Journal of Biblical Ministry, Fall 2014

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Fall 2014

Journal of Biblical Ministry Fall 2014

A journal to support and encourage those in ministry by providing studies in biblical texts with application for practical ministry CONTENTS Introductory Note: Dr. James Kinnebrew, Editor ………………………………….......

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Articles: Is the Immutability of God Logically Impossible? James M. Kinnebrew……………………………………………………………………………

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Theology and Paul’s Address on Mars Hill Tobi England ………………………………………………………………………………………. 14 Pastoral Care: From Past to Present Ann Marie Kerlin…………………………………………………………………………………. 25 Is There a Method to the Madness? A Narrative Methodology Joshua E. Stewart………………………………………………………………………………. 44 The Judgment of the Nations Tim Skinner………………………………………………………………………………………… 60 The Abrahamic Covenant: One Covenant, Two Promises David Mapes………………………………………………………………………………………… 94

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INTRODUCTORY NOTE We are delighted to bring you the Fall 2014 edition of Luther Rice University’s Journal of Biblical Ministry. This issue does not have a unifying theme as in the past, but it is full of articles that we trust will be helpful to you personally and professionally as you labor in the vineyard of the Lord. Dr. Ann Kerlin’s article will be of interest to all who have found that ministry involves much more than the out-front work of the pulpit—it often requires the heartfelt work of personally and skillfully shepherding very needy sheep. Dr. Kerlin puts that work into historical context in her fine article on Pastoral Care. Recent events around the world have had many of us looking again at eschatology and end-time scenarios. Fittingly, Prof. Timothy Skinner has an outstanding study on the Judgment of the Nations in this issue, and Dr. David Mapes clarifies a number of issues regarding the Abrahamic Covenant. With the crying need for Christian apologists in our current culture, many have entered the fray without really understanding some foundational philosophical issues in regard to methodology. LRS alum, Instructor Tobi England, offers some helpful insight in his good article on the Pauline Apologetic Methodology displayed in Acts 17. Another current cultural trend has been the church’s reawakening to the importance of “story,” especially the biblical storyline and our place in it. This may be due to an unfortunate but growing disdain of doctrine or, perhaps, to a realization of societal ignorance of the Bible and the need to tell the story again in interesting and relevant ways. To that end, Dr. Joshua Stewart has written a step-by-step model for Interpreting the Stories of the Old Testament. Finally, this editor has given his critique of a matter that came up recently in his Theological Apologetics classroom. Does the fact that God is immutable make it impossible for Him to do the things that the Bible says He has done? Of course, you know the answer to that question; but I hope you will see why the answer is a resounding “No!” as you read the article on the Logical Possibility of an Unchanging God. Once again, Prof. Thomas Mapes is owed a great debt of gratitude for his tireless proofing of each article and the valuable suggestions he made to improve each one. As always, Ms. Sherri Humphrey is to be thanked for her indispensable help in turning a folder full of diverse articles into the unified journal you have before you.

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Journal of Biblical Ministry This journal has been a labor of love undertaken by all of the above to help fulfill the many varied ministries God has given the students, alumni, and friends of Luther Rice. We welcome your comments and constructive criticism. Our mission is to help you become the best leader and follower of Christ that you can possibly be. If you know of a way to make this journal more effective to that end, please let us know. Now turn the page, read, learn, and “teach others also� (2 Tim 2.2)!

James M. Kinnebrew James M. Kinnebrew General Editor, Journal of Biblical Ministry jkinnebrew@lru.edu

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IS THE IMMUTABILITY OF GOD LOGICALLY IMPOSSIBLE? By James M. Kinnebrew, Ph.D. Professor of Theology, Luther Rice University INTRODUCTION The divine attribute of immutability “is that perfection of God by which He is devoid of all change, not only in His Being, but also in His perfections, and in His purposes and promises . . . and is free from all accession or diminution and from all growth or decay in His Being or perfections.”1 In other words, the Almighty never changes; nor can He. To the Christian, it is most assuring that the God upon Whom faith rests has said, “I am the LORD; I change not” (Malachi 3.6). Because there is in Him no “shadow of turning” (James 1.17), we know that the place He went to prepare for us two thousand years ago will still be waiting for us when we arrive. He hasn’t changed His mind and turned our room into an atrium for the angels. Because He is immutable, we know that His love for us remains the same in spite of our ever-changing flights of zeal and apathy. The immutability of God is a steadfast anchor in an ever-shifting sea. But is it really possible for the God of the Bible to be an unchanging God? Do the realities of creation, love, and time make the immutability of God a logical impossibility? That is the assertion of Professor of Philosophy Malcolm Murray in his book The Atheist’s Primer.2 After giving a fairly standard argument in favor of God’s immutability and concluding that “a perfect God must be immutable,” Murray says, “But here’s the problem. A parallel argument can be given to show that a perfect God must not be immutable.” He then asserts that an immutable God “would be (i) unable to create anything; (ii) unable to love us; and (iii) unable to know temporal things (hence, not omniscient).”3 It is the purpose of this brief critique to show why all three of these statements are unfounded and pose no problem to the doctrine of divine immutability. 1

Louis Berkhof, Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1941), 58.

2

Malcolm Murray, The Atheist’s Primer (Buffalo: Broadview Press, 2010), 125-28. Available online at: http://books.google.com/books?id=9kQv_TUFedMC&pg=PA125&dq=God+is+not+immutable&hl=en&sa=X&ei= 8trIUuiiCqSV3AXcxICgBw&ved=0CEAQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q=God%20is%20not%20immutable&f=false, (accessed 09/30/14). 3

Ibid., 125.

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IMMUTABILITY: COUNTERED BY CREATION? To show that the act of creation contradicts the immutability of God, Murray first throws out a “red herring” that in the end he knows does not make his case. Notwithstanding the irrelevance of the argument, he lurches forward, noting that prior to creation God was without a relationship to the world, but after creation God had a standing relative to the world (as its creator/owner). This, he suggests, proves that God, in order to create, had to be changeable; for He changed in a moment from being “worldless” (having no relationship with a world) to being “worldly” (having a relationship with the world).4 The problem with this “problem” is that it is no problem! God could have created a billion worlds (perhaps He has) without changing anything that pertains to the doctrine of His immutability. Norman Geisler, without specific reference to Murray’s work, responded to this kind of challenge analogically, noting that “a concrete floor on which the chair depends does not change when the chair is removed; even so God remains independent of creation both before and after creation.”5 As a matter of fact, hundreds of chairs and tables could come in and out of the banquet hall multiple times in a day without changing any intrinsic quality of the floor beneath them. Seeing that this little sophistry cannot prove his point, Murray admits that “relative change” (i.e., change relative to one’s relation to something else) does not change one’s “intrinsic nature.” So, implicitly admitting defeat on this front (“Let us allow an immutable being to change relative to changing things in the universe”), he launches another attack. Here it is: The problem concerns not so much that an immutable being creates [so why did Prof. Murray waste his ink and the reader’s time pursuing that non-problem?], but why. . . why would He create something if He is immutably perfect? Was He bored? Did He think something was lacking? But nothing could be lacking in such a perfect Being. Being immutably perfect as [He] is, there could be no point in creating the universe.6 The unrecognized arrogance in such a question is remarkable! It springs from the same root that has embarrassed evolutionists for years when they have assumed that, because they do not know the function of an organ in the human anatomy, there must not be a function for it—it must be a vestige of earlier evolutionary development, a useless 4

Murray, The Atheist’s Primer, 125.

5

Norman L. Geisler, Systematic Theology in One Volume (Minneapolis: Bethany House, 2011), 452.

6

Murray, The Atheist’s Primer, 125-26.

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leftover no longer needed by man. As medical knowledge has increased, of course, the long list of so-called “vestigial organs” has been whittled down to virtually zero.7 Does Professor Murray not consider that an omniscient God might have reasons for creating that the atheist (and even the theist for that matter) might not know? For believers who take divine revelation seriously, God’s words to Israel in Isaiah 43:6b–7 are certainly relevant in any discussion of purpose and creation: "Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth, everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made." As John Piper noted, “Even if the most narrow meaning here is ‘I brought Israel into being for my glory’ the use of the words ‘created,’ ‘formed,’ and ‘made’ are pointing us back to the original act of creation. This is why Israel ultimately exists . . . . this is why all things ultimately exist — for the glory of God.”8 Many other passages of Scripture assert the same reason for the creation of humanity and the cosmos (Gen 1.27, Ps 19.1, Isaiah 6.3, Rom 1.20, Rev 4.11, etc.). God did not have to be “bored” or lacking something to prompt him to create, and the act of creation shows no flaw or mutability in God. To quote Piper again, “When God created the world he did not create out of any need or any weakness or any deficiency. He created out of fullness and strength and complete sufficiency. As Jonathan Edwards said, ‘Tis no argument of the emptiness or deficiency of a fountain that it is inclined to overflow’ (Yale: Works, Vol. 8, 448).”9 If, as Louis Berkhof noted, the attribute of immutability means that God is "devoid of all change, not only in His Being, but also in His . . . purposes,”10 then one might reasonably conclude that it was eternally and unchangeably the purpose of God to create. The actual creating of the cosmos did not change God's nature, nor did it change His mind. Rather, the act of creation was merely the actualizing of something that God had from eternity, intrinsically, of His own free will, always purposed to do. Did the act of 7

Jerry Bergman, “Do Any Vestigial Organs Exist in Humans?” http://creation.com/do-any-vestigialorgans-exist-in-humans, (accessed 09/30/14); cf. Don Batten and Jonathan Sarfati, “Vestigial Organs: What Do They Prove?” http://creation.com/vestigial-organs-what-do-they-prove (accessed 10/02/14). 8

John Piper, Why Did God Create the World? Sermon from September 22, 2012, http://www.desiringgod.org/sermons/why-did-god-create-the-world, (accessed 09/30/14). 9

Ibid.

10

Berkhof, Systematic Theology, 58.

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creating affect a change in reality? Yes, of course, for now reality was more diverse— including both God and a universe; but that did not change God any more than the shifting of chairs and tables changes the banquet hall floor. God was not even “scuffed” by the six days of creation activity! Arthur W. Pink is a writer one must read with careful discernment because of his extreme soteriology and bent toward allegorical interpretation. He is what a former professor of mine termed a “hyper-typer!” Nevertheless, he is eloquently accurate and biblically astute when he says: There was a time, if “time” it could be called, when God, in the unity of His nature (though subsisting equally in three Divine Persons), dwelt all alone. There was no heaven where His glory is now particularly manifested. There was no earth to engage His attention. There were no angels to hymn His praises; no universe to be upheld by the word of His power. There was nothing, no one, but God; and that, not for a day, a year, or an age, but “from everlasting.” During a past eternity, God was alone: self-contained, self-sufficient, self-satisfied; in need of nothing.11 And, as He was “in need of nothing” before creation, it is certain that creation does not fulfill any divine need; nor does it imperil the real immutability of the Triune God. IMMUTABILITY: LOST IN LOVE? The most famous Bible verse by far is probably the one that asserts that “God so loved the world” (John 3.16). The revelation of this attribute of agape love is what draws alienated man to his Savior. According to Murray, though, immutability would make it impossible for God to love; for love is an emotion, and emotions are changing things. “Consider,” says the professor, “a parent’s love of his or her child. If bad things happen to the child, the parent would feel bad. If good things happen to the child, the parent would feel good.” If the parent’s feelings never changed, regardless of the state of the child, we would have to conclude that the parent was either mentally deranged or had no feelings whatsoever for the child.12 The flaw in this reasoning is that it compares earthbound, time-bound parents to the eternal and infinite Father. Because we are created in the image of God, we can speak analogically about the love of God, but we must realize that while our love is “like” His, it is not identical to His. As Geisler put it, “God can do whatever good we can do, but He 11

Arthur W. Pink, The Attributes of God (Grand Rapids: Baker, n.d.), 10.

12

Murray, The Atheist’s Primer, 126.

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does not do it in the way that we do it. He does it in an infinitely better way than we do—an unchanging way.”13 Our emotions change by the moment based on each moment’s newly gained experience. We don’t feel hatred, love, or pity until we are aware of something that would elicit that response. God, however, is eternally and constantly aware of all things—past, present, and future—and at all times has the appropriate emotion without any emotions ever changing. For example, God has known from eternity that at the age of fifteen I would hear the gospel, repent, believe, and be saved. He has also known from eternity all the many times since that day that I would stray from my commitment and grieve His Holy Spirit. He has eternally, consistently, and unchangeably had the same righteous emotional attitudes toward both my salvation and my sin. God eternally rejoices in salvation and is eternally displeased with rebellion. Though the Bible sometimes attributes changing emotions to God, these are anthropopathisms and are not to be taken literally. When a child of wrath becomes a child of God, it is the sinner who has changed, not God. God is eternally angry with sinners and eternally nurturing and loving to those who fear Him. His love is unchanging: “I have loved you with an everlasting love” (Jer 31.3) “Having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end” (John 13.1). It is precisely that unchangeableness that gives us the confidence we need to approach God. We will never have to wonder, “what kind of mood is He in today?” For His “mood” never changes. “I am the LORD; I do not change. Therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob” (Mal 3.6). Does immutability make it impossible for God to love us? No! It makes His Love for us most sure.

13

Geisler, Systematic Theology, 454.

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IMMUTABILITY: TRAPPED IN TIME? According to Murray, “If there is no change, there is no time. So a being who does not change is a being not in time.”14 This, says the professor, presents five insolvable problems for the God of the Bible and for all who assert that He exists. Here they are: 1. A God who is outside of time cannot interact with humans who are in time, for the two inhabit different dimensions 2. A God who is outside of time cannot create anything, for the creator of something must exist prior in time to the thing created; but a God outside of time cannot exist prior in time to anything 3. A being outside of time could not comprehend temporal propositions such as “A happened before B.” This includes the concepts of promise and fulfillment—an outside-of-time God could not distinguish between the promise or prophecy of an event and its actual fulfilment. In fact, the concept of promise and prophecy would be incomprehensible to an atemporal being 4. The claim that God is eternal is incoherent, for eternality requires a concept of time. To be “eternally outside of time” is, therefore, a self-contradiction. 5. If all things are happening in one “eternal now” for God (e.g., He sees a person’s conversion and a person’s rebellion all in the same instant and in fact never does not see them), then He cannot be a real emotional Being; for hate and love, joy and grief, anger and mercy would all be happening at the same time in the same Being toward the same object. Multiply that times all of the people who have ever lived (for He loves them all and sees them all in all their various states) and God would have to be one confused deity!15 While Murray contends that these problems are a problem for the Christian God, in reality he has not dealt with the biblical God of the Christian, but only with the truncated god of secular philosophy. The God of the Bible is not merely outside of time; He is outside and inside. He is transcendent and immanent. He is omnipresent (inside the cosmos and beyond it). To not understand that such is possible would be akin to saying that a builder could not be outside the house he is constructing and then come inside the completed house. Certainly the God who created time has the ability to operate within the realm that He created. Even if this analogy breaks down, one wonders where the temporal Mr. Murray derives such wonderful knowledge about what is possible for an eternal and infinite being. The 14

Murray, The Atheist’s Primer, 126.

15

Ibid., 126-28.

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Journal of Biblical Ministry real problem seems to be, as he confesses at the end of his discussion, that “the concept of time, like the concept of infinity, is perhaps too peculiar for us to ever grasp. When I try to comprehend spacelessness or timelessness, as when I try to grasp infinity, I only get as far as the point at which my synapses seem to explode.”16 That is probably true for everyone who contemplates such other-world excellencies. Would it not, then, be more honest to say “I, being time-bound, cannot begin to comprehend existence outside the bounds of time” than to say, “a being outside of time could never do such and such”? According to Stephen Hawking, “time began at the Big Bang.” Since events before the Big Bang have no observational consequences, one may as well cut them out of the theory, and say that time began at the Big Bang. Events before the Big Bang, are simply not defined, because there's no way one could measure what happened at them. 17 In a lecture at the University of Oxford, Hawking said that for one to ask “what happened before the beginning of the universe?” is as meaningless as asking “what lies south of the South Pole?” Because, said he, “there is nothing south of the South pole.” The implication being, there was “nothing” before the Big Bang18 Philosopher Mortimer J. Adler responded to Hawking’s assertion, by noting that, Where Einstein had said that what is not measurable by physicists is of no interest to them, Hawking flatly asserts that what is not measurable by physicists does not exist—has no reality whatsoever. With respect to time, that amounts to the denial of psychological time which is not measurable by physicists, and also to everlasting time—time before the Big Bang—which physics cannot measure. Hawking does not know that both Aquinas and Kant had shown that we cannot rationally establish that time is either finite or infinite. When he treats the Big Bang as if it were the beginning of time, not just the beginning of measurable time, he shows his ignorance of God as cause of being and of creation as an act 16

Murray, The Atheist’s Primer, 128.

17

Stephen Hawking, "The Beginning of Time," http://www.hawking.org.uk/the-beginning-of-time.html, (accessed 10/02/14). 18

University of Oxford, “Professor Stephen Hawking Lectures on the Origin of the Universe,” http://www.ox.ac.uk/media/news_stories/2006/060227.html, (accessed 10/02/14).

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of exnihilation [bringing something into being out of nothing], which the Big Bang is not.19 Prof. Murray seems to show the same ignorance that Adler attributes to Hawking, being unable to conceive of a Being who could be outside of time and still be (1) the Creator of time, (2) aware of time’s realities, and (3) adept at effecting changes within time. Ignorance, though, is Murray’s problem, not the theist’s problem, and certainly not God’s. As James Daane said, The secular philosophical perception of God's unchangeability excludes the very possibility of a divinely initiated relatedness to the world via creation or via God's temporal presence and historical actions in the world....Such a God of lifeless immobility is not the God of the Bible, who hears and answers prayer, responds to the cry of the needy, reacts to human sin in anger and judgment, repents of His pronounced judgments, withdraws His wrath, extends His compassion and forgiveness, shows His pathos in the tears of Jesus, and in Christ so loves the sinful world that He gives His Son over to death and the anguish of hell for us and for our salvation.20 Daane’s predecessor to ISBE, Caspar Wistar Hodge, concurred: [T]he Bible never represents the unchangeableness of God as a dead immobility out of all relation to man and the world.21 CONCLUSION In conclusion, the conundrums that Professor Murray has imagined must accompany immutability are just that—imagined. As figments of a philosopher’s imagination, they bear no impact on such realities as creation, love, and time. Naturally such unrealities can pose no challenge or contradiction to the very real God of the Bible. If atheistic philosophers cannot see their way past those imaginings, one might be tempted to wonder if it is because they prefer not to do so.

19

Mortimer J. Adler, “Natural Theology, Chance, and God [Part II],” http://www.thegreatideas.org/aww/tgio117.pdf, (accessed 2/20/2014). 20

James Daane, “Unchangeability of God,” The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans, 1988), vol. 4, 942. 21

Caspar Wistar Hodge, “Unchangeable, Unchangeableness,” The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: The Original 1915 Edition (Wilmington, DE: Associated Authors & Publishers, n.d.), vol. 5, 303.

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WORKS CITED Adler, Mortimer J. “Natural Theology, Chance, and God [Part II].” http://www.thegreatideas.org/aww/tgio117.pdf. Batten, Don and Jonathan Sarfati. “Vestigial Organs: What Do They Prove?” http://creation.com/vestigial-organs-what-do-they-prove. Bergman, Jerry. “Do Any Vestigial Organs Exist in Humans?” http://creation.com/doany-vestigial-organs-exist-in-humans. Berkhof, Louis. Systematic Theology. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1941. Daane, James. "Unchangeability of God," The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans, 1988. Geisler, Norman L. Systematic Theology in One Volume. Minneapolis: Bethany House, 2011. Hawking, Stephen. "The Beginning of Time," http://www.hawking.org.uk/the-beginningof-time.html. Hodge, Caspar Wistar. “Unchangeable, Unchangeableness,” The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: The Original 1915 Edition. Wilmington, DE: Associated Authors & Publishers, n.d. Murray, Malcolm. The Atheist’s Primer. Buffalo: Broadview Press, 2010. Pink, Arthur W. The Attributes of God. Grand Rapids: Baker, n.d. Piper, John. Why Did God Create the World? Sermon from September 22, 2012. http://www.desiringgod.org/sermons/why-did-god-create-the-world. University of Oxford, “Professor Stephen Hawking Lectures on the Origin of the Universe,” http://www.ox.ac.uk/media/news_stories/2006/060227.html.

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NATURAL THEOLOGY AND PAUL’S ADDRESS ON MARS HILL BY TOBI ENGLAND, MA INSTRUCTOR IN BIBLE AND APOLOGETICS, WEST COAST BAPTIST COLLEGE LANCASTER, CA; LRU ALUMNUS

The apologetic method of Paul can be seen in several passages in the New Testament, chiefly in Romans 1:18ff, 2:14-15, Acts 14:15ff, and Acts 17:22ff. In the latter passage, also the subject of this paper, Paul’s address on Mars Hill sheds much light on the celebrated debate over what premises are valid for an apologist. At the risk of oversimplifying the matter, some theologians would claim that mankind’s ability to reason or come to truth about God is so tainted by the fall that the only valid starting point for evangelism is special revelation. This approach is generally called “presuppositional.” Presuppositional apologetics owes much to Cornelius Van Til, though he was never enthusiastic about the label. Those who take this position reject the validity, or in some cases the usefulness, of traditional theistic arguments. McCune, himself a presuppositionalist, boils these presuppositions down to their irreducible form, and concludes, “the controlling presupposition in this methodology, for which no greater authorization can be given, is that the one living and true God, eternally existing in selfcontained tri-unity, has revealed Himself inerrantly in the self-attesting Scriptures of the Protestant canon.”1 To be clear, no evangelical would deny the truth of these presuppositions. The novelty of this position is that there is no authorization (i.e., valid argumentation) that can be offered in support for these beliefs. On the other side of the room are apologists who consider themselves classical or evidential. While it is possible to delineate between these two schools, they both share a more optimistic view of man’s ability to apprehend truth through evidence and reason. For a classical or evidential apologist, two steps are necessary. First, one should establish the validity of theistic arguments for God’s existence apart from (but with appeals to) 1

Rolland D. McCune, “The New Evangelicalism and Apologetics,” Detroit Baptist Seminary Journal 6:1 (Fall 2001): 79.

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special revelation. Second, one should consider evidence supporting Christian truth claims, such as the inspiration of Scripture and the resurrection of Christ.2 It would be difficult to overstate the contrast between presuppositional and classical/evidential thought. At the crux of this rift is a divergent understanding of natural theology. William Alston defined natural theology as “the enterprise of providing support for religious beliefs by starting from premises that neither are nor presuppose any religious beliefs.”3 Charles Horne represents many presuppositionalists when he categorically concludes that “there can be no ground for a natural theology in a consistently Biblical apologetic.”4 Not all agree. The question at stake is whether one must begin with special revelation and move to general or if it is acceptable to begin with general revelation and move to special. This paper will contend that Paul assumed that some true “natural theology” could be understood by unregenerate men, as can be seen in his reliance on creation and culture to ground his presentation of the gospel on Mars Hill. Examination of Natural Theology Historical Development Thomas Aquinas contributed significantly to the field of natural theology in the thirteenth century. For Aquinas, natural theology was fundamentally based on rational assumptions about creation. Since God created the world, there should be a fundamental likeness to God in nature. In his mind, “Since every agent acts to the producing of its own likeness, effects in their several ways bear some likeness to their causes: nevertheless the effect does not always attain to the perfect likeness of the agent that produces it.”5 In order to correctly understand the Thomistic model, it is necessary to note the modest conclusions that he assigns to natural theology. While much truth about God can be discerned, much cannot. 2

Norman Geisler, Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1999),

154. 3

William P. Alston, Perceiving God: The Epistemology of Religious Experience (London, England: Cornell University Press, 1991), 289. 4

Charles M. Horne, “Toward a Biblical Apologetic,” Grace Journal 2:2 (Spring 1961): 16.

5

Thomas Aquinas, quoted by Barney H. Corbin, “A Thomistic Reply to the Reformed Objection to Natural Theology,” Christian Apologetics Journal 5, no. 2 (Fall 2006): 97.

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While his full argument is quite complex and outside of the scope of this paper, the conclusions that he drew were clear. In Summa contra Gentiles he maintained that his formation of five proofs (or a fivefold proof) for the existence of God could be established independently from Scripture. While his fivefold proof is not entirely without difficulty to the modern mind, the basic assumption that one can first argue for God, from scratch as it were, before proceeding to Scripture to learn about God has certainly survived in many forms. Though this “angelic doctor” no longer holds absolute sway over Catholic teaching, his influence is strongly felt in nearly every Christian tradition. In his first Institutes, John Calvin begins with the all-important question of how one can come to knowledge about God. He affirms that God has placed in each person a “sense of divinity” or “seed of religion.” He then identifies three consequences of this universal gift. The first consequence is the universality of religion, which if left uninformed by special revelation, will result in hopelessly depraved idol worship. He proceeds then to affirm that man has both a troubled conscience and servile fear of God as a result of this innate knowledge.6 While many subsequent Calvinists have gone to great lengths denying any place for natural theology in Calvin’s teachings, such emphatic denials do not arise out of his writings themselves. Clendenin notes that “reputable Calvin scholars such as Dowey, Brunner, and Warfield make a case that Calvin affirmed [natural theology].”7 It would seem far better to affirm that Calvin did not deny natural theology as such, but clearly declared such theology as useless for salvation. Some scholars, such as Corbin, have gone so far as to suggest that denying any role of natural theology in Calvin’s teaching borders on revisionism, and that to lose the “objective prolegomena of natural theology”8 would be to unmoor Christian belief from objectivity and set it loose on the sea of postmodern interpretation of personal beliefs. Karl Barth took a different view entirely, and was concerned that accepting natural theology was a source of weakness and not strength in Christian thought. In the tumultuous beginning of the twentieth-century, Christianity as a whole and Barth in particular had many opponents. Wellhausen’s Religionsgeschichte was massively influential, 6

Alister McGrath, Christian Theology: An Introduction (Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishers, 2011), 160.

7

Daniel B. Clendenin, “Will the Real Ellul Please Stand Up? A Bibliographic Survey,” Trinity Journal 6, no. 2 (1985): 171. 8

Barney H. Corbin, “A Thomistic Reply to the Reformed Objection to Natural Theology,” Christian Apologetics Journal 5, no. 2 (Fall 2006): 67.

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Bultmann was busy demythologizing the New Testament, and Schweitzer was convinced that Jesus had essentially failed in his mission. The trajectory of theology was not comforting as Barth came on the scene, and a compromise with modern thought crippled German theologians at a time in history when society urgently needed clear thinking. Barth blamed the weakness of the church during the Nazi regime on this type of intellectual accommodation and syncretism. J. Daryl Charles notes, “The increasing secularization of European culture, coupled with a romantic view of ‘nature,’ as Barth saw it, blended easily into the core assumptions of Enlightenment thinking and the new humanism of the eighteenth century.”9 It may be that Barth was correct in rejecting natural theology because he was incorrect in defining it. His understanding of it far surpassed that of traditional theologians. Barth defined natural theology as “every (positive or negative) formulation of a system which claims to be theological, i.e. to interpret divine revelation, whose subject, however, differs fundamentally from the revelation in Jesus Christ and whose method therefore differs equally from the exposition of Holy Scripture.”10 When this understanding is contrasted against that of Thomas Aquinas, it is easy to see the expanded expectations. While differences remain between Aquinas’ theology and that of Barth, the natural theology rejected by Barth was not the same as what was supported by Aquinas. Barth takes his argument much further than most theologians would be willing to in that he not only rejected natural theology, but general revelation as well.11 One major factor that may have pushed Barth to this minority position may well have been his inability to conceive of any knowledge of God that was not redemptive in the end. In his famed debate with Brunner he could not conceive of any “real knowledge of the true God” that would not ultimately bring salvation.12 It is not difficult to see how this presupposition, unwarranted though it may be, forced his interpretation of key passages such as Psalm 19 and Romans 1:18-21. Since he recognized that the primary witness of Scripture is that man can only know God through his grace shown in special revelation which results 9

J. Daryl Charles, Retrieving the Natural Law: A Return to Moral First Things (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 2008), 127. 10

Karl Barth, “No! Answer to Emil Brunner,” in Karl Barth: Theologian of Freedom, Clifford Green, ed. and trans. (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 1991), 154. 11

Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1998), 187.

12

Ibid., 188.

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in salvation, the only option available to him was to force these aberrations that he considered “side-line” passages into the dominant theme of Scripture. Thus, Alister McGrath concludes: Barth’s views on natural theology clearly represent a significant departure from the Reformation tradition which he clearly regards himself as representing. Barth tends to represent Calvin as a critic of natural theology in his Church Dogmatic, which is an extremely problematic judgment.13 It would seem, then, that Barth’s virulent objections to natural theology and general revelation must be taken with a grain of salt and need not dissuade the modern student from engaging in the scriptural texts themselves. Arminian and Calvinist theologians alike would do well to approach these texts with a fresh mind and examine the evidence for themselves. Basic Assumptions It is not difficult to see that orthodox theologians differ greatly in their views of natural theology. In order to effectively examine scriptural evidence, it is necessary to identify the two primary assumptions that serve as the foundation of one’s understanding on this topic. If natural theology is simply “knowledge of God acquired through nature,”14 then there are two necessary conditions. First, in order for there to be any true knowledge of God through nature, God must have revealed himself in nature. Sproul notes, “natural theology is dependent upon divine revelation for its content.”15 An attempt at natural theology in isolation from natural revelation results in simple naturalism. A Christian who affirms natural revelation is not saying that man has the ability to arrive at truth about God through his sheer brilliance. The starting point for natural theology is natural (or general) revelation, the belief that God has chosen to reveal himself universally in his creation. The second condition necessary for natural theology to exist is man’s ability to understand what God has given through nature. As Millard Erickson notes, it must be true that “neither humanity’s natural limitations nor the effects of sin and the fall prevent humans 13

McGrath, Christian Theology, 164.

