2 Tim 3.16-17
All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

A Biblical Rebuttal of "The Fulfillment of the Promises of God"

Chapter 8: The New Covenant

A Biblical Rebuttal of:

The Fulfillment of the Promises of God,
An Explanation of Covenant Theology

by Dr. Richard Belcher, 2020.

As mentioned in the Introduction, chapters 1 through 8 in this article match the chapter titles and ordering of their respective chapters in Dr. Belcher's book. This chapter overlays chapter 8, pages 115 through 138 in the book.


Format Key:

  • Simple body text looks like this, this and this, and like this, this and this.
  • A quote from Scripture looks like this.
  • A quote from Dr. Belcher’s book “looks like this” [ch X, pg Y[, emphasis mine]]
  • An inline comment [looks like this.]


 Israel’s History of Disobedience [page 115]

“This history of God's people in the Old Testament was primarily a history of disobedience.” [ch 8, pg 118]

Dr. Belcher has noted the disobedience of OT Israel at various points earlier in his book, but rarely this plainly or inclusively. He appeared to me typically to understate/non-state this fact at points in which the disobedience of Israel would have been very germane to the argument. (I've noted these points where it occurred.)

"Israel has failed in her mission to be a holy nation and a kingdom of priests to the nations by adopting the ways of the nations rather than by following God. Thus, she experienced the covenant curse of exile." [ch 8, pg 116]

Dr. Belcher has this correct.

Will the Davidic Promises Be Fulfilled? [page 117]

What type of question is this for a Bible teacher to be asking? Even if he is merely being provocative, what possible purpose is served?

Remaining is the question of "Why is the potential fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant even being asked—if Dr. Belcher is merely being provocativein the chapter which is supposed to be about the New Covenant?"

"Several passages of the Scripture wrestle with the implications of the apparent failure of the covenant promises. Of course, the failure is not found in the promises themselves, or in the God who made them, but in the sin of the king and people." [ch 8, pg 117, emphasis mine]

There are some comments that I could make here, but I’ll wait. In the previous chapter I found Dr. Belcher to be deficient with his apparent lack of understanding of Psa 89. The section entitled "Where is God's Covenant Faithfulness (Psalm 89)?" (immediately following) might be a more complete treatment. (Hopefully this is where he'll come to terms with the powerful truths of Psa 89, but as we'll see he fails miserably to properly and adequately deal with this powerful Psalm.)

Where is God’s Covenant Faithfulness (Psalm 89) [page 117]

"Psalm 89 wrestles with these questions. It has three sections: a hymn to Yahweh for His faithfulness (89.1-18), a review of the promises of the Davidic Covenant (89.19-37), and a lament over the apparent failure of the promises to David in light of the condition of the monarchy (89.38-51). The song closes with a doxology (89.52) that marks the end of Book 3 of the Psalter (73-98)." [ch 8, pg 117]

This is an essentially valid, very brief summary of the Psalm.

[Following the Psalm overview, Dr. Belcher adds some details to each of the sections above over a span of two paragraphs.

In the first of those paragraphs, he provides some light details through verse 28.

A single sentence covers vv. 29-37: "The blessings to David (89.20-28) are also extended to his descendants (89.29-37), in line with the promise of 2 Sam 7.36 that David's throne will last as long as the sun." [ch 8, pg 118] He appears to avoid the depth and beauty of the truths expressed in vv. 30-37, the section which declares strongly that the LORD’s promises will be fulfilled even if David’s sons fail!

The second paragraph lightly handles vv. 38-45.

There is no discussion of a descendant of David sitting on the throne of David at a time yet future.]

[I was deeply troubled by Dr. Belcher’s approach to and handling of Psa 89. As I result, I wrote Appendix: Psalms that End with its Author Uncertain to counter the irresponsible notion that just because a Psalm ends with a lament or uncertainty is any reason to essentially discount the entire Psalm. This latter aspect is what I believe that Dr. Belcher did with Psalm 89.]

The Restoration of the Davidic King [page 118]

"The conditional nature of the Davidic Covenant is demonstrated in the removal of the king in Judah, but the unconditional nature of the covenant is seen in the continued hope that God would establish the Davidic line again at some point in the future." [ch 8, pg 118, emphasis mine]

So, which is it? Conditional or unconditional? Dr. Belcher, you can't have it both ways: "two mutually exclusive options can’t both be true". Despite 2 Sam 7 and Psa 89, Dr. Belcher maintains the fantasy that the Davidic Covenant, somehow/sometimes/perhaps/in certain circumstances/maybe/etc., is conditional! Dr. Belcher is unable to see that even through the disobedience of the Davidic line the LORD will keep His promise to David; He is not limited by the unfaithfulness of the Davidic line nor does He require essential obedience in the Davidic. This is as unconditional as it gets!

Regarding Dr. Belcher's stated illogic, consider the following texts wherein the LORD's words are stable and dependable:

2 Cor 1.18-20
But as God is faithful, our word to you is not yes and no. For the Son of God, Christ Jesus, who was preached among you by us — by me and Silvanus and Timothy — was not yes and no, but is yes in Him. For as many as are the promises of God, in Him they are yes; therefore also through Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us.

In something as simple as the asserting of a fact, the NT gives this caution:

Jam 5.12
But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath; but your yes is to be yes, and your no, no, so that you may not fall under judgment.

[This simple command is violated daily in our so-called courts of law.]

If this was the command given by the LORD to His people, is He not under the same constraint to speak without equivocation?

Clearly, the LORD is incapable of creating a conditional/unconditional covenant because to do so would violate His own Law! (Though this appears to be not the case with CT, since it declares the Davidic Covenant both conditional and unconditional. #SARC)

"Two groups of Davidic psalms in Book 5 of the Psalter (Psalms 108–110; 138–145) remind God's people of a need for a Davidic king to complete the restoration." [ch 8, pg 119]

Let’s review this "impressive" list of 11 Psalms, and their content, to determine the viability and truth of Dr. Belcher’s claim:

  • There is nothing in Psa 108 of the "need for a Davidic king". Note that vv. 10-13 of the Psa rejoice in the fact that the LORD will lead the armies of Israel.
  • There is nothing in Psa 109 of the "need for a Davidic king". Note that it is one of the strongest of the imprecatory Psalms.
  • There is nothing in Psa 110 of the "need for a Davidic king". It is a Messianic Psalm speaking of that time when the Lord Christ will be placed upon the throne of David in the midst of nation of Israel. It is also a Psalm which foretells of the vengeance the Lord Christ will take on that day.
  • There is nothing in Psa 138 of the "need for a Davidic king".
  • There is nothing in Psa 139 of the "need for a Davidic king". The Psalm ends with an imprecation against the wicked.
  • There is nothing in Psa 140 of the "need for a Davidic king". The Psalm ends with an imprecation against the wicked.
  • There is nothing in Psa 141 of the "need for a Davidic king". The Psalm ends with an imprecation against the wicked.
  • There is nothing in Psa 142 of the "need for a Davidic king".
  • There is nothing in Psa 143 of the "need for a Davidic king". The Psalm ends with an imprecation against the wicked.
  • There is nothing in Psa 144 of the "need for a Davidic king".
  • There is nothing in Psa 145 of the "need for a Davidic king".

