… It is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace … Hebrews 13:9

I s s u e 19 3 D e c e m b e r 2 012 - J a nu a r y 2 013

Christ, Our New Covenant Prophet— Part 5
John G. Reisinger
In this series of studies we have been discussing Christ, our New Covenant Prophet, Priest and King. This is the fifth article on Christ as our New Covenant Prophet. The key text on this subject is the promise made in Deuteronomy 15:15-19. Christ perfectly fulfills that prophecy. He is the promised prophet who would replace Moses in his role of prophet and lawgiver. Christ would “be like” Moses in some ways and very unlike Moses in other ways. The major difference is the authority of Christ to speak with the personal authority of God the Son. Moses, and all other prophets, must say, “Thus saith the Lord,” but our Lord alone can say, “But I say unto you.” The whole subject of the relationship of law and grace is involved in understanding the fulfillment of the prophecy of Deuteronomy 15:15-19. A short Reisinger—Continued on page 2 review of God using Moses as a mediator in

In This Issue
Christ, Our New Covenant Prophet ― Part 5 John G. Reisinger The New Covenant A. Blake White Free Will, Determinism and Alternative Possibilities Steve West "The Law of Christ" -Chapter 12 Charles Leiter The Cross and the Lord's Day Part 1 Steve Carpenter Under the Elemental Spirits of the World A. Blake White What Happened on Nov. 6, 2012? 15 13 5 1

1 3


The New Covenant
A. Blake White
Allusions to and prophecies about the new covenant are abundant in the Old Testament,1 but Jeremiah 31 is the crucial passage for our understanding of the new covenant. The new covenant passage (31:31-34) is preceded by a short but important proverb: “In those days they shall no longer say: ‘The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge.’ But everyone shall die for his own sin. Each man who eats sour grapes, his teeth shall be set on edge” (31:29-30 ESV). This proverb refers to the “tribal” nature of the old covenant. During the Mosaic era, only Israel’s leaders (usually prophets, priests, and kings)
1 E.g., Ezek 11:19-20, 36:26-27, 37:14, 39:29; Joel 2:28-29; Deut 30:6; Jer 32:39-40; Isa 32:15, 44:3, 55:3, 54:13. The new covenant is also referred to as the everlasting covenant (Jer 32:36-41, 50:2-5; Ezek 16:59-63, 37:15-28; Isa 24:5, 55:1-5, 61:8-9), the covenant of peace (Isa 54:1-10; Ezek 34:20-31, 37:15-28), new heart and new spirit (Ezek 11:1821, 18:30-32, 36:24-32).

John G. Reisinger When is Premillennialism not Premillennialism? A. Blake White 19

were bestowed with the Spirit.2 As the leaders went, so went the nation. Stephen Wellum writes,
Despite remnant themes and an emphasis on individual believers, the OT pictures God working with his people as a “tribal” grouping whose knowledge of God and whose relations with God were uniquely dependent on specially endowed leaders. Thus, the strong emphasis on the Spirit of God being poured out, not on each believer, but distinctively on prophets, priests, kings, and a few designated special leaders (e.g., Bezalel). Given this hierarchical structure of the covenant community, when these leaders did what was right, the entire nation benefited. However, when they did 2 See James M. Hamilton, Jr., God’s Indwelling Presence: The Holy Spirit in the Old and New Testaments (Nashville, TN: B&H Academic, 2006), 27-34. In his conclusion to that chapter, Hamilton writes, “The Spirit came on such people to differentiate them from the rest of the nation and empower White—Continued on page 12 them for their task,” 55.

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Reisinger—Continued from page 1

Dec 2012, Jan 2013
Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing …(Gen.12:1-2).

Issue 193
Sound of Grace is a publication of Sovereign Grace New Covenant Ministries, a tax exempt 501(c)3 corporation. Contributions to Sound of Grace are deductible under section 170 of the Code. Sound of Grace is published 10 times a year. The subscription price is shown below. This is a paper unashamedly committed to the truth of God’s sovereign grace and New Covenant Theology. We invite all who love these same truths to pray for us and help us fi nancially. We do not take any paid advertising. The use of an article by a particular person is not an endorsement of all that person believes, but it merely means that we thought that a particular article was worthy of printing. Sound of Grace Board: John G. Reisinger, David Leon, John Thorhauer, Bob VanWingerden and Jacob Moseley. Editor: John G. Reisinger; Phone: (585)396-3385; e-mail: reisingerjohn@gmail.com. General Manager: Jacob Moseley: info@newcovenantmedia.com Send all orders and all subscriptions to: Sound of Grace, 5317 Wye Creek Drive, Frederick, MD 21703-6938 – Phone 301-473-8781 Visit the bookstore: http://www.newcovenantmedia.com Address all editorial material and questions to: John G. Reisinger, 3302 County Road 16, Canandaigua, NY 14424-2441. Webpage: www.soundofgrace.org SOGNCM.org or

establishing the Old Covenant with the children of Israel at Mount Sinai will not only help us understand Christ as our New Covenant Prophet, but it will also help in understanding the larger issue of law and grace. It is essential that we have a clear understanding of the radical difference between the covenant God made with Abraham and the covenant he made with the children of Israel at Mount Sinai. This will involve seeing exactly how Jacob’s (Israel) children become the covenant nation of God and how Moses became that nation’s Lawgiver. First, we must distinguish between Israel as a nation, or body politic, and the children of Israel as merely the children of Jacob. The terms “children of Israel” and “nation of Israel” will become synonymous but they did not begin that way. Jacob’s children were not a nation—a body politic—prior to God entering into a special and specific covenant with them at Mount Sinai. They were not a nation—a body politic—when Joseph brought them down to Egypt nor did they become a nation while in Egypt. The children of Jacob became a nation at Mount Sinai. It was there that Jacob’s children officially became a nation or a body politic. Up to that point in time the children of Israel were not yet constituted a nation or body politic, they were merely the children of Jacob (Israel). Abraham never became a physical nation even though he was the grandfather of Jacob, the man who became the father of the nation. Neither Abraham, Isaac, nor Jacob was a prophet, priest or king. The three offices of prophet, priest and king are associated with the nation of Israel and her covenant with God. The covenant at Sinai that constituted Israel as a nation is not the same as the covenant with Abraham. The first use of the word “nation” in Scripture is God’s promise to Abraham.

God promised Abraham that he would not only have a seed, he would become the father of many nations. His son Isaac, born to Sarah, would be the seed line that would bring forth the Messiah. His grandson Jacob would not only become a great physical nation, he would also become the spiritual seed that constitutes the spiritual nation, the true church of Christ. Ishmael, Abram’s son by Hagar, Sarah’s handmaid, would also become a great nation1 but would not in any sense be a spiritual nation as was Jacob (Israel). Hagar mothered a true son to Abraham named Ishmael but both mother and child were “cast out” without receiving the inheritance (Gen. 21:10, cf. Gal. 4:30). The first use of the word “Israel” in Scripture is when God changed Jacob’s name from Jacob to “Israel.”
And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel … (Gen 32:28).

Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by Permission. All rights reserved. Scripture quotations marked “NKJV” are taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by Permission. All rights reserved. Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Contributions Orders Discover, MasterCard or VISA If you wish to make a tax-deductible contribution to Sound of Grace, please mail a check to: Sound of Grace, 5317 Wye Creek Drive, Frederick, MD 21703-6938. Please check the mailing label to fi nd the expiration of your subscription. Please send payment if you want your subscription to continue—$20.00 for ten issues. Or if you would prefer to have a pdf file emailed, that is available for $10.00 for ten issues. If you are unable to subscribe at this time, please call or drop a note in the mail and we will be glad to continue Sound of Grace free of charge.

The children of Israel, as a people, are promised by God at Mount Sinai that if they would obey the covenant he was about to make with them, they would become a holy and special nation, a body politic, bound by special covenant to God. God proceeds to enter into this special covenant with the children of Israel at Mount Sinai in Exodus 20.
In the third month, when the children of Israel were gone forth out of the land of Egypt, the same day came they into the wilderness of Sinai. For they were departed from Rephidim, 1 For a study of Abraham’s seeds see my Abraham’s Four Seeds (Frederick, Md. New Covenant Media, 1998).
Reisinger—Continued on page 4

