K:JNWTS 29/2 (September 2014):19-30



James T. Dennison, Jr.

How does the book of Exodus begin?

With Israel in Egypt (in bondage)

Exodus presupposes (  ?  ).

Creation and Covenant (Patriarchal)

Why do I allude to creation behind the exodus?

Because the protological creation is renewed in the exodus.

Exodus is therefore a (  ?  ).

New creation

How is the creation motif present in the Exodus drama?[1]

a.God forms a people for himself out of the chaos of slavery
b.God delivers this nation by means of a water ordeal (separation of the waters).
c.God sustains this nation by heavenly food
d.God hovers over his people in a glory-canopy

But Exodus is more than a recapitulation of creation.

Yes, it is a death-to-life drama for a nation

Why was Israel dead?

She was in bondage to slavery, without freedom, without hope.

Was Israel able to free herself from her bondage?

No, she was powerless (impotent) because bound by the cruel taskmasters of Egypt.

Who alone was omnipotent?

The Lord God Almighty who set his people free and brought them out with his mighty hand and outstretched arm.

Who was the agent of life in this drama?

The mediator, Moses, whom God had chosen—his elect servant (ebed Yahweh = “servant of the Lord”).

How was this elect-mediator commissioned as God’s spokesman-messenger?

By miraculous signs and wonders through the word of the Lord

What was the purpose of ten of those signs and wonders (i.e., plagues)?

To intrude eschatological judgment against the principalities and powers (idol gods) of Egypt. For example, the Nile river-god was cursed when the waters ran with blood (Ex. 7:17, 20).

Why was the death of the firstborn required?

Pharaoh’s refusal to hear God’s word brought the curse of death upon the “strength of Egypt”.

Was this death threatened to the firstborn of Israel?

Yes, even Israel’s firstborn were under the threatened curse

How was the curse obviated for Israel?

By ransom

Who ransomed Israel’s firstborn?

A spotless lamb

Once more, how was Israel’s firstborn ransomed?

The death of a spotless lamb spared Israel’s firstborn from the Angel of Death.

The blood of a lamb upon the door was the difference between life and death?


What was this night called?



Because the Angel of Death passed over the homes of the children of Israel at the sight of the blood of a lamb on the doorposts and lintel.

Who is the eschatological Passover Lamb of God?

Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 5:7)

How does his blood avail to deliver us from the terror of the principalities and powers?

His precious blood is the price of our release (our ransom) from bondage to sin.

How does he do this?

By paying the price and satisfying the debt of our sin, our bondage and our death.

Does Jesus bring a new exodus?

Yes, Jesus is the bringer of a new, eschatological exodus for the Israel of God of the end of the age (Gal. 6:16).

The exodus has been called the magnalia Dei of the Old Testament. What does this mean?

Magnalia Dei is Latin for “mighty acts of God” (Acts 2:11, Vulgate). The marvelous exodus from Egypt was the omnipotent act of God’s unmerited grace in the Old Testament (cpr. Ps. 106:21 [105:21 Vulgate]). It is rehearsed in virtually every book of the Old Testament—sung in the psalms, declared in the historical books, rehearsed in the prophetic books as the template for a new and better eschatological exodus.

Does not the life of Jesus reflect the exodus paradigm?

Yes. He goes down into Egypt. He comes up out of Egypt (“out of Egypt have I called my son,” Hos. 11:1; Mt. 2:15). He goes through the waters (Jordan). He goes into the wilderness for forty days and forty nights. He goes up into a mountain and delivers the law of the kingdom of heaven to the twelve, the nucleus of the New Israel (Mt. 5-7).[2]

What was the date of the Old Testament exodus?

1447/46 B.C.

How do you know this?

The Bible gives the date in 1 Kings 6:1. According to this text, the date of the exodus was 480 years before King Solomon laid the foundation for his Temple. That year was his 4th as king of Israel and is dated 967/66 B.C. Adding 480 years gives us 1447/46 B.C. for the date of the exodus.

When Moses delivered Israel from Egypt, where did he take them?

To the desert/wilderness of Sinai

What was the point of transition between the former life of slavery and the new life of sojourning?

The passage of the Red Sea (or Reed Sea)

You mean Israel’s transition from death to life was inaugurated in a water ordeal?

Yes; Israel passed from death to life by entering and emerging from the Sea of Reeds

What was the purpose of this “baptism into Moses” (1 Cor. 10:2) or trial by water?