Some common themes are the cry to the LORD for protection from evil/evil people, the LORD's steadfast love and provision for His people, and the fact that the LORD will punish evil people.

Note also that every one of the Psalms was written by David, so the thought that David is reminding the reader of the “need for a Davidic king" would be nonsensical since these Psalms appear to deal in the present, not the future.

Once again, we see Dr. Belcher's apparent disdain for the biblical, in-context use of Bible citations! How could he possibly get the overview of 11 out of 11 Psalms so wrong?!

[This is another example that ALL citations by Dr. Belcher must be checked for proper use and applicable content (which I’ve done in this critical review!!). He has several times before, as I've noted in earlier chapters, abused his use of Bible text references, assigning to them purposes which differ significantly from the actual text and intent of the text.]

"Psalm 132 is a royal psalm that focuses on God's promise to David that one of his descendants will sit on the throne 'forever' (132.12)." [ch 8, pg 119]

Once again, Dr. Belcher misses an important word in the verse: 'if'.

Psa 132.12
If your sons will keep My covenant
And My testimony which I will teach them,
Their sons also shall sit upon your throne forever.”

As we saw in the previous chapter, Dr. Belcher appears to have a great deal of trouble with the nature of the Davidic Covenant. On page 118 he refers to it both as conditional and unconditional (in the same sentence!). As I've pointed out with Psa 89, the LORD is going to keep His covenant with David regardless of the faithfulness/unfaithfulness of the Davidic line, until it finds fulfillment in the Lord Christ. Here, the LORD warns the Davidic line that each son in the line could not assume that his son would sit on the throne unless he was faithful.

This is not a contradiction: we need to consider carefully exactly what the LORD promised in His covenant with David:

2 Sam 7.16
"Your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever."


Psa 89.36
“His descendants shall endure forever
And his throne as the sun before Me."

All what was encompassed by the Davidic line and the throne of David was to be maintained regardless of the faithfulness or unfaithfulness of its individual members. As the LORD warned in Psa 89.30-32 and implied in Psa 132.12, disobedience would be punished but the promise to David and his descendants would be maintained.

[See also Appendix: Psalms that End with its Author Uncertain.]

"Psalm 132 is part of the Songs of Ascent and it gives a rationale for making the pilgrimage to Jerusalem: Zion is God's dwelling place and the site of the Davidic throne. It is also a call for the restoration of the Davidic dynasty in the post-exilic period. It demonstrates that the rejection of the king in Psalm 89 is not final." [ch 8, pg 119, emphasis mine]

Certainly part of the inspired text of the Psalm is its "A Song of Ascents" prefix. But Dr. Belcher's assertion that the Psalm was the "rationale for making the pilgrimage to Jerusalem" is questionable: there are 15 Psalms prefixed with "A Song of Ascents" and all were/are sung during the pilgrimage.

Regarding Dr. Belcher's assertion regarding the "restoration of the Davidic dynasty", the Psalmist is more intent on reminding the reader of the LORD's promise that He would maintain the house and line of David. And, again, v. 12 states the conditions upon the individual faithfulness of each of the sons of David throughout the history of the Southern Kingdom.

"Psalm 132 gives hope that the promises of the Davidic Covenant will be fulfilled. A king will come, a horn will sprout for David." [ch 8, pg 120]

Definitely, the tone of the endings of Psa 132 and Psa 89 are vastly different. But a reading of Psa 89.30-37 is absolutely sufficient to maintain that the Davidic line will endure. Dr. Belcher's apparent dismissal of a "downbeat" Psalm 89 in favor of an "upbeat" Psa 132 is a poor use of Scripture. And, as I've already mentioned, Dr. Belcher appears to ignore the conditions supplied in Psa 132.12 (above).

Consider this excerpt from Psa 89:

Psa 89.36-37
“His descendants shall endure forever
And his throne as the sun before Me.
“It shall be established forever like the moon,
And the witness in the sky is faithful.” Selah.

also proves that in the language of Psa 132, "A king will come, a horn will sprout for David."

The Promise of the New Covenant [page 120]

[Dr. Belcher appears to very abruptly change the topic from the discussion of the Davidic Covenant to the New Covenant. Again. he did not make it clear why he was covering the Davidic Covenant in his chapter on the New Covenant and provided no logical transition here.

The first paragraph of the section entitled "The Promise of a New Covenant" is a summary of the book of Jeremiah. The second paragraph is a summary of the book of Ezekiel.]

"The land is a key promise made to Abraham and for restoration to take place the people must be brought back to their land." [ch 8, pg 122]

Dr. Belcher does not make clear the time frame of the return (though with the citations it appears he is thinking only of the return from Babylon). It is true that the Jews returned to their land after the exile in Babylon. Dr. Belcher does not handle (here at least) the scattering of the Jews after the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70 and their return to the Promised Land in 1948.

[Please note the next citation and footnote.]

