God’s Covenantal Word

When we speak of the text of Scripture and specifically the TR/KJV, we are talking about the Bible, the viva vox Dei in the original language and vernacular. This is an exegetically based, theological assessment based on grammatical and syntactical application of the three “selfs” – that Scripture is self-attesting, self-authenticating, (autopistos) and self-interpreting. Because the Bible, the written text is the “living voice of God” it is the covenant or bond-in-blood with mankind breathed out by God the Father, superintended by the Spirit, and ratified by the shed blood of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. The theocentricity of Scripture is described in Exodus 24:3 and referred to in Hebrews 9:10. Ex. 24:3, “And Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord, and all the judgments: and all the people answered with one voice, and said, All the words which the Lord hath said will we do.” [Also see verse 24:7]. Heb. 9:19, “For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people, Saying, This is the blood of the testament which God hath enjoined unto you.”

In this passage the author of Hebrews [presumably the Apostle Paul] under inspiration writes that the בּרית beriyt or διαθήκη diathēkēthe, “covenant” or “compact” was that which God had “enjoined,” ἐνετείλατο, eneteilato or “commanded.” As Barnes comments, “When a compact is made between parties, one does not ‘enjoin’ or ‘command’ the other, but it is a mutual ‘agreement.’ It is not a transaction between equals, or an ‘agreement;’ it is a solemn ‘arrangement’ on the part of God which he proposes to mankind, and which he enjoins them to embrace; which they are not indeed at liberty to disregard.”

The Scripture, both Old and New Testaments, or Covenants, are commanded by God to “embrace,’ and men, “not at liberty to disregard.” Moses writes that the smallest element of this God-enjoined covenant to be believed and not disregarded are the words of the Lord, to which Israel responds, “All the words which the Lord hath said will we do.”

God does indeed command adherence to the covenant never losing His right to enjoin or command. This fundamental truth of the Christian faith is that which the modern Evangelical text critic rejects. Modern textual criticism exists apart from God’s providentially preserved, covenantal command. Significant overlap remains between the critic’s science project and the words of the Old and New Covenant after passing through the critic’s anthropological sieve, but rather than “refining” the words of the covenant, the autonomous sieve compromises the whole. While calling this science project the “Holy Scripture,” it only stands as such at the behest of the critic. When has the Church ever heard or read where the critic appealed to the blood of Christ as the ratification of God’s eternal plan to redeem the lost known as the Old and New Testaments or Covenants? Indeed, such language is forbidden based on a self-imposed sense of scholarly objectivity. Furthermore, the critics failure to give the Church assurance that they are reading the word of God has put the Church in what has become a normative, bewildering quandary.

And thus, two lines of authority contend for prominence in the American and English-speaking Church. The covenantal line, sealed with the blood of Jesus Christ through which God asserts Himself as the final Authority, and, the anthropological line, where the suzerain/vassal arrangement between the Redeemer and the redeemed is turned upside down by those who like all men are appointed once to die, and after that the judgment.

The place to begin a resolution to this unnatural ecclesiastical and “theological” bifurcation would be to agree that it is “universally true that sin never has been, and never will be forgiven, except in connection with, and in virtue of the shedding of blood and that there is not the slightest evidence that any man has ever been pardoned except through the blood shed for the remission of sins.” Following pre-critical categories, it is impossible to speak of God’s word without speaking of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, and his redeeming work on Calvary. This is the well-spring of the Scripture from which the reading, understanding, and analysis of Scripture must flow. See 1 Peter 1:18-19, “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:” Col. 1:14, “In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:” Rev. 1:5, “And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood.”

The truth of the vicarious, bloody, penal, sacrificial death of Christ applied by the Spirit informs a penitent, begging-for-forgiveness listener to that which God is saying to them in His word and it is in this doxological sphere as God is praised for sending His Son that the writing of theology is birthed.

From the quotes provided by Dr. Van Kleeck, the critical side has made the relinquishing of theological precommitments a foundational element of textual discussion. But for the saint, who by God’s grace realizes what he has been saved from, what Christ’s bloody death did, and the undeserved blessings in this life and the next, such an omission is impossible.

Published by Dr. Peter Van Kleeck, Sr.

Dr. Peter William Van Kleeck, Sr. : B.A., Grand Rapids Baptist College, 1986; M.A.R., Westminster Theological Seminary, 1990; Th.M., Calvin Theological Seminary, 1998; D. Min, Bob Jones University, 2013. Dr. Van Kleeck was formerly the Director of the Institute for Biblical Textual Studies, Grand Rapids, MI, (1990-1994) lecturing, researching and writing in the defense of the Masoretic Hebrew text, Greek Received Text and King James Bible. His published works include, "Fundamentalism’s Folly?: A Bible Version Debate Case Study" (Grand Rapids: Institute for Biblical Textual Studies, 1998); “We have seen the future and we are not in it,” Trinity Review, (Mar. 99); “Andrew Willet (1562-1621: Reformed Interpretation of Scripture,” The Banner of Truth, (Mar. 99); "A Primer for the Public Preaching of the Song of Songs" (Outskirts Press, 2015). Dr. Van Kleeck is the pastor of the Providence Baptist Church in Manassas, VA where he has ministered for the past twenty-one years. He is married to his wife of 43 years, Annette, and has three married sons, one daughter and eighteen grandchildren.

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