To mark the end of the old (life under bondage and death) and the beginning of the new (life of freedom and pilgrimage).

Where was Israel bound?

For the land of milk and honey (Canaan)

What was the eschatological significance of Canaan?

It was the land of eschatological rest, indicative of heaven itself.

What lay between Egypt (bondage) and Canaan (rest)?

The wilderness of Sinai (the land-in-between)

What was Israel’s status in the land-in-between?

Pilgrim; sojourner; wanderer

Why is the nature of a pilgrim people to be in-between the old and the new?

Pilgrims have passed out of the old and are headed for the new. In-between, they are “between the times”.

Explain this another way.

In the wilderness, Israel was between the “now” and the “not yet”—between freedom from bondage and perfect rest.

What device was provided for Israel as an emblem of their pilgrim status?

The tabernacle

Why was the tabernacle appropriate for a pilgrim people?

Because it moved (as a tent) as they moved (in their tents). A people on the move were given a portable “church”.

How was the tabernacle designed?

As if it were God’s home and he were inviting his people inside to his presence chambers (certainly an eschatological reflection).

Describe the tabernacle from the inside out, i.e., from God’s gracious, inviting point of view.

His private room (inner sanctum) was called the Holy of Holies and was furnished with the ark of the covenant.

What was the ark of the covenant?

It was a wooden box overlaid with gold—a symbol of God’s heavenly throne room.

What was on the top of the box/ark?

A lid or covering called the “mercy seat”—a symbol of God’s footstool. This was topped by face-covered cherubim (who surround the Lord’s heavenly glory throne); their feet rested on the mercy seat or (let us call it) the grace-covering lid.

What was inside the box/ark?

Two tablets of the law (as contained within the heart of God—upon whose heart are written all ten words of the law; thus, two complete copies of the Decalogue of Moses); a pot of manna (bread out of heaven); and Aaron’s rod that bloomed (the staff of high priestly election and authorization—only one with those credentials could enter that most holy, private and intimate room).

How was God’s Most Holy room kept private?

This most holy room was divided from the outside by a veil or curtain separating the all holy God from unholy sinners beyond the veil. This is the symbol of sin which bars unholy sinners from the presence of a holy God. God could not look out upon a sinful and unholy people because of the veil of iniquity and uncleanness which they possess.

Was no sinner permitted within the veil?

Yes, one—the high priest and mediatorial intercessor appointed by God to go between himself and a sinful people.

How often was the high priest allowed to enter within the veil and appear before the glory-presence of God?

On only one day a year was he permitted within the veil of separation. That day was called Yom Kippur or the day of atonement.

How was it possible for the high priest, a sinner, to pass beyond the veil?

He was required to come with the blood of sacrifice in his hands—blood to satisfy for his own sins and for the sins of the people of God. He sprinkled this blood on the mercy seat to symbolize the covering (atonement) for the sins of the people which the Lord God so graciously provided and accepted.

What other room was in the tabernacle?

The room on the outside of the Holy of Holies was called the Holy Place. In this room, the priests moved about ministering for the people on a day by day basis.

Was this room furnished?

Yes, it contained three items. First, a table with bread (sometimes called “shewbread”/”showbread” or bread of the presence of the Lord). Here were twelve loaves spread out week by week (God invites his Israel to eat in his house). Second, a lampstand (menorah) to provide light within the Lord’s dwelling place (the Father of lights, covers himself with light as a cloak and reminds his people that he dwells in unapproachable light). Third, an incense altar constantly burning with smoke ascending to the heavens (as the prayers of God’s people constantly ascend to his throne).

This room was furnished to suggest a welcome invitation for God’s people to come inside.

Yes, as they looked from the outside in, they were reminded of light and bread and sweet prayer—all elements of meeting their Lord and God in home-like surroundings.

What was outside the Holy Place?

Outside this room was a courtyard with an altar for burnt sacrifice (“without the shedding of blood, there is no remission” of sin, Heb. 9:22) and a laver or wash basin for cleansing.  Beyond these was the courtyard of the people where they gathered to offer their sacrifices and devotion and to draw near to their priestly mediator who would represent them before the Lord.

Review the vectors of the tabernacle for me.

