Answering Objections To Penal Substitution


Davo, Why do you think that the temple was destroyed and cast down to the ground? It was not because the people weren’t following the Jewish law. On the contrary, it was because they WERE following the Jewish law which was NOT the Law(word, covenant) established by God. They threw the word of God away and trampled on it, setting up their own kingdom, according to their own laws. All the prophets say this.

Isaiah 28:13-15 “But the word of the Lord was to them precept upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little there a little, that they might go and fall backward, and be broken and snared and caught. Therefore hear the word of the Lord, you scornful men who rule Jerusalem, because you have said,” We have made a covenant with death, and with Sheol we are in agreement."

Jesus tells us this. Mark 7:7 'Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God."

Colossians 2:22 tells us this. “These will all perish with use because they are based on human commands and teachings.”

1 Timothy 4:1 says “Now the Spirit speaks expressly, that in latter times some will depart from the faith giving heed to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons.”

Galatians 4:21-31 tells us about the two covenants. Verse 24 “for these are the two covenants: the one from Mount Sinai which gives birth to bondage, which is Hagar- for this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and corresponds to the Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children.” The covenant which Israel was under at the time was not established by the Spirit but was man-made( born according to the flesh vs.23) It did not come from Mt. Horeb( the mountain of God) but from a foreign location ( Mount Sinai in Arabia) meaning it was pagan in origin.

There is and always has been only ONE covenant established by God, and it is everlasting.


I fully agree that God’s wrath concerning wrongdoing is a reality. Just as a good earthly father may become angry with the wrongdoing of his children. And he may exercise correction that his children experience as unpleasant.

However, I disbelieve that the consequences of God’s wrath is the destruction of people—just as a good earthly father does not kill his children as a consequence of his wrath.

Yes, I fully agree that Jesus offered up Himself ON BEHALF OF his people Israel, that is, for the BENEFIT of his people Israel (as well as for the benefit of everyone else. “God so loved the WORLD that He gave His only-begotten Son…”) What I disbelieve is that Jesus offered up Himself IN PLACE OF his people Israel so that God took out His wrath on His Son instead of on Israel, and this satisfied His need for expressing His wrath by means of a severe penalty. Jesus paid the penalty instead of Israel (and the whole world) having to pay That is the position of penal substitution (the penalty was inflicted on God’s son INSTEAD of His people. That is, His Son was a SUBSTITUTE as the recipient of God’s wrath in place of God’s people).

I said “somehow” because I don’t understand how the death of Christ provides God’s enabling grace to overcome wrongdoing. But I DO understand what it DOESN’T do—namely provide a means of God taking out his anger on His beloved INNOCENT Son INSTEAD OF on everyone else so that they can get off the hook scot free without any need for God to correct their wrongdoing. This approach would be analagous to an earthly father who had one kind, loving innocent son, and five mean vicious sons who carried out evil deeds. This father felt that these evil deeds required penalties. So he beat his innocent son to a pulp so that he was “satisfied” that justice had been done, and thus the evil guilty sons got off with no consequences whatever, since the innocent son sufferered the consequences in their place (as a substitute).


You cannot say (well actually you have) that the “covenants” Paul spoke of in Rom 9:4 were “NOT God’s’ doing” and “thereby false” — you grievously misunderstand and misrepresent Paul in saying this; THAT was my point. It is CLEAR from the context that said “covenants” are of God and of themselves to be understood in a positive NOT false light. To interpret as you do is a reflection of you imposing poor theology back onto the text and then misreading it accordingly.

Because it became the epicentre of Israel’s life according to Law observance under the old covenant… something that could never bring life but only death, BECAUSE it was weakened by “the flesh” of those under it, as per…

While the Temple stood the Law stood and thereby Israel remained under the condemnation of the law… however, for those who found the way of salvation…

Again, while the Temple remained the Law remained, but that era was coming to an end BECAUSE the better covenant was being established…

The Temple became symbolic of the very corruption fortified and fostered by the old covenant system that had become so burdensome BECAUSE OF “the flesh” i.e., their attempt at justification via law observance, as per…

As is seen by Paul the works of the law and the works of the flesh are one and the same.


