A Disingenuous God? (3)

Disingenuousness and the Problem of the Obvious

Disingenuousness and “Expansion” Language

A Disingenuous God? (1)

A Disingenuous God? (2)

I said at the end of the last post that we would be thinking about what God thinks of those who enter into covenants and fail to perform the words of those covenants.  But I find am going to put that subject off until next time, until I am satisfied that I have driven home my point about the disingenuous god whose word is something of a rubber mask.  A mask behind which this god’s real intentions lurk.  I do not believe in this god.  I believe that God means what He says!  I trust such a God.  I believe what He graciously promises me in the Gospel.  But I don’t see how I can trust a god who misled thousands of pious Jews (and Christians) into believing the plain-sense of his words and then “fulfilled” them entirely differently.  If he can do that to others, he can do it to me.

1. When we posit a god who uses words which lead people to believe he means one thing, when, in reality, he means something very different to what those words would naturally convey, we are dealing squarely with a god who equivocates.  This was illustrated in the last post, but let’s have another example, just to show how pervasive this characteristic would be if supercessionism were true.  This one concerns the well known incident that happened at Baal-Peor in Numbers 25:

 6 And indeed, one of the children of Israel came and presented to
his brethren a Midianite woman in the sight of Moses and in the
sight of all the congregation of the children of Israel, who were
weeping at the door of the tabernacle of meeting.
 7 Now when Phinehas the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the
priest, saw it, he rose from among the congregation and took a
javelin in his hand;
 8 and he went after the man of Israel into the tent and thrust both
of them through, the man of Israel, and the woman through her
body. So the plague was stopped among the children of Israel.
 9 And those who died in the plague were twenty-four thousand.
 10 Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying:
 11 “Phinehas the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, has
turned back My wrath from the children of Israel, because he was
zealous with My zeal among them, so that I did not consume the
children of Israel in My zeal.
 12 “Therefore say, ‘Behold, I give to him My covenant of peace;
 13 ‘and it shall be to him and his descendants after him a covenant
of an everlasting priesthood, because he was zealous for his God,
and made atonement for the children of Israel.’ “

The promise is most explicit.  Furthermore, Psalm 106:28-31 is evidence that God was taken at His Word; at least by the Psalmist.  We should not miss this: one OT author interpreting another OT author literally.  We implied three more instances of this in our last post when in commenting on the promises within Jeremiah 33:14-26, we observed:

4. The Davidic Covenant is expressly quoted

5. The Priests will also offer to the Lord continually [probably a reference to the covenant in Num. 25]

6. God’s intention to fulfill these promises is underlined by His intent to uphold His creation [cf. Gen. 8:22]

So what is God doing in these passages?  Well, either the Lord is continuing the charade, or He means exactly what He says.  Those are the choices, like it or lump it.

Have a look at Psalm 106:10-12.  Notice that the people who experienced the deliverance at the Red Sea “believed His word” when they saw what God did.  They may have had their doubts before the waters started doing strange things and the dry ground, which had been the Sea floor minutes before, appeared.  But now they knew that God meant what He said and they believed Him.  God is glorified when His people believe Him!  He wants us to have faith in His Word.  Quite how that is possible if, as supercessionists say, His words are filled with double-meanings, is anyone’s guess.

2. When I write my posts I want to use words which convey a particular thought-content to the people who read my posts.  I do not want to use words that would likely lead my reader(s) to a conclusion that I myself am not driving at.  If I wanted to say one thing and mean another it would be quite easy for me to do it.  But why would I do it?  And if what I was writing was a promise to a named person or group; – nay, a covenant oath – what would possess me to use words which I knew would make them think something other than what I had in mind?  Why would I equivocate?

This “God,” whose very nature is to equivocate, is, it seems to me, a theological and philosophical quandary of colossal proportions.  Theologically, it introduces a new and unwelcome element into the attributes of Deity.  This element, as we have shown, is the attribute of equivocating communication.  Or, more simply, “Equivocation.”  An attribute that throws all the others into suspicion.  This is the god who leads people to believe one thing when he doesn’t really intend to stick to the words he utters.  This is the god who promises things in the plainest possible terms in the Old Testament, only to either alter or repeal them in the New Testament.  If anyone knows a way out of this dilemma, let them have at it.

