Illumination #4

Wading Through Deep Waters


The next dialogue I would like to quote from Illumination is a back and forth between Jason Payton and myself.  I appreciated his admission that he was no expert, but was “trying to wade through these deep waters myself.”  He posted a couple of comments previous to my Provocative Response to Dr. Waldron.  Then after my response, he had a comment for me.  I’ll post my response to him in Orange.  How about a nice turquoise for Jason?


Hi Orange, please take my questions and comments as presented in a good spirit and tone, understanding that I am no expert but am trying to wade through these deep waters myself.


You said, “I’m having a hard time finding some passage in the New Testament which teaches that Jesus’ sacrifice abolished any other sacrifice…perhaps you could point me to a verse which uses the word “abrogate”, or some reasonable facsimile.”


Though I don’t necessarily even think that we need to point to a certain verse or passage to see this, consider this:  Heb. 8:13 “In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.”


You said, “If Ezekiel saw a physical temple …in which sacrifices will be offered?”  The assumption in your question is that the temple Ezekiel saw is in fact physical.


You said, “As far as retrospective versus prospective, the Old Testament sacrifices were both, as I stated concerning Passover.”  Even if the observance of the Passover was retrospective to the exodus (which event in itself is prospective to Christ’s work), I don’t think that proves that the sacrifices were also retrospective or even had a retrospective element. I’m sorry if you have answered this before but, to what in the OT were the OT sacrifices looking back?


The redemptive/historical view doesn’t intend to “discount” the original context of the vision in a subtractive way, but rather, in what might be called an additive way, it tries to support a fuller interpretation of OT visions/prophesies with the “meta-narrative” of scripture in view, so Ezekiel himself didn’t fully understand what he saw.


I don’t know if Waldron and Barcelous would share my exact understanding (they very likely have a much greater understanding of these things than I) but I do think this discussion helps all those (like myself0 to think about these issues much more clearly.


My response to Jason was as follows:


Hello Jason-


I have read your post a couple of times now and I agree that discussion helps these matters.  It can clear up misunderstandings if there is interaction.  I myself am trying to understand where A-Millennialists stand on issues without resorting to dispensational extrapolations.  I’m not a dispensationalist, but I am a Pre-Millennialist.  When Dr. Waldron posted his series on MacArthur’s Millennial Manifesto, it was an eye opener for me since I had some false assumptions about A-Millennialism.


Concerning the subject of sacrifices in conjunction with the new covenant, my study of the new covenant from the old covenant perspective (old testament perspective) is that even under the old covenant, a new aspect of it was foretold in Deuteronomy 30:1-8.  Israel would return and obey; in response the LORD would circumcise their heart.  I see the prophecies of a new heart and new spirit for Israel to be connected with the everlasting covenant in Jeremiah 32:40 and Ezekiel 37:26 and the new covenant in Jeremiah 31.  I don’t see any reason to separate a future, everlasting covenant that the LORD promises to make with Israel from the new covenant that the LORD promises to make with Israel.  This leads me to believe that the new covenant includes the same provisions as the old covenant.  The new covenant was made with Israel, confirmed in the presence of the believing remnant of Israelite believers.  Later, Gentiles were allowed to participate in the New Covenant with Israel on equal terms without becoming members of the nation of Israel.  Israel looks forward to a national repentance and national conversion thereby nationally participating in the New Covenant.


So to get to the point, the verses in Hebrews to which you refer I see quite differently.  The Old Covenant was based on “will you do what God says?”  The people responded “yes”.  They didn’t obey therefore God chastised them.  The New Covenant is based on “did Christ obey”?  The answer is “yes”.  Do you then believe in Christ?  That’s how one participates in the New Covenant : by faith.  Christ’s sacrifice is the only sacrifice necessary for sins.  But if God plans on fulfilling His Word concerning the everlasting covenant in concomitance with the new covenant, then the future restoration of the nation of Israel is a reality which the LORD will bring about.  So to try to sum up, it is simply the way of participation which has been made new.


Concerning the temple, yes I am assuming that the temple is physical.  I think the physical location, physical dimensions, and physical accouterments all make this a fair assumption.  I don’t read in the passage any spiritual characteristics or symbolism, and the New Testament has no quotation of this passage as being fulfilled in the church.


As far as retrospective versus prospective goes, my response was to clarify that these are not mutually exclusive ideas.  It doesn’t have to be one or the other.  Sacrifices from the time of Adam forward looked back to the fall, the death of mankind, but forward to a redeemer.  From Noah onward, they looked back to the fall and to God’s grace in sparing the human race, and looked forward to a redeemer.  From Passover onward, they looked back to the fall, the flood, and to redemption of the nation of Israel as God purchased a people for Himself.  They also looked forward to a redeemer now revealed to be a spotless lamb.  The Israelites were instructed to keep the Passover every year because of what God had done in the past.  If children asked why they were having the feast, God had a prepared statement for the Israelites to explain to their children.  It was because of what God had done in the past that they were sacrificing the Passover lamb.


What does the redemptive/historical view consist of?


What is meant by “meta-narrative”?


Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13


-The Orange Mailman


This is where the dialogue ended.  I never received any other response from Jason.  BTW, thanks to my ONE FRIENDS Jim for explaining what Meta-Narrative means.  I had forgotten about my inquiry of the term until I was reading my response to Jason again.  It was actually just this past Sunday that Jim mentioned it in his Sunday School lesson.  Then after evening service, Jim explained it a bit more fully.  I’d still like to know what the redemptive/historical view consists of though.  Anybody?


P.S.  That evening, Pastor Shane had preached on Dispensationalism versus Covenant Theology for his sermon.  I still can’t call myself a dispensationalist.  And now I understand a bit more as to why.  I’ll have more on that after this series.

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