave to Abraham (Gal. 3:29).
The covenant was with Abraham and his offspring.
:ditto:

[Edited on 12-12-2005 by StaunchPresbyterian]
 

Mocha

Puritan Board Freshman
Originally posted by WrittenFromUtopia
The covenant was with Abraham and his offspring.

The covenant was made with Abraham alone, but Abraham and his seed had to keep it. By keeping it, by circumcising all infants, there was a constant reminder of God's covenant. Are there any verses that prove that circumcised infants were "in" the covenant? I don't think you can say that keeping the covenant and being in the covenant are the same thing?

Mike
 

Me Died Blue

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Originally posted by Mocha
When infants were circumcised, was it a confirmation that one was in the covenant or was it the token of God's covenant promise to Abraham?

I would say this question is answered by Genesis 17:11, specifically in light of the fact that not only are the first "you" ("You shall be...") and the verb conjugation ("circumcized") plural, but that the last "you" ("...a sign of the covenant between me and you") is plural as well. (For reference, here is the discussion we had earlier where I initially made mention of that verse.)
 

Mocha

Puritan Board Freshman
Originally posted by StaunchPresbyterian
I think I may be sniffing a false dichotomy here. :chained: Could you, perhaps, say that both are true? The new covenant is a continuation/progression of the old. Paul declared (1) that Abraham is the "œfather of all who believe" among both Jews and Gentiles (Rom. 4:11-12), and (2) that all who belong to Christ "œare Abraham´s seed, and heirs according to the promise" which God gave to Abraham (Gal. 3:29).
The covenant was with Abraham and his offspring.
:ditto:

[Edited on 12-12-2005 by StaunchPresbyterian]

Arthur Pink says that the "Abrahamic Covenant" was made with only Abraham. It was not with the 'physical' seed and it was not even made with the 'spiritual' seed. Circumcision was a token of God's promise until the "Seed" (Christ) would come. The promises were to Abraham alone, and not believers. See Pink's quote below:

Let us point out in the next place that Abraham´s covenant was strictly peculiar to himself; for neither in the Old Testament nor in the New is it ever said that the covenant with Abraham was made on behalf of all believers, or that it is given to them. The great thing that the covenant secured to Abraham was that he should have a seed, and that God would be the God of that seed; but Christians have no divine warrant that He will be the God of their seed, nor even that they shall have any children at all. As a matter of fact, many of them have no posterity; and therefore they cannot have the covenant of Abraham. The covenant of Abraham was as peculiar to himself as the one God made with Phinehas, "And he shall have it, and his seed after him, even the covenant of an everlasting priesthood" (Num. 25:13), and as the covenant of royalty which God made with David and his seed (2 Sam. 7:12-16). In each case a divine promise was given securing a posterity; and had no children been born to those men, then God had broken His covenant.

Look at the original promises made to Abraham: "And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shah be a blessing. And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee; and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed" (Gen. 12:2, 3). Has God promised every Christian that He will make of him a "great nation"? or that He will make his "name great""”celebrated like the patriarch´s was and is? or that in him "all the families of the earth shall be blessed"? Surely there is no room for argument here: the very asking of such questions answers them. Nothing could be more extravagant and absurd than to suppose that any such promises as these were made to us.

If God fulfills the covenant with Abraham and his seed to every believer and his seed, then He does so in accord with the terms of the covenant itself. But if we turn to and carefully examine its contents, it will at once appear that they were not to be fulfilled in the case of all believers, in addition to Abraham himself. In that covenant God promises that Abraham should be "a father of many nations," that "kings shall come out of thee," that "I will give thee and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession" (Gen. 17:5-8). But Christians are not made the fathers of many nations; kings do not come out of them; nor do their descendants occupy the land of Canaan, either literally or spiritually. How many a godly believer has had to mourn with David: "Although my house be not so with God; yet he hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and sure, for this is all my salvation" (2 Sam. 23:5).

The covenant established no spiritual relation between Abraham and his offspring; still less does it establish a spiritual relation between every believer and his babes. Abraham was not the spiritual father of his own natural offspring, for spiritual qualities cannot be propagated by carnal generation. Was he the spiritual father of Ishmael? Was he the spiritual father of Esau? No, indeed; instead, Abraham was "the father of all them that believe" (Rom. 4:11). So far as his natural descendants were concerned, Scripture declares that Abraham was "the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised" (Rom. 4:12). What could be plainer? Let us beware of adding to God´s Word. No theory or practice, no matter how venerable it be or how widely held, is tenable, if no clear Scripture can be found to warrant and establish it.

Mike
 

Scott Bushey

Puritanboard Commissioner
Just to clarify; It is Gods covenant that He made w/ Abraham. The sign of that relationship (to the covenant) was yesterday, circumcision and today, baptism. The believers responsibility is:

Gen 17:10 This is my covenant, which you shall keep, between me and you and your offspring after you: Every male among you shall be circumcised.
Gen 17:11 You shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you.
Gen 17:12 He who is eight days old among you shall be circumcised. Every male throughout your generations, whether born in your house or bought with your money from any foreigner who is not of your offspring,
Gen 17:13 both he who is born in your house and he who is bought with your money, shall surely be circumcised. So shall my covenant be in your flesh an everlasting covenant.
Gen 17:14 Any uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin shall be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant."

