Thursday, January 6, 2011

An Analysis of the Covenant of Redemption 3

III. The Existence of the Covenant of Redemption Scripturally Verified

Flavel's sermon, not to mention my post from a few days ago, more than amply demonstrate that there was such a covenant made between the Father and the Lord Jesus. But lest that evidence seem lacking, I wish to elicit more Scriptural proof before proceeding with the subject. We can further verify this covenant between the Father and the Son on behalf of the elect as follows:

First, in Psalm 89:28, 34 it is recorded, “My mercy will I keep for Him for evermore, and My covenant shall stand fast with Him. My covenant will I not break.” It is clear that the covenant between God the Father and the Lord Jesus is being spoken of here. It is a known fact that the Psalms contain many references to the Lord Jesus, and that David in many respects was a type of Christ. In fact, Christ is referred to as David in Hosea 3:5. In this Psalm, David is mentioned, and the Lord Jesus Christ as He is typified by David.

I say that this Psalm also refers to the Lord Jesus, because:

(1) Everything recorded recorded up to verse 37 applies most eminently to the Lord Jesus. Other passages call Him the Elect of God (Ps 89:3; Isa 42:1), the Holy One of God (vs. 19; Luke 1:35), One that is mighty (vs. 19; Ps 45:8), the Anointed One who was anointed with oil (vs. 20; Ps 45:8), the firstborn of God (vs. 27; Heb 1:6), the King of kings (vs. 27; Rev 19:16), One whose kingdom extends over the entire earth (vs. 25; Ps 72:8), and One whose kingdom will endure as long as the sun and moon will be (vss. 36-37; Ps 72:5).

(2) Furthermore, not everything in this psalm applies to David, such as being the firstborn Son of God (vs. 27), being the King of kings (vs. 27), and possessor of an eternal kingdom (vs. 36). Whatever is recorded here that can be applied to David can only apply in an extremely limited sense. It is only to Christ that these descriptions can be adequately ascribed.

(3) The last part of the psalm, beginning with verse 38, presents us with a contrast between David’s kingdom and the Messiah's. This contrast points out especially the fact that Christ's kingdom will extend over the entire earth and endure as long as the sun and the moon. David's kingdom, on the other hand, would come to an end.

(4) There is no doubt that verses 26-37 and 2 Samuel 7:12-16 refer to the exact same historical event. The subject matter is identical. Yet, the New Testament explicitly and expressly applies the words of 2 Samuel 7 to Christ (cf. Acts 13:22; Heb 1:5). Therefore the same must hold true for verses 26-37 of this psalm.

When we take all of this into consideration we see the following: The Psalms often refer to Christ, and David is often a type of Christ in the Psalms. Everything in this Psalm applies eminently to Christ, but not everything applies to David. Indeed, David's and Christ's kingdoms are contrasted in verses 25-36. Christ is said to have an everlasting kingdom, while David's, according to vs. 38, would be destroyed. Therefore, it is abundantly clear that Christ is mentioned here and He is said to be in a covenant engagement with the Lord, and thus it is evident that there is a covenant between the Lord and Christ.

We have already mentioned Zechariah 6:12-13, but perhaps some further remarks are appropriate. Some have argued that the "two" refer to Jews and Gentiles, or to the two offices of Christ as priest and king. It seems to me that both views can be easily dispatched with.

First of all, we can't understand "both" to be referring to Jews and Gentiles because, although both are included in the New Testament Church, not the least mention is made here of either of them. We cannot legitimately or with any warrant whatsoever insert the idea here. The pronoun "them" must refer to the two who were previously mentioned. Those two are none other than God and the Branch.

Neither should we understand "both" to be a reference to the two offices of Christ, viz., priest and king. It is true that these two offices were not united in one person in Israel. A king was neither permitted to be a priest, nor a priest to be a king. Judah and Levi and their respective offices had to remain distinct. However, in Jesus they coalesce in one person. Indeed these two offices coalesce in the execution of His mediatorial office. But we still may not therefore conclude from this text that the reference is to these two offices.

There are several reasons why this cannot be true:

(1) Christ is one Person, and there is mention of two.
(2) There is no reference here to two offices, but merely to “being a priest” and “ruling.”
(3) Christ has three offices and all three function in unison for building the Lord’s temple. Therefore, if the reference was meant to apply to His offices, it should say, "between these three.”
(4) There can be no mutual consultation between offices since this as this is the activity of persons. Such consultation occurred instead between individuals who held the three Old Testament offices. Hence we should not understand the reference to be to the office of priest and king.
It is plain therefore when we look at the text that "them both" refers to God and the Branch. The text says, "Thus, speaketh the Lord of hosts ... the BRANCH ... He shall build the temple of the Lord.” This is the Messiah's work. He who will build the Lord’s temple, that is His congregation, will be endowed with the necessary qualifications: to rule and to be a priest. This tells us that rulership and priesthood are descriptive of the Branch who would accomplish this work, which further reinforces our contention that the reference is not to offices. He, the Branch, will be engaged in the Lord’s work to which He had been commissioned, which is nothing other than the building of the Lord’s temple. This required mutual understanding and consent as well as consultation, counsel, and wisdom. Thus the Father and the Son agreed to promote the peace of the elect. Not only so, but they further agreed about the manner of execution, that is, it would be accomplished by the Prince of Peace, the Branch, who had the necessary qualifications.

As we stated before, Luke 22:29 says, “And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as My Father hath appointed unto Me.” It does not say (horizo), nor (diatatto), but (diatithemai). This word means as much as to promise something to someone by way of testament or covenant. From this word diatheke is derived, which means “testament” or “covenant.” Thus, the verb “to appoint” includes the idea of covenant, and by virtue of this covenant He would receive the kingdom. Of course, this is explicitly taught in Galatian 3:16-17, where it says, “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ,” etc. Here we have the covenant, the promises, and the fact that these have been made to Christ, as well as the fact that this covenant has been confirmed in Christ. Therefore, there is a covenant between God and Christ.

Next much of the language of Scripture implies such a covenant. For instance “My God,” and “My Servant.” That was the promise of the covenant. “And (I) will be their God, and they shall be My people” (Jer 31:33); “... My servants ...” (Isa 65:13-14). Members of the covenant, by virtue of the covenant, call God their God (Deut 26:17-18). The Lord Jesus mad frequent use of the same manner of speech: My God, My Father. “I ascend unto My Father, and your Father; and to My God, and your God” (John 20:17).

This covenant is further implied by the fact that Christ is clearly called “surety” in both the Old and the New Testaments. Think of Hebrews 7:22, where it is stated, “By so much was Jesus made a Surety of a better testament.” No one can be a surety unless there is a contract and a covenant between the creditor and the surety of the debtor. The creditor must be satisfied with, and consent to the fact that such and such a person will function as the surety. The surety must obligate himself to the creditor to pay the debt. Since the Lord Jesus has become Surety by virtue of mutual consent and approval, this shows that there is a covenant between God and Christ.

Even further, we might point out that whenever have conditions, commands, promises and sacraments on one hand, and then on the other hand we have consent and acceptance of conditions and promises, satisfaction of the conditions, and a demand for the promised benefits upon satisfaction of the conditions, we have incontrovertible reference to a covenant. All of this exists between God and Christ, thus demonstrating that there is a covenant between.

This is what I will attempt to demonstrate in the next few posts. We will do this, not simply to prove this doctrine, but to describe the nature of this covenant.

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