So according to your position… what is the wrath of God and what does that look like :question:


If I understand you correctly, what you are suggesting is that God gave Israel a covenant of law observance, one that does not bring life but death.

According to Hebrews chapter 11, the covenant that God made was one of faith.
"By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead still speaks.’
“By faith Enoch was translated so that he did not see death…”
“By faith Noah , being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with Godly fear…”
“By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would afterward receive as an inheritance…”
And so on and so forth.

So what happened to this covenant of faith? As I mentioned before, it tells us in Galatians 4:21-31. The covenant of law observance was born of the flesh(man-made) Verse 29 But, as he who was born according to the flesh then persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, even so it is now."

According to Acts 7:37-43, They received the living oracles after being brought out of Egypt. However, some rejected God, “And in their hearts they turned back to Egypt, saying to Aaron, 'Make us gods to go before us; as for Moses who brought us out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what happened to him. And they made a calf in those days offered sacrifices to the idol and rejoiced in the work of their own hands.”
As it goes on to say, they took up the tabernacle of Moloch and offered up slaughtered animals as sacrifices, and God let them go their own way.

Psalm 106 :19 "They made a calf in Horeb and worshipped a molten image. Thus they exchanged their glory for the image of an ox that that eats grass.’

And so there were two covenants; one established by faith in the Spirit of God(of the Spirit) and another of man-made laws and pagan practices ( of the flesh)


No, you would have that totally wrong… the law was holy, just and good (Rom 7:12; 1Tim 1:8), but it was weakened however by the flesh (Rom 8:3), and had righteousness come through the law then Christ died in vain (Gal 2:21; Heb 7:11). The law served as far as it could until Christ (Gal 3:24-25).

That was but one aspect… but WHY, apart from positional dogmatism, would you keep ignoring Paul’s clear and stated “covenants”?

WHY NOT ACTUALLY read the passage as it puts the sword right through your untenable single covenant claim

There you have the primary TWO… old AND new. :unamused:


[quote=“Hi Davo, you”]
So according to your position… what is the wrath of God and what does that look like [/quot

God’s wrath is His anger concerning the wrongdoing (or “sin”) of people, because He knows that all wrongdoing harms others. God expresses His anger by working on the wrongdoers and patiently waiting until they ALL repent (have a change of heart and mind).


Davo, from what I understand God did not make a covenant with Hagar or Ishmael.

Gen. 17:19 “Then God said 'No, Sarah your wife shall bear you a son and you shall call his name Isaac; I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his descendants after him.”

Gen. 17:21 “But My covenant I will establish with Isaac.”

Figuratively speaking, Ishmael was an illegitimate child not born via faith in God. Therefore the covenant which is Hagar was not the everlasting covenant established by God through Isaac. It was a covenant that did not come from Mount Horeb( the mountain of God) but from Mount Sinai in Arabia, a foreign(pagan) location. I take this to mean that it was a covenant “made by human hands.”

Isaac, however, was a child conceived by the Spirit of God/born of God. The promise is that all who have faith in and follow the Spirit of God shall be blessed (be fruitful) and have dominion over all things.

As Galatians 4:25 points out, those who were sons of Abraham through physical relationship only, and not sons of the same faith/ beliefs, were ruling Israel. As verse 29 says, “but as he who was born according to the flesh then persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit.”
The sons of the Spirit were basically outnumbered(vs. 28). In this sense they were “weakened by the law”.


The bible seems abundantly clear with regards to the plurality of covenants instigated by God, i.e., what Paul covered by his Rom 9:4 statement that you subsequently claim is “false”… here is more affirmative evidence:


As you quote "the covenant(one), not covenants, of your fathers (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob) was RENEWED/ resurrected/ brought back to life in Christ Jesus.

The fathers being referred to in this verse may be the Egyptians, as many of these people were raised in Egyptian ways and were probably of mixed blood.


