Understanding the Old Testament - Lesson 3

Thematic Framework

You will gain a broad understanding of the thematic framework of the Old Testament, focusing on the Kingdom of God. This framework serves as the overarching theme within which all other themes and ideas in the Bible exist, uniting, cohering, stabilizing, and shaping the biblical narrative. You will learn about the covenantal nature of the Bible, rooted in the concept of covenant and the kingdoms they govern, with a detailed analysis of key covenantal administrations including the covenant of redemption, the covenant of works, and the covenant of grace. Through exploring these concepts, you will gain insight into the progressive unfolding of God's plan of salvation throughout the biblical narrative, from pre-temporal arrangements to the establishment of various covenantal administrations, ultimately leading to the fulfillment of God's promises in Christ.

Miles Van Pelt
Understanding the Old Testament
Lesson 3
Watching Now
Thematic Framework

I. The Kingdom of God as the Thematic Framework

A. Introduction

B. Definition and Scope

C. Covenantal Expression

II. The Kingdom of God in the New Testament

A. Frequency of Mentions

B. Jesus' Emphasis on the Kingdom

C. John Bright's Perspective

III. Significance of the Kingdom of God

A. Thematic Coherence

B. Jesus as the Center

C. Covenantal Administration

IV. The Covenantal Framework of the Old Testament

A. Introduction to Covenantal Framework

B. Macro Covenants

1. Covenant of Redemption

2. Covenant of Works

3. Covenant of Grace

C. Detailed Analysis of Covenant of Redemption

D. Covenant of Works and Its Implications

E. Covenant of Grace and Its Development

1. Proto-Evangelion in Genesis 3:15

2. Noahic Covenant

3. Abrahamic Covenant

  • Engage with the Old Testament to grasp its Gospel-centered nature. From Genesis to Ecclesiastes and Psalms, discover foundational truths, wisdom, and insights on suffering. Strengthen your faith and find enduring hope in God's Word.
  • Gain insight into the Old Testament's theological core, centering on Jesus Christ. Explore its diverse genres, languages, and authors, unified by Jesus as its focal point. Understand how biblical evidence supports Jesus as the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy, shaping interpretation.
  • In this lesson, Dr. Miles Van Pelt provides the thematic framework for the Old Testament. The Old Testament's thematic core is the Kingdom of God. Through this lesson, you'll understand its covenantal nature, from pre-temporal arrangements to various administrations like redemption, works, and grace, unveiling God's salvation plan in Christ.
  • Discover the intricate covenantal structure of the Bible, revealing its theological depth and unity, from the division of the Hebrew Bible to its mirroring in the New Testament, all centered around Jesus Christ.
  • Gain insight into the Pentateuch's covenantal structure, Moses' authorship debate, and evidence supporting it. Understand its significance as the foundation of Israel's relationship with God and its relevance for biblical theology.
  • Through this lesson, you will understand the theological, structural, and thematic intricacies of the book of Genesis. You'll grasp its role as a foundational text in both the Old and New Testaments, exploring themes of covenant, creation, fall, redemption, and the fulfillment of promises. You'll gain insights into the genealogical structure of Genesis, its portrayal of key biblical figures like Adam, Noah, and Abraham, and its connection to the overarching narrative of the gospel.
  • Exodus reveals Yahweh's promise—"I will be with you"—unfolding divine presence and covenant. It anticipates Jesus as fulfillment—a better Moses and Tabernacle—ushering in God's eternal presence among humanity.
  • Studying Leviticus unveils the intricate system of laws and rituals at Mount Sinai. It explains sacrificial atonement, priestly consecration, purity laws, and the theme of holiness, prefiguring Jesus as the ultimate priest, sacrifice, and source of holiness.
  • Discover the Book of Numbers' insights on Israel's journey, God's faithfulness, consequences of disobedience, and parallels to Christ, cautioning against questioning God's holiness and emphasizing His desire to dwell among His people through the Holy Spirit.
  • Gain insight into Deuteronomy's covenant renewal for Israel entering Canaan, emphasizing obedience, typology, and its relevance for Christian living.
  • Gain deep insight into the former prophets, exploring themes of Yahweh's faithfulness, Israel's unfaithfulness, and the typological significance of the Mosaic covenant. Understand its relation to the Abrahamic covenant and its fulfillment in the New Covenant under Jesus, revealing God's plan for restoration.
  • Joshua unveils Joshua's leadership, divine promise fulfillment in Canaan, obedience's significance, and Jesus as the ultimate fulfiller of God's promises.
  • Discover the Book of Judges, detailing Israel's history and faith journey. Learn about judges as deliverers from oppression and idolatry, portraying parallels with Christ's ministry. Uncover a pattern of uncreation due to idolatry, emphasizing the need for an eternal judge—Jesus Christ—to save from corruption.
  • In this lesson, Dr. Miles Van Pelt provides insights into the book of Samuel, exploring its characters, themes, and the transition from judgeship to kingship in Israel. Learn of the significance of the Davidic covenant, culminating in Jesus as the ultimate King of Kings.