"The rest of Jeremiah 33 focuses on the promise of a king in the Davidic Covenant and the implications for God's people (vv. 14-26). Without a king there can be no kingdom and no full restoration of the people. It is not a surprise that the prophecies of restoration end with an emphasis on the Davidic Covenant as a capstone to it. In 33.14-16 God declares that at some point in the future He will fulfill the promise of someone from the Davidic line to be raised to execute righteousness in the land and to save His people. This one is identified as 'a righteous Branch to spring up for David' (v. 15) and the name of Jerusalem will be the 'Lord is our righteousness' (v. 16). This passage seems to allude to Jeremiah 23.5-6 where the word 'branch' (ṣemaḥ) is also used and the king is named ‘The Lord is our righteousness’. The image of a new shoots sprouting from the stump of a tree fits the condition of the diminished Davidic dynasty. The name given to the king in Jeremiah 23.5-6 is given to the city of Jerusalem in 33.16 as an embodiment of the character of the king who established the city once again as the capital of the Kingdom." [ch 8, pg 123-124, emphasis mine]

"19. Mackay, Jeremiah, p. 278. Just as the term 'branch' is also used of the remnant in Isaiah 4.2 and 6.13, so 'The LORD our righteousness' is applied to the city of Jerusalem."[ch 8, pg 123-124]

Dr. Belcher's treatment of the prophecies of Jer 23 and Jer 33 were troubling. The rebuttal of the problems above is best handled elsewhere to avoid breaking the review of chapter 8. I wrote Appendix, The Righteous Branch and the LORD Our Righteousness to develop and expound that topic.

"In other words, if anyone can break the terms of the Noahic Covenant so that day and night do not come at their appointed time, then the covenant with David and the Levites can be broken (33:20-21)". [ch 8, pg 125, emphasis mine]

The assertion above (regarding the appointed times of the day and night) must have come from Dr. Belcher's memory, because that detail was not in the Noahic Covenant. There is indication of such a covenant here:

Psa 104.19
He made the moon for the seasons;
The sun knows the place of its setting.

Jer 31.35-36
Thus says the Lord,
Who gives the sun for light by day
And the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night,
Who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar;
The Lord of hosts is His name:
“If this fixed order departs
From before Me,” declares the Lord,
“Then the offspring of Israel also will cease
From being a nation before Me forever.”

Psa 148.5-6
Let them praise the name of the Lord,
For He commanded and they were created.
He has also established them forever and ever;
He has made a decree which will not pass away.

However, there is no record in the inspired Word of the details of that covenant or when the LORD made it. It is a distortion of the Word of God to say that that covenant was part of the Noahic Covenant; it was not.

"24. The fact that the Levitical priesthood becomes obsolete in the new covenant would seem to go against that this passage promises. Christ, however, fulfills the Old Testament offices and transforms them so that they continue in greater ways. For example, He now sits on the throne of David, which is not an earthly throne but the heavenly throne at the right hand of God the Father. Christ transforms the temple and the priesthood so that the ministry of the church, the new temple of God, is carried out by the sacrifices of His people. This fulfills Isaiah 66:21 in that the Gentiles can serve as priests and Levites." [ch 8, pg 125-126, emphasis mine]

The context of this footnote is Jer 33.20-21 (I handle Isa 66.21 below):

Jer 33.20-21
“Thus says the Lord, ‘If you can break My covenant for the day and My covenant for the night, so that day and night will not be at their appointed time, then My covenant may also be broken with David My servant so that he will not have a son to reign on his throne, and with the Levitical priests, My ministers."

The problem is that you can't read Jer 33.20-21 and come away with the assertion that "The fact that the Levitical priesthood becomes obsolete ...". The real fact is, we should take Jer 33 exactly as it is written: the fulfillment of the "fact" of a Son of David (the Lord Christ) sitting on the throne of David and the co-existing ministry of the Levitical priesthood is completely independent of the New Covenant. It is only the predisposition of Amillennial Eschatology that assumes that they are exclusive.

[Perhaps a later article will expound on this theme completely; it will have to suffice for now that during the Millennium, the Levitical priesthood will be active, along with the sacrifices. The Millennium will be a time of Law, not of grace! (This is particularly present in the prophecies of Isaiah.)

I'll offer here just a single verse about that time. Notice how the prophet characterizes it:

Isa 2.3-4a
And many peoples will come and say,
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
To the house of the God of Jacob;
That He may teach us concerning His ways
And that we may walk in His paths.”
For the law will go forth from Zion
And the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
And He will judge between the nations,
And will render decisions for many peoples;

It will be a time of Law which flows from a divinely elevated Jerusalem (Isa 2.2), from the throne of David, upon which sits the Lord Christ as He rules the earth! Again, this is independent of the promises and fulfillment of the New Covenant.]

However, Dr. Belcher skips the lead up to the full context of Jer 33.20-21, which is here:

Jer 33.14-18
‘Behold, days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when I will fulfill the good word which I have spoken concerning the house of Israel and the house of Judah. In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch of David to spring forth; and He shall execute justice and righteousness on the earth. In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will dwell in safety; and this is the name by which she will be called: the Lord is our righteousness.’ For thus says the Lord, ‘David shall never lack a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel; and the Levitical priests shall never lack a man before Me to offer burnt offerings, to burn grain offerings and to prepare sacrifices continually.’”

Isa 66.21
I will also take some of them for priests and for Levites,” says the Lord.

In typical CT "spiritualizing" fashion, Dr. Belcher refuses to accept the full context of Jer 33.14-18. The clear context is Judah and Jerusalem, not heaven!

Then, look at the context to Isa 66.21:

Isa 66.18-21
“For I know their works and their thoughts; the time is coming to gather all nations and tongues. And they shall come and see My glory. I will set a sign among them and will send survivors from them to the nations: Tarshish, Put, Lud, Meshech, Tubal and Javan, to the distant coastlands that have neither heard My fame nor seen My glory. And they will declare My glory among the nations. Then they shall bring all your brethren from all the nations as a grain offering to the Lord, on horses, in chariots, in litters, on mules and on camels, to My holy mountain Jerusalem,” says the Lord, “just as the sons of Israel bring their grain offering in a clean vessel to the house of the Lord. I will also take some of them for priests and for Levites,” says the Lord.

Note that only those descending from the tribe of Levi and can become priests:

Lev 3.5-10
Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Bring the tribe of Levi near and set them before Aaron the priest, that they may serve him. They shall perform the duties for him and for the whole congregation before the tent of meeting, to do the service of the tabernacle. They shall also keep all the furnishings of the tent of meeting, along with the duties of the sons of Israel, to do the service of the tabernacle. You shall thus give the Levites to Aaron and to his sons; they are wholly given to him from among the sons of Israel. So you shall appoint Aaron and his sons that they may keep their priesthood, but the layman who comes near shall be put to death.

The context of Isa 66.21 is not the Gentiles but survivors from the tribe of Levi brought by the nations to reformed Israel! Dr. Belcher, how could you be so careless? If a Gentile attempted to serve in the earthly duties of the Levitical priest, he is worthy to be put to death. That fact alone should force you into accepting that your interpretation is wrong.

