What is a Covenant? Bible Definition and Meaning
The covenant meaning of binding or establishing an relationship between two The process of God's covenanting with Abram was unfolded throughout the. God's year old relation to Abraham is of immense importance for your life as a believer today. The first of these covenants was the promise made by God to Abraham, and .. relationship between the Law and New Covenants, and it applies to God's sons.
All of Adam's descendants were involved by him in sin and death. The wisest and best of the race have made laws and suggested remedies, but have been unable to eradicate the disease of sin or hinder its result. Nevertheless, the remedy has been arranged for by God, and eventually sin is to be eradicated, and death destroyed by Him who by the grace of God tasted death for every man. There is heavenly salvation for those who will have walked and served in faithful obedience to the divine will, in denial of earthly privileges and honor, and against the power and influence of Satan, having regard for the promised reward.
And there will be earthly salvation for the obedient of mankind who serve and obey God's will by choice and delight during the world's judgment day when Satan is bound and God's grace is everywhere manifested. The difference in reward is according to the diversity of God's invitation, His eternal purpose, and the conditions under which faith is exercised and obedience rendered.
An agreement or contract usually consists of mutual promises to fulfill certain prescribed conditions in return for mutual concessions or benefits.
Thus in a building contract or covenant one party promises to build a house according to certain plans and specifications, and the other party promises on the completion of the work, or at specified dates, to pay a certain amount of money. Many covenants are mentioned in Scripture, most of which originated with God as promises, and became covenants or agreements when the persons to whom they were made complied in them or fulfilled certain conditions. When Noah and his sons emerged from the ark, and after Noah built an altar and offered burnt offerings from which "the Lord smelled a sweet savour," God established a covenant with them, that the earth should no more be destroyed by a flood of waters.
The rainbow was set as a token of this divine promise, which secures the earth as the everlasting home for all flesh, both man and beast. God also made a covenant with David, and it promised that his house should be established forever. It too was graciously offered by God, and was made without conditions.
The tabernacle or house of David fell when Zedekiah was dethroned. This was done in order that both Jew and Gentile might seek after the Lord. Each of these covenants was a contract or agreement, each was instituted or established over a sacrifice, each had a sign or token, and each had conditions.
The first of these covenants was the promise made by God to Abraham, and confirmed to Isaac and to Jacob, that his seed should be great, that all the families of the earth should be blessed in him, and that his seed should possess all the land shown to Abraham.
Attention is called to this in the epistle to the Hebrews that "after he had patiently endured," that is, fulfilled all the conditions required of him, "he obtained the promise. God Himself assumed the responsibility of the fulfillment of its promise pertaining to the seed.
This was made between God and Israel over sacrifices at Mount Sinai. Of the blood of the animals there sacrificed, half was sprinkled on the altar; and of the other half, some was sprinkled on the book of the law and some on the people, thus establishing the bond.
Moses had the honor of mediating this covenant between God and the children of Israel, and its sabbaths were its sign or token. It is a better covenant than the Mosaic one, being instituted upon better promises. Jesus is the Mediator of the New Covenant. His flesh is the sacrifice over which the New Covenant is ratified, He being the "covenant victim"; and His blood is "the blood of sprinkling.
The Law Covenant demonstrated the exceeding sinfulness of sin, and proved that none under condemnation could, without redemption therefrom, qualify to be of the kingdom of priests through which others would be blessed. It is through the New Covenant that such a kingdom of priests is developed to be joint-heirs with Jesus to the blessing of the remainder of all the families of earth.
The Abrahamic Covenant and Its Promised Seed The particular covenant feature in which Abraham was involved was that, if he would be obedient to God, the seed should be born of his line. Abraham secured the honor of having the blesser in his line, as proposed, because he was obedient.
But Abraham's obedience did not secure the promise of a blessing for all the families of the earth. This had been determined and expressed in an obscure promise long before. God had said to the serpent, "And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. It must be remembered that the true 'seed' of Abraham promised to him was not Isaac, but Jesus, whom Isaac pictured. And just as Isaac was obedient, so was our Lord tried and tested that He might learn obedience.
These, because they are Christ's, are also called "Abraham's seed. It should be especially noted that the Abrahamic Covenant contains no provision for the eradication of sin and the destruction of death, even though such would be brought to pass in fulfilling the promise, "in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.
Faith and the Covenant: Genesis ; Colossians - Topical Studies
As it pertained to the 'seed,' the Abrahamic Covenant did nothing more than to promise that it would be of Abraham's line. How the multiplied 'seed' should be developed, and how it should get life, so that it might be a blesser indeed, was not expressed in the covenant.
Therefore, some other arrangement must be made, so that the promise to Abraham might become effective in each of its parts. At this point enters the Law Covenant, proposing to prepare that 'seed.
