The purpose and intent of this site is twofold:

1. Share the Word of God as found in the Bible.

2. Comment on current events as they relate to Bible prophecy

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Old Testament Covenants


What is a covenant?  Dictionary:  a written agreement or promise usually under seal between two or more parties especially for the performance of some action. 

God made a covenant with Abraham 430 years prior to Moses and the 10 Commandments.  This agreement only required faith, belief, and righteousness of on the part of Abraham.  God’s part of the covenant was the following promises:

·         I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you
·         I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.
·         I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse
·         All peoples on earth will be blessed through you

Most certainly, Abraham personified the statement of “the just shall live by faith,” as he was the prototype of living by faith, however God still expected “Abraham to be obedient before blessing him.”  

For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. (Romans 4:3 KJV)

All of the Biblical covenants that God made with man have a sign; an outward indication that signifies the person was in a covenant.  Dictionary Definition:   something that indicates or expresses the existence of something else not immediately apparent

The Abrahamic covenant had a definite sign which was circumcision.

This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised.  (Genesis 17:10 KJV)

Abraham was granted righteousness (salvation) well before the covenant with the outward sign of circumcision.

Is this blessedness then for the circumcision or also for the uncircumcision? For we say, "faith was credited to Abraham as righteousness." How then was it credited to him? Was he circumcised at the time, or not? No, he was not circumcised but uncircumcised! And he received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised, so that he would become the father of all those who believe but have never been circumcised, that they too could have righteousness credited to them. And he is also the father of the circumcised, who are not only circumcised, but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham possessed when he was still uncircumcised. For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would inherit the world was not fulfilled through the law, but through the righteousness that comes by faith.   (Romans 4:9-13 NET)

Now when God made his promise to Abraham, since he could swear by no one greater, he swore by himself, saying, "Surely I will bless you greatly and multiply your descendants abundantly." And so by persevering, Abraham inherited the promise.  (Hebrews 6:13-15 NET)

The New Covenant that God made with all mankind through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ was new because it replaced both the Abrahamic Covenant and also the Mosaic or Sinaitic Covenant (which came after the covenant to Abraham.  This belief will, hopefully, be explained later.

The covenant God made with Abraham was passed on through Isaac, Jacob, and Jacob’s sons.  After Joseph and the ruling pharaoh died, the Hebrews became slaves.  God sees their enslavement and remembered His covenant with Abraham and the Hebrew people.

God heard their groaning, God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob, God saw the Israelites, and God understood…
(Exodus 2:24-25 NET)

The Hebrews who came out of Egypt were all descendants of Abraham and were heirs to the promises made to Abraham provided they followed the sign of circumcision. 

Moses was called to Mount Sinai to meet with God and was given the 10 Commandments written on stone tablets.  Moses was to speak to the children of Israel, discuss the contract spoken to him by God, and ask them if they would like to enter into a new contract or covenant with God.  This covenant was essentially the 10 commandments.  Along with the commandments, a list of laws was given which amplified and explained the details of the principal 10 commandments.  If the people agreed to the covenant and would obey the10 laws and all secondary laws that resulted from the original 10, they would receive great blessings.  However, if they did not obey the laws (terms of the contract) there would be curses and in some cases, even death.  All the laws and the punishments for breaking any of the laws were fully explained.

The people of Israel were given the choice to either accept or reject the terms of the contract or covenant.  We are told in Exodus 24 that the people unanimously agreed to accept the contract.

Moses came and told the people all the LORD's words and all the decisions. All the people answered together, "We are willing to do all the words that the LORD has said.”  (Exodus 24:3 NET)

Earlier, the Israelites had performed sacrifices and Moses used half of the blood on the altar and placed the other half into bowls.  The people were asked again to accept the contract and they all verbally agree.  Moses then splashed the blood contained in bowls onto the people.  As the children of Israel received the blood of the covenant, the covenant was sealed between them and God.

He sent young Israelite men, and they offered burnt offerings and sacrificed young bulls for peace offerings to the LORD. Moses took half of the blood and put it in bowls, and half of the blood he splashed on the altar. He took the Book of the Covenant and read it aloud to the people, and they said, "We are willing to do and obey all that the LORD has spoken." So Moses took the blood and splashed it on the people and said, "This is the blood of the covenant that the LORD has made with you in accordance with all these words."   (Exodus 24:5-8 NET)

Since all covenants have a sign, so does the Mosaic covenant.  The sign was the strict observance of the Sabbath.

The LORD said to Moses, "Tell the Israelites, 'Surely you must keep my Sabbaths, for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the LORD who sanctifies you. So you must keep the Sabbath, for it is holy for you. Everyone who defiles it must surely be put to death; indeed, if anyone does any work on it, then that person will be cut off from among his people.   (Exodus 31:12-14 NET)

Abraham was told by God that all the nations of the earth would be blessed because of his seed.

And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.  (Genesis 22:18 KJV)

Paul clarifies the Genesis statement by saying that God meant only one seed, and that seed is Jesus Christ.

Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.
(Galatians 3:16 KJV)

So what was the purpose of the law?  The Ten Commandments and the auxiliary laws that clarify the original basic ten were given because of transgressions.  The Israelites were still under the covenant of Abraham because of his righteousness.  But to insure (if possible) the Israelites righteousness under the Abrahamic covenant, they were given the laws of the Mosaic covenant.  Therefore, the Abrahamic covenant, with the sign of circumcision, was meant to expire when the seed, Jesus Christ, came and fulfilled the law, with the sign of the Sabbath, by executing the New Covenant.

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.  (Galatians 3:19 KJV)

There was to be only a singular seed not a plural seeds.  The Mosaic laws had an expiration date, the coming of the seed, Jesus Christ.

Some have pointed out that the Sabbath was a part of God’s law since creation.  It is true that scripture states that God rested on the seventh day, however, there is no indication that anyone observed the Sabbath as the universal law of God or otherwise, until it was given as a sign of compliance to Moses and the children of Israel. 

No comments:

Post a Comment