Blog 74: 2.10.21 - 2.11.3

Phil Ryken

Calvin continues proving the doctrine of eternal life from the Old Testament Scriptures by pointing to Ezekiel's prophecy that dead, dry bones will live and rise again (Ezek. 37). 

No one should think that the covenant promises God made to the Jews were merely carnal, which was the error of the Sadducees.  On the contrary, everyone should know that "the Old Testament or Covenant that the Lord had made with the Israelites had not been limited to earthly things, but contained a promise of spiritual and eternal life" (II.x.23). 

As a final proof, Calvin points to the strange miracle of the saints who rose again at the resurrection of Jesus and were seen in the city of Jerusalem (Matt. 27:52-53).  Whatever else we may learn from this marvel, it proves that God made good on the promise he had always made to his people--the promise of eternal life.

Having firmly established the unity of the old and the new covenant in the promise and purpose of God, Calvin begins in chapter 11 to acknowledge some of the differences between the Old and New Testaments--differences that should not be allowed to detract from the more fundamental unity of all God's promises in Christ.

The first major difference is that whereas the Old Testament people of God tasted eternal benefits through earthly blessings, the New Testament people of God exercise their faith directly on heavenly things. 

According to some theologians, the Land of Canaan only typified a heavenly inheritance after the coming of Christ.  But Calvin believed that even before the coming of Christ, the earthly possession of that Promised Land taught the people of God to look for the highest and ultimate blessedness prepared for them in heaven, where God himself would their "portion forever" (Ps. 73:26).