But it did serve other purposes. The Law Covenant was typical and its arrangement was instructive: This revealed that none could be justified through it. God instructed Moses to say unto the people, "If ye will obey My voice indeed, and keep My covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto Me above all people: And ye shall be unto Me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation.
When the Law Covenant was mentioned to the people, they unanimously and most willingly entered into it. Strong's Exhaustive Concordance, it has two shades of meaning. It is defined as "a go- between; that is simply an internunciator, or by implication a reconciler intercessor. When the people sinned, he exercised the office of mediator in the sense of reconciler, or intercessor. He pled their cause, acting as their advocate before God.
They were the covenant people, the agreement having been made only a short while before their grievous sin and worship of the golden calf. That first disobedience required the intercession of Moses. The two shades of meaning of mediator are clearly and beautifully represented in these two capacities in which Moses acted--first, as spokesman or messenger on behalf of the parties to the covenant; second, as intercessor, on behalf of the transgressing party, that the covenant just ratified might be allowed to go on, the people being forgiven their iniquity.
These were to be carefully observed. Respect for this perfect law, and meditation upon its counsel caused a searching of its spiritual meaning. This law could take hold of both the heart and the will as it did for some--Psa. I am the LORD. Galatians provides a point of reference in which the apostle's answer to the above question may be seen.
In it he affirms that "the just shall live by faith. On the other hand, the Apostle wrote, "But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident. Israel could have had that relationship, as promised in Lev. Moses did not represent that God would extend their human lives everlastingly if they kept a law they were incapable of keeping. Even the lawyer did not hope to escape death; his inquiry was about inheriting life. The Weak-through-the-Flesh Covenant For many centuries the Jews were allowed to try to keep the Law and gain its righteousness.
It was beyond their abilities.
They were all born in sin and shapen in iniquity; their tendencies were toward unrighteousness. Their very being was imperfect, and the perfect standard of the Law was unattainable by them. But there was no such provision in the Law Covenant. The offerings for sin were of only temporary value, both the private sin and trespass offerings and the public atonement day sacrifices. The natural depravity of the flesh was a constant and insurmountable obstacle to their efforts at keeping the Law.
Though with their minds some of them delighted in the Law these could not bring the flesh into subjection, and therefore those Jews who realized the situation were in a state of despair, described by the Apostle's words, "O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from this body of death?
The Law Covenant and the sacrifices instituted by it could "never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.
For then would they not have ceased to be offered? But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. God raised Him from death, and conferred upon Him the dual office of king and priest, as the 'seed,' as He had before sworn to do, saying, "Thou art a priest forever, after the order of Melchisedec. It remained a grand promise of a seed to bless all the families of the earth.
The privilege of having the blesser in his line had been made sure to Abraham by the divine word and oath. The inability of the Law Covenant to accomplish these had been so fully demonstrated that fault was found and its termination was determined. God, who knows the end from the beginning, never experiments.
He both foreknew and foretold the inabilities of the Law Covenant and its sacrifices. This makes evident that the first, that is, the Law Covenant, was to pass away because the law of that covenant established the ineffective typical sacrifices which would no longer be recognized.
So much better is it that He is able to "save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them. By contrast, the better promise and provision of the New Covenant is that the law of God can be written in the hearts and minds of its beneficiaries, so that, eventually, it becomes part of their very being. The Law Covenant had no provision for giving mercy to those who slipped on account of weakness of the flesh.
Rather, it declared their unrighteousness. However, we see that the better promise of the New Covenant is that God will be "merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins will I remember no more.
Under the New Covenant, the believers' disposition and desire of heart to do right are acceptable Matt. The covenant with Abraham, concerning his seed and the possession of the land, was ratified with the cutting of animals.
- Covenant (biblical)
- Faith and the Covenant: Genesis 15:1-17:13; Colossians 2:10-13
- The First Covenant
However, blood of those covenant victims was not used to seal or ratify the Abrahamic Covenant. But as this was to be a better covenant than that of the Law, and was to be the means of doing away with sin and death, and thus of bringing in a permanent blessing Rom. Jesus was that victim or testator of the New Covenant. He died in order that the covenant might be of force, valid, firm.
This is specifically stated in Heb. Ephapax is also used in Heb. If therefore He were on earth, He would not be a priest. That blood is also surety on God's behalf to one who repents of sins, because, being a price suitable for redemption, it allows God to be the justifier of him who believes in Jesus, in respect of all sins and weaknesses traceable to the Adamic transgression.
Neither the Law of Moses nor the New Covenant is properly described as a 'testament' or 'will. Neither did Christ die in order that His 'property' might be left to 'heirs.
Nothing is more obvious than that a covenant cannot be arranged between parties not wishing it. Moses probably did not personally communicate the message of God's covenant to all the host of Israel, but to the elders of the people who passed the word on to the others.