Issue 193

Dec 2012, Jan 2013

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Free Will, Determinism, & Alternative Possibilities
Steve West
The concept of determinism necessitates exactly one possible future. If you recall, the Rollback Argument maintains that if God rolled back time and then let it move forward again, libertarianism can envision the possibility of a different future, whereas determinism guarantees exactly the same events will occur as they did the first time (or the thousandth time— everything in time will replay itself identically no matter how many times the clock is reset). Now, the Rollback Argument is designed to show that if people act in different ways on the second or third (or thousandth) run through, their behavior is really a matter of luck and they are not free, even if indeterminism obtains. But the point to carry forward here is that libertarian freedom requires at least the theoretical possibility of different future outcomes stemming from the exact same past conditions. This has sometimes been pictured as a garden of forking paths. Think about entering an expansive flower garden, covering acres and acres of well manicured land. There are many different winding paths which branch out in various directions. Everyone enters under one main archway, and follows a wide path for a few hundred paces. At the end of this initial path the horticulturalist is confronted with a choice: they have to either take a path to the left to see the roses, or a path to the right to see the daisies. In a deterministic model, the individual will always choose the same option; it was guaranteed before they even entered the garden that they would turn the way they do. For libertarians, however, the choice is truly open. They can choose to turn right or left, and if the universe was rolled back one year and then replayed forward, they might very well actualize a right turn even if the first time they had turned left. Determinism demands exactly one possible future (so the future is ‘closed’); libertarianism allows for different futures (so the future is ‘open’). The key for libertarianism is that depending on whether the agent turns to the right or to the left, new possibilities open. Let us say the choice is to turn left and see the roses. After strolling a few hundred feet there is another fork in the road. Again, the choice emerges between left or right. Again, left is chosen. Every time one particular fork in the road is chosen, that cuts off former possibilities, and opens up new ones. If the original choice had been right instead of left, the subsequent choices would all have been different. Free will and alternative possibilities mean that you really could end up on the far North-east side of the garden, or the extreme South-west side. In determinism, on the other hand, if you end up in the North-east section of the garden that was inevitably the only place you could really go. The Principle of Alternative Possibilities has been a vigorously contested principle amongst philosophers discussing free will. For libertarians it is a virtual necessity, whereas for determinists it is an impossibility. The basic line for libertarians is that if we do not have the ability to turn right instead of left, we do not make our choices freely. What freedom can there be in my choosing to turn left if I was determined to choose that way? Likewise, if it was a matter of necessity that I would turn right, what freedom did I have in that decision? Before moving forward to discuss the shape of this debate, one significant point is worth bringing up again. Alternative possibilities do not give a sufficient condition for libertarian free will all by themselves. This is because, to say it again, indeterminism by itself is insufficient to ground freedom and responsibility. Imagine, for example, that our visitor to the garden stands at the initial fork in the pathway. A totally indeterministic process in the brain causes a maverick quantum particle to create a slight disturbance which sends repercussions through the brain, resulting in a turn to the left. The visitor diligently goes left, but only because of a random, uncontrollable process. Where is the freedom there? Indeterminism can reduce us to a non-responsible status as easily as determinism can. The big question, however, is whether alternative possibilities are required for freedom at all. Having them does not guarantee freedom (because indeterminism may be necessary for freedom, but by itself it is not sufficient for it), but does not having them rule out freedom? A massive, ever-growing, and ever more complicated (perhaps to the point of being wearying and sometimes silly) body of work is used in this debate. It began with a thought experiment by Harry Frankfurt, and now all subsequent case studies that trade in the same vein are referred to as Frankfurtcases, or Frankfurt style examples. Actually, the original Frankfurtcase preceded Frankfurt by several centuries, and came courtesy of John Locke. Locke imagined a man locked in a room, with no way of getting out. This rules out the alternative possibility of him leaving the room—his staying in the room is determined or necessary. The man loves his room, and decides he never wants to leave
West—Continued on page 8

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Reisinger—Continued from page 2

and were come to the desert of Sinai, and had pitched in the wilderness; and there Israel camped before the mount. And Moses went up unto God, and the Lord called unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel; Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself. Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.( Ex. 19:1-6 )

Israel never became the promised spiritual holy nation simply because she never kept the covenant terms. Exodus 19:4-6 is totally misunderstood by covenant theologians. Their typical interpretation of these verses is this: Exodus 19:4-6 is the preamble to the covenant. In verse 4, God reminds the Israelites that they are a redeemed people “under grace.” Covenant theology insists that the covenant at Sinai was a gracious covenant made with a “redeemed” by which they mean “justified” people. It totally ignores the big “if” and the “then” in verse 5.2 They fail to see the covenant at Sinai was a conditional covenant. Israel was indeed a people redeemed by blood, but it was not spiritual redemption
2 Exodus 19:5 If you will obey. Compare 1 Pet. 2:9; Rev. 1:6; Rev. 5:10. What under law was conditional is, under grace, freely given to every believer. The “if” of verse 5 is the essence of law as a method of divine dealing, and the fundamental reason why the law “made nothing perfect” (Heb. 7:18, 19; compare Rom. 8:3). To Abraham the promise preceded the requirement; at Sinai the requirement preceded the promise. In the New Covenant the Abrahamic order is followed. See Hebrews. 8:8-12. Scofield Reference Bible, (New York: Oxford University Press, 2003), 113.

Dec 2012, Jan 2013 by Christ’s blood. It was a physical redemption from Egypt by animal blood. Israel becoming a “kingdom of priests” and a “holy nation” was totally dependent upon their keeping the covenant terms of Exodus 20, which they never did. The covenant at Sinai was without question a legal covenant of works conditioned on Israel’s obedience to the covenant terms. The words “if you will obey” and “then I will” cannot be made to mean “I will whether you do or not.” The covenant at Sinai was without question a conditional covenant. Language cannot be more explicit. God said, “If you obey my covenant, then, but only then, you will become my special treasure, a holy nation and a kingdom of priests.” They did become a “holy”3 (meaning separate) physical nation, but they did not become a “holy,” (meaning spiritual) nation where all of the members in the nation were regenerate saints. Failing to see this is one of the tragic mistakes of covenant theologians. They totally fail to see the relationship of the Old and New Covenants. They read a New Covenant meaning of the great redemptive words back into the Old Covenant nation of Israel. Israel, as a nation, was loved as no other nation, but it was not the same redemptive love with which Christ loved the Church. Israel, as a nation, was sovereignly chosen to be God’s people but that choice, or election, was not the same as the Church being chosen unto everlasting life. Israel, as a nation was called out of bondage to Egypt but that is not the same as the spiritual calling (regeneration) that effectually calls us out of bondage to sin and unites us to Christ. Israel, as a nation, was redeemed by blood, but
3 The word “holy” means separated unto God. Israel was separated from all other nations, and belonged exclusively to God as a nation. Unfortunately very few Israelites were ever “holy” in the sense of being sanctified unto God in personal salvation. “Holy” does not always mean moral purity.

Issue 193 it was the blood of an animal not the blood of Christ. It was physical redemption not spiritual redemption. It is a grievous error to treat the redemptive words “loved, chosen, called and redeemed” the same when applied to Israel as a nation as they are when they are used of the church. Every single Israelite could say, “God loved me with a special love and sovereignly chose me. He redeemed me with a blood sacrifice and called me out of Egypt.” Every Israelite could say all of those things and still be as lost as the Devil simply because all of those things were physical and applied only to physical Israel. Every member of the body of Christ can say all of those things in the certainty that they are saved and eternally secure in Christ. The one thing every New Covenant believer can add to that list of things is, “I am justified.” Very few Israelites could add, “I am justified.” Hebrews 3:8-11 and 4:1-2 describe the same people who were “loved, chosen, called and redeemed” in the nation of Israel. Israel was a type of the church but must never be treated as the true redeemed justified people of God. Not a single person who is “loved, chosen, called and redeemed” in the New Covenant meaning of those words was ever lost. Most of the physical nation of Israel that was “loved, chosen, called and redeemed” was lost. The whole subject of the nature of the covenant at Sinai needs to be examined in another article, but my main concern here is to show that Israel’s nationhood began at Sinai and was based on a covenant of works. Israel never received the blessings promised in that covenant and was disowned as a nation when they crucified their Messiah. The church, including saved Jews and Gentiles, has received the specific blessings promised in Exodus 19:4-6 (see 1 Peter 2:5-10). The church is the true holy nation, God’s peculiar possession, and all her memReisinger—Continued on page 6

Issue 193

Dec 2012, Jan 2013

The Law of Christ
C h a p t e r Tw e l v e

Page 5 LOVE’S ESSENTIAL NATURE Is love really nothing more than a motivating power that enables us to keep the law as it should be kept? Or is law, instead, a description of love in action? From what the Scriptures tell us concerning the nature of love, it would seem that the second alternative is much closer to the truth. What law demands, love (by its very nature) is! Love does not look to a law outside itself in order to discover that it should be patient; love is patient. Not only is love patient; “love is kind, and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.”3 Love itself tells me not to murder my neighbor or seduce his wife or steal his car or falsely accuse him.4 Supreme love for God, by its very nature, causes me to give Him first place in all my affections, makes me abhor idols as an insult to His infinite glory, and prevents me from speaking irreverently of Him.5 Love tells me in my conscience that I should not curse a deaf man or place a stumbling block before a blind man.6 Love also tells me that in order to protect others from possible injury, I should build a guard rail around a dangerous roof,7 confine a dangerous animal,8 and cover an open pit.9 Love causes me to share the good news of the gospel with others,10 give to those in need,11 and do nothing
3 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 4 Exodus 20:13-16 5 Exodus 20:3-7 6 Leviticus 19:14 7 Deuteronomy 22:8 8 Exodus 21:29 9 Exodus 21:33-34 10 Mark 16:15 11 1 John 3:17
Leiter—Continued on page 9