14

R. C. Sproul, John Gerstner, and Arthur Lindsley, Classical Apologetics: A Rational Defense of the Christian Faith and a Critique of Presuppositional Apologetics (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Corporation, 1984), 25. 15

Ibid.

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from recognizing and correctly interpreting the Creator’s handiwork.”16 He continues by noting that for this reason, natural theologians tend to be Arminian or Pelagian over Calvinistic or Augustinian.17 A complete inability to understand God’s revelation would leave mankind in no better position than if God had given no general revelation at all. Romans 1:18-21 Paul’s argument in Romans 1 and 2 are more than sufficient to conclude that God has revealed himself in a general sense. After Paul expresses his desire to visit the Roman church, he launches into a discourse on general revelation and divine wrath in Romans 1:18. It is clear that Paul sees God’s wrath as more than justified because of man’s suppression of truth. As Paul develops his argument in this pericope, it soon becomes clear that both Gentile and Jew are guilty of this deadly rebellion. But what truth was being suppressed? Paul answers that question in Romans 1:19-20. The truth about God was manifested unto them. While the Jews never claimed that natural knowledge about God was available to the Gentiles, Paul unabashedly affirmed that it indeed is. This is a decisive break with Jewish thought.18 The fact that God’s natural revelation is limited by man’s inability or unwillingness to accept it is not lost to Paul. Before describing the truth that has been universally given by God (verses 19-20), Paul cautions that this truth is universally suppressed by man. In fact, this is the crux of his argument. God has given universal revelation of himself, man has universally suppressed it, and therefore God’s wrath will be revealed against all ungodliness. The word often translated “suppress” in Romans 1:18 is the Greek word katecho, and is used in various ways in the New Testament. In Luke 4:42 it describes the crowd’s intent to keep Jesus from departing from them. However, it is often believed that in Paul’s use in Romans 1, katecho means to hold down or take captive. Baker affirms that “most exegetical commentators favor the second option.”19 Van Till certainly relied on this understanding of the word, though without rigorous argumentation from the Greek. This deficiency has been recognized and supplied by his subsequent students. The fact that Presuppositional apologists do not deny the presence of God’s truth 16

Erickson, Christian Theology, 181.

17

Ibid.

18

R. Jewett and R. D. Kotansky, Romans: A Commentary, E. J. Epp, ed. (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2006), 153–154. 19

Bruce A. Baker, “Romans 1:18-21 and Presuppositional Apologetics,” Bibliotheca Sacra 155:618 (July 1998): 284.

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in nature should be recognized at this point. As Turner points out, “the suppression of truth seems to presuppose the possession of it.”20 It is necessary then to clarify the issue at hand. Natural theologians, as defined in this paper, do not believe that man is capable to arriving at truth about God without His aid. The belief that one can gain knowledge of God through nature assumes that it was God that put that truth there in the first place. One should also observe that those who reject natural theology do not, for the most part, deny that God has given truth about himself in nature, but instead deny that man is capable of accurately perceiving this truth. The question then is if God has allowed man to perceive any element of divine truth through general revelation. The answer, for Paul at least, seems to be “yes.” Paul on Mars Hill Beyond being passionate for effectively sharing the Gospel, Paul was also an expert in doing so. It would seem that Paul did not distinguish between witnessing and apologetics. As F.F. Bruce observed years ago: The apostolic preaching was obliged to include an apologetic element if the stumbling-block of the cross was to be overcome; the kerygma … must in some degree be apologia. And the apologia was not the invention of the apostles; they had all “received” it—received it from the Lord.21 Mars Hill, or the Areopagus, shows that Paul had more than a cursory knowledge of the culture in which he ministered. In facing the Epicureans, who placed a premium on pleasure, he called for repentance in light of a future, righteous judgment (verses 3031). Zeno’s disciples, known as the Stoics, idealized wisdom and sought to master their passions. While some have detected a greater affinity between Paul’s thought and that of this school, he clearly rejected their pantheistic self-sufficiency. After affirming what validity he could, Paul moves quickly past this to the core of his message. It would be the resurrection of Christ that would provide both the greatest spiritual hope and intellectual scorn. It is helpful to observe that Paul’s address to this crowd of pluralistic, intellectually elite pagans is radically different than when he addresses Jewish audiences as is seen in 20

David. L. Turner, “Cornelius Van Til and Romans 1:18-21: A Study in the Epistemology of Presuppositional Apologetics,” Grace Theological Journal 2, no.1 (Spring 1981): 52. 21

F. F. Bruce, The Defense of the Gospel in the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans,

1982), 21.

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Acts 13. The various intricacies of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophies do not have to be fully comprehended in order to appreciate the dramatic difference an audience made on Paul’s presentation of the cross. Gangel notes: The matter of natural theology certainly has a place in Paul’s Areopagus speech. Through it he shows something about the nature of God as a personal, transcendent, and yet an immanent spiritual being. Man was by creation Godlike and therefore essentially personal and spiritual, but he has drifted into idolatry.22 Paul’s acknowledgment of the pagan’s awareness of God arises inescapably from Luke’s account. For Paul, the altar to the unknown God was evidence of this knowledge. This altar represented more than simply the fact that God’s existence can be known outside of special revelation. It represented the complete bankruptcy of any human attempt to provide a basis for acceptance to this God. His observation of their “ignorant worship” was more a condemnation than a commendation. This was a culpable ignorance, for they had done what pagans do, and that is suppress the truth of God (Romans 1:18). For this reason, Paul’s drift is toward special revelation, as can be seen by his latter affirmations in verse 31. Observing Paul’s message to these pagans underscores an important point. Paul affirmed that by God’s grace and through God’s general revelation man can know that there is a God. However, he clearly understood that this knowledge could not lead to salvation. In his comments on this passage, D. A. Carson guards against such naïve theological optimism, while himself affirming that an elementary form of natural theology can be seen in Paul’s address. He comments, “whether in Acts 17 or Romans 1–3, Paul makes it clear that God has not left himself without witness.”23 Paul did not only see this awareness of God in the Athenian altar, but also in two pagan poets. In verse 28 he quoted both Epimenides of Crete and Aratus of Cilicia. The former was cited again in his own epistle to Titus. Of course, while Paul is illustrating points of formal agreement between these pagan writers and God’s special revelation, he was in no means optimistic about their chances to fully obtain salvation through this knowledge. While Bahnsen’s summary that “Paul quotes the pagan writers to manifest 22

Kenneth O. Gangel, “Paul’s Areopagus Speech,” Bibliotheca Sacra 127:508 (1970): 311.

23

D. A. Carson, The Gagging of God: Christianity Confronts Pluralism (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), 498.

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their guilt”24 may leave out this important element, it is certainly true that Paul did view them as guilty before their Creator. Natural theology, then, is able to condemn but not to save. Conclusion Since a basic presence of truth about God is promised in nature (Romans 1) and observed in pagan culture (Acts 17), then it seems the most modest claims of natural theology can be heartedly affirmed. There should remain no doubt that a basic knowledge of God can be acquired through nature. Because Paul utilized this ubiquitous truth in his address on Mars Hill, it would be appropriate for believers in this age to do so as well. However, the ramifications and limits of natural theology must be carefully considered. There is a need for additional study looking at Paul’s addresses in consideration of the classical theistic proofs offered by classical apologists. Yet, from this study, three observations are in order. First, modern believers must recognize that natural theology is completely incapable of any ability to save. The witness of Romans 1:21 clearly shows that the result of God’s self-revelation in nature is not that some or all will be saved, but that all are “without excuse”. Natural theology is so crippled both by its insufficiency and man’s inability that it is capable of condemning but not redeeming. The gospel cannot be discerned without special revelation. Secondly, the fact that man is culpable for his ignorance is evidence that some volitional aspect is involved in man’s suppression. The active voice of katecho, the verb translated “suppress” in Romans 1:18, underscores man’s involvement in his own state. This is not something being done to man, but something that he is doing to God’s truth. Hence, Romans 1 teaches “the ongoing human effort to suppress the truth.”25 Lastly, it is clear from Paul’s address that natural theology can provide a solid bridge for a believer to present the saving truths in the special revelation of God. Once the limitations of natural theology are understood, it can provide essential common ground between a believer and a non-believer. Modern apologists would do well to follow the example of Paul in using this bridge built by God to show the universal need for Christ. 24

Greg L. Bahnsen, “The Encounter of Jerusalem with Athens,” Ashland Theological Journal 13, no. 1

(1980): 27. 25

Robert Jewett and Roy David Kotansky, Romans: A Commentary, Hermeneia—A Critical and Historical Commentary on the Bible, Eldon J. Epp, ed. (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2006), 153.

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Selected Bibliography Alston, William P. Perceiving God: The Epistemology of Religious Experience. London, England: Cornell University Press, 1991. Aquinas, Thomas. Quoted in Barney H. Corbin, “A Thomistic Reply to the Reformed Objection to Natural Theology.” Christian Apologetics Journal 5, no. 2 (Fall 2006): 64-104. Bahnsen, Greg L. “The Encounter of Jerusalem with Athens.” Ashland Theological Journal 13, no. 1 (1980): 27-40. Baker, Bruce A. “Romans 1:18-21 and Presuppositional Apologetics.” Bibliotheca Sacra 155:618 (July 1998): 279-98. Barth, Karl. “No! Answer to Emil Brunner.” Karl Barth: Theologian of Freedom. Edited and translated by Clifford Green. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 1991. Bruce, F. F. The Defense of the Gospel in the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 1982. Carson, D. A. The Gagging of God: Christianity Confronts Pluralism. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011. Charles, J. Daryl. Retrieving the Natural Law: A Return to Moral First Things. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 2008. Clendenin, Daniel B. “Will the Real Ellul Please Stand Up? A Bibliographic Survey.” Trinity Journal 6, no.2 (1985): 165-183. Corbin, Barney H. “A Thomistic Reply to the Reformed Objection to Natural Theology.” Christian Apologetics Journal 5, no.2 (Fall 2006): 64-104. Erickson, Millard J. Christian Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1998), 187. Gangel, Kenneth O. “Paul’s Areopagus Speech.” Bibliotheca Sacra 127:508 (October 1970): 307-312. Geisler, Norman. Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1999.

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Horne, Charles M. “Toward a Biblical Apologetic.” Grace Journal 2, no. 2 (Spring 1961): 13-17. Jewett, Robert and Roy David Kotansky. Romans: A Commentary. Hermeneia -- A Critical and Historical Commentary on the Bible, Eldon Jay Epp, ed. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2006. McCune, Rolland D. “The New Evangelicalism and Apologetics.” Detroit Baptist Seminary Journal 6, no.1 (Fall 2001): 79-115. McGrath, Alister. Christian Theology: An Introduction. Oxford, England: Blackwell Publishers, 2011. Sproul, R. C., John Gerstner, and Arthur Lindsley. Classical Apologetics: A Rational Defense of the Christian Faith and a Critique of Presuppositional Apologetics. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Corporation, 1984. Turner, David. L. “Cornelius Van Til and Romans 1:18-21: A Study in the Epistemology of Presuppositional Apologetics.” Grace Theological Journal 2, no. 1 (Spring 1981): 45-59.

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Pastoral Care: From Past to Present By Ann Marie Kerlin, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Biblical Counseling, Luther Rice University & Seminary

According to the U.S. National Conference on Mental Health, “Nationally, an estimated 45 million Americans suffer from illnesses like depression, schizophrenia or posttraumatic stress syndrome.”1 In a speech at this conference, President Obama stated that one out of five Americans experience mental illness in any year.2 A study published in 2013 surveyed prescription drug use and found that the second most common prescribed drugs were anti-depressants.3 Obviously there is a great demand for counseling and psychological care in the United States, and both secular and religious approaches to care are available. The purpose of this article is to review briefly how the church provided care in the past, the development of psychology as a science, and the church’s intersection with it in present-day contexts. Exploring approaches to pastoral care and the changes it has undergone throughout the centuries is worth considering when preparing to serve the modern day “body of Christ.” Ultimately, the reader will be challenged to consider whether the Church is meeting the needs of its congregants and the greater community. Psychology as a science is considered to have been birthed from the field of philosophy in the 1870s, but some of the questions addressed by psychology have been contemplated since the earliest times.4 Philosophers like Plato (427-327 B.C.) considered the ways the mind worked and how knowledge is acquired. Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave” dealt with perception, cognition, and intelligence, all topics that could be subsumed under the heading of psychology. Aristotle (384-322 B.C.) wrote about perception and the 1

Matt Compton, “National Conference on Mental Health,” The White House Blog, June 3, 2013, http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2013/06/03/national-conference-mental-health (accessed January 7, 2014). 2

Barak Obama, “National Conference on Mental Health” (video), The White House Blog, posted June 3, 2013, http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2013/06/03/national-conference-mental-health (accessed January 7, 2014). 3

W. Zhong, et al., “Age and Sex Patterns of Drug Prescribing in a Defined American Population,” Mayo Clinic Proceedings 88, no. 7 (2013): 697-707. 4

Charles Stangor, Introduction to Psychology (Washington, D.C: Flat World Knowledge Publishing,

2013).

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mind in De Anima.5 The representational theory of mind that is prevalent in cognitive psychology can be traced to his writings.6 And the Bible, while not a treatise on psychology, does contain information about people and their behavior, and provides its reader with guidance for living. Sections of the Bible are believed to have been written about 1000 years before Plato began his contemplations. A Brief History of Pastoral Care From the inception of the church as the body of Christ, its members have been called to help one another. In fact, 80% of the verses found in the New Testament using the phrase “one another” refer to supporting and affirming people.7 Indeed, as the New Testament interprets the Old, the second greatest commandment is to “love your neighbor as yourself,” (Matt 22:39, NIV).8 The early church provided for the physical needs of its members along with spiritual care. In addition to Scripture, in particular the Pauline epistles, there are some extant writings addressing the topic of pastoral care, at least in general form, dating back to the early centuries of the church. The First Century through the Middle Ages Classical Pastoral Care, by Thomas Oden, is a compendium of quotations related to the care of souls from the early church.9 Using a revisionist approach from a modern day Rogerian psychological perspective, he searched for passages related to pastoral care from the early centuries. Oden’s compilation included passages from Augustine, Irenaeus, Athanasius, Tertullian, Ambrose, Aquinas, Aelred of Reivaulx, Catherine of Siena, and many others, which he described as embryonic theories of “psychotherapeutic effectiveness.”10 One notable passage was partially quoted from the Constitutions of the Holy Apostles. The Constitutions are a 4th century, pseudo-Apostolic writing composed 5

Christopher Shields, “Aristotle's Psychology,” The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2011), ed. Edward N. Zalta, http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2011/entries/aristotle-psychology/ (accessed January 7, 2014). 6

David Pitt, “Mental Representation,” The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2013), ed. Edward N. Zalta, http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2013/entries/mental-representation/ (accessed January 7, 2014). 7

Ian F. Jones, The Counsel of Heaven on Earth (Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing Group, 2006).

8

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture references in this paper will be taken from the New International

9

Thomas C. Oden, Classical Pastoral Care, vol. 3, Pastoral Counsel (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books,

Version. 1987). 10

Ibid., 7.

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of eight books that address Christian discipline, worship, and doctrine, and contain the qualifications and responsibilities of priests, bishops and deacons.11 A passage from Book II, named, “After What Manner We Ought To Receive A Penitent; How We Ought To Deal With Offenders, And When They Are To Be Cut Off From The Church," includes instructions that blend pastoral care with church discipline in quite dramatic phrasing. The entire passage from Book II, Section V, XLI is included below: Do thou therefore, as a compassionate physician, heal all that have sinned, making use of saving methods of cure; not only cutting and searing, or using corrosives, but binding up, and putting in tents, and using gentle healing medicines, and sprinkling comfortable words. If it be an hollow wound, or great gash, nourish it with a suitable plaister, that it may be filled up, and become even with the rest of the whole flesh. If it be foul, cleanse it with corrosive powder, that is, with the words of reproof. If it have proud flesh, eat it down with a sharp plaister—the threats of judgment. If it spreads further, sear it, and cut off the putrid flesh, mortifying him with fastings. But if, after all that thou hast done, thou perceivest that from the feet to the head there is no room for a fomentation, or oil, or bandage, but that the malady spreads and prevents all cure, as a gangrene which corrupts the entire member; then, with a great deal of consideration, and the advice of other skilful physicians, cut off the putrefied member, that the whole body of the Church be not corrupted. Be not therefore ready and hasty to cut off, nor do thou easily have recourse to the saw, with its many teeth; but first use a lancet to lay open the wound, that the inward cause whence the pain is derived being drawn out, may keep the body free from pain. But if thou seest any one past repentance, and he is become insensible, then cut off the incurable from the Church with sorrow and lamentation. For: “Take out from among yourselves that wicked person.” And: “Ye shall make the children of Israel to fear.” And again: “Thou shalt not accept the persons of the rich in judgment.” And: “Thou shalt not pity a poor man in his cause: for the judgment is the Lord’s.”12 Another notable passage cited by Oden is from Pope Gregory I, also known as Gregory the Great (504-604), who wrote Pastoral Rule: Differently to be admonished are the joyful and the sad. That is, before the joyful are to be set the sad things that follow upon punishment; but before the 11

J. B. Peterson, “Apostolic Constitutions,” The Catholic Encyclopedia (New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1907), http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01636a.htm (accessed January 6, 2014). 12

Philip Schaff, ed., “Constitutions of the Holy Apostles, Book II, Section V, XLI.” Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 7, http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf07.ix.iii.v.html (accessed January 7, 2014). Portions of this quote are included in Oden, p. 52.

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sad the promised glad things of the kingdom. Let the joyful learn by the asperity of threatenings what to be afraid of: let the sad bear what joys of reward they may look forward to. For to the former it is said, Woe unto you that laugh now! For you shall weep [Luke 6:25]; but the latter hear from the teaching of the same Master, I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man shall take from you [John 16:22]. But some are not made joyful or sad by circumstances, but are so by temperament. And to such it should be intimated that certain defects are connected with certain temperaments; that the joyful have lechery close at hand, and the sad wrath. Hence it is necessary for everyone to consider not only what he suffers from his peculiar temperament, but also what worse thing presses on him in connection with it; lest, while he fights not at all against that which he has, he succumb also to that from which he supposes himself free.13 These instructions for the clergy informed them how to deal with individuals with different personality types and to seek the underlying issues for the cause of their problems. Discipleship and spiritual direction have always been a province of the church. Augustine (354-430) is considered the first Christian psychologist as he pondered Christianity and considered the philosophical works of Plato. Augustine wrote voluminously on many topics relevant to the field of psychology. Many issues classified as mental health symptomology are at heart, spiritual problems. However, there have been people throughout the centuries who suffered with mental health problems that were not healed through spiritual direction or pastoral guidance. The Renaissance and the Reformation Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) was a brilliant thinker who explored the works of Aristotle and was one of the greatest Christian theologians. He wrote on topics like appetites, the will, habits, virtues, vices, emotions, memory, and intellect; all topics that are considered today to be within the field of psychology, although without the religious ideation that influenced the work of Aquinas and the Scholastics. A few hundred years later, the paradigm shifting ideas of Copernicus (1473-1543) occurred in the same era as the launch of the Protestant Reformation. Martin Luther’s proclamations (1483-1546), John Calvin’s influential works (1509-1564), and the Catholic Reformation (1560-1648) were all in the same time period. The Copernican model conflicted with then-current interpretations of Scripture and doctrinal teachings, along with scientific models of the day, and 13

Pope Gregory I, “Pastoral Rule, Book III, Chapter 3,” translated by James Barmby, Nicene and PostNicene Fathers, Second Series, vol. 12, eds. Philip Schaff and Henry Wace (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1895), revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight, http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/36013.htm (accessed January 6, 2014).

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were difficult for anyone, not just religious organizations, to accept. According to memoirs from informal ‘tabletalks’ held by Luther, Luther was reported to have stated: There was mention of a certain astrologer who wanted to prove that the earth moves and not the sky, the sun, and the moon. This would be as if somebody were riding on a cart or in a ship and imagined that he was standing still while the earth and the trees were moving. [Luther remarked] "So it goes now. Whoever wants to be clever must agree with nothing that others esteem. He must do something of his own. This is what that fellow does who wishes to turn the whole of astronomy upside down. Even in these things that are thrown into disorder I believe the Holy Scriptures, for Joshua commanded the sun to stand still and not the earth [Jos. 10:12].14 Copernicus resisted publishing his findings, but they were finally printed while he was on his deathbed in 1543.15 Even though Copernicus’ model was mathematically errant, using circular rather than elliptical orbits, it removed man from the center of the universe, ultimately causing a radical shift not only in astronomy, but also in philosophy, and religion itself. But it was not until about one hundred years later that Galileo, who championed a Copernican model with alterations, met with firm religious resistance and was arrested and charged with heresy.16 The relevance of this change for this paper is that it denotes the beginning of a major shift in the relationship between science and religion. One of the difficulties of finding literature from this period, besides natural deterioration due to its antiquity, is the scarcity of written artifacts produced, due to the painstaking way manuscripts were created by hand. Most writings were religious in nature in the period between the fall of Rome and the 12th century, commonly called the Monastic period. The Secular period began after the 12th century, with the European emergence from feudalism. Manuscript and books began to be created by universities and demand began to emerge from the general population as the Middle Ages came to a close. The development of paper, instead of the use of vellum or parchment also made the creation of books less costly. And the first printed item from Gutenberg’s press arrived on the 14

Owen Gingerich, The Book Nobody Read: Chasing the Revolutions of Nicholas Copernicus (New York: Walker Publishing Company, Inc., 2004), 136. 15

Ibid.

16

Nicholas Copernicus, On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, ed. Stephen Hawking, On the Shoulders of Giants Series (Philadelphia, PA: Running Press Book Publishers, 2002).

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scene in 1457. The newly established printing industry made written material more easily accessible to the populace, more people had access to the Bible, and the general population created more demand for reading material in general.17 As a result of these technological advances and religious changes, more written material was also created focused on pastoral care or pastoral psychology as some have termed it in retrospect.18 According to Johnson: In the Reformation traditions this pastoral psychology reached its zenith in the Puritan, Pietist, and evangelical movements. Writers like Richard Baxter, John Owen, George Herbert, William Law, John Gerhardt, John Wesley, Jonathan Edwards and John Newton developed sophisticated and nuanced understandings of psycho-spiritual problems—like sin, melancholy, assurance and spiritual desertions-and how to promote spiritual healing and development in Christ.19 The Puritans, a dissenting religious group in the 16th-17th centuries, left voluminous writings on a variety of common human problems. The Puritans have been the subject of recent interest, and while not labelling themselves as pastoral counselors, provided biblically based solutions for these kinds of concerns. Some of the better known authors of this period are John Flavel (1627-1691), Jeremiah Burroughs (1600-1646), John Owen (1616-1683), John Bunyan (1628-1688), Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758), William Bridge (1600-1670), and Thomas Brooks (1608-1680). Mark Deckard’s recent book contains commentary from these authors on a range of topics including addictions, adultery, anxiety, conflict, grief, rebellion, relationships, and spiritual warfare.20 Along with changes in the religious structure and the Church’s political influence, new paradigms in philosophical thinking emerged. The early period of modern philosophy included work by philosophers such as Descartes, Locke, and Kant. Descartes (15961650), is considered the father of modern philosophy. He rejected the Scholastic approach to philosophy prevalent in his day, which based science on causation, and knowledge on sensation. He began his musings with systematic doubt, until he found support for the existence of self with his famous statement, “I think, therefore I am.” Descartes explained the existence of God by basing his epistemology on a dualist worldview where existence could be substantiated in both material and immaterial 17

Lucient Febvre, The Coming of the Book: The Impact of Printing 1450-1800 (London: Verso, 1976), 22-

23. 18

Eric L. Johnson, “A Brief History of Christians in Psychology” in Psychology & Christianity: Five Views (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academics, 2010), 9-48. 19

Johnson, “A Brief History of Christians in Psychology,” 13.

20

Mark Deckard, Helpful Truth in Past Places: The Puritan Practice of Biblical Counseling (Ross-shire, GB: Christian Focus Publications, Ltd, 2010).

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Journal of Biblical Ministry modes. His model established science upon mechanistic and geometric models rather than the Thomistic reliance on causation.21 The Modern Era Modern philosophy is said to have begun at the Renaissance and continued to be influential during the 20th century in western thought, although postmodernism is the current philosophical viewpoint in vogue today. Later modern philosophical thought helped introduce competing worldviews, with a separation from religion. In particular, evolutionary theory was and is influential; Darwin’s publication of On the Origins of Species first appeared in 1859. Positivism also was a pivotal position, based on the work of Auguste Comte (1798–1857).22 His writings established social sciences, which differed from modern day study of sociology, and created the law of the three stages, which was a sort of progressive history of mankind. This law says: […] in its development, humanity passes through three successive stages: the theological, the metaphysical, and the positive. The first is the necessary starting point for the human mind; the last, its normal state; the second is but a transitory stage that makes possible the passage from the first to the last. In the theological stage, the human mind, in its search for the primary and final causes of phenomena, explains the apparent anomalies in the universe as interventions of supernatural agents. The second stage is only a simple modification of the first: the questions remain the same, but in the answers supernatural agents are replaced by abstract entities. In the positive state, the mind stops looking for causes of phenomena, and limits itself strictly to laws governing them; likewise, absolute notions are replaced by relative ones.23 Compte’s model attempted to eliminate God and the supernatural completely. His philosophical work waned in popularity after the 1950s or so in the United States, but his attempt to place man as the focus of scientific inquiry and eliminate God had an impact.24 Soren Kierkegaard (1813-1855) was a very influential Christian philosopher known as the father of existentialism. Kierkegaard addressed the choices available to the individ21

Kurt Smith, “Descartes' Life and Works,” The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2012), ed. Edward N. Zalta, http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2012/entries/descartes-works/ (accessed January 7, 2014). 22

Johnson, “A Brief History of Christians in Psychology,” 20-22.

23

Michael Bourdeau, “Auguste Comte,” The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2013), ed. Edward N. Zalta, http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2013/entries/comte/ (accessed January 7, 2014). 24

Bourdeau, “Auguste Comte.”

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ual and the responsibility of making those choices. The choices one makes are what lead to the self that will ultimately encounter God. He believed faith was the most important thing one needs to learn. According to one summary, Kierkegaard’s writings cross “the boundaries of philosophy, theology, psychology, literary criticism, devotional literature and fiction.”25 Psychology is Birthed as a Science In the midst of philosophical, scientific, and religious flux, in 1879, Wilhelm Wundt opened the first psychological laboratory in Leipzig, Germany, where he began to study and record accounts of people’s reflections; he was the first to use the term “introspection.” This is considered the official launch of psychology as a science because Wundt employed the scientific method to measure and record sensations. Wundt’s work became known as the field of structuralism in psychology, where elements of consciousness were explored. Around the same time, Williams James started a psychological laboratory at Harvard University; James established the functional school of psychology, which was heavily influenced by Darwin, and developed into the evolutionary approach to psychology in vogue today. And then a Viennese psychiatrist named Sigmund Freud developed the psychodynamic approach, which taught that many of the problems adults experience are based on unconscious memories, feelings, or inner drives. He became very well-known throughout the world, founded the International Psychoanalytic Association, and left voluminous writings. Other movements in the history of psychology include behaviorism, cognitive theory, and socio-cultural approaches. These models of treating people for mental health care were new and exciting, and ultimately with the scientific approach to psychology came new medications used to treat patients. The grand theories of psychology are secular in nature. In the not too distant past, people with severe mental health problems were considered frightening or possessed. People with severe problems were institutionalized, and little help was available for them in the form of treatment. With the advances in psychological care, medication and treatment brought improvement to the lives of many. Through the process of social science research, deinstitutionalization policies were developed in the United States, beginning in 1956. It was believed that mental health patients could be better served by being in the community than being housed in state psychiatric hospi25

William McDonald, “Søren Kierkegaard,” The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2012), ed. Edward N. Zalta, http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2012/entries/kierkegaard/ (accessed January 7, 2014).

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tals. A population of 559,000 in 1956 decreased to 154,000 in 1980, and subsequent years saw the closing of many institutions and hospitals. Today there is still a need for community services, and the government actually funds community services more than the institutions. Psychotherapy has been shown to be effective through ongoing research and randomized controlled clinical trials; yet many people today opt for medication alone, which will not solve relationship problems, negative self-talk, or other issues that therapy addresses.26 In 2003, the President launched the New Freedom Commission on Mental Health, which hopes to encourage people to reach out for help, and to support those people living with mental illness, along with their caregivers.27 Christianity and Psychology The popularity of secular psychologists of various specialties who treated mental health issues came into its own during the early 1900s. Its influence grew, and those antagonistic to the new science believed the church was losing ground. Some issues addressed by mental health practitioners are spiritual in nature, such as the consequences of unforgiveness, guilt, and many relationship problems. Some Christians resisted psychology, claiming that those who accommodated psychology weakened their stance on faith. In the early part of the 1900s, conservative (then called fundamentalist) Christians tended to stay away from psychology and remained focused on doctrine, moral issues, and evangelism rather than “inner matters of the soul and its well-being.”28 But not everyone who was interested in psychology was atheistic or agnostic, even though the grand theories of psychology avoided religion. Some Christian contributors to early psychology include Franz Brentano, James McCosh, G. T. Ladd, and G. Stanley Hall. One of the early founders of pastoral care was Anton Boisen (1876-1965). His autobiography, entitled Out of the Depths, describes his lifelong battle with mental illness which ultimately led to the birth of his pastoral care model for the mentally ill.29 He was committed to mental health institutions several times. While still a patient, Boisen became 26

A. Brownawell and K. Kelly, “Psychotherapy is Effective and Here’s Why,” Monitor on Psychology 42, no. 9 (October 2011): 14. 27

Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured. “Learning from History: Deinstitutionalization of People with Mental Illness as a Precursor to Long Term Reform.” Prepared by Chris Koyanagi, (Washington, D.C.: Kaiser Family Foundation, 2007), http://www.nami.org/Template.cfm?Section=About_the_Issue&Template=/ContentManagement/ContentDisplay.cf m&ContentID=137545 (accessed January 8, 2014). 28

Johnson, “A Brief History of Christians in Psychology,” 29.