[Is this misinterpretation another result of Amillennial eschatology?]

"For example, He now sits on the throne of David, which is not an earthly throne but the heavenly throne at the right hand of God the Father."

Nowhere in the Scripture is the throne which is now in heaven ever referred to as the "throne of David". As I've demonstrated throughout this article, the throne of David is an earthly throne, not a heavenly one! Moreover, only the LORD and His Son currently sit on that throne in heaven; that state will continue until Psa 110 is fulfilled (as I've also demonstrated throughout this article) and only the LORD will occupy that throne with Lord Christ (subsequent to His return) sitting on the earthly "throne of David", according to the promise.

"so that the ministry of the church"

There is so much wrong with the sentence enclosing this phrase; I won't here untangle all its problems. It will have to suffice that Jer 31-33, and Isa 66 don't speak of the "church", they speak of future Israel!

[These two entities, of course, are wrongly interchanged by the CT constantly. I have the complete set of Calvin's Commentaries; he frequently refers to the "church" when the OT context is clearly national Israel.]

"Christ transforms the temple and the priesthood so that the ministry of the church, the new temple of God, is carried out by the sacrifices of His people."

Besides lacking support in the cited text, what does this string of words even mean? It sure sounds "spiritual" but is completely lacking in detail.

"The promise of a New Covenant seems to be the central promise of Jeremiah 30-33 so that the fulfillment of the other covenant promises will be dependent on the fulfillment of the promises of the New Covenant." [ch 8, pg 126, emphasis mine]

  1. Dr. Belcher appears to understate the significance of the New Covenant. The inimitable nature of the New Covenant is the most significant promise of the LORD to Israel since its inception as a nation. Their very nature/heart will be changed permanently; they will no longer be a nation marked by obstinance.
  2. Dr. Belcher's comment "the fulfillment of the other covenant promises will be dependent on the fulfillment of the promises of the New Covenant" is wrong!

1. Please note what the author of Hebrews stated:

Heb 8.7-8,13
For if that first [covenant] had been faultless, there would have been no occasion sought for a second. For finding fault with them, He says,
… [quotation from Jer 31.31-34] …
When He said, “A new [covenant],” He has made the first [Mosaic Covenant, in context] obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear.

The author of Hebrews makes it clear that the Mosaic Covenant could not in any way be “dependent upon the fulfillment of the promises of the New Covenant” because the Mosaic Covenant was becoming obsolete! Dr. Belcher has it backward, of a sort. (See below for the reasoning of this.)

Note that the word ‘covenant’ is not in the text in Heb 8 but is implied. So, let's first answer the question: "Which of the covenants was the ‘first’"?

There are exactly 6 covenants made by the LORD:

  1. Noahic: unconditional
  2. Abrahamic: unconditional
  3. Circumcision: unconditional
  4. Mosaic ("First", Heb 8.7): conditional
  5. Davidic: unconditional
  6. New ("Second", Heb 8.7): unconditional

Numbers 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6 are unconditional.
Number 4 is conditional.

Number 1 is a covenant between the LORD and creation.
Number 2 is a covenant between the LORD and Abram and Abram's descendants.
Number 3 is a covenant between the LORD and the males of the nation of Israel (and their male descendants) and those foreigners who dwelt among the Jews.
Number 5 is a covenant between the LORD and David and his descendants.
Numbers 4 and 6 are between the LORD and national Israel.

None of the unconditional covenants can ever become obsolete or be broken, so none of them can be the “first” covenant of Heb 8. (Please think about this and you’ll realize that it must be true.)

Only the Mosaic covenant has been broken and “is about to become obsolete”. It is the only covenant capable of being the “first”.

The "second" covenant was the LORD's promise to national Israel to change their hearts to establish a genuine and permanent relationship with Him. Only the New Covenant can fit this description.

2. There are a few problems we need to handle concerning “the other covenant promises”.

Question: How can "the other covenant promises" depend on the New Covenant when all but the Mosaic Covenant are unconditional?
Answer: They can't.

Dr. Belcher, please explain how It is that an unconditional covenant (the New Covenant) is conditioned upon any other covenant (conditional or unconditional). Your assertion is an oxymoron.

An unconditional covenant (the New Covenant included) can't fail: it is based on the unchanging promise of the LORD Himself within that covenant! Therefore, nothing that happens in the past, present or future can ever change that glorious fact!

Summarizing: only the Mosaic Covenant can be the "first" covenant of Heb 8; only the Mosaic Covenant could be regarded as "obsolete" and "ready to disappear" - especially given the fact that the Jews broke that covenant. And, as the author of Heb 8 notes, the "second" covenant is the New Covenant which will change the heart of national Israel.

Each real OT covenant is complete in and of itself! Once again, Dr. Belcher shows himself to be at odds with the Scripture.

Note also that Dr. Belcher lists no citations of Jer 31.33 by itself anywhere in his book (at least, according to the index, and none that I found during my review of the book), namely the promise of a new heart. This is peculiar, given that the promise of the new heart is the unique and glorious feature of the New Covenant!

"The first saying (31.35-36) stresses the power of Yahweh as the one who set up the sun, moon and stars to function as light bearers in the order of creation and established the waves of the sea. Only if this fixed order departs from God's control could the offspring of Israel ever cease from being a nation." [ch 8, pg 127, emphasis mine]

In the four paragraphs of this section (of which the quote above is the last), Dr. Belcher has not cited the promise of v. 33 (the Law will be impressed on the hearts of the people of the nation). That is, the promises of vv. 35-36 apply only if the hearts of the people have been changed via v. 33! It is astonishing that Dr. Belcher could be so careless to miss this vital detail; it is fundamental to the proper understanding of Jer 31.31-34.

The point of vv. 35-36 is that the LORD will keep His promise to change the hearts of the nation just as He will keep His control of the ‘fixed order’ of the universe; the expression in vv. 35-36 depends upon the primary expression of v. 33.

The Fulfillment of the Covenant Promises [page 127]

"After the Flood, God enters into a covenant with Noah and all creation, promising to preserve the created order so redemptive history can move forward. Noah is a second Adam who continues the mandate given to Adam in the midst of a fallen world. Sin is still a problem as seen in the drunkenness of Noah and the Tower of Babel." [ch 8, pg 127]

There are three errors in Dr. Belcher’s statement above, the first two are misstatements of the Scripture, and the third is regarding the “second Adam” characterization.