  • Gain insights into the Book of Kings, revealing its historical and theological significance. Discover the fulfillment of Davidic covenant, reasons for Israel's exile, and anticipation of the new covenant. Recognize Jesus as the ultimate fulfillment of its promises.
  • This lesson reviews latter prophets' insights into Israel's exile for breaking the Mosaic Covenant, the prophetic office's nature, diverse prophecy genres, and the execution of covenant lawsuits, all pointing to God's judgment and hope for restoration.
  • Explore Isaiah's profound prophetic themes, from redemption to impending judgment. Unravel his life and ministry's context, review the debate around authorship, and learn essential tools for study.
  • Enjoy this lesson on Jeremiah, a second Moses figure, and his prophetic message of repentance, redemption, and a new covenant. Explore the book's chiastic structure, historical context, and theological significance, offering hope amidst Judah's fall.
  • Studying Ezekiel reveals its focus on the glory of the Lord and the temple. You learn of Ezekiel's exile, his visions, and themes like covenant theology, creation, and apocalyptic elements, offering profound insights into hope amidst crisis.
  • Discover insights into the minor prophets' diverse genres and themes, from covenant infidelity to divine restoration. Witness Jonah's repentance narrative and prophetic visions culminating in Christ's fulfillment. Embrace Yahweh's justice and compassion, urging Israel's return, leading to Jesus as the ultimate authority.
  • Understand the structure and themes of the Hebrew Bible's writings section. Explore diverse literary forms, intentional divisions mirroring prophets, and the overarching theme of exile and return, illuminating Israel's covenant journey.
  • Discover the depth of the Book of Psalms: 150 songs divided into 5 books, expressing diverse emotions and worship forms. Explore themes, structure, and practical applications for personal devotion and prayer.
  • Gain insights into human suffering and theodicy through Job's trials. Explore themes of faith, resilience, and God's sovereignty amidst adversity. Discover hope in God's incomprehensible sovereignty amid life's trials.
  • Proverbs is a book of timeless wisdom from Solomon, who was gifted by God. By studying this book, you can learn to navigate life with righteousness and discernment, rooted in the fear of the Lord.
  • Journey through Ruth, where redemption, loyalty, and divine providence intertwine. Ruth, a symbol of strength, aligns with Boaz, embodying ancient customs. Their union shapes history, reflecting the enduring legacy of faith amidst life's complexities.
  • Explore the Song of Songs for insights into marriage and intimacy. It navigates the tension between true love and temptation, advocating for unwavering commitment and passionate intimacy, reflecting God's desired relationship. Discover timeless wisdom for modern-day love and marriage.
  • Ecclesiastes reveals life's futility without God, emphasizing the necessity of fearing Him. Through Solomon's wisdom, it prompts reflection on divine purpose amid existential questions.
  • In Lamentations, mourn the fall of Jerusalem and exile, finding hope in God's sovereignty.
  • The book of Esthers contains themes of providence, hiddenness of God, and faithfulness in exile. You will uncover the intricacies of Esther and Mordecai's roles in the deliverance of the Jewish people, as well as the establishment of the festival of Purim. This study will equip you with insights into how God's providence operates amidst human events, even when His presence may seem concealed, and how faithfulness in exile can lead to unexpected outcomes of deliverance and restoration.
  • Through this lesson on the book of Daniel, you'll gain insights into its structure, themes of faithfulness in exile, comparisons with Joseph, and its significance for understanding apocalyptic literature, providing a comprehensive understanding of God's sovereignty and care for His people.
  • Explore Ezra and Nehemiah for insights into post-exilic restoration, intertwining faith, governance, and cultural renewal. These books point towards a deeper longing for true and lasting restoration and echo themes found in apocalyptic literature such as the book of Revelation.
  • The Book of Chronicles traces Israel's history, emphasizing kingship, priesthood, and divine selection. It anticipates restoration, pointing to Jesus as the ultimate priest-king who fulfills God's promises.

Understanding the Old Testament 
Dr. Miles Van Pelt
Thematic Framework
Lesson Transcript

In this lecture, we're taking the next step. In the last lecture, we argued that Jesus Christ was the theological center of the Bible. In this lecture, we're going to be arguing that the Kingdom of God is the thematic framework for the Old Testament.

The Kingdom of God is the thematic framework for the Old Testament. Here's my thesis. The Kingdom of God is the theme within which all other themes and ideas exist in the Bible, both Old and New Testaments. It is the realm of the prophet, the priest, and the king, the world of the judge, the scribe, the psalmist, and the warrior. No topic or theme exists in the Old or New Testament outside of this all-encompassing theme. The Kingdom of God is expressed covenantally through history, sometimes called redemptive history, or we can call it covenantal history.

