Critiquing Joel McDurmon Part 2: Abraham and The Land/City/World (New Exodus) Promises Fulfilled or Not Fulfilled?

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 By Michael J. Sullivan

In this article I want to address two issues.  First, is Joel McDurmon asserting in his debate with Don Preston that Abraham did not inherit the land promise and if we say that he did, then according to Acts 7 – the Bible contradicts itself.  According to McDurmon if Abraham didn’t inherit the land or the earth (Rom. 4:13) that must mean that he will be raised (along with everyone) in a physical body upon the promised land and earth in the future.  The second issue is to demonstrate that according to futurists, the land promise made to Abraham is climaxed and fulfilled under OT typology through the exodus and then when David took the city of Jerusalem and God dwelt among His people safely 2 Sam. 5:6ff.
Let’s first address the issue of Abraham allegedly not inheriting the land.  Of course we couldn’t help but think we were debating a Premillennial Dispensationalist when we heard McDurmon’s comments on this subject!  Below is a chart harmonizing the OT record and Acts 7 demonstrating that there is no “contradiction” and that Abraham did inherit the land through his seed.  Is this not ironic that this is a reformed refutation of the Premillennial Dispensational view?!?:
I. The major Bible texts of the three promises

#1 Great Nation #2 Land #3 Seed
Gen 12:1-7 I will make you a great nation To your descendants I will give this land in you all families of the earth shall be blessed
Gen 13:14-17 V16 I will make your descendants as dust of earth V15 all the land you see, I will give it to you and your descendants forever V17 I will give it to you
Gen 15:5-21 V5 descendants like stars V7 To give you this land V21 to descendants I have given land
Gen 17:2-8 V2 I will multiply you exceedingly V7 exceedingly fruitful, make nations and kings from you V8 I will give to you ad your descendants after you all the land of Cannon as an everlasting possession
Gen 18:18 surely become a great and mighty nation in him all nations of earth will be blessed
Gen 22:17-18 Greatly multiply your seed as the stars and sand your seed shall possess the gate of their enemies in your seed all nations will be blessed
Gen 24:7 to your descendants I will give land
Gen 26:3-4 V4 I will multiply Isaac’s descendants as stars V3 to you and your descendants I will give all these lands, V4 give your descendants land v4 by your descendants all nations of earth will be blessed
Gen 28:4 give to Isaac’s and your descendants to possess the land which God Gave Abraham
Gen 28:13-14 v14 Isaac’s descendants like dust v13 I will give it to you and descendants v14 in you and descendants shall all families of earth be blessed
Gen 35:12 the land which I gave to Abraham and Isaac, I will give it to Jacob, and I will give the land to your descendants after you
Gen 46:3 In Egypt, I will make Jacob a great nation there
Gen 48:4 I will make Jacob fruitful and numerous give this land to your descendants after you for an everlasting possession
Ex 6:2-8 v4 I also established My covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land in which they sojourned v8 I will bring you to the land which I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and I will give it to you for a possession
Exod 12:25 when you enter the land which the LORD will give you, as He has promised, that you shall observe this rite
Exod 13:5 when the LORD brings you to the land of the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Amorite, the Hivite and the Jebusite, which He swore to your fathers to give you, a land flowing with milk and honey, that you shall observe this rite in this month
Ex 23:31 And I will fix your boundary from the Red Sea to the sea of the Philistines, and from the wilderness to the River Euphrates
Exod 32:13 Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, to whom Thou didst swear by Thyself, and didst say to them, `I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heavens, and all this land of which I have spoken I will give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever
Exod 33:1 Depart, go up from here, to the land of which I swore to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, saying, `To your descendants I will give it
Fulfilled Gen 46:3do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make you a great nation there.Deut 10:22 “Your fathers went down to Egypt seventy persons in all, and now the Lord has made you as numerous as the stars of heaven. Josh 21:43So the LORD gave Israel all the land which He had sworn to give to their fathers, and they possessed it and lived in it.Deut 30:5 God will bring you into the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it; and He will prosper you and multiply you more than your fathers. Gal 3:29if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.Heb 6:11-13;19-20full assurance of hope…inherit the promises…God made the promise to Abraham…this hope we have as …one which enters within the veil (heaven), where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for usActs 13:32-33,38 we preach to you the good news of the promise made to the fathers, that God has fulfilled this promise to us their children in that He raised up Jesus…that through Him forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you

