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THE COVENANTS OF GOD


THE COVENANTS OF GOD. When GOD made his promise to Abraham, GOD gave HIS word. There was no one greater than HIMSELF to promise by, So HE promised by making an appeal to HIMSELF.

The intent of this post, is to step-through the process of understanding the purpose(s) of GOD’S Covenants. (Not) necessarily giving a detailed description of each one… The Bible understands (“covenant”) from two different perspectives... The unconditional / eternal covenant (Hebrew berit ‛olam) between YHWH (and) Israel/Judah - which presumes that the covenant can never be broken. (although it does allow for divine judgment)... The word “Covenant” in Hebrew is: בברית (berit) {meaning} “in the alliance”. “Alliance” means: mutual benefit or to achieve some common purpose, whether or not explicit agreement has been worked out among them. There was from the beginning, a ‘cultural mandate’ (or) (‘creation mandate’) in Genesis 1:28 where GOD ascribes to Adam and Eve, the tasks of filling, subduing, and ruling over the earth. This [is] the “cultural mandate”. We were to stand as GOD’S Stewards on earth. Romans 5:14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of [him] that was to come. Genesis 3:14 -15 “And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:”

“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.” (Here is GOD’S first promise of a Redeemer,) The words contained in Genesis 3:15, & (3:14) constitute the first gospel sermon ever preached. The preacher was none other than the LORD GOD ALMIGHTY, and the audience was the Devil, Adam and Eve, ...and (onto) the whole human race.

A “mandate” is:

an authoritative command; (especially) : a formal order from a superior court or official to an inferior one” or “an authorization to act, given to a representative.” We find that, here in Genesis 3:14-15, that there is clearly a command given directly by GOD. From the CREATOR, to Adam and Eve, (HIS creation). It still stands as GOD’S directive for our stewardship of HIS creation. The first phrase, ‘be fruitful and multiply,’ means to develop the social world: build families, churches, schools, cities, etc... The second phrase, ‘subdue the earth,’ means to harness the natural world: plant crops, build bridges, design computers, compose music, etc. This passage is sometimes called the Cultural Mandate because it tells us that our original purpose was to create cultures, build civilizations—nothing less. …..Then, “sin” entered into creation, as Genesis chapter 3 explains, and thus begins GOD’S work of redeeming mankind from the bondage of sin. Covenants……. To understand the Mosaic Covenant, one must keep in mind a number of general concepts concerning biblical covenants. ALL Biblical Covenants were promulgated by the Divine, GOD HIMSELF, on behalf of HIS vassal-people. The authority of the covenants resides in HIM and HIM alone—HE is LORD. GOD’S “covenantal process” [is] illustrated (by) precepts. Exodus 19 (through) 24, had significant Impacts on (both) the Old and New Testaments. The “Mosaic Law” is one of (six) covenants that GOD made with Israel, all six have five concepts in common: 1.Their authority resides in HIM 2.They all came at a time of crisis 3.No covenant (nullifies) a previous one 4.Salvation from sin is not obtained by keeping any covenant 5.Significant negative events followed the instigation of each. The theological context of the Mosaic Covenant is Israel’s election by GOD’S Grace, (HE chose ‘them’) and the ‘redemptive context’ [is] GOD’S deliverance of Israel from Egypt / bondage. Bondage from who? Bondage from sin / satan. The content of the covenant follows the pattern of the ancient suzerainty treaty. {meaning} - HE, (GOD) [is] LORD. LORD over ALL. Period. An [archaic] way of saying that would be: “suzerain”, (overlord) - of which (no) disrespect is implied. The (Mosaic) covenant was the most conditional of all the covenants, and like all the covenants, it [promised] blessings for obedience and (curses) for disobedience. The covenant addressed itself (to) Israel and Israel alone. With it came divinely authoritative rules, that stipulated standards of righteousness. No one can justly separate the moral, civil, and ceremonial parts of the Law from each other; it is a unit. “The Law” does (not) hold any authority over Christians because it has been {fulfilled} [by] the death of CHRIST. *HOWEVER ~ it does APPLY (to those) who have (NOT) accepted CHRIST JESUS, as MESSIAH. Which brings up an interesting side-bar -- How do these covenants and the “Law” affect non-believers? A correct answer depends on your understanding of JESUS CHRIST’S authority. Authority is the right to rule, the right to command. Does JESUS (have) the right to rule: -non-Christian marriages, (for instance?) -The right to rule those who do not follow HIM? -or, those who do not believe in GOD at all? And…. How much authority does HE have? JESUS answers these questions in Matthew 28:18 stating; "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth". JESUS (possesses) sovereignty over all men, (both) those who rebel and those who submit and serve. Mark 16:15 “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to [every] creature.” Romans 1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: ______________________________________________ ...Back to GOD'S Covenants…. Galatians Chapter 4 22 For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. 23 But he [who was] of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman [was] by promise. *24 Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. 25 For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. 26 But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all. *Verse (24) Which things are an allegory:Literally, Which things are ‘allegorised’-- i.e., spoken in ‘double sense’,— {meaning}: “Where more is meant than meets the ear...” =For example“These,i.e., these women, Hagar and Sarah. “Are,” in a sense of, (or) “typically represent,” (as in the interpretation of the parable of the tares): (“The enemy that sowed them is the devil); (“the harvest [is] the end of the world”) Matthew 13:39; (or), in the words of the institution of the Lord’s Supper: (“this is my body . . . this is my blood”) (Matthew 26:26; Matthew 26:28) The eternal covenant with Abraham (Gen 15, Gen 17) defines YHWH’S relationship with the ancestors of Israel. +YHWH promises to serve as Abraham’s GOD, +to make him a great nation, +and to provide him and his descendants with the land of Israel. Abraham, in turn promises to worship YHWH (only)