That is, the history recorded in the Bible is the history of the Kingdom of God as it takes place through various covenantal administrations. This overarching theme for the Christian Bible is explicitly mentioned 98 times in the New Testament with reference to both the life of Jesus and the Old Testament.

Of these 98 occurrences, 84 of them, or 85 percent, occur in the Gospels. For example, Matthew 4:17, where it says, "From that time on, Jesus began to preach, Repent, for the kingdom of heaven, or God, is near." Mark 10:7, "Go rather to the lost sheep of Jesus, and as you go, preach this, The kingdom of heaven is near." Or Acts 1:3, "After his suffering, Jesus showed himself to men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of 40 days and spoke to them about the kingdom of God." Now consider that.For 40 days after Jesus was resurrected from the dead and before he ascended into heaven, he had one agenda. He spoke about the kingdom of God. Now that doesn't mean he just went around saying kingdom of God, kingdom of God, kingdom of God, but that's the theme that encompassed everything that Jesus had to say when he wanted to talk about the Old Testament, resurrection life, consummation, the coming Christian life.

This is all summarized by the kingdom of God. John Bright, a 20th-century Old Testament scholar, put it this way, "For the concept of the kingdom of God involves the total message of the Bible. Not only does it loom large in the teaching of Jesus, but it is also to be found in one form or another throughout the length and breadth of the Bible, at least if we view it through the eyes of the New Testament faith. From Abraham, who set out to seek the city whose builder and maker is God, until the New Testament closes with the holy city, the New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. To grasp what is meant by the kingdom of God," Bright argues, "is to come very close to the heart of the Bible, of the Bible's gospel of salvation." John Bright, The Kingdom of God, biblical concept and its meaning for the church. That's the book it was in. 

Summary then. The macro theme, the kingdom of God, serves as a thematic framework for both the Old and New Testaments.The New Testament is the gospel fulfilled, already and not yet. This framework extends to the outer limits of the biblical corpus, from creation in Genesis 1 and 2 to consummation in Revelation 21 and 22. It unites, coheres, stabilizes, and shapes all other biblical themes and concepts.

As the theological center, Jesus is the king of the kingdom of God, and he administers his kingdom through covenants. These covenants, along with their historical outworkings, interpretations, and applications to everyday life, make up what we know as the Bible. Every facet of the Bible is rooted in the concept of covenant and the kingdoms they govern.The more I study the Bible, especially the Old Testament, the more covenantal it becomes to me. Creation is a covenantal act. Consummation is a covenantal act. Jesus comes to inaugurate the blood of the new covenant. Everything in the Bible is related in some way or another covenantally. Humanity created in the image of God is created in a covenantal relationship with God. And we can say from Romans 5 that all of humanity is either in Adam or in Christ. There are two paths, two covenantal paths, the covenant of works in Adam and the covenant of grace in Christ. So no matter who you are, believer or unbeliever, you are in some form or another in covenant with God, in this covenantal world that he's created.

So one of the best things to do at this point when we're talking about how the Bible works and what it's about is to talk about these covenantal administrations because they shape everything that happens in the Bible. It's like being able to look at a human body from the inside and see the circulatory system and the skeletal system and the muscular system and how those all work together in a way that explains how a human body works and why they live and function and do what they do through these covenants. Richard Belcher in his book, The Fulfillment of the Promises of God on page 166 writes this, "The kingdom of God is the central organizing theme of the Old Testament. The divine covenants function as the administration of God's kingly rule. Thus to follow the course of the kingdom, the king of God is to trace the series of covenants that administer God's kingship. As the administration of God's kingdom, the covenants are primarily legal arrangements that are ratified by the swearing of oaths with curses included to demonstrate commitment to the covenant." That's Richard Belcher, The Fulfillment of the Promises of God, his book. If you ever want to read a book that's good at talking about all of these different covenants and how they work, I recommend this singular book to you, Richard Belcher, B-E-L-C-H-E-R, The Fulfillment of the Promises of God, and it's by Crossway Publishers. 

Now we're going to talk about two sets of covenants as we progress through this particular lecture. We're going to talk first about the macro covenants, that is the covenant of redemption, the covenant of works, and the covenant of grace. Then we're going to talk about how that covenant of grace gets carried out in the different administrations of that covenant of grace. 

People will think of me as tri-covenantal, the covenant of redemption, the covenant of works, and the covenant of grace.There are other ways of doing this. This is my way. I think it's the best way to get you to understand how the Bible works and what it's about in a way that magnifies Jesus and glorifies the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit in their work on our behalves.

