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WHI-1068 | The New Covenant

Posted by on in 2011 Show Archive
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Over five hundred years before the time of Christ, Jeremiah prophesied that the days would come when God would "make a new covenant with the house of Israel" (Jer. 31:31). So how is this new covenant fulfilled in Jesus' life and sacrificial death? How is it different from the old covenant received by Moses on Mount Sinai? Is it true that before Christ the Old Testament saints were really saved by works? On this edition of the program, the hosts will discuss these questions as they walk through Hebrews 8-10. White Horse Inn: Know what you believe and why you believe it.

Over five hundred years before the time of Christ, Jeremiah prophesied that the days would come when God would "make a new covenant with the house of Israel" (Jer. 31:31). So how is this new covenant fulfilled in Jesus' life and sacrificial death? How is it different from the old covenant received by Moses on Mount Sinai? Is it true that before Christ the Old Testament saints were really saved by works? On this edition of the program, the hosts will discuss these questions as they walk through Hebrews 8-10. White Horse Inn: Know what you believe and why you believe it.




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[audio:http://www.whitehorseinn.org/whiarchives/2011whi1068sep25.mp3|titles=WHI 1068|artists=White Horse Inn]


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  • [...] White Horse Inn WHI-1068 | The New Covenant September 25, 2011 WHI AdminChristianity.com Video 11 – Religious or Spiritual vs. Gospel-Focused [...]

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  • [...] Something that sort of fits, a session with Albert Mohler on his Thinking In Public podcast entitled Christianity and Worldview on the Geopolitical Stage: A Conversation with Walter Russell Mead And another is Peter Leitharts Defending Constantine to which Ive referred a little before. And the White Horse Inn gang on The New Covenant [...]

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  • In this broadcast, it was mentioned at least twice, that, the New Covenant isn't "NEW" but "NEWER". Such a distinction makes Jesus to have inaugurated a new covenant that's merely a refreshed understanding of the old covenant, rather than a new one that supplants an old one (Heb.8.13).

    Mr. Riddlebarger made reference to both of the Greek terms for "NEW", emphasizing one (kainos) and not the other (neos). This seems to miss that both apply to the New Covenant (see Heb.8.8; 12:24), making this covenant both new in quantity (recent) and quality (fresh), not merely NEWER as stated.

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  • [...] this broadcast (White Horse Inn: The New Covenant), it was mentioned at least twice, that, the New Covenant isnt “NEW” but “NEWER”. [...]

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  • I appreciate the podcast, but felt not all the issues were dealt with. I've read and listened to numerous perspectives on this, but I don't feel that any perspective tends to answer the tough questions.

    About the old covenant being made obsolete ("By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete;"): The author of Hebrews says that God made the old covenant obsolete by calling another covenant "new". God said that to Jeremiah hundreds of years earlier. Had the covenant already been obsolete long before Christ?

    The text also says that "what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear." (NIV) or "what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away" (ESV). In both cases, there's a future sense. The ESV translation is such that it isn't even obsolete yet. If it hadn't disappeared when this was penned, are we saying that this happened when the temple was destroyed, thus making an argument from silence in the biblical text since this isn't mentioned? What would it mean for it to still be present and obsolete at the same time?

    The prophecy quoted in Hebrews 8 says the covenant will be made with the descendants of those the Mosaic covenant was made with ("I will establish a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, 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."). Is the covenant in Christ's blood the new covenant spoken of here? Is the covenant in Christ's blood only made with the descendants of the disobedient Exodus Israelites?

    The Old Testament quote also says that when the mentioned covenant comes, "No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest." If the covenant spoken of here was instituted by Christ, it seems this promise was not fulfilled - the Biblical text is full of exhortations to be teaching each other to know God, and the existence of White Horse Inn is a testimony to the fact that we still have to be teaching our neighbors, and not everyone from least to greatest knows God.

    To say the covenant quoted about in Hebrews 8 is the covenant Jesus instituted in his blood is to say that Jesus' covenant was between God and the descendants of the Israelite that came out of Egypt, and that all of them knows God and don't need to be encouraged to know God.

    This doesn't seem to fit. This seems to be speaking about a new covenant with physical Israel. If it's "figurative" or "spiritual" Israel, meaning Christians, then the text would be saying that Christians are the spiritual descendants of the covenant-breaking Exodus Israelites? And Christians don't need to be taught to know God?

