“At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore” (Ps. 16: 11)
The Basket Case Chronicles #106
“But which many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted” (1 Cor. 10:5-6).
We have seen that the New Testament draws parallels between Christians of the New Testament and Jews of the Old. There are obviously a number of discontinuities between the covenants, described at length in the New Testament elsewhere, but they are not discontinuities across the board, and they are not discontinuities placed where incipient Marcionites like to place them.
On the issues of sacramental partaking of Christ and the possibility of covenantal apostasy, we find continuity between the covenants. The Israelites who fell in the wilderness under the displeasure of God were a type of judgment, and they were among those who drank from the Rock that was Christ. They had spiritual food and drink in the wilderness, just like the Corinthians had spiritual food and drink in the Supper, but what happened to them was designed as a warning or an example to new covenant believers.
Let us put the question in the simplest possible terms. Was it possible for an Old Testament Israelite to drink from the Rock of Christ, and subsequently fall under the displeasure of God in the wilderness, and to do so as a warning to new covenant Christians? The answer is yes.
If a particular systematic theology cannot incorporate this reality, then I would suggest that it is time for a new systematic theology. And lest anyone try to defend against this necessity by using scare words like Arminian or sacramentalist, it is important to note that there is a way of understanding Paul’s teaching here that is both evangelical and Reformed. In fact, as we work through this chapter it will become apparent that the only way to understand the full spectrum is by looking at it with evangelical and Reformed eyes.