Survey of the Old Testament - Lesson 4

Thematic Framework is the Kingdom of God

The Kingdom of God is the over-arching theme of the whole Bible. God governs his kingdom by his covenants. The covenant of grace is in effect throughout the Bible and has different administrations.

Miles Van Pelt
Survey of the Old Testament
Lesson 4
Watching Now
Thematic Framework is the Kingdom of God

I. Introduction

A. Over-arching theme for the whole Bible

B. Jesus talked about the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Heaven

C. Comments by authors

II. Kingdom and Covenant

A. Summary of the covenants

B. Covenant of Redemption

C. Covenant of Works

III. Administrations of the Covenant of Grace

A. Noahic Covenant 1.0

B. Noahic Covenant 2.0:

C. Abrahamic Covenant

D. Mosaic Covenant

E. Davidic Covenant

F. New Covenant

  • Dr. Miles Van Pelt is offering an opportunity to study the Old Testament and understand its overall message in more detail. The Old Testament consists of 2/3 of the Bible, and serves as a foundation for many teachings found in the New Testament. Its main purpose is to point towards Jesus who makes possible a new covenant with God's people. The structure of both Testaments follows a covenantal pattern that compels humans to make choices regarding their relationship with God, while demonstrating His patience and perseverance in doing so.
  • Knowing the purpose, structure and theological center of the Old Testament, will help you understand more accurately the character of God, and his purpose in the world and in your life. The Old Testament teaches you about Christ and describes his ministry. Colossians 3:15-16 reads, "Let the peace of Christ rule in your heart, let the word of Christ dwell in you richly."

  • What you decide is the theological center of the Bible will determine how you understand the Bible and apply it to your life. You can see unity in biblical authorship by the number of times the phrase, “thus says Yahweh” is used in the Old Testament.  The person and work of Jesus is the theological center of the Old Testament. The living force of the canonical word must be the incarnate word. The proper nouns used in the Bible indicate the important characters and themes.

  • Jesus claims that the Old Testament finds its ultimate meaning in him. After his resurrection, Jesus meets two disciples on the road to Emmaus and gives them a lesson in biblical interpretation. The Father and the Scriptures testify about who Jesus is. In Romans 1:3, Paul refers to the Gospel being revealed through his prophets, in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son. Every book in the Bible teaches about Christ so every sermon should teach about Christ. Hebrews 11 refers to the great cloud of witnesses.

  • The Kingdom of God is the over-arching theme of the whole Bible. God governs his kingdom by his covenants. The covenant of grace is in effect throughout the Bible and has different administrations.

  • The form that our Bibles come to us in is meaningful for interpretation. The Hebrew Bible has a different order of the books than the English Bible.  

  • The order of books in the English Bible and the Hebrew Bible is different because the criteria for determining the order is different. The order of the books in the Hebrew Bible reflect an emphasis on covenant, and also teaching important concepts then giving a practical example to illustrate how to put it into practice.

  • The three divisions in the Old Testament are the Law, the Prophets and the Writings. Genesis and Revelation are the introduction and conclusion to the Bible and have parallel themes. Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy are the four covenant books that record the birth and death of the covenant mediator and contain his life and teachings. The former prophets record the history of Israel. The latter prophets call people to repent and return to God.

  • Your presuppositions about whether or not the authors who wrote the books of the Bible were inspired by God will influence your position the authorship of the Pentateuch. The traditional view is that Moses wrote the first five books of the Old Testament at about 1200 to 1400 B.C. The documentary hypothesis claims that there were four or more separate authors that wrote beginning in about 900 B.C.

  • Genesis is the covenant prologue and is both protological and eschatological. It is the most covenantal book in the Bible. One way to outline the book is into twelve parts, each beginning with the phrase, “these are the generations.” Creation is described using a theological order.

  • Chapter 2 is a detailed description of the sixth day of creation, culminating in the creation of woman. Chapter 3 describes the Fall and the consequences. Hebrew homonyms link the passages and intensify the descriptions.

  • Noah functions as a prophetic covenant mediator. God promises a remnant in his covenant with Noah and also renews the covenant of common grace. God continues his redemptive covenant with Abraham and his descendants. The book of Genesis ends with the narrative of Joseph.

  • This is the beginning of the formal documents of the covenant of God with the people of Israel. It begins with the birth of Moses and ends with the people of Israel coming out of Egypt.

  • Leviticus is primarily instructions to promote the holiness of God’s people. It provides a system that allows for a holy God to live among an unholy people. In the sacrificial system, there are 5 kinds of offerings. Jesus is the fulfillment of the observance of the Day of Atonement.

  • The book of Numbers is a record of the events of the forty years of wandering in the wilderness. The purpose is to contrast the faithfulness of God with the faithlessness of the Israelites. The time in the wilderness was a period of testing for the people of Israel.

  • This is a renewal of the Mosaic covenant in preparation for entering the Promised Land. It’s an encouragement to keep the Law and a reminder of blessings for obedience and cursings for disobedience. Deuteronomy points us to Jesus who ultimately fulfills the Law.

  • Joshua, Judges, Samuel and Kings describe the nature and purpose of the Sinai Covenant and the historical events of the occupation of the land. God know that the people of Israel would fail to obey the Mosaic Covenant, so he had planned from the beginning to establish the New Covenant when the time was right.

  • Joshua was the successor to Moses. The book of Joshua focuses on the Promised Land. The people of Israel enter the land, conquer the land, divide the land between the tribes and then renew their covenant with God. Holy war and covenant obedience are important themes.

  • Judges has two introductions, two conclusions, six major judges, six minor judges and one anti-judge. It can be described as the, “uncreation” of Israel. Their purpose was to judge the nations and to deliver the people of Israel from their oppressors.

  • The book of Samuel provides the answer to the crisis of kingship. Samuel, as the last judge and first prophet, anoints Saul as king. The people of Israel reject Yahweh as king. Saul is anointed by Samuel and serves as king but is later rejected because of disobedience. David is anointed king because God acts according to his own will. Solomon begins well and ends badly.