L O V E A N D L AW Charles Leiter
Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. For this, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; love therefore is the fulfillment of the law. Romans 13:8-10 For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Galatians 5:13-14

what to do in the absence of concrete, revealed laws. Law (in the sense of objective commandments) is really at the center of godly living, and love is little more than a motivating power necessary for proper commandment keeping. According to this view, it is law that provides the real substance of moral behavior; love merely provides its emotional impetus. By contrast, the Bible itself puts love at the very heart and center of godliness. As we have seen, Jesus explicitly says that “the whole Law and the Prophets” hang on the two love commandments. In another place, He tells us that to “treat others as we want them to treat us” is “the Law and the Prophets”!’1 Paul, likewise, exhorts us to “serve one another through love... for the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’”2 And in Romans 13:8-10, Paul instructs us to “owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law… Love does no wrong to a neighbor; love therefore is the fulfillment of the law.” Surely such verses are meant to convey more than just the idea that love is a necessary motivator or “springboard” for proper law keeping! The fact that some theologians must constantly remind us that these verses are not saying what they appear to be saying, and that law, not love, is central to godly living, ought to cause us to question the validity of their theological perspective.
1 Matthew 7:12 2 Galatians 5:13-14

Since the obligation to love is the very essence and substance of the law, it should be evident from the preceding chapter that love and law are inseparably united. Many theologians, however, give the opposite impression. Because of their desire to guard the concept of “love” from the abuses that it is sure to encounter in a fallen world, they often imply that love is one thing and law is something entirely different. Law is thought of primarily in terms of specific commandments specially revealed by God. Of these, the Ten Commandments of the Mosaic Covenant are often particularly in view. Love, on the other hand, is viewed primarily as a motivating emotion that is dependent on law (the specific commandments of the Bible) to inform it of its duty. It is said that even in the case of Christians, love may want to do what is best for others, but it has no idea

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Reisinger—Continued from page 4

bers are regenerate priests. Let us compare the covenant God made with Abraham and his seed with the covenant he made with the children of Israel at Mount Sinai. In one sense, God’s covenant with Abraham included all of his seed, but in another sense his seed only included Jacob and his children. Ishmael, the father of the Arabs, was just as much a true son of Abraham as was Isaac. Ishmael is called Abraham’s son, and he was circumcised on the same day that Abraham was circumcised. In the selfsame day was Abraham circumcised, and Ishmael his son (Gen. 17:26). Ishmael was promised every specific blessing, except being in the seed line for the Messiah, that Isaac was given. And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation (Gen. 17:20). Ishmael was Abraham’s true son just as much as was Isaac. Ishmael was Abraham’s true physical seed but not his spiritual seed. Scripture is very explicit on this point. As I mentioned, Abraham was not a prophet, a priest or a king. Those three offices were instituted in the nation of Israel and were fulfilled in the church. All three offices are clearly types of Christ. Dispensationalism sees Christ in the priestly work of Aaron, especially in his tabernacle ministry. The Plymouth Brethren have given us some of the most Christ exalting studies in their messages on Aaron’s ministry in and for the church that you will ever read. I have spent many delightful hours with Charles Henry Mackintosh, Ironside and their kinsmen. Likewise, these men have no trouble seeing Moses as “that prophet” as a clear type of Christ fulfilled in the Gospels; however, when they come to the prophets all they can see is the Jews inheriting the land in a future

Dec 2012, Jan 2013 millennium. Israel is not a type of the true people of God in Dispensationalism; they are the true people of God. Dispensationalism believes the church is a parenthesis in God’s eternal purposes. Israel has been likened to a train that has been taken off the main line and placed on a sidetrack. The church is presently on the main track. At the second coming of Christ, the church will be raptured, and the Jews will again be on the main track. At that time God will once again take up special dealings with Israel and will fulfill his promises concerning the promised kingdom. The kingdom promised to Israel in the Old Testament was offered to them by Christ at his first coming, but they rejected him as the promised Messiah. The kingdom was “postponed” until the second coming. One of the synonyms for the word parenthesis is “afterthought’ and another one is “digression.” Dispensationalism sees the purpose of God made known and worked out in his dealings with the nation of Israel. It is believed that our Lord came to establish the Kingdom of God on earth with the Jewish nation being the head of all the nations. Christ would rule on David’s throne. Jerusalem would be the capital of the world. Older dispensationalism believes the temple described in Ezekiel 40–47 will be rebuilt, and both the Aaronic priesthood and the sacrifices will be revived. Early dispensationalism also insisted that there was two New Covenants, one for Israel and one for the church. They believed the New Covenant in Hebrews was made with Israel. If this covenant included the Gentiles, it was felt it would weaken Premillennialism. Progressive Dispensationalism, a recent modification of dispensationalism, insists, on the grounds of Hebrews, that the New Covenant was not only made with Israel, but also included the church. Some dispensationalists, and also some non-dispen-

Issue 193 sationalists, feel that the Progressives are inconsistent and should not call themselves dispensationalists. I do not agree with either the early or the progressive dispensationalists. It is quite clear to me that the New Covenant was not in any sense made with Israel; it was made with the church. It was made with the people for whom Christ died; it was made to replace the Old Covenant; and it was to be remembered by the church in this gospel age (1 Cor. 11:23-26). Jewish believers living in the gospel age are part of the group redeemed body of Christ. Christ is their Prophet; Priest and King, just as he is my Prophet, Priest and King. There is not a Prophet, Priest and King for saved Jews and another Prophet, Priest and King for the church. We simply must understand that when Christ fulfilled the Old Testament promises of the New Covenant, all the distinctions between Jew and Gentile were forever abolished. There was a very clear difference between Jew and Gentile under the Old Covenant, but all of those distinctions are done away in Christ. Two things happened with the coming of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. First, the believing Gentiles, by being baptized into the body of Christ, were raised to a place of absolute equality with the believing Jews (Gal. 3:26-29). Second, the unbelieving Jew was lowered to a place of absolute equality with the “Gentile dog.” There is one story line in the Bible. It begins in Genesis 1:1 with God as Creator. When sin entered the world, the story line announced God’s response and goal. God’s goal was to choose an “election of grace” from among the sinful children of Adam. A coming Redeemer is promised who will undo what Satan did. He is called “the seed of the woman.” The Scripture from Genesis 3:15 sets forth God’s reaching his goal and saving the
Reisinger—Continued on page 16

Issue 193

Dec 2012, Jan 2013

Page 7
produce an effect as powerful as demonstration .The dislike of the objects of the institution, it is to be feared, in many cases, leads people to demand a kind and degree of evidence of which the subject does not admit; and I am afraid harm has been done by persons endeavoring, with the best intentions, doubtless, to meet this unreasonable demand.2

The Cross and the Lord’s Day—Part 1
Steve Carpenter
For many in the reformed tradition the Lord’s Day and the Christian Sabbath are identical. The Lord’s Day is the Christian Sabbath. The position historically known as Sabbatarianism has received a big boost in our day with the revival of Puritan reprints and the Puritan emphasis on the Ten Commandments, especially the Puritan emphasis on the obligation of Sabbath keeping in accordance with the fourth commandment: “Remember the Sabbath to keep it holy.” Furthermore, this view has been enshrined as orthodoxy as it has been hardened into confessional necessity in the Confessions of Faith of the seventeenth century, most notably the Westminster Confession of Faith. Probably no better summary of the Puritan doctrine exists than paragraphs VII and VIII of Chapter XXI of the Westminster Confession of Faith:
As it is of the law of nature, that, in general, a due proportion of time be set aside for the worship of God; so, in his word, by a positive, moral, and perpetual commandment, binding all men in all ages, he hath particularly appointed one day in seven for a Sabbath, to be kept holy unto him: which, from the beginning of the world to the resurrection of Christ, was the last day of the week; and, from the resurrection of Christ, was changed into the first day of the week, which in Scripture is called the Lord’s Day, and is to be continued to the end of the world, as the Christian Sabbath. This Sabbath is then kept holy unto the Lord, when men, after due preparing of their hearts, and ordering of their common affairs before-hand, do not only observe an holy rest all the day from their own works, words, and thoughts about their worldly employments and recreations; but also are taken up the whole time in the publick and private exercises of his worship, and in the duties of necessity and mercy.

The necessity to defend the view that the Lord’s Day is the Christian Sabbath has led to some rather curious statements from exegetes and commentators of all strains as they fall within the Westminster tradition. For example, John Brown, in his commentary on Galatians, has written some tremendous material, and there isn’t anything of all of the reprints that have come from his pen in days past that I don’t have in my library now nor will I have in my library if it is made available. In his commentary on Galatians 4:10: “You observe days and months and seasons and years,” John Brown states,“Under the Christian dispensation, with the exception of the Lord’s Day, all days are alike. God may be worshipped at all times, and in all places.”1 That sounds a little like double talk. That sounds like the pigs in George Orwell’s Animal Farm where all animals are equal, but some are more equal than others. John Brown adds, “The phrase ‘days’ probably refers to the Jewish Sabbath…” Then he has a footnote:
Under the Christian dispensation the first day of the week is divinely appropriated for religious purposes, and that this is in reality the form in which the principle embodied in the Sabbath from the beginning is exhibited under this dispensation, are principles capable, I apprehend, of complete proof by a ‘conjugation of moral probabilities,’ which on a fair mind, is fitted to 1 John Brown, Galatians: A Geneva Series Commentary (Carlisle,PA0: Banner of Truth, reprint 2001), 208