So let's first talk about those first three macro covenants. The first is the covenant of redemption, the covenant of redemption. The covenant of redemption is a pre-temporal, that is before creation, an arrangement between the members of the Trinity concerning the different roles each member would perform to bring about the salvation of God's people. The Father promises to redeem and elect people. The Son promises to earn the salvation of his people by becoming a human being to determine to be a mediator for them. In this role, Christ fulfills the conditions of the covenant which is perfect obedience to the law of God in his substitutionary death on the cross. The Holy Spirit then applies the work of the Son of God to God's people through the means of grace. The Father sends the Son, the Son does the work, and the Spirit applies that work to the believer. 

What is some biblical evidence for this? Okay, consider this, Ephesians 1:3 to 6, where Paul says, When, "Before the foundation of the world." To be what? "To be holy and blameless in his sight. In love, he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Christ in accordance with his pleasure and will." When?  “Before the foundation of the world.” That is before Genesis 1 and 2 ever happened. "He chose us in him." Or 1 Peter 1:18 to 20, "Before the creation of the world but was revealed in these last times for your sake." When was Jesus chosen to do this work on our behalf? Before Genesis 1 and 2. That's why we call it a pre-temporal covenantal arrangement. It happened before God created the heavens and the earth. We were written in that book even before God created anything that we could see. That's the covenant of redemption. 

From the covenant of redemption, we have kind of two administrations of that covenant coming forward. The covenant of works and the covenant of grace. There are two ways, the way of life and the way of death, and these kind of ways are mediated through them. The covenant of works is the original agreement between God and Adam as our federal head or representative for all of humanity. If Adam were faithful and had fulfilled the cultural mandate, that is to fill, increase, and subdue this world, and then to obey God's commands, to not eat from that tree, then he would not have experienced death but rather Adam would have experienced the consummation of Revelation 21 and 22, entering into the full state of glory.But Adam did not obey and so he experienced death and his sin was imputed to all his offspring. Romans 5 says we are in Adam if we're not in Christ. 

Consider Genesis 1:27 to 28. "God created man in his own image. In the image of God, he created the male and female. He created them. God blessed them and said to them, here's the cultural mandate, be fruitful and increase in number, fill the earth and subdue it, rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, and over every living creature that moves on the ground." 

That's what man was to do, but they were also not to do something. Genesis 2:15 to 17. "The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and to take care of it, and then the Lord God commanded the man and he said, you are free to eat from any tree of the garden, but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for on the day that you eat of it you will surely die." And what does Hosea say in Hosea 6:7? "Like Adam, they," that is Israel, "have broken the covenant and they were unfaithful to me there." Adam was in covenant with God.

Finally, Romans 5:12 to 14. "Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man and death through sin, and in this way, death came to all because all have sinned, for before the law was given sin was in the world, but sin is not taken into account when there is no law. Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking the command as Adam did, who is a type of the one to come."

It's important to understand that every single person born into this world, past, present, or future, according to the biblical testimony, is in covenant with the creator of heaven and earth. We are either in Adam or in Christ as our federal head, our representatives, okay? That's the covenant of works. When God created the heavens and the earth and he created Adam and put him in the garden, he entered into a covenant relationship with him.

And if Adam would have obeyed, both doing what he was to do and not doing what he shouldn't do, he would have entered into glory, confirmed righteousness, without having experienced death. So that's why we have the covenant of redemption. And then we have the first outworking of that covenant of redemption, the covenant of works. That is, God provided a way, a legitimate way, for man to enter into confirmed righteousness and eternal glory by obeying the word of the Lord. But we know from Genesis chapter three that Adam, as the head of humanity, failed to obey and therefore entered into that state of curse and eventual death that God had promised. 

And so in Genesis 3:15, God makes another way and he inaugurates the covenant of grace, the covenant of grace. That is for those who are in Christ. This also is a works covenant, but it's a covenant of works that someone does for you. The covenant of grace was inaugurated in Genesis 3.14-19 with God's redemptive judgment after the fall. Genesis chapter 3:15 is called the proto-euangelion, if you want the fancy word, or we can just say it's the first gospel promise. This is the seed from which all the various administrations of the covenant of grace grow. This one covenant of grace grows and develops through the Noahic covenant, the Abrahamic covenant, the Mosaic covenant, the Davidic covenant, and the new covenant. Except for the new covenant, each of these other covenantal administrations is named for the prophetic covenant mediators. That is Noah, Abraham, Moses, and David. It's the new covenant that's called explicitly new, not the Jesus covenant or something like that because it's referenced in Jeremiah 31 as the so-called new covenant.