Mike previously asked:

How would you respond to Arthur Pink's argument that the covenant was made with Abraham alone and that the circumcision of an infant was a token of that covenant with Abraham and that the one being circumcised had no personal interest in the covenant?

Gen 17:7 And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you.
 

Mocha

Puritan Board Freshman
Originally posted by Me Died Blue
Originally posted by Mocha
When infants were circumcised, was it a confirmation that one was in the covenant or was it the token of God's covenant promise to Abraham?

I would say this question is answered by Genesis 17:11, specifically in light of the fact that not only are the first "you" ("You shall be...") and the verb conjugation ("circumcized") plural, but that the last "you" ("...a sign of the covenant between me and you") is plural as well. (For reference, here is the discussion we had earlier where I initially made mention of that verse.)

I'm interested in getting your response to Arthur Pink on the following quotes:

Other promises followed, such as "unto thy seed will I give this land" (Gen. 12:7), "to be a God unto thee and to thy seed after thee" (Gen. 17:7), and so forth, which we shall consider later. That which immediately concerns us is the meaning of the term "seed" in these passages. The Scripture which throws the most light thereon is Galatians 3:16, 17: "Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, and to seeds, as of many; but as of one, and to thy seed, which is Christ. And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect."..."He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ." To sum up. The promises of God were never by human procreation, the other by divine regeneration. But the promises were not made to both of his seeds, but to one of them only, namely, the spiritual, the mystical "Christ""”the Redeemer and all who are legally and vitally united to Him.

...Later, the line of Messiah´s descent was more definitely restricted; for of Isaac´s two sons, Esau was rejected and Jacob was chosen as the progenitor of Christ. Out of Jacob´s twelve sons, Judah was selected as the tribe from which the promised Seed should issue. Out of all the thousands of Judah, the family of Jesse was the one honored to give birth to the Savior (Isa. 11:1). Of Jesse´s eight sons (1 Sam. 16:10, 11), David was appointed to be the father of the Messiah. Thus we may see that as time went on, the channel through which Abraham´s Seed should issue was more definitely narrowed down and defined, and therein and thereby God gradually made it known how His original promises to Abraham were to receive their fulfillment. The limitation of these promises was evidenced by the rejection of Ishmael, and then of Esau, which clearly intimated that all of Abraham´s descendants were not included therein; until, ultimately, it was seen that their fulfillment was received in Christ Himself and those united to Him.

...The promises were limited originally, and that limitation was evidenced more clearly by successive revelations, until it was shown that none but Christ (and those united to Him) were included: "And to thy seed, which is Christ" (mystical)!

Why is "seed" (plural) such a stumbling block? Arthur Pink answers:

...a slavish adherence to "the letter," thereby missing the "spirit" of the verse.

If I'm understanding Pink correctly, Genesis 17, even though in the plural, has reference to Christ ultimately. The seed (plural) is more and more limited until there is none but Christ. Gal. 3:16,17 shows the spiritual nature of Gen. 17:11. Pink would caution against slavishly adhering to the 'letter'.

What do you think?

Mike
 

Mocha

Puritan Board Freshman
Scott,

You gave the following verses:

Gen 17:10 This is my covenant, which you shall keep, between me and you and your offspring after you: Every male among you shall be circumcised.
Gen 17:11 You shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you.
Gen 17:12 He who is eight days old among you shall be circumcised. Every male throughout your generations, whether born in your house or bought with your money from any foreigner who is not of your offspring,
Gen 17:13 both he who is born in your house and he who is bought with your money, shall surely be circumcised. So shall my covenant be in your flesh an everlasting covenant.
Gen 17:14 Any uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin shall be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant."

But none of these verses prove that the one circumcised is in the covenant. It is clear that they, by being circumcised, are visually proclaiming God's covenant promise to Abraham, but where do we actually see that those circumcised are in the covenant?

You said:

Gen 17:7 And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you.

The covenant is between me (God) and you (Abraham) and your offspring (ulimately Christ - Gal. 3:16,17).

Mike
 

Scott Bushey

Puritanboard Commissioner
But none of these verses prove that the one circumcised is in the covenant. It is clear that they, by being circumcised, are visually proclaiming God's covenant promise to Abraham, but where do we actually see that those circumcised are in the covenant?

Last post; I'm in the field.............

Gen 17:10 This is my covenant, which you shall keep, between me and you and your offspring after you: Every male among you shall be circumcised.
Gen 17:11 You shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you.
Gen 17:12 He who is eight days old among you shall be circumcised. Every male throughout your generations, whether born in your house or bought with your money from any foreigner who is not of your offspring,
Gen 17:13 both he who is born in your house and he who is bought with your money, shall surely be circumcised. So shall my covenant be in your flesh an everlasting covenant.
Gen 17:14 Any uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin shall be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant."