29

Anton Boisen, Out of the Depths (New York: Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1960).

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interested in developing activities for the men in the hospital and also recorded their activities. Upon his release from Westboro State Hospital, after a 15 month stay, he entered Harvard to study theology and psychiatry. He became very interested in the fact that religious ideation was often apparent in mental illness, as had been the case with his own. Boisen became a chaplain at Worcester State Hospital for the mentally ill. Before this time, most mental hospitals only held religious services led by local pastors one day a week. Boison wrote that he believed there was only one other full time chaplain in the country at a mental health institution at that time.30 His experiences at Worcester eventually led to a connection with Chicago Theological Seminary and Elgin State Hospital where he began what would become the first program of Clinical Pastoral Training. Boisen’s contributions to the field of pastoral care also include many books and articles. In 1954 the Christian Association for Psychology Studies (CAPS) was founded. Clyde Narramore began a radio show about psychology and faith. Paul Tournier, both a physician and psychotherapist, became popular with the publication of On the Meaning of Persons (1957). Other well-known early contributors to psychology from a faith perspective include Smiley Blanton, Norman Vincent Peale, M. Scott Peck, and Karl Menninger. Fuller Theological Seminary began a doctoral program in clinical psychology, and others followed. Seminary training included both ministry and psychological education. In 1976, the APA launched Division 36 for psychologists interested in religious research. Jay Adams published Competent to Counsel in 1970 and Larry Crabb published Effective Biblical Counseling in 1975. In 1988, the first international convention on Christian counseling was held.31 But in the early 1970s, there was a backlash of concern about the dangers of integrating psychology with Christianity, beginning with the work of Jay Adams. Generally, more conservative Christians tended to avoid integrating, while more liberal views embraced psychology in practice. To bring this brief historical perspective on psychology, Christianity, and pastoral care to a close, the emphasis will be on the ways that Christianity intersects with the needs of people with distressing mental health symptomology. There are licensed Christian psychiatrists, psychologists, and counselors along with chaplains, social workers, and others who work in a variety of settings. Universities with theological 30

Boisen, Out of the Depths, 150.

31

Daryl H. Stevenson, Brian E. Eck, and Peter C. Hill, eds., Psychology & Christianity Integration: Seminal Works that Shaped the Movement (Batavia, IL: Christian Association for Psychological Studies, 2007), 255-259.

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schools train their students according to their stance on integrating secular psychology with biblically-based pastoral care. Today, a generic form of spiritual integration in secular psychology is mainstream; in fact, the American Psychological Association published a book entitled, Spiritually Oriented Interventions for Counseling and Psychotherapy in 2011.32 There are, of course, licensed Christian mental health practitioners who counsel from a secular viewpoint, and those who integrate Christianity into practice in a variety of ways. There are five general views on the topic of integrating psychology and Christianity, according to Johnson; these five current competing views are briefly summarized below.33 A Biblical Counseling View Jay Adams wrote Competent to Counsel in 1970, criticizing psychology and psychiatry for their humanistic and deterministic views of man, and called on Christians to avoid a Freudian approach and embrace the Bible alone, using a nouthetic approach. Noutheteo appears eight times in the New Testament. It is a verb that is translated as admonish or admonishing (Acts 20:31, Rom 15:14, 1 Cor 4:14, Col 1:28, Col 3:16, 1 Thes 5:14, and 2 Thes 3:15) and instruction (1 Thes 5:12).34 In this counseling model based on the Bible alone, the focus is on repenting from sin, looking for God’s solution, and viewing pastors as the church’s primary counselors. The model of care offered is one of discipleship, where spiritual growth eliminates troubling symptoms by addressing underlying behaviors, negative thinking, and keeping the focus on God. Practitioners of nouthetic counseling do recognize that some problems are biological in nature and will refer people to appropriate mental health care providers when necessary.35 Levels-of-Explanation View Christians embracing this model understand psychology and theology to be on different playing fields. For example, we might study chemistry, anatomy, psychology, sociology, or French from different viewpoints with different assumptions. Long ago, theology was 32

Jamie D. Aten, Mark McMinn, and Everett L. Worthington, Jr., Spiritually Oriented Interventions for Counseling and Psychotherapy (Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, 2011). 33

Eric L. Johnson, ed. Psychology & Christianity: Five Views (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academics, 2010).

34

Joseph Thayer, Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Coded With the Numbering System from Strong's Exhaustive Concordance (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1996), 3560. 35

David Powlison, “A Biblical Counseling View,” in Psychology & Christianity: Five Views, Eric L. Johnson, ed. (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academics, 2010), 245-273.

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considered the queen of the sciences, because religious thought permeated all aspects of life; but now it is simply another discipline. People who embrace this levels-ofexplanation view believe each discipline should be studied in different ways appropriate for it. Trying to combine things like sin and psychopathology is wrong in this view, because they are concepts from different perspectives. A person who holds a levels-ofexplanation view may be delighted to see that Christian practices can be shown “scientifically” through research to have a positive impact on life. But they would also be interested in learning that sometimes psychological research may call for a reexamination of the interpretations of particular biblical passages.36 Integration View In this view, Christians embrace the value of psychological inquiry and feel that this information should be integrated with the practice of a distinctly Christian counseling or psychological approach. People who hold this view are generally trained in both fields. It is a view that seeks to integrate special revelation (God’s Word) with natural revelation (scientific findings). Gary Collins was influential in this movement to develop a biblically based psychology. Larry Crabb’s early works were from an integrationist perspective. There are varying viewpoints and models within this view.37 Christian Psychology View Christian philosophers have explored topics and developed a line of specifically Christian approaches to understanding particular topics; some psychologists have also taken this approach. Philosophers such as Nancy Murphy, Andrew Purvest, Ellen Charry, and Ray Anderson have examined traditional, historical models of soul care and advanced a specifically Christian approach to care. People holding this view believe there is no solution without considering spiritual, metaphysical, and specifically Christian approaches. An example of this approach is reading the Sermon on the Mount and viewing it through a psychological lens. In a way, it is an attempt by some learned psychologists, theologians, and Christian philosophers to reclaim the study of people, which they claim has al36

David G. Myers, “A Levels-of-Explanation View,” in Psychology & Christianity: Five Views, Eric L. Johnson, ed. (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academics, 2010), 49-78. 37

Stanton L. Jones, “An Integration View,” in Psychology & Christianity: Five Views, Eric L. Johnson, ed. (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academics, 2010), 101-128.

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ways been in the province of the church. Larry Crabb moved away from his early integrationist approach to more of a Christian psychology view in his current work.38 Transformational Psychology View Some former integrationists have moved from an intellectual viewpoint of attempting to understand human beings from both a psychological and theological approach and focused instead on “personal, ethical, experiential, and spiritual matters.”39 The focus in this model is to embrace the changes that occur as a result of healing through Spiritguided therapists and practitioners. This model is integrationist but is based more on how people live out their faith rather than developing a hybrid model. Practitioners seek to avoid the divide between science and faith as if the two were antithetical. Coe and Hall describe this model with a touch of the mystical: “Thus a transformational model affirms that doing science is a single, unifying act that mingles both the act of faith and the act of observation-reflection on creation into one, by loving God in the object of science the object of science in God.”40 Current Christian Lay Counseling Models This article was meant to give the reader a broad, historical picture of the current counseling movement from a Christian perspective. Lay counseling has not been addressed thus far, but peer counseling and counsel from friends and family have always been sought when facing the issues of life. Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.) developed as a way to help people who were addicted find healing in support groups led by peers rather than through professional counseling resources, and The Big Book, which is the basic handbook for A.A., was first published in 1936. Often, churches host such groups, and many people have had a spiritual awakening due to participation in them. In fact, a spiritual awakening was believed to be the reason many found healing although each person was free to have their own unique experiences.41 Similar groups launched, including Narcotics 38

John H. Coe and Todd W. Hall, “A Transformational Psychology View,” in Psychology & Christianity: Five Views, Eric L. Johnson, ed. (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academics, 2010), 199-226. 39 40

Johnson, “A Brief History of Christians in Psychology,” 37. Coe and Hall, “A Transformational Psychology View,” 207.

41

Alcoholics Anonymous, “Spiritual Awakening,” The Big Book Online, 4th ed. (New York: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, 2001).

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Anonymous, which claims to have 61,000 groups meeting weekly in 129 countries.42 AlAnon is for family members of addicts, and includes a specialized group called Al-Ateen for adolescents, and these groups meet in over 130 countries worldwide.43 Another version of the 12-step model includes Overeaters Anonymous, boasting 6500 meetings worldwide. This group serves those with anorexia, bulimia, binge-eating, and other foodrelated issues.44 Celebrate Recovery combines large and small group approaches to care with lay leadership in the groups, and although it follows the A.A. 12-step model, it incorporates Scripture and is firmly Christian in its approach. It was developed by John Baker at Saddleback Church in 1991 and is currently in use by 20,000 churches internationally according to their website.45 Church Initiative, founded by Steven and Cheryl Grissom in 1993, is responsible for other church-based support groups such as DivorceCare, GriefShare, and DivorceCare for Kids, and their website claims to have programs in 19,000 churches worldwide.46 In addition, following a model published by Dr. Siang-Yang Tan and other writers after him, many churches have provided training for a network of lay counselors who provide one-on-one support for church members in addition to what the pastoral staff is able to offer.47 Besides church and community resources dedicated to pastoral care and recovery, there are also faith-based residential treatment centers established throughout the United States. Stephen Ministries is another church based approach to providing care, which was founded in 1975 by Rev. Kenneth Haugk, who is a clinical psychologist. This model provides training to lay counselors who then provide one on one care for church 42

Narcotics Anonymous, “Public Information,” Narcotics Anonymous World Services, http://www.na.org/?ID=PR-index (accessed January 8, 2014). 43

Al-Anon Family Groups, “Alanon Family Groups Media Center,” Al-anon Family Groups: Strength and Hope for Friends and Families of Problem Drinkers, http://www.al-anon.alateen.org/media-files (accessed January 8, 2014). 44

Tina Carroll, “Memorial Planned to Commemorate Passing of Overeaters Anonymous Founder,” Overeaters Anonymous, February 19, 2014, http://www.oa.org/mediaprofessionals/press-releases/ (accessed February 26, 2014). 45

John Baker, “Pastor John’s Testimony,” Celebrate Recovery: A Christ-Centered Recovery Program, http://www.celebraterecovery.com/index.php/site-map/pastor-john-s-testimony (accessed January 8, 2014). 46

GriefShare, “History,” GriefShare: Your Journey from Mourning to Joy, http://www.griefshare.org/startagroup/staff/about/history (accessed January 8, 2014). 47

Siang-Yang Tan, Lay Counseling: Equipping Christians for a Helping Ministry (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, Publishing House, 1991).

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and community members. This model is in use by 11,750 congregations and organizations around the world today.48 Training in pastoral care for ministers is an option. Those whose vocation involves pastoring have duties such as preaching, teaching, and administration in addition to offering pastoral counseling. For those who choose to emphasize this aspect of their education, many seminaries offer clinical pastoral training. Chaplaincy training and qualifications also emphasize the care-giving aspect of ministry. Summary Although psychology has taken an important role in the healing of wounded people, there is still a great need for mental health care in the United States, and a reduction of the stigmatism associated with reaching out for help.49 The church and the greater community of faith can play a role in meeting the needs of people with mental illness and those who struggle with the common issues of life, as well as supporting the caregivers and family members of those people by expanding pastoral care and lay counseling efforts. Is the church caring for people the way the early church in the New Testament modeled it? Our understanding of people, and biologically-based mental health disorders, has changed throughout the centuries, but people themselves are basically the same. According to the American Association of Pastoral Counselors’ website, today about 3 million hours of pastoral care are provided annually in church and community settings.50 According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are 318 million people in this country in 2014.51 If one out of five people struggle with mental illness at some point in their lives, the church has a great opportunity and calling to serve the needs of its congregants and the greater community by offering lay counseling or professional pastoral care. 48

Stephen Ministries, “Stephen Ministry Statistics,” Stephen Ministries, October 1, 2013, http://www.stephenministries.org/PDFs/SSstats.pdf (accessed January 9, 2014). 49

Obama, “National Conference on Mental Health.”

50

American Association of Pastoral Counselors, “Brief History on Pastoral Counseling,” American Association of Pastoral Counselors, 2009-2012, http://www.aapc.org/about-us/brief-history-on-pastoral-counseling/ (accessed January 7, 2014). 51

United States Census Bureau, “U.S. and World Population Clock,” U. S. Department of Commerce: United States Census Bureau, January 9, 2014, http://www.census.gov/popclock/ (accessed January 9, 2014).

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Works Cited Al-Anon Family Groups. “Alanon Family Groups Media Center.” Alanon Family Groups: Strength and Hope for Friends and Families of Problem Drinkers.” http://www.alanon.alateen.org/media-files (accessed January 8, 2014). Alcoholics Anonymous. “Spiritual Awakening.” The Big Book Online, 4th ed. Appendix II: Spiritual Awakening. New York: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, 2001. http://www.aa.org/bigbookonline/ (accessed January 7, 2014). American Association of Pastoral Counselors. “Brief History on Pastoral Counseling.” American Association of Pastoral Counselors. http://www.aapc.org/aboutus/brief-history-on-pastoral-counseling/ (accessed January 8, 2014). Aten, Jamie D., Mark McMinn, and Everett L. Worthington, Jr. Spiritually Oriented Interventions for Counseling and Psychotherapy. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, 2011. Baker, John. “Pastor John’s Testimony.” Celebrate Recovery: A Christ-Centered Re covery Program. http://www.celebraterecovery.com/index.php/site-map/pastorjohn-s-testimony (accessed January 8, 2014). Boisen, Anton. Out of the Depths. New York: Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1960. Bourdeau, Michael. “Auguste Comte.” The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, edited by Edward N. Zalta. http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2013/entries/comte/ (accessed January 7, 2014). Brownawell, A. and K. Kelly. “Psychotherapy is Effective and Here’s Why.” Monitor on Psychology 42, no. 9 (October 2011): 14. Carroll, Tina. “Memorial Planned to Commemorate Passing of Overeaters Anonymous Founder.” Overeaters Anonymous, February 19, 2014. http://www.oa.org/mediaprofessionals/press-releases/ (accessed February 26, 2014). Coe, John H. and Todd W. Hall. “A Transformational Psychology View.” in Psychology & Christianity: Five Views, Eric L. Johnson, ed. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academ ics, 2010. Compton, Matt. “National Conference on Mental Health.” The White House Blog, June 3, 2013. http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2013/06/03/national-conference-mentalhealth (accessed January 2, 2014).

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Journal of Biblical Ministry Copernicus, Nicholas. On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, Stephen Hawking, ed., On the Shoulders of Giants Series. Philadelphia, PA: Running Press Book Publishers, 2002. Deckard, Mark. Helpful Truth in Past Places: The Puritan Practice of Biblical Counsel ing. Ross-shire, GB: Christian Focus Publications, Ltd, 2010. Febvre, Lucient. The Coming of the Book: The Impact of Printing 1450-1800. London: Verso, 1976. Gingerich, Owen. The Book Nobody Read: Chasing the Revolutions of Nicholas Coper nicus. New York: Walker Publishing Company, Inc., 2004. GriefShare. “History.” GriefShare: Your Journey from Mourning to Joy. http://www.griefshare.org/startagroup/staff/about/history (accessed January 8, 2014). Johnson, Eric L. “A Brief History of Christians in Psychology.” in Psychology & Christi anity: Five Views, Eric L. Johnson, ed. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academics, 2010. Jones, Ian F. The Counsel of Heaven on Earth. Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing Group, 2006. Jones, Stanton L. “An Integration View.” in Psychology & Christianity: Five Views, Eric L. Johnson, ed. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academics, 2010. Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured. “Learning from History: Deinstitu tionalization of People with Mental Illness as a Precursor to Long Term Reform.” Prepared by Chris Koyanagi, 2007, http://www.nami.org/Template.cfm?Section=About_the_Issue&Template=/Conte ntManagement/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=137545 (accessed January 8, 2014). McDonald, William. “Søren Kierkegaard.” The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Edward N. Zalta, ed. http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2012/entries/kierkegaard/ (accessed January 7, 2014). Myers, David G. “A Levels-of-Explanation View.” in Psychology & Christianity: Five Views, Eric L. Johnson, ed. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academics, 2010. Narcotics Anonymous. “Public Information.” Narcotics Anonymous World Services. http://www.na.org/?ID=PR-index (accessed January 8, 2014).

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Obama, Barak. “National Conference on Mental Health” (video). The White House Blog. Posted June 3, 2013. http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2013/06/03/nationalconference-mental-health (accessed January 2, 2014). Oden, Thomas C. Pastoral Counsel: Classical Pastoral Care, vol. 3. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1987. Peterson, J. B. “Apostolic Constitutions.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1907. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01636a.htm (accessed January 6, 2014). Pitt, David. “Mental Representation.” The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2013), Edward N. Zalta, ed. http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2013/entries/mental-representation/ (accessed January 7, 2014). Pope, Gregory I. “Pastoral Rule,” James Barmby, trans. Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series, edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace, vol. 12. 1895. Reprint, New Advent, 2009. http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/36013.htm. (accessed January 7, 2014). Powlison, David. “A Biblical Counseling View.” in Psychology & Christianity: Five Views, Eric L. Johnson, ed. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academics, 2010. Schaff, Philip, ed. Constitutions of the Holy Apostles. Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 7. http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf07.ix.iii.v.html (accessed January 7, 2014). Shields, Christopher. “Aristotle's Psychology.” The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Spring 2011 Edition, Edward N. Zalta, ed. http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2011/entries/aristotle-psychology/ (accessed January 7, 2014). Smith, Kurt. “Descartes' Life and Works.” The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Fall 2012 Edition, Edward N. Zalta, ed. http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2012/entries/descartes-works/ (accessed January 7, 2014). Stangor, Charles. Introduction to Psychology. Washington, D.C.: Flat World Knowledge Publishing, 2013. Stephen Ministries. “Stephen Ministries Fact Sheet.” Stephen Ministries, October 1, 2013. http://www.stephenministries.org/PDFs/SSstats.pdf (accessed January 9, 2014).

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Journal of Biblical Ministry Stevenson, Daryl H., Brian E. Eck, and Peter C. Hill, eds. Psychology & Christianity Integration: Seminal Works that Shaped the Movement. Batavia, IL: Christian Association for Psychological Studies, 2007. Tan, Siang-Yang. Lay Counseling: Equipping Christians for a Helping Ministry. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, Publishing House, 1991. Thayer and Smith. The NAS New Testament Greek Lexicon, 1999 ed. S.v. “Noutheteo.” http://www.biblestudytools.com/lexicons/greek/nas/noutheteo.html (accessed October 16, 2013). United States Census Bureau. “U.S. and World Population Clock.” U. S. Department of Commerce: United States Census Bureau, January 9, 2014. http://www.census.gov/popclock/ (accessed January 9, 2014). Zhong, W., et al. “Age and Sex Patterns of Drug Prescribing In a Defined American Population.” Mayo Clinic Proceedings, 88 no. 7 (July 2013): 697-707. http://search.proquest.com/docview/1401187128?accountid=12085 (accessed January 7, 2014).

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IS THERE A METHOD TO THE MADNESS? A NARRATIVE METHODOLOGY By Joshua E. Stewart, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Old Testament, Luther Rice University & Seminary Article Abstract For the scholar attempting to keep pace with the tremendous amount of literature analyzing Hebrew narratives, he/she may begin to feel the onset of madness. The multitudes of books written on the subject of Hebrew narrative contain in-depth analyses of different aspects of narrative criticism. The present article offers a starting point in the development of a narrative methodology by incorporating both narrative criticism and rhetorical criticism. From the suggestions made in this article, a student of Hebrew narrative will be able to identify multiple points at which he/she can progress to greater depths of analysis. Throughout the article, Genesis 32–33 acts as a test case whereby one can observe the application of the suggested methodology. Introduction Through a cursory reading of the Old Testament (OT), the reader can readily recognize the importance of the genre of narrative, since nearly one-third of the Bible consists of stories. Considering the importance of narrative as a primary means of conveying the story of Israel, the development of a narrative methodology will aid the reader of the OT in coming to a robust engagement of the stories. Multitudes of books have been written to investigate the structure and development of the narratives found in the OT. Many of these books delve deeply into different aspects of narrative (e.g., character, time, space, theme, etc.), yet rarely will one find a detailed method for reading and deriving conclusions from a narrative. Thus, the goal here is to draw upon multiple resources as a means of developing a narrative methodology. Because of some obvious differences regarding the methods associated with narrative criticism, a starting point should be an understanding of critical methods that deal with the literary approaches in general. The different approaches or methods associated with literary criticism often mix and blur the boundaries. Along these lines, Watson and Hauser explained, “The methodological boundaries between those who call themselves rhetorical critics and other literary critics with reasonably similar approaches are often

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very fuzzy.”1 In short, literary criticism in OT studies has become somewhat myopic. One should remember that literary criticism takes place in other areas of study outside of the biblical area. As an OT scholar approaches literary study, in this case attempting to develop a narrative methodology, he/she should take into account the broader meaning of literary criticism. For example, scholars outside of the field of biblical studies use the term literary criticism to refer to “an analysis of the significant artistic features of a literary work.”2 A shift in biblical studies began in the twentieth century when James Muilenberg outlined the importance of rhetorical criticism for the study of the OT. In his 1968 presidential address to the Society of Biblical Literature, Muilenberg assigned two major tasks for rhetorical criticism.3 The first task was to “define the limits or scope of the literary unit, to recognize precisely where and how it begins and where and how it ends.”4 The second major concern of the rhetorical critic is to recognize “the structure of a composition and to discern the configuration of its component parts, to delineate the warp and woof out of which the literary fabric is woven, and to note the various rhetorical devices that are employed for marking . . . the sequence and movement of the pericope . . . the shifts or breaks in the development of the writer’s thought.”5 More recently, Phyllis Trible delineated three aspects of rhetorical criticism: “rhetoric signifies the art of composition; the method involves a close reading of the texts; the purpose is to discover authorial intent.”6 She desired to view the text as an integral whole concerned with content, structure, and style. Rhetorical criticism, by definition, practices synchronic rather than diachronic analysis. However, conversation with “textual criticism and with historical disciplines like source criticism, tradition history, and re1

Duane F. Watson and Alan J. Hauser, Rhetorical Criticism of the Bible: A Comprehensive Bibliography with Notes on History and Method (Leiden: Brill, 1994), 3, n.1. 2

Ibid., 3, n.2. e.g., D. F. Rauber, “Literary Values in the Bible: The Book of Ruth,” JBL 89 (1970): 27–37. Rauber considered himself an amateur in biblical studies yet he argues that the literary scholar “should be an equal partner, so to speak, among the other specialists, for he has a way of seeing which the others lack, just as they from the vantage points of their particular disciplines add greatly to the common understanding.” 3

James Muilenburg, “Form Criticism and Beyond,” JBL 88 (1969): 1–18.

4

Ibid., 8.

5

Ibid., 10.

6

Phyllis Trible, Rhetorical Criticism: Content, Method, and the Book of Jonah (Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress, 1994), 25.

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daction criticism” should be included in a full rhetorical reading of OT narratives. Trible also pointed out that a synchronic analysis allows for diachronic reflection.7 The issues of synchronic versus diachronic readings also beg the question of micro- and macrostructure of a narrative. Micro-structure refers to the sentence and clausal level within a particular narrative. Macro-structure most often refers to the narrative as a whole; at certain places, a reference may be made to the macro-structure of a particular OT book or to the macro-structure of a certain section of the Hebrew Bible (e.g., the Pentateuch). In short, the narrative methodology of this paper will take into account the approach of rhetorical criticism. Breaking down a narrative into specific realms of analysis (i.e., close reading) is a necessary step to understanding the art of composition and the intention of the author in telling a certain story. The narrative methodology proposed here builds on five facets of analysis. The first is the general orientation of the narrative under consideration. Second, an abstract summarizes the events/incidents of the story. Third, complicating actions offer an evaluative commentary on events, conflicts, and themes of the narrative. Fourth, the stage of resolution describes the outcome of the story or conflict. The final facet of a narrative methodology moves to a micro-structural analysis of the narrative. At multiple points within the present analysis, Genesis 32–33 will serve as a test case in order to apply the different facets of the proposed methodology. After applying all the different dimensions of this narrative methodology, the reader should be able to draw some conclusions concerning the rhetorical function of any given narrative. General Orientation The first aspect of a narrative methodology consists of general observations made while reading through a narrative for the first time. For a fuller grasp of a narrative, one must read the narrative more than one time. The first reading should give the reader a basic sense of the story’s beginning, its setting, the conditions, basic plot, the characters involved, and the ending. In response to Muilenburg’s first task of the rhetorical critic, Trible noted, “devices such as climax, inclusio, and chiasm set the boundaries.”8 Certain motifs identified at the beginning of a narrative most often come to a resolution by the end of the story. However, the reader must be aware of the possibility of multiple climatic points within a single narrative. Trible offers a warning to the narrative critic: “To mis7

Trible, Rhetorical Criticism, 94.

8

Ibid., 27.

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take an internal break for the conclusion disavows artistic integrity and skews authorial intent.”9 Determining the text is a tertiary responsibility of the narrative critic. The use of text criticism and literary criticism is a helpful starting point in analyzing a biblical story. After the reader establishes the boundaries of a text, several questions must be asked. What is the text under consideration?10 Where does the narrative begin and where does it end? The reader then takes into account the variant readings for a given narrative and makes decisions concerning the best readings. Literary criticism also plays a role in that the reader uses the results as an aid in determining the unity and scope of a given text. Understanding how a narrative begins aids the reader in evaluating many of the aspects contained within any given narrative, such as characters involved or the time and space element. Yairah Amit identifies the beginning of a narrative as a point of exposition. The purpose of the beginning of a narrative “is to detach the readers from the materials they had been dealing with and introduce them to a new or different story world without losing their place in the sequence.”11 For example in the narrative of Genesis 32–33, the first three verses (Gen. 31:55-32:2) serve to end the events of the issues between Jacob and Laban and introduce the reader to what follows in the story of Jacob, that is, his meeting with his brother Esau. Time and Space An important initial observation is the element of time and space. Shimon Bar-Efrat suggested, “A narrative cannot exist without time, to which it has a twofold relationship: it unfolds within time, and time passes within it. The narrative needs the time outside it in order to unravel itself by stages before the reader. . . . The narrative also requires internal time, because the characters and the incidents exist within time.”12 The external time, based on the time of the recorded narrative, is the time of narration. How much space does the author dedicate to his/her telling of the narrative? Is the narrative brief or does it include extended dedication of space? For example, the narrative of Jacob meeting Esau in Genesis 32–33, contains two chapters with a total Hebrew word count 9

Trible, Rhetorical Criticism, 27.

10

Yairah Amit, Reading Biblical Narrative: Literary Criticism and the Hebrew Bible (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2001), 19. 11

Amit, Reading Biblical Narrative, 35.

12

Shimon Bar-Efrat, Narrative Art in the Bible (New York: T & T Clark, 2004), 141.

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of 1,017 words. Considering the large space dedicated to this narrative, one can make a general observation that the events here are highly significant to the macro-structure of the book as well as for the Pentateuchal material. Narrated time is somewhat subjective especially considering a person’s reading speed or the writing style of a narrator; however, Bar-Efrat argued that “Narration time can be assessed in terms of the number of printed words, lines or pages, thereby making it possible to define it in a precise and objective way.”13 One should make general observations based on the real time events of the narrative— the internal time in which the story takes place. How long does the author imply that the events of the narrative took to unfold? The reason this aspect of time is important in a narrative methodology is when a narrative extends a time of narration through repetition or dialogue more often than not the author is highlighting an important event or theme. For example, Abraham’s purchase of the cave of Machpelah (Gen. 23) is based on a short period of narrated time but the time of narration is extended through dialogue and repetition, which shows the importance of the event in Genesis (e.g., Gen. 25:9–10; 49:29–32; 50:13). The discrepancy between narrated time and time of narration often points the reader to what the author believed to be important. In the case of Genesis 32–33, the discrepancy between the time of narration and the narrated time is minimal. In the narrative of Genesis 32–33, the author never uses temporal expressions denoting duration. Familiarity with the region, however, points the reader to the extended period of time covered in this narrative. Considering an approximate three days’ journey (ca. 150 miles) for the messengers of Jacob to travel to Edom and then the same journey time for Esau to return to Gilead, plus two more days of journeying in the beginning and ending of the narrative, the total time of the events would be approximately eight days. Thus, Bar-Efrat concludes that most often “the full fabric of time is woven primarily through the events presented in the narrative rather than by direct indication of time.”14 General observations based on these elements of time aid the reader in concluding the importance the author wishes to convey within particular narrations. The difficulties surrounding the life of Jacob, in this narrative, are monumental and contain both extended narration time and narrated time. 13

Bar-Efrat, Narrative Art in the Bible, 144.

14

Ibid., 145.

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Other General Observations Sequence of time also aids the reader in spotting chronological sequencing that is abnormal. Often the author of a narrative will put off details until late in the story, the concept of analepsis. Amit described the postponement as a literary tool employed by the author “to stress a particular situation or idea.”15 An author may also narrate an event before the event takes place, the concept of prolepsis. Although somewhat prophetic in nature, the function of this type of literary device creates the tension of what will happen next in the reader’s mind. Prolepsis, or foreshadowing, is in many ways an ideological principle: “stating in advance what is going to happen illustrates God’s control over history.”16 When reading a narrative for the first time, readers must also be aware of the setting. A general knowledge of ancient customs and topography may require some additional research on the reader’s part. However, at the stage of general observation, difficulties related to this type of knowledge should be marked and returned to if necessary. A general idea of characterization begins at this stage of the methodology. The initial reading of the text allows the reader to be aware of the characters so that in subsequent steps a fuller understanding of the characters may be developed. A mental compilation of the characters in a story will aid the reader, at this point of the methodology, in beginning to determine who the major characters are and to note the interactions among them. The final general observation of a narrative is how the story ends. Some may understand the surprise of the ending to be the tension needed in understanding the story through its individual scenes (i.e., a synchronic reading of the narrative). Additionally, stories also have a diachronic nature in which knowing the ending aids in understanding the parts. Thus, general observations concerning the ending will be important in the development of many narratives. Abstract After making general observations about a narrative, the reader should progress by summarizing the events or incidents of the story. In summarizing, the reader should focus an eye toward the identification of the plot of the narrative as well as the division of particular scenes. Identification of scenes will aid the reader in understanding the overall 15

Amit, Reading Biblical Narrative, 111.