So we have the covenant of redemption before the creation of the world. When God wrote our names into the Lamb's Book of Life, that worked out in two different ways, the covenant of works and the covenant of grace. We failed with the first attempt because of our sin. Therefore, God said, I'm going to send someone who will defeat Satan and evil, and by his obedience, you will enter into glory and consummation. On that road from Genesis 3:15 to Revelation 22, there are several different steps to get to that consummated state, and these are called different administrations of the covenant of grace. So the covenant of grace is like the thread that holds all these other administrations together, and they have different benefits, parties, and conditions that relate to one another. And it's really important to know how to relate to these different periods, conditions, and so forth as we progress.

You can see from the slide on the screen, you can see in the very left column, the name of the covenant. So Adamic, Noahic, Abrahamic, Mosaic, etc. And then go back down, and then we can see the other columns. Then we have what the benefit of the covenant is, like what you get out of it, who's in the covenant, the conditions of the covenant, and then where that covenant takes place in the redemptive word of God in the Old and New Testament. So I just want to go briefly through each of these covenants now so that as we work through the Old Testament together, you'll know how they all kind of work and what to expect as we talk about creation in Adam and judgment in Noah and redemption and Abraham and that kind of business. It's just helpful to know.

In some sense, these are the major stops in the covenant history that the Bible records. The Bible is recording the covenantal way in which God relates to his people through these different covenants and to know them is to know how the Bible works. In some sense, you're looking under the hood of the car and you're understanding the engine that drives that car. What we're doing right now is we're looking under the hood of the whole Old Testament to see all the different parts and how those parts function to make that book work.

So the first is this. This is a brief survey of the role each covenant plays in the progressive unfolding of the covenant of grace. Covenant of redemption. God's going to redeem the people. Jesus is going to do that work. The Spirit's going to apply it to us. It can be through the covenant of works but we failed, so there is the covenant of grace. Jesus is going to do it for us. And so we get to this one. Genesis 3:15 is going to be that promise where it says he's going to send the seed or offspring of a woman to crush Satan and the seed and offspring of Satan. And that will result in the salvation of his people. And we'll talk more about that when we survey the book of Genesis, okay? That seed promise that the woman will have an offspring that will crush the serpent begins to grow organically throughout the Old Testament.

And it's going to grow organically first in the Noahic covenant. The Noahic covenant, according to the slide here, you'll see there's a Noahic covenant one and a Noahic covenant two. A Noahic covenant one and a Noahic covenant two. There's first a Noahic covenant in Genesis 6:18. And here it's the first time that the word covenant appears in the Old Testament. The first covenant with Noah is bilateral.That means it's a covenant between Yahweh and Noah and Noah's got to do something to receive the benefit. Bilateral. It's a bilateral redemptive covenant, meaning it's going to save Noah and his family, designed to preserve the promise of the seed of the woman that would crush the head of the serpent in a manner that sin and death would also be conquered.

Okay, consider this. The upcoming universal destruction of humanity in the flood. Remember the flood, if you know about it, God is sad that he made the world and humanity because of their great sin and he's going to destroy it by a universal flood. But if he destroyed all of humanity, he would destroy the seed of the woman. And so the upcoming universal destruction of humanity in the flood would have wiped out the seed of the woman and nullified the promise of Genesis 3:15. But God's promises can't be nullified. So in this covenant with Noah, God preserves the seed of the woman through the flood so that the fulfillment of the promise of Genesis 3:15 remains intact. In the covenant with Noah, God preserves the seed of the woman through the flood so that the fulfillment of the promise of God in Genesis 3:15 remains intact through the redemption, through the redemptive judgment of the flood. 

In the process, something called common grace is temporarily suspended. Now I just used the word common grace. I need to explain that. Here we're talking about an administration of the covenant of grace that runs from Genesis 3:15 all the way to Revelation 22. But now I'm going to talk about common grace and common grace was also started in Genesis chapter 3. Remember in Genesis chapter 2, God said on the day that you eat of this tree, you will surely die. Death was the consequence of sin. And in Genesis chapter 3, Adam ate of that tree and they did not immediately die, but they will. What happened is God instituted a period of delay where he would work out this covenant of grace. So he suspended judgment so that his elect people and the non-elect people could live in this world together, the wheat and the tares and the sheep and the goats, while the administration of the covenant of grace could play out. In the flood, God temporarily revokes common grace and he destroys all of the non-elect except for Noah and his family, the elect. It's a sign of the coming judgment right before the new heavens and new earth arrive when God judges all of the non-elect and redeems and saves all of the elect.

Okay, so at this point, it is helpful to briefly distinguish between the covenant of grace and common grace, even though they share similar nomenclature. Here is the definition of the covenant of grace I'm talking about. This is by Geerhardus Vos. "The covenant of grace is a gracious bond between the offended God and the offending sinner in which God promises salvation in the way of faith in Christ and the sinner receives his salvation by believing." Geerhardus Vos, Reformed Dogmatics, Volume 2, page 92. Now, let's consider what is then for the covenant of common grace. Here's what Waltke says, "After the fall into original sin and the loss of paradise, the covenant of works is no longer a possibility, that is, because of sin we can't achieve it. So in his sovereign grace, God establishes his covenant of grace on the basis of the benefits of Christ's active obedience and his atoning death, validated by his resurrection from the dead, his ascension into heaven, and the empowering presence of his spirit." Again, the covenant of grace, Bruce Waltke, Old Testament Theology, page 288.