  • The book of Kings is the story of the monarchy in the nation of Israel. It begins with the united monarchy under Solomon, then after his death, is divided into the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah. We can learn about God’s character and the importance of living in a covenant relationship with God.  

  • The Latter Prophets are covenant lawyers. They are executing the lawsuit of God against Israel for unfaithfulness to the covenant. Prophets use both oracular prophecies and sign acts to communicate their message.

  • Isaiah is sometimes described as the, “fifth gospel” because it is quoted so much in the New Testament. The themes in Isaiah are both timely for his generation and also point to their ultimate fulfillment in Jesus and the end of time.

  • Jeremiah’s call was to tell the people of Judah why they were going into exile and also to give them hope for future restoration. The book contains oracles, accounts of visions and symbolic actions, prophetic laments and historical narratives.

  • One key to understanding Ezekiel is the glory of God in the temple. The book begins with God appearing to Ezekiel, then God leaves the temple and, in the end, God returns. Ezekiel’s oracles and signs illustrate each of these.

  • In the Hebrew Bible, these 12 minor prophets are treated as one book. Each one is a covenant lawyer that is prosecuting God’s lawsuit against the unfaithful nation of Israel and also preaching a message of hope for restoration. The Day of the Lord is the day of the king’s victory over his enemy, either to crush an enemy or to save a people.

  • These books are about how you think and live in light of the covenant. The genres include narrative, poetry and prophecy. The Hebrew Bible order emphasizes teaching then example.

  • Covenant life is a life of worship. The book divisions in the manuscripts were purposefully arranged so the book as a whole has a meaningful narrative. It emphasized the kingship of Yahweh, the Davidic line and the temple. You can use specific patterns of construction for understanding lament, thanksgiving and hymns of praise psalms. You can also use the same patterns to help you respond to God and worship him.

  • Job deals with the issue of human tragedy and suffering. Job never knows what happened in heaven that resulted in his suffering. His three friends made correct theological arguments but they were misapplied. Job speaks about suffering and hope. God challenges Job at the end of the book, and also restores his possessions and children.

  • Solomon created a collection of practical wisdom sayings. Some were for instructing children, some for instructing kings, but they all are applicable to help everyone live in the light of the covenant of grace in the context of common grace.

  • Ruth follows Proverbs in the Hebrew Bible. Even though she is from Moab, she lives in Israel with her widowed Israelite mother-in-law to take care of her. She marries Boaz and is included in the genealogy of David and Jesus.

  • Marriage should be both rock solid in terms of covenant commitment and white hot in terms of sexual intimacy. If it is both, you can better resist temptation, endure hardship and promote wholeness.   

  • The message of Ecclesiastes is that true knowledge, wisdom and meaning in life begins with the fear of the Lord. The author of Ecclesiastes, likely Solomon, tests this conclusion and is unsuccessful in finding ultimate meaning in activities, “under the sun,” like wealth, relationships, power, projects, etc.

  • Lamentations is a collection of funeral dirges lamenting the fall and exile of Jerusalem. The elegant structure of the book is a contrast to the chaos and destruction of the events that are taking place. Each poem gives you a different perspective on God’s character and his covenant faithfulness.

  • Esther is a story of living a life of faith in exile. It Bringing “shalom” into a hostile environment sometimes even requires risking your life. The festival of Purim commemorates God saving his people and is still celebrated today.

  • Daniel and Esther are examples of living a life of faith while in exile. Daniel was different than the writing prophets because he is not primarily a covenant lawyer prosecuting God’s lawsuit against the people of Israel. The first six chapters are biographical stories highlighting God’s power to save and his sovereignty over the nations. The second six chapters are visions of the future.

  • The book of Ezra-Nehemiah records the last events, chronologically, in the Old Testament. Ezra returned from exile with authorization to teach the Law of the Jews and institute the sacrificial system. Nehemiah returned to rebuild Jerusalem. They fail in their human attempt to rebuild heaven on earth, which encourages you to look forward to the city built by God.

  • The return from exile is not the greater one prophesied by the prophets. We still look forward to the return from exile with them in the resurrection. Chronicles traces the seed that was promised and gives an account of the return from exile.

Take this opportunity to study with Dr. Miles Van Pelt as he shows you patterns and themes that will help you understand the Old Testament and the whole Bible. He will give you an overall view of the Old Testament then discuss specifics about each of the books. 

For instance, you might ask, "What kind of book is the Old Testament?" The OT is a single story told three times over: once in Genesis, once in Exodus through Nehemiah, and once again in Chronicles (just like day 6 in Genesis 1–2). The OT loves to repeat itself, repeat itself, repeat itself. This is how it teaches us. The Old Testament is about 2/3 of the Bible and is the basis for everything you read in the New Testament. The better you understand the Old Testament, the clearer you will understand the message of the Bible. 

What is the Message of the Old Testament? The Old Testament points to the New Covenant. The teachings, prophecies and examples of covenant life point to Jesus who makes the New Covenant possible and inaugurates it. There are also examples in the Old Testament of how human efforts to create heaven on earth fall short, so that we will anticipate and yearn for our ultimate deliverance from exile.

What is the Structure of the Old Testament? The structure of the Old Testament, and the Bible as a whole, is covenantal. God offers to live in the covenant of grace with him and compels them to make that choice. The administrations of the covenant with Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus demonstrate God's patience and perseverance to include as many as are willing.


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Survey of the Old Testament - Bible Study

Survey of the Old Testament - Bible Study

Take this opportunity to study with Dr. Miles Van Pelt as he shows you patterns and themes that will help you understand the Old Testament and the whole Bible. He will give...

