The Original Covenant

Most often, the first covenant discussed in the Scriptures is that of Genesis 3:15. In the curse of the serpent (Satan), God promised, “I will cause hostility between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel” (NLT). This Scripture points us to God’s amazing grace to humankind who, through Adam, had fallen, but through our Savior Jesus would be victoriously redeemed. As wonderful as this covenant promise is, I would like to suggest that there was a covenant even before the fall.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/11190

[quote=“spectrumbot, post:1, topic:21585”]
Most often, the first covenant discussed in the Scriptures is that of Genesis 3:15. In the curse of the serpent (Satan), God promised, “I will cause hostility between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel” (NLT). This Scripture points us to God’s amazing grace to humankind who, through Adam, had fallen, but through our Savior Jesus would be victoriously redeemed.

I wonder what would our “Fundamental Beliefs” look like if we stopped attributing to the Bible things the Bible doesn’t actually say:

*The Bible doesn’t say anywhere that the snake was Satan in disguise. Did Satan spend subsequent millennia biting humans’ feet? Did humans literally kick Satan’s head?
Did Satan have the offspring mentioned? We treat Gen. 1-2a as literal but Gen. 2b-3’s curse spoken to the serpent not-so-much.

No wonder onlookers aren’t impressed by our insistence that Genesis is rock-solid literal

Where our traditional exegesis isn’t literal, an occasional “maybe” would go a long way.

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Harry,
Your arguments here are childish at best. Do you really believe that the serpent was a literal animal created with the ability to speak, with the ability to reason with a human being, and with superior knowledge, compared with Eve, about who God is and what He knows? Where does the story of Creation say that?

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[quote=“gdavidovic, post:3, topic:21585”]
"Do you really believe that the serpent was a literal animal?"

Of course not. :astonished: But the Bible says that it was.

I’m sorry that you missed my point.

I’m saying that our practice is to reject the talking snake story as written without admitting our rejection.

But we insist that it is evil to conclude that the first creation story is not literally accurate.

We can’t have it both ways!

Harry,
I think I understood your point, but I have to uncoil your logic one step at the time. I understood your comment to be against the SDA belief of Gen.1 as a literal 6-day creation, and so you are using the (partial) non-literal SDA application of Gen 2-3 to prove this is an inconsistent exegesis of Scriptures. This logic is flawed, because:

  1. Even though the Bible doesn’t explicitly say that the talking serpent was “Satan in disguise”, this portion of the story is to be understood as literal (spiritual possession) - the Bible uses real talking animals in other parts of the Bible for people of real hard understanding i.e. Balaam’s donkey.
  2. The remainder of the of the story as it applies to the serpent is to be understood as both literal and metaphorical where:
    a. The symbolic seed of the serpent (followers of Satan) would hate the symbolic seed of the woman (God’s church) and nail Jesus to the cross.
    b. The real seed of Eve (Jesus), will crush the head of the symbolic serpent (real Satan) for ever and ever.
    This reading of Genesis is completely consistent, when you include the literal curses that followed both Adam and Eve, as well as the Earth, and also the symbolical application of “sons of God” and “sons of the Devil” that can be found in several other biblical examples.
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Well, George, I hear you acknowledging that the two creation stories are not entirely literal. My sympathy goes out to those who have been taught that they are.

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Not at all Harry, I see it as one completely consistent story. Do you know how much time passed between Chapters 2 and 3?

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To think that the creation narrative in Genesis 1 is a literal scientific and historical record of creation in the way we understand such today, is to misunderstand the literary genre of the opening of Genesis, its purpose, and the cultural matrix in which it was embedded. It is to actually do violence to the biblical text in the name of biblical literalism.

One can get the message of Genesis in its own time and place, and find substantive relevance to ours, without such literalism.