16

Ibid., 112.

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plot of the narrative. Do distinct scenes easily divide the story? Do multiple events make up the macro-structure of a particular narrative? The division of scenes may employ different aspects of a narrative methodology. For example, the identification of different points of view or the consideration of the placement of characters is a viable means of scene division. Scene Division Noting temporal shifts within a narrative also aids in the division of scenes. Amit suggests two methods of analyzing a narrative plot. She bases the first on symmetry by describing the scenes by their setting or place as a concentric structure.17 In Genesis 32– 33, using the concentric structure, the location of Jacob would be the deciding factor in the division of scenes. For example, Jacob’s encampment at Gilead would be the first scene and his arrival at Shechem would be the final scene. Amit’s second suggestion is the division of scenes by using the classic pediment structure. Pediment structure bases a narrative on five units: introduction, complication, change, resolution, and conclusion.18 The preferred method of scene division for this narrative methodology is the pediment structure. So for example, a division of the story of Jacob in Genesis 32–33 is as follows: Exposition:

31:55–32:2

Complication:

32:3–32:21

Change:

32:22–32:32

Unraveling:

33:1–33:15

Ending:

33:16–33:20

Both methods are helpful in determining the scenes of a particular narrative. Each of the methods will reveal a particular aspect or emphasis of a narrative. Thus, in reality, a narrative methodology could work in multiple directions or in a spiral that shows the reader how a single narrative may have varying points or purposes.19 The use of the 17

Amit, Reading Biblical Narrative, 56.

18

Ibid., 56–57.

19

See Appendix 1.

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concentric structure for the Jacob narrative may point to the primary importance of Jacob’s wrestling with God rather than his meeting with Esau.20 Point of View Point of view is multi-functional. Often a narrative can have multiple points of view intertwined within the story. Literary critics use the term “point of view” rather broadly to designate the position or perspective from which the story is told.21 Often the reading or understanding of a narrative comes through the point of view of the author or narrator. The narrator may make judgments about certain events or actions within the story. The narrator also at times shifts between the views of different characters within the story. A character’s point of view can be revealed either through the words of the narrator (as previously mentioned) or through direct discourse. In the Jacob narrative, the narrator shifts between the views of Esau and Jacob several times within Genesis 32–33. Berlin notes different indicators of a character’s point of view. One way of showing a character’s point of view is by informing the reader what the character thought, felt, or feared by portraying the inner life of the character.22 The term hnx often marks the distinction between the character’s point of view and the narrator’s.23 Knowing whose point of view is being conveyed at a given place in a narrative is important in that it will determine the development of characters as well as what the narrator wishes for the reader to conclude from the story. Complicating Actions The process of analyzing complicating actions seeks to offer evaluative commentary on the events, conflict, and themes in a particular narrative. Amit’s stage two is the stage of complication. The stage of complication is the point where “the author introduces the complication or crisis,” or where the opening conditions change and the story becomes 20

The impression here is that no matter which of the methods is used, the focal point of the narrative of Genesis 32–33 is the encounter with the divine. Nevertheless, the surrounding events should not be separated from this encounter, and the methodology used here (pediment structure) keeps the entire narrative more in focus than the concentric structure. 21

Adele Berlin, Poetics and Interpretation of Biblical Narrative (Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 1994), 46.

22

Ibid., 61.

23

Ibid., 62. In the Jacob narrative the term hnh appears three times. Two of the occurrences are in direct discourse and do not function as a shift in point of view (Gen 32:19, 21). The third (33:1) functions in such a way that the narrative shifts to Jacob’s point of view.

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Journal of Biblical Ministry more complex.24 For example, in Genesis 32 the stage of complication is in vv. 3–21, where Jacob’s messengers inform Jacob that Esau is coming to meet him with 400 men. The complication arises after Jacob realizes that Esau is not going to allow him to pass through his land without a face-to-face meeting. The complication in this particular narrative affects Jacob’s course of action. The narrator draws the reader into the inner feelings of Jacob that lead to his desire to alter the course of events to follow. Jacob’s fear leads him to call out to the LORD in a statement of faith (vv. 9–12) in the midst of a scene in which Jacob lays out a strategy for what he thinks will be an attack by Esau. Change Complicating actions often lead to some kind of change. Amit noted that “the heart of the story” is the change that is most central to the plot.25 Returning to Genesis 32, the complicating actions have brought about a change in Jacob’s demeanor. The real change in Jacob’s demeanor does not come from his fear but rather from his wrestling with God (32:22–32). The conflict between Jacob and “the man” is at the center of the plot of Genesis 32–33. Bar-Efrat stated “At the centre of the plot there is almost always a conflict or collision between two forces, whether these be two individuals, a person and his or her inner self, a person and an institution, custom or outlook, or an individual and a superhuman force, such as God or fate.”26 As the reader assesses the narrative of Genesis 32–33, he/she cannot help but be drawn into the possibility that the coming conflict will be between Jacob and Esau. The tension builds and the reader seems sure of the characters that will be involved in a possible bloody battle. Then to the reader’s astonishment, the conflict does not include Jacob and Esau; rather the conflict is between Jacob and a man of mystery. The author has masterfully built this suspense through an artistic display of the use of time (both narrated time and narration time), intermingling discourse with narrative, and shifts of point of view, etc. Despite a face-toface meeting with God, Jacob still maintained his original plan. His maintenance of his original plan again draws the reader into questioning the character of Jacob. At this point in the narrative methodology, a fuller development of characterization is necessary. 24

Amit, Reading Biblical Narrative, 47.

25

Ibid.

26

Bar-Efrat, Narrative Art in the Bible, 94.

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Characterization The role of individual characters is highly important in the development of a narrative methodology. Berlin’s three types of characters (agent, type, and full-fledged characters) seem to be the best way of understanding characters.27 The agents are the characters who are subordinate to the plot of the narrative. Types have a limited and stereotyped range of traits (e.g., Abigail epitomizes the “worthy women” in 1 Sam. 25). Fullfledged characters have opinions and emotions of their own. No real line of separation exists between these characters; it is a matter of degree rather than kind. Thus, Berlin stated: One might think of them as points on a continuum: 1) the agent, about whom nothing is known except what is necessary for the plot; the agent is a function of the plot or part of the setting; 2) the type, who has a limited and stereotyped range of traits, and who represents the class of people with these traits; 3) the character, who has a broader range of traits (not all belonging to the same class of people), and about whom we know more than is necessary for the plot.28 Considering Berlin’s definition of characters, the Jacob narrative contains several classifications: agents: (Jacob’s messengers, Jacob’s family), type: (Esau, mystery man), character: (Jacob).29 At this point in the methodology, the development of individual characters has progressed to such an extent that the reader should be able to identify the importance of the characters and even to identify what kind of character they are. Knowing the role of each character will aid the reader in identifying the points the narrator wishes to make; however, the development of characters infiltrates each point of the methodology and conclusions of the character’s development come at the end. 27

Berlin, Poetics and Interpretation, 23.

28

Ibid., 32.

29

The agents (Jacob’s messengers and his family) only exist in the story as part of the plot. They are only necessary for the action of the plot. The types are characters who perform the way the author wishes to convey as normal or stereotypical of their function, (i.e., Esau acts in the way an estranged brother should act; the mystery man acts in a way the ‘divine’ should act). In Genesis 32–33, the narrator places the inner life of the main character Jacob on display for the reader.

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Resolution Following the change, or the central point of the plot, is the stage of resolution. This stage describes the outcome of the narrative or the unraveling of the event(s). Returning to Genesis 32–33, the unraveling is multi-faceted. The unraveling contains both the record of Jacob continuing to maintain his scheme to protect part of his family as well as the actual meeting between Jacob and Esau. After the man changes the name of Jacob to Israel and Jacob realizes the divine nature of the encounter (32:30) Jacob continues to scheme and develop a plot to ensure the safety of part of his family. The reader asks the question: has this encounter truly changed Jacob? How does the story end? The meeting between the two brothers is the final resolution. Although Jacob feared the meeting with Esau, he is surprised that Esau hugs him and greets him without wrath. At this point, the reader may return to make a final assessment of the characters. A synchronic reading takes into account both the micro- and macro-structure of a selected narrative, whereby all components share equal weight. The resolution of the Jacob narrative ends with Jacob promising to meet Esau in Seir (Edom), a promise that Jacob had no intention of keeping, evidenced by his traveling and settling in Shechem.30 The question lingers for the reader, do the incidents of Genesis 32–33 change Jacob at all? Part of the beauty of the OT narratives is that, in most cases, the story should not be analyzed by itself but it should also be read in the larger context. Amit suggests, “The thorough analysis of the story as a unit in itself leads not to its specific meaning but to its significance in a broader context.”31 Micro-structure Some final remarks deserve special attention in the development of a narrative methodology. The main body of the narrative methodology could include the specific points of the following discussion. However, considering these issues relate to the language on a micro-level (sentence and clause) they will infiltrate the narrative at multiple levels. Amit draws a distinction with what she calls “showing versus telling.”32 For Amit, the “showing is more like a dramatic scene—it is the most direct presentation possible, with hardly any intervention by the narrator.” The telling has the character of a report.33 Amit is 30

Meir Sternberg, The Poetics of Biblical Narrative: Ideological Literature and the Drama of Reading (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1987), 244. 31

Amit, Reading Biblical Narrative, 127.

32

Ibid., 49–57.

33

Ibid., 49.

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drawing the reader’s attention to the difference between discourse and narrative. Discourse and narrative are two means used by the narrator to convey the full scope of story. A reader of the Hebrew narrative can identify these aspects through verbal distinctions. Wolfgang Schneider has drawn to the attention of the Hebraist the function of verbal aspects through discourse analysis. He would identify the telling, or narration, as the primary use of the wayyiqtol and a secondary usage of the qatal. The showing, or discourse, primarly uses the yiqtol and secondarily of the qatal.34 Often the telling and showing share verbal similarities. “This may mean that the narrator is confirming the words of the character.”35 For example, the narrator confirms the words of Jacob in Genesis 32. In Jacob’s dialogue with the mystery man he states, “I will not let you go unless you bless me” (Gen. 32:26). The narrator confirms Jacob’s wish by stating “and there he blessed him” (Gen. 32:29). Robert Alter clarifies this point by stating, “When there is no divergence between a statement as it occurs in narration and as it occurs in dialogue, or vice versa, the repetition generally has the effect of giving a weight of emphasis to the specific terms which the speaker chooses for his speech.”36 The distinction between telling and showing helps determine different functions within the narrative. First, whose point of view is being set forth? Is the report an objective report from the narrator or is the character stating what he/she believes to be the facts? Second, is the author giving “background information,” or is a character/speaker recounting events for the reader? The details included in the language section of this narrative methodology are more than likely only viewed on the micro-level within narratives. That is to say, these verbal pointers may not necessarily be helpful in investigating multiple narratives or in a diachronic investigation but they should help in dissecting individual scenes within a narrative. The use of repetitive language is another factor that one should make note of while reading narratives. This factor also takes into account the oral orientation of ancient literary units. In a culture where very few people could read or write, the author surely took into account and paid special attention to the “oral and aural aspects of their litera34

Wolfgang Schneider, Grammatik des Biblischen Hebr isch (München: Claudius Verlag, 1989), 177–97. Also see Paul J. Hooper, “Aspect and Foregrounding in Discourse” in Discourse and Syntax (New York: Academic, 1979), 213-41. The terms used in this sentence are terms that identify certain verb forms in the Hebrew Bible. 35

Berlin, Poetics and Interpretation, 64.

36

Robert Alter, The Art of Biblical Narrative (Jackson, TN: Basic Books, 1981), 77.

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ture.”37 Repetition is not an archaic and bizarre action that precludes an artful purpose. Rather it is artistic and often aids the hearer and reader in seeing important themes within a narrative. For example, in Genesis 32–33, paneh (face) occurs sixteen times. The importance of this word is evident in that Jacob is worried about coming before Esau and yet God is the one he sees face-to-face in the climatic point of the plot. And when he finally has a face-to-face meeting with Esau he reverts to his old self. Conclusion Rhetoric functions within the narrative on both the micro- and macro-levels. Through a close analysis of biblical narratives the one analyzing the story should be able to identify some type of rhetorical function of any given narrative. Narrative analysis comes down to seeking to identify the purpose of an author in conveying the story. Does the story have a political function, that is, an argument for or against having a king? Does the story have a covenant function, that is, an argument for a certain lineage? In narrative, a rhetorical critic will study the development of time/space, beginning and ending, characters, plot and scenes, point of view, the use of dialogue and narration, and repetition. This list of major components is not inclusive but rather offers a starting point for a narrative methodology. The narrative or rhetorical critic will do two things in studying a text: “analyze the literary features of the text, to the maximum extent possible, from the perspective of literary style discernable in the works of ancient Israelite writers; and articulate the impact of the literary unit on its audience.”38 Stories are meant to be persuasive and a powerful story is “irresistibly persuasive.”39 37

Watson and Hauser, Rhetorical Criticism of the Bible, 13.

38

Ibid., 14.

39

Amit, Reading Biblical Narrative, 2.

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Journal of Biblical Ministry APPENDIX 1 OVERLAPPING NATURE OF METHODOLOGY

General Orientation

Abstract

Complicating Actions

Resolution

Micro-structure

The five facets of analysis involved in this methodology are not independent of one another. The overlapping nature of each allows the reader to move simultaneously in different directions in their developmental understanding of any particular OT narrative.

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SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY Alter, Robert. The Art of Biblical Narrative. Jackson, TN: Basic Books, 1981. Amit, Yairah. Reading Biblical Narrative: Literary Criticism and the Hebrew Bible. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2001. Bar-Efrat, Shimon. Narrative Art in the Bible. New York: T & T Clark, 2004. Berlin, Adele. Poetics and Interpretation of Biblical Narrative. Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 1994. Gros Louis, Kenneth R. R., James A. Ackerman, and Thayer S. Warshaw, eds. Literary Interpretations of Biblical Narrative. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1978. Hooper, Paul J. “Aspect and Foregrounding in Discourse.” in Discourse and Syntax, edited by Talmy Givón, 213–41. Syntax and Semantics 12. New York: Academic, 1979. Meynet, Roland. Rhetorical Analysis: An Introduction to Biblical Rhetoric. Journal for the Study of the Old Testament: Supplement Series 256. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1998. Muilenburg, James. “Form Criticism and Beyond.” Journal of Biblical Literature 88 (1969): 1–18. Preminger, Alex and Edward L. Greenstein, eds. The Hebrew Bible: In Literary Criticism. New York: Unger Publishing, 1986. Rauber, D. F. “Literary Values in the Bible: The Book of Ruth.” Journal of Biblical Literature 89 (1970): 27–37. Schneider, Wolfgang. Grammatik des Biblischen Hebr isch. München: Claudius Verlag, 1989. Sternberg, Meir. The Poetics of Biblical Narrative: Ideological Literature and the Drama of Reading. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1987. Trible, Phyllis. Rhetorical Criticism: Content, Method, and the Book of Jonah. Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress, 1994.

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Journal of Biblical Ministry Watson, Duane F. and Alan J. Hauser, eds. Rhetorical Criticism of the Bible: A Comprehensive Bibliography with Notes on History and Method. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1994.

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The Judgment of the Nations By Tim Skinner, Th.M. Assistant Professor of Bible, Luther Rice University & Seminary

INTRODUCTION Readers of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution were confronted daily for many years with an anonymous paid advertisement titled, “Why Do the Heathen Rage?” Daily essays were written under this title for over a period of thirty years and originally appeared in more than sixty newspapers worldwide. The author, who chose to remain anonymous, was a prominent Christian businessman in the Atlanta area. The author used this verse as a basis to comment on the events of the day. He believed that Psalm 1 pronounced blessings to the faithful in Christ, but Psalm 2 and Acts 4:25 asked a critical question and answered it with a prophecy of cursings and judgments upon the heathen who rebelled against the laws of God. Truly a prophet in his own time, the author received thousands of letters from his readers. However, at times, newspapers would refuse to print his columns or prefer to edit it because of his outspoken condemnation of evil in government, literature and individuals who supported unbiblical practices.1 This strange, anonymous advertisement, puzzling to many now in retrospect was asking a very biblical question, one asked by David the Psalmist in Psalm 2, a psalm most Bible scholars label a Royal Psalm,2 mainly because of its reference to God’s Son. It was quoted by the apostle Peter who directly applied it to Christ and his crucifixion at the hands of both Romans and Jews (Acts 4:25-28). Psalm 2:1-2 reads: “Why do the nations3 conspire and the peoples plot in vain? The 1

Bob Hill, “Why do the Heathen Rage?” Walter Martin’s Religious InfoNet, n.d., http://www.waltermartin.com/themes/html (accessed March 18, 2014). 2

These Psalms were apparently connected with the celebration of the king of Israel’s enthronement. For more discussion on this Psalm, see Leopold Sabourin, The Psalms: Their Origin and Meaning (New York: Alba House, 1974); Claus Westermann, The Psalms: Structure, Content, and Message (Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1980); H.C. Leupold, Exposition of Psalms (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1969). 3

Nations, (goyim, a word usually bearing a hostile connotation) are involved in this; so are “peoples,” that is to say, persons of various nationalities. They may differ from one another and have little in common otherwise, but in matters of religion they have the common bond of hatred against the Lord, H.C. Leupold, Exposition of Psalms (Baker Book House, 1969), 46.

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kings of the earth take their stand, and the rulers gather together against the Lord and against His Anointed One.”4 The Psalmist was asking a very basic question regarding the Gentiles and their relationship to Israel. This question and its answer highlighted a basic question of historical proportions, and that is, how did the nations view God, and how did the nations view Israel, God’s representative people. The purpose of this article is to prove that God judged the nations in the Old Testament based upon their treatment of Israel, and this concept is further confirmed in the New Testament in the judgment of the Gentiles in Matthew 25:31-46, and in the destruction of the Beast in the Book of Revelation: symbolizing the end of Gentile ascendency over the Jewish nation in fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy. The fall of Babylon symbolizes the demise and destruction of all evil empires and kingdoms in opposition to God and God’s people. This article focuses on the judgment on individual nations in the past (e.g. Edom, Ammon, Moab, etc.) then progresses to a judgment of living individuals at the end of the present age (Matthew 25), then broadens the judgment to the destruction of empires and kingdoms as described in the book of Revelation (e.g., Babylon). SYMBOLIC DESIGNATIONS OF THE NATIONS IN SCRIPTURE The nations as political entities, kingdoms and empires are viewed throughout Scripture in a rather negative light, starting with the judgment on the nations in Genesis 11 at the Tower of Babel. The Gentile nations are seen as a massive figure of a man trampling over Israel with his feet (Daniel 2:34, 41-45, cf. Luke 21:24); ferocious and dangerous beasts who plunder and destroy (Daniel 7); invading locusts that destroy everything in their wake (Joel 1, Rev. 9); Gog and Magog, a reference to the sons of Japheth to the extreme North of Israel (Ezekiel 38, Rev. 20:8);5 another beast who begins a massive 4

The New International Version (East Brunswick, NJ: International Bible Society, 1973), 497. In its historical context, the Lord’s “Anointed One” would be a reference to the King of Israel, also referred to as God’s Son (cf. II Samuel 7:14). See Claus Westermann, The Psalms: Structure, Content, and Message (Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1980), 106; Mark L. Strauss, Four Portraits, One Jesus, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan.com, 2007, pp. 485-486). “Here, as usual in the Old Testament, the noun (Heb. Mashiach) refers to the reigning king regarded as a sacrosanct figure” (I Sam. 24:6), F.F. Bruce, New International Bible Commentary (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1979), 558. H.C. Leupold wrote: “Since we have found good reasons for designating David as the author of this Psalm, the ‘anointed one’ that is referred to would most likely be David himself. By opposing God’s representative they were opposing Him. David felt and understood this situation well.” H.C. Leupold, Exposition of Psalms (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1969), 47. 5

Ezekiel’s oracles against Gog, ruler from the land of Magog, express an apocalyptic scenario of God’s victory over the nations that threaten Israel. The original identity of Gog matters little as later interpreters have understood him to be a trans-national symbol of evil, much like Edom and Egypt… or chaos monsters such as Leviathian or behemoth. Adele Berlin, Marc Zvi Brettler, The Jewish Study Bible (New York: Oxford University Press Inc., 2004), 1115.

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attempt to exterminate Israel (Rev. 13); and a great red dragon who attempts to swallow Israel up (it is clear that the dragon and the nations are in league with one another, so the dragon instigates the nations, cf. Rev.12:3,13:1). Babylon is a symbolic designation of all evil empires in opposition to God and God’s people (Revelation 17, 18, esp. 18:24). Certainly the nations play a major role in this “present evil age” under the dominion of the Prince of darkness and are seen as either enemies of God or directly hostile to God’s people. This present age is evil, under the dominion of the kingdom of darkness, will be followed by a judgment on the present cosmic order. JUDGMENT OF THE NATIONS IN THE OLD TESTAMENT God’s judgment is a repeated theme both in the Old and New Testaments. The judgment emphasized in the Old Testament is primarily temporal whereas that in the New Testament is primarily eternal. The Old Testament often speaks about God physically destroying nations, punishing cities, or afflicting individuals because of their wickedness. The very first chapters of Genesis reveal the role of the Jews and how nations would either invite God’s judgment or God’s blessing dependent upon their treatment of Abraham and Abraham’s descendants. God told Abram: “I will bless those who bless you, and him who curses you I will curse; and by you all the families of the earth shall bless themselves.”6 That God would be true to his word of “cursing those who cursed Abraham” is evident in the very same chapter when God plagued Pharaoh of Egypt for touching Abram’s wife Sarai (Gen. 12:17). As Arnold Fruchtenbaum keenly observes, “This is the first example of the outworking of the cursing aspect of the Abrahamic Covenant.”7 The nations in the Old Testament did in fact suffer God’s judgment and this judgment was based upon their sin and wickedness, and upon their mistreatment of his people Israel. Hans Schwarz notes: Not only Israel was included in the judgment of God. Amos announced that other nations are included also. Often the judgment occurred because these nations had offended Israel (Isa. 34:8) and sometimes Yahweh gave them directly into the hands of Israel. Arrogance, pride (Isa. 16:6-7), or disobedience (Mic. 5:15) was the cause of God’s judgment. Not even the powers at that time, Egypt and Assyria, were excluded from the rule of God. Finally toward the close of the Old 6

Genesis 12:3, Revised Standard Version. Harold Lindsell, The Harper Study Bible (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Bible Publishers, 1965), 22. What many thought was a bad translation actually turns out to be biblically true. Nations and people can choose to bless themselves by blessing Abraham’s descendants. This translation implies that there is a choice involved in the blessing. 7

Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, Ariel’s Bible Commentary: the Book of Genesis (San Antonio: Ariel Ministries, 2009), 250. Cf. Kenneth Matthews, Genesis 11:27-50:26 (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2005), 122. Matthews concurs that the kidnapping of Sarai illustrates the promise of blessing or curse upon the nations (Gen. 12:3).

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Testament, the empires were compared with wild and ferocious animals that have to concede the final victory to God when he will erect his kingdom.8 Some of the main oracle passages against the nations are found in the following units: Gen. 12:1-3; Numbers 22-24; Isaiah chapters 13-23; Jeremiah 25:30-38, 30:16-24; chapters 46-51; Ezekiel chapters 25-32; Joel 3:2,3; Amos 1:1 – 2:3; Zephaniah 2:10; Zechariah 2:8, 12:9, 14:3. There are entire books such as Obadiah, Nahum, Joel, etc. devoted to the destruction of Edom, Assyria and future nations respectively in the eschatological “Day of the Lord.” Time and space would not permit the hundreds of references that refer to the mistreatment of Israel. Here is just a small sampling of one or two verses categorized by nation along with the Bible translation quoted from:9 General Statements in Favor of Israel Isaiah 49: 25: “But the Lord says, the captives of warriors will be released, and the plunder of tyrants will be retrieved. For I will fight those who fight you, and I will save your children” (New Living Translation). Zechariah 2:8: “… For he who touches you touches the apple of His eye” (New King James Version). Judgment against the Nations in General10 Joel 3:1-2: “For behold; in those days and at that time, when I bring back the captives of Judah and Jerusalem, I will also gather all nations, and bring them down to the valley of Jehoshaphat; and I will enter into judgment with them there on account of my people, my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations; they have also divided up my land” (New King James Version). Zephaniah 3:8: “So now the Lord says, ‘Be patient; the time is coming soon when I will stand up and accuse these evil nations. For it is my decision to gather the kingdoms of the earth and pour out my fiercest anger and fury on them. All the earth will be devoured by the fire of my jealousy” (New Living Translation). 8

Hans Schwarz, Eschatology (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2000), 42.

9

The specific judgments are not listed here, only the reasons for the judgment are given.

10

This passage from Joel will be discussed further at the end of this section, and in the Matthew 25 passage and will act as a transition between the two.

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Judgments against Specific Nations Judgment against Edom11 Obadiah 9-15: The mightiest warriors of Teman will be terrified, and everyone on the mountains of Edom will be cut down in the slaughter. And why? Because of the violence you did to your close relatives in Israel. Now you will be destroyed completely and filled with shame forever. For you deserted your relatives in Israel during their time of greatest need. You stood aloof, refusing to lift a finger to help when foreign invaders carried off their wealth and cast lots to divide up Jerusalem. You acted as though you were one of Israel’s enemies. You shouldn’t have done this! You shouldn’t have gloated when they exiled your relatives to distant lands. You shouldn’t have rejoiced because they were suffering such misfortune. You shouldn’t have crowed over them as they suffered these disasters. You shouldn’t have plundered the land of Israel when they were suffering such calamity. You shouldn’t have gloated over the destruction of your relatives, looting their homes and making yourselves rich at their expense. You shouldn’t have stood at the crossroads, killing those who tried to escape. You shouldn’t have captured the survivors, handing them over to their enemies in that terrible time of trouble. The day is near when I, the LORD, will judge the godless nations! As you have done to Israel, so it will be done to you. All your evil deeds will fall back on your own heads (New Living Translation).12 Judgment against Assyria and Babylon Jeremiah 50:17-18: “Israel is a scattered sheep; the lions have driven him away: first the king of Assyria hath devoured him; and last this Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon hath broken his bones. Therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold I will punish the king of Babylon and his land, as I have punished the king of Assyria” (King James Version). Judgment against Balak King of Moab Numbers 24:8-9: “God brought them up from Egypt, drawing them along like a wild ox. He devours all the nations that oppose him, breaking their bones in pieces, shooting them with arrows. Like a lion, Israel crouches and lies down; like a lioness, who dares to arouse her? Blessed is everyone who blesses you O Israel, and cursed is everyone who curses you” (New Living Translation). 11

This judgment against Edom is listed first being the most descriptive and complete pronouncement. It is important to note the last sentence (italics added for emphasis). 12

New Living Translation (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1996), 915 (italics added for empha-

sis).

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Judgment against Damascus Amos 1:3: “This is what the Lord says, ‘The people of Damascus have sinned again and again, and I will not forget it. I will not let them go unpunished any longer! They beat down my people in Gilead as grain is threshed with threshing sledges of iron…’” (New Living Translation). Judgment against Ammon Amos 1:13: “This is what the Lord says: ‘The people of Ammon have sinned again and again, and I will not forget it. I will not let them go unpunished any longer! When they attacked Gilead to extend their borders, they committed cruel crimes, ripping open pregnant women with their swords’” (New Living Translation). Ezekiel 25:3,6,7: “Give the Ammonites this message from the Sovereign Lord: hear the word of the Sovereign Lord! Because you scoffed when my temple was desecrated, mocked Israel in her desolation, and laughed at Judah as she went away into exile… because you clapped and stamped and cheered with glee at the destruction of my people, I will lift up my fist against you as a plunder to many nations. I will cut you off from being a nation and destroy you completely. Then you will know that I am the Lord” (New Living Translation). Judgment against Moab Zephaniah 2:8, 10b: “I have heard the reproach of Moab, and the reviling’s of the people of Ammon, With which they have reproached My people, and made arrogant threats against their borders… Because they have reproached and made arrogant threats against the people of the Lord of hosts… “(New King James Version). Judgment against Philistia13 Ezekiel 25:15-17: “And the Sovereign Lord says: The people of Philistia have acted against Judah out of revenge and long-standing contempt. Therefore, says the Sovereign Lord, I will raise my fist of judgment against the land of the Philistines. I will wipe out the Kerethites and utterly destroy the people who live by the sea. I will execute terrible vengeance against them to rebuke them for what they have done. And when I have inflicted my revenge, then they will know that I am the Lord” (New Living Translation). 13

Specific judgments are pronounced against the Pentapolis of the Philistines: Gaza, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Ekron, and Gath in Amos 1:6-8 and Zephaniah 2:4-7. Ezekiel’s pronouncement is against the Philistines in general.