Within the field of Philosophy of Religion, you have the problem of nailing down God’s own Self-description.  Let us admit that Christ is the Word (Jn. 1:1-3), and that “all things were created through Him and for Him” (Col. 1:16).  Let us also agree that “by the word of the LORD [God’s covenant Name] the heavens were made” (Psa. 33:5).  What do we do with a passage like Psalm 105:6-11, which declares,

6 O seed of Abraham His servant, You children of Jacob, His
chosen ones!
 7 He is the LORD our God; His judgments are in all the earth.
 8 He remembers His covenant forever, The word which He
commanded, for a thousand generations,
 9 The covenant which He made with Abraham, And His oath to
Isaac,
 10 And confirmed it to Jacob for a statute, To Israel as an
everlasting covenant,
 11 Saying, “To you I will give the land of Canaan As the allotment
of your inheritance,”

Verse 6 is included to show to whom the covenant LORD is speaking.  It is to “Jacob” (Israel).  God has made a covenant with them.  Which covenant are we given to understand it is?  No problem, it is the Abrahamic Covenant, confirmed to both Isaac and Jacob (vv. 9-10).  How long will this covenant last?  God remembers it “forever,” “for a thousand generations,” and it is called “an everlasting covenant” (vv. 8 & 10).  What, in particular, does the Psalmist emphasize about this covenant?  Despite replacement theologians’ complaints that the land is not a major part of this covenant, we are told that God will give Israel “the land of Canaan” for an inheritance (v.11).

Okay, but what if God meant something other than “Israel” and “the land of Canaan” when He had this Psalm recorded?  What if the word, which “is right” and “done in truth” (Psa. 33:4), does not mean what it appeared to mean to the Psalmist?  What if the Word (Christ) Who gave the Word (Scripture) has a prevaricating character?  (I do not say He does, but I am examining the fallout of supercessionist claims).  If the NT will be given to reinterpret these covenant oaths of God so that their meaning is transformed (a view never directly taught in the NT), surely this impugns the character of biblical truth?  Just what IS “truth” when the one who speaks it is proved to equivocate with such alarming frequency?

3. I have never come across an unbeliever arguing this line against God and the Bible, but if I were one I would be all over it!  Christians place themselves on the horns of this dilemma by talking of typological and symbolic interpretations of these passages, or by claiming that the NT is necessary to interpret the Old.  This demotes the OT to a subservient level to the NT.  But it also leads those who entertain it to embrace double-speak: Now God means what He says, now He is speaking in typological riddles; God has not replaced Israel with the Church, yet the Church is the “New Israel”; the Abrahamic Covenant is unconditional, yet Israel failed to keep the conditions; this covenant promises Israel a literal geo-political kingdom on earth, but not really.  It goes on and on depending on which prophetic passage is under discussion.     

As God is the Author of language, and the Bible is a revelation, not an obfuscation, we may confidently suppose that God’s words to us are characterized by the same intentions.  That is how I can be sure that when God spoke of  “my witnesses” in Isaiah 44:8-9 He did not have in mind a bunch of cult members from the Watchtower organization.  Come to think of it, if a plain-sense is rejected, who’s to say He didn’t?

Let God Be True…

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21 comments

  1. Paul this is now getting very interesting.

    A few months ago I had to challenge your assertion of being racist for believing that many of the promises of the OT were fulfilled in the Church and not Israel – a New Testament argument. Now I am (I think) being forced to defend the character of God. But I won’t . . . Instead I want to offer you a good read (yes, by a covenant theologian), “Christ Centered Preaching” – a book which I believe will bring clarity to what is stated above. Enjoy!

    For the sake of the gospel,
    Christian

    1. Christian, thanks for the recommendation. I have actually read Chapell’s book. I don’t see that it responds to my concerns here. Btw, the majority of books which I have read for the past 25 years have been written by covenant theologians.

      If I recall, you really didn’t address the matter of anti-Israeli thought among SOME CT’s (e.g. Knox Seminary). But also, please don’t miss my point here. It is I who am defending the character of God from those who insist He can make a covenant oath to one set of people and fulfill it a different way to another set of people. That would constitute a deliberate equivocation in God. Therefore, it must be rejected.

      I appreciate your comment notwithstanding.