Survey of the Old Testament - Bible Study

Dr. Miles Van Pelt 
Survey of the Old Testament 
Thematic Framework is the Kingdom of God 
Lesson Transcript


I. Introduction (00:13):

A. Over-arching theme for the whole Bible (00:14)

This next lecture is going to be moving on from the theological center Jesus, to the thematic framework and the kingdom of God. The kingdom of God is the theme within which all other themes exist within the Bible, both the Old and New Testaments. It is the realm of the prophet, the priest, and the king. The world of the judge, scribe, psalmist and warrior, no topic or theme exists in the Old or New Testaments outside of this all-encompassing theme. The kingdom of God is expressed covenantally through history. It is sometimes called redemptive history or what I would like to call it now, covenant history. This overarching theme for the Christian Bible is explicitly mentioned 98 times in the New Testament as the summary of the contents. Of these 98 occurrences, 84 of them, or 85%, occur in the gospels.

B. Jesus talked about the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Heaven (01:11):

So when Jesus rolls up, he says, "The kingdom of God is here. Repent because the kingdom of God is here." He is the king of the kingdom, so the kingdom of heaven or the kingdom of God. Its synonym, represents the very expression that Jesus Himself used with reference to the message of the Old Testament and with reference to His own ministry. Let's get some examples. Matthew 4:17, "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 Israel, and as you go preach this message, 'The kingdom of God'" or heaven, "'is near.'" Acts 1:3, "After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. Jesus appeared to them," his disciples, "over a period of 40 days and He spoke about," guess what? "The kingdom of God."

So again, this is another masterful summary statement on Luke's behalf that Jesus is on Earth for 40 days between His resurrection and His ascension. You could imagine these are some important days for Jesus. This is the last time He's going to be with His disciples before He leaves since the Holy Spirit. The one thing he's obsessed with during that time is the kingdom of God. Now He wasn't just going around saying like people do in a street corner, "Repent for the kingdom is coming." No, it's describing the full message that He was laying out for his disciples, that the kingdom is here. This is the original 40 days of purpose. You've heard that. This is Jesus' 40 days of purpose, and that 40 day mark is the kingdom of God. He wants you to know that the kingdom of God has arrived, God's kingdom.

In Acts chapter 8:12, Philip's preaching is summarized as declaring the kingdom of God and Jesus. You could also see Acts 14:22, 19:8, 20:25, Romans 14:17. 1st Corinthians 4:20 and 15:24. It's all over the place. You can just look up kingdom of God in a concordance and get it that way on the computer. You'll see all those places and how it functions as a rubric for understanding the message of Jesus, what He was doing, and how that relates to the Old Testament. Here's what John Bright, an Old Testament scholar from the mid 20th century says. He has a book called The Kingdom Of God, The Biblical Concept And Its Meaning For The Church,  which came out in 1953.

C. Comments by authors (03:45):

John Bright put it this way. "For the concept of the kingdom of God involves in a very real sense the total message of the Bible. Not only does it loom large in the teaching of Jesus, but it's to be found in one form or another through the length and breadth of the Bible," meaning the Old Testament and the New, "at least if we may 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, New Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God to grasp what is meant by the kingdom of God is to come very close to the heart of the Bible's gospel of salvation." To grasp what is meant by the kingdom of God is to come very close to the heart of the Bible's gospel of salvation. It's John Bright. So he's saying that the kingdom of God, when you say the kingdom is here, this means salvation has arrived.

Walter Eichrodt in his two volume Old Testament theology from the 1960s wrote "That which binds together indivisibly the two realms of the Old Testament and New Testament is the eruption of the kingdom of God into this world and its establishment here." So Eichrodt is arguing that the eruption of the kingdom of God, in the person of Jesus glues the two testaments together and gives them meaning and strength. It's like the Gorilla Glue of the testaments. So here's the summary. The macro theme kingdom of God, serves as the framework, the thematic framework for both the Old and New Testaments. That's what I'm arguing. The Old Testament is the gospel promise beforehand. The New Testament is the gospel fulfilled, already not yet. This framework extends to the outer limits of the canonical corpus from creation in Genesis 1 and 2 to consummation in Revelation 21 and 22.

II.  Kingdom and Covenant (05:26):

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. Jesus is the king of the kingdom and He administers His kingdom through covenant, so Gentry and Wellum their great title, Kingdom Through Covenant, the two terms are bound together. The kingdom is covenantal and the kingdom is governed covenantally. The king is in covenant with his people, 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 the covenant and the kingdoms they govern, okay. So let me say this one line right here first.

These covenants, along with the historical outworkings, interpretations, and applications to everyday life, make up what we know is the Bible. So what makes something canonical or biblical? Why don't we have the gospel of Thomas or Maccabees? It's their covenantal status and the administration of the king of God. It's their covenantal status. Whether it's the covenant itself, the interpretation of that covenant, or the application of that covenant to life. The covenant itself, the interpretation of that covenant and the application of that covenant to life, because those are really going to be your three sections of the Bible. The covenant, the history of the covenant, and life in the covenant when we get there. The longer I study the Bible, and the more I work at teaching it, trying to make sense of it for people, the more covenantal it becomes to me. So it's the one thing that really helps me understand how it works.

A. Summary of the covenants (07:17):

I know it's about Jesus. I know it's about the kingdom of God, but how does that work? It works covenantally. The kingdom of God is the central organizing theme of the Old Testament. The divine covenants function as administrations of God's kingly rule. The divine covenants (note the word plural there) function as administration of God's kingly rule for us to follow the course of the kingdom. It 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 an oath, with curses included to demonstrate commitment to the covenant. That comes from Belcher in his book, The Fulfillment Of The Promises.

Now this part is going to be, what covenants are you talking about? For example, let me set up the problem. In the Old Testament, the word kingdom of God does not appear. But Jesus and the apostles use it like everyone understood it. They never said, "Behold, the kingdom of God is here. Now let me explain that to you,". It just assumes you know what the kingdom of God is. Well, what is the kingdom of God? The kingdom of God is the realm that God has created. He is the king of the kingdom and at creation, God created two kingdoms. "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth,". Remember that? It's a very famous line. And in Colossians chapter 1, it says "those are the visible and the invisible realms,". It's not just that he created ground and sky, it's that He created everything we know, visible and invisible. God's the king of those two kingdoms. Well, how does He govern His kingdom, His early kingdom. He governs it covenantally by binding himself to it as the covenant Lord.

