Partake Module 3 – God’s Promises – Bible Covenants 1
How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God! For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant. Hebrews 9v14-15
If we as Christian Disciples are now under what the writer to Hebrews calls the “New Covenant”, what were the Old Covenants that preceded it? Over the next two Podcasts we shall look briefly at these Old Covenants and also the New Covenant.
Old Testament Covenants
1. The Edenic Covenant (Genesis 2v15-17)
This was the first covenant between God and man. Adam is commanded in the Edenic Covenant to
- Populate the earth (Genesis 1v28)
- Subjugate the earth (Genesis 1v28)
- Exercise dominion over animals (Genesis 1v28)
- Tend and enjoy the garden of Eden (Genesis 1v29; 2v15)
- Refrain from eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2v16-17).
When Adam & Eve ate the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, the Covenant was terminated and the consequence was their spiritual and physical deaths. This failure required God to make a new covenant with Adam.
2. The Adamic Covenant (Genesis 3v14-21)
This second covenant between God and humanity, is also titled the covenant with all of mankind, as it lay down the terms and conditions which hold until sin’s curse is lifted (Isaiah 11v6-10; Romans 8v18-23). Because of Adam’s sin, we are all born under the curse of sin.
The terms and conditions of this covenant include:
- Satan is judged although- he will enjoy limited & temporal success (Genesis 3v15), but ultimately he will be judged (Genesis 3v15).
- The first Messianic prophecy is given (Genesis 3v15)
- Childbirth now involves pain and the woman is made subject to her husband (Genesis 3v16)
- The ground is cursed and weeds will grow amongst man’s food (Genesis 3vv17 – 19)
- Physical changes occur and now people sweat when they work all their life (Genesis 3v19)
- Because of the sin and disobedience, people die spiritually, and inevitably physically. (Genesis 3v19).
3. The Noahic Covenant (Genesis 9v1-19)
This is the third covenant between God and man given after the flood had wiped out earth’s population, apart from Noah and his family.
The terms of the Noahic covenant are
- Populate the earth is reaffirmed (Genesis 9v1).
- Subjection of the animals to humans is reaffirmed (Genesis 9v2).
- Humans are allowed to eat animal flesh but are to refrain from drinking/eating the blood (Genesis 9vv3, 4)
- Human life’s sanctity is established. (Genesis 9vv5, 6).
- God promises to never to destroy the earth again by flood (Genesis 9v11). But as 2 Peter 3v10 tells us, God will destroy it by fire!
- The rainbow is given as a symbol of this covenant and its existence (Genesis 9v12-17)
4. The Abrahamic Covenant (Genesis 12v1-3)
Whilst the Edenic, Adamic and Noahic Covenants were universal covenants, the fourth Covenant is the first covenant which is theocratic or relating to the rule of God. It is dependent on God alone, who by means of grace in the “I will,”. to bestow promised blessings.
This Abrahamic Covenant is also the basis for the theocratic covenants which follow and provides blessings in three levels:
- Personal level: “I will make your name great; and you will be a blessing” (Genesis 12v2)
- National level: “I will make you into a great nation” (Genesis 12v2)
- Universal level: “all peoples on the earth will be blessed through you.” (Genesis 12v3)
Initially this covenant was in broad outline, but God later confirmed it to Abraham in greater depth (Genesis 13v14-7; 15v1-7, 18-21; 17v1-8). The Abrahamic covenant is a link to all of God’s activities and programs until the end of time, when Jesus returns to gather His people to Himself.
The personal aspects of the Covenant, particular to Abraham are:
- father of a great nation (Genesis 12v1)
- receive personal blessing (Genesis 12v2)
- receive personal honour and reputation (Genesis 12v2)
- He will be a source of blessing to others. (Genesis 12v3)
The aspects of the Abrahamic Covenant, pertinent universally are:
- blessings on those who bless Abraham and the nation of Israel which comes from him (Genesis 12v3)
- curses on those who curse Abraham and Israel (Genesis 12v3)
- blessings on all the earth through the God’s coming Messiah, who is Abraham’s son and brings universal salvation. (Genesis 12v1-3 and Galatians 3v8)
The Adamic, Noahic and Abrahamic Covenants all look forward to the coming of the Messiah, as do the Mosaic and Davidic Covenants. All of history points to His coming. This was all part of Paul’s reasoning from Scripture with the Jews he came in contact with. Of course for Paul, as for us, the Messiah is Jesus Christ.
For more to think about please do read 2 Corinthians 3, ask yourself the following questions, writing them down if you can, and see how you respond or react to them. Then why not share your answers with your spouse or a close friend, so that you can pray over any issues together.
Q1. As a Christian Disciple, how do the Old Testament Covenants fit together and apply to me?
Q2. As a Christian Disciple, how does God make me competent, and for what purpose?
Q3. As a Christian Disciple, what affect does the ministry of the Holy Spirit have on me?
As ever, if you have any comments to make on this, please do contact me at partake(at)hotmail.co.uk. Thank you