Guy Richard ably defends the covenant of redemption, which he defines as “a pretemporal agreement between the persons of the Trinity to plan and carry out the redemption of the elect” (43).
After briefly tracing the historical development of this doctrine, Richard noted that language that portrays the Son buying a people, propitiating the Father, and being sent by the Father to do his work all imply a covenant between Father and Son. In addition, the Son is said to be appointed to his Messianic office. Furthermore, the Scripture speaks of the elect being given to the Son by the Father. Passages like Hebrews 10:5-10, in which the Father and Son “dialogue” with one another about the provision of redemption, also point to an intra-Trinitarian covenant.
Richard begins with this wide sweep of biblical revelation before coming to three specific proof texts. He finds that these texts more persuasively testify to a covenant of redemption in light of the previous biblical evidence. The first text is Zechariah 6:13 in which he sees a covenant of peace between the Branch, who is Christ, and Yahweh, whose throne the Branch is seated upon as both priest and king. The second text is Psalm 110:4, which testifies to “a covenant between Yahweh and Christ, one in which the latter is appointed as a priest who will intercede on behalf of God’s people forevermore” (54). The third text is Psalm 2:7 in which a covenant decree is renewed when the Son is resurrected and enthroned.
Richard then turns to theological arguments. He notes that the Bible presents Jesus as the last Adam, who achieves what Adam failed to achieve. Since Adam’s failure to keep the covenant was known to God, a preexisting covenant between Father and Son is implied. He also reasons to the existence of the covenant of redemption from the existence of the covenant of grace.
Richard closes the chapter by responding to the charge that the covenant of redemption implies three wills in God.
I found most persuasive the initial exegetical arguments that were rooted in the Scripture’s teaching about the interactions between the Father and Son in eternity regarding redemption. Of the three prooftexts, I found Psalm 110:4 to be the most persuasive, but I found the arguments regarding Zechariah 6:13 and Psalm 2:7 to be worth considering. I found the theological arguments unpersuasive.