I started preaching through Exodus a few months ago and just recently finished three sermons on Moses’ encounter with God at the burning bush. One of the major points I made over the last three weeks is that the miracle of the burning bush is not so much that a bush is on fire and not consumed, but that God reveals himself.
1.) God reveals his holiness in Exodus 3:1-10.
2.) God reveals his name in Exodus 3:11-22.
3.) God reveals his signs and says he will be with Moses’ mouth in Exodus 4:1-17.
God does all of this for Moses despite his disobedience. This is God’s grace towards Moses. Now in Jesus, God’s grace has come. In Jesus, God has revealed his holiness, his name, his signs, and his words. Jesus is the fulfillment of God’s revelation in the burning bush.
Jesus is the Holy One
Mark 1:24: “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are–the Holy One of God.”
Acts 2:27: For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, or let your Holy One see corruption.
Revelation 3:7: And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: ‘The words of the holy one, the true one, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens.”
Jesus is the name of God, and Jesus and the Father are one
John 8:58: Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.”
John 5:17-18: But Jesus answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I am working.” This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.
John 10:27-30: My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”
Jesus is the sign of God and Jesus is the mouth of God
Luke 2:12: And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.
Luke 2:34-35: And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”
Matthew 12:39-40: But he answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”
John 8:28: So Jesus said to them, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me.”
John 12:49: For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment–what to say and what to speak.
John 14:10: Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works.
As humans, our minds work by using analysis and synthesis in tandem. The same is true in biblical exegesis and theological construction. We create understandings of the whole by dissecting and studying its parts, and conversely we understand the parts in the light of the whole. As we go back and forth between analysis and synthesis, we refine our understandings of both the parts and the whole.
Our reviewers seem to think that for us everything reduces to typology. Horton says, “the main argument of the authors is that dispensationalism and covenant theology both fail to read the Bible in a sufficiently typological way (pointing to Christ), though at different points.” More accurately, we would say: DT and CT fail to think through how the plan of God unfolds through the progress of the covenants and how the biblical covenants find their fulfillment in Christ, which includes within it typological structures.
Two of the best essays I have read on typology are by Jim Hamilton. His essays on Joseph and David as types of Christ demonstrate exegetical how Jesus fulfills in his life what these two men did. You can access the essays below and to read the whole post click here.
How should Christians think about capitalism?
Throughout the latter half of the twentieth century the two great superpowers of the world, the USSR and the US, represented the opposing ideologies of communism and capitalism respectively. For many Christians it was unquestioningly assumed that communism was the great enemy of the church. Given its openly atheistic philosophy, it clearly opposed what Christians believed. However, in resisting communism Christians may have been deceived into thinking that capitalism is the church’s ally. Yet, if we want to identify the greatest enemy of the Christian faith, we must look closely at Babylon and observe its obsession with consumerism. There is nothing that stands more effectively as a barrier to people knowing God than the desire for wealth that comes through capitalism.
T. Desmond Alexander, From Eden to the New Jerusalem, p. 183.
The three most influential professors for me while I was at seminary were Steve Wellum, Peter Gentry, and Tom Schreiner. Wellum and Gentry have a new book due out soon entitled, Kingdom Through Covenant. They are coining their position: Progressive Covenantalism. Matthew Claridge at Credo Magazine has an interview with Steve Wellum. Read the whole thing here. Below are a few excerpts that I found helpful. Part two of the interview is with Peter Gentry tomorrow.
On the uniqueness and contribution of their book:
Let me suggest two ways KTC is distinct. First, it argues that central and foundational to reading the Bible on its own terms is getting right the unfolding nature of the biblical covenants and their interrelationship to each other as they culminate in the coming of Christ and the new covenant. In our view, biblical theology is not simply about unpacking biblical themes across the canon and doing it in a variety of ways. Rather, biblical theology is a hermeneutical discipline which seeks to understand God’s unfolding plan the way the Bible itself unfolds that plan. To be “biblical” in our interpretation and application of Scripture entails that we “put together” the pieces of Scripture the way the Bible does. It is our conviction that properly placing the biblical covenants in their own redemptive-historical context—seeing how they are interrelated and how they unfold the biblical story—is central to this task since it is central to how the Bible unpacks the whole counsel of God. Not all books on biblical or systematic theology do this.