So I'm going to give you a summary of a macro structure view of how I think all of these covenants work. Feel free to disagree with me, lots of people do, but I'm going to give you at least a basic framework that you can begin to build on. This is something you can take, adapt, adopt and work. You can perfect it. I'm not saying I'm done figuring it all out, but I've figured out a lot of it and I want to pass it on to you so you can do the rest of the work, all right. One of the most important things that you can have in your brain is an idea of what are the covenants in the Bible and how do those covenants work? Who are they with and how do you keep them, break them, and who fulfills them? There are some basic questions.

B. Covenant of Redemption (09:48):

First, I'm going to talk about something called the covenant of redemption. Now I'm terrible English speller. If I spell anything wrong, stop me so I can redo it and you can get it out there so I can spell Hebrew and Greek great. The covenant of redemption also called pactum salutis.  If you want a good, clear intro to this, that's why I brought this book, The Fulfillment of the Promises of God by Richard Belcher. I really like it a lot. He and I have some disagreements and we talk about them in a friendly way, but I find it to be a very clear, lucid presentation. It just helped me make sense of so many things in a good way.

The first covenant we're going to talk about is the covenant of redemption also called the pactum salutis or just the counsel of peace. Here's what the covenant of redemption is. It's a pretemporal agreement between the members of the Trinity concerning the different roles each member would perform to bring about the salvation of God's people. This is from Belcher page 19, “The Father promises to redeem and elect people. The son promises to earn the salvation of people by becoming a human being in order to be a mediator for them. In this role, Christ fulfills the conditions of the covenant through his perfect obedience, to the law of God and His substitutionary death on the cross. The Holy Spirit applies the work of the son to God's people through the means of grace”.

This covenant is between the Father and the son before the world is created. That's why we call it a covenant redemption. This is plan A. One of the things that's interesting is that when God created the world and there was the fall, God wasn't caught off guard by that. That was plan A. He had already instituted this covenant of redemption, He knew what was going to happen. From the covenant of redemption issues forth two different covenants. You can say these are two different administrations of the covenant redemption. The first one is the covenant of works with Adam and the garden.

This is something I adapted from one of my seminary professors a long time ago. T. David Gordon, who's now at Grove City. Here we have the Adamic covenant confirmed with the proposed benefits and confirmed innocence. Once he obeys he'll be innocent forever and then blessedness in God's presence forever. The parties are God and humanity, the conditions are Adam's obedience. So Adam's got to obey. He's got to fulfill the cultural mandate, obey God's law not to eat of the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil, and rule and subdue humanity. He didn't obey. They broke. The covenant works with Adam.

This is a bilateral covenant, which means it's between God and a second party. And that second party has to work and obey in order to receive the benefits. So in a bilateral covenant there's blessings for obedience and curses for disobedience. You're going to see here in this covenant arrangement that some covenants that God makes require obedience on the part of the person God enters into a covenant with. But some covenants do not require obedience that God is going to fulfill it no matter what, taking upon Himself the curse, if it wouldn't be fulfilled.

Covenant redemption, covenant of works, and then we're going to have this covenant. This one begins in Genesis Chapter 3 and this is the covenant of grace between God and the second Adam. It's bilateral and there are blessings and curses. This is what secures our salvation. Jesus came, achieved it, underwent the curses for us, and achieved the blessings for us.

Then after all these things, there are going to be different administrations of the covenant of grace. What does Paul say in Roman chapter 5? You're either in Adam or in Christ. Every person in humanity is in covenant with God. There's not one person in this world who's a non-covenantal being. You're either in Adam or in Christ. And if you're in Adam, you receive the benefit that this Adam deserves for you, which is curse. If you're in Christ, you receive the benefit that this Adam secured for you, which is a blessing because he took the curses on, right. He both obeyed the law, so he didn't have to die, but he took upon himself the curses we got so that we could get his blessings, or double imputation.

We just say those things to impress people. There's really easier ways to do it. And then all the other covenants we have here, this is now redemptive history of covenant history. We'll have the Noahic, the Abrahamic, the Davidic, and the new, bring this covenant of grace to completion. That's what we've got.

Let's look at some biblical evidence for the covenant of redemption, because how do you know? You weren't there before the world is created, so how do you know that to be true. If you're wanting a resource for it, you can look up a guy named John Fesko. He's written a book on the covenant of redemption that's really good. I think it's Oxford University Press, so it may be a little pricey, but worth every penny. He's doing one on the covenant of works I think. So covenant of redemption, now covenant of works. John 17:4, some biblical evidence. If you're saying, "Covenant redemption, I've never heard of it." John 17:4, "I have brought you," Jesus is saying this to his father. "I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do."

So the Father and the son made a covenant for this work to be done and He is going to glorify Him by doing the work. So He is going to be fulfilling this one by being the mediator. He's eradicating that one, so you can be a part of the other one. But that just means He did it. He had to do something, but we don't know when He had to do it. When was that agreement made? In Ephesians 1:3-6, it begins in verse 3, "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has blessed us in the heavenly realm with every spiritual blessing in Christ." Here we go, "for He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be wholly and blameless in His sight." The word there's not creation, it's [foreign language 00:16:46].

That's the one for Dr. Mounce back there, which means before the foundation of the world. It's a fine translation, but it's before the foundation of the world, "In love He predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ in accordance with His pleasure and will," when? [foreign language 00:17:03] before the foundation of the world, "to the praise of His glorious grace, which was freely given to us in the one he loves." So here, we've got a statement saying that Jesus and the Father made this agreement before the foundation of the world. Okay. So it's before Adam was created. 1 Peter 1:18-20 "For you know that it was not with perishable things, such as silver or gold, that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your fathers forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect, he was chosen before the creation of the world [foreign language 00:17:39] But it was revealed in these last times for your sake."