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Judgment against Tyre Amos 1:9: “This is what the Lord says: ‘The people of Tyre have sinned again and again, and I will not forget it. I will not let them go unpunished any longer! They broke their treaty of brotherhood with Israel, selling whole villages as slaves to Edom’” (New Living Translation). Judgment against Gog and Magog14 Ezekiel 38:17,18: “ This is what the Sovereign Lord says: ‘You are the one I was talking about long ago, when I announced through Israel’s prophets that in future days I would bring you against my people. But when Gog invades the land of Israel, says the Sovereign Lord, my fury will rise!’”15 (New Living Translation). Judgment against Egypt Ezekiel 29:6, 7: “All the people of Egypt will discover that I am the Lord, for you collapsed like a reed when Israel looked to you for help. Israel leaned on you, but like a cracked staff, you splintered and stabbed her in the armpit…” (New Living Translation). Joel 3:19: “Egypt shall be a desolation, and Edom a desolate wilderness, because of violence against the people of Judah, for they have shed innocent blood in their land (New King James Version). Egypt was judged severely for afflicting suffering on the Israelites as any casual reader of Exodus will remember and need not be proven here (cf. Exodus 1-12). Amos’ Oracles of Judgment The literary structure of Amos’ oracles against the nations (Amos 1-2) is patterned after a court scene according to Page Kelly. He wrote: “These prophecies of judgment against the nations are set in a very rigid framework. The framework consists of three 14

See footnote # 6. Many see Gog and Magog as a symbol of all Gentile nations. Some current Bible students interpret Gog and Magog here as a reference to present day Russia. In the Ezekiel passage this does seem to fit, as the threat to Israel will come specifically “out of the uttermost parts of the north…” and not the “four corners of the earth” as in Rev. 20:8. The New Bible Dictionary rejects this interpretation as “it has nothing to commend it from the standpoint of hermeneutics.” However, they are forced to admit that some of the wilder Russian tribes would definitely fit the explanation given (J.D. Douglas, ed., The New Bible Dictionary, (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers Inc., 1962), 432. However, it is important to add that some Jewish sources take this reference to Gog and Magog quite literally as either Russia or Mongolia. See Aryeh Kaplan, The Living Torah (New York: Maznaim Publishing Corporation, 1981), 21. 15

It is interesting to point out that God will destroy Gog and Magog with “fire,” (Eze. 38:19, Eze. 39:6), the exact punishment of the nations in Amos’ oracles of Judgment (Amos 1-2). The judgment of the Gentile nations in Matthew 25:41 is that they would depart “into everlasting fire.”

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parts that can be readily distinguished. They are 1) The formal arraignment of the guilty nations before the judgment bar of God, 2) The specific indictment brought against each defendant, and 3) The pronouncement of judgment upon the accused.”16 To this VanGemeren concurs: “In his court Yahweh is the prosecutor, witness, and judge… He brings the charges (Hos. 4:1-3), serves as witness for the prosecution (Jer. 29:23; 42:5; Mic. 1:2), condemns, and executes the verdict” (italics his).17 This same scenario in which the nations are brought before the judgment bar of God is found in the Joel passage as described later. Conclusion Old Testament scholar Duane Garrett concludes: “Israel as the chosen people is the ‘apple of the eye’ of God (Deut. 32:10). Gentiles who mock, attack, or despoil Israel will experience the same and worse; God will heap their atrocities back upon their own heads” (Joel 3:4-8; cf. Obadiah 10-16; Nahum 1:15).18 Garrett further confirms the basic premise why nations were judged by God: “It is noteworthy that God considers attacks upon Israel to be directed at him…”19 Elsewhere in the Old Testament, God repays the nations in proportion to how they treat Israel (see esp. Obad. 15). The principle that those who bless Israel will be blessed and those who curse Israel will be cursed (Gen. 12:3) has been worked out many times in history.”20 C. Hassell Bullock made an interesting observation regarding these “oracles of judgment” against the nations: “. . . Very few words of salvation are found in the oracles against the nations, although words of salvation assurance for Israel are frequently interspersed in them.”21 16

Page Kelly, The Book of Amos (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1966), 32.

17

Willem VanGemeren, Interpreting the Prophetic Word (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1990), 219. C. Hassell Bullock noted that judgment speeches arose out of social situations that represented violations of Israel against the law, and the prophets came to pronounce judgment against the nation rather than individuals. Pronouncements of judgment are Yahweh’s legal proceedings against his errant people and the judgment speeches are best understood against the backdrop of legal proceedings in a court of law. See C. Hassell Bullock, An Introduction to the Old Testament Prophetic Books (Chicago: Moody Press, 1986), 29. 18

Duane Garrett, The New American Commentary: Hosea, Joel (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1997), 305. 19

Curiously, there is great irony in Garrett’s statement here: Anything done to Israel is the equivalent of doing it to God. This is the identical thing Jesus himself says when the nations are judged in Matthew 25:40, “… Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” 20

Garrett, The New American Commentary: Hosea, Joel, 382.

21

C. Hassell Bullock, An Introduction to the Old Testament Prophetic Books (Chicago: Moody Press, 1986), 29-30.

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Bullock’s statement about very few words of salvation found regarding the Gentile nations is convincing - Is this because God did not want to save the nations? Or, were the nations arbitrarily damned by God? Or, is it because the nations chose their own path of rejection and opposition both to God and God’s people? Election of Israel=Damnation of the Nations?22 The election of Israel as God’s people is the bedrock and foundation of the Old Testament. On the other hand, did God condemn the nations when he chose Israel to be his elect people? This question can be answered in a variety of ways such as examining the significance of the blessing for the nations in the foundational statement of Israel’s election in Genesis 12:1-3. Even a cursory examination shows that God dealt graciously with several non-Israelite nations even when he condemned others. But what would be the basis for God’s favor or disfavor? Practically all of the nations the prophets pronounced judgment on were nations who were hostile to Israel or who had acted in a hostile manner. For example, Amalek was one of those nations who incurred God’s wrath and judgment because they attacked Israel on the way out of Egypt to Sinai and God promised to “completely blot out the memory of Amalek” and “to be at war with them forever” (Exodus 17:14-16). As Charles Trimm points out, even though the Amalekites were descendants of Esau, who was not under the judgment of God at the time of the Exodus and after, the Israelites were told not to abhor the Edomites because they were brothers of the Israelites (Deut. 23:7). Much later the Edomites were judged by God as the book of Obadiah affirms. While God’s distinct disposition toward the two descendants of Esau (Edom and Amalek) is unclear, Charles Trimm proposes that the difference derives from the severity of their rejection of God and his people. It was their actions toward God and his people, not their genealogy that led to the differing reactions from Yahweh. That is, their actions against Israel caused them to forfeit any benefit their familial relationship with Israel might bring.23 22

The concept of arbitrary predestination that consigned most of humanity to eternal punishment was an innovation of the church father Augustine. This was of course picked up by his contemporaries, later Calvin, and would be basic to Calvinistic belief today. See Stuart Murray, Post-Christendom (Waynesboro, GA: Paternoster Press, 2004), 76, 100-101. 23

Charlie Trimm, “Did YHWH Condemn the Nations When He Elected Israel? YHWH’s Disposition Toward Non-Israelites in the Torah,” Journal of Evangelical Theological Society 55, no. 3 (September 2012): 525.

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In view of God’s treatment of certain nations, Joel Kaminsky has suggested that nations in the Bible be categorized as Elect – Non- Elect24 – Anti- Elect,25 the third category here being those nations who oppose the elect, like the Amalekites who were directly hostile to Israel.26 Nations like Edom, Amalek, Midian, Egypt etc. could place themselves on the spectrum depending on their attitude toward Israel.27 The groups on this spectrum suggested by Kaminsky are nations that are on one extreme and nations who have followed Yahweh and immersed themselves within Israel and at the other extreme end, those who attacked Israel and were hostile to them. But the bottom line according to Trimm’s study: “The groups place themselves on the spectrum by means of their treatment of Israel and their attitude toward YHWH, reflecting YHWH’s promise to Abraham, ‘I will bless the ones blessing you, and I will curse the ones cursing you’” (Gen. 12:3).28 Israel’s election did not automatically entail the condemnation of other nations. Like God promised Abraham he blessed those nations that blessed Israel, while he cursed those nations who were hostile toward them. It is important to point out as Trimm observes: “… Their choices did not imply permanence in YHWH’s disposition toward them, as individuals or other parts of the group could act differently and consequently be viewed differently by YHWH.”29 Joel 3: The Judgment of the Nations Joel 3:1-2: “For behold; in those days and at that time, when I bring back the captives of Judah and Jerusalem, I will also gather all nations, and bring them down to the valley of Jehoshaphat; and I will enter into judgment with them there on account of my people, 24

“That a group is non-elect does not necessarily mean that it is deficient, unworthy, or outside of God’s care. The contrary idea derives mainly from the Christian tradition in which the ‘elect’ are often synonymous with the ‘saved,’ and those who are not elect with the ‘damned’- the result being the longstanding and much controversial question of whether there can be salvation outside the church.” Jon D. Levenson, “Chosenness and Its Enemies,” Commentary (blog), December 1, 2008, http://www.commentarymagazine.com/printarticle.cfm/chosenness-and-itsenemies-13662 (accessed May 1, 2014). 25

Joel S. Kaminsky, Yet I Loved Jacob (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2007), 12.

26

Within Christianity, this same spectrum of attitude suggested by Kaminsky can be seen among those groups who are pro-Israel (Dispensationalists); ambivalent toward Israel (most of Reformed Theology), or antiIsrael (Christian Anti-Zionism). Those Christians in the Reformed Theology camp can be either ambivalent or outright hostile to Israel, much like the nations in the second category (i.e., Non-Elect) could either be ambivalent or hostile to Israel. 27

Trimm, “Did YHWH Condemn the Nations When He Elected Israel? YHWH’s Disposition Toward Non-Israelites in the Torah,” 535. 28

Ibid.

29

Ibid.

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my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations; they have also divided up my land” (New King James Version) Joel 3:12: “Let the nations be called to arms. Let them march to the valley of Jehoshaphat. There I, the Lord, will sit to pronounce judgment on them all.” (New Living Translation) This judgment scene parallels Matthew 25:31-46 as it is clearly a gathering of the Gentile nations whose list of crimes have not gone unnoticed by the sovereign God. The stated purpose of the judgment is because these nations have mistreated the Lord’s heritage, Israel. Some have even referred to this as God’s “Nuremburg trial” because God is summoning them to judgment at the scene of their crimes.30 Old Testament scholar Leslie Allen notes that this gathering of the nations was for the purpose of judgment in the adverse sense of punishment. Joel’s pronouncement is similar to Zephaniah 3:8 which reads: “So now the Lord says: ‘Be patient; the time is coming soon when I will stand up and accuse these evil nations. For it is my decision to gather together the kingdoms of the earth and pour out my fiercest anger and fury on them. All the earth will be devoured by the fire of my jealousy.’”31 Allen notes: “The announcement of a trial leads logically to a list of charges in a series of historical references. The crimes for which the nations are to stand trial have been committed against God’s people and so against their God.”32 This same terminology is used by Jesus in the next eschatological judgment scene, “…I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40). JUDGMENT OF THE NATIONS IN THE NEW TESTAMENT AS SYMBOLIZED BY THE SHEEP AND GOATS (MATTHEW 25:31-46)33 Introduction The New Testament also teaches that God’s judgment will fall on the nations for the same stated reason: basically how they treated and responded to the Lord and his Anointed: in this case Christ himself through his people Israel. 30

Leslie Allen, The Books of Joel, Obadiah, Jonah and Micah (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1976), 110. 31

New Living Translation, 937.

32

Allen, The Books of Joel, Obadiah, Jonah and Micah, 109.

33

Although some scholars call 25:31-46 a parable, its metaphorical elements (25:32b-33) do not extend throughout the discourse. It begins and concludes as a prose narrative of the judgment of the nations, David L. Turner, Matthew (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic Books, 2008), 604.

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The interpretations of this judgment scene are many and varied, with David Turner noting that there are some thirty two different interpretations that have been proposed,34 but the interpretation hinges upon the use of the word, ethne (translated “nations” in 25:32) and the identity of Jesus’s siblings in Matthew 25:40 which reads: “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’”35 An attempt will be made to interpret this passage by examining the Old Testament background of Joel 3 (and the entire Old Testament for that matter), the use of the word ethne, the identity of the “brothers” of Jesus, and the context of Matthew 24-25. All of these must play a factor in interpreting this difficult passage.36 Old Testament Background (Joel 3) This passage is overlooked by most commentators. This judgment is described as a judgment of the nations (Gentiles) as well. The similarities are striking: too striking to be ignored. In an almost identical scene, the nations are gathered to receive judgment based upon their treatment of God’s people: in Joel, they are Israelites, not Christians. A few commentators have acknowledged the connection between Joel’s judgment of the nations, and Matthew’s judgment scene. Leslie Allen made a startling connection when he wrote: “This passage was echoed by Jesus in the Matthean description of the return of the Son of man: before him would ‘be gathered all nations’ for a trial based on the treatment of his brothers and so of himself… Yahweh champions his people’s cause on the principle, ‘Hurt my people, hurt me.’ It was his rights of ownership that were infringed, and for this reason he promises vindication.”37 Allen is just one of a few commentators who were able to make the connection of Joel 3 with Matthew 25. R.T. France also suggests that Joel 3:1-12 lies behind the sheep and goat judgment of the nations as he states: “The picture in Joel is probably eschatologically conceived; certainly Jesus must have interpreted it so. But in any case it describes the judgment of Yahweh, and that judgment Jesus takes as a model for his description of his own eschatological judgment. Thus in Matthew 25:31ff, we have seen 34

Ibid.

35

New International Version, 910.

36

Turner, Matthew, 604. Turner labels this passage as one of the most difficult in the New Testament.

37

Allen, The Books of Joel, Obadiah, Jonah and Micah, 109.

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echoes of Daniel 7, Zechariah 14, and Joel 4,38 all of which describe the judgment of Yahweh.39 A Judgment of the Gentiles This judgment is a judgment of “the nations” as the word ethne has been translated. The nations are described as a mingling of sheep and goats. This judgment will determine who will enter the kingdom, and this judgment is based upon the treatment of those called “the brothers” of Jesus. Practically all commentators acknowledge the fact that this judgment is relegated to individuals, not groups or nations in a political sense.40 The passage may hinge on whether or not the term “ethne” as used here does in fact include Jews. In other words, is the word used generally to refer to all people (i.e. all humanity), or is the term used exclusively of Gentiles (non-Jews)? Having a separate judgment for Jews and then for Gentiles is problematic for some, but Harrington admits that this was common in Jewish Old Testament belief and in early Jewish apocalyptic literature such as in Enoch 91:14, Psalms of Solomon 17:29, 4 Ezra 13:33-49, The Testament of Benjamin 10:8-9 and 2 Baruch 72 which reads: Now, hear also about the bright waters which come at the end after these black ones. This is the word. After the signs have come of which I have spoken to you before, when the nations are moved and the time of my Anointed One comes, he will call all nations, and some of them he will spare, and others he will kill. These things will befall the nations which will be spared by him. Every nation which has not known Israel and which has not trodden down the seed of Jacob will live. And this is because some from all the nations have been subjected to your people. All those, now, who have ruled over you or have known you, will be delivered up to 38

This is not an error. France is going by the Hebrew text, whereas the English text of Joel has three chap-

39

R. T. France, Jesus and the Old Testament (Vancouver, BC: Regent College Publishing, 1998), 158-159.

ters.

40

Robert Mounce, Matthew: New International Biblical Commentary (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1991), 235-236; Dwight Pentecost, Things to Come (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1958), 420-422.

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the sword.41 The standard by which the Gentiles were to be judged was based on their treatment of Israel.42 Israel Not Included among the Nations In the Old Testament, God made it clear to Israel that they were to remain separate from the nations. Based on Balaam’s prophecy it appears that Israel did not consider themselves as part of the Gentile nations. “For from the top of the crags I see him, and from the hills I behold him; behold, a people dwelling alone, and not counting itself among the nations” (Numbers 23:9).43 This attitude was based upon God’s instruction for Israel to remain distinct from the surrounding nations like Exodus 33:16: “… So shall we be separated, I and thy people, from all the people that are upon the face of the earth,” or Deuteronomy 33:28 which reads: “So Israel dwells in security, the fountain of Jacob secluded…” 44 The word “nations” (ethne) can have different connotations dependent upon the context and usage. In summary: 1) It can refer to a body of persons united by kinship, culture, and common traditions (people), 2) It can refer to people groups foreign to Israel (corresponding to the Hebrew term “goyim” as used in the Old Testament, a nationalistic expression) 3) It can refer to those who do not belong to groups professing faith in the God of Israel (e.g. nations, gentiles, or unbelievers=polytheists), and 4) The term can also refer to non-Israelite Christians, being Gentiles. Sometimes the word connotes Israelite allegations of religious and moral inferiority of Gentiles (e.g. Mt. 6:32).45 The term ethne and its variant forms are found 164 times in the New Testament. Of those 164 occurrences, 41 could possibly be a reference to humanity in general, which 41

James Charlesworth, ed., The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, vol. 1 (New York: Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Inc., 1983), 645. 2 Baruch is dated early second century with proposed dates of A.D. 117 and 132 (p. 617). This clearly shows that Jewish writings outside of the Bible did not adopt a “replacement” theology. Daniel J. Harrington, The Gospel of Matthew: Sacra Pagina, (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, Michael Glazier Books, 1991), 359 42

Ibid. Ben Witherington has even acknowledged that this view was common in Jewish literature. However, Witherington has replaced Israel in this judgment scene with Christians as most Christian expositors do when he writes: “This is a variant of the idea of the notion that Gentile nations are judged on how they have treated Israel.” See Ben Witherington, Matthew (Macon: Smith & Helwys Publications, 2006), 466. How common would it be though for the Jewish writers of the New Testament (e.g., Matthew) to substitute Christianity in place of their own nation and people, especially when there was no such thing as Christianity at this time? 43

The English Standard Version, The Scofield Study Bible (New York: Oxford University Press Inc., 2006),

44

New American Standard Bible (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1980), 281.

217.

45

William Frederick Danker, ed., A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and other Christian Literature, 3rd edition (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), 276-277.

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would include Jew and Gentile combined. In other words, the term could have the general connotation of people without distinction. That means that 24% of the uses of the word ethne are not clear. However, 75% of its uses clearly refer to Gentiles in distinction from Jews, so the two could not be combined in its usage.46 In the fifteen instances of Matthew’s use of ethne, seven references are very clearly a reference to Gentiles in clear contrast to Jews so the term could not be inclusive (Mt. 4:15, Mt. 10:5, Mt. 10:18; Mt. 12:18, 21; Mt. 20:19, Mt. 21:43). In Matthew 24:7 (2x), 9, and 14, the word ethne could refer to all people, or humanity in general clearly including Jews. For example, “Nation (ethne) shall rise against nation” (ethne, 24:7); “hated of all nations” (ethne, 24:9); “the gospel shall be preached among all nations” (ethne, 24:14). However, the context of Matthew 24 clearly refers to Israel’s plight during the tribulation period as 24:15, 20, 31 & 32 confirm, so it would most likely imply that the use of the word ethne in these verses would exclude Israel or the Jews as certainly Jews would not persecute themselves; Jews would not instigate warfare among themselves;47 and Jews would not destroy their own temple as Jesus predicted in Matthew 24:1-3. In context, following the tribulation period, after Israel has experienced such severe persecution at the hands of the “nations” (i.e. Gentiles), it would logically conclude that the judgment of the “nations” in Matthew 25:32 are the same nations described in Matthew 24 so hostile to Israel, so this passage would clearly imply that Matthew’s use of ethne here would omit his own people the Jews. Jesus’ statement in Luke 21:24 confirms that his own people would experience great affliction at the hands of these hostile Gentile nations. In two passages which some could argue for a general use of ethne (i.e. all humanity Jews included), the context would militate against that interpretation. Jesus’ statement in Matthew 6:32, “For after all these things do the ethne seek . . . but seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness…” would imply that the word would exclude Jews, and would most likely be a reference to Gentiles as Bible translators have so translated it. The phrase, “kingdom of God” itself is a pregnant phrase. In spite of the divergent views on this phrase, it most likely is a reference to being obedient to God; for the Jew, obeying the Torah, as the phrase “and all his righteous requirements” would 46

Johannes P Louw, Eugene A. Nida, et al., Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament Based on Semantic Domains, 2 vols. (New York: United Bible Societies, 1988). 47

Matthew 24:7 literally reads, “Ethnos against Ethnos.” David Stern has pointed out that this would be peoples, or “ethnic” groups referred to here. Recent decades have seen a noticeable increase in both ethnic awareness and ethnic strife. The term is distinct here from “nations” (i.e. political entities as marked by the word, basileiai, “kingdoms”). David Stern, Jewish New Testament Commentary (Clarksville, MD: Jewish New Testament Publications Inc., 1992), 73. The reference is to people, in contrast to heads of state. See William F. Danker, A GreekEnglish Lexicon of the New Testament and other Christian Literature (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), 276. In any event, it would not apply to Jews, but other “ethnic” groups.

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imply (6:33).48 It is incredibly doubtful that Gentiles would have had any concept of understanding the phrase, “Kingdom of God” and the nations would have had little understanding of obeying the Torah as Jews were required to do. This would indicate that Jesus was making a clear distinction between his own and the Gentiles as the modern translators have noted. It is very unlikely that this use of ethne would include Jews. In one other passage, Matthew 20:25, Jesus said, “. . . Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles (ethne) exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority over them.” It is very doubtful that Jews would be included here in the word ethne as Jews would not have been exercising dominion over anyone as political entities, so like the preceding references to ethne, Jews would not be included in the phrase as used by Matthew here. That leaves only one passage in question, Matthew 28:19: “Go ye therefore and teach all nations . . .” (ethne), which could possibly be a reference to humanity in general, including Jews. However, even this passage is questionable. It was Jesus’ Jewish disciples who were given the command to take the gospel to all Gentiles (non-Jews) which they did, the apostle Paul being the chief apostle to the Gentiles as he himself is quick to point out on numerous occasions.49 Furthermore, one could argue that the command of Matthew 28:19 is a reversal of the command by Jesus issued in Matthew 10:5, (see especially 10:18) where in that context, Jesus explicitly states that the disciples are not to go to the Gentiles or Samaritans. Davies and Allison have so noted this: “’All the nations’ terminates the prohibition of 10:5-6 (cf. 15:24) and announces the realization of the promise made to Abraham (cf. 1:1; also Gen. 12:3, 18:18; 22:18).”50 However, based on the events that had transpired, and with a new message to give, the command is reversed based on Jesus’ death and resurrection. Now, the Jewish disciples are to take the gospel specifically to the Gentiles, for which they had been forbidden before.51 There was now a different message, and one that was to include all people, in48

The Good News Bible is one of the few Bibles that clarify the phrase “… and his righteousness…” translating it, “… and with what he requires of you…” The Good News Bible (New York: American Bible Society, 1976), 9. 49

For example, see Acts 13:47; 18:6; 22:21; 26:17-20; 28:28; Romans 1:14; 15:16; Galatians 1:16; 2:2, 8; Ephesians 3:1-9; Colossians 1:25-29; I Thessalonians 2:16 etc., etc. 50

W.D. Davies, Dale C. Allison, The Gospel According to Saint Matthew, vol. 3 (Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1997), 687. It is quite remarkable that Davies and Allison seem to acknowledge that the Abrahamic covenant is still in force - the basic essence and point of this article. 51

The “gospel of the kingdom” (cf. Mt. 10:7) is not the same as the gospel of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. The “gospel of the kingdom” is the good news that the King is at hand to establish the kingdom, which was the very same message preached by John the Baptist, Jesus, and his disciples (Pentecost, Things to Come, 473). This same phrase, “gospel of the kingdom,” Jewish in connotation, interestingly occurs again as the message during the Tribulation Period (Mt. 24:14) and the return of the Son of Man (Mt. 24:27-31).

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cluding Gentiles as the book of Acts demonstrates. The new message was the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ; now universal in scope. Elwell and Yarbrough even acknowledge: “Matthew ends his Gospel with Jesus’ command to his disciples to go into all the nations – the word can also be translated ‘Gentiles’ – baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit” (28:18-20).52 Catholic scholar Daniel Harrington lists these references in Matthew (4:15; 6:32; 10:5, 18; 12:18, 21; 20:19, 25; 21:43; 24:7 (2x), 9, 14; 28:19) as referring to Gentiles: nations other than Israel.53 Based on Matthew’s usage of the word ethne in practically every instance, it appears that the judgment of the sheep and goats is a judgment of Gentiles specifically. The question then remains as to why the returning Son of Man would specifically single out Gentiles for judgment. The Brothers of Jesus The king extends an invitation to those on his right hand, the sheep, to enter the kingdom prepared for them from the foundation of the world. To those who have acted benevolently toward the King’s “brothers,” they are afforded entrance into the kingdom. The goats, those who have rejected this third group, will depart unto everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.54 The interpretations can be narrowed down safely to five variations: 1) The “brothers” are the poorest outcasts of society, anyone in need (not relegated to believers at all) 2) The “brothers” are Christian missionaries during the Church age 3) The “brethren” are Jesus’ disciples of any age or time (acceptance of His disciples indicates acceptance of Him) 4) The “brethren of Jesus,” is a reference to his brothers according to the flesh, (i.e. Jews) 5) The “brethren” are Jewish missionaries during the Tribulation Period. The social gospel commentary will be treated first, as there is very little to support it. This interpretation can be summed up in one sentence: “The ‘brethren of Christ’ here may not necessarily be Christians in need. It is not said that these hungry ones, strangers, prisoners were Christians. The Son of Man sees in any wretch his brother 52

Walter Elwell, Robert W. Yarbrough, Encountering the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 1998, 2005), 82. 53

Harrington, The Gospel of Matthew: Sacra Pagina, 356.

54

According to Turner, the identity of the “least of my brothers and sisters” is the watershed of the entire discussion. However, Turner only limits the identity of the “nations” to one scant footnote: a lopsided emphasis since the “nations” are destined to everlasting fire, a seemingly harsh judgment taken at face value (David L. Turner, Matthew, 605, 608). Likewise, Davies and Allison, one of the most complete exegetical commentaries recent on Matthew give scant attention to the identity of Ta Ethne and make no effort to explain how the term is used in Matthew (pp. 422-423).

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Journal of Biblical Ministry …” 55 or “The criterion for the definitive separation is not constituted by church membership but by the deeds of love and mercy shown to the poor and outcast of mankind… In the most lowly and despised members of humanity the glorious Son of Man is present. What is done to them for better or for worse, is done to him.”56 As Mounce rightly noted, “If the ‘brothers of Jesus’ represent just anyone in need, then the passage seems to teach that future judgment rests on broad humanitarian principles”57 Alistair Wilson also noted: “Although contemporary use of this passage frequently treats it as a reflection of classical liberal theology of the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man, the usage of this language in Matthew suggests a different interpretation.”58 Craig Keener correctly notes: “… In the context of Jesus’ teachings, especially in the context of Matthew (as opposed to Luke), the parable probably addresses not serving the poor on the whole but receiving the gospel’s messengers.”59 The second interpretation understands the “brothers of Jesus” to be Christians or Christian missionaries in particular (perhaps itinerant preachers in need of support). Swedish theologian Ulrich Luz interprets the “brothers of Jesus” to be Christian missionaries who are travelling without means of support and are thus dependent on the love and hospitality of others (cf. 10:9-14, 40-42). It is the ministering Lord, even God Himself who is present in his emissaries. He writes: “In other words, Matthew feels, quite self-servingly, that the determining factor for the fate of the ethne (nations or Gentiles) in the Last Judgment will be their behavior toward the Christian missionaries.”60 The sheep identified in the passage are Christians as well. “In this view, faith of individual humans is tested by their treatment of the community that embodies and extends the message of Jesus. The sheep are those whose faith is demonstrated by works that help needy fellow believers…”61 A slight variation of this interpretation would be that of Robert Mounce, R.T. France, David Turner, Grant Osborne et., al. Mounce believes that Christ’s “brothers” (v.40) are 55

David Hill, The Gospel of Matthew (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1972),

56

John P. Meier, The Vision of Matthew (New York: Crossroad Publishing Company, 1979), 178.

57

Mounce, Matthew, 236.

58

Alistair I. Wilson, When Will These Things Happen? (Waynesboro, GA: Paternoster Press, 2004), 240.

331.

59

Craig Keener, A Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1999), 605. 60

Ulrich Luz, The Theology of the Gospel of Matthew (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1993),

61

Turner, Matthew, 605.

129-130.

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a reference to his disciples (cf. 12:49, 28:10) and by extension all who follow Christ (cf. 12:50) – the application is narrowed to those who minister in his name.62 Along similar lines is that view taken by R.T. France who wrote: For Jesus’ brethren, (cf. 12:48-50, 28:10), it is a term specially for his disciples, not for men in general. The reference to the least of these in this connection reminds us of ‘these little ones’ in 10:42, which was taken up more fully in 18:6, 10, 14… In 10:42 the reference is particularly to disciples sent out in the master’s name; in ch. 18 it refers more to relationships within the church. It seems therefore, inappropriate to relate ‘the least of these’ here to a specific group. It is in any brother of Jesus, however insignificant, that Jesus himself is served, and it is that service which is therefore the criterion of judgment, as it indicates how one responds to Jesus himself. It is important to note that, in each of the passages which refer to ‘these little ones’, the point is to declare the importance of such people because of their identification with Jesus (see esp. 10:40, 42, 18:5). It is the nearest that Matthew, or the synoptic tradition generally, comes to the conception of the Church as the Body of Christ (italics his).63 France seems to merge all of the previous theories in his quote here. The “brothers” of Jesus are disciples, any believer however insignificant, and then he merges these with the Church. Osborne is more straightforward: “… This story is most likely how the nations treat God’s emissaries, the church.”64 He, like France notes: “Thus, it refers to the way the nations treat Christ’s (‘little ones’ in 18:6, 10, 14): those who in the eyes of the world are ‘least’ in importance. In 12:48-50 Jesus’ followers are clearly his ‘brother and sisters’… so Jesus’ message is that the world would be judged on the basis of how it treats those ‘little people’ whom God is sending to it.” 65 Many Bible scholars assume that the “brothers” of Christ here can only be Christians or believers. It is certainly true and without question that the disciples are referred to as the brothers of Christ and part of his new family66 but the term does not only apply to Christian believers in the Bible. The term also applies to one’s physical birth siblings as well. Some have argued that the term “brothers” in this passage could never refer to Jews in 62

Mounce, Matthew, 236.