By not placing the sign, acknowledging Gods command and covenant, tell me, what are these individuals spoken of in verse 14 'cut off' from?

As well, Christ himself tells the pharisee's that they are indeed 'The seed of Abraham"......

Joh 8:31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;
Joh 8:32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
Joh 8:33 They answered him, We be Abraham's seed,and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free?
Joh 8:34 Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.
Joh 8:35 And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever.
Joh 8:36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.
Joh 8:37 I know that ye are Abraham's seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you.

Another example of the visible/invisible distinction.........
 

Me Died Blue

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Originally posted by Mocha
Gen 17:11 You shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you.

The covenant is between me (God) and you (Abraham) and your offspring (ulimately Christ - Gal. 3:16,17).

Mike, what do you think of this in light of what I mentioned above? In verse 11, the last "you" (as well as all the others) is plural, and thus God is speaking to Abraham and his offspring when He speaks of "the covenant between me and you."
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
But surely Paul, by speaking of Christ as the Seed, is speaking in terms of an "ultimate" or ideal fulfilment in Christ. What, are we to admit that there was no reality at all to the inclusion of so many from all the tribes in the covenant? After a time, was the sign largely evacuated of meaning outside the line of David?

By a cut in the flesh a sign (an "arrow") pointed ahead to God's fulfilment, it was truly "the sign of promise.. And God said, "If you don't persist in this ritual, you are to be excommunicated." But only to Abraham is this sign a mark (a seal) of God's ownership? So, by circumcision God is not marking off a people? Setting them apart? That part about being a "holy" nation ... ? God makes no claims on the nation? It is the seal that enforces the obedience!

Wouldn't it be true that for those whose hearts were circumcised, that they, at least, had the seal as well as the sign? Of what does the matter of identifying with Abraham consist? How is it that circumcision is not a seal unto Isaac, who identifies with the faith of his father Abraham?

I ask that by way of concession, because I think that separating the concepts sign & seal is artificial. The issue, as I see it, is not what the rite symbolized, but the efficacy. For a tragic host, the external acts were not mixed with faith, and so were dead works. The Spirit of God was not active to save them. But these faithless Israelites, their obligation under the covenant was there! They were vomited out of the land, they were thrown back into the Mesopotamian dustbin, back to Ur, rejected by God.

And why? On what basis? For their covenant breaking harlotry! And their rebellion was testified to every day of their lives by the seal of the Covenant in their flesh.

Now for those who persevered in faith, who were regenerated by the miracle of the Spirit, the sign and seal was more than outward or superficial. It was effectual; not by a rite, but according to the election of God, by the Spirit and by faith.
 

Steve Owen

Puritan Board Sophomore
I'm delighted to see that someone else reads The Divine Covenants by Pink. I think his most important point is when he says:-
Not only was circumcision administered by Abraham to the servants and slaves of his household, but in Genesis 17:23 we read that he circumcised Ishmael, who was expressly excluded from that covenant! There is no evading the force of that, and it is impossible to reconcile it with the views so widely pervading upon the Abrahamic covenant.

I've mentioned this before here. Gen 17:18-23 says specifically that Ishmael was not in the covenant, yet he was still circumcised. Therefore, to be circumcised did not bring one into the Abrahamic covenant.

Gal 3:16. 'Now to Abraham and His Seed were the promises made. He does not say, "And to seeds," as of many, but as of one, "And to your Seed," who is Christ.'

Abraham's true 'seed' or descendants are Christ and those who are in Him. There is, to be sure, an earthly or physical inheritance for his physical seed who carry the physical sign (circumcision), typified by the promises to Ishmael, but the spiritual or heavenly promises are to Christ and those attached to Him by faith. 'Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham.' These are they who have the circumcision made without hands, who have, through their union with Christ died to sin with Him and risen to new life, typified by baptism (Col 2:11-12 ).

'And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.'

One more point. The Abrahamic Covenant should not be seen as the Everlasting Covenant. Rather it is a promise of it, a covenant of promise (Eph 2:12 ). That is why the Holy Spirit can say of the Patriarchs, 'These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embrased them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth' (Heb 11:13 ). "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day...." (John 8:56 ). He saw it 'afar off.'

Grace & Peace,

Martin

Martin
 

Me Died Blue

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Originally posted by Mocha
I'm interested in getting your response to Arthur Pink on the following quotes:

Other promises followed, such as "unto thy seed will I give this land" (Gen. 12:7), "to be a God unto thee and to thy seed after thee" (Gen. 17:7), and so forth, which we shall consider later. That which immediately concerns us is the meaning of the term "seed" in these passages. The Scripture which throws the most light thereon is Galatians 3:16, 17: "Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, and to seeds, as of many; but as of one, and to thy seed, which is Christ. And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect."..."He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ." To sum up. The promises of God were never by human procreation, the other by divine regeneration. But the promises were not made to both of his seeds, but to one of them only, namely, the spiritual, the mystical "Christ""”the Redeemer and all who are legally and vitally united to Him.