  2. Great stuff Paul,

    These articles hit at the core of what is wrong with the hijacking of God’s statements from the OT as if somehow 2/3 of the Scripture is unclear or less inspired (or worse yet, cannot be understood without the NT). Those who embrace such an approach need to ask themselves on what basis they can assert that the Koran or Book of Mormon or any other book which claims divine redefinition should be rejected from superseding what the NT “seemed to mean to its recipients.”

    This has been the very aspect that I have emphasized in my teaching opportunities. Rather than tilting at the results of reinterpreting the OT in the “light of the NT” one needs to get down to the character of God and the nature of language and its adequacy for its intended purpose having been bestowed by God. The issue is not so much the doctrinal conclusions which flow from such a reinterpretive practice (as unfortunate as they are), but the very undermining of all inscripturated promises made by the Creator to His creatures. And that would place all of us, even after having received the NT, on very uncertain ground.

  3. Paul,

    I am glad you’re reading the good stuff . . .

    But it doesn’t seem (as I questioned Tony) there is any dialogue with those of us who stand with our brothers who have over the past two hundred years defended the priority of the gospel, the supremecy of Christ and the biblical character of God. As I read your conclusions, it appears you (and you too Tony) haven’t taken the time or have had the chance to engage those who might be able to biblically (and logically) challenge your assumptions.

    JCH

    1. Christian,

      When I stated that I was born-again in a covenant church teaching replacement theology but found that my reading of Scripture contradicted such a view, I most certainly interacted with brothers who had a different view. Now because they failed to persuade me (as you do), you conclude — erroneously — that they were simply unable to logically challenge my assumptions. Moreover, having been a believer for some 20 years and having read a considerable amount of information from both sides of the aisle, including spending half a decade at seminary, it is beyond strange that you continue to assert I simply haven’t been challenged by suitably equipped brothers who can persuade me of the truth of covenant theology and that the OT must be reinterpreted from the perspective of the NT. No, the problem was not lack of interaction or unsuitably equipped brothers whose logic I could too easily resist, it was that Scripture itself contains details and distinctions which I refuse to gloss over. Perhaps its my background as an engineer, but when a document says something, I tend to pay attention to the details. It is this issue alone which separates me from the covenant persuasion, being based as it is on unsupportable imagined covenants among the Godhead and playing fast and loose with the real Biblical covenants found in Scripture.

      Perhaps I am misreading your comment, but it sounds like you back at it again implying that only covenant teachers have “defended the priority of the gospel, the supremacy of Christ, and the biblical character of God.” But then what is dispensational brother Paul on about in his recent series of articles if not upholding the “character of God?” Seems like we’ve been over this inference before too.

      While I’m sure Paul will speak for himself, I will hazard that Paul has spent more time in covenant circles in the past than many of us and has a vast knowledge and exposure to covenant writers — more than any other dispensationally-inclined teacher that I’ve personally known. Yet you continue to put forth this mistaken notion that the reason Paul rejects their approach is simply because he lacks adequate exposure and dialog with the ideas of covenant writers and teachers.

      Why not just stick to the issues being discussed rather than repeating this idea that we dispys just haven’t encountered the ‘real deal’ when it comes to a convincing presentation of the covenant position?

  4. Tony, (last word for me) –
    …because if you have read/dialogued with us as you have just written (sproul, boice, ferguson, reader, horton, etc.) while noting the difference in our interpretations (CT – most OT promises fulfilled in the Chruch – NT – most OT promises fulfilled in the Jews) your conclusions (and tone) would be much different that what I have read this past week in these posts.
    I would love to “…stick to the issues…” but the litmus test for me (lest I cast pearls) is to take a passage (like Acts 2) to see if we can, in mutual humility have a serious dialogue about the text.
    I only want the best for Paul’s ministry and when I see him barking up the wrong tree, it is my passion to let him know.
    Off to worship where there are no distinctions in the fulfilled promises of our Creator,
    Christian

  5. Christian, whether you believe that I have not interacted personally with many CT’s is, after all, your opinion, and is not based on what you know. The fact is, I have discussed things with many CT’s and to a man I have come away disappointed in their unwillingness to deal with the passages in context and the theological problem of saying the NT reinterprets the Old. Dave Swavely, who had a big influence on you becoming a Presby, was one of them.