II. Exposition of Gen 15:1-21 & Acts 7:1-7

Abraham understood that he would not personally get land

Gen 15:1-21 Acts 7:5-7
Promise made v7 give you this land to possess it v5 give to him and offspring
Abraham asks v8 How may I know I will get it? V6 But God spoke to this effect
Ancient covenant ritualSee Jer 34:18 v9-11,17 God passes between sacrifice halvesBirds of prey=Isreal’s enemiesChasing away=Abraham preservingVision of darkness & terror V12=V13 enslaved & oppressed in Egypt
Observation of vision Just as Abraham vicariously suffered though his seed (but not actually), So he would receive land through seed, (but not actually)
Egyptian bondage v13 your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, where they will be enslaved and oppressed four hundred years v6 offspring would be aliens in a foreign land, and that they would be enslaved and mistreated for four hundred years
Abraham would die v15 as for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried v5 And He gave him no inheritance in it, not even a foot of ground
God’s answer v13,18 Know for certain…to your descendants I will give this land v7 after that they will come out and serve Me in this place
Questions: Where in Gen 15 did God answer Abraham’s question? Where did God assure Abraham personally he would inherit the land in the answer? Notice “But God spoke to this effect” or “But this is what God really meant! That descendants, not Abraham would receive.”
Statements missing in the texts. “Afterwards you will be raised from the dead and inherit the land””At the end of time you will inherit the land””After Egypt, you will then return to inherit the land””Any other Bible verse that Abraham will still inherit the physical land”
Which is the case? Abraham knew he would not inherit land personally, but though descendants. orAbraham expected to inherit the land personally?

III.     God gave the land to Fathers through seed:
1.         Gen 28:4 that you may possess the land of your sojournings, which God gave to Abraham.
2.         Gen 35:12 the land which I gave to Abraham and Isaac, I will give it to Jacob
3.         Deut 30:5 God will bring you into the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it

Saul and Abraham: 1 SAM 15:28

What was said What happened
Saul torn the kingdom from you today taken from descendants, not Saul
Abraham Give you land this day Given to descendants, not Abraham
Must God raise Saul from dead and give him the kingdom again at some future time only to take it from him and give it to David to fulfill the statement? Same true about Abraham? [1]