Now we've got this statement that, “it happened before the creation of the world”, but we're revealing it now to you for your sake so you understand. There's this agreement. We don't know all the details of it, that the father and the son worked out together. The son would do something to redeem a people and that was before He created the world, which means that even before this world was created, the Lord was doing this to get Ed. Ed was the joy sent before him, or Kevin, or Bill, or me or my kids like this. It was before the creation of the world, our names were written in the Lamb's book of life.

So that's why my wife and I always pray. She's better at it than me. It for our kids and now our grandkids, is that their names will be written in that book.  That's their only hope before the foundations of the world. That's the covenant redemption. That's where we get it from. It'll be opened one day by the one who's worthy to open it in the book of Revelation. So that's the book they're talking about. It's great stuff. That's the covenant of redemption. Now from that covenant of redemption, these two covenants issue. Fourth, you can say an issue forth from, are other administrations of the covenant of redemption.

C. Covenant of Works (18:53):

So we're going to begin with the covenant of works. This is the original arrangement between God and Adam as the federal representative of humanity. So Adam was a representative. Jesus is a representative. If Adam were faithful to fulfill the cultural mandate and to obey God's commands, then he would have not experienced death. But rather the consummation of Revelation 21 and 22, entering into the full state of glory. Adam did not obey and so experienced death and his sin was imputed to all of his offspring as the representative. So when we're born, we're born in sin, in that first Adam, until we are regenerated.

Frequently with covenants come covenant signs. So in the New Testament, we have two covenant signs. We have baptism and the Lord's Supper. In the Old Testament, we can argue we have two signs, we have Sabbath and circumcision. In the Abrahamic covenant, circumcision. So in the covenant of works, you do have Sabbath on day seven. Some people call the tree of life or understand the tree of life as a sign of that covenant because if you, if you obey, you get that tree.

But in day four of creation, God creates the sun, moon, and the stars. He calls those signs for seasons and times, actually the Hebrew word oath. So the sun, moon, and the stars could be the signs of the covenant. If that's true, it's really cool because every night when I look up at the sky, the sun, the moon, the stars are out there which means that this covenant is still in effect. That's an amazing truth. It's actually called a sign. So that's going to come into play. You'll also see too, when God talks about certain covenants, he goes, "Hey, is the sun and the moon and star still out? Yes. My covenant's still in place with you because it won't go away like those won't go away." So interesting stuff.

Covenant of works. Some texts that are important to the covenant of works are Genesis 1:27-28. "So God created man in His own image, in the image of God, He created him, male and female He created them. God blessed him and said to them," and here's the cultural mandate, "'be fruitful and increase in number, fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air and everything, every living creature that moves on the ground.'" So the cultural mandate has basically two things. Fill and rule. It's interesting that three of the verbs in there are to fill.  The only way to fill is by the marriage covenant. So that's why He institutes that. Then you rule as the damage of God over that as the family. Then it said here in Genesis, Chapter 2:15-17, "The Lord took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and to take care of it."

Those are priestly terms. "And the Lord commanded the man, '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 the day you eat of it, you will surely die.'" This is called a curse and there is evidence that there's this covenant of works going on right there. He's got to obey God's admonitions to rule, subdue, and fill. He's got to obey. God's prohibitions not to eat of the naughty tree, we call it in our house for the kids. So other texts that help support this concept is when Hosea is preaching his diatribe against Israel, he's saying Israel, and here's the quote, Hosea 6:7, "like Adam, they have broken the covenant. They were unfaithful to me there."

See part of the problem is in the creation account the word covenant [foreign language 00:22:23] is not used, but that doesn't preclude the fact that there is a covenant there. You don't need the term if you have all the opponents. For example, in the Davidic covenant in 2 Samuel 7, the word covenant's never used there, but everyone knows it's covenant. Then in Psalm 89, it's called a covenant on several occasions. When we talk about creation tomorrow, I'll show you how creation is covenantal, that is the way in which it's done or achieved is a covenantal act. So if every person is either in Adam or in Christ, first or second Adam and the world itself is covenantally created, then you can't escape the covenant. You can't escape the covenant. There's the kingdom of the covenant. There's the inhabitants of the covenant. There's creation, kingdoms, and creation kingdoms.

So like Adam, so he's referring back to that in again, Hosea 6 may have like a double entendre in there. It's fine, but that's a good text to start with. And then Romans 5, of course, when he compares Adam and Jesus as covenant mediators, and therefore just as sin entered the world through one man and death through sin and in this way came death to all men because all have sinned. But 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 was a type of the one who's to come." So we look there were type there. The comparison between Adam and Jesus. So that's the covenant of works.

Covenant of works between Adam is that he is the representative head. He's the head, you can call it federal. That's why sometimes it's called federal theology between God and Adam. Adam disobeys, breaks the covenant, and gets the curses of the covenant sign. Second covenant is the so-called covenant of grace. The covenant of grace was inaugurated. We're thinking historically the covenant of grace was inaugurated in Genesis chapter 3:14-19, after Adam fell into sin with God's redemptive judgment after the fall. Genesis 3:15 often called really the [foreign language 00:24:27] the first gospel statement. This is the seed from which all the various administrations of the covenant of grace grow, Genesis 3:15. We'll get into that text in a second. This one, covenant of grace at Genesis 3:15 grows and developed progressively over time through the Noahic covenant, the Abrahamic covenant, the Mosaic covenant, the Davidic covenant, and then the new covenant.

