Sons of the Law

or The Federal Vision’s Adam and Steve

Pushing something to its logical conclusions is most often a wise thing to do. If you have good data to start with (unlike those pushing global warming) the resulting “computer model” can be very helpful. This is also the case with biblical doctrine. It is very helpful to push hyperpreterism to its logical conclusions, which damn it entirely. It is also very helpful to push biblical typology to its logical conclusions. This may sound harebrained to some, but if done within the constraints the Bible itself gives us, false doctrine should stand out like blood stains under ultraviolet light.

This is the case with the idolatrous worship of Mary. I have written about that here.

In putting together Bible Matrix III, I’ve been chewing on the threefold ethical process of Priest, King and Prophet. The priest hears the Law. He does not speak. The king meditates upon, incarnates and administers the Law (as a microcosm of the greater process) but the Law itself remains the mediator. The prophet speaks directly for God by the Spirit. With this authority, he rules over priests and anoints and disciplines kings.

The main point here is that God forms man, fills man and then multiplies man. The initial step concerns the physical. What follows is social, kingdom. The final step is “bridal,” which is the fruit, the ethical outcome in history. We see this in the first three chapters of the Bible.

Genesis 1: Adam as the capstone of the Physical world (Creation – Transcendence).
Genesis 2: Narrative “zooms in” to describe Adam’s “leaving and cleaving” (sacrificial cutting and Covenantal reunion) as a Social being (Division – Hierarchy).
Genesis 3: Narrative continues to describe the foundation of the final process, Adam’s QUALIFICATION as an Ethical representative (Ascension/Testing/Maturity – Ethics).

It is this threefold Ethical process which translates into the roles of Priest, King and Prophet. The Priest is the Covenant Head, the King is the fire of the Law openly displayed, and the Prophet is the Covenant Body, the Bride. It takes us from Forming (Head) to Filling (Body), which we also see in Genesis 1 physically and Genesis 2 socially. The single Adamic Law was to form Adam ethically. If he obeyed (demonstrating his faith in his Father) he would have been filled ethically, that is, qualified not only to rule for God but also to speak for God as plenipotentiary. [1]

We can see this process very obviously in Israel’s history. It moves from priestly to kingly to prophetic. Judges describes the failure of the priesthood, which leads to the kings, albeit before God’s time. The kingdom period gives us the “second testament,” from Judges to Chronicles, as well as the Wisdom Literature. As the kings turn from God, the prophets come to the fore, and the final phase of Israel’s role is her prophetic counsel to the world emperors (epitomized in Daniel and Mordecai). As Gentile Rabshakeh (“cupbearer of the prince”) served the cup of testing to Hezekiah, so now Daniel and Esther were serving it to the Gentile rulers. This “third testament” majors on the coming Day (Atonement/Conquest).

But in the big picture, Israel’s history in the Land is only “Ascension,” that is, priestly. The true kingdom came with the Christ: the Law meditated upon, incarnated and administered–perfectly. And as above, Christ’s threefold ministry as a new Adam is a microcosm of all Covenant history, in which we should find the physical, the social and the ethical.

Until Pentecost, Covenant Succession was physical. Of course it had social and ethical facets because God works fractally, so His Trinity shows up at every level. But the main character was physical. The truth was to be handed down to sons. Covenant was patriarchal.

Between Pentecost and holocaust (AD30 to AD70), the kingdom was inherently social. Adam, who had been cut and bloodied by God, was receiving His Bride. Yes, that means the wedding banquet in Revelation is history, at least concerning the faithful Old Covenant saints and the apostolic (firstfruits) martyrs. Like David, Jesus was enthroned at age 30 and ruled for 40 years over Israel. But he could not build the temple because he was a “man of blood.” Revelation shows us the beginning of Jesus’ reign as Solomon, the bridal king. This single generation brought an end to the Jew/Gentile divide. The flesh that was cut asunder has been reunited in a new and better way by the Spirit.

The primary facet of this current age is ethical. We do not speak with the authority of the apostles, but we have their doctrine. We are priests and kings but the character of the Church in the World is Bridal and prophetic. Jesus and His ministers are no longer visible, but we have access to them by the Spirit. The Church as a Body speaks, by the Spirit, for God to the World.

This explains the redefinition, or rather, the total transcending, of the definition of sonship under the New Covenant. Covenant sons are no longer simply physical sons. This happened in Jesus, who never married and had no children, which are unthinkable in Jewish terms. His Bride is spiritual (that is, a body bounded by personal obedience to God). His children, His family, are those who do the will of His Father.

I am very grateful to my “Federal Vision” friends for their revival of an understanding of Covenant. But they have imported the primary nature of the Old Covenant into the New. Their understanding of “Covenant children” finds no support whatsoever in the New Testament. This causes great confusion when expounding on events such as Jesus telling the Pharisees that the devil was their Father. God could raise up sons from dead stones because sonship was no longer physical. Covenant succession was no longer physical. And Covenant membership was no longer physical. It passed through a bloody “social” death and resurrection in the first century and is now fundamentally ethical.

When John says, “Beloved, now are we the sons of God,” he does not mean that the Church is simply another physical body, one perhaps more open to receiving “Gentiles” but nonetheless still patriarchal, or tribal, with Covenant Succession primarily a matter of physical descent. No. He speaks of not an Adamic Body, but a Married Body, a Bridal Church that is being and will finally be entirely qualified to rule, enthroned with those pre-AD70 saints who already rule with Christ as His counsel.

Priests are merely servants under the Law. Kings are rulers but still under the Law. Prophets are the Law. They possess the mind of the Lawgiver, which will reach full term in the eternal state at the second resurrection. Before then, every possible manifestation of serpentine falsehood will be exposed to the Church by Christ and crushed under foot.

To maintain that the New Covenant sign concerns physical offspring rather than Spirit-filled ethical offspring is to confuse the old body with the new one. It messes with the consistent typology of the Scriptures. It would be like Jesus coming out of the tomb and meeting a converted male prostitute instead of Mary. Or worse, it would be like Adam waking up from his deathly sleep and meeting Steve instead of Eve.

Shining the ultraviolet light of consistent biblical typology over the Federal Vision reveals its primary character, despite its best intentions. There is blood on the door. It says KEEP OUT. I have no doubt that its great strengths minimize the effect of this single weakness, but a primarily physical Covenant people with physical “Covenant children” is entirely Adamic. The words of the apostles and prophets, read rightly, put it to death long ago.

Next: The Sociology of the New Covenant

[1] See Images of God.

Share Button

Comments are closed.