Similarly, Christ Jesus does not, in this age, and need not in the next, personally impart the message of the New Covenant to every individual of the race. He has sent forth His messengers to speak in His name on the subject. The message has been widely proclaimed throughout all the world Rom.
He did not leave the people to their own devices, but was still interested in them, and continued to be spokesman for God to them, and for them to God. So much was he devoted to them that he continued to function as mediator in the sense of reconciler or intercessor with God on their behalf. It is necessary to be remembered, too, that our Lord's priestly office of intercessor is based on His mediatorship of the New Covenant, just as Moses' intercession for fleshly Israel was based on his mediatorship of the Law Covenant.
The ransom is the foundation. The mediatorial office for the negotiation and administration of the New Covenant is based on that foundation. For the first two of these conditions the Law Covenant made some provision in various offerings, such as those of the Day of Atonement which were for the whole nation, and the individual sin and trespass offerings from time to time brought by transgressors.
All of these, however, never took away sin, but they did serve as reminders of the sinful conditions. Its arrangements could not meet any of these needs, nor could it overcome the difficulties of those who desired to lead righteous lives.
The disciples, being of sinful men and of the condemned race of Adam, must eat His flesh and drink His blood, else they would have no life in them. All who would have everlasting life must believe on Him, for no other way has been provided by which God can justly remit the sins that are past, of any or of all of Adam's family. This is all provided for in the blood of Jesus.
He ever lives to make intercession for those that come unto God by Him, those who have made a covenant with God over the sacrifice of His Son, and so have come into the household, being no longer aliens and strangers. The principles governing correction for wilful sins were outlined by our Lord at the close of a general parable. But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required; and to whom men have committed much, of him will they ask the more.
No doubt the master of the house takes into account that some of the wilfulness which needs correction, and which is corrected by nothing else than painful experience, is due to our coming from imperfect parents through Adam, and is to that extent, when confessed, covered by the precious blood.
He knows the hearts of His people, and correction is therefore suited to the need. Lessons for those perfected through the processes of the New Covenant may be identified by noting the severity of God's dealing under the Law Covenant as compared to His dealing with His sons under the present New Covenant.
The sacrifice of Jesus does not cover the intelligently wilful transgressions--small or great--of those who have entered into the New Covenant arrangement and have been sanctified by its blood. When the disciples drank the cup handed them by our Lord at the institution of the memorial supper, that ceremony represented how they shared among themselves the benefits of the 'one offering.
He said not, this do in remembrance of yourselves, but "This do in remembrance of me. All these are enjoyed by the saints now in sufficient measure to bring full responsibility. They taste Jesus, the heavenly gift, they are passed from a death unto a life standing, they partake of the holy spirit, and they feed on the good word of God.
All these are realities of their experience now. Hence the reasonableness of the penalty of the second death upon those who sin wilfully. Even were they to come up for probation in the Earthly Kingdom Age, when progress toward physical perfection will be possible to those who then accept the terms of the New Covenant, they could expect no change of verdict.
Therefore, any such finding against them in the High Calling Age would stand. God provided for all the necessities required to benefit each and every one coming under the New Covenant in Jesus' blood, so that full reconciliation may be received through the processes of experience, stripes, and sincerely desired forgiveness except for absolute wilfulness after full enlightenment.
In His love and mercy, He would no doubt administer "few stripes" at the first. If these did not suffice to cause a change in the course of the transgressor, "many stripes" would follow.
If the sinner continued obstinate in wilfulness, even after all the loving discipline of the Lord, "that which beareth thorns and briars is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned. The Scriptures clearly answer that it is by the ministration of the Spirit, and the sanctifying power of the truth. The Old Covenant had the law of God written on tables and in books, and required the people to obey.
Those writings defined required conduct and practice which were beyond their abilities, and were thus condemnatory, becoming a ministration of death to the people.
The New Covenant not only puts out of God's remembrance the past sins and iniquities Jer. This means more than learning in a mechanical, routine way. It means that obedience to God becomes part of the very being of all who are blessed through the New Covenant.
Their 'stony' hearts are displaced by hearts of flesh, that is, naturally stubborn and rebellious 'stony' dispositions are gradually transformed to become charitable, loving, god-like.
It had been prophesied of God's people, "They shall be all taught of God" Isa. It was His mission to reveal the Father. They are also made acquainted with the character and plans of the Heavenly Father. They know Him not by hearsay only, and not by merely observing what He is to others, but each one for himself.
As he understands more and more of God's character and disposition, and as he imitates that character, he is transformed more and more into the same image. He thus comes to know God through experience. A person lacking in conscientiousness cannot understand or know a conscientious person, for the reason that the principles on which a conscientious person acts are unknown to him. So one in alienation from God, and living in sin, cannot know God, His character, or the principles governing His acts.
