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Keeping track of times and seasons (Hebrews 8)

One of the big divisions in the world of evangelicals concerns the law of Moses and how it should be regarded.  Those who follow a branch of theology called “Covenant Theology” tend to regard the advent of the New Testament as a bumpless glide forward in the progress of revelation.  The more forceful proponents of this view see the law and the Gospel as two “faces” of the same underlying covenant of grace through which God moves to save his people.

The alternate view goes under the tongue-twisting name of dispensationalism.  The root word, to dispense, has to do with how things are administrated.  In Christianity, this refers to the rules, terms, and conditions of a covenant between God and men.  In brief, dispensationalism is the view that God deals with men through various covenants, each one further revealing himself and establishing the rules for the people that covenant addresses.

Those who hold the dispensational view say that when Christ died and rose again, the covenant called the law of Moses abruptly ended and the age of the New Testament abruptly commenced.  The Hebrew writer quotes from Jeremiah 31 noting that a new covenant has been foretold which is different from the old one and (Heb 8:6) established upon better promises:

In that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.  (Heb 8:13)

The Gospel, which is eternal (2 Tim 1:9), never changes in any respect.    But the writer of Hebrews explains that the administration of man’s affairs has changed.  The old covenant is “obsolete,” he says, and a new covenant has been put in place.

This has the effect of clarifying matters as man relates to God.  The writings of the New Testament explain what God expects of us.  The Old Testament, which is no less the word of God, reveals God’s character, remembers the history of God’s people, illumines God’s dealings with us, and provides us with reasons for our hope in God.  (Rom 15:4)

One Comment

  1. William

    Just curious, what do you see those who uphold “Covenant Theology” basing their view up within scripture…since it seems the scriptures you point out focus more towards a dispensational view? What evidence would they use to support thier view as more valid than a dispensational view?

    Posted on 31-Aug-10 at 21:51 pm | Permalink

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