III. Administrations of the Covenant of Grace (24:53):

Notice that except for the new covenant, each of the other covenant administrations are named for their prophetic covenant mediator. So you have Noah, and so we should call it the Jesus covenant. The Noah covenant, the Abraham covenant, the Moses covenant, the David covenant, and the Jesus covenant. We've mixed our nomenclature up and those are the covenants I have here. You can see Adamic, there's Noah one and Noah two, or Noah 1.0 and 2.0. So people have often missed this one. In Genesis 18, When we get there, we'll talk about the covenant that God entered into with Noah to preserve his family through the flood. That's different from the one in Genesis 9 when God reinstitutes common grace, it's a lot of fun. We'll talk about that. Then there's Abraham, Moses, Phineas, David, and the new covenant. So those are the ones there.

Now let's look at the administrations of the covenant of grace. This is a brief survey of the role each covenant plays in the progressive unfolding of the covenant of grace.  There's one covenant of grace. Let's get that right. There's one covenant of works, one covenant of grace, but in this covenant of grace, because of the time, it unfolds over time progressively. From seed in Genesis 3:15, all the way to its full flowering consummation in Revelation 21 and 22. It begins with the Noahic covenant. Now there are two covenants here that this is that I want to look at. There's Genesis 6:18. This first covenant with Noah is a bilateral redemptive covenant, as opposed to a unilateral non-redemptive covenant. So it's bilateral, two parties, redemptive means it's saves your bacon.

It's a bilateral redemptive covenant 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. Meaning this, God promised that there would be the seed of the woman who would come and crush the head of the serpent. If God wipes out all of humanity before that happens, then everyone is condemned to eternal death because that seed never arrived. So before he wipes out all of humanity in the flood, he enters into a covenant with Noah. In Genesis 6:18 it's the first time, the word covenant appears in the Bible, because we know this is the covenant and we know that it's with Noah. So the upcoming universal destruction of humanity in the flood, would've wiped out the seed of the woman and nullified the promise of God in 3:15.

A. Noahic Covenant 1.0 (27:18):

In the covenant with Noah, God preserves the seed of the woman through the flood so that the fulfillment of the promise of 3:15 remains intact through the redemptive judgment of the flood, while common grace is temporarily suspended. Now at this point, it's going to be helpful to explain what in the world is common grace. Here's the thing. At the advent of the covenant of grace, God also instituted common grace. Covenant of grace and then common grace were instituted at the same time. They go together. I get this concept from Intrusion Ethics by Meredith Kline. She states it “is a period of delay from final eschatological judgment. Common grace is a period of delay from final eschatological judgment where the wheat and the chaff dwell together, the sheep and the goats dwell together where the righteous and the wicked dwell together until the seed could come and redeem the elect”.

You have to have this in order to prevent God breaking out in wrath and destroying everyone because they're all in Adam until the seed comes. So the covenant of grace and common grace go together. At the flood God suspends, common grace. There's no common grace. There's only a theocracy and worldwide judgment. Theocracy is where God's ruling and He's ruling in the ark. The ark is the theocratic kingdom of God. In there you can't eat unclean animals. There's that rule like you get in the Sinai covenant. It's a theocratic administration and Noah has to be obedient. He has to build the ark, provision the ark, and fill the ark, like the first Adam. Adam had to build it, fill it, and provision it. Noah is a kind of second Adam type. He’s a type of Christ as well, a prophetic covenant mediator.

God is providing the preservation of seed through this Genesis 6:18, Noahic covenant. Common grace is what's being suspended. Here's how Waltke explains common grace, okay. "After the fall into original sin and the loss of paradise, the covenant of works is no longer a possibility. 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." "Common grace, on the other hand," now this is Kline, "represents a period of delay from the judgment consummation. It is the antithesis of consummation as such it epitomizes this world viewed under the aspect of delay during which the consummation is a ban."

B. Noahic Covenant 2.0 (30:07):

We live right now in a period of covenant, of common grace. We don't kill our unbelieving neighbor. We minister the gospel to them. The wheat and chaff dwell together, the sheep and the goats, the righteous and the wicked, we live together. We're not out there declaring holy war on everybody. We only declare holy war on our sin. So common grace is added in the flood, it was suspended. So you got to keep covenant grace and common grace together. That being said, Noahic covenant number two reestablishes the common grace covenant. Because if that didn't happen, you have to enter into eschatological judgment. Again, especially with the whole Ham debacle was seeing his father's nakedness. The Noahic covenant, now we're on 2.0, this is the one everyone thinks of as Noahic covenant. It's called the covenant of common grace in the Noahic covenant.

The account of the Noahic covenant appears in Genesis 9:17-18, where the nature parties and signing of the covenant set forth. The Norway covenant recorded in Genesis 9 is a unilateral covenant. It means that God's going to do it by Himself. Universal means everyone, even the earth and the animals. Non-redemptive, common grace doesn't save anybody. It exists for the fact that there is sin, administration of the covenant grace, restoring, and securing the principle of common grace, in this world that was suspended during the flood judgment ordeal. The covenant of common grace ensures a period of delay from God's final eschatological judgment until the covenant of grace should be accomplished in its various administrations, which include Abraham, Moses, David, and new covenant. The current era of common grace established and sustained by the Noahic covenant were both the elect and non-elect together, enjoying the stability of the natural world order that 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 humanity, the animal kingdom, and the Earth itself.

Every human being in this world right now, every animal being in this world right now, and even the ground we're standing on is under this covenant of grace. When we get to Genesis 9, we'll talk about that a little more maybe. It's a wonderful thing. In the new book that RTS did on covenant theology, you should all get lots of copies of it. I wrote the chapter on the Noahic covenant so you can have lots more there, if you want to read that.

This one here is bilateral. Noah's got to obey. This one here is unilateral. No one has to obey. And in fact it exists because of disobedience and the inability to obey. It's the opposite. What's the sign of the Noahic covenant, by the way? Everyone knows. Rainbow. That's exactly right. And what does the rainbow mean? That God won't destroy the earth. So there's a lot of debate on ... by water. That's exactly right. We got fire next time. There's a lot of debate on what that rainbow means. Some people think that it's a warrior's bow, because it's the same word in Hebrew, like a bow and arrow and a rainbow's the same word.  God's hung up His bow. He's not going to be mad at the world anymore. That's one possibility.

