Regeneration and the Heart Under the Old Covenant: A Study in Deuteronomy and the Major Prophets
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SubjectBible. Deuteronomy--Criticism, interpretation, etc.
Bible. Isaiah--Criticism, interpretation, etc.
Bible. Jeremiah--Criticism, interpretation, etc.
Bible. Ezekiel--Criticism, interpretation, etc.
Covenant theology--Biblical teaching
Biblical scholars debate whether elect members of the old covenant were regenerate, often tying the discussion to the language of circumcision of heart. Yet an analysis of heart transformation metaphors in the prophets reveals that all are mutually-interpreting, eschatological, and linked to the new covenant. This study examines and characterizes the moral heart and its transformation in the prophetic books of Deuteronomy, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel. The heart is shown to be determinant in both allegiance and action, and the epicenter of covenant knowledge and obedience. As a result, heart transformation is needed in order to change one’s relationship to YHWH and his commands. An analysis of the relevant data reveals that, while there is a qualitative difference between the hearts of the elect and non-elect under both covenants, in the new covenant the transformation of heart brings quantitatively new covenant knowledge of YHWH leading to Spirit-empowered obedience.