and to [observe] YHWH’S rules, including circumcision as the sign of the eternal covenant (Gen 17). This covenant is handed down to Abraham’s son Isaac and (his) grandson Jacob-(Israel). ----------------------------------------------------------- (1)+The Abrahamic Covenant~ Was established following Abram’s departure from Ur. __________________________________________ (2)+The Mosaic Covenant~ Came on the heels of Israel’s departure from Egypt. __________________________________________ Immediately following the forty years of wilderness wandering and just prior to Israel’s entry into Canaan, (3)+the Priestly Covenant ~ (and) __________________________________________ (4)+the Deuteronomic covenants were promulgated. The ending of the Ark of the Covenant’s “exile” (among the Philistines)- appears to have been the catalyst for; __________________________________________ (5)+the Davidic Covenant. Which state that David’s (sons) will rule forever only if they observe the obligations of YHWH’S covenant. JESUS (did). (1Kgs 2:4-5, 1Kgs 9:1-9; Ps 89, Ps 132). __________________________________________ (6)+”the New Covenant” - was revealed at the time of the greatest disruption for Israel, the Babylonian exile. * No covenant, superseded or nullified [any] previous covenant. Galatians 3:17-19; clarifies this, Galatians Chapter 3 17 And this I say, [that] the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.

18 For if the inheritance [be] of the law, [it is] no more of promise: but God gave [it] to Abraham by promise.

19 Wherefore then [serveth] the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; [and it was] ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator. = If such was not the function of the Law— if it had no power to modify the promise, —what was its true function? It was this - -It was a sort of measure of policing. Its object was to deal with transgressions. It was also a (temporary measure) of force, [only] until it should be superseded ~ by the coming of the MESSIAH, JESUS / YESHUA. The point is made emphatically in Galatians 3:17: the Law, which came four hundred and thirty years later, does not [akyroi] (Greek) invalidate or, [mark invalid] a covenant previously ratified by GOD, so as to nullify. Why was the Mosaic Covenant given to Israel - if it did not nullify the Abrahamic?? Paul responded, “Why the Law then”? It was [added] “because of transgressions”, ((It was added)).—It came in as a sort of ‘marginal addition’. It was, as it were, (a parenthesis) in the design of ‘Providence’. The direct line of GOD’S dealings with man ran through the promise and its fulfilment. The Law came in by the way. The Law was given “because of transgressions:” i.e., it had its object (in) transgressions. Its original purpose was to make them known, and by imposing a penalty to ‘check’ them; its real effect was to provoke and enhance them.

