by Jerry Shugart
VII. Type and Antitype: Regeneration
In the book Dispensationalism, Israel and the Church Progressive Dispensationalist Bruce A. Ware quotes Homer A. Kent, Jr., extensively in order to attempt to prove that that there exists only one New Diatheke. Even though Dr. Kent believes that there is only one New Diatheke he does understand that it is in regard to "spiritual regeneration." He also understands the distinction between an "individual" believer's spiritual regeneration as opposed to the spiritual regeneration of the "nation" of Israel:
"The essence of the new covenant is spiritual regeneration, enjoyed now by Christian believers and prophesied for national Israel at the second coming of Christ" (Kent,"The New Covenant and the Church," Grace Theological Journal, 6:2, Fall, 1985, p.290).
Type: The Regeneration of the Nation of Israel
Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum understands that there will be a "national regeneration" of Israel, writing that "The basis of Israel's final regeneration is the New Covenant in Jeremiah 31:31-34...The result of the New Covenant will be a total national regeneration of Israel...That Israel was to undergo a national regeneration is not confined to the words of the New Covenant alone. The truths of the New Covenant are greatly elaborated by various prophets" [emphasis added] (Fruchtenbaum, Israel in the Messianic Kingdom).
In the thirty-seventh chapter of the book of Ezekiel we see the prophet taken to a valley full of "dry bones" and these bones are described as "the whole house of Israel":
"The hand of the LORD was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones...Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts" (Ez.37:1,11).
Charles H. Dyer says, "To what did this vision refer? God said it was about the nation of Israel (the whole house of Israel) that was then in captivity" [emphasis added] (Walvoord & Zuck, The Bible Knowledge Commentary; Old Testament [Colorado Springs: ChariotVictor Publishing, 1985], p.1298).
Then in the verses which follow we see the two elements which will be instrumental for the future corporate regeneration of Israel:
" Again he said to me, 'Prophesy to these bones, and say to them, O dry bones, hear the word of the LORD'. Thus says the Lord GOD to these bones: Behold, I will cause spirit to enter you, and you shall live" (Ezek.37:4-5; RSVCE).
The regeneration of the "nation" of Israel is a blessing under the New Diatheke promised to the "nation" of Israel. It is a "type" of the regeneration of the "individual" believer. Under Israel's New Covenant that nation will be regenerated by the Spirit and the word of God:
"As for me, this is my covenant (diatheke) with them, saith the LORD; My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed's seed, saith the LORD, from henceforth and for ever" (Isa.59:21).
Antitype: The Regeneration of the Individual Believer
When speaking of "individuals" the Lord Jesus said:
"Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live" (Jn.5:25).
The Lord Jesus also said the following which makes it abundantly plain that the two elements responsible for bringing life is the word of God and the Spirit:
"It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life" (Jn.6:64).
Definition of a Type
Donald K. Campbell writes that "it should be observed that a type presents a general though genuine resemblance of its antitype" (Campbell, "The Interpretation of Types," Bibliotheca Sacra [Volume 112 Issue 447, 1955], p. 254)
The Scriptures make it clear that the "national" regeneration of Israel presents a genuine resemblance to an "individual" believer's regeneration. It will be the word of God and the Spirit which will regenerate corporate Israel and it is the word of God and the Spirit which regenerates individuals. Therefore, there is no doubt that a typological relationship exists between the two.