Frank

I see you stumble over the very FOUNDATION of Christianity. If the serpent were not real then Christianity is a fable built upon legends!

even though this article is discussing the interesting speculation of an implied covenant of marriage between god, adam and eve before the fall - which begs the question of why there will be no marriage in heaven, Matt 22:30 - it’s worth remembering that that first intimation of the intervention of god on our behalf, spoken to satan in the hearing of adam and eve, and recorded in Gen 3:15, was actually the starting point of a progressive revelation of the divine plan for our salvation…this plan, devised and agreed to by the godhead before our creation, sees jesus becoming our sacrifice and merits because our inheritance of guilt and condemnation prevents us from doing anything on our own, even with divine assistance, to escape eternal death, which is the irrevocable sentence against sin, and everything connected with sin…

because god loved us before he created us, and therefore didn’t want to be without us, the godhead covenanted to become our guilt and condemnation so that we can become, not only the original innocence we were created to be, but the substantive and potentially infinite righteousness that exists in christ, and in fact the divine godhead…we actually stand to gain much more than what adam and eve had before they sinned…that is, to the extent that christ descended the ladder of humility is the extent to which we are in a position to ascend into exaltation…

in adam’s day, through noah’s and abraham’s day, up until the exodus, the revelation of the divine plan for lost humanity was restricted to the understanding that the death of a perfect, innocent creature was required in order to atone for human sins and sinfulness, and facilitate any kind of approach to god…this understanding, referred to as the old covenant, was eventually amplified through moses to include an understanding that in addition to effecting an atonement, human sin and sinfulness was transferred from the sinner via a perfect, innocent animal into a chosen sanctuary, or dwelling place of god…

in the apostle’s day, this covenant was for the first time clearly seen to be predicated, not on the death of a perfect, innocent animal, but on the death of christ, which the death of that perfect, innocent animal was suddenly seen to represent…in addition, instead of a ceremony officiated by a death prone patriarch, and after moses, a designated death prone priesthood on earth, the entire management of our estrangement from god was seen to be the sole role of christ, not only as our sacrifice, but as our immortal high priest and mediator in heaven…that is, our entire opportunity to be reconciled to god, and escape the doom we are born into, rests on the qualitative and quantitative ministry of christ in heaven on our behalf…this much more complete picture has become known as the new covenant, not because it is substantively new or different, but because an entirely new understanding attends it…

but regardless of anyone’s understanding, or lack thereof, humanity’s reconciliation to god has always rested solely on the gift of christ…there is not, nor has there ever been, any reconciliation whatsoever between fallen humanity and god that hasn’t been based on that gift…before the life, death, resurrection and ministry of christ in heaven, humanity’s reconciliation to god existed in promissory form…since the life, death, resurrection and inauguration of the ministry of christ in heaven, that reconciliation has been unfolding in actual form…these old and new covenant iterations are progressive glimpses of the same reality operated in by the divine mind that fully knows the end from the beginning, that cannot be thwarted, and that cannot lie …

in our day, we are in a position to see much more clearly than any before us that the sanctuary in heaven is the repository of the record of human sin and sinfulness from the time of the fall…since 1844, that record, which is still accumulating, has been systematically cleared from the sanctuary’s records in the cases of those deemed to be beneficiaries of christ’s death and merits…that is, to the extent the sanctuary in heaven is being cleansed, or its record of sin cleared for those for whom christ is determined to be an effective propitiation, the book of life is being drawn up…at some point in the future, that book of life will have all the names of individuals who have ever lived that christ’s death and merits cover…

and at that time christ will cease his ministry that has lasted approximately 2,000 yrs so far, and there will be no mediator for lost humanity…this time will see satan gain unprecedented access and control over all who are not in the book of life, and sealed with the permanent gift of christ’s perfection…it goes without saying that the world will be plunged into unimaginable strife and trouble…but all the sealed who live through that time, and who are written in the book of life, will be miraculously preserved…to the extent that the lost are possessed by satan and evil spirits, the sealed will be filled with the miraculous power of divinity…the resulting clash and display of supernatural power will eclipse pentecost, and in fact anything seen in the life of christ on earth…

the climax of this time will be the second advent of christ to earth…divine prophecy predicts that the sealed will rise with those called to life from the dead to meet christ in the air at his coming, and begin the gift of sin-free eternal life which the divine plan for lost humanity, gradually and progressively revealed, has been about all along…