From the inside out, God dwells alone, separated from a sinful people by the barrier of sin itself. But he graciously agrees to be approached in inviting the mediator of that sinful body to come into his very living-room presence, yet not without the blood of vicarious substitution in the hands of that intercessor (lest he be destroyed). This blood, sprinkled upon the seat of his merciful grace, covers the sins of his people (but not once-for-all— only once per year) and momentarily opens the way into his sinless glory-presence.
From the outside in, the worshipping people of God look towards the holy glory of God, past the altar of burnt sacrifice, through the doorway of his outer residence furnished with food and light and sweet intercommunion, to the veil which barred their gaze by the memory of their sinful condition, with the longing hope of the day of atonement when the high priest went behind the veil with the blood of covering in his hands—covering for their sins through the grace of God.

What additional biblical-theological significance is evident in the fullness of the symbolism of the tent of assembly?

The Lord God’s heavenly dwelling place is a most holy place where the veil which separates him from his people has been torn in two by the great High Priest and intercessor (Son of God) who brings poor, miserable sinners inside the eternal house of God and washes them in his own precious blood (eschatological Lamb of God) so that they may bask in the light of glory, feed from the banquet bread of his presence, delight in the cherubim guardians, finally have the law of their God written forever upon their hearts, and gather within their Lord’s eternal home with the eschatological Israel of God forever and ever.

You have suggested the tabernacle was a cameo of heaven. What other eschatological or heavenly elements were revealed in the construction of the tabernacle?

Blue curtains as the blue heavens (sky); flower imagery in the decorations reminiscent of the Edenic Paradise of God; a glory-cloud enveloping the tent. All this is reflective of the majesty of heaven.

What was the meaning of the tabernacle?

It was the eschatological condescension of God.

What do you mean?

God came down to dwell among his people (in the glory-cloud). The tabernacle was a visible display of the Emmanuel presence of the covenant Lord.

Besides God’s voluntary humiliation in bending down his presence to the tent of meeting, what else can you tell me about the meaning of the tabernacle?

His dwelling with his people was an identification motif, i.e., he was willing to take on their condition—a Tent Dweller with tent dwellers.

But this humiliation and identification fills the tabernacle with his glory-presence.

Yes, the Lord God embodies himself in the tabernacle—a virtual incarnation of his person-presence in the midst of his people according to the mode of their existence.

Why was the tabernacle called “the tent of meeting”?

Because God and man met there and in that meeting were united in fellowship and intercommunion.

Why is Jesus Christ the fulfillment of the tabernacle?

Because he is God the Son (second person of the ontological Trinity) who tabernacles in our midst in the flesh (Jn. 1:14)—divine and human natures joined in one person forever.

What else occurred at the tabernacle?

The sacrifices of the cult (worship of God) were observed.

What was the meaning of the blood offerings?

That our blood (death) was required by God for our sins; and the only way we could escape was through a substitute—a vicarious atonement; one in which our penalty was satisfied by the blood-death of another.

Who is the eschatological offering for sin?

Jesus Christ is our vicarious substitute. He poured out his blood as an offering for the punishment we deserve (death). His death is the eschatological (final) sacrifice and once-for-all puts an end to blood offerings.

You mean, there will never again be blood offerings in the history of redemption?

Never again after the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

Not even commemorative offerings of lambs and goats in the “millennial temple”?


Why not?

Because Jesus said, “It is finished.”

What else did Israel receive in the wilderness?

The law of God

Was the law intended to save (redeem) Israel?

No. They had already been saved from Egyptian bondage by the wonderful grace of God.

Was the law intended to condemn Israel?

It reminded them that they were under the condemnation of the law by nature insofar as by the law is the knowledge of sin (Rom. 3:20).

For what other reasons did God give Israel the law?

It pointed them to Christ upon whose heart the law was written in full (cf. Gal. 3:24). It also served as a rule of life or a guide to holy living (Rom. 7:12).

Was all Israel saved?

Externally yes; internally no.

What do you mean?

Outwardly, all Israel left Egypt for the promised land. They tasted the heavenly food (manna) and the life-giving water in the desert. They even received the law by the Holy Spirit (Neh. 9:20; Isa. 63:11). But their carcasses dropped in the wilderness (Ps. 95). All outward or external blessings of God’s grace could not remove the evil heart of unbelief which many of them possessed (Heb. 3:12). So God swore in his wrath that they would not enter his rest (heaven). In other words, all Israel (externally, outwardly) was not elect Israel (internally, inwardly). God’s grace is always elective even though outwardly beneficial to more than he actually regenerates.