63

H. B. Green, The Gospel According to Matthew (The New Clarendon Bible) (New York: Oxford University Press, 1975) as quoted by R.T. France, Matthew (Leicester: Inter-Varsity Press, 1985), 357-358. 64

Grant L. Osborne, ed., Matthew: Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Zondervan.com, 2010), 934. 65

Ibid.

66

See Turner, Matthew, 605-607. Turner gives a complete listing and argument for the “brothers” of Christ here to be Christians or believers.

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a collective sense, but this is an error. The apostle Peter referred to the crowd of all Jews assembled at Pentecost as “brothers” in Acts 2:29. In Acts 2:37, Jews assembled in the crowd responded in like manner to Peter and the other Jewish disciples, “. . . Men and brethren, what shall we do?” Stephen addresses the all Jewish Sanhedrin as “brethren” in Acts 7:2. Paul addresses Jews in a synagogue by the term “brothers” in Acts 13:15 & 38. He also addresses the all Jewish Sanhedrin as “brothers” in Acts 23:1, 5, 6. Again, in Romans 9:3 he refers to his “kinsmen according to the flesh” as “brothers.” In Hebrews 2:17, Jesus’ “brethren” are identified as the “seed of Abraham” which he became, “after the flesh.” What is most interesting is that in every one of these instances, unbelieving Jews were addressed by the apostles as “brothers.” So it can be seen from these examples that the term was not unique among Christians, or even believers. It was common for unbelieving Jews, even Jews hostile to the gospel to be referred to as “brethren.”67 The term “brother” (adelphos) did become (post-ascension) an almost technical term for those joined together in Christ, but it also had normal meanings within the context of Jesus’ time.”68 Referring to another Jew as “brother” was common as has been noted above. Glascock adds: “It is assuming too much to say that Jesus never speaks of Jews as his brothers.”69 Because of the commonality of the term “brother,” Davies and Allison have rightly noted: “It is dubious that a word or phrase must have one meaning throughout Matthew.”70 After all the disciples and the crowd to which Jesus spoke, and those who believed in him and followed him were all Jews. It is only fitting that Jesus would refer to his brothers according to the flesh in the context of the arrival of the messianic kingdom, since the kingdom was a fulfillment of a covenant made with Abraham and David’s descendants in the first place. The Context of Matthew 24-25 A correct understanding of the passage must also take into account the Jewish context in which the judgment occurs. In the preceding context, the connection between the lesson of the parables and this judgment might best be seen in that the parables related the nation of Israel his servants to how they were to anticipate his return. Jesus takes his disciples mentally to the time when he will return to establish his kingdom.71 Harring67

Clarence Wagner, “The Least of My Brothers,” Bridges for Peace: Israel Teaching Letter (August

2001): 5. 68

Ed Glasscock, Moody Gospel Commentary: Matthew (Chicago: Moody Press, 1997), 492.

69

Ibid., 491.

70

Davies and Allison, The Gospel According to Saint Matthew, 429.

71

Glasscock, Moody Gospel Commentary: Matthew, 489.

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ton adds: “If these parables can be traced back to Jesus, their audience was Jewish with some division made between Jews who were prepared for the Son of Man’s coming and Jews who were not prepared.”72 Matthew 24 describes the future Tribulation Period or “Day of the Lord” precipitated by the disciple’s question of the end of the age (Matthew 24:1-3).73 Matthew 24:30, 31 describe the return of the Son of Man to gather his elect (Israel). The judgment so described seems to follow a chronological sequence as seen in Matthew 24 and 25. This judgment must come after the re-gathering of Israel at the end of the Tribulation Period (Mt. 24: 31f) and precedes the institution of the millennial kingdom - for those accepted in this judgment are taken into that kingdom. Even Keener acknowledges: “The same time frame is in view here: as in both the context and the Daniel passage that initially supplied the ‘Son of Man’ title, Jesus here returns after the tribulation (25:31, 24:29-30, Daniel 7:13-14) . . . ‘in glory’. . . ‘in his kingdom,’ ‘enthroned’ . . .”74 Also, Davies and Allison agree that the time frame of the judgment is at the end of the tribulation period as they write: “The introduction, which gives a when but not a where, makes vs. 31ff. an exposition of 24:29-31.”75 Most commentators make the mistake of confusing this judgment with the Great White Throne judgment in Revelation 20:11-15.76 According to the text, there is no mention of a resurrection of the dead so the inference is that these are living Gentiles who will be judged. 77 These same commentators are confusing the earthly millennial kingdom with heaven. 72

Harrington, The Gospel of Matthew: Sacra Pagina, 358.

73

The word aion in Matthew 24:3 should be translated “age” so the apostles were asking Jesus when the present age would end (the present evil age), and the messianic age would begin. Jewish belief held to a period of severe judgment and testing before the next age, the age of the messiah begins. But in between the two ages, there will come the Day of the Lord which will be a time of terrible and fearful upheaval, like the birth-pangs of a new age.” See William Barclay, The Gospel of Matthew, vol. 2 (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1975), 302-303. Note the phrase “birth pangs.” This is the same terminology used by Jesus in Matthew 24:8, all in a Jewish context. The church is not in view here. 74

Keener, A Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew, 603.

75

Davies and Allison, The Gospel According to Saint Matthew, 420.

76

e.g., see R.T. France, Matthew (Leicester: Inter-Varsity Press, 1985), 354; J. Daniel Hays, J. Scott Duvall, C. Marvin Pate, An A-to-Z Guide to Biblical Prophecy and the End Times (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2007), 256-259; Myron Augsburger, Matthew (Waco: Word Book Publishers, 1982), 282; David L. Turner, Matthew (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2008), 603-604; Grant L. Osborne, ed., Matthew: Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Zondervan.com, 2010), 934; Ulrich Luz, The Theology of the Gospel of Matthew (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1993), 128; W.D. Davies, Dale C. Allison, The Gospel According to Saint Matthew, (3 volumes) (Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1997), 418, etc. 77

J. Dwight Pentecost, Things to Come (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1958), 415. Davies and Allison assume that a resurrection is presupposed, but have to admit that there are no scales or books opened for judgment (The Gospel According to Saint Matthew, 421, 424). There is no proof that this is the final judgment described in Rev. 20:11-15.

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“The Times of the Gentiles” The Gentiles are also in play in the context of Matthew 24 which reveals the evil intent of the nations during the period of unprecedented tribulation, much of that to be directed against Israel and the Jews. The nations will destroy the Jewish temple (Mt. 24:2); the nations will wage war against one another (Mt. 24:7); the nations will persecute the followers of Jesus (24:9-10); the nations will desecrate the holy place (Mt. 24:15); and the nations will fall under God’s judgment (Mt. 24:29).78 In context, the judgment of the nations follows the judgment of Israel as told in the parable of the ten virgins (Mt. 25:1-30). Similar to Ulrich Luz’s theory is the theory that Jesus’ “brethren” are Jews or Jewish missionaries sealed for evangelistic endeavors in Revelation 7:4, and the Gentile sheep who enter the kingdom are those who believed their message during the Tribulation Period. Pentecost notes: “The Gentiles at this judgment were received or rejected on the basis of their reception or rejection of the gospel that was preached by the brethren. Those who accepted their gospel accepted the messenger and those who rejected their gospel rejected the messenger.”79 Keener notes that the King judges the nations based on how they have responded to the gospel of the kingdom already preached to them before the time of this kingdom.80 Based on Keener’s other observations, this occurs at the end of the Tribulation Period, a view that lends credence to the Jewish interpretation although Keener differs in his interpretation of the “brothers.”81 For those who opt for the Christian interpretation of the “brothers”, Glascock questions: The context would certainly be strained to attempt to place the church in this event. The Great Tribulation, a period of unparalleled suffering (24:21), is a time appointed for Israel (Dan. 9:24-27), not the church, and the sequence of events just described by Jesus best places this judgment after that tribulation. The best understanding of ‘brother’ in this context is that they are the faithful Jews who are suffering in anticipation of their Messiah’s return… The focus is on those converted during the Tribulation period and primarily on the Jews (the 144,000).82 78

Falling Stars, blood moons, and blackened suns are apocalyptic images that refer to the fall of nations, empires, kingdoms, and the present cosmic order, the time referred to in Jewish terminology as “this present evil age” (See footnotes 110,111). See James Jordan, Through New Eyes (Brentwood, TN: Wolgemuth & Hyatt, Publishers, Inc. 1988), 53-67. 79

Pentecost, Things to Come, 419. The Scofield Reference Bible notes: “These ‘brethren’ are the Jewish remnant who will have preached the Gospel of the kingdom to all nations during the tribulation.” C.I. Scofield, The Scofield Reference Bible (New York: Oxford University Press, 1909), 1036. 80

Keener, A Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew, 605.

81

See Footnote 62.

82

Glasscock, Moody Gospel Commentary: Matthew, 492.

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The fate of these two groups (the sheep and the goats) is determined by their response to the needs of the persecuted people of the Messiah – the Jews. It was to the Jews that God gave the Davidic covenant and the promise of the kingdom on earth. It is not so surprising that Glascock notes that the most fascinating aspect of this judgment is that it is a judgment of Gentiles, not Jews. Righteous Gentiles will be invited to share the glories of the kingdom.83 Glascock concludes: “Again, the context of the Great Tribulation and the suffering of God’s chosen people is the major point. . . the issue here is the acceptance or rejection of Messiah’s chosen people… Jesus identifies with His people to such a degree that actions toward them are taken personally by Him.”84 Even Keener acknowledges that the judgment of the nations based on their treatment of Israel is certainly in line with the Jewish perception of judgment as is common in Jewish literature. However, he believes that it hardly fits Jesus’ own designation of his “brothers” elsewhere.85 Conclusion This passage of the sheep and goat nations is based on the Joel passage as noted by Leslie Allen and follows the same pattern throughout the Old Testament that God judges nations based upon their treatment of his anointed heritage, Israel. As the nations have treated his people, so they have treated him and his anointed one (Psalm 2:1, 2). As the nations have treated his brethren, so they have treated the Messiah himself. Righteous Gentiles (the sheep) will be blessed by entrance into the Messiah’s earthly kingdom. The most interesting analogy is that the Gentiles in this context are referred to as either being “blessed” (Mt. 25:34) or “cursed” (Mt. 25:41), the same terminology used in Genesis 12:3, “I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you.”86 It is certainly not surprising as Walvoord notes, “The judgment of the nations is important as bringing to a close one of the major phases of divine dealings, namely, the times of the Gentiles. . . In view of the fact that this is the climax of the times of the Gentiles, it seems appropriate that a special judgment should be applied to those who have oppressed Israel throughout history.”87 83

Glasscock, Moody Gospel Commentary: Matthew, 490, 493.

84

Ibid., 492-493.

85

Keener, A Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew, 603.

86

The New King James Version (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1983), 12.

87

John Walvoord, The Nations in Prophecy (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1967), 151.

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JUDGMENT OF THE BEAST: THE DEMISE OF THE TIMES OF THE GENTILES The book of Revelation focuses on the eschatological lordship of the risen Christ who is now master of history. The central theme of the whole book is the notion of God’s exercise of judgment over the world through Christ.88 Hans Schwarz agrees: “While we can say that God’s rule over the cosmos is the eschatological theme of the book of Revelation, it also includes the judgment over the world.”89 Bernhard Anderson noted the connection of judgment with justice when he wrote: “When it is said that God comes to judge the earth (Ps. 98:9, Isa. 33:22), the meaning is that God comes to establish God’s rule by overthrowing oppressing powers and establishing justice and peace.”90 The overthrowing of oppressive powers and governments and empires is symbolized in apocalyptic literature as falling stars, blood moons, blackened suns and other cosmic disturbances. Primarily, this judgment will be upon the Beast, symbolizing the final form of Gentile world power, the epitome of all evil nations and empires, so beastly that it possessed the characteristics of all earthly kingdoms of the preceding empires of Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome as mentioned in the book of Daniel (Daniel 2:31-45). Leon Morris agrees: “The beasts of Daniel 7 are to be understood of the various world empires and it may well be that this is in mind with John’s beast. In that case he stands for a final empire in which will be concentrated the frightfulness of all its predecessors.”91 The Beast will be the major protagonist of Israel and the Jews. This theme, introduced in Daniel beginning with Nebuchadnezzar’s empire, finds its ultimate consummation in the book of Revelation.92 Daniel and the Times of the Gentiles The book of Daniel marks the course of Gentile history through the extended period in which Israel was and is being disciplined by the Gentile nations who rule over them and have subjugated them. Daniel was written to outline graphically the prophetic period known as the “times of the Gentiles.” Daniel outlines the history of the time of Gentile ascendency and describes past and future empires that occupy Palestine and rule over the nation until the Messiah returns. The Beast is symbolical of the nations represented 88

Carl Braaten and Robert Jensen, The Last Things (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2002), 115. 89

Schwarz, Eschatology, 97.

90

Bernhard Anderson, “The Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory: The Sovereignty of God in the Bible,” Theology Today 53, no. 1 (April 1996): 9. 91

Leon Morris, The Revelation of Saint John (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1969), 166. 92

John F. Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck, The Bible Knowledge Commentary: Old Testament (Wheaton: Victor Books, 1985), 1327.

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by the ten toes of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream image. The ten toes are symbolic of the nations who trample Israel underfoot; in return, God steps on the nation’s toes (Daniel 2:34). This is clearly a reference to Jesus’ statement in Luke 21:24, “… and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” In Jesus’ statement, there is a time coming when that subjugation will end, but it is still a reality in Revelation 11:1-2, where the temple is trampled by the Gentiles like it had been done several times in history with Nebuchadnezzar and Titus. The Beast out of the Sea (Rev. 13:1) What is significant is that the Beast rises up out of the sea. The sea has always been fearsome to ancient people as much as it is awesome to modern people. The sea regularly symbolizes peoples or nations of the earth. Sinful humanity is compared to the sea in Isaiah 57:20 : “But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt” and in Isaiah 17:12 the peoples are compared to rushing and mighty waters: “Woe to the multitude of many people, which make a noise like the noise of the seas; and to the rushing of nations, that make a rushing like the rushing of mighty waters.” Thus, the peoples of the earth are portrayed as a great sea of humanity in a constant state of unrest, chaos, and turmoil.93 As Hendricksen rightly notes, “The sea represents nations and their governments: the sea- born beast symbolizes the persecuting power of Satan embodied in all the nations and governments of the world throughout all history.94 Specifically, the Beast is representative of the Gentile nations in hostility toward God and God’s people: in this case Israel and the Jews. WalvoordHitchcock have correctly made the connection: “The fact that the beast rises out of the sea is taken to mean that the beast comes from the Gentile nations.”95 He will be a Gentile, and in keeping with the course of history, with the aid of the Dragon, Satan, will turn his sights, once again against the Jews. The Beast and the Dragon in Cohesion It is clear that the dragon and the Beast are in cohesion as indicated in Revelation 12:3 and 13:1 with both having seven heads and ten horns. Witherington has observed that the dragon, the beast out of the sea, and the earth beast (the false prophet) comprise the unholy trinity (Rev. 20:10).96 If this trinity is like the divine Trinity, then the members must be one in mind and purpose. Revelation 13 is a tale of two beasts, neither of which 93

Stephen R. Miller, The New American Commentary: Daniel (Nashville: Broadman and Holman Publishers, 2003), 195. 94

William Hendricksen, More than Conquerors (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1967), 145.

95

John F. Walvoord, Philip Rawley and Mark Hitchcock, Revelation (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2011),

96

Ben Witherington, III, Revelation (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2003), 180.

204.

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Journal of Biblical Ministry is to be identified with the dragon, but both of which serve his cause and purposes.97 “The horrific beast that comes up from the water bears a striking resemblance to Satan the dragon. Readers have no difficulty seeing through the beast’s disguise, for like the dragon, this creature has seven heads and ten horns.”98 As Hendricksen had noted and observed, “… It is the dragon, Satan, who rules: his plans are executed by the governments of the world.”99 The Jewish Scope of the Passage The dragon specifically targets the woman that brings forth the man-child in Revelation 12. There has been debate concerning the identity of the woman, but most clearly the woman can be none other than the nation Israel.100 The whole passage is Jewish in scope as proven by the following points: 1) The woman clothed with the sun, moon, and a crown of stars is a direct allusion to Genesis 37:10 and Israel (Rev. 12:1); 2)The tail drawing a third of the stars to the ground and stomping on them clearly is an allusion to the persecution that dates back to the Jews in the days of Antiochus Epiphanes and the stars here refer to righteous Jews, not the angels that fell with Satan in his original rebellion against God (Daniel 8:10) (Rev.12:4); 3) The man-child clearly is a reference to Jesus, a Jew that comes through Israel (Rev. 12:5); 4) Michael the arch-angel is specifically Israel’s patron guardian as stated in Daniel 12:1 (Rev. 12:7); 5) The flood of water out of the serpent’s mouth is believed to be a reference to the captivity of the Jews perpetrated by the Gentile nations (Rev. 12:15). Craig Koester readily admits that Revelation 12 is saturated with Jewish symbolism as he notes that: 1) The woman encompasses the story of Israel from whom the Messiah was born 2) Other aspects of the woman’s story recall Israel’s exodus and sojourn in the wilderness, and 3) the king of Israel continued to experience periods of threats from the king of Egypt whom the prophet Ezekiel identified as a dragon (Ezek. 29:3, 32:2). Koester writes: “After using evocative imagery that can be connected to many Old Testament passages, John concludes the vision by tying it to the experience of Christians…”101 Despite the acknowledgement of the Jewish connection, Koester and most 97

Witherington, Revelation, 179.

98

Craig L. Koester, Revelation and the End of All Things (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2001), 125. 99

Hendricksen, More than Conquerors, 146.

100

Reformed theologians usually identify the woman with the church or the believing community of God’s people, (e.g., see Witherington, Revelation, 167-168). However, this is backwards. The church did not give birth to Jesus; Jesus gave birth to the church (Mt. 16:18)! 101

Koester, Revelation and the End of All Things, 123-125.

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other commentators miss the obvious and still equate the woman with the people of God, Christianity, or the Church, rather than Israel.102 The Destruction of the Beast and the Fall of Babylon The destruction of the Beast personally by the returning King himself ends the “times of the Gentiles” (Luke 21:24, cf. Daniel 2:44-45, II Thess. 2:8; Rev. 19:20): a subjugation which began with Nebuchadnezzar, a fitting forerunner of the final Beast, the AntiChrist.103 With the destruction of the Beast, and the destruction of the Gentile nations that persecuted Israel and the Jews, the fall of Babylon (Rev. 18) signifies the beginning of the end of all empires and kingdoms in this present evil age. Most commentators are in agreement that Babylon in Revelation is equivalent to the Roman Empire. But Babylon means much more than just an empire. Babylon became the personification of wickedness, and John has taken over the Old Testament symbolism and used Babylon to represent the final manifestation of the total history of godless nations.104 Thus, one could conclude that Babylon symbolizes everything that exalts itself against God, and is a persecutor of God’s people. Lucifer the Falling Star (Isaiah 14) Old Testament scholar Ronald Youngblood has shown that the passage regarding Lucifer, taken by many to be a reference to Satan actually refers to the king of Babylon, not Satan, and the phrase, “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning. . .” (Isaiah 14:12) does not describe Satan’s attempt to usurp the throne of God and his expulsion from heaven, but is merely a reference to the end of the king of Babylon and the demise of his kingdom.105 The context is not speaking of the end of the world, but of the end of Babylon as a world empire. This is proven by v. 17 which indicates that God will stir up the Medes and Persians against Babylon. Babylon’s lights are going to go out; clocks are going to stop – their day is over.106 They will be a sign and symbol of all of those whom God has judged. Isaiah 14:12-15 is in context listed among a series of prophetic oracles directed against nations hostile to Israel, including Moab, Philistia, Syria, and Egypt. The verses in question predict the fall of Babylon (Isaiah 13-14). 102

See Footnote 105.

103

Kim Riddlebarger, The Man of Sin (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2006), 46-48.

104

George Eldon Ladd, A Commentary on the Revelation of John (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1972), 222, 243. 105

Ronald Youngblood, “Fallen Star: the Evolution of Lucifer,” Bible Review (December 1998): 22-31.

106

James Jordan, Through New Eyes (Brentwood, TN: Wolgemuth & Hyatt Publishing House, 1988), 62-

63.

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Much of the prophecy in Isaiah 13-14 is a mockery against the king of Babylon, heaping scorn and ridicule against him because of his fall and the nations he has oppressed. The Babylonian king, a pale star (i.e. morning star) that heralds the approach of dawn but is much too faint to overwhelm it, attempts to outshine the Most High God. Yet, a pale star is no comparison to the sun. When the king tries to outshine God, he can only fail; his doom is sealed. So, the morning star, the son of the dawn is a vivid metaphor symbolizing a Babylonian king who, like Venus, was outshone by a still brighter star. The mythical mind saw a cosmic battle… in the brilliant rise of the morning star in the heavens with its sudden dimming before the increasing rays of the sun.107 While Youngblood rejects the identity of Lucifer as a reference to Satan and Satan’s fall, he does acknowledge the fact that Satan was behind the king of Babylon as he notes: “But it is also true that since the days of the tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1-9), the name of Babylon has been applied to political and religious systems opposed to the living God. Babylon is understood as the embodiment of worldly corruption and evil. In New Testament times, for example, Babylon came to be identified with Rome and its hostility toward early Christians.”108 In one sense, as Youngblood noted, Satan did fall when the King of Babylon fell. This is even more the case when the book of Revelation is examined. As Hendricksen had astutely noted and observed, “… It is the dragon, Satan, who rules: his plans are executed by the governments of the world.”109 When all evil governments fall, Satan will fall… again. This time it will be for the last time. CONCLUSION The nations are under the judgment of God in this present evil age, not because of some arbitrary decree of reprobation as determined by God to save the elect, but because of their hostility toward God and his people Israel. The nations, as well as individuals have a choice when it comes to Israel as has been previously proven by Trimm’s article. Nations, as well as individuals can choose blessing from God by blessing Abraham’s descendants (Gen. 12:1-3). The Bible itself is very clear that God judged nations and people based upon their treatment of Israel and the Jews. The judgment on the nations is taught in the Old Testament in no uncertain terms in hundreds of passages. The prophets pronounced judgment on nations that defied, or persecuted Israel. The judgment of the nations is also 107

Youngblood, “Fallen Star: the Evolution of Lucifer,” 27, 30.

108

Ibid., 31.

109

Hendricksen, More than Conquerors, 146.

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clearly taught in the New Testament based on the actions of the Beast, the final form of Gentile domination and persecution of Israel. Matthew 25 is a definitive passage teaching that God will gather the Gentiles (ethne) for judgment at his second coming. This judgment will reveal how the Gentiles have treated his chosen people, the Jews at the end of the Tribulation Period. The book of Revelation teaches that the Beast and Satan (dragon), in cohesion together will be the greatest persecutor of Israel and the Jews. Both will be destroyed by God, the Beast personally by Christ (II Thess. 2:8). Babylon, the fallen morning star in the Old Testament, the ancient enemy of Israel and head of all beastly empires (Daniel 2:38) will fall once again when the “Sun of righteousness” arises with healing in his wings. Then Israel will “trample down the wicked,” an obvious reversal of roles in the age to come (Malachi 4:2, 3). A new messianic order: the kingdom of the Messiah will replace the evil and wicked Gentile nations symbolized by wild beasts that kill, destroy, plunder, violate and subjugate Israel.

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SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY Adele Berlin and Marc Zvi Brettler. The Jewish Study Bible. New York: Oxford University Press Inc., 2004. Allen, Leslie. The Books of Joel, Obadiah, Jonah and Micah. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1976. Anderson, Bernhard W. “The Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory: the Sovereignty of God in the Bible.” Theology Today 53, no. 1 (April 1996). Augsburger, Myron. Matthew: the Communicator’s Commentary. Waco: Word Book Publishers, 1982. Barclay, William. The Gospel of Matthew, vol. 2. Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1975. Braaten, Carl and Robert Jensen. The Last Things. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2002. Bruce, F. F. New International Bible Commentary. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1979. Bullock, C. Hassell. An Introduction to the Old Testament Prophetic Books. Chicago: Moody Press, 1986. Charlesworth, James, ed. The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, vol. 1. New York: Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Inc., 1983. Danker, William Frederick, ed. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Christian Literature, 3rd ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000. Davies, W. D. and Dale C. Allison. The Gospel According to Saint Matthew. Edinburg: T & T Clark, 1997. Elwell, Walter and Robert W. Yarbrough. Encountering the New Testament. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 1998, 2005. France, R. T. Jesus and the Old Testament. Vancouver, BC: Regent College Publishing, 1998. _______. Matthew. Leicester: InterVarsity Press, 1985. Fruchtenbaum, Arnold G. Ariel’s Bible Commentary: the Book of Genesis. San Antonio: Ariel Ministries, 2009.

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Journal of Biblical Ministry Garrett, Duane. The New American Commentary: Hosea, Joel. Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1997. Glasscock, Ed. Moody Gospel Commentary: Matthew. Chicago: Moody Press, 1997. Harrington, Daniel J. The Gospel of Matthew: Sacra Pagina. Collegeville, MN: Michael Glazier Books: The Liturgical Press, 1991. Hays, J. Daniel, J. Scott Duvall, and Marvin C. Pate. An A-Z Guide to Biblical Prophecy and the End Times. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.com, 2007. Hendricksen, William. More than Conquerors. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1967. Hill, Bob. “Why do the Heathen Rage?” Walter Martin’s Religious InfoNet, n.d., http://www.waltermartin.com/themes/html (accessed March 18, 2014). Hill, David. The Gospel of Matthew. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1972. Jordan, James. Through New Eyes. Brentwood, TN: Wolgemuth & Hyatt Publishing House, 1988. Kaminsky, Joel S. Yet I Loved Jacob. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2007. Kaplan, Aryeh. The Living Torah. New York: Maznaim Publishing Corporation, 1981. Keener, Craig. A Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1999. Kelly, Page. The Book of Amos. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1966. Koester, Craig L. Revelation and the End of All Things. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2001. Ladd, George Eldon. A Commentary on the Revelation of John. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1972. Leupold, H. C. Exposition of Psalms. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1969. Levenson, Jon D. “Chosenness and its Enemies,” Commentary (blog), December 1, 2008, http://www.commentarymagazine.com/printarticle.cfm/chosenness-andits-enemies-13662 (accessed May 1, 2014). Lindsell, Harold. The Harper Study Bible. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Bible Publishers, 1965.

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Louw, Johannes P. and Eugene A. Nida, et al. Greek-English Lexicon of the NewTestament Based on Semantic Domains, 2 vols. New York: United Bible Societies, 1988. Luz, Ulrich. The Theology of the Gospel of Matthew. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1993. Matthews, Kenneth A. Genesis 11:27-50:26. Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2005. Meier, John P. The Vision of Matthew. New York: Crossroad Publishing Company, 1979. Miller, Stephen R. The New American Commentary: Daniel. Nashville: Broadman and Holman Publishers, 2003. Morris, Leon. The Revelation of Saint John. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1969. Mounce, Robert. Matthew: New International Biblical Commentary. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1991. Murray, Stuart. Post-Christendom. Waynesboro, GA: Paternoster Press, 2004. Osborne, Grant L., ed. Matthew: Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.com, 2010. Pentecost, J. Dwight. Things to Come. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1958. Riddlebarger, Kim. The Man of Sin. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 2007. Sabourin, Leopold. The Psalms: Their Origin and Meaning. New York: Alba House,1974. Schwarz, Hans. Eschatology. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2000. Scofield, C. I. The Scofield Reference Bible. New York: Oxford University Press, 1909. _______. The Scofield Study Bible: The English Standard Version. New York: Oxford University Press Inc., 2006. Stern, David. Jewish New Testament Commentary. Clarksville, MD: Jewish New Testament Publications Inc., 1992.

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Journal of Biblical Ministry Strauss, David L. Four Portraits, One Jesus. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.com., 2007. The Holy Bible. King James Version. _______. New International Version. East Brunswick, NJ: International Bible Society, 1973. _______. New King James Version. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1983. _______. New Living Translation. Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1996. _______. Revised Standard Version. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Bible Publishers, 1965. _______. The English Standard Version. New York: Oxford University Press Inc., 2006. _______. The Good News Bible. New York: American Bible Society, 1976. Trimm, Charlie. “Did YHWH Condemn the Nations When He Elected Israel? YHWH’s Disposition Toward Non-Israelites in the Torah.” Journal of Evangelical Theological Society 55 no. 3 (September 2012). Turner, David L. Matthew. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic Books, 2008. VanGemeren, Willem. Interpreting the Prophetic Word. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1990. Wagner, Clarence. “The Least of My Brothers.” Bridges for Peace: Israel Teaching Letter (August 2001). Walvoord, John F. The Nations in Prophecy. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1967. Walvoord, John F., Phillip Rawley, and Mark Hitchcock. Revelation. Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2011. Walvoord, John F. and Roy B. Zuck. The Bible Knowledge Commentary: Old Testament. Wheaton: Victor Books, 1985. Westermann, Claus. The Psalms: Structure, Content, and Message. Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1980. Wilson, Alistair I. When Will These Things Happen? Waynesboro, GA: Paternoster Press, 2004. Witherington, III, Ben. Matthew. Macon: Smith & Helwys Publications, 2006.

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Journal of Biblical Ministry _______. Revelation. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2003. Youngblood, Ronald. “Fallen Star: the Evolution of Lucifer.” Bible Review (December 1998).