It is written concerning the New Covenant ministry during the High Calling Age, "Ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, 'I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. Wherefore, come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord; and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters,' saith the LORD Almighty. All of them promise that God will make or establish a covenant--defined in Jeremiah as a New Covenant--with the reverent.
The Apostle's use of those prophecies indicates his understanding not only that they promised the New Covenant, but also as to when it opened. The blessedness of this New Covenant relationship is appreciated only by those who experience it. The Galatian brethren had become confused, and were drifting towards the bondage of the Law. The Apostle's letter to them contrasts the Law with the Spirit Gal.
In the first paragraph under "The New Covenant Victim" subhead, foregoing, it was noted that of the animals cut to ratify God's covenant with Abraham, no blood was used. Nothing was told by God that these foreigners had to do anything. When looking at the biblical story from Genesis chaptersit appears that this covenant might have been unconditional because God knew that if it was a conditional covenant, it would not have been fulfilled.
Because God needed to send his Son to die for the sins of His people, He might have decided not to make this covenant conditional because Jesus needed to come, therefore the covenant was not conditional. What does inheritance include? In a general use of the word, inheritance includes stewardship. It means that you have to maintain what you have been given.
You have to defend it and fight off others who might try to steal it. This land was already occupied by more than 10 nations. Because the land was inhabited by ten nations, there must have been a large amount of land which Abraham was promised and it must have been discouraging to know that what was promised was occupied by so many people. More specifically, it was the faith of Abraham that God would fulfill the promise originally promised in Genesis Did Abraham really trust to God what God had entrusted to him?
Prior to this, Abraham had trusted God and allowed God to bless him. Made on top of the mountain. Used for the burnt offering to ignite what had been sacrificed. Was the item used to burn what was to be burnt as a sacrifice. Used to kill the sacrifice before it would be burnt. Was what God originally said would be used for the sacrifice for God, not to God.
Is what the Lord provided to Abraham for a sacrifice in place of Isaac after Abraham displayed obedience and faith. Abraham had waited years to have a son.
If the son dies, then Abraham would be faced with the same sadness that he faced when he believed that all of his wealth would go to his servants. What does this event contribute to the covenant partnership?
This event contributes to the covenant partnership because it shows that Abraham had faith in what God had already provided and that Abraham had faith that God would fulfill what He said He would do. It also shows that Abraham knew that God was the one who gave him a son. If God gave Abraham a son, then if God wanted it back, it was rightly due to God, which Abraham displayed in his actions.
This shows that Abraham was in relationship to God and that he would offer anything to God as part of their relationship.
Does the gift of Isaac represent a fulfillment of the covenant? Why or why not? The gift of Isaac was the ultimate fulfillment of the covenant because it was the ultimate reciprocal act to God. Abraham, being willing to sacrifice his son was the ultimate fulfillment of the covenant because it showed that Abraham believed God would still provide a descendent to Abraham. It was an obedient act from Abraham because he believed that God would still fulfill His promise in some way, shape, or form, even if Abraham did not fully understand how.
Because the gift of Isaac did not represent a fulfillment of the covenant because the covenant was unilateral. It is possible that God had a level of faith and obedience that He wanted Abraham to be at. Thus, and unconditional unilateral partnership must have been established. Abraham and Sarah were not waiting for God to provide the heir that He had promised. Instead, they tried to do what they could on their own to create an heir for their estate. This is a possible interpretation of the text, but not likely to be true.
Again, it is observed that God fulfills the promise to Abraham even though Abraham and Sarah act in disobedience to God.
This showed their lack of faith in what God had promised, yet God still provided an heir. Unconditional Unilateral Covenant Because God Walks Alone The end of chapter 15 tells of the main event that established an unconditional covenant relationship with Abraham. In this event there was an unconditional covenant given to Abraham that: Prepared for the covenant ceremony to take an oath by brining animals God says that years of oppression will occur before the descendent arrives Covenant ceremony sealed the promise of the inheritance.
God does not provide anything for Abraham to say, do, or sacrifice. This is shown in how God continues to reveal his covenant promise to Abraham in spite of his acts of disobedience and deception seen throughout the Genesis narrative.
In this event it is also important to note that God passes through the sacrifice alone. God walking through the sacrifice which Abraham provided showed that it was an unconditional covenant guaranteed to happen with Abraham being a passive observer or recipient, evidence by the fact that he slept and watched God pass through the sacrifice alone. Nowhere did God state explicitly that He wanted Abraham to be faithful to Him, yet this was and always is a desire of God.
And, as was quoted from in the Tyndale Bible Dictionary article earlier, a covenant maintains a responsibility of both parties, and that responsibility implicitly placed on Abraham was his obedient faith. Nowhere did God say He wanted gifts, sacrifices, or anything else. God provided not commands or statutes that must have been kept in order for the covenant to have been fulfilled.
The ultimate sign of the unconditional covenant partnership with God was that God wanted to know that Abraham would be willing to offer his son.