Was Israel at Sinai a “corporate Adam”?

Israel was no more a “corporate Adam” at Mt. Sinai than David was a “corporate Adam” on Mt. Zion.

Why could neither Israel or David (or any other postlapsarian mere human) serve as a “corporate Adam”?

First, because they were not universal figures representing the entire human race (as the protological and eschatological Adam are). Second, because they are sinful entities as the protological Adam (prior to his Fall) and the eschatological Adam are not. Third, the inspired apostle, Paul, knows only two Adams—Adam the first and Adam the last/second (1 Cor. 15:45). He recognizes no third Adam in the history of redemption.

Hence, there is no Adamic republication of the Edenic covenant of works at Sinai?

No there is not, for sinful man (or a nation of sinners) could never merit anything from God as a sinless Adam could. As Augustine declared centuries ago, Human merit perished with Adam. Or in our paraphrase of his comment:
When Adam veered and sin inhered,
Human merit disappeared.

Could Israel’s works of obedience to the demands of the covenant at Sinai ever be the “meritorious ground” of retaining her life in the Promised Land of Canaan?

No, Israel could only earn God’s curse by her demerits (i.e., her sins), by which God eventually expelled her from the land of Canaan when the fullness of her iniquity was reached.

What then do we say to the theory of the “typological works covenant” at Sinai?

It is an invention of eisegesis, i.e., a reading into the Bible of an idea foreign to the history of redemption, but imposed upon the Scriptures as a human theory.

And what then do we say to the corollary to this theory—namely Israel acts in accord with a “meritorious principle” by which she earns or deserves or makes herself worthy by her “imperfect” (i.e., sinful) works of the temporal blessing of life in the Promised Land?

Sadly, it is a theory which permits human (temporal) merit to be placed over against the sovereign, efficacious and precious grace of God in Christ Jesus (all merit is in him— temporal and eternal) through the gracious work of the Holy Spirit.

You mean that all blessings of God, whether temporal/earthly or eternal/heavenly come from the grace of God through Christ by the Spirit alone?

That is the teaching of the Scriptures as interpreted by the Reformed confessions.[3]

Was the law given at Sinai eschatologically oriented?



The law delivered to Moses came from the lips of Almighty God. The moral law (or Ten Commandments) is a mirror reflection of his own moral nature and character.

You mean that the Ten Commandments are a revelation of the moral-ethical nature of God as he has existed from all eternity?

Yes, they are as heavenly in Sinaitic revelation as they are heavenly in God’s own glory- mountain in heaven. In other words, the ethical-moral nature of God as he exists eternally in heaven is reflected in each of the “ten words” at Sinai.

Then fundamentally, the Ten Commandments are heavenly or eschatological?

Yes, as God himself is heavenly and eschatological

How is the first commandment eschatological?

In the eschaton of the heaven of God’s eternal dwelling, there is no other God save him alone—Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Israel was therefore invited to worship God as if they were before his heavenly glory-throne—singularly focused, particularly possessive, one-and-only passionate. Their ethical-moral character in single-hearted devotion was to imitate the worship of those in heaven, who have no other gods before them.

How is the second commandment eschatological?

Heaven is decorated with no statues, images, idols or other man-made representations of the deity. Thus, the ethical-moral nature of God is that he is to be worshipped according to his ontological nature. He is a Spirit (not material in any sense) and must be worshipped in “spirit and truth” (Jn. 4:24). The morals of the people of God in every age of the history of redemption are to reflect the morals of the worshipping assembly in heaven. That assembly bows down to no images, icons, statues, etc. To do so in the presence of the immaterial God would be blasphemous and hellish (the damned in Hell are devoted to the image of Satan and his diabolic manifestation. There, idolatry of the creature is the eternal norm).

How is the third commandment eschatological?

The words about God, his prerogatives and the physical functions he has created are to be honored on earth as they are in heaven. No profane, obscene or vulgar remark can be heard in heaven (heaven is a place of holy, pure and perfectly sanctified speech). Heaven could not abide it as God himself would not condone it. The ethical-moral character of the tongues/language of all the people of God in every era of the history of redemption is to be eschatologically oriented—not empty or vain, but full of love and honor to the God who has created and redeemed them.