...Later, the line of Messiah´s descent was more definitely restricted; for of Isaac´s two sons, Esau was rejected and Jacob was chosen as the progenitor of Christ. Out of Jacob´s twelve sons, Judah was selected as the tribe from which the promised Seed should issue. Out of all the thousands of Judah, the family of Jesse was the one honored to give birth to the Savior (Isa. 11:1). Of Jesse´s eight sons (1 Sam. 16:10, 11), David was appointed to be the father of the Messiah. Thus we may see that as time went on, the channel through which Abraham´s Seed should issue was more definitely narrowed down and defined, and therein and thereby God gradually made it known how His original promises to Abraham were to receive their fulfillment. The limitation of these promises was evidenced by the rejection of Ishmael, and then of Esau, which clearly intimated that all of Abraham´s descendants were not included therein; until, ultimately, it was seen that their fulfillment was received in Christ Himself and those united to Him.

...The promises were limited originally, and that limitation was evidenced more clearly by successive revelations, until it was shown that none but Christ (and those united to Him) were included: "And to thy seed, which is Christ" (mystical)!

Why is "seed" (plural) such a stumbling block? Arthur Pink answers:

...a slavish adherence to "the letter," thereby missing the "spirit" of the verse.

If I'm understanding Pink correctly, Genesis 17, even though in the plural, has reference to Christ ultimately. The seed (plural) is more and more limited until there is none but Christ. Gal. 3:16,17 shows the spiritual nature of Gen. 17:11. Pink would caution against slavishly adhering to the 'letter'.

What do you think?

Sorry, I just now saw this post. As far as Pink's statement on the "letter" versus the "spirit" of a passage of Scripture, at first glance I must say it honestly sounds like a cop-out to me, and also something that many evangelicals today would say in regard to their "personal interpretation" of Scripture versus its plain exegetical meaning. If what Pink is referring to, however, is simply the principle that we must never read a Scripture on its own, but rather interpret it within the broader scheme of other Scriptures and Scripture as a whole, I naturally agree, although I think he could have worded it better if that is what he meant.

If that is what he is referring to, and in thus saying that Christ is the true and proper interpretation of Abraham's "offspring," my impression is that he is somewhat confusing it in the same way as it is possible to confuse the visible and invisible Church, or also confuse visible and invisible Israel. That is, Scripture speaks of "Israel" rather than "an Israel," and speaks of "the Church" rather than "a Church," yet it is clear from Scriptures like Romans 9-11 that there are some instances of those seemingly identical references that are referring to the temporal and visible, and some instances that are referring to the eternal and invisible. In light of that, it would be begging the question to automatically assume that a reference to one of those things is referring to it in either the visible or invisible sense without first looking at the context of the passage to determine what is ultimately in reference. And that is a broad hermeneutical principle applicable to other words and phrases as well, ones that can refer to different things with the same terminology. Thus, when looking at the "offspring" mentioned in Genesis 17:11, it is hardly conclusive for Pink to merely point to Galatians 3:16 and thus conclude that Christ is the sole reference in Genesis 17, in every sense.* Furthermore, with even just a brief look at the context of that passage, we immediately see much talk of a physical offspring, which questions Pink's interpretation at least, and disproves it at most.

* I want to emphasize my speaking of "every sense" of what is being referenced in Genesis 17, since I am not denying the possibility of both Christ and physical offspring being referenced; on the contrary, there are repeated cases throughout Scripture when references of such a dual nature are made, with the one pointing to the other. In fact, that is the Reformed understanding of the signs of the covenants, and the covenants themselves - being visible things that point toward invisible things of the same title and even some of the same essence. It is the same principle as the fact that the visible and invisible Church are not the same thing, but that there is nonetheless a great overlap between the two, even as acknowledged by Baptists, who presume membership in the latter based on membership in the former through profession. Likewise, the physical offspring (paralleling the visible Church) of Abraham can in many ways be seen as the sign and representation of the invisible offspring (paralleling the invisible Church), which is Christ as you noted - and that makes sense, because the invisible Church (the elect) indeed has her very identity and being in Christ.
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
Let's go visit Abraham, shall we. Let us go and see that family. We could go see many different families in the OT, but Abraham's is a good place to start. Here we find a covenant family. Abraham has two sons, by two different women. God is very clear: Isaac is the seed of promise, not Ishmael (Gen 17:21).

Saying that "Ishmael was not in the covenant" is flat out denying what his circumcision states, vv. 25 & 26. God certainly doesn't say that. Ishmael was in said covenant by his connection to Abraham. Now Abraham will die, but the covenant will not. Isaac is the seed by which it will be ratified, from which the Promised One will issue. Now there is Ishmael. He mocks the seed of promise, Isaac (Gen 21:9). He will not have this one to rule over him (Lk. 19:14). Ishmael thrusts himself away from the covenant of promise.

