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Archive for the ‘Biblical Covenants’ Category

Francis Schaeffer’s paedobaptist covenant premillennialism appears to be rarely held today, although apparently it was commonly held among the Bible Presbyterians and the Reformed Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Synod (RPCES), both of which he ministered in during his career.

The following is Schaeffer’s view in a nutshell and basically explains why he takes prophecy “literally” but why he wasn’t a dispensationalist even though he was a pre-tribulationist. It is from the second half of the message on the Covenant of Grace in the Westminster Confession of Faith series that was taught at L’Abri in the early 1960s. (This series includes the sermon from which his little book on Baptism was drawn.)

This is basically an introduction to a series of messages on the Abrahamic Covenant in which he emphasizes what he terms the unity and diversity of the covenant. This transcription is very lightly edited to remove repetition, etc. My apologies for any grammatical errors.
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Schaeffer:

We have here two halves in the first three verses of the Abrahamic Covenant. [He then quotes Gen 12:1-3.]

Here we have two halves and we must not get the two halves confused. There is a national, natural promise here to the natural seed of Abraham who are the Jews. But there is also the spiritual portion. The Covenant of Grace is operating here. The Covenant to Noah is under the Covenant of Grace. The Covenant to Abraham is under the Covenant of Grace. It is not aside from the Covenant of Grace. It is a part and a portion of the Covenant of Grace.

What you have is the two halves given. There is the half that deals with the Jews as the Jews, a nation. And I would say that Romans makes very plain that God is not done with the Jews. This portion of the covenant still stands. As a matter of fact, I would say immediately that if it doesn’t stand, then we cannot trust God, because he says in reference to his covenant to the Jews, as Paul is speaking to the Jews concerning national, natural Israel, his brethren according to the flesh, he says “The gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” He’s talking about the national, natural portion of the promise of the Abrahamic Covenant to the Jews as Jews. But we mustn’t forget that that isn’t all there is to it. There is a spiritual portion, a spiritual and personal element that is shown here: Looking forward to the coming of Messiah and an individual’s partaking in personally in it.

Those who tend to take the amillennial position tend to lose the diversity of this and confuse the national, natural portion with the spiritual portion. But there are many many people today who make the opposite mistake. And that is that they lose the unity, the failure to understand the total unity of the Covenant of Grace from the promise of Gen 3:15 onward, including the fact that there is a unity to those of us who are born again, now on this side of the cross, a unity with these promises, the spiritual side of the promises made to Abraham. Let us not lose the diversity. There is a difference between the promise made to the nation of the Jews as Jews and the spiritual portion, but let us equally beware of losing the unity, There is a unity to the Covenant of Grace. To say in passing, this is the reason I am not a dispensationalist. There is a unity.

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Four Scriptural Reasons for Affirming the Inauguration of the Davidic Covenant at the Ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ:

1.  In His post-resurrection pronouncements to the Apostles the Lord Jesus Christ proclaimed that “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth” (Mt. 28:18).  The Davidic reign must not be excluded from this grant and assumption due to its universal and eternal nature implicit in the language of the “commission” it introduces.

2.  Peter directly connects the resurrection and ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ to David’s prophetic pronouncement concerning the enthronement of the Davidic Messiah (Acts 2:25-36).  Specifically, the antecedent of the pronoun “his” modifying “throne” (Acts 2:30) is the same as that of “him”, and “his” (“loins”) earlier in the verse, and “he” in the beginning of the next verse (Acts 2:31), i.e. “the patriarch David” (Acts 2:29).  In particular, the term “his throne” at the end of the verse should be seen as coordinate with “his loins” in the middle of the verse, and therefore, of necessity, as having the identical antecedent, i.e., David.  In other words, the throne in view is referred to as David’s throne, and the enthronement of Jesus as the universal Lord and Messiah in His ascension (Acts 2:34-36) is explicitly connected to the throne of David and the fulfillment of what was revealed to David centuries before.

3.  When Christ returns to assert His absolute reign on the earth He will already be vested with the titles: “King of kings and Lord of lords” (Rev. 19:16).  This is consistent with His assertion in Mt. 28:18, and once again, must of necessity be seen as inclusive of the Davidic reign, as well as all others without exception.

4.  All of the above is consistent with and flows directly from the recognition of who He already was at His birth, i.e., the King of the Jews (Mt. 2:1-6; Lk. 1:32-33).  This was also explicitly acknowledged in His reception in Jerusalem during the Triumphal Entry as the King in fulfillment of prophecy (Mt. 21:1-17; Mk. 1:1-11; Lk. 19:28-48); and during His trial and execution (Mt. 27:11-14, 26-29, 37-43; Mk. 15:1-5, 9-13, 15-18, 26-32; Lk. 23:1-3, 36-43; Jn. 18:33-39; 19:1-3, 19-22).

Four Answers to Possible Objections to the Affirmation of the Inauguration of the Davidic Covenant at the Ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ:

1.  The prophesied Davidic reign in fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant must not be viewed as merely involving a reign over Israel, but a truly universal reign.  This reign is understood in the prophetic literature of the Old Testament in explicitly universal terms.

2.  That this universal Davidic reign would be initiated in and administered from heaven during the initial phase of its implementation should not be seen as inherently inconsistent with the terms of the Davidic Covenant.

3.  It must not be imagined that Christ must sit on the exact same literal throne that David sat on in order to fulfill the terms of the Davidic Covenant.  Where ever David’s ascended son/Lord is seated necessarily becomes the Davidic throne by virtue of the One seated upon it.

4.  It must not be supposed that Christ must be physically located in Israel in His humanity in order to begin fulfilling the requirements promised in the Davidic Covenant.

5.  While the actual restoration of the kingdom to Israel (Acts 1:6-8) awaits the time of their national reingrafting (Rom. 11:11-32), and regeneration (Ezek. 36:23-37:14), the stage has been set for that event in the enthronement of their King, and in His ongoing chastening of them including provoking them to jealousy through the Gentiles (Rom. 11:11-14).

Sola Scriptura, Soli Deo Gloria,

John T. “Jack” Jeffery

Pastor, Wayside Gospel Chapel

Greentown, PA

12 July 2013

The Inauguration of the Davidic Covenant at the Ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ

by John T. Jeffery

Copyright 2013 by John T. Jeffery.

All rights reserved.

The use of excerpts or reproduction of this material is prohibited

without written permission from the author.

Contact the author at:

722 South Main Ave.

Scranton, PA 18504

Home phone:  (570) 342-5787

Email:  johntjeff@verizon.net

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