Brown, in effect, says that there are two kinds of proof of any statement. There is first of all that proof which can be demonstrated from the text of Scripture itself, and then there is, secondly, a kind of proof that is “a conjugation of moral probabilities”— whatever that is. Brown says about this conjugation of moral probabilities that this is proof enough for a fair mind; therefore, if someone doesn’t submit to the conjugation of moral probabilities, the implication is that he is very unfair. That is in spite of the fact that it does not have the weight of exegetical verification. Brown was an exegete, and with his keen sense as an exegete he recognized that there was no exegetical evidence for identifying the fourth commandment of the Decalogue with the Lord’s Day of Revelation 1:10. He recognized what some of the rabbis in Jewish tradition, as it is reflected in the Mishnah, said about the Sabbath. “Some rules governing the Sabbath,” they say, “are as scantily supported in Scripture as mountains hanging by a hair.” That was precisely what Brown’s position was on identifying the Lord’s Day in the Christian Sabbath. He concludes that harm has been done in endeavoring to produce, from the text, evidence that the seventh day was the Jewish Sabbath, and the first day of the week is the Christian Sabbath; therefore, the term Sabbath should rightly be used for both days. Brown goes ahead to say such 2 Ibid, 209
Cross-Lord's Day—Continued on page 11

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West—Continued from page 3

(he doesn’t know that he can’t leave, because he never tries the door). Locke asks the big question: if the man chooses not to leave the room on his own, and wants to stay in the room forever, does he make that choice freely? In other words, is the fact that he can’t leave the room relevant to whether or not he is free? If the man could leave the room but chose to stay the libertarian would say he did so freely; how can the man be stripped of his freedom even though the made the exact same decision, just because of the fact (of which he is ignorant) that the door is locked? If you think the man must be just as free and responsible whether the door is locked or not, you have excluded alternative possibilities from being necessary for freedom. You will have to trust me when I say that this simple, initial example of the man in the locked room introduces the principal issue, but is child’s play compared to the intricacy of the scenarios set forth in today’s philosophical literature. A common Frankfurt example involves a man named Jones, a nefarious neurosurgeon named Black, and a voting booth. Jones goes to vote, but unbeknownst to him Black has implanted a device in Jones’s brain that will make Jones vote for the candidate Black wants to see elected. Black can monitor Jones’s brain states, and if he sees Jones about to vote for a different candidate, Black will intervene to ensure Jones votes for the candidate Black selects. Clearly, Jones has only one option: he is going to vote for Black’s candidate no matter what, and so he does not have alternative possibilities when he is in the voting booth. Jones, however, decides to vote for the candidate Black was prepared to force him to vote for, so Black never activates the neurological implant. Even though Jones did not have an alternative possibility for voting in this election, Black’s device played no role whatsoever in Jones’s

Dec 2012, Jan 2013 choice. For all intents and purposes, the device might well have not been there at all. Since there was no interference whatsoever, but Jones did not have alternative possibilities open to him, Frankfurt proponents want their readers to conclude that alternative possibilities are simply not necessary for freedom. Would that it were so simple! A veritable firestorm of controversy ensued from Frankfurt’s work, which continues to rage unabated one generation later (in fact, the temperature of debate is arguably higher now than ever). Objections and counter-objections have flown back and forth. Perhaps the main libertarian objection has been that if there is a previous mental state which determines who Jones is going to vote for, you have smuggled in determinism and excluded libertarianism by definition. Remember, the point of libertarianism is that given the identical past conditions the agent can choose differently, right up to the actual choice itself. If, on this line of reasoning, there is anything in Jones’s brain which provides such a clear signal to Black, we have already posited a deterministic causation, and as such have begged the question. (This line of reasoning has been the subject of counter-objections, naturally enough.) Well, as the debate has gone back and forth ever more intricate and refined Frankfurt-type cases have been propounded. The basic point for all of them is the same, but the refinement has been staggering. Possibly the most compelling such example can be briefly described in the following way. One man has a neurological device planted in his brain, which is not monitored by any agent or computer, but is rather simply set to be triggered in one hour. When this device goes off, it will cause the man to steal his friend’s car. Nothing depends on the man’s state of mind, physical brain physiology, or any other factors. There is absolutely no monitor of any

Issue 193 kind, reading or scanning his brain. Interestingly enough, before the hour has expired the man decides to steal his friend’s car (which he successfully does). There were no alternative possibilities for the man (he was going to steal the car no matter what), but since he stole the vehicle without any interference or manipulation whatsoever, it seems that he acted as freely as anyone ever does in any circumstances. How, the question is asked, can a device which had absolutely zero influence in his actions render him un-free? If we intuit that he was free, since the device played no role, and we also agree that he did not have any real alternatives to stealing the car, it seems that the necessity of alternative possibilities for freedom is false. At a minimum, Frankfurt-cases keep pushing to establish that point with ever increasing rigor. Another way of framing the issue comes from John Martin-Fischer, who distinguishes between what he terms guidance control and regulative control. The illustration he uses involves a car with a broken steering apparatus. You are to imagine that you are driving down a road, and see somewhere you want to pull over. The mechanics of the car are working perfectly, so you execute the maneuver and pull off to the right. Your car could have gone in any direction you chose to steer it, but you decided to steer it to the right. Now, imagine you are driving in your car, and you see the identical spot and you have the identical urge to pull over. You turn the car to the right, and stop exactly where you wanted to end up. What you didn’t know, however, is that the car is mechanically defective, and the steering apparatus is broken. Had you tried to turn to the left instead of the right, the car still would have gone to the right. In other words, the car was going to go where it went, no matter which direction you steered. You obviously
West—Continued on page 18

Issue 193
Leiter—Continued from page 5

that would cause others to stumble.12 Love also tells me not to do those things that even Gentiles (without any special revelation from God) know to be wrong! As we have seen, this includes such things as sexual immorality, homosexuality, unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, envy, strife, deceit, malice, gossip, slander, insolence, arrogance, boasting, invention of evil, disobedience to parents, untrustworthiness, and lack of mercy!,13 Examples such as these could be multiplied. In the words of Paul, “If there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’”14 In short, love does more than impel me to keep the law; love is itself “the fulfillment of the law.”15 SPECIFIC COMMANDMENTS The fact that true love fulfills the law naturally, just by acting according to what it is, does not mean that Christians have no need for concrete commandments. The many instructions, admonitions, and warnings found in the New Testament provide abundant proof that we do! These commandments are necessary because we have not yet fully “become” in practice who we already “are” in our innermost beings. Christians have not yet been fully conformed to the new nature that God has given them or the new desires that He has “written in their hearts.” Because of the “deceitfulness”‘16 of sin, the subtlety of Satan,17 and the remaining corruption of their flesh,18 they are still in desperate need of specific instruction, even in matters that relate directly to the essence of the law. For this guidance, the words and example of Christ
12 13 14 15 16 17 18 Romans 14:15 Romans 1:26-31 Romans 13:9 Romans 13:10 Hebrews 3:13 Genesis 3:1; 2 Corinthians 11:3 Galatians 5:16-21

Dec 2012, Jan 2013 Himself provide the supreme pattern for Christian behavior and define for us what true love is. Christ’s commandments are not “burdensome”19 to the believer. Because the “law of love” has been written on his heart, he finds the ways of his Master to be supremely beautiful, and his delight is in the “law” of his Lord. Christ’s commandments are a joy to his heart, and he is thankful for every one of them as he seeks to grow in grace. The Christian is also thankful for all the other exhortations and commands of the New Testament, as well as the revelation of God’s character and ways given in the Old Testament. God’s word is a lamp to his feet and a light to his path.20 God’s commandments make him wiser than his enemies, and His testimonies give him more insight than all his teachers.21 He treasures God’s word in his heart that he might not sin against Him.22 He follows the example of His Lord by using the “sword of the Spirit” to overcome the wiles of the devil.23 He studies the Bible diligently and tests every teaching and practice by it.24 Because “the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart”25 the Christian relies on its teachings and commandments to test his motives and conduct. In light of the remaining corruption of his flesh, he realizes that when the Bible says something is wrong, he dare not trust his subjective feelings about it. Instead, he asks God to “renew his
19 20 21 22 23 24 25 1 John 5:3 Psalm 119:105 Psalm 119:98-99 Psalm 119:11 Matthew 4:4, 7, 10; Ephesians 6:17 1 Timothy 6:3 Hebrews 4:12

Page 9 mind”26 to know and believe “the truth” that will “set him free”27 from sin’s power. In short, he realizes that “all Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work,”28 and he blesses God for the glorious instructions and encouragements contained in its pages. “NON-ESSENTIAL” COMMANDMENTS The fact that true love fulfills the law naturally, just by acting according to what it is, does not mean, then, that Christians have no need for concrete commandments. In the same way, the fact that all other commandments “hang” on love does not mean that every commandment (whether in the Old Testament or the New) can be logically deduced from love. Some commandments do not directly relate to love or to the essence of the law at all. Circumcision is one example from the Old Testament;29 baptism is an example from the New. These “nonessential” commandments are given by God in His wisdom for particular circumstances and periods of time. Though they are “non-essential” (in the sense that they do not relate directly to the essence of the law), nevertheless, they provide some of the most “essential” tests of Christian obedience! For example, many a new Christian has lost his family, home, and employment as a result of obeying Christ’s command regarding baptism. According to the Lord Jesus, it is obedience to just such commandments that is the evidence of true love for Him. “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments…He who has My commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves Me…If anyone loves
26 27 28 29 Romans 12:1-2; Ephesians 4:20-24 John 8:31-32 2 Timothy 3:16-17 Galatians 5:6
Leiter—Continued on page 10