    Adding complication to this is that the Jerusalem Council in Acts determined that Gentile Christians were to be considered "righteous gentiles," and were to follow the commands in the Adamic and Noahic covenants to participate in the Abrahamic and New covenants, but were not part of the audience of the Mosaic covenant, so they didn't have to follow those laws. There was never a council about whether the descendants of the Exodus Israelites were to follow the laws, and only the gentiles were declared exempt from the laws of that covenant.

    Jesus and the apostles never seem to have considered themselves exempt from the laws written in the covenant God made with Moses and the people. (They did consider themselves exempt from the oral laws, such as the prohibition against eating with gentiles for example.)

    I think we have a tendency to think that the Mosaic covenant is in irreconcilable conflict with the covenant that Jesus instituted, but that covenant promised health, land, and lots of vegetables for following the laws, both internal (don't hold grudges) and external (don't eat bats). The covenant in Christ promises eternal life for trusting in Christ.

    There doesn't seem to be a great conflict unless we adopt the Pharisees' interpretation of the OT law, that it was merely about outward actions (wrong, see Leviticus 19), and that it was about earning eternal salvation (still wrong, as salvation always came by faith which we know since Abraham was righteous by faith before the Mosaic covenant).

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  • The excellent quote or paraphrase of a quote attributed to Calvin around 28-29 minutes into the free version of the podcast - "until our consciences are satisfied and convinced that God is favorable toward us we will not even perform any works that are not displeasing to God. Because they'll always be performed from a motive of a fear of punishment or hope of rewards."

    I am having trouble locating this. Can someone help?

    I am sure he said something like it but the closest I found is William Romaine ‎"There can be neither a true motive nor an energizing power to “be holy as he is holy” until the conscience is set free by totally accepting the satisfaction to the law Christ rendered in our place—as our substitute."

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  • [...] The New Covenant on The White Horse Inn Michael Horton and friends discuss the contrast between the Old and New Covenants. Check out the audio here. [...]

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  • [...] White Horse Inn Broadcast for September 25, 2011 Also on the link above, there are a lot of useful resources for further study. Enjoy! LD_AddCustomAttr("AdOpt", "1"); LD_AddCustomAttr("Origin", "other"); LD_AddCustomAttr("theme_bg", "ffffff"); LD_AddCustomAttr("theme_border", "eeeeee"); LD_AddCustomAttr("theme_text", "555555"); LD_AddCustomAttr("theme_link", "36bcab"); LD_AddCustomAttr("theme_url", "36bcab"); LD_AddCustomAttr("LangId", "1"); LD_AddCustomAttr("Autotag", "religion"); LD_AddCustomAttr("Tag", "theology"); LD_AddCustomAttr("Tag", "christianity"); LD_AddCustomAttr("Tag", "jesus-christ"); LD_AddCustomAttr("Tag", "reformed-theology"); LD_AddCustomAttr("Tag", "the-gospel"); LD_AddCustomAttr("Tag", "theology"); LD_AddCustomAttr("Tag", "white-horse-inn"); LD_AddSlot("LD_ROS_300-WEB"); LD_GetBids(); Share this:ShareLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. Tagged Christianity, Jesus Christ, Reformed Theology, The Gospel, Theology, White Horse Inn [...]

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  • Guest - Pieter

    Thank you for a great discussion, I am so thankful for the WHI. I was asked by a fiend to explain what is new (spiritually) about the New Covenant and I don’t know how to answer him. Could you please point me to something I can read.

    We are praying for you guys, and praying for a new reformation. Especially here in Africa!

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  • Guest - Kim Riddlebarger

    Thank you for the kind words and for your prayers. May God indeed see fit to bring about a new reformation, world wide!

    One of the best ways to address the contrast between the old and new covenants is undertake a study of covenant theology. I would recommend two books on the topic. The first is an introductory volume, written by Michael Brown and Zach Keele, Sacred Bond: Covenant Theology Explained (Reformed Fellowship). The second is a book by Michael Horton, The God of Promise (Baker). I think you will find these books both very helpful, and they complement each other nicely.

    Another way to address this contrast is to become familiar with the Reformed and Presbyterian confessions of faith and catechisms. The Three Forms of Unity (The Heidelberg Catechism, the Belgic Confession and the Canons of Dort) on the Reformed side, as well Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms on the Presbyterian, not only address the question of how the old and new covenants differ (in terms of promise and fulfillment), these documents lay out in detail the way in which we are to understand the gospel (the work of Christ, law and gospel, justification), as well as the Christian life (sanctification, the moral law, the church, and the sacraments). I know this is not the place one might think to look to understand what is "new" about the new covenant, but this really is a great place to see how all of the types and shadows of the old covenant are fulfilled in Jesus Christ.

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