It is accurate to state that "God enters into a covenant with Noah and all creation", but it is not to “preserve the created order”. The LORD promised “all flesh shall never again be cut off by the water of the flood, neither shall there again be a flood to destroy the earth.” Was the created order preserved? Yes, but that was not the reason; hence, my charge that this is a misstatement of Scripture.

[It is vital that Bible teachers are true to not only the big items, but also to the details.]

Regarding the comment “so redemptive history can move forward”, that is not the reason expressed in the text. The LORD told Noah only what His covenant was, not the reason for it. Bible teachers err when they ascribe reasons to the LORD’s actions which the text does not support. Would “redemptive history … move forward”? Yes, of course–but that is because everything that the LORD has done in this world from before the creation of the earth until its end can be described as the moving forward of redemptive history.

Now, regarding Dr. Belcher’s "Noah is a second Adam who continues the mandate given to Adam in the midst of a fallen world."

  • The Bible never calls Noah the “second” Adam. The title of “last Adam” is reserved to the Lord Christ, as is “the second man” (1 Cor 15.42-47).
  • The "mandate given to Adam in the midst of a fallen world": I assume that Dr. Belcher is referring to “Be fruitful and multiply…”. The only “mandate” which may have been in force is procreation, but this appears to me to be virtually a non-point.

"In response to the increase of sin, God decided to work out his purposes for the salvation of the world through one man in his family. He called Abram to go to a land that he would show him, promising to give to him and his descendants (seed) the land of Canaan, to make his name great, and to make him a blessing to the nations. God committed himself to fulfill these promises in the Covenant of Genesis 15, including the promise to make Abraham's descendants as numerous as the stars of Heaven (15.5)." [ch 8, pg 127-128]

What Dr. Belcher said here is essentially correct, except for the phrase "God decided to work out his purposes for the salvation of the world". His phrasing implies (especially following his comments about the "mandate" of the earlier citation) that the LORD is reactionary, perhaps something like this:

‘The world remained in sin following the Flood, so another plan was needed. The LORD therefore chose Abram to "work out His purposes for the salvation of the world". The good news is that the "plan" is now back on track.’

"God's covenant commitment to the dynasty of David is expressed in 2 Samuel 7; but His promises appear to be in jeopardy in the destruction of Jerusalem, including the temple and the monarchy, in 587 BC (Psalm 89.3-51)." [ch 8, pg 128]

Dr. Belcher has a troubling tendency to skip over Psa 89.30-37 in favor of the lament of the Psalmist at the very end of the Psalm: it is evident that Ethan the Ezrahite has trouble with believing the LORD's promises he just wrote! It is equally evident that Dr. Belcher has the same issue as Ethan: he continues to downplay the promises of the LORD to David (vv. 30-37) in favor of the despair expressed by Ethan (vv. 38-51).

[See Appendix: Psalms that End with its Author Uncertain.]

We in the present have the advantage of seeing the LORD's fulfillment of many of His promises (though vv.30-37 still awaits fulfillment). It's OK to note when a Psalmist (for example) struggles with the world he sees around him; it's not OK to say “but His promises appear to be in jeopardy …” without noting that this is the doubt expressed by the Psalmist but omitting the certainty of the fulfillment of the promises. It is as dangerous as it is foolish to cast doubt upon the LORD’s promises.

"Israel was in the land and had the law, but they were not fulfilling their mission to the nations, and they were lacking a king to sit on the throne according to the promise of the Davidic Covenant. The scene was set for a king to come to fulfill God's covenant promises." [ch 8, pg 129]

Dr. Belcher has expressed this notion before: Israel's (supposed) mission to the nations is to be a "holy people, …". as some sort of 'witness' to them. That the LORD intended from the beginning to make the nation of Israel a holy nation is true; however, it is clearly error to teach that the reason for that intention was for Israel to fulfill some "mission to the nations". As I've pointed out in other chapters, Israel's mission to their neighboring nations was to destroy them, to be the instrument of the LORD's wrath upon their (those nations') wickedness.

He has elsewhere stated the truth that the LORD chose David; this much is accurate. However, the way that Dr. Belcher makes it sound, the selection (or at least the installation) of the King was up to the people and according to their timing: clearly, it is not and never was!

"It is significant that Jesus came proclaiming, 'The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel' (Mar 1.15; see also Mat 4.17). The King has come to establish his kingdom. The nature of this kingdom is very important for understanding the fulfillment of God's covenant promises. The people of Jesus' day were expecting a king like David to destroy their enemies and establish Israel as a great nation." [ch 8, pg 129, emphasis mine]

There are two points that need addressing:

  1. Dr. Belcher is accurate in his description of the expectations of the Jews of that time.
  2. Dr. Belcher is correct when he asserts that the kingdom of God arrived at that time (which is what the Lord Christ said, after all). However, it is only one aspect of the kingdom which arrived. (In the third clip below, Dr. Belcher sounds like a premillennialist when he asserts that there are aspects that await fulfillment. However, there will be major caveats to that declaration as we’ll see.)

[Please see Appendix: The Current and Future Kingdom of the Lord Christ below for a full defense of the fact that there are yet many components of the Kingdom of Christ yet to be fulfilled.]

"But Jesus did not meet their expectations of a king who would lead Israel in a revolt against the Roman government, which meant they also did not understand his kingdom. The evidence of Jesus kingship is seen in …" [ch 8, pg 129-130]

Dr. Belcher then enumerates several items to prove that the Lord Christ is a King:

  1. He rules creation. (Mat 8.23-27, Mar 4.35-41; Luk 8.24)
  2. He heals illness. (Mat 4.25, Mar 1.29-33)
  3. He has power over the spiritual forces of wickedness in casting out demons. (Mar 1.21-28; Luk 4.31-37)
  4. He has the power of life over death. (Mat 9.22-26; Mar 5.35-43; Luk 8.49-58)

All of these are valid and notable works of power by the Lord Christ; none of them fulfill Luk 1.32-33 (cited above). None of them are uniquely related to the King upon the throne of David ruling the house of Jacob. The serious Bible student can’t get around the fact of the current and actual "non-rule" of the Lord Christ asserted by the CT!