    I have written thousands of words in arguing my point, and you have managed artfully to avoid all of it. Instead of engaging my argument, brother, you have created a diversion by introducing a NT text; a text (Acts 2) which all interpreters must confess is problematical for the very reason that the narrative of Pentecost makes it clear that the phenomena described in Joel were not manifest in Acts 2. Thus, R. Longenecker (not a DT), in his Acts Commentary sees an initial or partial fulfillment, with a consummation in the eschaton. This is what I see too. You would be hard put to prove the contrary.

    But back to my point. What you have done is a common maneuver. You have passed over the content of the argument, and the texts used to support it, and you have basically gone somewhere else and exclaimed, “What about this?” I wrote about this problem here: https://drreluctant.wordpress.com/2011/08/25/the-parameters-of-meaning-rule-2/

    So if you wish to argue against my points you will have to discuss them, not a point of your own. As I have already said, if a DT fails to apply his method in one area that does not overthrow the legitimacy of the method itself. But CT is a different kettle of fish. CT’s avoid the plain sense of hundreds of passages in systematic fashion in both Testaments if they violate their a priori assumptions. That is why they switch hermeneutical horses so frequently, even within the same verse or passage (e.g. Isa. 9:6-7; Micah 5:2; Lk. 1:32-33; Rev. 20:1-7).

    Your brother,

    Paul

  6. Paul,

    Dave’s influence (ask him!) had little to do with my decision on seeing covenant theology as the best reflection of understanding God’s plan of redemption for His people (not all israel is Israel!). . . but then again that is your opinion, and is NOT based on what you know ;-).

    It was after five years of studying the texts of Scripture in isolation from outside influences that I saw that there were problems in the DT house and came to see more biblical continuity than discontinuity. There were three book studies (Genesis – Luke – Ephesians) in which I had my own road to Emmaus experience. It was after I had began to formulate and solidify my exegetical opinions that I engaged Dave.

    The ONLY reason I introduced Acts 2 was to counter your charge of CT bending the text to fit their presuppostions. Peter didn’t stutter, shudder, hem, haw, side step, explain away . . . as I studied it in it’s context both linguistically and grammatically there were no problems in my mind until I began to read commentaries by men like Feinberg who threw their hermeneutics out of the window to bend the passage to their own theological presuppostions. Commentaries as you know should only be brought to the discussion AFTER you have masterd the text in it’s original setting (whether Hebrew or Greek).

    Bingo, the last paragraph actually gets to the nexus of what dissagrement we might have. You believe that in your system you can fudge a little (and it’s ok) but in mine we simply are changing ponies so often in our system it’s impossible to know the truth. I believe that in your commitment to stay “literal” you too pick and choose your method of interpretation and miss much of the faithfulness of God fulfilling His covenant promises in Christ and the Church.

    We had a guest speaker from Southwestern Seminary bring the Word this morning and in our discussion after his message, I raised my issues with your posts (not our differences in textual interpretation but the conclusions / charges you are leveling). He, too, thought that it was an unfortunate direction to take . . . and that it would be best to in mutual respect engage one contextually and keep one’s arguments centered on the texts of Scripture.

    Grace and peace!

    JCH

    1. Okay brother, let’s both say that our opinions about each other were wrong. I’ll take your word for it and you take mine against your earlier assertion. As a matter of fact, this series was somewhat inspired by an exchange I had some months back with a Ph.D from Westminster Seminary. He too, dodged the questions, failed to interact with one text I had cited, and jumped hermeneutical ponies at an alarming rate. He also got annoyed with my “Equivocal God” argument and would not even talk about it, thinking I was insulting him, even though I emailed him personally to say that this was a theological discussion and since he wanted to apply Zech. 12-14 to the Church he had to deal with its fallout per the doctrine of God. He had said publicly that he would be happy to discuss these matters via email, then never returned my email!

      I have addressed Acts 2 briefly, even though you have not addressed any text I discuss in the posts. When I said some DT may “fails to apply his method in one area” I was not referring to myself (or e.g., Tony). I was just saying that inconsistent application by certain persons does not invalidate the method. Nor does it mean the method does not apply to all texts. It is not okay to “fudge a little”!

      As for your guest speaker; perhaps he was uncomfortable being put on the spot. If not, my answer would be who is he to prescribe the limits of theological discussion? I have raised a valid theological argument. It needs to be joined.