Second, KTC is distinct from other works in that it offers in more detail than previous works, a true via media between dispensationalism and its varieties and covenant theology. Even though we are certainly not the first to articulate such a mediating position, KTC probably does it in the most comprehensive way to date, even though much more work has to be done in the future.
On the Abrahamic Covenant:
As we began to think through how dispensationalism and covenant theology “put together” the biblical covenants, it was fascinating to see that both appeal to the unconditional nature of the Abrahamic covenant yet for different reasons. On the one hand, dispensational theology appeals to the “unconditional” promise of land given to Abraham, which they believe, is only fulfilled non-typologically to ethnic, national Israel in the future millennial age. Regardless of the lack of discussion in the NT on the land promise, they argue that given the unconditional nature of the Abrahamic covenant, the land promise must still be fulfilled in the future precisely because it is an unconditional promise. When covenant theology disagrees with dispensationalism on this point by viewing the land as typological of the new creation and ultimately brought to fulfillment in Christ who ushers in the new creation, dispensational theology charges covenant theology with reading the NT back on the OT without sufficiently doing justice to the unconditional OT promise.
On the other hand, covenant theology appeals to the genealogical principle of the Abrahamic covenant—“to you and your children”—as unchanged throughout redemptive history, and it is on this basis that they make their covenantal argument for infant baptism. In a similar fashion to dispensationalism, regardless of the carry over between circumcision and baptism in the NT, and regardless of the fact that there is not one example of infant baptism practiced in the NT, covenant theology argues on the basis of the unconditional nature of the Abrahamic covenant that one must not read the NT back on the OT at this point. Even though dispensationalism and covenant theology differ at certain points, they both appeal to the Abrahamic covenant to make their points and follow the same hermeneutic. For us, this not only illustrates how important it is to understand properly the biblical covenants, but it also reminds us that one must not treat the Abrahamic covenant in an isolated fashion from the entire canon and particularly its fulfillment in Christ and the new covenant.
On concerns with dispensationalism and covenant theology:
We believe the error is ultimately found in Christology. That may seem strange so let me explain. As one works through the biblical covenants, all of the covenants and their mediators find their fulfillment in Christ. In Christ he is the last Adam, Abraham’s true seed, the true Israel who obeys completely, and David’s greater Son who does what no Davidic king ever did. In this way, all the promises to “Israel” as the “son” of God and typological pattern of Christ are fulfilled. Israel, in her role, loses nothing but finds her fulfillment perfectly in Christ. Dispensational theology often fails to recognize this point and thus does not see how Israel as a nation is the type which points forward to Christ as the antitype, and that the church now in relationship to Christ receives all the promises of God in and through her covenant head. In this way, dispensational theology fragments Israel and church because she does not unite them properly in Christ.
Covenant theology, in our view, grasps the Israel to Christ relationship better, but then does not see properly how the genealogical principle is transformed as Christ, the new covenant head, brings all the previous covenant mediators to their end, and stands as the head of his believing people. She does not also see that the covenant communities are also different, due to the difference between the old and new covenants. In this way, covenant theology moves from Israel to the church too fast, without first seeing how the covenants find their consummation in Christ, the true Israel, and thus the newness and greatness of what Jesus has won as our new covenant head, including the difference in the nature and structure of the covenant communities. In the end, we believe that the root problem of both systems is that they do not sufficiently trace out how the biblical covenants unfold, how all the types and patterns of the OT are fulfilled in Christ, and thus the better nature of the covenant our Lord Jesus has inaugurated.
Here are three recent things I’ve read or listened to that are worth your time.
3.) Carl Trueman’s talk on Why the Reformation Isn’t Over. Listen to it here.