Common grace, on the other hand, represents a period of delay from the judgment of consummation. It is the, I'm going to quote a guy named Meredith Kline here, "The antithesis of the consummation and as such epitomizes this world age viewed under the aspect of delay during which the consummation is awaited." Okay, so let me explain what Kline is trying to say here. God could have entered into full-fledged judgment on that day in Genesis chapter 3, but he suspended it or delayed it until he could accomplish the covenant of grace. So there's got to be a time when people can be in Adam or in Christ and it'd be okay. We live in that time right now. There are believers and non-believers. There are the elect and the non-elect. God is not judging the non-elect for their unfaithfulness right now or for the lack of faith. And so we live in that period of delay. 

There are certain times in the Old Testament when God is going to suspend common grace and enter into judgment in a way that is unexpected and in some sense horrifying. The flood, Sodom and Gomorrah, and the destruction of Canaanites when Israel entered into the land are all pictures and images of eschatological judgment designed to provoke us to faith. We don't want to be in that category. That's the Noahic covenant.

Okay, the Noahic covenant is, the first Noahic covenant in Genesis 6 is a redemptive covenant and it's based on Noah's obedience. Did Noah build the ark? Yes. Did they pass through the judgment safely? Yes. Good. Then there's Noah 2, the Noahic covenant 2, and that's in Genesis 9. In Genesis chapter 7, when the flood came, God suspended common grace and entered into judgment with the world. But now after the flood, he's got to reinstitute common grace.

So the account of the Noahic covenant in Genesis 9:8 to 17, where you have not just Noah as the object of the covenant, but you have Noah and his sons and all of nature, flora and fauna, and even the whole world, like the globe. Okay. The Noahic covenant recorded in Genesis 9 is a universal, all-people, unilateral, one-way, that is, it doesn't depend on any human work. Common grace is non-redemptive. It doesn't save you. The redemptive administration of the covenant of grace, restoring and securing the principle of common grace in this world was suspended during the judgment ordeal of the flood.

This covenant of common grace ensures a period of delay from God's final eschatological judgment until the covenant of grace is accomplished in its various historical administrations, which we're looking at here. The current era of common grace established by the Noahic covenant, where both the elect and non-elect together enjoy the stability of the world order, will terminate at the consummation of this age with the advent of the new heavens and the new earth. This covenant is universal in scope, applying to all of humanity, the animal kingdom, and the earth. When the New Testament talks about judgment where the sheep will be separated from the goats and the wheat from the tares, that's this time when common grace is over, and now all wickedness and evil must be purged. The only thing allowed in the kingdom of God at that point will be that which he has made holy for himself. 

Next, we move on to the Abrahamic covenant, which is the first major progress in that covenant of grace started in Genesis 3:15, where it says the seed of the woman will crush the head of the seed of the serpent. Well, who is that seed or offspring? Now you can see on the slide that in the Abrahamic covenant, God promises Abraham numerous descendants, land, and blessing to all nations. It's between God and humanity, and the way it's going to happen is God's faithfulness to his pledge. That is, it's not based on Abraham's obedience. It's not based on Abraham doing anything. It's based upon God himself saying, I'll be faithful to my promise to fulfill this pledge through you. Therefore, the Abrahamic covenant, which appears in Genesis 12, 15, 17, and 22, we'll talk about that when we survey Genesis. The Abrahamic covenant is a unilateral covenant, that is, it's God's promise alone, establishing and identifying the family through whom the messianic seed of Genesis 3:15 would come. The promises of land, descendants, and blessing appear in Genesis 12. These promises are confirmed in Genesis 15 through the covenant. The covenant sign, something we'll come to discover, circumcision, appears in Genesis 17, and the way of the covenant is identified in Genesis 22 with the binding of Isaac.

So in the administration of the covenant of grace, we have the Noahic covenant, which in some sense re-establishes common grace. Then we have the Abrahamic covenant, which tells us that the seed of the woman that's promised in Genesis 3:15 is going to come from Abraham, and it's going to produce numerous descendants, land, or inheritance, and it's going to constitute a blessing for all nations. This Abrahamic covenant is fulfilled in two major stages, the Mosaic covenant, which is a temporary typological fulfillment, and the New Covenant, which is the eternal, anti-typical, eschatological covenant. We're going to see later that the Mosaic Covenant and the New Covenant mirror each other in terms of type and anti-type or shadow and substance.