Myth No. 1

Myth No. 2

What do you mean by the book being drawn up? The book was already mentioned even in Genesis!
Besides, this (the sanctuary doctrine) is out of topic at consideration. This would only lead to more heated debates and confusion.

if the biblical book of Hebrews is accurate, and the structure and services of the mosaic sanctuary are typical of what is going on in heaven now - and i believe it is - the transfer of the record of sin from fallen human individuals onto books of record in the heavenly sanctuary through the sacrifice and ministry of christ is the most logical anti-type of the transfer of sin from the sinner into the earthly sanctuary via the blood of slain animals through the ministry of aaronic priests…this logic opens up an understanding of why the cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary, mentioned in Dan 8:14, is necessary, and why yom kippur was an annual event in the earthly sanctuary…

the alternative is to believe that the earthly sanctuary and its services have no teaching corollary with the heavenly sanctuary now, which is a direct contradiction with Heb 8:1-6, and that it had no meaning outside of its own specificity, which is out of character with the way god led israel, or anyone in the bible…

Dan 8:14, a pivotal text in adventism, occurs in the context of symbolic prophecy…the 2300 day stipulation for the cleansing of “the sanctuary” therefore cannot be a reference to the literal earthly sanctuary, subsequent to the Maccabean Revolt in 167-160 BC, for example, which means it’s a symbolic time period referencing the heavenly sanctuary, the only other sanctuary mentioned in the bible…

it’s a question of recognizing and maintaining logical parallels throughout the prophecy, and not merely where they’re self-servingly convenient…

the book of life is mentioned for the first time in the bible in Exodus 32:32, well after any of the events recorded in Genesis…but even if it were mentioned in Genesis, there were obviously fallen individuals being saved through the promissory blood of christ at that time, for instance enoch, and the other patriarchs, as we have reason to believe…

this is even more evidence, if any were needed, that the salvation paradigm for fallen humanity that has been progressively revealed through prophets has been continuous and identical throughout all ages of recorded history…

what of it…the apostle paul has left us an indication of the importance of debates, Acts 9:22; 15:2; 17:2-4; 19:8-10…and if everyone in the entire world is as confused as they are lying “in wickedness”, 1Jn 5:19, there’s no reason for any of us to be…

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according to david, likely transcribed through asaph:

“Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary.” Psalm 77:13.

this insight occurs in the context of god’s dealings with us during our low moments through the covenant he has made with us to save us from eternal death…obviously the sanctuary in heaven is intimately connected with this covenant…

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The Bible says that God permitted a serpent to go into the garden who was so much more “subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made” that he could talk. We reject that story and pretend that it actually says that it was Satan that was talking. (Not an unreasonable plot but it contradicts the Bible!)

We go further and say that God’s curse upon the snake was not a curse but a promise in code of a savior. No matter that the people this was written to and for didn’t know that.

My point is simply that if we’re going to say that some of things in the Bible are not literal and factual, then we can’t reasonably assert that fiat creation and a worldwide flood must be literally true because they are found in the Bible.

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In reading Rabbi Johnathan Sachs books, starting with Genesis: The Book of Beginnings (Covenant & Conversation 1) which is from a series on the Torah, I find much that agrees with your view on the Genesis story. Recent study has given me much reason to review things taught me from a small child in church through college and into graduate school that have led me to seriously rethink my views.

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The context deals with a psalm written to Israel at some point during the OT period. The writer is lamenting the fact that the wicked seem to prosper and the righteous suffer. We can all relate to this, even though this was not written directly to us. He goes into the place where heaven and earth, God and humans, met in ancient Israel, the temple. It is here, maybe witnessing the services, that he gained perspective…that God is just, and will sort injustice out. This is behind him saying, “Your way is in the sanctuary, oh lord.”