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Journal of Biblical Ministry The Abrahamic Covenant: One Covenant, Two Promises By David Mapes, Ph.D. Professor of Theology, Luther Rice University & Seminary

Within the world of covenant studies, Covenant theologians have developed their understanding of covenant more fully than any other group. In their scheme, God initiated a covenant of works with Adam in which God promised eternal life to Adam if he obeyed the covenant terms. Adam failed to keep the terms of the covenant of works and brought upon himself death. God, then, instituted a new covenant mediated by Christ, known as the covenant of grace, by which He determined to save the elect. Thus, for the Covenant theologian, all the covenants mentioned in the Scripture following Adam’s fall are expressions of this covenant of grace. As a result of this ideology, Covenant theologians see the outworking of the covenants as a linear process. In the specific case of the Abrahamic covenant, it is usually understood that God promised Abraham a seed who would become a great nation, Israel. Out of that great nation the Messiah would arise who would bless the nations by instituting a New covenant which brings into existence a new people of God, spiritual Israel. National Israel was a stepping-stone to get to the new spiritual Israel and, as such, national Israel falls from significance or is replaced by spiritual Israel in the current administration of God’s kingdom. As an alternative to the linear thinking of the covenant theologians, I propose that God gave to Abraham two distinct promises from the very initiation of the Abrahamic covenant that work out two distinctly different ways. These promises which are present from the inception of the Abrahamic covenant are two parallel tracks, each of which has its own particular fulfilment. These two promises that God made to Abraham are (1) an elect physical seed from whom a great nation, Israel, would arise (being a nation implies that you have a people in a land); and (2) an elect seed through whom the nations would receive a blessing of salvation. This paper will take a three-fold approach. First, it will demonstrate the unique nature of the Abrahamic covenant. The Abrahamic covenant is neither a restatement nor a fuller elaboration of the Covenant of Grace. To the contrary, the Abrahamic covenant is a dis-

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Journal of Biblical Ministry tinct covenant which differs from all other covenants in its purpose.1 Second, the two distinct promises of the Abrahamic covenant will be clearly defined. It will also be demonstrated how each promise has its own particular aim and purpose which God intended from the beginning. Third, the paper will conclude with a discussion of how each promise of the covenant works out through time. The Nature of the Abrahamic Covenant Understanding the covenants given by God is important in order to comprehend God’s plan for mankind. In contradistinction to the covenant theology position stated above, this writer views any covenant initiated by God as a self-contained instrument in which God is doing something for the party of the second part that he is not doing for the rest of the world. Each covenant possesses a distinct party of the second part unique from the other covenants, and each covenant carries its own distinct purpose which differs from the other covenants. It is within this framework of the distinctness of the covenants that the Abrahamic covenant will be examined. Major discoveries in the Ancient Near Eastern literature have brought to light some interesting facts concerning covenants. Weinfeld demonstrated that the Abrahamic covenant compared favorably to the characteristics of the “royal grant” common in the ancient Near East. Several salient points concerning grants emerged from Weinfeld’s work. He suggested that grants of land or houses were made by a unilateral act of a superior to an inferior and guaranteed by that superior; that grants were unconditional in their formulation, making them permanent—at least for the present reign of the king;2 and that grants also were given to reward the loyalty of the servant or heir. 1

I have argued the independence of the biblical covenants previously. For a description of the independent purpose of the Sinaitic covenant, please see my article, “Understanding the Sinaitic Covenant,” Journal for Biblical Ministries 1 (Spring 2009): 9-30. 2

While Weinfeld sees the intent of the grant to be permanent, Jože Krašovec supplied evidence from the Hittite treaty of Muršiliš II (ca. 1321–1295 BC) with his nephew Kupanta-Kal to suggest that a successor to the throne may take away the grant from a disloyal heir even though the son of the heir remained faithful to the king. He noted that “the wording of the stipulation indicates that rulers who did not punish innocent heirs as well as guilty fathers must have been exceptionally generous” (“Two Types of Unconditional Covenants,” HBT 18 [June 1996]: 60).

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Journal of Biblical Ministry To illustrate the nature of a grant, two examples supplied by Weinfeld will be given from the Hittite period. The Hittite treaty (ca. 1267–1237 BC) of Hattušiliš III (or Tudhalyaš IV) with Ulmi-Tešup of Dattaša incorporates a grant section. This section, according to Weinfeld, reads After you, your son and grandson will possess it, nobody will take it away from them. If one of your descendants sins (uaštai-) the king will prosecute him at his court. Then when he is found guilty . . . if he deserves death he will die. But nobody will take away from the descendant of Ulmi-Tešup either his house or his land in order to give it to a descendant of somebody else.3 Weinfeld also presented the royal decree of Tudhaliyaš IV (ca. 1227–1209) and Puduhepa for the descendants of Šahurunuwaš, a Hittite high official. The text given by Weinfeld was translated: Nobody in the future shall take away this house from Umanava (or Tesupmanava), her children, her grandchildren and her offspring. When anyone of the descendants of Umanava provokes the anger of the kings . . . whether he is to be forgiven or whether he is to be killed, one will treat him according to the wish of his master, but his house they will not take away and they will not give it to somebody else.4 Before getting into a comparison of the Abrahamic covenant with the royal grant, I would like to state clearly that the ANE literature is not the key that gives meaning to the Scriptural account of the Abrahamic covenant. In other words, one should not impress the details of the ANE literature on the biblical text so that the biblical text is made to say what the ANE literature dictates. For example, the royal grant is a grant of house and land by the king that rewards a servant for his loyalty. This is not the case with the Abrahamic covenant. God elected Abraham to be the recipient of the promised land prior to any action on Abraham’s part. The ANE literature only helps us to see the general kind of covenant that the Abrahamic covenant resembles. The grant in the ANE literature is simply a tool that aids understanding. God, the Father, is the one who determines the meaning, content, and characteristics of the covenant. The idea that God has 3

Moshe Weinfeld, “The Covenant of Grant in the Old Testament and in the Ancient Near East,” Journal of the American Oriental Society 90 (1970): 189. 4

Ibid., 189–190.

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Journal of Biblical Ministry to copy a human document slavishly and do things the way the ANE people did them is utterly ridiculous at best. With the above in mind, the similarities between the Abrahamic covenant and the royal grants cannot be missed.5 First, God, the overlord, made an unconditional grant to Abraham. In a unilateral act God declared that 1) from Abraham would come a great nation; and 2) in Abraham would all the nations of the earth be blessed. Only God, the overlord, could make these promises. This explains why he acted alone in the ratification of the covenant (Gen 15:12-18). Second, God intended the Abrahamic covenant to be an eternal covenant. Since the biblical text, not ANE practices, determines whether the covenant is eternal, a close look at the biblical text is needed. A cursory look at the wording of the Abrahamic covenant suggests that it would extend into eternity. In Genesis 17:7-8, for example, the Hebrew word olam signifies that the land promise of the covenant is “everlasting.” Matitiahu Tsevat, however, has shown that the Hebrew meaning of “eternity” (olam) did not necessarily imply infinitude. He observed: The Hebrew words for “everlasting” or “steadfast” and related notions do not by and in themselves connote infinitude and absoluteness. Eternal duration is not bestowed on a covenant by the qualifier “everlasting.” . . . This expression and others of its kind qualify a thing within its proper limits, physical limits in one case--the span of human life--religious, legal, or social limits in the other hand--the intrinsic suppositions of a covenant.6 5

While seeing the similarities, Delbert R. Hillers did mention that in grant treaties the king did not swear an oath—he simply issued the grant under his seal (Covenant: The History of the Biblical Idea [Baltimore: Johns Hopkins, 1969], 105). This contrasts with the Abrahamic covenant where God did take an oath upon himself. However, this does not diminish the likeness of the Abraham covenant to the grant treaty; it simply shows the seriousness with which God takes his covenants and that God is not bound to do things the way the ANE people did things. God can and does work as He sees fit, but God also acts in a way that makes His actions clear to those with whom He is dealing. 6

Matitiahu Tsevat, “Studies in the Book of Samuel (Chapter III),” Hebrew Union College Annual 34 (1963): 76-77.

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Journal of Biblical Ministry Thomas McComiskey also writes that olam could mean “eternity in the strict sense of the word or duration within a fixed period of time.”7 Context, he declares, determines which definition is correct. The eternal nature of the covenant is assured because the covenant was ratified by God Himself and sealed with an oath. McComiskey additionally notes that during the ratification ceremony, the eternal God Himself walked between the pieces signifying that He would guarantee the covenant forever.8 Another reason why olam should be understood as everlasting is the covenant was to be passed to the beneficiary’s descendants. This characteristic of the Abrahamic covenant has been well-documented in scholarly literature.9 Each transference follows a pattern in which God makes a statement of intent to give the covenant in its entirety to the chosen descendant. After that person expresses faith in God, God establishes the covenant of promises between himself and the descendent. God ultimately transferred the covenant to the twelve sons of Jacob who represented Israel.10 The Old Testament recognized this transfer of the covenant to the chosen party (Exod 2:24; Lev 26:42; 2 Kgs 13:23; 1 Chr 16:16–17; especially Ps 105:9–10). The conclusion drawn here is that the basic pattern of the Abrahamic covenant is consistent with a royal grant. Since the major elements of each correspond, the Abrahamic covenant appears in kind as a royal grant. Therefore, the Abrahamic covenant is a unique, discrete covenant between God and Abraham in which God grants certain 7

McComiskey, The Covenants of Promise: A Theology of Old Testament Covenants (Grand Rapids: Baker,

1985), 24. 8

McComiskey, The Covenants of Promise, 61. This point is confirmed by a host of evangelical theologians from both covenant and dispensational theologies. For example, William L. Holladay confirmed that olam in Genesis 13:15 meant “for all time” or “forever.” 9

Eric Sauer associated the transference of the Abrahamic Covenant with the election process. Accordingly he stated that the transference process ceased when all of Jacob’s children were included in the blessing. See The Dawn of World Redemption: A Survey of Historical Revelation in the Old Testament, trans. G. H. Lang (London: Paternoster, 1956), 104–7. See also Kenneth A. Mathews’ Genesis in vol. 1B of The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 2005), 202-203. 10

Gordon J. Wenham wrote that it does seem likely that once again Abram’s experiences are regarded as archetypal for later generations [Genesis 1–15, in vol. 1 of WBC, ed. by David A. Hubbard and Glenn W. Barker (Waco, TX: Word Books, 1984), 330.] Just as Abram exercised faith in God’s revelation, so too must his offspring exercise faith in their situation by obediently carrying out God’s will declared in the law (cf. Ps 119:66).

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Journal of Biblical Ministry promises to Abraham that are eternal. This covenant does not simply restate an overarching covenant of grace. Evidence for Two Promises in the Abrahamic Covenant The evidence that leads to the conclusion that there are two promises contained in the Abrahamic covenant comes out through several lines of reasoning. The first line of reasoning examines the four restatements of Genesis 12:1-3 found later in the book of Genesis (Gen 18:18; 22:17-18; 26:4; and 28:13-14). All the restatements seem to summarize Genesis 12:2-3 with two clauses. For comparison sake I will give the text of Gen 12:2-3 and then the other texts that restate this passage. Gen 12:2-3 reads: 2) And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: 3) and I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee; and in thee shall all the nations of the earth be blessed. Genesis 12:2-3 is the promise that God will one day make a covenant with Abraham and when He does, the content of the covenant will be as stated in 12:2-3. The first restatement of Genesis 12:2-3 is found in Genesis 18:18. Genesis 18 in time is located after the Abrahamic covenant initiated in Gen 15 and 17. The Lord says in Genesis 18:18, “Seeing that in Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation; and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him.” In this verse, the Lord makes two statements: 1) Abraham shall surely become (hy,h]yi wyoh;) a great and mighty nation; and 2) And shall be blessed (“and shall be blessed” is a waw-consecutive which implies sequence where the second point follows the first point; and the verb is in the Niphal, the passive form of the verb) all the nations of the earth in him. In Genesis 18:16-19, the Lord brings Abraham into the divine council in progress on the basis of the covenant that the Lord has made with Abraham. Gordon Wenham wrote: The reason for such a privilege [is]: the promise made to Abraham. “For Abraham is indeed to become a great and powerful nation, and all the nations of the earth will find blessing in him” is a slightly modified version of 12:2–3. The addition of the

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Journal of Biblical Ministry adjective “powerful” (cf. Num 14:12; Deut 9:14; 26:5) and the substitution of “nations” for “families” and “clans” seem to enhance the original promise.11 Wenham understood the two points: 1) Abraham will become a great nation; and 2) the nations will find a blessing in Abraham, encompasses the meaning of Genesis 12:2-3. The next restatement is found in Genesis 22:17-18 and reads: 17) That in blessing I will bless them, and in multiplying I will mutiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; 18) And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed. This restatement occurs in that great chapter where God tested Abraham to see if he believed the covenant promises that God gave to him. Abraham passed the test “with flying colors” by offering up his son whom he knew could not die if God’s covenant word (the promise that through Isaac the nation of Israel was going to be formed) was good. Notice again that the restatement of the promises is two-fold. Also notice that the second statement has a slight modification from Genesis 18:18. Instead of saying “in you;” that is, Abraham, now the Lord says, “in your seed” shall all the nations of the earth be blessed. Mathews notices that “seed” used in Genesis 22:17 is plural, whereas “seed” used in Genesis 22:18 is singular, implying that “seed” referred to two different entities: the first seed to a nation and the second seed to a person.12 In addition, the tense of the verb “to bless” is no longer a passive as it was in 18:18, but the verb is a reflexive and, according to Dumbrell, could be translated, “In your seed, all the nations of the earth shall find for themselves a blessing.”13 In Genesis 26:3-4, the next restatement of the Abrahamic covenant is to Isaac, to whom the Lord says: 11

Gordon J. Wenham, Genesis, in vol. 2 of the Word Biblical Commentary (Dallas: Word, 1998), 50.

12

Mathews, The New American Commentary, 298–299.

13

William J. Dumbrell, Covenant and Creation: An Old Testament Covenant Theology, rev. ed. (London, England: Paternoster Press, 2013), 71.

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Journal of Biblical Ministry I will perform the oath which I sware unto Abraham thy father; And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries: and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed. This statement is similar to the one in Genesis 22:17-18. The two promises stand out fairly clear. The first promise is the promise that God will make of Abraham a great nation. The second promise is again stated as “in thy seed.” The second promise states that the nations are going to find a blessing in the seed. In Genesis 28:13-14, the Lord appears to Jacob and tells him: I am the Lord God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed; and thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed. The Lord tells Jacob that as the chosen heir, the covenant promise of a great nation made to Abraham will be passed through him. The second promise God made to Abraham and now passed through Jacob has changed once again. Here the Lord says that “in thee and in thy seed shall all the earth be blessed.” As stated above, this seed in the second promise appears to be singular while the seed in the first promise is plural. The two-fold purpose of Genesis 12:1-3 seems to be supported from the evidence presented above. John Murray made two statements connected to this passage. He called the Abrahamic covenant “an unilateral administration of divine grace by which God confirmed to Abraham the promised land” and he also believed that the Abrahamic covenant was concerned with “the spiritual relationship between God and man in the highest plane.”14 So the position of this paper that Genesis 12:2-3 contains two distinct promises has clear support. Other evidence for the two-promise position of this paper comes from the in-house debate among Covenant theology scholars as to when the Abrahamic covenant began. John H. Stek understood Genesis 12 to initiate the relationship between God and Abra14

John Murray, The Covenant of Grace, 18–20. See also Merrill, “A Theology,” in A Biblical Theology, 27, as well as Thomas Edward McComiskey, The Covenants of Promise, 61.

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Journal of Biblical Ministry ham. The covenant, he believed, was later formed in Genesis 15.15 Craig Bartholomew stated that Gen 12:1–3 “promises a covenant relationship (Yahweh speaks, and bless has covenantal overtones) that is established in Genesis 17.”16 Each scholar saw either Genesis 15 or 17 to be the inauguration of the Abrahamic covenant. Paul R. Williamson championed the view that Genesis 15 and 17 were two covenants. He wrote: Genesis 17 draws attention to a covenant which is in many respects quite distinct from the covenant that had been ratified in Genesis 15. These differences are of sufficient importance to distinguish between the covenants spoken of in each chapter, and to identify the covenant in Genesis 17 as a separate development in God's dealings with Abraham (that is, God made two different covenants with Abraham, each with its own particular emphasis and function in the narrative as a whole).17 Bruce Waltke also proposed that God made two covenants with Abraham. The first covenant was created in Genesis 15:1-21 and the second covenant was created in Genesis 17:1-27.18 The debate itself demonstrates that two different things are happening in these two chapters of Genesis, giving more impetus to the idea that the Abrahamic covenant contains two distinct promises. Instead of positing two separate covenants between the same individuals, a more straightforward interpretation is to regard God’s covenant with Abraham as a single covenant with two promises: 1) the promise of a great nation - the plural “seeds” of Abraham, and 2) a promise of blessing to the nations through a singular “seed.” Sailhamer, with respect to the appearance of two covenants in chapters 15 and 17, theorized “The simpler answer lies in seeing the two covenants as, in fact, two distinct aspects of God’s covenant with Abraham—the one stressing the promise of the land 15

John H. Stek, “‘Covenant’ Overload in Reformed Theology,” Calvin Theological Journal 29 (1994): 28.

16

Craig Bartholomew, “Covenant and Creation: Covenant Overload or Covenantal Deconstruction,” Calvin Theological Journal 30 (1995): 23. 17

Paul R. Williamson, Abraham, Israel and the Nations: The Patriarchal Promise and its Covenantal Development in Genesis, Journal for the Study of the Old Testament Supplement Series 315 (Sheffield, England: Sheffield Academic Press, 2000), 21. 18

Error! Main Document Only.Bruce Waltke, “The Covenants” in The Kingdom of God, eds. Christoper W. Morgan and Robert A. Peterson (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2012), 79.

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Journal of Biblical Ministry (15:18–21) and the other stressing the promise of a great abundance of descendants (17:2).”19 Though it is evident that Sailhamer’s statement is not identical to the thesis of this paper, his remarks do indicate that two aspects exist within the one Abrahamic covenant. Since the five passages in Genesis given above allude to two distinct promises, then it follows that the Abrahamic covenant is initiated in Genesis 15 whereby God covenants with Abraham to make of him a great nation. This aspect of the covenant inseparably linked national Israel to the land and vice versa (a nation cannot exist without both a population and a geographic territory; that is seed/land). God’s intent to bless the nations of the earth through the seed (Gen 12:3b) was then added in Genesis 17:1-6 as a new (second) promise to the covenant already initiated in Genesis 15.20 This portion of the promise concerned Abraham as a father of many nations. As God assured Abraham that he would have physical descendants in chapter 15 through the elect seed Isaac, so now God rendered certain the promise that Abraham would have a spiritual seed.21 Walter Kaiser concludes: “Indeed, world-wide blessing was the whole purpose of the very first statement of the promise in [Gen] 12:2–3.”22 John F. Walvoord lends credibility to a two-promise view of the Abrahamic covenant by distinguishing the natural seed from the spiritual seed. Though he perceived three distinct usages of seed, Walvoord recognized that Gentiles do not come under the promises made to the physical seed of Abraham. A Gentile, Walvoord wrote, becomes related to Abraham because of the phrase "In thee shall all nations be blessed." He maintained 19

John H. Sailhamer, Genesis in vol. 2 of The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Frank E. Gaebelein, gen. ed. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1990), 138. See also, Charles Ryrie, Basic Theology (Chicago: Moody, 1999), 527. 20

Though Leupold does not see a branched structure to the Abrahamic covenant, he did understand that two new features were added to the promise of God to Abraham in Genesis 17:6. Those added features were that God was going to make Abraham exceedingly prolific in terms of being a father of many nations and that God was going to make kings come forth from Abraham. H. C. Leupold, Exposition of Genesis (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1960), 517. See also John Daniel Hays, An Exegetical and Theological Study of the Abrahamic Covenant in a Canonical Context, (Ph.D. Dissertation, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, TX, 1992), 55. Hays writes, "Genesis 17 presents an elaboration or further explanation of the Abrahamic covenant, which was initiated in Genesis 15. In Genesis 15, God formally ratified his earlier promises to Abraham in a covenant. In Genesis 17, God restated the covenant, broadening the level of participation and also defining the obligations that the beneficiaries must carry out to enjoy the benefits of the covenant.” 21

Sailhamer, Genesis, 138.

22

Walter C. Kaiser, Jr., Toward an Old Testament Theology (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1978), 86.

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Journal of Biblical Ministry that Gen 15:18–21 and 17:7, 8 referred only to the physical seed23 which agrees with the position posited by this paper. A few technical details follow which add to the evidence demonstrating that the Abrahamic covenant is one covenant with two promises. Genesis 15 describes the inauguration of the covenant. In Genesis 15:18, Moses wrote, “In the same day the Lord made a covenant (literally cut a covenant - tyriB] treiIK;) with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land.” Dumbrell has argued that the only terminology Scripture uses that is appropriated for covenant inauguration is “to cut” a covenant (tyriB] treiIK;).24 Weinfeld agreed with Dumbrell that the phrase “to cut a covenant” (tyriB] treiIK;) did imply covenant inauguration but also allowed that other Hebrew verbs also indicated covenant inauguration [such as “to make” (ntn) and “to establish” (m/q)]. Despite the difference between the two scholars, both agree that covenant inauguration is in view when the phrase “to cut a covenant” is used. God, in an act of grace to Abraham, takes an oath so that His intention to make a great nation as promised to Abraham in Genesis 12:2-3a now has the surety of a covenantal basis. The conversation between God and Abraham in chapter 15 begins with Abraham's concern over his childless estate (vv. 1-3). The only sure heir that Abraham has is Eliezer. God responds that Eliezer will not be the heir, but Abraham will have a natural son who will be his heir (v. 4). An examination of the covenant terminology clearly indicates that only Abraham's physical seed is being considered (vv. 13-14). Also, built into the covenant is the linkage of this seed with the land (vv. 7,16). These two aspects (seed/land) of the covenant are tied together in the summary statement of verse 18. Promise number one (great nation) is now covenanted leaving the second promise of blessing uncovenanted for the moment. The second promise of the covenant encompasses God's intent to make Abraham a blessing to all the families of the earth. In Gen 12:3b, God declared his intent to bless 23 John F. Walvoord, “Israel in Prophecy” in The Nations, Israel and the Church in Prophecy (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1988), 37–39. 24

Dumbrell, Covenant and Creation, 36.

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Journal of Biblical Ministry the nations through Abraham. Twenty-four years later, God confirms that intent by the addition of this element to the covenant (Gen 17:2–6) already in progress.25 There are two reasons for suggesting that the second promise was being added to the Abrahamic covenant already in progress. First, the grammar of Genesis 17: 2 allows for this possibility. The verb “to make” [ntn] is used in this section (17:2–6) as opposed to the verb “to establish” [m/q] in 17:7–22. Weinfeld noted that the normal terminology for covenant initiation is “to cut a covenant” (tyriB] treiIK;). Other terms, however, are used to express the concluding of a covenant including “to make” (ntn) and “to establish” (m/q). Weinfeld asserted that ntn meant “to give a covenant” whereas m/q could mean either “to establish” or “to fulfill,” though the prevalent idea was “to establish.”26 With respect to the verb “to establish” (m/q), Dumbrell noted that this verb does not refer to covenant inception, but conveys the meaning of covenant perpetuation (See tyriB] mqih] - Gen 6:18; 9:9, 11, 17; 17:7, 19, 21; Ex 6:4; Lev 26:9; Deut 8:18; 2 Kgs 23:3).27 The idea carried by m/q is “to maintain what has already been given.” From this it can be concluded that Gen 17:2 (ntn) introduces an addition to the Abrahamic covenant, whereas 17:7 (m/q) begins a section where God promises to maintain what was already in existence.28 25

Dumbrell, Covenant and Creation, 76. Speaking from his covenant theology perspective, Dumbrell asserted, "the point being made in Gen.17:1–2 is that Abraham's fidelity to the divine word will bring with it a further development within the relationship, already designated by berît (15:18)." He clearly understands the contents of Gen. 17:3b–8 to be added to the covenant. 26

Moshe Weinfeld, “tyriB]” in the Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament, ed. by G. Johannes Botterweck and Helmer Ringgren (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1975), 260. 27

Dumbrell, Covenant and Creation, 26. While this author agrees with Dumbrell's meaning of m/q, I differ with Dumbrell's contention that m/q proves that the Noachic covenant had already been initiated. It is my view that in Genesis 6 and 9, m/q is used to signify that God will establish or perpetuate forever the covenant which He is about to make with Noah. 28

Hays, Abrahamic Covenant, 47 n. 144. Hays held a very similar understanding concerning the usage of trk and m/q. He believed that trk referred to the person who initially received the covenant (in this case Abraham) whereas m/q was used with reference to the future descendants with whom the covenant was continued. The use of ntn is necessary in Genesis 17.2, according to Hays, "where God is speaking of later fulfillment but still addressing only Abraham."

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Journal of Biblical Ministry Second, the fact that Abram’s name is changed to Abraham suggests that something new has been added to the Abrahamic covenant already in existence. The name change signals that God has enlarged Abram’s sphere of influence. Dumbrell acknowledged that the change in Abram’s name to Abraham indicated “the changed status of the patriarch at this time of covenant implementation [Author’s note: For Dumbrell, covenant implementation and covenant initiation are two different concepts].”29 Therefore, in Genesis 17:2-6, the Lord added promise number two -- in Abraham shall all the nations of the earth be blessed -- to the Abrahamic covenant already in progress. The pattern established in Genesis 12 of "seed and land" (v. 2) and "in Abraham blessings" (v. 3) is repeated in four other passages (Gen 18:18; 22:18; 26:4; and 28:14). The only difference in the passages is that the blessings come "in thee [Abraham]" in Gen 12:3 and 18:18, but "in thy seed" in Gen 22:18 and 26:4. Both phrases are found in 28:14.30 The contention of this paper is that the identity of the first-mentioned seed with a great nation is different from the second seed associated with the blessings to the families of the earth. The former seed refers to national Israel, whereas the latter seed is the Messiah. The promise that was made to Abraham concerning blessings to the nations (i.e. the second promise of the covenant) would then be transmitted to the elect seed, Christ, who would fulfill that promise. The Old Testament makes several allusions to this seed. He is spoken of in the protoevangelium in Gen 3:15.31 Moses spoke of another Prophet that the Lord would raise up (Deut 18:15, 18) who would do as Moses did and bring another covenant to the people of God. Isaiah spoke of this seed as the elect servant. He wrote: I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; to 29

Hays, Abrahamic Covenant, 73.

30

When "thee" is the subject, the verb form of "to bless" is the Niphal (be blessed). When "seed" is the subject, "to bless" is in the Hithpael form (find for themselves a blessing). 31

It is understood that this view is not universally accepted by all. See Wenham, Genesis 1–15, 80–81. Wenham surmises that while "a messianic interpretation may be justified in the light of subsequent revelation, a sensus plenoir, it would perhaps be wrong to suggest that this was the narrator's own understanding." See also Kenneth A. Matthews, Genesis 1–11:26, vol. 1a of NAC (Nashville: Broadman, 1996), 245–48.

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Journal of Biblical Ministry open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house. I am the Lord: . . . Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare” (Isa 42:5–9). In Isaiah 52, redemption is the key theme of the passage. Isaiah cries, "The Lord hath made bare his holy arms in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God" (52:10). Through the power of the Lord the servant will accomplish his mission. Isaiah continued: Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high. As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men: So shall he sprinkle many nations; and the kings shall shut their mouths at him: for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider” (52:1315). Though the servant is sometimes identified with Israel in Isaiah (41:8–20; 42:18–22; 44:1–2, 21; 49:3), the servant in chapters 42, 52, and 53 is undeniably a person. McComiskey notes that in 49:5 the servant restores Israel to God,32 in 53:3 the servant is called a man,33 in 53:8 this servant is smitten for Israel’s sins,34 and in 49:6 and 53:11 he brings salvation to the earth.35 McComiskey concludes, “Through this elect servant the blessing of Abraham (i.e. salvation) will be brought upon the world. God, the Most High (42:5), gave his servant for a covenant of the people and a light for the Gentiles in order that blind eyes might be opened (42:6). Because of what God’s elect servant will do, the whole earth is to praise his name.” (42:10). Though Dumbrell has a linear view of covenants as a covenant theologian, he acknowledges a dualism in an unguarded statement. He calls the incorporation of the nations into the sphere of salvation the “second arm of the Abrahamic promises.”36 32

McComiskey, 32.

33

Ibid.

34

Ibid.

35

Ibid., 33.

36

Dumbrell, 191.