Contrary to McDurmon, there obviously is no “contradiction” in Acts 7 from the rest of Scripture.  And of course the exodus or land promise under the OT exodus didn’t reach its climax until the conquest — 40 year reigns of David and Solomon took place.  R.E. Nixon places the OT consummation or climax of the exodus with David taking over the city of Jerusalem and thus Yahweh having a place to dwell in the midst of His people:
“In the earlier part of the Old Testament there are three outstanding moments to which the later writers look back. They are the call of Abraham, the Exodus and the reign of David.5 To Abraham there was made the promise of numerous descendants and a land for them to live in as their own.6 That promise was not fulfilled in his lifetime.7 The Exodus was the event which constituted the descendants of Abraham a nation and the purpose of the Exodus was to bring the people eventually to the promised land of Canaan.8 But the mere crossing of the Jordan into Canaan did not accomplish the purposes of God, for the land had to be conquered. It was not until the time of David that it could truly be said that Israel was given security from all her surrounding enemies.9 Moreover they had to find a place in which Yahweh their God would choose to make His name dwell,10 and therefore the capture of Jerusalem by David was in a sense the climax to which the whole Exodus-event was leading.11[2]
Of course the 40 year wilderness wanderings and David and Solomon’s 40 year reigns of conquest and rest of the land and city of Jerusalem typified the new exodus “this generation” under Christ and the Church – being roughly between AD 30 – AD 70.  The unclean spirits were driven from the land, Satan crushed “shortly,” and the kingdom taken from OC Jerusalem and given to the new nation bearing the fruits thereof – ie. the glorified and established NC Jerusalem by AD 70.  The message of the book of Hebrews and that of the book of Revelation teaches us that the establishment of the land/city promise made to Abraham and OC Israel was fulfilled at Christ’s Second Appearing at the end of the OC age in a “very little while,” “shortly,” “at hand,” “quickly” “about to” AD 70 time period (Heb. 3-4, 9:26-28—10:37—13:14YLT/WEY/Rev. 1:120-22:6-7, 10-12, 20).  According to the book of Hebrews, all the “enemies” of Psalm 110 were “made his footstool” when a fire was “about to” (their “wait”) “consume” them at “the Day” which was approaching when He would” judge His people” in AD 70 (Heb. 10:13, 25, 27, 30, 35-37).  Paul in 1 Cor. 15 identifies the enemies of Psalm 110 being put down within the same time frame as that of the author to the book of Hebrews — that is at Daniel’s “the time of the end” or Jesus’ “the end of the [OC] age” “this generation” — with the last enemy, “the death” to take place at Christ’s “THE parousia” when the OC “THE Law” would be fulfilled (Dan. 7, 9, 12; Matt. 24-25/1 Cor. 15:23-57).
McDurmon is in print teaching that Jesus’ and Paul’s “this age” is the OC age, and the “age to come” is the NC age which arrived when the resurrection of Dan. 12:2-3/Matt. 13:39-43, 49 took place in AD 70.  He also affirms that the parable of the 10 virgins was fulfilled at Christ’s coming in AD 70 – this also being the time Abraham feasted with the Gentiles when the kingdom came (Matt. 8:11; Matt. 25:1-31).  But the wedding feast takes place when “the death” is defeated and the resurrection takes place in “the [NC] age to come” (Isa. 25:6-8/1Cor. 15:54; Luke 20:34-38)!  Abraham was “perfected” and received a “better resurrection” with the first century church (Heb. 11:35, 39-40).  The NC inheritance of the “better things” of a Heavenly Country/Zion/City/Kingdom in the book of Hebrews are ALL spiritual and were “about to” arrive at Christ’s imminent approaching “Day” return.
The book of Revelation ends with the New Jerusalem coming down and clothing the church while upon the earth.  She is secure in the City of the Living God/The New Jerusalem dwelling with God where the curse is no more.  McDurmon and DeMar teach us that the imminent time texts throughout the book of Revelation instruct us that the NC New Jerusalem came down from heaven to earth in AD 70.  The Biblical view is that the OT promises were partially fulfilled in the OT under the OC, but needed to be fulfilled in the spiritual or “true” realm — thus the fuller fulfillment “in Christ” under a new or second exodus.  These “true” and “spiritual” fulfillments came at Christ’s Second Appearing in AD 70 and came to a mature state – in which the eschatological goal or end was realized.
Romans 4:13/1John 2:17/Revelation 21:1/2 Peter 3/Heb. 12-13:14
It has been asserted by some that we have not dealt with the Greek word kosmos/“world” in Romans 4:13 as it pertains to the inheritance of Abraham and his seed.  Therefore, I would like to turn my attention briefly to this text so as to identify what “world” this is.
As American Vision’s Joel McDurmon and Gary DeMar know full well, kosmos has a wide variety of meanings in the NT.  The two that I will focus on here is kosmos in relation to the Great Commission being fulfilled in the NT, and kosmos being used as Israel’s OC world with the spiritual inheritance of the NC world taking its place by AD 70 — thus being a blessing and healing to the nations in the NC age.
The Great Commission was fulfilled in all the “world”/kosmos by the first century – God’s new  Israel by AD 70:


“And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world (Greek oikumene) for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come” (Matthew 24:14) “But I say, have they not heard? Yes indeed:‘Their sound has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world (Greek oikumene)” (Romans 10:18)
“And the gospel must first be published among all nations (Greek ethnos)” “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, (Greek ethnos)…” “…I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.” (Mark 13:10; Mt.28:19-20) “…My gospel… has been made manifest, and by the prophetic Scriptures has been made known to all nations (Greek ethnos)…” (Romans 16:25-26)
“And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world(Greek kosmos) and preach the gospel to every creature” “…And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues (Greek glossa) (Mark 16:15, 17) “…of the gospel, which has come to you, as it has also in all the world(Greek kosmos), as is bringing forth fruit…,” (Colossians 1:5-6).
And he said unto them ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature (Greek kitisis) “ (Mark 16:15) “…from the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature (Greek kitisis) under heaven, of which I, Paul became a minister” (Colossians 1:23)
“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth/land (Greek ge)” (Acts 1:8).Prophecy had begun to be fulfilled: “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues (Greek glossa), as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation (Greek ethnos) under heaven
“But I say, have they not heard? Yes indeed: ‘Their sound has gone out to all the earth/land (Greek ge), and their words to the ends of the world” (Romans 10:18) Prophecy would be fulfilled “shortly” : “And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth/land (Greek ge), and to every nation (Geek ethnos), and kindred (Greek phule) and tongue (Greek glossa), and people, (Greek laos)” (Rev.1:1; Rev.14:6). See also Revelation 10:6-7; 20:3; 22:10-11 in regards to the Great Commission success to the “nations” and imminent fulfillment of the Great Commission motif.