The NT simply points to a way beyond this, to the messiah himself, who declared that he was the way, the truth, and the life. It is through his life, death, and resurrection, that we now see that God will sort out injustice, the risen Jesus himself as the guarantee of this. We don’t look for this through heavenly architecture or furniture. We find this in the person of the messiah himself.

You, and traditional Adventism, keep pointing back to shadows, when the reality of the gospel in the person of Jesus is where the substance is.

Frank

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Worth considering:

In Dan 8:11 the Little Horn prevents 2300 sacrifices. They occurred at the rate of one each evening and one each morning.

Dan 8:13 How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice …?

Dan 8:14 Unto two thousand and three hundred evenings and mornings.

The evening and morning sacrifice DID resume after 2300 sacrifices. They didn’t resume in 1844 and of course, they never will again.

COVENENT is from GOD without iniquity only man brings in iniquity

Terrible were the trials that were to beset the true church. Even at the time when the apostle was writing, the “mystery of iniquity” had already begun to work. The developments that were to take place in the future were to be “after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish.”

JESUS was without iniquity
and church is the BRIDE
so why are the church leaders in NAD and GC entertaining iniquity

frank, there’s no chance that this “context” of yours can be correct, as the “wicked” are never once mentioned or alluded to in Psalm 77 (and there’s no textual evidence this psalm is written “to Israel”, or to anyone)…perhaps you mistakenly glanced through Psalm 73, another so-called asaph psalm, which is an important lament about the apparent prosperity of the wicked…

the entire ethos of Psalm 77, which is obviously davidic, is about resting in god despite excruciating personal suffering…as in Job, this particular psalm, like many of the davidic psalms, is a clear demonstration of the NC spiritual experience in an OC context…the personal familiarity with the entire spectrum of what we now call christian experience is complete in this psalm…there is no hint of being a stranger to the influence of the spirit of god in the heart…the reference to god’s way being in the sanctuary in v.13 is a clear indication that god’s method of achieving salvation is centred in the sanctuary, whether we’re talking the earthly sanctuary, or the heavenly sanctuary…

but speaking of Psalm 73, perhaps you know v.17:

“Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their [the wicked’s] end.”

this remarkable allusion to a judgement function for the OT sanctuary services - clearly evidence of a relatively sophisticated and advanced understanding of the significance of yom kippur - is interesting, given our current understanding that IJ involves the drawing up of the book of life, which necessarily separates the saved from the lost…

perhaps you don’t…but the author of Hebrews clearly locates the risen, immortal christ in the heavenly sanctuary, a model of which was the basis of the OT sanctuary’s architecture or furniture…the NT teaching of the risen christ isn’t a disembodied concept unattached to a place or time sequence…it’s clearly centred in a glorified christ who is actively ministering in a physical heavenly sanctuary as both our sacrifice and high priest…

actually we’re not…we’re pointing out that the OT sanctuary and its services is an indication of the reality transpiring in heaven now, just as the book of Hebrews teaches…our hope is located in the heavenly sanctuary, “whither the forerunner is for us entered , even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec”…

harry, Dan 8:11 doesn’t mention 2300 sacrifices…this is something you’re supplying into the text in order to literalize Dan 8:14 into a Maccabean fulfillment, which it isn’t…

Dan 8:11 is really an allusion to the defiling interposition of the papacy between believers and the ministry of christ as their personal high priest in the HP of the heavenly sanctuary…the 2300 yr time period, given in Dan 8:14, is an apparent prediction of how long that interposition by the papacy would continue, but it’s real meaning is the prediction of when christ’s ministry in the HP of the heavenly sanctuary would give way to his ministry in the MHP of the heavenly sanctuary, and the effective judgement against the papacy would begin…

your interpretation is incorrect…2300 doesn’t refer to 2300 sacrifices, or 1150 days…it refers to 2300 sets of evening and morning sacrifices, or 2300 days…again, your attempt to literalize Dan 8:14 into a Maccabean fulfillment has no merit…