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Journal of Biblical Ministry Full confirmation of the second promise, the Messianic arm of the covenant, is found in Galatians. It could be argued that if the two-promise nature is to be proven, this proof must come completely from an understanding of the Old Testament and more specifically from Genesis. A response to that criticism would be that since the covenant is patterned after the grant, then the proper question is not, What did the people of the Old Testament understand? but, rather, What did God, who initiated all the terms and conditions of the covenant, intend for it to mean? Therefore, all the fullness of revelation is appropriate to understand what God intended from the very inception of the covenant regardless of the Testament in which it is found. Paul wrote in Gal 3:8 that "God would justify the heathen through faith" so he "preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, “In thee shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.” This is a direct quote of Genesis 12:3. It is significant that Paul quoted only this section when proving that salvation came through faith. Paul continued that "the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ" (3:14), but not through national Israel. In fact, Paul went on to say that the promises were made to Abraham and his singular seed, not "to seeds as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed which is Christ" (3:16). No doubt exists that in Gen 12:2 the seed is plural and it refers to Abraham's physical descendants and the promised land. Paul, therefore, understood a significant difference between the making of a great nation (seed in the land) and that of blessing “in thee and in thy seed.” Notice also that Paul declared that God confirmed “salvation through faith in Christ” by a covenant. The date that this covenant was made was given by Paul as 430 years before the Sinaitic covenant (Gal 3:17), which was the time of the formation of the Abrahamic covenant. There can be no question that the Messianic arm (second promise) of the Abrahamic covenant was a direct transfer of the God-given promise from Abraham to Christ. Israel does not play a role in this branch of the covenant. Robert Saucy surmises: Further evidence of this truth is found in the fact that the New Testament teaching of the inclusion of the Gentiles in the seed of Abraham is never related to the fulfillment of the promise of a “great nation” (Gen 12:2). Rather, it is always tied to the promise of universal blessing to all the nations (Gal 3:7–9). Thus the promises concerning the physical seed constituting the nation of Israel remain alongside this

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Journal of Biblical Ministry universal promise even as they did in the original statement in the Old Testament.37 The Historical Relationship between the Two Promises The contention of this writer is that the two promises of the Abrahamic covenant are independent of each other and refer to two distinctly different entities. The first promise is the creation of the nation, Israel (people in a land) through the seed Isaac. The second promise is the creation of a spiritual people of God through the seed Christ. Once these promises are brought into existence, they run side-by-side forever. Both promises that God confirmed to Abraham through the covenant were fulfilled later in time. The promise concerning a great nation (people/land) was actualized when the Lord birthed the nation by delivering his people from the bondage of Egypt. The Lord brought his people to the foot of Mt. Sinai and there entered into a covenant with Israel which would regulate their behavior in the land. The second promise, that of blessing through faith in the Messiah, was realized in time when the Lord was crucified, making it possible for there to be a “spiritual� people of God composed of both Jew and Gentile. Jesus’ death established the new covenant in which a new (spiritual, i.e. saved) people of God is composed of both believing Jews and Gentiles. Both promises continue eternally and, therefore, when each promise is realized in time, neither the nation (the physical people of God) nor the spiritual people of God will ever cease. Since these promises run parallel to each other through history and not in a linear fashion, then the spiritual people of God can never replace the nation of Israel. This can be demonstrated fairly easily in that the people of Israel, who were part of the great nation promise, did not automatically belong to the spiritual people, who were part of the blessing promise, and vice versa. To illustrate this statement, Israel's relationship to God through the Sinaitic covenant will be considered. When a grant (Abrahamic covenant) is compared to a Suzerain-vassel treaty (Sinaitic covenant), clear differences emerge. Weinfeld astutely observed: 37

Robert L. Saucy, Case for Progressive Dispensationalism: The Interface between Dispensational & NonDispensational Theology (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1993), 50.

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Journal of Biblical Ministry Functionally, however, there is a vast difference between these two types of documents. While the “treaty” constitutes an obligation of the vassal to his master, the suzerain, the “grant” constitutes an obligation of the master to his servant. In the “grant” the curse is directed towards the one who will violate the rights of the king’s vassal, while in the treaty the curse is directed towards the vassal who will violate the rights of his king. In other words, the “grant” serves mainly to protect the rights of the servant, while the treaty comes to protect the rights of the master. What is more, while the grant is a reward for loyalty, the treaty is an inducement for future loyalty.38 The Suzerain-vassel type Sinaitic covenant was distinct from the Abrahamic covenant. The second party of Sinaitic covenant was national Israel only. The Sinaitic covenant was to provide boundaries through the covenant stipulations (moral, civil, and ceremonial law) which regulated the behavior of the nation of Israel as the people of God.39 Though they were God's covenant people, the covenant did not confer upon them a righteous standing before God. For this reason, in addition to the fact that the Sinaitic covenant regulated the behavior of God's people, an important function of the Sinaitic covenant was to bring its members to faith in the Messiah. An excellent example of this purpose of the law was seen in the messages of Moses in Deuteronomy.40 Moses’ use of the Sinaitic law covenant’s stipulations paralleled the use of the “gospel” in the NT. Just as the “gospel” confronts people with the reality of God, so also the law brought the members of the Sinaitic covenant face-to-face with God. Duane Christensen aptly comments: 38

Weinfeld, “The Covenant of Grant,” 185.

39

Merrill, “A Theology,” 33.

40

Ronald E. Clements, “Deuteronomy,” in vol. 2 of The New Interpreter’s Bible: General Articles and Introduction, Commentary and Reflections for Each Book of the Bible Including the Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical Books in Twelve Volumes, Leander E. Keck, gen. ed. (Nashville: Abingdon, 1998), 510. Certainly the speech that is presented in Deuteronomy 29:1–30:20 as the farewell address of Moses to the people of Israel is a brilliant example of the rhetorician’s art. It appears as the third of the great addresses of Moses that make up the book of Deuteronomy. Studied from the perspective of its rhetorical techniques and stylistic devices it stands out as among the most brilliant dramatic compositions that the Old Testament contains.

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Journal of Biblical Ministry The focus on teaching your children “these words” diligently within the context of the family—at all conceivable times and places—illustrates once again that pedagogical purpose of the book of Deuteronomy. The content of the book was the primary curriculum in an ongoing program of religious education in ancient Israel. The use of phylacteries and mezuzoth were essentially pedagogical tools, designed to keep the great summary statements of the “Words of Yahweh” central in the experience of each individual member of the covenant community.41 Throughout Deuteronomy, Moses links keeping the law (i.e. covenant stipulations) with loving God.42 The reason given by Moses for loving God is so “thou mayest live and multiply: and the Lord thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it” (Deut 30:16). Israel could only keep the statutes of the covenant if they were a delight to them.43 This ability came through a genuine relationship to Israel’s God by faith. The law’s weakness was its inability to instill love for the Lord. Eventually unbelieving Israelites tired of serving the Lord and found the stipulations of the Sinaitic covenant to be a drudgery instead of a delight. Moses concludes his final message recorded in Deuteronomy with this challenge: “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing, therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live (Deut 30:19).” Merrill maintains that Deuteronomy 30 refers to temporal life; that is, the Israelites lived out their lives in compliance with God’s gracious covenant mandates. Yet while strong references to earthly life are present, Moses’s plea should not be missed. He exhorts the people to love the Lord their God, to obey his voice, and to cleave to him 41

Duane L. Christensen, Deuteronomy 1–11, vol. 6a in WBC, David A. Hubbard and Glenn W. Barker, gen. eds. (Dallas: Word Books, 1991), 144–45. 42

See Deuteronomy 5:10; 6:5; 7:9; 10:12; 11:1, 13, 22; 13:3; 19:9; and 30:6, 16, 20. On the significance of this love, Walter Brueggemann believed “love is a dense term. Clearly it is a covenant word that means to acknowledge sovereignty and to keep one’s oath of loyalty, on which the covenant is based. But such a political dimension to the term does not rule out an affective dimension, in light of the term set one’s heart (hšq), which we have already considered. Thus at the core of Israel’s obligation to Yahweh is the desire to please Yahweh and to be with Yahweh (Pss 27:4, 73:25)”(Theology of the Old Testament: Testimony, Dispute, Advocacy [Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 1997], 416–17, 420). 43

Victor Peddi, “A Note on qjo in the Old Testament,” VT 16 [1966]: 359–60.

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Journal of Biblical Ministry for “He is thy life” (Deut 30:20).44 Charles Ryrie’s statement effectively sums up the argument of this section: That the law could not save is perfectly clear. Men were saved under the law economy but not by the law. Scripture is plain concerning this fact—Romans 3:20 and 2 Corinthians 3:6–7. And yet the law contained the revelation which brought men to a realization that their faith must be placed in God the Savior.45 The life that resulted was more than just life in the land, though this was part of it. It was life in the Lord which has eternal value. As seen above, membership in the Sinaitic covenant did not mean that an Israelite had a faith-based relationship with the Lord. Contrary to the idea asserted here, some scholars asserted that Lev 18:5 implies that the Sinaitic covenant membership provided spiritual life to its members (i.e. Israel).46 Taking a closer look at the action in this passage, God warned the Israelites against certain heathen customs (sexual relationships) practiced by the surrounding pagan nations. The “Canaanites’” expulsion from the land was due in part to their sexual immorality. Israel was sternly exhorted by God not to behave like these pagan nations. The basis for Israel’s submission to these prohibitions was “I am the Lord your God.” Failure to heed God’s covenant stipulations would result in the expulsion of Israel from the land and even death. Obedience to his laws would result in enjoyment of the land and physical life. Eduard Verhoef observes: 44

This pattern is found throughout the Old Testament. Joshua urged the covenant people to come to faith (Josh. 22:5 and 24:15). Isaiah told the covenant people, whom he defined as “a sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters (Isa 1:4),” to come and “reason together, saith the Lord; though your sins be as scarlet they shall be white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isa 1:18). The call came because those in covenant lacked true spiritual life. Israel, still in covenant with God in the days of Malachi, was yet in unbelief. The final words which God spoke to Israel through Malachi counseled the nation to remember the law of Moses with all the statutes and judgments. God was using the “gospel” of the Old Testament to compel Israel to a personal relationship with him (Mal 4:4). See Thomas M. Rait, “Prophetic Summons to Repentance,” ZAW 83 [1971]: 30–49. 45

Ryrie, Dispensationalism Today, 126; See also Thomas L. Constable, “A Theology of Joshua, Judges, and Ruth,” in A Biblical Theology of the Old Testament, ed. Roy B. Zuck (Chicago: Moody, 1991), 91, 101. 46

Walter J. Kaiser, Jr., “Leviticus 18:5 and Paul: Do This and You Shall Live (Eternally?),” JETS 14 (1971): 19–28. Most covenant theologians hold the position that life in Lev 18:5 is spiritual.

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Journal of Biblical Ministry The meaning of these words in Lev. 18:5 is clear. The Israelites are asked to obey the commandments given in this chapter and in return God promises “life” for those who do. Sometimes “life” is related with “to inherit the land” (Deut. 4:1), in other texts the “life” is connected with “blessings” (Deut. 30:16), with “go well” and with “live long” (Deut. 5:33 [MT 30]). In Lev. 18 “life” is spoken of in contrast with the death penalty; see Lev. 18:29; 20:9–10. The verb hyh is used here in the sense of “the life of people here on earth.” There is no reason to interpret this word in these texts in the sense of “eternal life.”47 McComiskey agrees that “According to Lev 18:5, the law offers life. But this is not to be understood as eternal life. The law did not grant the inheritance. Life in the law connotes the viability of the relationship of the nation or the individual to the promised inheritance. The law, no matter how well observed, is never presented in Scripture as an option to faith as the means of salvation.”48 Merrill also addressed the question of whether life provided by the Sinaitic covenant was spiritual or physical. He contended: How Israel was to live out her national life in light of her commitment is spelled out in the Sinaitic (and later Deuteronomic) covenant, specifically in the great stipulation section of that covenant text. . . . These stipulations are designed not to regulate human behavior at large, though the principles they embody are heuristic and timeless, but they find their setting in a contract whose purpose is to provide legal, moral, and religious guidelines for a special people chosen for a special task. And even for these people the regulations were not a means whereby salvation could be obtained—that was symbolized by the Passover and the Exodus—but an instruction manual by which the covenant people were to order their national life in 47

Eduard Verhoef, “Eternal Life and Following the Commandments Lev 18:5 and Luke 10:28” in The Scriptures in the Gospels, 571–77. 48

McComiskey, 152; See also Frank H. Gorman Jr., Divine Presence and Community: A Commentary on the Book on Leviticus in ITC, Fredrick Carlson Holmgren and George F. A. Knight, gen. eds. (Edinburgh: Handsel Press, 1997), 106; Roland Kenneth Harrison, Leviticus: An Introduction and Commentary in TOTC, D. J. Wiseman, gen. ed. (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1980), 185; Wenham, The Book of Leviticus in NICOT, R. K. Harrison, gen. ed. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1979) 253; John William Wevers, Notes on the Greek Text of Leviticus, SBLSCS, no. 44, Bernard A. Taylor, ser. ed. (Atlanta: Scholars, 1997), 275.

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Journal of Biblical Ministry their mission as a priestly, mediatorial people. The stipulations were tôr h in the sense of instruction.49 To be in the Sinaitic covenant was a privilege for the Israelites. While the covenant regulated the national life and obedience to the covenant terms brought blessings from God (rain, abundant harvest, increased flocks; see Deut 27-28) upon Israel, the covenant was powerless to provide salvation to Israel (though it pointed to the one who could save them–the Messiah). This means that the Jews like the Gentiles, needed to be justified by faith in Christ (Romans 2–3; Galatians 2–4). Paul lamented that Israel refused to give up their idea that they were righteous because they were a member of the Sinaitic covenant. Israel's error was that they sought the righteousness of their law covenant instead of the righteousness which is by faith through Christ (Rom 9:30). Therefore, the two distinct promises of the Abrahamic covenant pointed to two different functions which this covenant would accomplish. The first promise of the Abrahamic covenant did not imply anything more than that the Jewish nation would exist eternally. The first promise did not entail eternal life or else all Israel would have been saved. On the other hand, the second promise of the Abrahamic covenant of blessing through the Messiah provided eternal life to those who came to God through faith. On the other hand, this second promise of blessing did not provide citizenship in the nation of Israel, but it did provide membership in the spiritual people of God. Paul, in Galatians 3, contrasted the Sinaitic covenant with the Abrahamic covenant. He demonstrated that salvation had always come by faith. The institution of the Sinaitic covenant, which regulated the behavior of the “great nation” (seed/land), did not cancel the promise of blessing through Christ (Gal 3:17). Hebrews declares that it was not possible for the blood of bulls and goat to take away sin (10:4). For this reason Christ is the mediator of the new covenant so that His death could provide redemption for those transgressions that were under the first covenant; that is the Sinaitic covenant (9:15). Old Testament believing Israelites were grandfathered into the New covenant. The dual nature of the Abrahamic covenant promises provides an explanation for both the continuance of a physical people, national Israel, and the creation of a spiritual peo49

Merrill, 36. To understand how Merrill related the idea of stipulations to the Decalogue see p. 37–40. See also Erhard Gerstenberger, “Covenant and Commandment,” Journal of Biblical Literature 84 (1965): 43; Walther Eichrodt, “Covenant and Law,” Interpretation 20 (1966): 309–11.

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Journal of Biblical Ministry ple of God through the seed, the Messiah. In the New Testament, several reasons are given to believe that God still considers Israel to be His peculiar nation above all nations. The first reason is Paul’s avowal that God did not cast away his people (Rom 11:2) and in fact granted repentance to Israel (Acts 5:31). With respect to Romans 11, Paul is speaking about national Israel in verse 2. As Paul continues his argument in the chapter he states that all Israel will be saved (Rom 11:26). There is no contextual reason for understanding Israel in verse 26 to be anything other than national Israel. John Murray observes: It should be apparent from both the proximate and less proximate contexts in this portion of the epistle that it is exegetically impossible to give “Israel” in this verse any other denotation than that which belongs to the term throughout the chapter. It is of ethnic Israel Paul is speaking and Israel could not possibly include Gentiles.50 Speaking of this passage, H. Wayne House writes: In verse 25 Paul cannot possibly be referring to Israel as a whole, as history shows that there has been a "faithful remnant" of Jews who have accepted Jesus as Messiah. Also, he adds "in part" to designate that the nation's blindness is not on every individual. However, he uses "all" in verse 26 to mean just that, the entire nation of Israel will come to faith in Jesus at a time in the future. There is no reason to see "all" meaning just a part of the nation, the group of individuals who come to faith in Jesus as Messiah through history. Even though Paul does sometimes use "all" to indicate many or all types rather than every individual (see I Tim 2:4), it is clear that the majority of Jews through history have rejected Jesus, and it makes little sense to see it as "all types of Israel.” Thus "all Israel" of verse 26 can only mean the entire nation of Israel will be saved at some point.51 The eternal first promise of the Abrahamic covenant guarantees that the nation of Israel will continue for as long as this earth stands. Michael J. Vlach concludes, “With Romans 9:4 Paul declared that to the ‘Israelites’ belong to ‘the covenants’ and ‘the promises.’ 50

John Murray, Romans in the New International Commentary on the New Testament, gen ed. F. F. Bruce (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1975), 96. 51

H. Wayne House, “The Future of National Israel in Dispensational Thought,” Paper delivered at the National Evangelical Theological Society meeting, 2008.

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Journal of Biblical Ministry Paul linked the salvation of ‘all Israel’ with Old Testament promises in Romans 11:2627.”52 Another piece of evidence that illustrates the side-by-side nature of the two Abrahamic covenant promises is the continuing care for Israel evident in the Scripture. Several passages show that the nation of Israel will always exist and be special to God. One such type of evidence is prophecy in the Old Testament which shows that when the Lord returns, He will establish the throne of His kingdom in Jerusalem. Several prophecies state that when Jesus returns: 1) His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives (Zech 14:4); 2) He will sit on the throne of David and rule over His kingdom (Isa 9:7); and 3) He will sit on his glorious throne (Matt 25:31). In the Olivet Discourse, Jesus replies to specific questions asked by His disciples concerning His return. Jesus unfolds events which will ultimately lead to His second coming at which time He will establish his kingdom in Israel.53 National Israel is still important in the plan of God which is what one would expect if God made an eternal promise to Abraham to make a great nation out of him. In Revelation 21, John writes that God will create a new heaven and a new earth. A new Jerusalem will descend out of heaven to the earth. The city has 12 gates, with each gate named after one of the tribes of Israel. Whether nations will exist in the new earth as they do currently on this earth cannot be known. But the fact that God plans to name the key city of the new earth the New Jerusalem speaks to the special nature of national Israel. Certainly while this world remains and maybe into the next world, the first promise of the Abrahamic covenant means that national Israel will remain important to the Lord. Though I disagree with much of what covenant theologians believe, they have made a point worthy of consideration. Covenant theologians state that all of what pertained to Israel in the Old Testament now pertains to the Church today. While this writer does not accept that premise in total, one function of national Israel (promise one of the AC) has 52

Michael J. Vlach, “What Does Christ as “True Israel” Mean for the National Israel?” A paper presented at the national Evangelical Theological Society (November 2013). 53

See Larry D. Pettigrew, “Interpretive Flaws in the Olivet Discourse,” The Master’s Seminary Journal 13 (Fall 2002): 173-190.

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Journal of Biblical Ministry been ceded to the new spiritual people of God (promise two of the AC). In Exodus 19:36, God instructs Moses: Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel; Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself. Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel. Because of Israel’s faithlessness to God, they rarely functioned as the priest between God and the other nations. Therefore, in the New Testament the new spiritual people of God (second promise of the Abrahamic covenant) picked up the priesthood function. The apostle Peter wrote: And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed. 9But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy (1 Peter 2:810). Because one of Israel’s functions was given to the Church does not mean that all the promises of Israel now belong to the Church. It simply means that the function of priest is now within the domain of the new spiritual people who are called to be holy. The Scripture is very specific. Outside of this one transfer allowed by Scripture, no others can be found. Israel as a nation keeps all the rest of her promises. One final point is Israel's ultimate inclusion into the spiritual people of God. In Romans 11:2, Paul avows that God did not cast away His people (Rom 11:2). Exegeting this passage, Michael Vanlaningham asserts that Romans 11:2–6 is proof that God preserved a remnant. The allusion to Elijah’s Mount Horeb experience was significant in

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Journal of Biblical Ministry that “God was guarding against the total loss of the people of Israel.”54 Likewise, Westerholm reports: How is Paul to maintain God’s faithfulness to Israel while acknowledging that few of his contemporary Jews belong to the community of God as it is presently constituted? His initial answer, in effect is that there is nothing new in the current situation; that, on the contrary, the Israel that has enjoyed God’s favor and blessing has always been made up, not of all Abraham’s descendants, but of a selection from among them. Thus “not all who are of Israel are Israel, nor are all the children the (promised) seed of Abraham” (9:6b–7a).55 While all Israel was within the Sinaitic covenant, not all Israel was saved. They were part of national Israel (Genesis 15 promise), but they were not all spiritual children (Genesis 17 promise). Paul, by means of a quotation from Isaiah, wrote, “Though the number of the seed of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved.” He declared himself to be proof of the remnant (11:1). The blindness of the rest of Israel was temporary until the time of the Gentiles was full (11:25). Currently, though the Sinaitic covenant has ended, Israel still remains as “a great nation” because of the first, eternal promise of the Abrahamic covenant. God is not finished with His special nation yet, seeing as how Paul prophesied that the natural 54

Michael G. Vanlaningham, “Paul’s Use of Elijah’s Mt. Horeb Experience in Romans 11:2–6: An Exegetical Note,” The Master’s Seminary Journal 6 (1995): 223. 55

Stephen Westerholm, “Paul and the Law in Romans 9–11,” in Paul and the Mosaic Law: The Third Durham Tübingen Research Symposium on Earliest Christianity and Judaism, ed. James D. G. Dunn, WUNT, no. 89 (Tübingen: J. C. B. Mohr [Paul Siebeck], 1996), 220–21. While both scholars recognized that Paul spoke of national Israel, they both suggested that “all” was a majority.

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Journal of Biblical Ministry branches would be grafted into the root again (11:23), or that all Israel would be saved.56 Bruce considers this an eschatological event still yet in the future.57 Though many scholars see this latter Israel as comprised of both Jew and Gentile, Paul gives no indication of this in the context of Romans 9–11.58 The nation of Israel will be restored to its rightful place in the land according to the promise of the Abrahamic covenant. In 11:27, Paul alludes to the New covenant of Jer 31:33–34.59 As God assembled his people at Sinai and entered into the Sinaitic covenant, so will he meet with his people again and initiate the New covenant with them. This time national Israel (the physical seed) will be blessed by becoming a part of the spiritual people of God. Conclusion Covenants in the Scripture are patterned (by God) after historical treaties or grant documents. This observation yields several conclusions. First, the covenants have specific second parties to whom they are given. Any theological application should take into account the second party. Second, the covenants contain specific stipulations outlining functions of the covenant to that second party. The Sinaitic covenant, in a Suzerain/law form, regulates the behavior of Israel, whereas the Abrahamic covenant, in grant form, contains promises related to Abraham and his seed. Last, the covenants are independent agreements, yet they exhibit a promise/fulfillment relationship: that is, the promises of the Abrahamic covenant find their expression in the Sinaitic covenant and the New covenant. 56

Michael G. Vanlaningham, “Romans 11:25–27 and the Future of Israel in Paul’s Thought,” The Master’s Seminary Journal 3 (1992): 141–74. See also William L. Osborne, “The Old Testament Background of Paul’s ‘All Israel’ in Romans 11:26a,” Australian Journal of Theology 2 (1988): 282–93. 57

F[rederick] F[yvie] Bruce, The Epistle of Paul to the Romans: An Introduction and Commentary, in TNTC, ed by R. V. G. Tasker (London: InterVarsity, 1963), 221. See also Dumbrell, 182–85. Dumbrell believed that the reference in Jeremiah to the New covenant was still for a future time. Interestingly, Robertson considered the same passages to refer to the New Covenant as a present reality. See Robertson, 298. Each scholar saw a different branch of the Abrahamic Covenant. 58

J. Lanier Burns, “The Future of Ethnic Israel in Romans 11,” in Dispensationalism, Israel and the Church: A Search for Definition, ed. Craig A. Blaising and Darrell L. Bock (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1992), 188– 229. See also Bruce A. Ware, “The New Covenant and the People(s) of God,” in Dispensationalism, 92–97. 59

Ware, “New Covenant,” 68–97.

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Journal of Biblical Ministry The theological nature of the covenants revolves around the relationship between God and the seed (natural and/or spiritual). God, the Creator, desires a relationship with those he created. By virtue of his creatorship, God is king over all humanity. The rebellion of his subjects brought judgment, yet God never abandons his desire for a relationship with mankind. God elected Abraham and established his covenant with him so that God through Abraham would have a seed. God’s purpose has always been to have children that would be his people. He, then, would be their God. An important feature of the Abrahamic covenant is its two separate promises. One promise inaugurated in Genesis 15 provides the promises for a natural seed, Israel, through the child of promise, Isaac. The other promise established in Genesis 17 provides promises for a spiritual seed (those who believe) through the seed, Jesus Christ. These observations derived from the Old Testament fit Paul’s use of the covenant and provide a key for understanding the law/covenant passages in Galatians and Romans. Paul’s covenant-based theology provides a governing foundation for Christians to understand his writings, and allowed Paul himself to delineate the differences between the Sinaitic covenant and the Abrahamic covenant. The promise of justification and eternal life came through Christ, the spiritual seed of the Abrahamic covenant. Those with the faith of Abraham could be the recipients of justification whether they were Jew or Gentile because the sphere of faith was distinctly different from the sphere of the Sinaitic covenant. Finally, the parallel nature of the Abrahamic promises maintains that Israel (people/land) is separate from spiritual "Israel" (seed/blessings). The Lord has a continuing program for national Israel as well as a program for those who come to God through faith in Christ.

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Journal of Biblical Ministry Sources Cited Bartholomew, Craig. “Covenant and Creation: Covenant Overload or Covenantal Deconstruction.” Calvin Theological Journal 30 (1995): 11-33. Bruce, F[rederick] F[yvie].The Epistle of Paul to the Romans: An Introduction and Commentary in The Tyndale New Testament Commentary, ed by R. V. G. Tasker. London: InterVarsity, 1963. Burns, J. Lanier. “The Future of Ethnic Israel in Romans 11” in Dispensationalism, Israel and the Church: A Search for Definition, ed. Craig A. Blaising and Darrell L. Bock. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1992. Christensen, Duane L. Deuteronomy 1–11, vol. 6a in Word Biblical Commentary, David A. Hubbard and Glenn W. Barker, gen. eds. Dallas: Word Books, 1991. Dumbrell, William J. Covenant and Creation: An Old Testament Covenant Theology, rev. ed. London, England: Paternoster Press, 2013. Eichrodt, Walther. “Covenant and Law.” Interpretation 20 (1966): 309–11. Gerstenberger, Erhard. “Covenant and Commandment.” Journal of Biblical Literature 84 (1965): 38-51. Gorman, Jr., Frank H. Divine Presence and Community: A Commentary on the Book on Leviticus in International Theological Commentary, Fredrick Carlson Holmgren and George F. A. Knight, gen. eds. Edinburgh: Handsel Press, 1997. Harrison, Roland Kenneth. Leviticus: An Introduction and Commentary in The Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries, D. J. Wiseman, gen. ed. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1980. Hays, John Daniel. An Exegetical and Theological Study of the Abrahamic Covenant in a Canonical Context. Ph.D. Dissertation, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, TX, 1992. House, H. Wayne. “The Future of National Israel in Dispensational Thought.” Paper delivered at the National Evangelical Theological Society meeting, 2008.

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Kaiser, Jr., Walter C. Toward an Old Testament Theology. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1978. Leupold, Abraham H. C. Exposition of Genesis. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1960. Mapes, David L. “Understanding the Sinaitic Covenant.” Journal for Biblical Ministries 1 (Spring 2009): 9-30. Mathews, Kenneth A. Genesis in vol. 1B of The New American Commentary. Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 2005. Matitiahu, Tsevat. “Studies in the Book of Samuel (Chapter III).” Hebrew Union College Annual 34 (1963): 76-77. McComiskey, Thomas Edward. The Covenants of Promise: A Theology of Old Testament Covenants Grand Rapids: Baker, 1985. Murray, John. The Covenant of Grace: A Biblico-Theological Study. Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1953. Peddi, Victor. “A Note on qjo in the Old Testament.” VT 16 (1966): 359–60. Pettigrew, Larry D. “Interpretive Flaws in the Olivet Discourse.” The Master’s Seminary Journal 13 (Fall 2002): 173-190. Ryrie, Charles. Dispensationalism Today. Grand Rapids: Moody, 1969. Sailhamer, John H. Genesis in vol. 2 of The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Frank E. Gaebelein, gen. ed. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1990. See also, Charles Ryrie, Basic Theology. Chicago: Moody, 1999. Saucy, Robert L. Case for Progressive Dispensationalism: The Interface between Dispensational & Non-Dispensational Theology. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1993. Sauer, Eric. The Dawn of World Redemption: A Survey of Historical Revelation in the Old Testament, trans. G. H. Lang. London: Paternoster, 1956. Stek, John H. “‘Covenant’ Overload in Reformed Theology.” Calvin Theological Journal 29 (1994): 12-41.

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Journal of Biblical Ministry Vanlaningham, Michael G. “Paul’s Use of Elijah’s Mt. Horeb Experience in Romans 11:2–6: An Exegetical Note.” The Master’s Seminary Journal 6 (1995): 223-32. Verhoef, Eduard. “Eternal Life and Following the Commandments Lev 18:5 and Luke 10:28” in The Scriptures in the Gospels, C. M. Tuckett, ed. Leuven: Leuven University, 1997. Vlach, Michael. “What Does Christ as ‘True Israel’ Mean for the National Israel?” A paper presented at the national Evangelical Theological Society (November 2013). Waltke, Bruce. “The Covenants” in The Kingdom of God, eds. Christoper W. Morgan and Robert A Peterson. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2012. Walvoord, John F. "Israel in Prophecy" in The Nations, Israel and the Church in Prophecy. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1988. Ware, Bruce A. “The New Covenant and the People(s) of God.” in Dispensationalism. Weinfeld, Moshe. “The Covenant of Grant in the Old Testament and in the Ancient Near East.” Journal of the American Oriental Society 90 (1970): 184-203. _______. “Two Types of Unconditional Covenants.” HBT 18 (June 1996): 60. _______. “tyriB]” in The Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament, G. Johannes Botterweck and Helmer Ringgren, eds. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1975. Wenham, Gordon J. Genesis 1–15, in vol. 1 of Word Biblical Commentary, David A. Hubbard and Glenn W. Barker, eds. Waco, TX: Word Books, 1984. _______. The Book of Leviticus in New International Commentary on the Old Testament, R. K. Harrison, gen. ed. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1979. Westerholm, Stephen. “Paul and the Law in Romans 9–11.” in Paul and the Mosaic Law: The Third Durham Tübingen Research Symposium on Earliest Christianity and Judaism, ed. James D. G. Dunn, Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament, no. 89. Tübingen: J. C. B. Mohr (Paul Siebeck), 1996. Wevers, John William. Notes on the Greek Text of Leviticus, SBLSCS, no. 44, Bernard A. Taylor, sr. ed. Atlanta: Scholars, 1997.

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Journal of Biblical Ministry Williamson, Paul R. Abraham, Israel and the Nations: The Patriarchal Promise and its Covenantal Development in Genesis, Journal for the Study of the Old Testament Supplement Series 315. Sheffield, England: Sheffield Academic Press, 2000.

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