Page 10 Me, he will keep My word…He who does not love Me does not keep My words…....”30 CONCLUSION Love is not one commandment among many; love is the commandment. Or, to say it another way, love is man’s supreme duty. Love is at the very center of godly living! The goal of our instruction is love!31 Lost men who try to pattern their conduct around “love” will pervert it into something evil. In fact, “law” (in the form of specified prohibitions) was made for such men!32 But Christians who pattern their conduct around love will find themselves unconsciously “fulfilling” the law! Love is the Christian’s supreme duty, encompassing and fulfilling all other duties. Love is also his supreme delight, because the “law of love” has been written within him and the Spirit of love has taken up residence in his heart! Law, in its essence, is nothing more than the obligation to love. And love—acting according to its own nature in the created order where God has placed it—is the fulfillment of the law.
30 John 14:15, 21, 23-24; cf. 1 John 2:3-4 31 1 Timothy 1:5 32 1 Timothy 1:8-11
Leiter—Continued from page 9

Dec 2012, Jan 2013 CHAPTER TWELVE REVIEW Since the obligation to love is the very essence and substance of the law, it should be evident that love and law are inseparably united. Love is more than a motivating power that enables us to keep the law as it should be kept. Instead, true love fulfills the law naturally, just by acting according to what it is. This does not mean that Christians have no need for concrete commandments. Because of the deceitfulness of sin, the subtlety of Satan, and the remaining corruption of their flesh, Christians are still in desperate need of specific instruction, even in matters that relate directly to the essence of the law. There are also some command-

Issue 193 ments that do not directly relate to love or to the essence of the law at all. Circumcision is one example from the Old Testament; baptism is an example from the New. Though these commandments do not directly relate to the essence of the law, they nevertheless provide some of the most “essential” tests of Christian obedience. Love is not one commandment among many; love is the commandment. Love is man’s supreme duty. It is at the very center of godly living. The goal of our instruction is love. Law, in its essence, is nothing more than the obligation to love. And love—acting according to its own nature in the created order where God has placed it—is the fulfillment of the law. 

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Issue 193
Cross-Lord's Day —Continued from page 7

evidence is an unreasonable demand to impose upon the Scriptures. In other words, he is saying that the question of whether the Lord’s Day should be regarded as the Christian Sabbath is a question that ought not to be asked of the text of Scripture. We are simply to believe that on the conjugation of moral probabilities that they are one and the same. The Roman Church defends the validity of the Papacy on something similar to a conjugation of moral probabilities. It was because of such flimsiness that Martin Luther and many of the other Reformers challenged the church, and none in the reformed tradition regrets that challenge. We need to recover sola scriptura. The Scriptures, and the Scriptures alone, are the only valid rule of faith. We don’t know, in spite of how sincere we are, where we stand theologically if we don’t have this principle of sola scriptura. The Philadelphia Confession of Faith has a rather interesting statement at the opening of the Confession with regard to its position on the Holy Scriptures. It begins this way, “The Holy Scripture is the only sufficient, certain, and infallible rule of all saving, knowledge, faith and obedience.” That statement does not appear in the Westminster Confession of Faith. The Westminster Confession of Faith, the Presbyterian confession, does not have anything to say about the sufficiency of the Scriptures .This statement does not appear in the Westminster or Savoy Confessions of Faith. Furthermore, the Philadelphia Confession of Faith adds later in the same chapter this statement: “The whole Council of God is either expressly set down or necessarily contained in the Holy Scripture.” Compare that with the statement at the same position in the Westminster Confession, which says,

Dec 2012, Jan 2013 “The whole Council of God is either expressly set down in Scripture or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture.” You can see the difference between the two statements. What is being affirmed very simply is that because it does not say that the Scriptures are the only sufficient rule of faith, the text of the Westminster Confession enshrines human logic alongside the Scripture as a valid mechanism for the yielding of absolute truth. They say that we may reason by good and necessary consequence. If we may deduce or use deductive reasoning, they have sanctioned the extension of the syllogistic chain. We may reason we may syllogize, and we may extrapolate until we come up with our position, I think that is probably exactly what has happened in the issue historically in baptism. I think we need to recover what is our Baptist distinctive for we, who are Baptist and framers of the London and the Philadelphia Confessions, knew what they were doing in the slight alternation in words. At this point there is probably an observation from the writings of Paul that is appropriate. Paul is very fond of an expression through his writings that in Greek is the expression me genoito. On every occurrence of that expression it’s translated in the King James “God forbid.” It’s translated in the New American Standard “May it never be.” On every occurrence of that word, except in Galatians 6:14, it always carries the thrust of a false conclusion resting on a correct premise. Paul is saying every time he uses the phrase me genoito that our logic, though the logic itself may be correct, can get us into trouble theologically. We can state something that is logically correct but is biblically incorrect. I think that probably that expression from the writings of Paul is appropri-

Page 11 ate for us. It’s appropriate in connection with this historical glance at these Confessions of Faith. Now the interesting thing is that the reformed comment on such texts as Galatians 4:10, the comment from Brown’s commentary, Romans 14:5 which says, “One man regards one day above another,” and Colossians 2:16 which says basically that no one should act as your judge regarding a Sabbath day assume that there is a distinction between a Jewish Sabbath and a Christian Sabbath. An explanation of the text is then given which is based on that extra textual assumption. There is no clearer illustration of begging the question in a textbook on logic than that. That is as neatly a packaged piece of circular reasoning you could possibly have as they are assuming what they are trying to prove. I realize what I am going to be saying is of a polemical nature. The subject is necessarily polemical because of the history of Reformed thought in this area, but I want you to know that I am not trying to say that if you have collected the Puritans in your library that what you should do is go home and have a book burning. I am not saying anything close or akin to that in the least, but what I am saying is that they were men of their times, and we need to examine them by the test of Scripture just as we do Bultmann and Brunner and Barth or anyone else. The time has come for a fresh appraisal. Is the Lord’s Day to be regarded as the Christian Sabbath? In pursuance to this question I would like to engage in a quick survey. We want to look at the Sabbath in the Old Testament, and then we want to look at the Sabbath in the New Testament and bring these examinations to bear on the subject of the Lord’s Day. 

Prejudice is a great time saver. It enables you to form an opinion without bothering to get the facts. Anon

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White—Continued from page 1

not, the entire nation suffered for their actions.3

But changes are coming in the latter days as God promises that he will make a new covenant with his people, 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,” (31:32) clearly referring to the Mosaic covenant. The Lord is very clear here that this will not be a mere renewal. This is going to be something entirely new. Hebrews 7-8 clearly teaches that the new covenant will replace the old covenant. Yahweh promises to put his law within them and write it on their hearts. He will be their God and they shall be his people. It will no longer be a mixed community of some spiritually circumcised and others only physically circum3 Wellum, “Relationship Between the Covenants,” 142; Also see D.A Carson, Showing the Spirit: A Theological Exposition of 1 Corinthians 12-14 (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1987), 151-53; idem, “Evangelicals, Ecumenism and the Church,” in Evangelical Affirmations, ed. Kenneth S. Kantzer and Carl F.H. Henry (Grand Rapids, MI: Academic Books, 1990), 359-63; Thomas R. Schreiner, New Testament Theology: Magnifying God in Christ (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2008), 432.

Dec 2012, Jan 2013 cised (Jer 9:25-26), “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” (31:34). Carson writes, “In short, Jeremiah understood that the new covenant would bring some dramatic changes. The tribal nature of the people of God would end, and the new covenant would bring with it a new emphasis on the distribution of the knowledge of God down to the level of each member of the covenant community.”4 Similarly, Ezekiel prophesies that Yahweh will give his people a new heart and a new spirit. The heart of stone will be removed and replaced with a heart of flesh, and God will put his Spirit within them and cause them to walk in his statutes and be careful to obey his rules (Ezek 36:2627). Moses’ desire that the Lord would put his Spirit on all his people (Num 11:29) will become a reality in the new covenant era. Joel had also prophesied that the Lord would pour out his Spirit on all flesh (Joel 2:28-29). The messianic age would be the age of the Spirit. The enabling power of the Spirit will produce two loyal parties instead of one. The new Israel would be an obedient Israel due to the universal distribution of the Spirit to all members of the covenant
4 Carson, Showing the Spirit, 152.

Issue 193 community, which will include Jews and Gentiles (Jer 33:19; Ezek 36:36, 37:28; Isa 42:6, 49:6, 55:3-5, 56:4-8, 66:18-24). So the new covenant announced in the Old Testament is not only a temporal advance in redemptive history, but also a qualitative and eschatological advance. The new covenant is also radically new in that it will be unbreakable, unlike the old covenant. The new era will be the age of full and final forgiveness. Jeremiah 31:34b says, “For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” Remembering sin was inevitable and unending under the old covenant sacrificial system. Dumbrell writes, “In the context of Jer. 31:34 for God ‘not to remember’ means that no action will need to be taken in the new age against sin.”5 In saying this, Jeremiah anticipates the cessation of the old covenant sacrificial system. Hafemann summarizes well: “The foundation of the covenant is forgiveness; the provision of the covenant is the Spirit; the consequence of the covenant is obedience; the promise of the covenant is to be in God’s presence forever as his faithful people.”6 
5 Dumbrell, The End of the Beginning, 94; idem, Covenant and Creation, 182. 6 Hafemann, Scott J, Second Corinthians in The NIV Application Commentary, ed. Terry Muck, (Grand Rapids, MI, Zondervan, 2000), 136.