Likewise, if we visit the tents of Isaac, we shall find two sons, Jacob and Esau. Both are children of the covenant. Both are children of Isaac and Abraham. But Esau is a rebel. Jacob secures the birthright and the blessing (God uses even men's sins for his holy ends). Should not Esau have knelt before Jacob--and asked for a blessing? Yes! But he would rather plot his murder than "serve the younger."

Let us visit the tents of Jacob. Here are 12 sons, all of them in the covenant. And it is in Joseph that Israel finds the Spirit he recognizes. Joseph will assume the covenant mantle when he is gone. God ratifies Jacob's choice by giving Joseph dreams--dreams of a family exalted to the heavens, dreams of provision of grain in abundance, if only this house will serve Joseph. "Shalt thou indeed reign over us? And they hated him yet the more for his dreams, and for his words."

Man proposes, God disposes. Joseph would indeed be the savior of the family, and they would bow before him. But on earth they would not be exalted but humiliated. In their act of rebellion (envy, Acts 7:9), the brothers "eliminated" Joseph. And God used Judah's rise to covenant leadership to establish the tribe's prominence--its regal title (Gen 49:10). The Seed would come from Judah.

But did this mean the others were not in covenant? Absurd! Of course they were, including Joseph, and his posterity as well. As well with David--what business did the 10 tribes have in saying "What portion have we in David? Neither have we inheritance in the son of Jesse" (1 Ki. 12:16). In David was their covenant head, and in his son, and in his Son.

Read Acts 7. It is an indictment of a rebellious nation, a covenant lawsuit. Count the number of times Stephen refers to the fathers, our fathers, your fathers, the patriarchs, the children, the sons, brethren. See how he names the names. He begins not with David or Moses but with Abraham. All these--rebels and faithful were in the covenant. Down to the ones who put to death the Just One. They were covenant-bound to submit to Jesus, and they would not. They refused. "For envy they had delivered him" (Mt. 27:18).
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
Interesting, is it not, that God refers to Himself as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob? Why not just as the God of Abraham if the Covenant was just with Abraham?

Talk about a pretext! Look how Pink develops his whole line of thinking:
The next thing we would observe is that circumcision was "a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had." Again we would say, Let us be on our guard against adding to God´s Word, for nowhere does Scripture say that circumcision was a seal to anyone but to Abraham himself.
You can almost stop reading there. It colors everything else he writes.

So because Paul, in Romans, says "he" and talks about Abraham then circumcision was only a seal for him? That is PURE inference. The text does not demand that it be interpreted that way. If Paul had said that the seal was to him alone then it would be enough to develop a theology on.

Why wouldn't the same standard be applied to God's Covenant with Adam? A stronger textual case could be made to imply that there is no Original Sin based on the principle Pink applies. After all, God only told Adam that "he" would die.

[Edited on 12-13-2005 by SemperFideles]
 

Steve Owen

Puritan Board Sophomore
Originally posted by SemperFideles
Interesting, is it not, that God refers to Himself as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob? Why not just as the God of Abraham if the Covenant was just with Abraham?
Well, this is very easily answered. We know that Isaac and Jacob are in the covenant because God specifically told them both that they were, and wrote it in the Bible for us to read (Gen 26:2-5; 27:13-14 ).
Talk about a pretext! Look how Pink develops his whole line of thinking:
The next thing we would observe is that circumcision was "a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had." Again we would say, Let us be on our guard against adding to God´s Word, for nowhere does Scripture say that circumcision was a seal to anyone but to Abraham himself.
You can almost stop reading there. It colors everything else he writes.
If you have not read the book, I think you should do so before making that sort of blanket condemnation. There is a lot more to it than that. Moreover, what is the alternative to what he says? "Let us not be on our guard against adding to God's word because Prov 30:5-6 & Rev 22:18 are not really important"?
So because Paul, in Romans, says "he" and talks about Abraham then circumcision was only a seal for him? That is PURE inference. The text does not demand that it be interpreted that way.
Well, I think it does actually. It certainly isn't inference, but a plain reading of the text. The basic rule of interpretation is that in a plain, prose, teaching text like Rom 4:11, you must take the plain meaning of the words unless there is another text that appears to contradict them. Then you can go back to the original text and say, 'Is there another possible meaning to this?' So if you can find a text that says that circumcision is a seal to anyone but Abraham, or if you can find a text that says that baptism is/was a seal to anyone at all, you can let us know, and we'll think again.
Why wouldn't the same standard be applied to God's Covenant with Adam? A stronger textual case could be made to imply that there is no Original Sin based on the principle Pink applies. After all, God only told Adam that "he" would die.

Because Paul tells us that, '.....Through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned' (Rom 5:12 ).

We must use the New Testament to clarify and explain the Old.

Grace & Peace,

Martin
 

Steve Owen

Puritan Board Sophomore
Bruce wrote:-
Saying that "Ishmael was not in the covenant" is flat out denying what his circumcision states, vv. 25 & 26. God certainly doesn't say that. Ishmael was in said covenant by his connection to Abraham.

