January 27, 2021

The Council

Proclaiming the truth to the world.

Cranman’s Covenant

I had a conversation about Romans 9 with John Cranman. Here’s what we discussed:

John Cranman:

And in Romans 9, Israel is a type of Pharoah. Because they, like Pharoah, violate Gods covenant. And like Pharoah, God hardens them and “allows them to remain” to initiate the second Passover, which like Pharoah, displays Gods power and might.

And so the complaint in Romans 9:19 questions why God punishes the very tool He uses to bring about a greater good. In this case, Israel. They are the “hardened” tool that God uses to bring about the second Passover, which ends up being a very good thing. And yet God still punished Israel even though He accomplishes good through their hardening.

TheSire:

What covenant did pharaoh violate? I take it to be that the commonality is they are being hardened like Pharoh was for divine purposes.

John Cranman:

The Abrahamic covenant, “those who curse you I will curse”. By enslaving and mistreating Israel, this was essentially under the umbrella of “cursing”.

So of course God can still use one’s rebellion for divine purposes. I just don’t think either Pharaoh or Israel’s rebellion was determined by God.

Is that really a violation or merely a clause of a covenant made with the Jews?

I’m not sure if I understand. If Pharoah enslaved the Jews, how would this not be a “curse”?

Exodus 2:24 even says this enslavement is what caused God to remember His covenant and get involved.

I’m stating the Egyptians were never a covenant community of God.
TheSire, you don’t have to be to violate Gods covenant with Israel. Be enslaving the Jews, they defy Gods covenant with the Jews to bless and protect them.

so Exodus 1-2 is where everything with Pharoah really begins – this is the sin that initiates Gods involvement, and subsequent hardening of Pharoah.

And there’s nothing in the text that indicates God “caused” or determined Pharoah to enslave Israel.

TheSire:

1. The Jews were in a covenant with God. The Egyptians weren’t. So, they couldn’t violate covenant terms they never had.

2. God promises to protect the Jews but the Egyptian enslavement is obviously not the perfect state. But that isn’t the Egyptians violating a covenant they belong to. That leaves out the Egypt covenant-Israelites connection in Rom. 9.

3. I don’t think my point is hindered on whether Pharoh was determined to do as he did. I obviously disagree but won’t argue the point.

John Cranman:

I never said Egypt belonged to the covenant, or was in covenant with God.

But they certainly defied Gods covenant with Israel by enslaving them. They don’t have to be *in* covenant with God to *defy* God’s covenant with Israel.

Imagine it this way, I am in a marital covenant bond with my wife. If someone attempts to cheat with my wife, they are defying the bonds of my marriage. They do so even though they aren’t *in* covenant with us.

It’s the same here.

so both Pharaoh and Israel – each in their own way – defied God’s covenant terms and were hardened for it.

TheSire:

“I never said Egypt belonged to the covenant, or was in covenant with God. “

I know. I am not attributing those positions but it seems like the interpretation would have to mean that.

“But they certainly defied Gods covenant with Israel by enslaving them. They don’t have to be *in* covenant with God to *defy* God’s covenant with Israel. “

Defying the covenant and transgressing the covenant are two different things. One is internal and the other external. The Egyptians are still not covenanted to God and therefore not violating any covenant, but they are impeding it. That doesn’t parallel the Israelites in Paul’s time.

“Imagine it this way, I am in a marital covenant bond with my wife. If someone attempts to cheat with my wife, they are defying the bonds of my marriage. They do so even though they aren’t *in* covenant with us. “

The point being is that he isn’t violating covenant terms that he is apart of. Your wife is. That doesn’t mean he isn’t doing something morally wrong. It just simply can’t be about covenant terms in reference to Pharoh. Pharoh doesn’t violate any covenant as where the jews did.

John Cranman:

I’m not sure the significance of the external-internal distinction. If one impedes, attacks, or interferes between God and His people, one most certainly is in “defiance” of God’s covenant relationship with He and His people.

And I would say that Israel was also “external” to the new covenant as they were not yet part of it until they believed in Christ.

But by refusing to believe, they defied the terms of God’s covenant which is to come by faith in His Son. And thus they were hardened in their unbelief.