The Mosaic covenant, as you'll see on the slide, promises Israel simply prosperity and land in Canaan. It's between God and the 12 tribes of Israel. It's based on Israel's obedience, that is, if Israel obeys, they can stay in the land, and if they disobey, they'll be exiled, and we know that Israel could not obey, and they're eventually exiled.The Mosaic covenant, therefore, is indeed an administration of the covenant of grace, but it contains a principle of works, like back in the garden. Israel's obedience with secure blessings, we get those in Deuteronomy 28, also Israel's disobedience to the terms of the covenant would secure curses from God, as summarized in Deuteronomy 27, and we know from the account of history recorded in the Old Testament that they did not receive the blessings in Deuteronomy 28, but they received the curses of Deuteronomy 27 because of their continuing disobedience. Collectively then, Israel is a new Adam, Exodus 4:23, Israel's my son, given a new paradise, the promised land, and the opportunity to secure blessings in the land through obedience to the terms of the covenant, but like Adam, Hosea 6, Israel broke the covenant by their disobedience and experienced the curse of exile and death.

So if you want to read about that, it appears in 2 Kings chapter 17, where the 10 tribes of the north go into exile, and then in 2 Kings 25, where the last two tribes, Judah and Simeon, go into exile. It's important to understand when it comes to the Mosaic Covenant, we're going to talk about the Mosaic Covenant more because we're going to work through those books, it's important to understand that the Mosaic Covenant never promised eternal life, but rather the land as a type or symbol of eschatological life in the new heavens and new earth. 

Listen to me here. The Mosaic Covenant never promised eternal life. It only promised something that looked like eternal life, something that would tide them over until that new covenant erupted into the scene, but it was never achieved fully because of Israel's disobedience.God promised Adam something based on their obedience, but Adam failed. God promised Israel something based on their obedience, and they failed. God promised Jesus something based upon his obedience, and he succeeded. He's the last Adam, the true and better Moses, the true and better Adam. So it's good to understand the way these things work. How you understand the way the covenants work will determine by and large how you understand how the Bible works.

We're going to skip quickly over the covenant with Phineas because it is a covenant that God made with Phineas. He's a Levite, and it promises that as long as God has an earthly kingdom, the Levites will be his priests and defenders of the temple. That happens there in Numbers 25, and it's an amazing account. Phineas is zealous for God's holiness. The people are being rampantly disobedient. Phineas acts in faith and justice, and God is overwhelmed by that. It stops God from killing a lot of people and Phineas secures salvation through his obedience, and so he becomes also a type of Christ.

The next big one is the Davidic covenant in 2 Samuel 7, where David is promised that his family would experience an eternal kingship and dynasty, and we'll talk about that in 2 Samuel 7. David has built himself a house. He says, I'm going to build God a house, and God says, I didn't ask you to build my house. Instead, I'm going to build you a house, a dynasty, and what happens here is that the tribe of Judah and the family of David becomes the family through whom kingship would come. In the New Testament, over and over again, Jesus' messianic kingship is referred to as connected to David. The Davidic covenant is a unilateral administration of the covenant of grace. That is, it's only based on God's promise. It establishes the eschatological messianic kingship of Yahweh through the line of David. Kingship was always a part of the Abrahamic covenant prophesied to come through the tribe of Judah, legislated in the Mosaic covenant, and confirmed by way of covenant in 2 Samuel 7. Okay, we're going to talk about that more when we talk about Samuel and kings and the theme of kingship that binds those books together. 

Finally, the New Covenant or the New Testament. The Mosaic Covenant and the New Covenant are the two phases of the fulfillment of the Abrahamic covenant. Hear me there.

The Mosaic Covenant and the New Covenant are two phases of the fulfillment of the Abrahamic covenant. Again, shadow and substance or type and antitype are exemplified in the covenantal arrangement of the Bible. Though both covenants are administrations of the covenant of grace, the principle of works is necessarily operational in each.

Israel failed to keep the covenant and experienced the removal of God's presence in exile. Jesus, on the other hand, was completely faithful to the covenant, the original covenant of works, and the Mosaic covenant, but experienced the removal of the Father's presence and exile and death that we as his people deserved. As such, all of humanity is in covenant with God once again, either in Adam under the covenant of works or in Christ under the covenant of grace, based on the merit of Christ graciously imputed to those who would receive the gift of faith to believe. Though we call it a covenant of grace, it is reckoned so based on the merit of Christ. That is, it's not our work. It's his work and we receive his work by grace imputed to us who receive it by faith to believe.

This covenant is fulfilled in two stages: at Christ's first coming, the already, and then again at Christ's second coming, the not yet. And just if you want to know, the designation new covenant comes from Jeremiah 31:31, where Yahweh states, "The time is coming, declares the Lord, when I'll make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah." This is the new covenant.