How is the fourth commandment eschatological?

Heaven is an eternal Sabbath (Heb. 4:9)—a place of everlasting rest. God’s ethical-moral nature and character sabbatizes, i.e., keeps an eternal Sabbath rest.[4] This is reflected in the Sabbath at creation (Gen. 2:2-3) and memorialized in the one-day-in-seven Sabbath for the people of God in every era of the history of redemption. That is, the eternal Sabbath rest of heaven is mirrored in the one-day-in-seven Sabbath of God’s people. As they shall enjoy a Sabbath rest for all eternity in the Sabbath of the Lord of the Sabbath, so they reflect this precious privilege one day in seven outside of heaven. They declare that their own ethical-moral character is not shaped by work per se, nor by recreation and pleasure per se, but by the ethical-moral character of God and his Sabbath-rest arena. At Sinai, heaven’s Sabbath casts its shade upon God’s people by moral precept; but a moral precept which anticipates the consummately everlasting Sabbath of God’s glory land. Keeping the Sabbath day rest holy is living here (in principle) as we shall live in heaven (in perfection).

How is the fifth commandment eschatological?

Who is worthy of more honor and respect than the Lord God of heaven? His ethical-moral righteousness and sovereignty make him worthy of all honor. Therefore, those whom he has placed in positions of honor and authority over the people of God in every era of the history of redemption, are to be obeyed “as unto the Lord”. Can we imagine any dishonor to our superiors in heaven? Such would be tantamount to dishonoring God himself in his own home. No, rudeness, arrogance, narcissism, defiance and outright hatred of those vested with authority will not exist in heaven. Professing Christians should be leading in banishing these iniquities from their culture—familial, ecclesiastical, political, educational, recreational, etc. for precisely that is what the fifth commandment in its eschatological orientation calls us to do—young and old alike.

How is the sixth commandment eschatological?

The eschatological glory-arena is an arena of life, not death. Murderous death cannot enter into that arena. While self-defense is compatible with that arena (life preserving and protecting life), willful self-murder or homicide is not—it is the destruction of the image of God in man (cf. Gen. 9:6). God’s own moral-ethical character informs his image with life as it is in his eternal/eschatological arena. Killing (murdering) that image is the very opposite of the principle of heaven’s eternal life.

How is the seventh commandment eschatological?

For a moment, let us imagine acts of adultery or homosexuality or fornication in heaven. The very suggestion is unthinkable. Heaven is an ethical-moral arena dominated by the perfect chastity and propriety. Monogamous marriage is the model for God’s redemptive-historical relationship with his people—Israel in the Old Testament (cf. especially Hosea) and the Bride and Bridegroom of heaven (the church and Christ, cf. Eph. 5). The perfect consummate union of relationship is that “in Christ” whereby the believer and his Savior are united in the intimacy of grace, love and devotion. Imperfect unions (between sinners) are to mirror that heavenly and eschatological reality. This is why the Song of Solomon is found in the Bible. It details the joys and challenges of marital union in a fallen world, while driving the reader to the eschatological Solomon and his eschatological Shulammite.[5] Ethical-moral purity in human sexuality is the pattern of heaven. Could one be addicted to pornography in heaven? The question answers itself.

How is the eighth commandment eschatological?

Robbing God’s image bearer of his possessions is to assault the gifts of God bestowed upon the creature. The privilege of being stewards of the creaturely goods granted by heaven’s benevolence is inviolable—a trust to those who receive them as a token of divine common grace. The eschatological arena is a place where none steals from another. Such an act could not abide the omniscient eye of the Lord God of the gifts of that arena. Those treasures are distributed according to his sovereignty, entrusted according to his grace and preserved according to his benevolence. Stealing these is impossible in his eternal presence. All gathered in that presence will honor and preserve the gifts possessed by others in that glorious eschatological setting. Will you rob God? Then why would you rob the bearer of his divine image? You could do neither in heaven.

How is the ninth commandment eschatological?

God’s moral-ethical character is that of perfect Truth. Our Lord Jesus Christ even declares that he is the Truth incarnate. This is because he belongs, with his Father and the Holy Spirit, to an arena of eternal Truth—nor is there any deceit in any member of the Trinity or before their face. The lips of God’s moral-ethical creatures are to reflect his eschatological character in their witness bearing. That is, the truth of heaven is to be mirrored in the truth-telling of believers on earth. If heaven cannot abide liars and bearers of false witness, those who profess to belong to heaven even now must reflect that ‘not yet’ reality as they speak and testify in this world. Let it be on earth as it is in heaven with respect to the truth and telling the truth.