So both Pharoah and Israel “externally” defied God’s covenant and were both hardened to bring about their respective Passover’s.

I disagree with your take on the marriage analogy. The man is most definitely in defiance of the covenant terms of my marriage, whether he realizes it or not.

The terms of our marital covenant are that we are exclusive only to each other.

In attempting to include himself into relationship with my wife, he defies her exclusivity to me.

TheSire, yes unbelieving Israel was in conflict with the new covenant *externally* as they weren’t yet *in* the NC because of their unbelief.

And the man doesn’t have to be *in* the marriage to defy the agreement the husband has with his wife. You already granted an outsider can defy the bonds between husband and wife.

I didn’t say the Egyptians defied the covenant in the same exact way the Jews had. I just said they defied it, and both were hardened.

So the Pharoah example still makes sense because he serves as an example of someone being hardened after defying God. And now Israel is in the same boat because they likewise have now been hardened for defying God. And in both cases the hardening displayed God’s power. The parallels are there.

TheSire:

The man is a means by which the wife violates her marriage covenant. Unless we wish to suppose that I divorce the two of you. Yes, we should respect other peoples marriage covenants but that isn’t really the point of contention. 

“I’m not sure the significance of the external-internal distinction. If one impedes, attacks, or interferes between God and His people, one most certainly is in “defiance” of God’s covenant relationship with He and His people. 
And I would say that Israel was also “external” to the new covenant as they were not yet part of it until they believed in Christ. “

unbelieving Israel was surely in conflict with the New Covenant. The external-internal distinction was to point out that the Egyptians are hardly covenant transgressors like the Jews and it wouldn’t make sense for Paul to parallel them to the Jews being covenant breakers. It makes more sense that Pharoh parallel’s Israel in reference to divine choice and God’s purposes in his choices(hardening some and so-forth). Which the text explicitly draws that connection. 

“But by refusing to believe, they defied the terms of God’s covenant which is to come by faith in His Son. And thus they were hardened in their unbelief. So both Pharoah and Israel “externally” defied God’s covenant and were both hardened to bring about their respective Passover’s.”

Sure, but that isn’t what is stated in Romans 9. That’s just drawing another connection. The problem is that the Jews don’t view Pharaoh as a covenant breaker. He’s viewed as an opposition to God’s chosen people. But the Jews were God covenant people(the Old Covenant). The point of Paul in this chapter is to say that promise falls to those chosen to receive it(the children of Abraham) and that was the original agreement. God hasn’t changed the terms. So, that’s my understanding.

John Cranman:

TheSire, yes unbelieving Israel was in conflict with the new covenant *externally* as they weren’t yet *in* the NC because of their unbelief. 

And the man doesn’t have to be *in* the marriage to defy the agreement the husband has with his wife. You already granted an outsider can defy the bonds between husband and wife. 

I didn’t say the Egyptians defied the covenant in the same exact way the Jews had. I just said they defied it, and both were hardened. 

So the Pharoah example still makes sense because he serves as an example of someone being hardened after defying God. And now Israel is in the same boat because they likewise have now been hardened for defying God. And in both cases the hardening displayed God’s power. The parallels are there.

I wish to mention a few things that I didn’t say in that conversation. The passage is Paul going through historical examples to show that God has always chosen his people by his sovereign purpose. Pharoh is just like all the other historical examples and is meant to emphasize that God consistency throughout time.

Furthermore, another person can’t violate your covenant commitments. Either one of the parties involved violates their covenant vows with a specific individual. The internal/external distinction is to show that we may try to impede God’s purposes, but they aren’t covenant breakers. Remember the initial statement: 

“And in Romans 9, Israel is a type of Pharoah. Because they, like Pharoah, violate Gods covenant.”

This statement even has to be denied by Cranman because on his view neither are covenant violaters. Neither the unbelieving Jews or Pharaoh are God’s covenant people.  They aren’t apart of the NC and he isn’t apart of the OC. We have reduced the similarity to merely them being unbelievers rebelling against God. But that is a weaker parallel than Romans 9 actually is drawing. The parallel is that God hardened them both for His divine purposes. That’s also tied with the points about election following up to this point.