A look at seven biblical covenants and what they mean for us today

My family receives a magazine called Yavoh each month.  It’s always fun for me to read articles included in it.  Though I don’t always agree with everything written, I appreciate many scriptural connections it brings to light. I have come to see that many men have good insights into the Word, and few can possibly agree on every matter.  It is up to every believer to test everything we read, hear, and see to the Word of God.  We must be willing to let incorrect words we encounter from men to fall away so that only the Word of God stands.

With that disclaimer made, I wanted to highlight an article included in the October 2011 issue that fascinated me. It was based on Romans 9:4-5:

They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.

The article addressed each of the seven underlined sections above. The whole thing was enlightening, but one particular section struck me more than the others.  It was about the covenants contained in Scripture.  I am going to re-post that section in this post, but you can read the full article here. (Scripture references and emphasis were added by me.)

Many Christians have been taught there are only two covenants: the Old and the New. However, Scripture tells a much different story. There are not two covenants, there are seven. Only the book of Hebrews and Christians lump the first four together and call them “old.” Let’s review those covenants.

God made His first covenant with Adam. He would have to labor by sweat and his wife would bear children in travail (Genesis 3:16-19). The world we live in today is the same that was for Adam and Eve with sweat and travail. This covenant remains to this day.

God made a covenant with Noah at the conclusion of the great flood. God judged the world by water then, but He promised Noah that He would never judge the world by water again (Genesis 9:8-17). To seal this covenant, God placed a bow in the sky for everyone to see. We call it a rainbow. To this day, a rainbow means exactly as it did when God showed it to Noah for the first time. God is still promising not to judge the world by water. The Remnant today is reminded of God’s promise every time they see it as well. This covenant remains to this day.

God made a covenant with Abraham (Genesis 17:1-8), Issac (Genesis 26:1-5), and Jacob (Genesis 28:13-15). This covenant included the promise of a kingdom. The kingdom is defined by three things: the land of the kingdom, the servants of the kingdom, and the King of the kingdom. Abraham was shown the land of the kingdom, the land of Israel. Abraham was promised a son. Isaac was the first of those promised sons. Finally, Abraham himself promised the “Lamb of God” who would be the king (Genesis 22:8). This is the same place that Abraham offered Isaac, where God placed His name – Mount Moriah at Jerusalem. You cannot be the Remnant of Israel unless you see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as your fathers and yourself as their promised descendant (Ephesians 2:12-13, 19). This covenant remains to this day.

God made a covenant with Moses and the children of Israel when they left Egypt. This covenant was made at Mount Sinai where God gave His commandments. This is when He made the Sabbath to be a sign between the children of Israel and Himself. God defined this covenant as eternal extending to all generations (Exodus 31:12-18). The Remnant of Israel may be small at times, but they remain to this day. This covenant also remains to this day.

God made a covenant with King David (2 Samuel 7:1-17). It involved the city of Jerusalem, the temple mount, and the permanent alter where the temple was built. While David did not build the temple, he was responsible to acquire the land and the materials. David was also promised that a son from him would be the Messiah. It was the “son of David” Solomon who actually constructed the temple in Jerusalem. In the same way, it was the “Son of David” the Messiah who built the temple of God in believers’ hearts. The Remnant of Israel must hold to the city of Jerusalem and God’s promise to King David. The city of Jerusalem still remains and this covenant still remains to this day.

The Messiah brought us the New Covenant spoken of in Jeremiah 31:31. The redemptive work of the Messiah is the fulfillment of the PROMISES God made to those previous including Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, and King David. But the fulfillment in no way renders the promise null and void. Nor does the “New” covenant replace an “Old” covenant. There is no “Old” covenant to replace. Instead, the Messiah made the PROMISES even greater. On those promises our faith in the Messiah is established which leads to forgiveness of sin and the gift of eternal life. Without the promises there would be no Messiah. Without the Messiah there is no forgiveness or hope of eternal life. The Remnant of Israel believes in those promises and in the deeds of the Messiah. Therefore, their faith is counted for righteousness just like Abraham and everyone following his example. To this day, men are acquiring this same faith in God’s promises, coming to know the Messiah, and proclaiming His work of redemption and hope for the kingdom. Therefore, this covenant remains to this day.

There is a final covenant promised by God that has not yet been revealed. It is called the Covenant of Peace (Isaiah 54 and Ezekiel 37:15-28, specifically mentioned in verse 25). According to the prophets, the Covenant of Peace will be part of the Messiah’s earthly kingdom upon His return. This promise still remains to this day.

The Remnant still believes in the promises of God, the ones of the past, the present, and the ones yet future. The future covenant still awaits us according to God’s plan.

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