Okay, that brings us to the conclusion of this lecture where we've talked about three macro covenants, the covenant of redemption, which has two massive administrations, the covenant of works and the rest of the whole Bible, but mostly the Old Testament contains those covenant administrations of the covenant of grace. It's going to contain the Noahic covenant, the Abrahamic covenant, the Mosaic covenant, and the Davidic covenant, all in the Old Testament. In the New Testament, all that's left is the new covenant in two phases, Jesus' first coming, the already, and his second coming, the not yet. Then as we progress through those books, we'll talk about more of these covenants when they occur in the historical context. 

I have a question. You've used two terms repeatedly, and I just want to make sure I'm understanding what they mean.Can you give me a short definition of the word covenant? Oh, that's a great question. A short definition of the covenant. There are several different types of definitions for covenant. So, an O. Palmer Robertson book, Christ of the Covenants, a bond in blood, sovereignly administered. So, you've got a bond, and it's ratified by a blood oath or a blood relationship, and it's administered by the sovereign of that covenant. Another one is one by Gordon Hugenberger, extending a family relationship to a non-family member, so God is making us into his family even though we're not his family, with certain obligations and requirements.

For me, maybe this is simple. When I think of the word covenant in the Old Testament, the best way for me to picture it or feel it in terms of how it works is to use the metaphor or the institution of marriage. In Genesis chapter 2, God institutes the covenant of marriage as a type of relationship that he ultimately desires for us in the new heavens and new earth. We're designed to enter into God's rest as his bride, and that's what happens to us in Revelation 21-22. So, when we think of marriage, marriage is two non-family members becoming one and enjoying an intimate relationship, an exclusive intimate relationship, with benefits but also restrictions. Solidarity, fidelity, stuff like that, and there's also that blood oath involved in it.

The blood oath normally means, may my blood be spilled if I break this covenant. So, it's a special bond created in a way that's supposed to be permanent and to promote fellowship and fidelity to one another. So, that's good, covenant, the word covenant.

The other word is the word elect, and I don't want to get into the theological debate, but when we hear you say the word elect, can we also be hearing you saying, true believers? Yes. Okay. I would say those are synonyms that the elect are true believers. So, that's right, those who have been written in the Lamb's Book of Life from before the foundations of the world, and we know those people are elect because they've placed their faith in Christ. They know they're shepherds. So, the words predestination and election, I know they're hot topic terms, but look, as human beings, fallen human beings, we are completely unable to choose God ourselves.

We are dead in our transgressions and sins, and so we can't, in some sense, make ourselves alive and choose. God has to revive us and make us alive, and so, yeah, I'm of that camp that believes in election, that there are two ways, the way of life and the way of death, or let's just say it the way Paul does in Romans 5. You're either in Adam or in Christ. Those are the two paths. The path of Adam is death because of disobedience, and the path of Christ is life because of obedience. It's, in some sense, the same two things in the wisdom literature. There's the way of life and the way of death, the way of wisdom and the way of folly. There's no third way, and so, yeah, true believers, the elect, true believers. Maybe that's a better term, true believers.

When you use the word eschatological, like eschatological covenant or judgment, what does that mean? Yeah, eschatological or eschatos is the Greek word for last or final, and so that's a great question because oftentimes I use words and things that I think everyone knows just because of the world I live in, and so, yeah, so when I say eschatological judgment, it's like the last judgment, or so it's like the judgment that we read about in the book of Revelation where it's a total final defeat, so eschatology is the last things, the last things, and so the study of eschatology is that, and so when I say the eschatological judgment, the last judgment, the eschatological marriage, the last marriage, the eschatological heavens and earth, the last heaven and earth, the true one, that kind of thing, so eschatological means last. Okay, when you talk about the kingdom of God and how Jesus was preaching about that in the New Testament, when his audience heard that and they were trying to relate that to something they knew in the Old Testament, in their minds, what was he referring to? Was it like in the Sermon on the Mount where he said, you have heard in the past this thing, and I'm telling you that it's like that? Was that a bridge that he was trying to make between the new covenant or the kingdom of God in the New Testament and what they knew about the Old Testament? Yeah, so the Old Testament Scriptures, are the account of the kingdom of God. If you think about "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth," and in Colossians 1, we realize that the heavens and the earth aren't the sky and the dirt or the earth, but the visible and the invisible realms. The heavens are the invisible realms, the earth is the visible realms, so he created two kingdoms and he rules over those kingdoms as the sovereign and he created man or humanity in his image to be his vice-regent ruler, so human beings were created to be kings and to govern this earth, and that relationship was covenantal, and so the kingdom and the covenant go together, go together, and so when Jesus comes and talks about his kingdom, he's talking about all the administrations of his covenants, and how he relates to people, and he's the king of that kingdom.

Great question.