"Jesus came to establish a spiritual Kingdom that could be entered immediately by submitting to the rule of Jesus through faith in him." [ch 8, pg 130]

Dr. Belcher proceeds through the remainder of a long paragraph to tell us why the (current?) rule of the Lord Christ over His kingdom is spiritual, unlike other worldly kingdoms: this is clearly the setup for the current "non-kingdom" "non-ruled" by the Lord Christ–that is, in any manner which resembles a real kingdom on earth–which in turn is the basis for their Amillennialism. The next assertion is expected.

"28. Robertson, Christ of the Covenants, pp. 251-252. He argues that even in the Old Testament there is a convergence of the throne of David as the throne of God (1 Chron 29.22), which intensifies in some of the prophecies related to the coming Davidic King (Isa 9.6) and is confirmed in the New Testament (Acts 2.30-36). Peter connects the oath made to David that God would seat one of his descendants on his throne with the resurrection and exaltation of Christ to the right hand of the Father." [ch 8, pg 130]

 Dr. Belcher appeals to another CT to bolster the "throne-of-David-is-really-the-throne-of-God" theory; in the cited footnote above it is termed the "convergence". There are three Scripture references, so let's look at them (including 1 Chr 22.23 and Isa 9.7 for context):

1 Chr 29.22-23
So they ate and drank that day before the Lord with great gladness. And they made Solomon the son of David king a second time, and they anointed him as ruler for the Lord and Zadok as priest. Then Solomon sat on the throne of the Lord as king instead of David his father; and he prospered, and all Israel obeyed him.

Isa 9.6-7
For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us;
And the government will rest on His shoulders;
And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace,
On the throne of David and over his kingdom,
To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness
From then on and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this.

Act 2.20-36
And so, because he was a prophet and knew that God had sworn to him with an oath to seat one of his descendants on his throne, he looked ahead and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that He was neither abandoned to Hades, nor did His flesh suffer decay. This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses. Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear. For it was not David who ascended into heaven, but he himself says:
‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit at My right hand,
Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.”’
Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ—this Jesus whom you crucified.”

In 1 Chr 29, the text does refer to the "throne of the LORD"; the problem with using it as a "proof text" for his assertion ("throne of David" = "throne of the LORD") is that the "throne of David" is not mentioned (and therefore there can't be a correlation). Remember the drama that surrounded that time:

1 Kin 1.5
Now Adonijah the son of Haggith exalted himself, saying, “I will be king.” So he prepared for himself chariots and horsemen with fifty men to run before him.

After David was warned of Adonijah's attempted coup, things moved rapidly to place Solomon on the throne—just as the LORD had promised in 2 Sam 7.

2 Sam 7.12
When your days are complete and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your descendant after you, who will come forth from you, and I will establish his kingdom.

[In reality the throne was not David's to give: that authority rested with the LORD alone. It is no stretch to maintain that v23 states that Solomon sat down on the throne the LORD had ordained in spite of Adonijah's the attempts to take it.]

Now, let's look at this "intensification" assertion and Robertson's citation of Isa 9.6 and Act 2.30-36. IMO, Robertson oversells this; the prophecy is very detailed and direct and fits quite naturally into the flow of Isa 6+ and the presentation of "Immanuel". It is the latest of the prophecies regarding the One named "God with us". Let's look first at the text from Act 2:

We have the quotation within the text of Psa 110.1:

Act 2.34-35
For it was not David who ascended into heaven, but he himself says:
‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit at My right hand,
Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.”’

Robertson asserts that this verse tells us that the "throne of David" and the "throne of the LORD" are one and the same; this is false. The Lord Christ is currently seated at the right hand of the Father; the text does not state that He is seated on the "throne of David". This claim is an irresponsible conflation by Roberson, nothing more or less. In case the CT failed to notice, the Lord Christ is still in heaven; He is not upon the earth ruling from a "spiritual throne". There are no texts which tell us that His reign is spiritual, or that the throne in heaven is "spiritual".

[In case some want to object that all of heaven is "spiritual", my response is "true enough" if you want to play semantic games. As the CT uses the term "spiritual" (in this context), they mean "virtual". My objection is that nothing in heaven is "virtual"; It is all real. And when the Lord Christ returns to establish His kingdom, it will be real, not virtual!]

 Now let's consider the properties of this one called Immanuel from Isa 9:

  • the government will rest on His shoulders;
  • His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
  • there will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
  • to establish [that kingdom] and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore.

Is there anything "spiritual"/"virtual" in this list?


Is there anything in the properties above which equate "throne of David" to a "spiritual"/"virtual" rule from the throne in heaven?


The only way that the properties of the list above can be realized is that time subsequent to the return of the Lord Christ when He sits upon the real "throne of David" in real Jerusalem.

"The fullness of Christ's Kingdom, however, has not yet come. The manifestation of Christ as king to the world awaits His future coming when He will appear in glory at the end of the age, the enemies of God will be defeated, and God's people receive the fullness of their inheritance." [ch 8, pg 131, emphasis mine]

The CT claims that the current world order is the existence of the Kingdom of the Lord Christ; in other words, the ‘Millennial rule’ of the Lord Christ has already begun, though not in its "fullness".

A major problem with this is simple: if the rule of the Lord Christ has already begun–a rule which fulfills the promise of 2 Sam 7–then the description made by the CT simply does not match the biblical descriptions (even with the caveat):

  • Where is the throne of the Lord Christ?
  • Where is His active rule over the nation of Israel as David ruled over Israel?
  • Where is His active ‘on-the-throne-of-David’ rule over all nations?
  • Where is the fulfillment of the land areas the LORD promised to Abram?

[Please see Appendix: The Current and Future Kingdom of the Lord Christ below for a presentation of the fact that there are yet many components of the Kingdom of Christ yet to be fulfilled. Dr. Belcher's declaration above of "... awaits His future coming ..." doesn't even approach the number of details the CT omits if the Kingdom of the Lord Christ surrounds us as they claim..]

"The land promise is central to the covenant promises of the Old Testament." [ch 8, pg 131]

Well stated! The only problem is that Dr. Belcher spends the remainder of the chapter (nearly 7 pages) ignoring the details of the land promised to Abram by the LORD (in the early chapters of Genesis) in favor of broad generalities and useless conflation to avoid handling the difficult problem(s) that Israel does not yet possess the promised land—even though the Millennium has begun according to the CT!

"Abraham in the Old Testament was heir of the land, but in the New Covenant he is the heir of the world (Rom 4:13). The inheritance of the followers of Christ is the world, but they have not yet fully received that inheritance. Christ now rules the world, including all the nations, and the mission of His people is to the world/nations, and the reality of that will not be clear until Christ comes again (Rev 19.1-21)." [ch 8, pg 132, emphasis mine]

Rom 4.13
For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would be heir of the world was not through the Law, but through the righteousness of faith.