      God bless you and the fam.

      P.

      1. Paul,

        I haven’t engaged any of your texts (deliberately) but your suppositions. God has every intent on coming through with what He has promised. And He did! God has and will in the end bring complete fulfillment of all He has set for in the pages of His holy Word. Ethnic Israel was largely apposate and did not have the ability to comprehend the message of the prophets or diciples/apostles. One of the blessings of CT is seeing Chrsit and the gospel through the law, psalms, and prophets. Yes, I am guilty of seeing Him exalted more often than makes you feel comfortable but as the tapestry of the message of Christianity is rolled out, by the end of the NT the continuity is awesome.

        One clear example (in my understanding) is the connection between Gen 2 and Eph 5. At the heart of Genesis 2 and the creation of man/woman is the gospel as it relates to Christ and the Church (jew and gentile). Whenever I teach Genesis 2, I exalt the gospel. Because the markers are there? NO! But because I have continued to read through the rest of God’s revelation and see the majesty and supremacy of Christ in Genesis 2 . . . In a word, Awesome!

        JCH

  7. “The ONLY reason I introduced Acts 2 was to counter your charge of CT bending the text to fit their presuppostions. Peter didn’t stutter, shudder, hem, haw, side step, explain away . . . as I studied it in it’s context both linguistically and grammatically there were no problems in my mind until I began to read commentaries by men like Feinberg who threw their hermeneutics out of the window to bend the passage to their own theological presuppostions. Commentaries as you know should only be brought to the discussion AFTER you have masterd the text in it’s original setting (whether Hebrew or Greek). ”

    What Covenant Theologians usually do in Acts 2 is what I call ” reinterpretation ” meaning that it changes what is expressly stated in Joel 2 and changes it’s entire meaning. Peter used it because the 1st coming of Jesus brought in the ” last days ” which started 2,000 years ago and goes on until his second coming. He used it mainly because of the advent of the Holy Spirit which was to take place in the last days. Peter did not do a reinterpretation of the text. While parts of it did in fact take place in Acts not all of Joel 2 was fulfilled. The rest of it will be fulfilled during the great tribulation which concludes with Jesus second coming. Things relating to the wonders in the sky did not take place. The work of the Holy Spirit was a focus point for Peter to show it was something not totally unexpected. But rather was an expection of what is to take place in the last days in relation to the Holy Spirit.Peter was making an application of it and rightly so. I have no problem with it. I do not believe that you bringing up Acts was a good counter. While some dispensationalist may not have done a good job at explaining it never the less it is the twisting and changing the text done though means of reinterpretation of a basic foundation of what I see in Covenant theological and other ” Replacement Theological ” commentaries on Acts 2.

    I think a great example of using theological presupositions being used by Covenant Theologians is right in Jer.31:31-37. They specifically change the meaning of the words ” house of Israel and with the house of Judah ” . They reinterprete that through the NT and claim it means the church. Yet the body of Christ were not the ones who physically came out of Egypt. It was physical Israel. John Calvin’s exposition is sufficient evidence for what I stated. Take care and God bless.

  8. Bryan,

    I was wondering when the rest of Paul’s regulars would jump into the discussion. Thanks for your imput. Actually CT take Peter at his word and believe that what Joel prophesied was fulfilled in the events surrounding Pentecost. It wasn’t an application but an illustration that God can be trusted when He says one thing . . . and brings it to prophetic fruition.

    JCH

  9. “I was wondering when the rest of Paul’s regulars would jump into the discussion. Thanks for your imput. Actually CT take Peter at his word and believe that what Joel prophesied was fulfilled in the events surrounding Pentecost. It wasn’t an application but an illustration that God can be trusted when He says one thing . . . and brings it to prophetic fruition. ”

    What you have done is called begging the question. CT does not take Peter at his word but rather misinterpretes what Peter was saying. CT has for it’s foundation having Peter change what the original meaning of what we see in Joel 2:28-32 and claim a spiritual fulfillment of it. CT would have to change what Mount Zion and Jerusalem mean in the passage. We dont find the wonders of the sky in verses 30-31 as having taken place at Pentecost. Strange you used the word ” illustration ” which is used by some Dispensationalist on Acts 2. CT has a different type of so called frutiation that changes it’s OT historical meaning of Joel 2. You are just not being up front about it while some so called ” Replacement Theology ” writings have stated that it is reinterpretation. Normally they state that the apostles had the authority to so this such as the case of Peter. Stuff like this is found in the NAB which is a Roman Catholic study Bible. Even George Ladd and Loraine Bottner in their sections book The Meaning Of The Millenium Four Views edited by Robert G. Clouse. What we normally find in CT is the unfounded claim that the NT is the interpretator of the OT. From a functional stand point places the NT as supreme over the OT when they are equal in authority.