Third Command: Do Not Misuse the Name of God.
Popular misunderstanding also exists concerning the third of the Ten Words "You shall not lift up the name of Yahweh your God worthlessly" (Ex. 20:7). . . . the basic import of this instruction is not related to the use of God's name idly in blasphemy, minced oaths, or profanity. This is certainly inappropriate, and respect and reverence for the Divine name is enjoined in Deuteronomy 28:58. The name of God represents and sums up his entire character and person. To use that name brings his person and his power into a particular situation. . . . When we use his name for something that is contrary to who he is, contrary to his character, we lift it up to a lie. . . . Misusing the name of God occurs among Christians today when someone says, "the Lord led me to do such and such a thing," when we know from Scripture that this is not according to the revealed will of God.
Peter J. Gentry and Stephen J Wellum, Kingdom Through Covenant (Wheaton, Crossway, 2012) 336, 337, 338

Issue 193

Dec 2012, Jan 2013

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Under the Elemental Spirits of the World
A. Blake White
The word “under” (hypo) is used frequently in Galatians to refer to the old age. It designates “the old era when the Mosaic covenant was in force.”1 In Galatians, to be under law (3:23) = under sin (3:22) = under a babysitter (3:25) = under guardians and managers (4:2) = under the elemental spirits (stoicheia) of the world (4:3). This last one is the most shocking. The phrase I have translated “elemental spirits” is much disputed. Many commentators take it to mean the physical building blocks of the world, so that to return to the law is to return to live under the basic principles of the world (most likely the case in 2 Peter 3:10, 12). This may be a correct interpretation, but in the end, spiritual forces can’t be excluded. For, unlike the mindset of Enlightenment rationalism, in the mindset of the New Testament the “whole world is under the control of the evil one” (1 John 5:19 NIV). Satan is the “god of this age” (2 Cor 4:4). He is the “prince of this world” (John 12:31). Unbelievers follow “the ruler of the kingdom of the air” (Eph 2:2). There are cosmic powers, spiritual forces of evil over this present darkness (Eph 6:12). So even if the word does refer to the elementary building blocks of the world, demonic forces are still involved. Some object to this interpretation (i.e., elemental sprits or spiritual forces) due to the claim that this terminology is not used outside the Bible until after the second century AD. Although, looking at the usage outside of the New Testament is helpful, it is not decisive. Usage in context is key.2 In Galatians, Paul uses the word
1 Thomas Schreiner, Paul, 321. 2 D.G. Reid, “Elements/Elemental Spirits of the World,” in Dictionary of Paul and His Letters, ed. Gerald F. Hawthorne, et al. (Downers Grove, IL:

in 4:3 and 4:9. In 4:8-10, he writes, “Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods. But now that you know God—or rather are known by God—how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable forces? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again? You are observing special days and months and seasons and years!” This is a shocking statement. Here, Paul lumps together Judaism and paganism. To observe the Jewish Sabbath and festival practices (certainly this is what’s in view) is to return to the elemental spirits of the world.3 The genitive “of the world” (tou kosmou) is important as well. These elemental spirits are characteristic of this world, this age, which he already wrote is evil (Gal 1:4). This present world order belongs to Satan (2 Cor 4:4). We are helped in our understanding of this truth by looking at the book of 1 Corinthians. There, referring to idols, Paul says “For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many ‘gods’ and many ‘lords’)” (8:5). Then in 10:20 he says that these idols are demons: “No, but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God.” So for the Galatians to return to the Jewish calendar is to return to being enslaved to those that are by nature not gods, which is another way of saying being enslaved by the elemental spirits of this present evil age. Clinton Arnold writes, “The passage is best explained if one interprets the stoicheia as demonic powers, equivalent to the expression ‘principalities
InterVarsity Press, 1993), 229. 3 Westerholm, Perspectives, 367; Schreiner, Galatians, 245; Longenecker, Galatians, 182; Meyer, The End of the Law, 174.

and powers.’4 It is important to note that Paul is not calling the law demonic. However, it is demonic to return to the law after Christ’s death and resurrection. Christ is the culmination of the law (Rom 10:4). Its sacrifices are no longer effective. To turn back the clock of redemptive history is to turn to slavery to the powers. If my interpretation is correct, it just reinforces the fact that getting the gospel right is crucial. The indicative must undergird the imperative. Sanctification flows from justification. It is fundamentally demonic to trust in anything but Christ crucified for salvation. This is why John can call those who falsely claim to be Jews the “synagogue of Satan” (Rev 2:9, 3:9). In this regard the principalities and powers, those lords that cannot liberate, can equally plunder the Roman Catholic Church or the overly strict fundamentalist Baptist congregation. The “do this and live” principle (Gal 3:12; Rom 10:5) is everywhere because the main evangelist of this religion is the prince of the power of the air. Only pagans trust in self. In Acts 21:24, the verbal form (stoicheō) is used as “living in obedience to the law.” It refers to “leading a closely regulated life, to living according to definite rules.”5 In Colossae, there
4 Clinton E. Arnold, “Returning to the Domain of the Powers: stoicheia as Evil Spirits in Galatians 4:3, 9,” Novum Testamentum 38, no. 1 (January 1996): 57; idem, Powers of Darkness: Principalities and Powers in Paul’s Letters (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1992), 53, 131-32. 5 Verlyn D. Verbrugge, ed., New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology: Abridged Edition (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2000), 541.
Elemental Spirits—Continued on page 14

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Elemental Spirits—Continued from page 13

Dec 2012, Jan 2013 Sovereignty of God in Providence John G. Reisinger, paperback, 40 pages

Issue 193

were intruders trying to force the Colossians to live a certain way with regard to food, drink, festivals and Sabbaths (Col 2:16). They were insisting on asceticism (Col 2:18). But we have died to the law (Rom 7:4) and have died to the elemental spirits of the world (Col 2:20), and are no longer required to “submit to its rules: Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!” (2:20-21). Verlyn Verbrugge writes, “Thus ‘the basic principles of the world’ cover all the things in which humans place trust apart from the living God revealed in Christ.”6 This perspective is also clear from Philippians 3:2. The Judaizers were very concerned about being ceremonially clean, doing good works, and being circumcised and Paul provocatively calls them dogs (unclean), evil doers (opposite of good), and those who mutilate the flesh (tēn katatōmēn). There is a word play at work here on the word circumcision (peritōmē). He is saying that those who cut themselves thinking this will gain salvation are “like the frenzied prophets of Baal who were frustrated that their god would not answer their pleas” (see 1 Kin 18:28; Lev 19:28, 21:5 LXX).7 Paul tells those who would force Christians to be circumcised that they should go ahead and lop the whole thing off (apokoptō) (Gal 5:12), with the result that they will not be able to enter the church of the Lord (Deut 23:1, 23:2 LXX - apokoptō)! 
6 Ibid. 7 Thielman, Theology of the New Testament, 318.

It is essential to understand and believe the principles set forth in this book to have a biblical understanding of either God himself or the theology of his sovereign grace.

Sovereignty of God and Prayer John G. Reisinger, paperback, 55 pages The author tells us that prayer never makes God my servant to give me everything I think I must have in order to make me happy.

Our Sovereign God John G. Reisinger, paperback, 19 pages In this book, John leads the reader into an in-depth understanding of what is meant by and what are the benefits of understanding the truth that our God is sovereign.

These books and others are available--see page 17.

The Sundial
Donald Grey Barnhouse
The conscience may be likened to a sundial that is made from the sun, even as the conscience, rightly directed, reflects God’s will. Suppose a sundial is consulted by moonlight—the dial may read ten o’clock, but it may be only two. By a candle or some other light, the dial may be made to tell any hour, at the whim of the one who holds the light. Conscience … can be a safe guide only if it is turned toward God for His illumination. Once a man turns away his conscience from God and lets some other light shine upon it, his conscience is no longer reliable.
Donald Grey Barnhouse, Let Me Illustrate (Grand Rapids, Fleming H. Revell, 1967) 81

White—Continued from page 12

Issue 193 That is the subject being discussed by many of the political pundits on television, radio and in newsprint. All kinds of reasons are being given to explain why Romney lost the election and Obama won the election. Most evangelical Christians (I am one of them) are very disappointed that Obama won. They feel, with much justification, that our nation will never be the same. I want to add my two cents worth to the many words of wisdom or ignorance as the case may be. Let me begin by reframing the question. Instead of asking what happened on election day, let’s ask, “What DID NOT happen?” One: Obama and the Democrats did not outflank God! God’s ultimate sovereign purpose was not in any way frustrated, hindered, delayed or changed. There was not an emergency meeting in heaven the next morning to discuss damage control and the best way to spin the situation. God’s sovereign throne did not shake or wobble. The heavenly communications director, if there is one, reported on Wednesday morning, “Everything went exactly as scheduled on election day. All that was ordained came to pass without a single hitch.” A lot of people did not like at all what God had ordained, but if their theology was correct they would have bowed their heads in worship and said, “And so it seemed good in his sight.” Nothing happened on election day that should shake a Christian’s faith. We must remember God’s hand is involved in controlling all things. God is just as much responsible for sending the flood in judgment as he is in sending the Holy Spirit in blessing on the Day of Pentecost. Two: What is bad or good for America is not at all necessarily bad or good for the sovereign purpose and program of God. I am not a prophet or the son of a prophet, but in my limited knowledge of how God deals with nations, the message for