All vs 25-26 state is that Abraham circumcised Ishmael. I think Pink knew that :lol: His point is that in the clearest language possible, God told Abraham that Ishmael was not in the covenant, circumcision or no.
Gen 17:18-19. 'And Abraham said to God, "Oh that Ishmael might live before You!" Then God said, "No. Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac: I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant and with his descendants (or 'Seed'- cf. Gal 3:16 ) after him.'

What is there about "No" that you chaps find so difficult?

Read Acts 7. It is an indictment of a rebellious nation, a covenant lawsuit. Count the number of times Stephen refers to the fathers, our fathers, your fathers, the patriarchs, the children, the sons, brethren. See how he names the names. He begins not with David or Moses but with Abraham. All these--rebels and faithful were in the covenant. Down to the ones who put to death the Just One. They were covenant-bound to submit to Jesus, and they would not. They refused. "For envy they had delivered him" (Mt. 27:18).
They were indeed a covenant people, but most of them were not in the covenant of promise that God made with Abraham. 'Know therefore that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham' (Gal 3:7 ). They would only be in that if they trusted in the God of Abraham and in his Seed. They wre in the Old, Mosaic covenant (typified in the promises to Ishmael- Gen 17:20 ), and of them it is written, ''....They did not continue in My covenant and I disregarded them, says the Lord' (Heb 8:9 ).

Grace & Peace,

Martin

[Edited on 12-13-2005 by Martin Marprelate]
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
Martin,

I'm shocked you agree with Pink! ;)

Yes Martin it is inference that Pink uses. As it is the only verse that speaks of the sign of circumcision as a seal it is a convenient pretext for credo baptists but it is inference nevertheless. A good starting point to read God's enduring Covenant out of the entire Scripture.

[Edited on 12-13-2005 by SemperFideles]
 

Steve Owen

Puritan Board Sophomore
Originally posted by SemperFideles
Martin,

I'm shocked you agree with Pink! ;)

Yes Martin it is inference that Pink uses. As it is the only verse that speaks of the sign of circumcision as a seal it is a convenient pretext for credo baptists but it is inference nevertheless. A good starting point to read God's enduring Covenant out of the entire Scripture.

[Edited on 12-13-2005 by SemperFideles]

It won't matter how many times I read the entire Scripture, I still won't find anywhere that circumcision is the seal of the covenant to anyone but Abraham, or that baptism is the seal of anything to anyone.

The Holy Spirit is the seal of the Covenant (Eph 1:13. cf. Isaiah 42:1; Rom 8:14-16 ).
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
Originally posted by Martin Marprelate
All vs 25-26 state is that Abraham circumcised Ishmael. I think Pink knew that His point is that in the clearest language possible, God told Abraham that Ishmael was not in the covenant, circumcision or no.
Gen 17:18-19. 'And Abraham said to God, "Oh that Ishmael might live before You!" Then God said, "No. Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac: I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant and with his descendants (or 'Seed'- cf. Gal 3:16 ) after him.'

What is there about "No" that you chaps find so difficult?

Well, frankly, I don't see how you are taking the words and making them out to be a clear declaration of Ishmael's reprobation. That's one reason I suggested we all take a trip (mentally) to sit in front of Abraham's tent and see his family in operation. Do you really think that in this language God tells Abraham that Ishmael (whom Abraham clearly loves) is hell bound? That he has no chance to live in the covenant, under Isaac's headship? I find that interpretation as improbable and unreal as you seem to find mine.

Abraham's request for Ishmael tells us a lot more about Abraham's attitude and present faith that it does a single thing about Ishmael (v. 17: "I'm too old, and Sarah's too old"). Abe put a lot of stock in his own plans, and now God tells him those are sunk costs. "Well what about Ishmael? Can't he be the one?" God says, "I'll bless him too, but its Isaac that fulfils the promise, not Ishmael."

By your artificial separation of the sign and the thing signified, you make out Abraham's forthwith obedience (cf. vv 9, 10 with vv23, 25), and subsequent generations' obedience, an empty ritual conducted in obedience to the letter even among the faithful devoid of inherent signification. Circumcision itself (according to your interpretation) isn't the sign but the act of circumcising. Parents get the blessing, when they submit their children by faith to the rite. The sign means nothing to the person wearing the badge. Abraham circumcises Ishmael knowing that it is pointless and empty, because God has already told him Ishmael is not the seed of promise, not even IN the covenant. This appears to be the conclusion of your line of reasoning. And I cannot reconcile it either to the text, or the OT, or Jesus, or Paul, the whole of Scripture.
 

Mocha

Puritan Board Freshman
Scott,

You said:

Gen 17:10 This is my covenant, which you shall keep, between me and you and your offspring after you: Every male among you shall be circumcised.
Gen 17:11 You shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you.
Gen 17:12 He who is eight days old among you shall be circumcised. Every male throughout your generations, whether born in your house or bought with your money from any foreigner who is not of your offspring,
Gen 17:13 both he who is born in your house and he who is bought with your money, shall surely be circumcised. So shall my covenant be in your flesh an everlasting covenant.
Gen 17:14 Any uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin shall be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant."

