The Covenant of Redemption
Updated: Apr 1, 2021
Two years ago I began to write an article on Universal Salvation which I had come to believe was literally The Everlasting Gospel of Messiah Yahusha. To this day nothing has changed in that belief other than I've grown in my understanding of it and in the process of that growth I've affirmed it more fully. I have yet to finish writing that article but hope to do so someday, it will become a legacy article of my personal faith once it's published!
When I began to write the article I had decided to write it from the perspective of the Scriptural Covenants such as the Adamic, Noahic, Abrahamic, Mosaic and New Covenant rather than the perspective of epochs of time, ages, eras or dispensations as most Universal Salvation articles are written. My purpose was to showcase the Abrahamic Covenant as the beginning of The Everlasting Gospel in the hope of dispelling any notion that the "Good News" began with Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. It didn't take long for me to realize that not only did the "Good News" not begin with Matthew, Mark, Luke and John it didn't begin with Abraham either!
As is often the case I realized I didn't know nearly as much as I thought I knew and needed to do a little study on the Adamic Covenant, I was off to a shaky start to say the least! In the study I discovered the Greek phrase Proto Evangelium, which I had never heard before but discovered it means "First Gospel"! Immediately I knew I was on the right track but had sold the "Good News" short, of course it had to begin with Adam if indeed the "Good News" meant the salvation of ALL MANKIND as I believe it does! Well, yeah, I was on the right track but I hadn't crossed the finish line just yet. Then I found out that the Adamic Covenant is seen by many as either two individual covenants or as a single covenant with two parts even though two entirely different Scriptural texts are used to support the view. I have no problem with there being an Adamic Covenant of Works but to think there is an Adamic Covenant of Grace founded in words that are spoken to HaSatan in Genesis 3:15 seems to me to be a bit of a stretch! I'm dragging my feet on that one! Actually, I don't see a covenant there at all, I see a statement of prophetic facts enumerated by Yahuah to HaSatan, Adam and Eve, but not a covenant between Yahuah and Adam. So is there a Covenant of Grace? Yeah... absolutely, just not with fallible Adam!
As I was sorting out my thoughts on what is called the Adamic Covenant I stumbled across The Covenant of Redemption. I had never heard of it before either, maybe you haven't as well. If not stay tuned... it's a fascinating subject and literally the foundation of our salvation!
The Covenant of Redemption as it is known today is a relic of The Reformation back in the 16th and 17th Centuries. I say "relic" not in the sense of being derisive but simply that for all intents and purposes you could ask most believers in Protestant Churches today about The Covenant of Redemption and chances are you'll get a "deer in the headlights" look staring back at you, most will have no idea what you're talking about even though the founders of their particular denominations were key in developing their doctrine of redemption around their understanding of The Covenant of Redemption.
The Reformers came to believe that the Father and the Son entered into covenant with one another to provide for the salvation of the ELECT before the Creation Event even occurred. According to the Reformers, Messiah Yahusha agreed to offer Himself as a living sacrifice as an atonement for the sins of all mankind before the foundations of the world and in so doing He guaranteed the salvation of the 'few' who are the ELECT whom the Father would call out of the world. These 'few' were to become The Bride of Messiah Yahusha while all those whom the Father didn't call would eventually perish one way or another, i.e. either in Eternal Torment (Hell) or Eternal Death (Annihilation). But was the Reformer's understanding of The Covenant of Redemption correct? Am I being presumptuous to even ask such a question, after all, who am I to do so? Nevertheless, it's an honest question and I think it is a key question and extraordinarily important to ask if we're to ever understand The Covenant of Redemption for what it's truly worth. I agree with the Reformers that the 'few' who are the ELECT were predestined from the foundations of the world but did The Covenant of Redemption limit redemption to just the 'few' who were predestined to become the ELECT? I encourage you to do an internet search for The Covenant of Redemption and read up on it, although you'll never find the phrase Covenant of Redemption in Scripture you will discover Scriptural support for it just as the Reformers did. In your research if you ever discover a verse from Scripture that limits The Covenant of Redemption to just the ELECT please let me know about it, I'd love to see it but I'm not going to bet on you finding one!