  10. No Bryan I have stated very clearly what I meant and explained to you my view of taking Peter literally at his word. You my friend play are forced to play hermeneutical gymnastics because you see for example “wonders in the sky” surrounding the events of Pentecost. If you choose to live in the types and shadows of the OT you WILL come to your views that some how genetic Israel is the focus of much OT prophecy. I on the other hand, believe that while the OT and NT are equal in authority, we interpret the OT by the completed canon of Scripture in the NT.

  11. “No Bryan I have stated very clearly what I meant and explained to you my view of taking Peter literally at his word.”

    No you do not. You are not taking Peter literally that much is clear from a simple reading of the context of the passage. Peter never changed the original meaning of what is in Joel 2 when he spoke in Acts 2. What you have is a so called ” spiritual fulfillment ” and not a literal one. As already noted CT theologians who are more blunt state that the NT reinterpretes OT prophecy in order to find fulfillment in the church instead of with national Israel.

    ” You my friend play are forced to play hermeneutical gymnastics because you see for example “wonders in the sky” surrounding the events of Pentecost.”

    CT does not pay attention to the specific details that is given there and most often renders it meaning less statements.Your own comment is proof of this. Words are in a sentence are there for a reason. It is not meant to be gibberish. It is meant to be understood in it’s historical context by the people of God. It is CT that does not pay attention to details here. I noted that the advent of the Holy Spirit is the common principle of which why Peter used Joel 2. To show we are presently in the last days and that the outpouring of the Holy Spirit signifies it. Peter made a secondary application of what is to take place with Israel and shows common feature of what would happen to the church since the Holy Spirit’s outpouring is not limited to national Israel alone. I simply follow the literal grammatical historical method of interpretation. CT refuses to follow this with respect to bible prophecy whenever it contradicts their general ideas about the great tribulation, the millennial kingdom and their concept of the church. Though I concede that CT does not have a single voice on eschatology. You like to point fingers at Dispensationalist but the reality is CT has done more than it’s own share of blunders of exegesis with regard to Joel 2 and Acts 2.

    “If you choose to live in the types and shadows of the OT you WILL come to your views that some how genetic Israel is the focus of much OT prophecy. ”

    I live by proper exegesis of the Old and New Testament in it’s historical context. Much of the OT is focused on Israel and it’s restoration at Jesus second coming. But it also includes many types of Jesus and contains basic truths of God and the manner of justification before God. The New Testament continues on these same truths and expands upon them in more detail. And the NT provides details with regard to the formulation of the body of Christ and instructions for it as Jesus made preparations for it before His death on the cross and his going away to heaven. The election of Israel and the church are unconditional . It is not based on foreseen faith or works at all but rather God’s free sovereign grace of His eternal purpose. In other words, God’s eternal purpose for Israel and the church wont fail.

    ” I on the other hand, believe that while the OT and NT are equal in authority, we interpret the OT by the completed canon of Scripture in the NT.”

    While you concede the OT and NT are equal in authority you are taking back what you conceded. If you are using the NT to interprete the OT than they are not equal in authority and insufficient as a rule of faith as far as the OT is concerned . This is directly contradicted by the apostle Paul in 2 Tim 3:15-17. The OT and NT is intended to be used for teaching doctrine. This involves using all of Scripture to formulate doctrine and not using the NT to interprete the OT. That passage teaches the OT in itself was sufficient to lead one to salvation and instructing for holy living for God and with the addition of the NT provides an even more light in the expansion of information we are given. Your comments regarding the OT seem to imply that the OT was insufficient functionally by it’s claim the OT is interpreted by the NT.