By not placing the sign, acknowledging Gods command and covenant, tell me, what are these individuals spoken of in verse 14 'cut off' from?

Arthur Pink said:

The covenant of Abraham was as peculiar to himself as the one God made with Phinehas, "And he shall have it, and his seed after him, even the covenant of an everlasting priesthood" (Num. 25:13), and as the covenant of royalty which God made with David and his seed (2 Sam. 7:12-16). In each case a divine promise was given securing a posterity; and had no children been born to those men, then God had broken His covenant.

He will be 'cut off' from his people because he no longer reflects God's covenant to Abraham. A visual representation of the covenant made with Abraham (looking back) and of the seed [Christ] (looking forward) that would be a blessing to all the world, is absolutely essential.

Scott said:

As well, Christ himself tells the pharisee's that they are indeed 'The seed of Abraham"......

Joh 8:31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;
Joh 8:32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
Joh 8:33 They answered him, We be Abraham's seed,and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free?
Joh 8:34 Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.
Joh 8:35 And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever.
Joh 8:36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.
Joh 8:37 I know that ye are Abraham's seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you.

Another example of the visible/invisible distinction.........

Abraham was the father of a twofold seed, a natural and a spiritual. Neither the 'natural' seed nor the 'spiritual' seed are in the covenant, but the 'natural' and spiritual' seed receive covenantal blessings because of their relationship to Abraham.

I'm just wondering...could it be that when the New Covenant was made with Christ, that no one actually entered the covenant, but that we simply enjoy the blessing of the covenant because we are united to Christ? Is there any New Testament passage that says Christians are "in" the covenant?

Just thinking out loud here... :book2:

Mike
 

Steve Owen

Puritan Board Sophomore
Hello Bruce.
Do you really think that in this language God tells Abraham that Ishmael (whom Abraham clearly loves) is hell bound? That he has no chance to live in the covenant, under Isaac's headship?

No, I don't think that. The Abrahamic covenant is intimately tied up with the promise of the Seed. All that is being said here is that the Seed will not come through Ishmael, but Isaac. With regard to the Everlasting Covenant, then Ishmael is no more excluded than anybody else. If he puts his faith in the Seed, then he will be saved (Gal 3:7 ). But Ishmael showed himself to be filled with hate against Isaac, and therefore it is said, 'Cast out the bondwoman and her son, for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman' (Gal 4:30 ).
By your artificial separation of the sign and the thing signified, you make out Abraham's forthwith obedience (cf. vv 9, 10 with vv23, 25), and subsequent generations' obedience, an empty ritual conducted in obedience to the letter even among the faithful devoid of inherent signification.
It is not I who separates the sign and the thing signified; it is the Holy Spirit in the word. 'Without faith it is impossible to please God.' If there is no faith in the one receiving the sign, then it is ultimately meaningless (Jer 9:25-26- please read this before you reply). The Jews circumcise their male offspring to this very day. What good does it do them? Is it not an empty ritual? If a Jew trusts in the Messiah, then what does it matter if he was circumcised or not (Rom 4:11-12 )?
Circumcision itself (according to your interpretation) isn't the sign but the act of circumcising. Parents get the blessing, when they submit their children by faith to the rite. The sign means nothing to the person wearing the badge.
No. Circumcision was a sign that the Seed should come through the line of Abraham. Here is Pink again:-
It maybe asked, If, then, circumcision sealed nothing to those who received it, except in the one case of Abraham himself, then why did God ordain it to be administered to all his male descendants? First, because it was the mark He selected to distinguish from all other nations that people from whom the Messiah was to issue. Second, because it served as a continual reminder that from the Abrahamic stock the promised Seed would spring"”hence, soon after He appeared, circumcision was set aside by God. Third, because of what it typically foreshadowed. To be born naturally of the Abrahamic stock gave a title to circumcision and the earthly inheritance, which was a figure of their title to the heavenly inheritance of those born of the Spirit. The servants and slaves in Abraham´s household "bought with money" beautifully adumbrated the truth that those who enter the kingdom of Christ are "bought" by His blood. (Read point # VIII here for more on this )

Grace & Peace,

Martin
 

CDM

Puritan Board Junior
Hello all,

I'm new to the board and new to the post.

As this (baptism) has been an area of major study for me lately, I know that it is still a *weak area* for me. As a Baptist it surely was. After much prayer, study, pastoral counseling, I am now a Presbyterian but I have to admit, I still tend to wrestle with Baptistic counter arguments given to Presbyterians. The ones here are put together well I might add.

There have been several things that have helped of which I'm sure some of you are familiar with. Anyone ever read "William the Baptist"? While it's not exactly a theological treatise, it argues from speculative perspectives in regards to mode of baptism. Actually, the "œmode" debate helped greatly on the "œrecipient" debate. I´ll explain later if one were to request it of me.