Each covenant (advanced the previous) covenant without ‘abrogating’ it. This is part and parcel of the process of: [“Progressive Revelation”]. Isaiah 28:10 For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:

So ~ when the Mosaic Covenant was established at Mt. Sinai, it did not nullify “the Abrahamic Covenant”. { “By the seed” (is) (of course) CHRIST JESUS } Just as, in Galatians 3:14, Christians are said to “receive the promise”-- i.e., the fulfilment of the promise “of the Spirit.” “Ordained by saints / angels”— The idea of ‘angels’ having had a share in the giving of the Law appears in Deuteronomy 33:2 : “The Lord came from Sinai . . . ...HE shined forth from mount Paran, and HE came with ten thousands of ‘saints’.” The word, “saints” in the (Septuigent) LXX, substitutes, ( in the next verse ), “angels.” ( that is where ‘that’ comes from..) Jeremiah Chapter 31:31-33

31 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a [new covenant] with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:

32 [Not] according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day [that] I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD:

33 But this [shall be] the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. Each covenant, is a (part) of a single, unified program of revelation. The enactment or primacy of one does not mean the nullification of any previous covenant. {The Abrahamic Covenant} initiated the major revelatory themes of the biblical covenants. Each subsequent covenant focused on one or more of those themes, providing further development [of ] the themes pertinent to the times in which the recipients were living. No Israelite was (ever) saved [from] (his or her) sins, by obedience to (any) Law or covenant. Covenantal Revelation (instructed believers) in matters of ‘practical godliness’ -- how they were to live with each other -- and how they were to serve YAHWEH. ~ “PRECEPT” ~ (a general rule intended to regulate behavior or thought). Israel was to ground her faith in the precepts of the divine law that identified YAHWEH as the CREATOR of the heavens and earth, the Promise-Giver, the Land-Giver, and the ‘Exodus-Causer’. Every statute was a testimony to the election of the people and a witness to their identification with their Sovereign LORD. A Breach of covenant (occurred) when Israel disobeyed the stipulations of the Mosaic Covenant Idolatry and Sabbath breaking, especially, constituted breach of covenant, (Exodus 20:3-8; Leviticus 26:1-2). (Such actions were willful...) and, They resulted in the nullification of blessings associated with the Abrahamic Covenant and the obscuring of identification associated with the Mosaic Covenant. Any infraction of Mosaic legislation was deemed rebellion against the sovereign will of the suzerain-legislator, YAHWEH. However ~ = GOD IS ( NOT ) DONE WITH ISRAEL…! From the time that GOD poured out HIS (ten) sore judgments upon the nation of Egypt until the children of Israel passed over Jordan to go in to possess the land of Canaan was a period of approximately forty years. Likewise, from the time that the LORD JESUS CHRIST began HIS public ministry (until ) the destruction of Jerusalem at 70 A.D. was a period of approximately forty years. (40, as we know), is representative of: “Trial and Judgement”. At the Crucifixion of CHRIST, the Temple curtain in front of the inner sanctuary (which could NOT be pulled apart or torn, even by horses pulling on it) ~ (was torn), Torn by GOD. Ripped from top to bottom (Matt 27:51) which ‘indicated’ that the SAVIOR, MESSIAH, CHRIST JESUS, had ‘opened’ direct access to GOD (Hebrews 10:20). The N.T. believer [is] “free from the Law” (Rom 7:3; 8:2; Gal 5:1). Christians must stand [firm] in the Grace that GOD has given us - Romans 3:20 says that "through the law comes knowledge of sin." But the law can only expose sin and make us aware of it. So it is now made clear that the law can take us to the knowledge of our sin but cannot [do] anything permanent about it. Many false teachers (today) call on people to keep the Law, (or at least part of it), as a means to please GOD. But -- The Apostle James speaks directly to this business...