There is a serious problem for men like G.K. Beale who attempt to connect a literal phase to the new creation with and when the fulfillment of a global Great Commission takes place — when he appeals to NT passages which clearly teach the gospel had already been preached into all the world in the first century.  All of these terms Jesus used for the Great Commission were used by Paul in the past tense to communicate the commands of Jesus as being fulfilled within his generation.  Let’s briefly examine Colossians 1-2.  Paul writes, “…which things are a shadow of those things about to come. But the body belongs to Christ.” (Cols. 2:17WEY).  This imminent time text is consistent with the immediate context of the Great Commission having been fulfilled by Paul in the first century Mt.24:14/Mark 16:15/Col.1:5-6, 23. The great commission here is the fulfillment of Gen.1:28 and paradise is being restored and about to come in its fullness. G.K. Beale makes the connection:

Genesis 1:28 Colossians 1:6, 10
increase [auxano] and multiply and fill the earth…and rule over all the earth’. ‘in all the world also it [‘the word of truth, the gospel’] is bearing fruit and increasing [auxano] (v.6); ‘in every good work bearing fruit and increasing [auxano]…’ (v.10).

“Several commentators have noticed that verse 6 and 10 are an allusion to Genesis 1:28 (and perhaps 1:22). It appears that the Hebrew text may be the focus, since the Greek Old Testament renders the Hebrew para (‘bear fruit’) by auxano (‘increase’) and raba (‘to multiply’) by plethuno (‘to multiply’).”[3]
As pointed out in the debate, we believe Mr. McDurmon does not understand how Paul or John uses Genesis 1-3 material in applying it to the Church as God’s New Creation as the NC age was reaching its maturity phase by AD 70. There is a new Adam—Christ, and He is exercising dominion through His seed and progeny–the Church. This is being accomplished in Paul’s day by the gospel filling the earth/land in expelling the darkness of the evil one’s kingdom in plundering his house by taking back the hearts of His people shining through them as God’s new creation in (verse 3; cf. 2 Cor. 4:6; 5:17).
In Colossians 1:15-20, Christ is the new Adam carrying the fullness of God’s “image” and is therefore the “head” and “firstborn” of this new-covenant creation. He was the sustainer of the old-covenant creation of Israel and has now begun a creation (the “already”) process through the cross, reconciling things in heaven (regenerated Jews) and things on the earth (regenerated Gentiles) for Himself and therefore is the “head” of the Church (the new creation). Since I favor John Locke and other’s interpretation of “heaven” (being the Jews) and “earth” (being the Gentiles) in Ephesians 1:9-10,[4] it seems only natural according to Pauline theology, to identify the same terms here as Jew and Gentile being reconciled together under the headship of Christ and placed within family of God–the church.
He is the “first born from among the dead” meaning He is the first to rise victoriously over the spiritual sin/death that came through Adam and in Him is realized the new-covenant Passover and redemption. Christ is not reconciling fallen angels or rocks and trees to himself “on the earth” or “things in heaven” through His blood. These are the souls of people — Jews / Gentiles, making up Christ’s new creation.
Joel McDurmon and Gary DeMar in their writings acknowledge that the kosmos/world in Romans and Colossians was referring to the then present known world preached to by AD 70 (Rom. 1:8; Cols. 1:5-6).  Combined, such PP as James Jordan, Peter Leithart, Joel McDurmon are on record as taking the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 (or logically having to) as being Israel’s resurrection and judgment/harvest taking place by AD 70 appealing to Matthew 13:1-49.  Therefore, “the field” being “the world/kosmos” in (Matt. 13:38) should be taken in the same limited way in these kingdom seed/growth/maturity parables of Jesus.  This is one aspect of the word “world”/kosmos that needs to be addressed.
But let’s deal with the second meaning in regards to the nature of the inherited “world”/kosmos in our text of (Rom. 4:13).  Again PP such as DeMar and McDurmon would inform their readers that Paul and John’s “form of the world/kosmos” or “world/kosmos” which was “passing away” in the first century is NOT the physical globe, but the OC system (1 Cor. 7:31; 1 John 2:17-18).  They would inform us that the “world” that takes its place imminently in AD 70 is the spiritual NC world of righteousness as described in 2 Peter 3 and Revelation 21-22.  We couldn’t agree more!  Our only disagreement is that Paul, Peter or John are teaching a “literal phase” that has not been “fully-fulfilled” yet in these texts.  The inherited “world”/kosmos in (Rom. 4:13) is no less heavenly or spiritual than the inherited heavenly country/kingdom/Zion of Hebrews 12-13:14WEY which arrived in AD 70.  This “world” is no less spiritual than the spiritual NC seed and circumcision of those that come into and thus inherit it.