There's a possibility that it's a universal sign that everyone can see. It's not just for the elect or the non-elect. It's universal. The rainbow's something everyone can see. But there's something that's interesting too, in Ezekiel and in the book of Revelation, rainbows are associated with God's throne. It could be that as a symbol of Him ruling over the world where He's going to sovereignly administer this particular administration without our help.

C. Abrahamic Covenant (33:36):

The Abrahamic covenant is programmatic. In Genesis 12:15, 17:22, we now come to learn from what seed this messianic savior is going to come from. He's going to come from the line of Abraham, from his barren line. The Abrahamic and covenant is a unilateral covenant, meaning God's going to do it on His own, establishing and identifying the family through whom the messianic seed of Genesis 3:15 would come. The promises of land, descendants, and blessing will appear in Genesis 12. These promises are confirmed with a covenant in Genesis 15. The sign of the covenant is given in Genesis 17,  which is circumcision. The way of the covenant is identified in Genesis 22 with the binding of Isaac. The Abrahamic covenant is fulfilled in two major stages. The first stage is the temporary, typological, symbolic administration of the Mosaic covenant. The second stage is the eternal, non-typological new covenant that is again established in two successful ages, the first and second coming of Jesus. So the Mosaic or God says, I'm going to give you land, descendants, and blessing. There's nothing you can do about it. The sign's going to be circumcision. He fulfills that in two stages. One, the typological stage, the Mosaic covenant, and two, the non-typological. Hebrews calls this one the shadow and this one the substance.

D. Mosaic Covenant (35:02):

The shadow stage and the substance stage are two administrations of what are going to happen.You've got the promise of the covenant, the entering of the covenant, the covenant sign, and the way of the covenant, which is going to be sacrifice and substitution. So again, we have a covenant and we have a sign and this one is going to be circumcision. The Mosaic covenant, the Mosaic covenant appears for us in Exodus to Deuteronomy. There is a twofold sign in the Mosaic covenant, circumcision, and Sabbath. Two interesting things about this covenant, these pairing of covenant signs. Sabbath, the Sabbath sign is rooted back in creation.We have a principle of works. Then the circumcision sign is from the Abrahamic covenant where there's not a principle of works. So there's going to be something fishy about the Mosaic covenant, where it's an administration of the covenant of grace.  It's got a workspace principle in it at some level. It's the trickiest one to define and work out, but we're going to do it when we get there and we walk through Exodus to Deuteronomy together.

The Mosaic covenant is in fact, an administration of the covenant of grace that contains a principle of works. It's my official statement. Israel's obedience with secure blessings from God is summarized in Deuteronomy 28. Israel's disobedience to the terms of the covenant which secure curses from God as summarized in Deuteronomy 27, right? It's got a blessing curse thing going on there. Collectively Israel, hear this well, collectively Israel is a new Adam. Exodus 4:23. "Israel is my son," Yahweh says, "given a new paradise," the Promised Land, "and the opportunity to secure blessing in the land," just like Adam, "through obedience to the terms of the covenant." Like Adam Israel broke the covenant by their disobedience and experienced the curse of exile and death. Second story around. Again, that's, Hosea 6:7. You can also see that in Hebrews 11:8-10, where from the very beginning, the Mosaic covenant itself saw itself as a temporary typological event.

In the Mosaic covenant, you cannot earn eternal life. I grew up thinking, if you kept the Mosaic covenant, you could earn eternal life, but you're already in Adam. The possibility of human obedience is impossible. The only thing you can get in the Mosaic covenant is a blessing in the land and long life in the land. That's it. And you still die. It's not the answer. Even Abraham understood that the covenant God made with him about land, descendants, and blessing that the land specifically, was the land of Canaan and that Abraham was promised. He knew it was a symbol and token of something better.

Hebrews 11:8-10, "By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place that he would later receive his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith Abraham made his home in the promised land, like a stranger in a foreign country. He lived tents as did Isaac and Jacob who are heirs with him of the same promise. For" how could he do this and die there and not own any of it, except that little grave he bought? "For he was looking forward to the city whose with foundations whose architect and builder is God." So even Abraham understood that Isaac was not the ultimate Isaac, right? That the land was not the ultimate land and that his physical descendants weren't going to be his ultimate descendants. That’s important because we often get mixed up by that and it confuses our ecclesiology in the new covenant. That's the Old Testament survey.

E. Davidic Convenant (38:39):

The next covenant is the Davidic covenant. So think of it this way. There's the promise of the seed in Genesis 3. We know now that that seed's going to be from the line of Abraham and there are [inaudible 00:38:53] of that, of Abraham's descendants, the patriarchs is going to come from Judah. So there's going to be Genesis 49, and there's going to be all the book of Judges that testify to that particular benefit. Then we get to David, and now we know where the king of the kingdom is going to come from. In the Abrahamic covenant, kings will come from your body. So the Davidic covenant is a unilateral administration of the covenant of grace that establishes the eschatological messianic kingship of Yahweh through the line of David. This is the climax because we know that it's going to be through Abraham, through Judah, through David, from Adam. When Jesus and the genealogies goes all the way down that line and is every one of those things.

Kingship was part of the Abrahamic covenant Genesis 17:6 and verse 16, Genesis 35:11 prophesied to come to the line of Judah. Genesis 49 legislated in the Mosaic covenant. Deuteronomy 17 and confirmed by way of covenant officially in 2 Samuel 7. When we get to Samuel, Kings, I'll pause and do kind of an underlying theology of kingship that undergirds the importance of why we had to have kingship in the Davidic covenant and why couldn't we just kept having Judges with Yahweh instituting everything like that.