There are a few historical facts that we need to consider before accepting the Reformer's position on The Covenant of Redemption. The first of which is the historical fact that during the first 500 years of New Covenant church history Universal Salvation was the prevailing doctrine on salvation. The Ante Nicene Fathers such as Clement, Origen and Gregory of Nyssa among others were all ardent Universalists. During that time there were many heresies exposed but never was Universal Salvation sited as a heresy, even the hell loving Augustine of Hippo acknowledged it! Of the half dozen or so theological schools that developed during that time four of them taught Universal Salvation! So what happened?
Influential pagan converts to Christianity brought their paganism with them, that's what happened! Men like Augustine of Hippo, Tertullian, Jerome and several others who spoke Latin as their native tongue but hated the Greek language of The Apostolic Writings. By the middle of the 6th Century A.D. the Roman Catholic Church began to threaten their members with excommunication if they believed in Universal Salvation. Of course the Roman Catholic Church also taught that if you weren't a member of the Roman Catholic Church you couldn't be saved so they were wielding a pretty big sword! The church preferred the pagan doctrine of a hell that doesn't exist and used it as a weapon to control their people! Eventually, belief in Universal Salvation died out and the Dark Ages began!
Here is an interesting quote from an article titled 'The Greatest Love Story Never Told: Why God Will Save All People' by Ryan Healy. It's a great read and I encourage you to look it up.
"Furthermore, as carnal men came into power within the church, they used the threat of eternal punishment to coerce people into submission. They did not like the idea of universal restoration because it eliminated their primary means of controlling people. Finally, in 553 A.D., the Fifth General Council (which included 151 bishops from the Greek and African churches) declared…
Whoever says or thinks that the torments of the demons and of impious men are temporal, so that they will, at length, come to an end, or whoever holds a restoration either of the demons or of the impious, let him be anathema.
This decree silenced the teaching of universal restoration and set the course of Christian orthodoxy to the present day."
Let's now fast forward to the last half of the 1500's and Theodore Beza (1519-1605) who disagreed with Jerome's Latin translation of Luke 22:29 where Jerome translated the verse from its original Greek into Latin as "And I appoint unto you a kingdom". Beza correctly objected and translated the verse as saying "I therefore covenant to you, just as my Father covenanted with me, a kingdom". This was the starting point of the Reformers rediscovering The Covenant of Redemption that took place between the Father and the Son before the foundations of the world, the search was on and they discovered many other supporting verses in Scripture. But again I ask, did the Reformers get it right?
Think about it... the Reformers limited The Covenant of Redemption to just the ELECT? Why did they do that? Is there Scripture to back that up? If there is, I certainly haven't seen it. Or did a thousand years of hellish Augustinian indoctrination during the Dark Ages between 500 A.D. and 1500 A.D. blind them from the full reality of The Covenant of Redemption being an ABSOLUTE GUARANTEE for the salvation of all of Adam's race?
While I haven't seen a single passage of Scripture that limits The Covenant of Redemption to the salvation of merely the ELECT who are predestined of the Father from before the foundations of the world I have seen a multitude of Scripture verses that unequivocally proclaim the eventual salvation of ALL MANKIND! Amongst the many verses proclaiming Universal Salvation 1 Corinthians 15:22 stands out...
For as all die in Aḏam, so also all shall be made alive in Messiah.
You see, the question has NEVER been 'IF' you'll be saved .. the only real question has ALWAYS been 'WHEN' will you be saved!
And the answer to that question depends upon 'WHEN' you decide to bend the knee and confess Messiah Yahusha as your MASTER and become a TORAH OBEDIENT follower of your Savior for one of His last statements before His betrayal and crucifixion was, "If you love Me, keep My commandments." At a bare minimum He was speaking of The 10 Commandments!
When seen in the light of the endlessly merciful character of our Creator and Redeemer we find a loving heavenly parent who uses remedial discipline to restore righteous behavior in His children just as any good human parent does.
When fully considering all of the divine attributes of our Creator and Redeemer we'll find the Proto Evangelium, the 'First Good News' and 'The Covenant of Grace' all wrapped up in The Covenant of Redemption between the Father and the Son before the foundation of the world!!! Your salvation has ALWAYS been in the bank!
May our endlessly merciful Abba fill you with His Ruach HaQodesh to know and keep His ways! Amein!
Intrigued? If you have any insights you'd like to share or if you have questions, I'd love to hear them in the comment section below.
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