:open_mouth: :unamused:

You are kidding!? The covenant made with the fathers, i.e., Abraham, Isaac and Jacob was the promise of land and descendants.

The fathers here were NOT the Egyptians BUT likewise Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and as such they DID NOT have this covenant aka… the 10 Commandments, being given here TO MOSES. These texts speak of DIFFERENT covenants… again the likes that Paul references in Rom 9:4, period!


Likewise, the covenant that was given to those brought out of the land of Egypt was the promise of land and descendants as it says in Deut. 7:12-13
“Then it shall come to pass, because you listen to these judgments and keep and do them, that the Lord your God will keep with you the covenant and the mercy which He swore to your fathers(Abraham, Isaac and Jacob). And He will love you and bless you and multiply you(descendants); He will also bless the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your land, your grain and your new wine and your oil, the increase of your cattle and the offspring of your flock in the land which He swore to your fathers to give you.”

The descendants being spoken of are spiritual descendants; Abraham, Isaac and Jacob being the spiritual fathers.

Obviously, the Ten Commandments were known before Moses.

  1. Murder was wrong(Cain)
  2. Theft was wrong( Joseph ad the silver cup)
  3. Adultery was wrong(The incident between Sarah, Abraham and the Pharaoh)
    etc. etc.There are many other examples to show that these commandments were operative and that there were consequences for not following them.


:open_mouth: What is it about… “The Lord did not make this covenant with our fathers, but with us,…” are you NOT seeing :question:


Yeah, I’m kinda confused as to what’s LLC’s motivation for not seeing the Mosaic covenant as divinely instituted.


Could it be because the Israelites didn’t have glasses invented then? Therefore, they might not have seen things too clearly :question: :wink:


Randy said:

That is surely one way of putting it! :smiley:


Randy, you crack me up! :laughing:

Davo, I explained my take on the verse you point out. The Israelites were in Egypt for hundreds of years, being raised in Egyptian ways. In this sense the Egyptians were their fathers. Since you don’t agree, what is your explanation of this verse:

Deut. 7:12 'Then it shall come to pass, because you listen to these judgments and keep and do them, that the Lord your God WILL KEEP WITH YOU THE COVENANT AND THE MERCY WHICH HE SWORE TO YOUR FATHERS."

MM, No I don’t believe the institution of animal sacrifices, rituals, ceremonies, traditions etc., which were part of the Jewish law, came from God. My question to this is: Why would God bring them out of bondage only to put them in bondage under the law?

As all the prophets, Jesus, and the writers of the New Testament say, they were but doctrines of men.


That verse references the covenant blessing of land & linage made with Abraham and summarily reiterated with Isaac and Jacob; as likewise here being self-evident by the following verse…

Listen LLC… as the bible shows (as I have provided adequate evidence), there were numerous covenants in train covering various things at various times — any honest reading of the text with see this. That you want to expunge from the text passages and portions of scripture demonstrating this fact is fine, you’re not the first here to demonstrate that doctrinal position counts for more than does faithfulness to the text; if that works for you… have at it — I can only provide what the texts actually say.


I just dug out a book that I’d read some years ago when I was a member of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church - my ‘Calvin’ phase. The book is called “Covenants” and it was written by O. Palmer Robertson, a Calvinist theologian.

Just to add a little spice to the thread, I will list the various covenants Roberston finds in Scripture:

  1. The Covenant of Creation
  2. Adam: the Covenant of Commencement
  3. Noah: the Covenant of Preservation
  4. Abraham: the Covenant of Promise
  5. Moses: the Covenant of Law
  6. David: the Covenant of the Kingdom
  7. Christ: the Covenant of Consummation

I remember as I read it thinking that this short study on Covenants had really opened my eyes to a structural element of the OT especially that would help me in future studies, and it has.

I’m not sure of the point(s) of disagreement being discussed above, I"m just plugging the book as a good 'un.

As a note, I don’t agree with Robertson’s theology much at all; but he did a good job with this book.


DaveB… just pulled that book off my shelf, seems I read it way back in 1995 :astonished: :laughing: