Saturday, 22 July 2017

Covenant Blinkers

By strict Covenant Theology, I mean certain people in the Reformed tradition who are so strictly into Covenant Theology that if you ask them the following question, they can't or won't answer:

"Which Old Testament Bible verse is the best verse you know which meant Messiah would minister in the land of Israel".

(As opposed to any random place, like Spain for example.)

It stumps them. The reason they can't or won't answer it, is because as soon as they do, it would mean they're committing that most loathsome of all mistakes in their strict view: assigning an identity to 'Israel' (or related names) other than a strictly spiritual, covenantal (non geographical, physical, or ethnic) meaning. They won't do it. 

And that means they lose the interaction between prophecy and physical facts of history, as examples of the faithfulness of God, and as cases for the Messiahship of Jesus, and as a basis for our Christian faith.

Ask the same question of Dispensationalists, and if they aren't taken aback by why anyone would ask such an obvious question, your screen will light up within seconds with any number of Scriptural examples. 

Dispensationalists are correct in seeing that some details in Old Testament prophecy required a literal, physical, geographical and ethnic fulfilment in Israel. Some strict Reformed Covenant Theology adherents miss that point, or think it's not important, or can't admit it. 

Unfortunately though many Dispensationalists can't see or don't want to see that many other prophecies about Israel have also had their fulfilment and don't require a future fulfilment. Prophecies like the rebuilding of their Temple after captivity, and the reinstatement of Levitical sacrifices which occurred then. 

Covenant Theology is right that there was a group within Israel who have become the true Israel, for spiritual reasons. And they're right that Gentiles later became part of that same group, also for spiritual reasons. But some miss the importance that that had to come about in Israel first, among Israelis first, in order to fulfil Covenant. 

(The Church couldn't have started in Ethiopia first, for example. Or even in Galilee. Jesus was adamant that the disciples must go to Jerusalem to wait for the promise of the Father.)

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