There is so much wrong with this clip that it is difficult to know where to begin.

  1. The statement “Abraham in the Old Testament was heir of the land, but in the New Covenant he is the heir of the world” is presented as an either/or status concerning what Abraham is to inherit; this is not the case. Abraham (specifically his descendants) will inherit the land. But that will be the time after “... and so all Israel will be saved ...”, when the LORD removes their sins. (Rom 11.26-27). As true believers, they all are also heirs of the world. Dr. Belcher has tripped on one of the eschatological errors of the typical CT.
  2. Let's next handle Dr. Belcher's treatment of Rom 4.13. The context of the entire fourth chapter of Romans is the faith of Abram, especially the faith he had while uncircumcised. As a result, justification by faith is available to both Jew and Gentile. Please note: the Law is not part of this process. (v. 16)
  3. It is true that genuine Christians inherit the world (Mat 5.5). Since Abram is the "father of the faithful", he certainly qualifies as a co-inheritor, but that status has nothing to do with the New Covenant the LORD made with “the house of Israel and the house of Judah”. Abram's faith was demonstrated in the OT economy centuries before the New Covenant.
  4. The world is indeed the inheritance of believers, but that fact also has nothing to do with Abram. Moreover, although that inheritance is not yet realized, it is not relevant to Dr. Belcher's point. Nowhere in the fourth chapter of Romans is there any hint of the New Covenant; this is made especially clear since the Apostle Paul speaks of the justification of Abram long before the announcement of the New Covenant. (v. 22) Clearly, Dr. Belcher is conflating the presence of faith with the New Covenant, something the Apostle does not do.
  5. Regarding "the reality of that will not be clear …" statement, I think I know what Dr. Belcher meant here, but his choice of words is poor. I believe he meant to say that many details of the Lord Christ's return are not yet clear, but that detail does not mean that the return of the Lord Christ is not certain.

The problems now for the CT are these:

  1. The CT teaches that Christ is actively ruling the world now, albeit spiritually. (This has no real meaning except to side-step the real issues.)
  2. The promises of the LORD to David in 2 Sam 7 clearly indicate a physical reign with a real throne in a real Jerusalem over a real Israel (real united Judah and Israel) and real earth by a real son of David, the Lord Christ!.
  3. The CT must somehow reconcile #1 and #2 above with reality (which is impossible!).
  4. The CT (or at least Dr. Belcher) refuses to acknowledge that the Lord Christ is the Son of David who is to be that King who will rule from Jerusalem. So, instead, the CT must gaslight us to expect something else: specifically, the return of the Lord Christ is spiritual, something yet in the future without regard to the details of the fulfillment of the LORD's promises to King David. Moreover, the CT can't and doesn't tell us what to expect of those promises made by the LORD to King David since they clearly are not being fulfilled now as they claim.

"The promise of the New Covenant focuses on the spiritual relationship between God and His People." [ch 8, pg 132]

Hebrews 8 and 9 discuss the New Covenant, along with a detailed discussion of the Law by the Apostle Paul in the Epistle to the Galatians.

Hebrews 8 demonstrates that the "first" covenant was the Mosaic Covenant while the New Covenant is the "second" covenant. Moreover, a singular fact is that the first covenant "could not make the worshipper perfect in conscience". (Heb 9.9)

Heb 9.9b
Accordingly both gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot make the worshiper perfect in conscience,

Galatians makes it clear that no one can be justified by Law. (Gal 2.15-16)

Gal 2.16
nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified.

It takes the action upon the heart through the means of the New Covenant to create the saved sinner.

The promise in Jer 31.31-34 was made directly to the Jews first; it was also applied first to the Lord Christ's disciples (less Judas Iscariot) at the Last Table. It soon spread to many Gentiles as the Gospel was taken outside of Jerusalem (especially from the base of Syrian Antioch, the center of very early Gentile Christianity).

So, of course, the New Covenant is "spiritual" in contrast to the Mosaic Covenant laws, statutes and ordinances which were very physical and legalistic.

"The result was to be that the people would know the Lord (Deu 4:35), a relationship built on God's mercy and forgiveness (Exo 34.6-7; 4 18-19) through the sacrificial system (Lev 1.4; 4.27-31). The Mosaic Covenant failed to bring about these purposes on a broad scale among the people because of their continuing disobedience to God leading to his judgment by exile. The Mosaic Covenant clearly showed people their sin (second use) but it had no power to transform their lives apart from God's sovereign intervention (Deu 29.4; 30.1-6)." [ch 8, pg 133, emphasis mine]

It is noteworthy that Dr. Belcher does not seem to use the Epistle to the Galatians very frequently.

[There are only about 15 references to Galatians in the first 8 chapters, that portion of his book that I'm reviewing.]

As I noted above, the author to the Hebrews states clearly that the First Covenant can't “make the worshipper perfect in conscience”. And, yes, it takes a sovereign action by the LORD to turn the heart: this is the beauty and power of the election of grace and all that surrounds it.

The purpose of the texts Dr. Belcher cited above could have been handled by Deu 29.4 alone.

"There are a number of reasons why the Mosaic Covenant failed to transform the people.

These were sufficient and efficacious by the operation of the Spirit to instruct and build up the elect in the promised Messiah by whom there is full remission of sins in eternal salvation (WCF 7.5)." [ch 8, pg 133]

Dr. Belcher does a reasonable job (following the clip above) stating how the Lord Christ implements and fulfills the power of the New Covenant.

The last sentence in the quotation is the WCF 7.5 nearly verbatim. It would have been better to quote from the Scripture instead. A good place to start is here:

Gal 3.23-25
But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed. Therefore, the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.

I think that it is deficient to quote from a secondary source (e.g., the WCF), especially since the WCF (as I've documented, link below) is unexpectedly careless in its use of Scripture (at least in those Article.Sections reviewed).

[See Appendix: The Problems in the WCF. for details.]

"The promises of the New Covenant take on the provisional nature of the Kingdom that Christ established in line with Paul 's statement that we have only received a down payment of our full inheritance (Eph 1.13-14).

This promise has already begun in the lives of believers but it is not yet complete because obedience is not yet perfected in God's people." [ch 8, pg 134-135, emphasis mine]

Definition of provisional: "Provided or serving only for the time being. synonym: temporary."