In the immediate context we read of a righteousness that was “about to be reckoned” or received, “but also on ours, to whom it is about to be reckoned—to us believing on Him who did raise up Jesus our Lord out of the dead,” (Rms. 4:24 YLT WEY).  This is the new heavens and earth or world in which righteousness dwells that PPism tells us came in AD 70 (2 Pet. 3:13).  And sticking with our new creation theme, in the next chapter over we read that Adam was a “type” of Christ who was “coming” (Rom. 5:14YLT) or a better translation would be “about to come.” What was He coming with in Romans 4-5 and 2 Peter 3?  Yup the inheritance of the NC spiritual world!  Is Peter’s “inheritance” reached at an imminently approaching Day of the Lord any different than that of Paul’s in the book of Romans (1 Peter 1:4-12/4:5-7/2Peter 3)?!?  After all, Romans 4:13 runs with the contextual flow throughout Romans concerning a the resurrection “day” approaching, an “about to be” “glory” or glorification and redemption of the body and “salvation” of “all Israel” — All of which DeMar and McDurmon tell us took place in AD 70 in some sense (Rom. 8:18-23YLT/WEY/AV; 11:1-27; 13:11-12)!  I say in “some sense” in regards to Romans 8:18-23 because Mr. DeMar refuses to answer my questions on this text and pretends he doesn’t know what “glory” was “about to be revealed” in the passage!  Clearly it is when the bondage, groanings and decay of the creation is liberated and the glorification and redemption of the body takes place.  No mystery in the text Mr. DeMar!  Since there is NO contextual confusion here, perhaps his “confusion” over the text has to do more with accepting it was fulfilled in AD 70 all while not wanting to give the farm away to Full Preterism and violating the creeds and upsetting his finacial supporters who are tied to those creeds?
Under the OC, Abraham inherited the LITERAL typological land promises in the first exodus through his natural seed – culminating when David reigned 40 years and took Jerusalem and Israel was secure experiencing peace in the land.  The NC SPIRITUAL ANTI-TYPE was Jesus’ “this generation” 40 years pre-parousia reign whereby Abraham and the Church feasted and were raised together to inherit the New Creation/New Jerusalem at Christ’s imminent return in AD 70 – Matt. 8:11-12/Heb. 11:35, 39-40; 13:14YLT/Rev. 21:1–22:6-7, 10-12, 20.  What Partial Preterist Postmillennialism and American Vision wants you to believe is that the NT teaches these NT spiritual “BETTER” ANTI-TYPE fulfillments were but yet ANOTHER TYPE of a “greater” “literal” fulfillment — of which they have no chapter and verse for — it is simply and literally eisegetically read into the texts of the NT!  Covenant theologians claim that Premillennial Dispensationalists don’t understand how the NT writers use the OT when it comes to Israel, Jerusalem, Zion, seed, the imminent time texts connected to the “already” and “not yet” of the kingdom etc…  Well, when it comes to the inspired NT authors using the OT, reformed Amillennialists and Partial Preterist Postmillennialists are no less clueless when it comes to their inspired teachings on the time and nature of fulfillment than their Dispensational critics!  Especially when they begin claiming the NT’s “not yet” eschaton is really two – one for Israel in AD 70 and one for the Church at the end of time and thus can be turned into ANOTHER ALREADY AND NOT YET period with AD 70 fulfillments having “partial” “typological” “patterns” various “manifestations” of fulfillment in Matthew 24; 2 Romans 8:18-23YLT/WEY/AV; Peter 3; Rev. 21-22 etc…  If they can give these texts these kinds of “fulfillments,” then there is nothing stopping Dispensationalism from coming to important NT eschatological texts and DOING THE SAME TO FIT THEIR BROKEN SYSTEM!
Paul’s imminent “inheritance” of the “world” in Romans 4-5; 8:18-23YLT/WEY/AV; 11, 13:11-12 is no different than that of Peter’s – 1 Peter 1:4-12; 4:5-7; 2 Pet. 3.  Paul had ONE HOPE and eschatological goal/end/telos in the NT and it was reached and brought to maturity at Christ’s ONE Second Coming event in AD 70.
This is not difficult to put together or understand.  Therefore, it seems to me what is, is that American Vision’s Gary DeMar and Joel McDurmon are trying to reconcile their progressive PPism with the reformed creeds — all the while trying to satisfy their financial supporters and cater to a handful of hateful former FP and Gary North.  Adding to the word of God, pleasing (seeking “validation from”) and fearing men more than God, making null and void the Word of God due to uninspired “tradition” etc…, are ALL very serious issues that Mr. DeMar and his hateful anti-FP affiliates need to mindful of.

