Introduction to Bible Covenants
In this topic, I will give attention to major covenants that God made with people. There are eight covenants God made over the history of human beings. This included Edenic (Genesis 1:26-28; 2:15-17), Adamic (Genesis 3:14-21), Noahic (Genesis 9:1-19), Abrahamic(Genesis 12:1-3), Mosaic (Exodus 19:58) the Palestinian (Deuteronomy9:10-15; 30:11-20) , The Davidic (2nd Samuel 7:4-17; 1 Chronicles 17:3-15), and the New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:31-34; Hebrews 8:6-13).
There is another covenant called Eternal Covenant. This is seen in Hebrews 13:20, “Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord”. This agreement, for the redemption of mankind, was between the Father and the Son in the eternity past. In this covenant, Christ agreed to come into this world to atone for the sins of the people. Jesus by being the only mediator between God and sinners gave Himself as a ransom for sinners. All those who put the faith in Jesus Savior will be saved and granted eternal life.
Prophecy and current events are related to God’s covenants.
The things currently happening in this world, as well as the future events going to happen, are directly linked to God’s covenants with His people. In other words, the current events and future events (Bible Prophecies) are all hinged on the covenants God made with His own people.
Two Types of covenants
For the purpose of our studies, we will look at the Abrahamic Covenant, Davidic Covenant, and the New Covenant. A covenant is an agreement between two parties and the two types of covenants are conditional and unconditional. A conditional covenant means both parties who are entering into an agreement need to fulfill certain duties or obligations for the final fulfillment of the covenant. If either party fails to his duties then the covenant is broken and becomes null and void. In contrast, an unconditional covenant is an agreement between two parties but only one of the two parties need to do certain things for the final fulfillment. There is no requirement for the second party to do anything at all. What makes Abrahamic, Davidic and New covenants unique is this –these covenants are unconditional in nature. There is no pre-condition God prescribed from the second party for the fulfillment of these covenants. The fulfillment of thee covenants are based on God’s power, ability, faithfulness, and character only. It’s God’s only obligation to fulfill these promises. Because God unilaterally said, ” I will..” without prescribing any requirement on the second party for the final fulfillment.
However, I encourage you to study the other covenants as well so that you can understand in a better way all of God’s plans and actions. For Example, Mosaic covenant is a very important conditional covenant. The laws of the world that are universally agreed upon by different nations is based on the Mosaic Law that God made with Israel, especially, the ten commandments. The Mosaic covenant is also a covenant that leads us to the feet of Jesus Christ and to His cross because of the human inability to obey all the Laws that God has given through Moses. Bible says in Galatians 3:24, “Therefore the Law (Mosaic Law) became our tutor to lead us to Christ, that we may be justified by faith (in Christ)”. The inability of human beings to obey God’s perfect law lead us ultimately to Jesus Christ and to His cross who perfectly obeyed and fulfilled God’s law in His body and then died and rose again according to the fulfillment of the prophecies in the Bible, for our right standing before God. Today the right standing before God is based not on our deeds or works, but because of faith and trust in what Jesus Christ did for you and me. Salvation is free to all who call upon Jesus Christ as their Lord and savior. Therefore Mosaic Law has a huge impact in God’s plan. Mosaic Law was a tutor so that we will understand we can never attain the perfect expectation of God without the help of the savior- the Messiah -who was promised in the scripture thousands of years before the birth of Christ, and fulfilled in Jesus Christ. More than 300 prophecies in the Old Testament section of the Bible about the first coming of Jesus Christ (Messiah) to this earth as our savior were fulfilled literally.
Bible is unique in declaring future events
Bible is a unique book where God informs us the future things that are going to happen. An understanding of these major covenants can help us to understand the major prophecies God revealed to us. There is no other book like Bible in this world. One of the reasons is this – Bible reveals to us what the future holds and the more we study and understand the Bible, the more we will understand about what is in store for us in future. God declares in Isaiah 16:9-10, “I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure” There is no other God like the God who revealed Himself in the Bible. Why? Because God of the Bible has a definite purpose and plan for the future and for all human beings and He assures His counsel and His purpose will stand, no matter what! Did you notice what God said in the above-mentioned verse? He “declares the end from the beginning”. This is called prophecy. In the Bible, God declared all that future holds that we should know now- He already revealed what is going to happen step by step so that you’ll be prepared for the future. Such is the amazing and unique characteristics of the Bible. No other literature or book that is comparable to Bible just because of this one reason itself. Mark it, there are other unique features as well, that makes Bible the unique Book. These include God’s revelation of who God is, who man is, where is man’s beginning and what happened to man that caused him to be in today’s condition, the beginnings of earth and heavens, how did it all happen in the beginning, the universal sin nature of people, solution for the sins and problems of people, how man can be saved from the power of sin and how is it possible to have fellowship with a living and holy God. Bible also teaches us the reason for the universality of death, cause of death and what is in store after the death of human beings.
Bible also says in Deuteronomy 29:29, “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law.” This means everything we should know are already revealed by God Himself in the pages of the Bible. Now, If there are any secrets to be revealed, that belongs to the Lord, but the things that are revealed in the Bible belong to us and to our children. This means we and our children are responsible to know what is already revealed in the Bible. However, if something not revealed in the Bible, that belongs to Lord and it’s not left to our speculation. God revealed all that we need to know.
God revealed what is going to happen in this world, way in advance, in the pages of the Bible so that we will read it and get prepared for yourself and make ready others as well. In Daniel 2:27, the Bible says, “There is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries (of the future) and He has made known what will take place in latter days (end times)”. Bible says in Revelation 1:1, Jesus Christ revealed to Apostle John “the things which must shortly take place”. Then it says “blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and do things which are written in it; for the time is near”. Did you notice God declares, blessed are those who read, listen and do the things that are revealed about future? The reason is stated there – “for the time is near.”
I hope and pray that you will be motivated and encouraged to read the Bible and listen what is already said about future in the Bible. God says in Jeremiah 29:29, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”. Hundreds of prophecies that were written in the Bible were already fulfilled and we will see these details in another topical lesson. Many prophecies that are in the Bible are being currently fulfilled right in front of our eyes.
For the purpose of our lesson, we will discuss three major Bible covenants that are critical to the understanding of the Bible prophecies and they are God’s covenant with Abraham, God’s covenant with David, and the New Covenant.