Regarding Dr. Belcher's use of the term "provisional": it is a poor choice of adjectives. Why did he not simply use the wonderfully-rich biblical term "pledge" (Eph 1.13-14) instead of a word that means "temporary"? Dr. Belcher's use of Eph 1.13-14 distorts its true import.

A real problem is that there is nothing "provisional" in the promise of the New Covenant:

Jer 31.33-34
“But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the Lord, “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the Lord, “for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”

Dr. Belcher: show me a single sentence, a single word, which is "provisional"! What part of the New Covenant is temporary?

Regarding Dr. Belcher's second statement: it's the phrase "because …" which is problematic. His statement of the current state of those who profess true faith recognizes the fact that we are not complete; this is correct. However, he appears to have it backwards by advocating for "fully matured Christians" before the promises of the New Covenant can be considered fulfilled. This is the textbook definition of postmillennial eschatology.

The promises of the New Covenant will be fulfilled when the Lord Christ returns and His people are transformed by the Resurrection, not when they–somehow–perfect their own obedience/sanctification.

"This promise is greatly debated and is a watershed issue between Baptists and Presbyterians. Many Baptists argue that, since the New Covenant cannot be broken (Jer 31.31), there cannot be anyone who is part of the New Covenant who falls away or breaks the Covenant. Everyone who is a part of the New Covenant is a true believer." [ch 8, pg 135]

Jer 31.31
“Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a New Covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, …"

[I don't know of the "debate" between the Baptists and Presbyterians about this particular topic (and really don't care anything about it anyway), but if this is true then "good for the Baptists!": it is absolutely true that "the New Covenant can't be broken". The reason is unassailable: the New Covenant is unconditional. If the Presbyterians want to challenge that, then I challenge them to show me the condition(s) in the text of the New Covenant.

The corollary is also true: for whomever the Spirit has written on their heart, they can't fall away. The work of the LORD on the heart is permanent in the same way that anyone "born from above" can't be "unborn from above". Any "theology" which holds otherwise flies from the pit of Hades through the mouths of men whose soul is still darkness.

Dr. Belcher, this is hardly a glowing theological recommendation for the Presbyterians. (#SARC) As usual, they are on the wrong side of many issues of theology.]

It would be far more accurate to say:

  1. The New Covenant is unconditional, and for that reason it can't fail to perform its work in the hearts of the LORD's chosen people (the elect), beginning with the “house of Israel and the house of Judah”. And, yes, for that reason “it cannot be broken”.
  2. The characteristics of the New Covenant are unique compared to all other unconditional covenants in the OT (Jer 31.32: "not like the covenant which I made with their fathers … which they broke"):
    a. It has a mediator, namely the Lord Christ. (Heb 9.15; 12.24).
    b. Its mediator, the Lord Christ, had to die to ratify it. (Luk 22.20)
    c. It was made exclusively with the Jews of an age yet to come. (Jer 31.31)
    d. It was initiated at the First Supper by means of the cup. (Luk 22.20)
    e. It was to be remembered by all believers regularly. (1 Cor 11.25)

"The focus is on what happens in regeneration where the knowledge of God is communicated directly to the persons and their conversion. This anointing is an anointing with the Holy Spirit." [ch 8, pg 135-136]


"It is an impossible ideal to equate the elect of the New Covenant with the members of the church, the New Covenant community, because of the 'now but not yet' character of the church before the second coming of Christ. Presbyterians recognize an administration of the New Covenant where someone can be a part of the New Covenant in a legal sense but not necessarily have a relationship with God. In Romans 11.16-24 Paul affirms the unity between Israel and the church by means of an olive tree. The branches of the olive tree are holy by virtue of being connected to the root of the tree which is holy. But some of the branches were broken off because of their unbelief (v. 20). Paul then warns the Gentiles who have been grafted into the olive tree that the same thing could happen to them (vv. 21-22)." [ch 8, pg 136, emphasis mine]

Dr. Belcher’s comments here regarding the very real issue of the NT church, as well as the churches of our day, is the fact that many people within them have no true experience of grace. They are "professors" instead of "possessors", as the old saying goes. Dr. Belcher’s characterizations are confusing because he reasons from a CT interpretation of everything.

When he says, “someone can be a part of the New Covenant in a legal sense but not necessarily have a relationship with God”, he denies the essence of the New Covenant promises! There can be no “legal sense” of being a member of the New Covenant: you are either a true believer (a member of the New Covenant), or you are still lost. It is a binary status, and it is absolute insanity to create some useless distinction (“legal”, “not legal”)!

Let's look a bit more at this “someone can be a part of the New Covenant in a legal sense but not necessarily have a relationship with God” and the actual text of Jer 31:

Jer 31.33-34
“But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the Lord, “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the Lord, “for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”

What part of “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people." is legal but outside the bounds of a relationship with the LORD? Did the LORD mean that when He writes His law on their heart, it is actually like a whiteboard which is quickly erased? Does He put them in a room labeled "My people", but once they go though its door the only exit leads to Hades? Does He mean to be "their God" on the first Sunday only but the rest of their lives He disowns them? Dr. Belcher, what kind of "Frankenstein" people have you created?

What part of "...  for they will all know Me ..." is not true? Does the text actually say "... for they will all know of Me but really won't know Me ..."?

What part of "I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.” is temporary or does not apply? Instead, are 50% of their sins forgiven, or maybe 25% or 5%?

“... someone can be a part of the New Covenant in a legal sense": exactly how does this work, Dr. Belcher? Do you really know what you are writing, or do you have a quota of pages to fill before the "book" can be published? 

This is not merely semantics! As I’ve stated earlier in my comments on this chapter, the New Covenant is inimitable and unconditional. Moreover, Hebrews chapter 8 is devoted to laying out the proper understanding of it, something you don't do, Dr. Belcher!

[All of the comments Dr. Belcher makes on Hebrews 8 (in the first 8 chapter) are found in five references in a single paragraph on page 134. None of them mention anything of the “legal” distinction of the New Covenant that he presented on page 136.]

In summary: the first 8 chapters of "The Fulfillment of the Promise of God' are some of the poorest and most unbiblical "theology" I've ever encountered. The reasoning is poor, inconsistent, contradictory and thoroughly antibiblical and unbiblical in many places. I wouldn't trust Dr. Belcher to teach a grade school level Bible class. 

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