The Newness Of The New Covenant: Better Covenant, Better Mediator, Better Sacrifice, Better Ministry, Better Hope, Better Promises (Part II) -- By: James R. White

Journal: Reformed Baptist Theological Review
Volume: RBTR 02:1 (Jan 2005)
Article: The Newness Of The New Covenant: Better Covenant, Better Mediator, Better Sacrifice, Better Ministry, Better Hope, Better Promises (Part II)
Author: James R. White


The Newness Of The New Covenant:
Better Covenant, Better Mediator, Better Sacrifice,
Better Ministry, Better Hope, Better Promises (Part II)

James R. White

James, R. White, D. Min., Th. D., Phoenix Reformed Baptist Church, Phoenix, AZ, Adjunct Professor of Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary and Columbia Evangelical Seminary, is founder of Alpha and Omega Ministries and author of numerous books.

In the first part of this study1 we examined the text of Hebrews, focusing on the “new covenant,” taking special note of the phrase “better,” and following closely the argument of the writer in chapters eight and ten, where the key prophetic passage Jer. 31:31–34 is cited, applied, and interpreted within the context of the author’s presentation. In this part of our study we will recap our exegetical conclusions and then interact with the presentations of various paedobaptist writers, all reflecting on the issue of the New Covenant, focusing on the presentation given by Pastor Jeff Niell in The Case for Covenantal Infant Baptism.2 Pastor Niell co-authored The Same Sex Controversy with me, and hence this topic provides an opportunity for modeling exegetically based dialogue and even disagreement regarding important issues, while honoring our common bond in Christ.

Recapitulation of Exegesis

Throughout his epistle, the writer of Hebrews presents a defense of the supremacy of Christ, seeking to demonstrate that in every aspect Christ is superior to the former administration, so that there is nothing in the “old ways” to attract the believer in Him. We also saw that the complex of terms related to “better” (mediator of a “better covenant,” “better sacrifices,” “better promises,” “better hope” and “more excellent ministry”) are found in distinctively soteriological contexts. The writer introduced the citation of Jeremiah within a context of contrast (8:6–7), continued it within the citation itself (“not like the covenant which I made with their fathers,” v. 9), and made the contrast explicit in his

conclusion at 8:13. The text presents an apologetic argument that unlike the Old Covenant, where “they did not continue in My covenant” (v. 9), the New Covenant presents a perfect, full work of God which includes the internal renovation of the heart, salvific knowledge o...

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