Dec 2012, Jan 2013

Page 15

What Happened on November 6, 2012?
John G. Reisinger
America on Tuesday, November 6, was “fasten your seat belt because we are going to have a rough ride.” The first mark of God’s judgment is to give a nation ungodly leaders. That is a scary prognosis for our country. You may discuss and dissect who is responsible for Obama’s win and Romney’s loss, but in the end you must believe it was God who put Obama in the White House—and he did not do that to reward Obama for any merit on his part. Scripture says, “John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven.” (John 2:37) That “receive nothing” includes a political office; yes, even the presidency of the United States. That means God put Obama in the White House. From a human point of view that was a disaster, but it was good in God’s sight because it furthered his sovereign purpose. We certainly do not understand and may not like his sovereign purpose, but we make a tragic mistake if we try to fight against it. Knowing and believing that it is God’s sovereign purpose that Obama is in the White House, what should be the Christian’s attitude about what happened on Tuesday, November 6, 2012? This is not the time for either utter despair or false optimism. It is a time to realize that our only hope as a nation is a genuine revival. We have lost the authority of the Constitution, the authority of history, the authority of Scripture and the authority of common sense. We are a nation consciously committed to secular humanism. We have lost all love and respect for a godly heritage. The foundations upon which our nation was built have been consciously and systematically destroyed. We have totally denied any and all authority and “every man does that which is right in his own eyes.” The events of election day is God’s response. I wonder if those awful words in Roman 1, “and God gave them up” have yet been written across our page? Our generation has never seen a genuine revival. We have read about times of God’s visits in power and culture-shaking transformation, but we have never experienced that spiritual phenomenon first hand. In the past, Christian societies that had fallen asleep were sometimes spiritually awakened and revived by God blessing great preaching under a Wesley, a Whitfield or a Luther. America is in far worse spiritual shape than it was at the time those men ministered. Our society is not spiritually asleep, but it needs more than a good shaking to wake her up and return her to her first love. America is not asleep, but she is dead drunk and deeply in love with her drunken debauchery in sin. Her spiritual condition defies definition. A true Holy Spirit revival is her only hope. I sincerely would love to say that I see signs of the possibility of such a revival, but I would be giving a false hope. I see no evidence at all that the general population, especially the political segment, has any interest in even considering that the gospel of our forefathers just might have some help for our miserable condition. Instead, I see the gospel being openly attacked as the cause of many of our problems. As I was thinking about this, it occurred to me that I had two choices from which to vote for a president. The one was a political socialist, and the other was a Mormon. Just how ‘Christian’ can a society be that cannot at least field a Christian as a candidate for president? I voted without
November 6?—Continued on page 18

Page 16
Reisinger—Continued from page 6

sinners he sovereignly chose. The story line tells of a man named Abraham being sovereignly called by God to be the father of the seed line that will finally bring forth the promised seed of the woman. Abraham’s great grandchildren, the children of Jacob, wind up in Egypt in slavery to Pharaoh and the Egyptians. God remembers his covenant with Abraham and sends a man named Moses to deliver the sons of Jacob from their bondage to the Egyptians. At this point the story line4on the surface seems to either end or be put on the shelf temporally, and a new story line seems to begin. In this case, the appearance is wrong. God enters into a special and specific covenant at Sinai. The terms of this covenant made at Sinai with Moses as the Mediator was different in nature from the covenant made with Abraham. The children of Israel become a theocratic nation and are promised that if they
4 John R.W. Stott, The Message of Galatians, (Leicester ,England: InterVarsity Press, 1968), 86-87. The passages from Luther which Stott quotes are from Luther’s Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians published by James Clark.

Dec 2012, Jan 2013 will obey his covenant made with them at Sinai, they would receive the following blessings. They would be a “peculiar treasure,” ”kingdom of priests” and a “holy nation.” When the people are confronted with the covenant terms, they unanimously agree to keep the covenant terms.
5 Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine:6 And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.7 And Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before their faces all these words which the Lord commanded him.8 And all the people answered together, and said, All that the Lord hath spoken we will do. And Moses returned the words of the people unto the Lord. (Ex. 19:58)

How radically different are the terms of the covenant made with Israel at Sinai and the covenant made with Abraham. John Stott has given an excellent summary of the difference between the religion of Abraham and the religion of Moses.
God’s dealings with Abraham and Moses were based on two different principles. To Abraham He gave a

promise (‘I will show you a land … I will bless you …’, Gen. 12:1- 2). But to Moses he gave the law, summarized in the Ten Commandments. ‘These two things (as I do often repeat),’ comments Luther, ‘to wit, the law and the promise, must be diligently distinguished. For in time, in place, and in person, and generally in all other circumstances, they are separate as far asunder as heaven and earth …’ Again, ‘unless the Gospel be plainly discerned from the law, the true Christian doctrine cannot be kept sound and uncorrupt.’ What is the difference between them? In the promise to Abraham God said, ‘I will … I will … I will’. But in the law of Moses God said, ‘Thou shalt … thou shalt not …’. The promise sets forth a religion of God −God’s plan, God’s grace, God’s initiative. But the law sets forth a religion of man–man’s duty, man’s works, and man’s responsibility. The promise (standing for the grace of God) had only to be believed. But the law (standing for the works of men) had to be obeyed. God’s dealings with Abraham were in the category of ‘promise,’ ‘grace’ and ‘faith’. But God’s dealing with Moses was in the category of ‘law,’ ‘commandments’ and ‘works.’ 4

Issue 193

We have been insisting there is only one story line and one ultimate goal of redemption in Scripture, and now we are saying the religion of MoReisinger—Continued on page 18

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Issue 193

Dec 2012, Jan 2013

Page 17

TITLE Abide in Him: A Theological Interpretation of John's First Letter — White Abraham’s Four Seeds—Reisinger The Believer’s Sabbath—Reisinger Biblical Law and Ethics: Absolute and Covenantal— Long But I Say Unto You —Reisinger Chosen in Eternity —Reisinger Christ, Lord and Lawgiver Over the Church —Reisinger The Christian and The Sabbath—Wells Continuity and Discontinuity —Reisinger Definite Atonement —Long The Doctrine of Baptism—Sasser Full Bellies and Empty Hearts—Autio Galatians: A Theological Interpretation—White Grace —Reisinger The Grace of Our Sovereign God—Reisinger Hermeneutical Flaws of Dispensationalism—George In Defense of Jesus, the New Lawgiver —Reisinger Is John G. Reisinger an Antinomian?—Wells John Bunyan on the Sabbath—Reisinger Jonathan Edwards on Biblical Hermeneutics and the “Covenant of Grace”—Gilliland La Soberanía de Dios en la Providencia— John G. Reisinger The Law of Christ: A Theological Proposal—White Limited Atonement—Reisinger Ministry of Grace Essays in Honor of John G. Reisinger —Steve West, Editor The New Birth— Reisinger The New Covenant and New Covenant Theology —Zaspel New Covenant Theology —Wells & Zaspel The Newness of the New Covenant—White The New Perspective on Justification —West The Obedience of Christ—Van Court Our Sovereign God— Reisinger Perseverance of the Saints— Reisinger The Priority of Jesus Christ—Wells A Prisoner’s Christianity —Woodrow Saving the Saving Gospel—West Sinners, Jesus Will Receive —Payne Studies in Galatians—Reisinger Studies in Ecclesiastes—Reisinger Tablets of Stone —Reisinger The Sovereignty of God and Prayer —Reisinger The Sovereignty of God in Providence — Reisinger Total Depravity — Reisinger Union with Christ: Last Adam and Seed of Abraham —White What is the Christian Faith?— Reisinger What is New Covenant Theology? An Introduction—White When Should a Christian Leave a Church?—Reisinger LIST $13.95 $10.95 $3.75 $15.75 $10.95 $5.50 $2.50 $11.99 $12.95 $10.95 $3.50 $14.99 $15.95 $13.95 $19.99 $10.75 $23.95 $4.25 $3.00 $3.95 $7.50 $14.95 $7.00 $14.85 $5.50 $11.99 $19.95 $12.99 $9.99 $2.50 $4.45 $6.00 $11.95 $12.99 $12.99 $9.99 $19.99 $19.99 $10.95 $5.75 $4.45 $5.00 $11.95 $2.50 $12.99 $3.75 SALE $11.16 $8.76 $3.00 $12.60 $8.68 $4.40 $2.00 $9.59 10.36 $8.76 $2.80 $12.00 $12.76 $11.16 $16.00 $8.60 $15.95 $3.40 $2.80 $3.16 QTY COST