  12. Christian, I think I shall place my notes on your recent comments in a separate post. But because that post will not be addressed specifically to you, I shall say something about this:

    “One clear example (in my understanding) is the connection between Gen 2 and Eph 5. At the heart of Genesis 2 and the creation of man/woman is the gospel as it relates to Christ and the Church (jew and gentile). Whenever I teach Genesis 2, I exalt the gospel. Because the markers are there? NO! But because I have continued to read through the rest of God’s revelation and see the majesty and supremacy of Christ in Genesis 2 .”

    Notice a few things:

    1. Genesis 2 has two perfect people who have no need of the Gospel. the Fall has not occurred, therefore, to read the Gospel into this chapter is to ignore the chapter.

    2. In Genesis 2 there are no Jews and no Gentiles. In fact, there are no other people!

    3. You readily admit that “the markers” are not there. Ergo, you read them into the passage. That is eisegesis.

    4. Your seeing Christ in Genesis 2 is on the same level as JW’s seeing themselves in Rev. 7. There is no exegetical warrant for it.

    5. Thus, this shows a contempt for what Gen. 2 is conveying, since your thoughts are full of looking for someone (the Savior) in a context where He is not needed.

    6. What this demonstrates is a “clear example” of allegorical interpretation. The real meaning is not on the service of the words themselves, but lies below the suffice to be divined by those spiritually equipped for the task.

    P.

  13. Paul,

    I will let THE Paul respond on Genesis 2 – “…This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.” Every time I open the OT, I thank the Lord for what He has revealed in the New. We obviously will not be on the same page any time soon unless I retreat back to the shadows of the OT . . . which the author of Hebrews points out is inferior to the New. While you may put me in the camps of the JW’s (Yikes!) . . . one thing I can say is that my understanding now of the OT has better equipped me in my defense of the gospel against cults and the modern church.

    Love you!

    JCH

    1. Christian,

      Paul’s use of Gen. 2 does not mean he sees Christ IN that chapter. He is using an analogy. The Church’s relation to Christ is like the wife’s relation to her husband (or vice versa).

      Also, I did not put you in the JW camp. I compared your interpretations.

      God bless!

      P.

  14. Mr. Cruz (I love the name especially as a first name. . . my grandson is named Cruz),

    Thanks for taking the time to respond. I couldn’t agree more with your third paragraph but would only emphasize that according to my understanding of Ephesians 2:11 and following there are no more distinctions between Jew and Gentile (this passage is NOT about racial reconcilliation), but one people of God seen as the Church, some grafted out and some grafted in. All of God’s promises being fulfilled.

    My problem with Paul H IS NOT his posts (write ten more thousand words brother!), he has before God been called to study and show himself approved unto God. My problem with Paul IS the way he represents those who (in my opinion) have as high regard for Scripture and who have been the church’s rudder stablizing the Church against those who continue to attack the gospel.

    On a side note, one of the worst decisions John MacArthur did was to draw the line in the sand against those friends of his who were covenant in their understanding of Scripture. I understand the tension between speaking out against what is perceived to be error and circling the wagons so tightly that you lose what I believe to be an important partnership in the gospel.

    May you Mr. Cruz continue to lift high the cross in the OT when your exegesis allows it (the more you study the more you will be able),

    JCH

    1. Just quickly:

      “My problem with Paul H IS NOT his posts (write ten more thousand words brother!), he has before God been called to study and show himself approved unto God. My problem with Paul IS the way he represents those who (in my opinion) have as high regard for Scripture and who have been the church’s rudder stablizing the Church against those who continue to attack the gospel.”

      As I think you know Christian, I have a very high regard for the Reformers and Puritans and many other men in the Reformed community. But this does not mean I agree with all they say. My opinion is that they often put in place major premises to support their theology (e.g. the cov. of grace), which has no exegetical support at all. This causes them to pass over plain and clear biblical statements which they ought to believe at face value (e.g. Jer. 33:14-26; Rev. 20:1-7).

      Since I have carefully studied CT for many years I do not believe I am misrepresenting it. When you gave examples of what you thought of as misrepresentation, I cited respected CT’s to prove otherwise.

      On a side note. I tend to agree with you about MacArthur. I personally do not support his thesis that Reformed people ought to be premillennial (certainly not dispensational). The logic of Reformed and CT does not point that way.

      All the best

      Your brother,

      P.

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