How is the tenth commandment eschatological?

“Thou shalt not covet” is the most eschatological of all ten commandments.

What do you mean?

The apostle Paul found this commandment to be the most convictingly heaven-oriented commandment of all (Rom. 7:7ff.). For he realized (as he had never before, cf. Phil. 3:6) that desiring or lusting for or delighting in himself or the things of this world (i.e., coveting) was most un-heavenly, most ungodly, most self-ish.


Paul came to understand that his internal desires (in distinction from his mere outward acts) were sinful—that his moral-ethical orientation was to the flesh and not to the spirit (i.e., to the external and earthy, not to the internal and heavenly). So that as long as his external acts were not idolatrous, obscene, Sabbath violations, disobedient to authority, murdering someone, sexually promiscuous or perverse, theft, or lying, he was in perfect (“blameless”) conformity to the commandments of the law. But the tenth commandment pierced his heart and mind with the profound realization that his thoughts, feelings, longings had to mirror God’s own thoughts, feeling, longings as if he were in the very heaven of the everlasting God. In that arena, no evil desires (coveting; cf. the old word “concupiscence”) accorded with the moral-ethical character of God eternal and heaven eternal.

In other words, the tenth commandment was a summary of all ten.

Yes. Heaven’s eschatological environment was not a place for desiring one’s self as god (idolatry), desiring to devote oneself to physical images and statues (more idolatry), desiring language unfit for God’s ears or heaven’s neighborhood (vain use of the divine name or obscene comments about the processes he has created for his glory), desiring that the Lord’s day Sabbath serve self (contrary to the eschatological Sabbath rest for the people of God), desiring to disobey and dishonor those with proper authority over one (dishonoring God and his appointed servants which is impossible in heaven), desiring the death of one’s neighbor (not valuing and preserving his/her life which is the law of heaven), lusting for sexual satisfaction outside of God-ordained parameters (sexual self-ishness does not and cannot exist in the eschaton), coveting my neighbor’s goods (theft cannot exist in heaven where all gifts belong to God and are the possession of those to whom he distributes them), desiring to exalt oneself via lies and deceit (where heaven is an arena of absolute truth), desiring the thoughts and imaginations of this world (as in heaven we will desire perfectly, before the face of our Triune Lord, the thoughts and imaginations of that heavenly world).
In conclusion, with our Lord Jesus Christ, the divine Son of God, we may say that the Ten Commandments, in redemptive-historical and biblical-theological perspective, are of this order—“of such is the kingdom of heaven”—and that in semi-eschatological (now/not yet) dynamic, i.e., the not yet mirrored in the now; the now reflecting the not yet.

What was Israel’s response to the Ten Commandments?

Though they professed “all that the Lord has spoken, we will do” (Ex. 19:8), they profaned the law by making a golden calf and whoring after one another in perfidious idolatry and self-lust (Ex. 32:6, 25).

Did disobedient Israel receive the eschatological condemnation (NB: there is an eschatological now/not yet condemnation/judgment) of loving themselves and their pleasures more than God?

Yes, God’s just sword of death struck down thousands in token of the eschatological finality of rejecting him and whoring after other flesh and gods. Those who love self and its carnal delights shall receive the divine reward of those acts and inclinations—Hell.

But all Israel was not destroyed as a result of the golden calf incident.

Moses placed his life in the breach between God and disobedient Israel (Ex. 32:32).

How did he do this?

He offered his life for the life of the remnant people of God.

But God did not take his life.

Yes, God heard the voice of his intercession and in his wrath remembered mercy.

Back to the law of God. What are the kinds of law in the Old Testament?

In general, there are apodictic and casuistic laws.

Explain apodictic law.

It is law with no conditional clause included. That is, it is law of absolute mandate and unconditional obligation. Its imperative form is “Thou shalt not . . .” (which is common to the Decalogue); or “Cursed is . . . ”.

Explain casuistic law.

It is conditional law or case law. That is, it contains the formula “if (this case occurs) . . . then (this is the consequence)”. For example: “if a thief breaks in and is killed, then no capital crime has been committed” (cf. Ex. 22:2). Case law applies to specific conditions of cases not covered by apodictic circumstances.