[1] Three Promises to Abraham Fulfilled! Special thanks to Michael Bennett for pointing me to these helpful charts.

[2][2] R.E. Nixon, M.A., The Exodus in the New Testament, (bold emphasis MJS).
[3] G.K. Beale, The Temple and the Church’s Mission A biblical theology of the dwelling place of God, (Downers Grove, Illinois:  Intervarsity Press, 2004)  p.264.

[4] The time of fulfillment to bring things both in “heaven” and on “earth” under Christ had come (Ephs. 1:9-10). Puritan John Locke I believe correctly understood “heaven” and “earth” here as discussing Jew and Gentile, “If our Tanslators have render’d the sense of ἀναϰεϕαλαιώσασθαι, right, by “gather together into one,” it will give Countenance to those, who are inclin’d to understand, by “things in heaven and things on earth,” the Jewish and Gentile world…” “…the Apostle’s Design here, where he says in express words, that Christ makes τὰ ἀμφότερα ἕν, makes both Jews and Gentiles one, Eph. ii. 14. Now, that St. Paul should use heaven and earth, for Jews and Gentiles, will not be thought so very strange, if we consider that Daniel himself expresses the nation of the Jews by the name of heaven, Dan. viii. 10. Nor does he want an example of it, in our Saviour himself, who, Luke xxi. 26, by “powers of heaven,” plainly signifies the great men of the Jewish nation; nor is this the only place, in this epistle of St. Paul to the Ephesians, which will bear this Interpretation of Heaven and Earth: he who shall read the fifteen first verses of chap. iii. and carefully weigh the Expressions, and observe the drift of the Apostle in them, will not find that he does manifest Violence to St. Paul’s sense, if he understands by “the Family in Heaven and Earth,” ver. 15, the united Body of Christians, made up of Jews and Gentiles, living still promiscuously among those two sorts of people, who continued in their unbelief.” John Locke, A Paraphrase and Notes on the Epistles of Paul, Vol. 2, ed. Arthur W. Wainwright (New York: Oxford University Press, 1987), 618. John Eadie cites others who take “heaven” as Jews and “earth” as Gentiles, “…according to Schoettgen, Baumgarten-Crusius, Ernesti, Macknight, Schleusner, and Koppe—Jews and Gentiles;…” John Eadie, A Commentary on the Greek Text of Paul’s Letters To the Ephesians, (Solid Ground Christian Books, 2005) 55.
Locke trying to be faithful to Paul’s flow of thought and argumentation in Ephesians, considers the idea of Paul appealing to the planet earth here in 3:9, would be to portray Paul as a “loose writer,” and “weak arguer.” Locke understood the phrase “God created all things” of Ephesians 3:9 to be the new covenant creation, “Now if the Creation of the material World, of this visible Frame of Sun, Moon, and Stars, and heavenly Bodies, that are over us, and of the Earth we inhabit, hath no immediate Relation, as certainly it hath not to this Mystery, this Design of God’s, to call the Gentiles into the Kingdom of his Son, it is to make St. Paul a very loose Writer and weak Arguer, in the middle of a Discourse which he seems to lay much stress on, and to press earnestly on the Ephesians (for he urges it more than once) to bring in things not at all to his purpose, and of no use to the business in hand. We cannot therefore avoid taking the Creation, and things created, here to be those of the new Creation, (viz.) those of which the Kingdom of Christ, which was this new Creation, was to be made up, and in that Sense,…” “…who created all things by Jesus Christ, is a reason to shew why God kept his purpose of making the Gentiles meet to be Partakers of the Inheritance of the Saints, or as he expresseth it, ch. 2:10. that they should be his Workmanship created in Christ Jesus unot good Works…” Locke, Ibid., 641 (bold emphasis added)