James 2:10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet [offend in one point], he is guilty of all.

When the Son of GOD, MESSIAH JESUS died on the cross, (GOD) “cancelled out the charge of (our) legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; and has taken it away, nailing it to the cross” (Colossians 2:14). JESUS said; “Tetelestai” ~ It IS Finished.

John 19:30 “When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.” New Testament preachers should beware of hiding behind the fulfillment of the Mosaic Law in CHRIST as their reason for neglecting the [exposition] of the O.T. The N.T. teaches that the role of the O.T. (in the life of the Christian) is to: - provide admonition (nouthesia), 1 Cor 10:11-13, - doctrinal reproof (elegmos), - correction and instruction (paideia), 2 Tim 3:16. “Through the law we become conscious of our sin” (Romans 3:20). In the Old Covenant, GOD established that the way to atone for sin is through the shedding of blood… Which brings us precisely to the event at Calvary, The most significant event in Mankind’s history -- “In HIS Blood” ! During the Last Supper, JESUS passed the cup to the disciples and told them, “Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.”Luke 22:20. When JESUS was crucified, HIS blood provided for the forgiveness of the sins of the whole world. =The basis of the “New Covenant”= The Gospel is addressed to all men. "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15). Understand that the Gospel and the Law of CHRIST are one and the same, (compare Romans 1:16 and 8:2). Understand that non-Christians (Believer and Non-believer alike) are subject to the Law of CHRIST, the Gospel, becomes evident from Romans 8:2, for they must obey the "Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus" in order to become Christians. Those who argue that non-Christians do not have to obey Christ's law on marriage, for instance must explain how non-saints are amenable to part of CHRIST’S law (for salvation) but not all of it (marriage and divorce). How can such be?

Thus the Law of CHRIST the Gospel, rules over every man's life and every one is responsible to obey it. Indeed, it is this law that will serve as the standard in final judgement: John 12:48 “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.”

All who fail to do as JESUS instructs will be eternally punished for their failure to obey 2 Thessalonians. 1:8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. There can be no doubt that all men are subject to the Law of CHRIST. ! = “The Gospel” = ! Greek: εὐαγγέλιον, translit. euangélion; Old English: gōdspel; Latin: ēvangelium Latin:[e.vanˈd͡ʒeː.li.um]), or the Good News (which is): The (Evangelizing) of: “The news of The Coming of the Kingdom of GOD” (Mark 1:14-15). Revelation 14:6-7 And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, 7Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters. In Revelation 14:6, the gospel is the call to repent and worship GOD. The Gospel, The “Good News” - the Law of CHRIST [IS] that call to REPENTANCE (and the giving of) TRUE WORSHIP to GOD. It is the culmination of the Covenants, accomplished by the (work) grace and truth of YESHUA MESSIAH, CHRIST JESUS. Hallelujah ! Telling the story of GOD redeeming HIS people through JESUS is to tell the story of GOD’S covenantal relationship (with) HIS people. In this New Covenant we receive the (gift) of (grace) - total forgiveness of sins and cleansing from shame. We get new hearts of flesh and the indwelling SPIRIT, causing us to love GOD’S laws and to walk in HIS ways. We now have the ability to walk in freedom, the ability to walk in grace, and the ability to go before the throne of GOD, “confidently”. HOW?? By ACCEPTING HIS Redemptive Covenant !

Revelation 21:1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.

A New Heaven and a New Earth is coming where peace and Righteousness will reign forever under the Sovereign rule of King JESUS, And it’s all possible because of HIM. HE [IS] the perfect Covenant-Keeper. John 1:29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. “TOTAL TRIUMPH” ! Amen.


 

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