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Page 18 ses and the religion of Abraham are different. The nature of the Abrahamic covenant and the nature of the Mosaic covenant are indeed radically different, but both covenants serve the same goal and are part of the same story line. Israel’s brash response of assurance that they could keep the terms of the covenant given at Sinai shows how self-righteous they were. They should have said, “Lord, that is a good and fair covenant, and you have every right to demand its terms of perfect obedience. However, you know and we know that we cannot keep those terms, and we will be dead before the sun goes down.” The Mosaic covenant was designed by God to kill all hope of salvation by works and push the sinner to faith in the faith/grace covenant made with Abraham. The Abrahamic covenant was permanent, and the Mosaic covenant was temporary. The law was in force “until the seed of Abraham, the Messiah, came” (Gal 3:19). The dispensationalist is correct in asserting that there is a parenthesis in Scripture. They just have the parenthesis around the wrong time, wrong place and wrong people. The nation of Israel is the parenthesis- “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets …” (Heb. 1:1). In contrast the nature of the church is not parenthetical, “but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son” (Heb. 1:2) and, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him” [for he is a prophet superior to Moses and Elijah] (Matt.17:5b). 
Reisinger—Continued from page 16

Dec 2012, Jan 2013
West—Continued from page 8

had no alternative possibilities for the direction the car went, but it still went exactly where you wanted it to go, and you chose to steer it there. Since you had the same motive, thoughts, and actions, which caused the same result in both cases, what does it matter whether you had alternative possibilities? What relevance does the broken steering have to your guidance of the car? What difference does it make to your free choice in the matter whether or not you could have done something different than you wanted to do? Theologically, these kinds of issues are relevant to the doctrines of God’s sovereignty, predestination, and our freedom and responsibility. What if God ordains the future in such a way that we do not have alternative possibilities, but rather we will do exactly what he decreed in each situation in which we find ourselves? Does the very fact that the future can only be one way, the way God decreed, mean by itself that we never act freely, or that we are never responsible? If there is any merit to the Frankfurttype cases sketched above, the answer would have to be ‘no’. Even if there is only one ordained future that does not by itself rule out human freedom and responsibility. It should also be clear that God is more intelligent than our best imaginary neuroscientists, and more powerful than our most advanced makebelief neurological implants. As such, his abilities to control the future while leaving us as freely acting agents far outstrip our clumsy thought experiments about the relationship between

Issue 193 freedom and the fixity of the future. At this point, one implication for biblical studies emerges. If the Bible teaches that God ordains whatsoever comes to pass, and that the future will unfold just the way he desires, this one determined future does not have to destroy human freedom. And, in a debate which has spanned the centuries, it is worth noting that the insistence that humans determine the future themselves (i.e. humans have alternative possibilities) or else they are not free simply fails. It is not true. Furthermore, since it seems that the Bible does in fact teach comprehensive sovereignty and full human responsibility, it is nice to see one of the ways these two truths are compatible. 

November 6?—Continued from page 15

hesitation for Romney because he was beyond question a better man for the job than Obama. God caused Obama to be elected because he had other purposes than my desires. Apparently God’s reasons for putting Obama into the White House were much better than my reasons for wanting to keep him out. My final word to the saints is Habakkuk 2:20. “The Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him.” If you have trouble understanding that text, it means, “keep your mouth shut and worship”—regardless of who is elected president. It means, “Take heart child of God, He has the whole world in His hands.” 

At one level, doubtless God approves childlike praise and enthusiastic zeal. But he expects those with authority among his people to know what his Word says and obey it. No amount of enthusiasm and zeal can ever hope to make up for this lack. Zeal that is heading in the wrong direction never reaches the goal. It must either be redirected in the direction staked out in God's Word, or however enthusiastic, it is still wrong-headed and misdirected. There is no substitute for faith working itself out in informed obedience. D.A Carson, For the Love of God, Volume One (Crossway, Wheaton, Ill, 1998) devotion for Nov 20

Issue 193

Dec 2012, Jan 2013

Page 19

When is Premillennialism not Premillennialism?
A. Blake White
I recently had the privilege of attending Criswell College’s conference on the millennium called “Future Kingdom.” The title of the conference shows the host’s cards right off the bat. Add to that, three of the six presenters were espousing some form of premillennialism. I drove down to Dallas because of who they brought to speak. One couldn’t ask for much better representatives for each position. Blomberg, Blaising, and House for premillennialism, Beale for amillennialism, and Gentry for postmillennialism. Hats off to Criswell for bringing in the “big guns.” Anyway, I have noticed on more than one occasion lately Dispensationalists simply calling themselves “premillennialists.” I am calling all Dispensationalists to academic honesty here. It is not true that “Premillennialism is premillennialism.” The fact that Criswell invited three different “brands” of premillennialism demonstrates this fact. One’s particular view of the millennium is not that important to me. What is important for me is one’s underlying biblical-theological system. In other words, I am concerned with the foundational hermeneutic that leads to a particular view of the millennium. In this regard, there can be a world of difference between two premillennialists. For example, consider a Covenant Theologian who believes that Israel = the church and the church = Israel, and that Christ is currently reigning on the throne in heaven as Davidic King, but happens to believe that one section of one chapter in the Bible teaches a “literal” one thousand year reign. This thousand years has nothing to do with Judaism or Jerusalem. It is just a one thousand year interim time before the eternal state. On the other hand, consider a staunch Dispensationalist who not only believes that that one section of one chapter of the Bible teaches a “literal” one thousand year reign, but also believes there must be a millennium because it is during this time that Christ will finally reign as Davidic King and God will fulfill his promises to ancient Israel once the parenthetical church age is over. I hope it is clear that these are two very different versions of premillennialism. One is an expression of “classical” or “historic” premillennialism while the other is clearly dispensational premillennialism. A historical example of this is the way Charles Ryrie (a dispensational premillennialist) treats George Ladd’s work (a historic premillennialist). Clearly they are not on the same “eschatological team.” Dr. Blomberg (a historic premillennialist) mentioned that he wants to leave “Left Behind” behind. Interestingly, Ryrie thinks that “Progressive Dispensationalism” is guilty of drinking too deeply from the Ladd well. The hermeneutic of classical premillennialism and amillennialism are often very close. They “put the Bible together” in a very similar way, but just happen to read one section of one chapter differently (which – admittedly – is usually rooted in reading the whole book differently, but not always). The only major difference is their exegesis of Revelation 20. Take, for example, classical or historic premillennialists like Doug Moo, Don Carson, and Tom Schreiner. Their hermeneutic is very similar to that of Greg Beale, Kim Riddlebarger, and Anthony Hoekema. One cannot say the same for Charles Ryrie, John Walvoord, or Darrell Bock. Their millennium is distinctly Jewish and is tied to their reading of other passages. Indeed, it is necessitated by their biblical-theological system. So when someone says they are premillennial, I always ask, “What kind?” If you are dispensational, please do us all a favor and don’t merely call yourself a “premillennialist”; be honest. You hold to dispensational premillennialism. There is a difference. 

What is New Covenant Theology? An Introduction A Blake White
“Blake White has written a wonderfully accessible primer on new covenant theology… This is the ideal book to give to someone who wants a brief and convincing exposition of new covenant thought. I recommend this work gladly.” Thomas R. Schreiner, James Buchanan Harrison Professor of New Testament Interpretation, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary “In a very readable, accurate, and succinct manner, Blake White covers the basics of New Covenant Theology… I highly recommend this work for those who want to know more about NCT, for those who want to think through how "to put the Bible together," and mostly for those who want to rejoice in Jesus Christ our Lord, our glorious mediator and head of the new covenant.” Stephen J. Wellum, Professor of Christian Theology, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary


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Christ's Love-Letters
Charles Spurgeon
"The Scriptures point to Me!" John 5:39 Jesus Christ is the Alpha and Omega of the Bible. He is the constant theme of its sacred pages; from first to last—they testify of Him! We catch a glimpse of Him in the promise of the woman's seed; we see Him typified in the ark of Noah; we walk with Abraham, as He sees Messiah's day; we dwell in the tents of Isaac and Jacob, feeding upon the gracious promise; we hear the venerable Israel talking of the coming Shiloh; and in the numerous types of the law, we find the Redeemer abundantly foreshadowed. Prophets and kings, priests and preachers, all look one way—they all stand as the cherubim did over the ark— desiring to look within, and to read the mystery of God's great atoning sacrifice! Still more manifestly in the New Testament we find our Lord—the one pervading subject. It is not a single gem here and there, or dust of gold thinly scattered—but here you stand upon a solid floor of gold; for the whole substance of the New Testament is Jesus crucified, and even its closing sentence is bejewelled with the Redeemer's name! We should always read Scripture in this light—we should consider the Word to be as a mirror, into which Christ looks down from heaven. And then we, looking into it, see His face reflected as in a mirror—darkly, it is true— but still in such a way as to be a blessed preparation for seeing Him—as we shall see Him face to face! This volume contains Christ's love-letters to us, perfumed by His love. These pages are the garments of our King, and they all smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia. Scripture is the royal chariot in which Jesus rides, and it is paved with love for His children. The Scriptures are the swaddling bands of the holy child Jesus—unroll them and you find your Savior! The quintessence of the Word of God—is Christ!

Courtesy of Grace Gems: www.GraceGems.org

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