What are the traditional specific categories for Old Testament law?

Moral, ceremonial and judicial

Are these three categories also under the apodictic/casuistic paradigm?

Yes, apodictic unconditionality and casuistic conditionality may apply to them.

Where do I find the moral law?

In the Ten Commandments (Ex. 20; Dt. 5)

Does this law bind the New Testament believer?

Yes, because it is eschatological in orientation and thus is a permanent and eternal standard of ethical behavior.

What is the ceremonial law?

These are the laws of sacrifice for sin as well as laws regulating the Old Testament worship of God by means of an external priesthood and cultic ritual (including festivals).

Are these laws still binding on the people of God?

No, they were displaced and replaced by the perfect work of Christ, who is the eschatological sacrifice for sin and the eschatological high priest of the Israel of God of the end of the age.

What about the judicial laws?

They were given to Israel as the rule of their state or commonwealth. They were intended to cease when that state or commonwealth ceased. In fact, there were revisions here as redemptive history progressed from theocracy (ended with the Samuel) to monarchy (ended with the destruction of Jerusalem, 586 B.C.) to the rule of the nations (ended with the destruction of the state of Israel, 70 A.D.). (While the modern state of Israel is anchored in the providence of God, it is not the creation of Biblical revelation—prophetic or otherwise. It is a secular state.)

You mean that the judicial laws of Old Testament Israel are no longer binding on judicial commonwealths in the New Testament era?

Yes, except for principles of general equity (equal justice for all) which those laws may contain, the specifics of those statutes do not bind non-theocratic states and commonwealths. They have been replaced by the common law of nations.

So, for example, it is no longer proper under the New Testament economy to execute homosexuals as the Old Testament judicial law prescribed (Lev. 20:13).

That is correct; as church and state are separate (not theocratic) under the New Testament economy, homosexuals are left to the judgment of God (1 Cor. 6:9). They are free to live their lives in this world, hopefully hear the gospel of grace, repent of their sins and be transformed by the renewing of the Holy Spirit (as all sinners are free to live their lives in this world, hear the gospel of grace, repent of their sins and be transformed by the renewal of the Holy Spirit).

 How does the book of Exodus end?

With Israel at the mountain of the Lord, journeying to the Promised Land under the canopy of light and fire which marks the dwelling place of God (Ex. 40:38).

NB: In these beginning things of Exodus, we discover final things of heaven’s eschaton; even as in those eschatological things foreshadowed by Exodus, we discover the protological things of the Old Testament exodus generation.

[1] Cf. the author’s “The Exodus and the People of God.” ­The Banner of Truth­ 171 (December 1977):6-11, 32; also “The Exodus: Historical Narrative, Prophetic Hope, Gospel Fulfillment.” ­Presbyterion­ 8 (Fall 1982):1-12.

[2] See the author’s exposition of this pattern in “The Law from the New Mount.” Kerux: The Journal of Northwest Theological Seminary 21/1 (May 2006):42-48 (http://kerux.com/doc/2101A4.asp).

[3] James T. Dennison, Jr., ed., Reformed Confessions of the 16th and 17th Centuries in English Translation (1523-1693), 4 volumes (2008-2014). More than 125 confessions of faith appear in this collection.

[4]See the author’s exposition of the Sabbath in redemptive-historical continuum here: http://nwts.edu/media/audio/jtd/Hebrews/Hebrews 11.mp3.  Handout here: http://nwts.edu/media/pdf/jtd/Hebrews/Hebrews 11.pdf. Compare also his book, The Market Day of the Soul and articles: “The Puritan Doctrine of the Sabbath.” ­The Banner of Truth­ 147 (December 1975):6-14; “The Perpetuity and Change of the Sabbath.” In ­Soli Deo Gloria: Essays in Reformed Theology­, ed. by R. C. Sproul (1976), 146-155; “Vos on the Sabbath: A Close Reading.” Kerux: A Journal of Biblical-Theological Preaching 16/1 (May 2001):61-70 (http://kerux.com/doc/1601A4.asp).

[5] See the author’s audio series on this beautiful book here: http://nwts.edu/audio/JTD/SongOfSolomon.htm. Also “Solomon’s Sublime Song” available here:  http://www.reformedfellowship.net/outlook/2003septemberoutlook.pdf.