F. New Covenant (40:09):

Finally, the last administration of the covenant of grace is the new covenant here. We have the covenant documents themselves are Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. The covenant signs, baptism and the Lord's supper, baptism parallels circumcision and the Lord's supper parallels the Sabbath. Here's how it works. In the old covenant circumcision was the entrance sign. That's how you marked your entrance into the covenant community and Sabbath keeping was your weekly reminder that you're part of that administration of the covenant. So entrance and then reminder.

The same sign, the signs of the new covenant, do the exact same thing. There's baptism, which marks your entrance into the covenant community,  and whether you want to do infant baptism or believer baptism. Then the Lord's supper is the regular reminder that you're in that covenant. So do you see how they work? Entrance, reminder. One of the reasons I prefer in the context of worship, if I could write my own book on it, is that you would do communion or Lord's supper every week just because it parallels Sabbath, which you kept every week. It replaces that. Some people argue against that because it means it makes it less special, but you could argue that on tithing. They do that every week. Does that make it less special? Or preaching? Or something like prayer? It's a great way to make sure the gospel gets preached every week, because the Lord's supper is a rehearsal of the gospel. I think it's very important to do and you can do it shorter. You don't have to have it be a big, long drawn out thing.

So the Mosaic covenant and the new covenant are the two phases for the fulfillment of the Abrahamic covenant shadow and substance. The type and anti-type are exemplified in the covenantal arrangement of the canon, which we're going to see in our next lecture. Though both covenants are administrations of the covenant of grace, the principle of works is necessarily at work in each. Israel failed to keep the covenant and experienced the removal of God's presence in exile. Jesus was completely faithful to the covenant, the original covenant works, and the Mosaic covenant. But He experienced the removal of the Father's presence and exile in death. We, as people deserve as such all of humanity is in covenant with God, either in Adam under the covenant of works, or in Christ under the covenant of grace.

Though, we call it a covenant of grace, it is reckoned so on the basis of the merit of Christ, who graciously imputed to those who receive the gift of faith in order to believe. This covenant is fulfilled in two stages as well. In Christ's first coming, the already and the second coming the not yet.  But again, as we work through each part of the canon and each book in those parts, I'm going to be pointing those things out again. Here's how the administration works. Why can we eat bacon today and not during the Mosaic administration? Why do we not require circumcision today but they did back then? We're going to see how these different administrations affect how we live and think and what is the difference between a bilateral and a unilateral covenant. We'll see that in Genesis 15 when I'll explain that.

Some of these concepts are just background things so that you have an idea of what we're getting into, just like Jesus Christ is the theological center. Kingdom of God is thematic framework, and that kingdom of God is expressed covenantally, so all of these covenants here are covenant administrations. If you want some new covenant texts, the famous one in the Old Testament is Jeremiah 31:31-34. That's where the actual word new covenant occurs. That's why we call it the new covenant is because of that. It's also called a covenant of peace and an eternal covenant, in Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the prophets. So there's other language for that.

Luke 22:20, "In the same way after the supper, he took the cup saying, 'This is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you”. He's talking new covenant language there. 2 Corinthians 3:6. "He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant, not out of the letter, but out of the spirit for the letter kills, but the spirit gives life”. Hebrews 8:13, "By calling this covenant new, he has made the first one obsolete." So notice he's talking about the Mosaic versus the new, "By calling this covenant new he's made the first one obsolete and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear."

Hebrews 9:15, "For this reason Christ is a mediator of a new covenant that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance." That's to Abraham. "Now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant." So you notice he's talking about the first covenant and the new covenant. So the authors in the New Testament are using this first and second covenant. And you've got to be careful of which one he is talking about because there's a Davidic covenant, there's Abrahamic covenant, and there's the covenant of grace. Knowing the comparison and contrast there, especially when you get to Galatians, he's talking about the old covenant and the new covenant contrast. They're all administrations of the covenant of grace. So there's going to be continuity and discontinuity and most our disagreements, heated discussions, or great talks, come by way of what has continuity and discontinuity. Those are things over time you consider, you think about, and you refine.

Finally in Hebrews 12:24, "To Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. Jesus, the true and better Abel, his blood doesn't cry for condemnation, his blood cries out for redemption." Jesus Christ is the theological center. The kingdom of God is the schematic framework. In the next lecture, we're going to talk about the covenantal framework of the Bible, both Old and New Testaments and how that helps understand how those covenants work together and have continuity and discontinuity.

So how do human institutions such as the family and government work under these covenant administrations? That's the question. There are two different sides of the things. I may not be able to answer in fullness. I might need some of my colleagues who are really good in apologetics and in ethics, but I'm not that. So the covenant of marriage and the institution of the family is a pre-fall institution. Does that make sense? Marriage is not something that got invented after the fall because we were sinners and said, "We got to restrain you somehow." Let's make him married. No, it's the only way in which the cultural mandate could have been fulfilled to be fruitful, multiply, and fill. So that's where the Song of Songs comes in, to celebrate the cultural mandate.

Government, however, is the restraining of evil and it's a post-fall institution. It's an institution of common grace. It has a slightly different origin and a slightly different purpose. The family was to be the context in which this world was ruled and subdue. Now we've got the state to restrain evil and we submit to that in this particular historical context because at the time of common grace, and God gives those rulers power to restrain evil. The Noahic covenant exists because we can't obey. It’s because the covenant's broken, but it does have some sanctions. The two sanctions are no eating blood because life is in the blood and capital punishment for anyone who kills a person. They have assaulted the image of God. Therefore someone created the image of God to restrain evil by taking that right.

X. Conclusion (47:39):

That's controversial. Some people think that's an old covenant thing or a new covenant thing. Again, it's very complicated. I don't want to speak unsensitively in this particular context. I want to make sure that no one gets their knickers in a knot over it. But there are different ways to interpret it. A good book on that is by Vandrunnen. He teaches at Westminster Seminary, California. He really does specialize in the whole common grace in moral theology. He used to be a lawyer, then he became a theologian. He’s got that legal background. I would recommend any of his stuff on that.