Anyway, there has been 1 MAIN idea or theme that runs through my mind when I approach the baptism debates. I'll state it flatly hoping I'm understood (warning: run on sentence):

Whatever NT baptism is the Jewish mind at the time of Christ and the Apostles HAD to have some understanding of what this water ritual was and its significance. Especially if they (Apostles and Christ) were telling these very Jews that no longer does the covenant promises apply to your children. Imagine if you will, "œYour children are now excluded from any and all covenants yet before Abraham was I AM..." It seems to me they would be outraged to the point of walking away as many did in other situations.

Furthermore, this also leads me to understanding the correct mode of baptism as well. Would it not be foreign to the 1st century Jew mind to be submerged in water rather than their ritual washings and sprinklings they observed for thousands of years? Applying the element to the person? I write these things in the hopes that maybe we can put ourselves in their (Jewish) OT covenant of works, Gentile hating minds.

I am here to learn and I've already learned there are many people here more learned than I - Baptists included. :)

May God bless our study of His Holy Word. :book2:
 

gwine

Puritan Board Sophomore
Welcome to the Puritan Board, Chris. :welcome:

It's always good to see new members. There is much to learn from everyone here.
 

Mocha

Puritan Board Freshman
Chris,

You said:

...when looking at the "offspring" mentioned in Genesis 17:11, it is hardly conclusive for Pink to merely point to Galatians 3:16 and thus conclude that Christ is the sole reference in Genesis 17, in every sense. Furthermore, with even just a brief look at the context of that passage, we immediately see much talk of a physical offspring, which questions Pink's interpretation at least, and disproves it at most

I'm not sure how to answer that. Good point! Those are the kind of challenging points I'm looking for.

Mike
 

Steve Owen

Puritan Board Sophomore
Hello Chris! :welcome:

You wrote:-
Whatever NT baptism is the Jewish mind at the time of Christ and the Apostles HAD to have some understanding of what this water ritual was and its significance.
They had already had, of course, the baptizing of JTB followed by that of our Lord Himself (John 3:22-13; 4:1-2 ).
Especially if they (Apostles and Christ) were telling these very Jews that no longer does the covenant promises apply to your children. Imagine if you will, "œYour children are now excluded from any and all covenants yet before Abraham was I AM..." It seems to me they would be outraged to the point of walking away as many did in other situations.
Of course, many Jews did walk away from the Lord Jesus (John 6:66 ) and opposed the Apostles (Acts 4:1-3 ). But which covenant promises to children are you thinking of? How about these?

'Cursed shall be the fruit of your body......Your sons and your daughters shall be given to another people.......You shall eat the flesh of your own body, the flesh of your sons and daughters whom the LORD your God has given you........then the LORD will bring upon you and your descendants extraordinary plagues....' (Deut 28:18, 32, 53, 59 ).

Or these perhaps?

'I will not have mercy on their children, for they are the children of harlotry.......Though they bring up their children, yet I will bereave them to the last man' (Hosea 2:4; 9:12 ).

The covenant promises to Israel under the Mosaic covenant always were conditional, and those who imagined that their circumcision or their descent from Abraham brought them any unconditional blessings were disabused by JTB (Luke 3:7-9 ) in no uncertain terms. The fact is that there has only ever been one way of salvation. 'Whoever calls on the Name of the Lord shall be saved' (Joel 2:32 ).

So when Peter, on the day of Pentecost, told the Jews that they had murdered their Messiah (Acts 2:36 ), they were ready to do whatever he told them (v37 ).
Furthermore, this also leads me to understanding the correct mode of baptism as well. Would it not be foreign to the 1st century Jew mind to be submerged in water rather than their ritual washings and sprinklings they observed for thousands of years? Applying the element to the person? I write these things in the hopes that maybe we can put ourselves in their (Jewish) OT covenant of works, Gentile hating minds.

I am hoping to post something on the subject of Jewish proselyte baptism in a few days. Watch this space.

Every blessing,

Martin
 

Mocha

Puritan Board Freshman
Martin,

You said:

They were indeed a covenant people, but most of them were not in the covenant of promise that God made with Abraham. 'Know therefore that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham' (Gal 3:7 ). They would only be in that if they trusted in the God of Abraham and in his Seed. They wre in the Old, Mosaic covenant (typified in the promises to Ishmael- Gen 17:20 ), and of them it is written, ''....They did not continue in My covenant and I disregarded them, says the Lord' (Heb 8:9 ).

It seems to me that if Israel did 'not continue' in the covenant, it would suggest that they had been in it at some point. Am I wrong?

Also, Pink says:

Their interest in the promises was secured to them by God´s expressly giving them the covenant, but was not represented in their circumcision. Circumcision marked no character, and had an individual application to no man but Abraham himself. It was the token of this covenant; and as a token or sign, no doubt applied to every promise in the covenant, but it did not designate the individual circumcised as having a personal interest in these promises. The covenant promised a numerous seed to Abraham; circumcision, as the token of that covenant, must have been a sign of this; but it did not sign this to any other.

It seems to me that Pink is saying that Israel was in the covenant but that circumcision is not related to being in the covenant, but instead, related to the promises of the covenant. What do you think?

Mike
 
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