Eden, Canaan, and the Heavenly Temple Dwelling of God

Eden and Canaan are earthly projections that both reveal yet veil the glory of the heavenly dwelling place of God. Had Adam passed probation, he would have been translated into the highest heavens in the presence of God where he would enter Sabbath Rest (Genesis 2/Ez. 28:14 and the mountain of God). When Christ finished his wilderness sojourn, he ascended into that very reality of Sabbath Rest—rest the first Adam did not enter (Heb. 1:3; 8:2, 5; 9:23–24; 10:12; 12:24; 4:9–10). Christ, as ascended, has entered rest—a rest he in the process of conferring on the church in this age (4:3) and will bring to consummation in the age to come (4:9–11).

The whole point of the land of Canaan in Hebrews—the way it relates to this big-picture creational concern—is that it was a place of rest (Psalm 95:7–11 is quoted in Hebrews 3:7–11). Israel was seeking to leave the wilderness and enter into the “rest” of God in Canaan. Canaan was a local, earthly expression of a corresponding heavenly Sabbath Rest (95:11/Genesis 2:2 as the two theme texts in Hebrews 3 and 4).

Canaan was an earthly type of Sabbath Rest, and some in Israel failed to enter the earthly typical land of rest because they lacked faith in the promised Messiah (Heb. 3:19). In a parallel way, the author of Hebrews grounds his exhortation that the church in this age press on to Sabbath Rest by faith in the ascended Messiah, so that none of us fail to enter that Rest.


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Kelle Craft

12 months ago

Really thankful for your discussion today! Especially your comments on New Covenant Theology. I do think some further discussion is in order, however. I’m a student at Southern Seminary and currently taking a class with Dr. Steve Wellum, and he’s a proponent of “Progressive Covenantalism” and he himself is a huge fan of Vos. In this class, issues in BT and ST, we discuss dispensationalism and it’s varieties, Covenant Theology and it’s varieties, and then his own system put forth and modified in Kingdom through Covenant.

It’s funny you attribute those in his camp with being in line with Disp. Inso far as he does Allow the New Covenant to supersead the old administration(s) in the economy of the OT. However, Dr. Wellum attributes CT with the same dispensationalism hermenetic, in the sense that Disp. Treats the promises of the land and to Israel as continuing through the NC; CT, while not doing this with the land, does this with the covenant sign. In transferring circumcision to baptism. What do you guys make of this?

I’m currently working on a paper defending CT while working through some of his proposals and the hermeneutics that go along with his system.

Dr. Wellum in no way wants to deny the union with Christ in the OT, but thinks we are being inconsistent with inaugurated eschatology, in the sense that the NC promises a regenerate people, and to attribute a partly mixed community in the already, is not quite how this functions. I can elaborate further on what he means by this, but what are your guys’ initial thoughts? The main problem I’m having, is that the way he’s displayed his hermeneutics, across the 3 horizons (textual, epochal, and canonical) is really convincing and while In my paper I am showing how CT is able to withstand his criticism and is similar in some respects, I have not seen a very good ourworking of hermeneutics from a CT perspective, in response to his work. I’m not quite sure that this episode expands on the type of detail I’m looking for, but it’s a place to start. And I wonder what Wellum would say in response. I definitely think the way we look at the function of the NC is the key. The question is what are it’s promises here and now.

Thanks a lot for always producing great content. I’ve learnes so much over the years, especially from Vos group!

Lane Tipton

12 months ago

Dear Kelle,

Please forgive me for not making explicit that the presupposition for the exhortations to (a) Israel in the wilderness (3:7-11) and (b) the church in the wilderness (4:11) is that both administrations (Mosaic and New) of the one covenant of grace to the one covenantal household of God (3:6) contain a mixed community of believers and unbelievers. Additionally, the admonitions in both administrations apply to both the believer and the unbeliever alike. That is an entailment from all I said in the episode. I should always aim to be more, not less, explicit.

That pinpoints where we differ from the New Covenant theologians, I believe. At least that might be a good starting point to clarify your own understanding of the issues. If you work through that paragraph above, particularly in light of the podcast, you will at least be clear on what Vos and Gaffin (and, by extension, I) teach. Then you can compare and contrast what we teach to what other theologians, whether New Covenant or Dispensational, have to say on the same topic.

Warmly in Christ,
Lane Tipton


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