Lesson Verse: Ephesians 2:12
A. Covenants! Life is made up of dozens of them in operation at any one time! Whether between you and you wife (marriage vows), or you and your boss (promise of commitment to him or her, and the company to help it make money), or you and God (that you repent and believe on Jesus for salvation)!
B. The Bible has two under-lying layers of foundation stone: one is called Dispensational understanding of Scripture, and the other is called Covenantal understanding. Both are inseparable, and required to understand the Scriptures – they act as keys to unlocking hard to understand Scriptures.
C. Two covenants are already clear in every Bible ever produced since Calvary: the Old Covenant of the law, and the new Covenant of Calvary – the division is placed right between the Old Testament and the New!
D. Everyone needs to understand what are covenants, why there are distinctions made between different covenants, and how to apply this understanding.
E. An important note – there are two ways of understanding the Scriptures:
1. The allegorical, or symbolic meaning – Generally accepts only a symbolic meaning to a promise or command of God, instead of it being literal. This will prove very important when it comes to understanding the promises that God made with the Jews as a nation, concerning their land and future.
2. The literal meaning – the Bible believer takes the Bible literally, unless the Bible tells you to take it allegorically.
F. Another note – at any one time, more than one covenant may be in force, while only one dispensation will ever be in force at a time.
Definitions. Just what are we talking about?
B. Comparisons between covenants. Let’s compare two well known covenants.
C. The purpose of God using covenants and dispensations.
D. What are the specific covenants, and how do they fit with dispensations?
E. Application of the truths of Covenants to Scripture, and to Life.
F. Problems with Covenant-Only theology. What problems can be expected when only believing in covenant-only theology (no allowance for dispensations).
Study of Covenant
What is a covenant, in God's plan?
1. A covenant is the basis for a relationship – an agreement between two parties that allows them to work together. A Contact (Mt 26:14,15).
a. No way to be married without a covenant, an agreement, a binding between to the two people clearly defining what is expected
b. No way for people to work a job without some form of agreement between them and the boss about pay, and hours and expectations
c. There is no way for people to have a relationship with God without an agreement, a covenant between them concerning what was expected by both parties
d. The two possible parties represented could be
1) God and all mankind
2) God and the descendants of a particular person (i.e., Abraham)
3) God and His Son
4) God and the devil, etc.
e. Covenants are serious things to learn, and abide in (Heb 10:28,29).
f. A dispensation is a WAY that God deals with mankind. It can be different at different times. A Covenant is an agreement that requires TWO parties to act and live a certain way to reap the benefits of the covenant.
2. Each covenant contains at least the following parts:
a. A description of the parties involved (which helps you also understand who are, and who are not part of the covenant).
1) Some Biblical covenants deal with only the physical Jews and God.
2) Other covenants only deal with believers, and not the Jews (physically).
3) Some covenants deal with all people and God.
b. A token, or a sign to show God’s intentions, and a request by the other party to present some token or sign of their intention (Gen 9:12,13). Just as with wedding rings, and baptism.
c. A defined goal (or reward) towards which both parties are to reach
1) As with Abraham – to have a son (through which God would provide HIS Son).
2) As with David – to show God’s sure mercy toward sinners who are saved (didn’t remove David from the throne, and passed the throne through all his children until the Abrahamic covenant would be fulfilled in Christ).
3) All of the promises of the Bible are closely linked with an already established covenant, or a future covenant.
d. A set of requirements for each participant in the agreement to fulfill – either a covenant will be conditional (based upon certain conditions being met), or unconditional (no conditions are placed on at least one of the two parties).
Comparison of Covenants
1. You already know about at least TWO covenants
a. The Old Covenant (the Old Testament) which was good.
b. The New Covenant (New Testament), which is better (Heb 8:6-13)!
c. A basic comparison between the two general covenants helps the student understand the depths of the riches of God’s word!
us guilty before God
remembrances of sins
payment for sins
on ceremonies and religion
at Mt Sinai
payment for sin
on simplicity in Christ
at Mt Calvary
2. The difference between Covenants and Testaments.
a. A covenant is an agreement between at least two living parties.
b. A Testament is an agreement between at least two living parties, but not in effect until one of the parties dies – as with a person’s Last Will and Testament. The New Testament was in force at Christ’s death and enacted a new set of requirements for the participants (Christians and unsaved alike).
Why does God use Covenants, and Dispensations?
1. Because God loves Covenants – He loves being committed, and trustworthy (280 times “covenant” appears in the Bible). He established 13 major covenants in history (Lk 1:72) grouped into two major categories:
a. Those dealing with people in THIS current Universe
b. Those covenants dealing with people in the NEW universe
2. To show that He works differently, at different times (Heb 1:1), requiring His people to do things differently at different times. A Biblical student must recognize that there are distinctions in history. Some examples include:
a. Christ’s two commissionings
1) To the Jews only at first (Mt 10:5,6)
2) To all the world – Jew and Gentile (Mk 16:15; Mt 28:18-20)
b. The two provisions in faith
1) Live totally by faith since Jesus was here (Lk 9:1-6; Mt 10:9,10)
2) Work hard, and earn a living (Lk 22:35-36)
c. The different dietary laws
1) Before the flood – vegetarian (Gen 1:29)
2) After the flood but before the Law – meat eating (Gen 9:3)
3) After the Law – only clean foods (Lev 11)
4) After the cross – anything placed before you if received with thanksgiving (Acts 10).
3. To show that there are some things that never change, while there are some things that DO!
a. Never changing things
1) God’s word (Psalm 119:89)
2) God’s character – his faithfulness and trustworthiness – God cannot lie, etc.
3) God’s goal – salvation/redemption of mankind
b. Things that do change
1) God’s ways – dispensations
2) God’s will – based upon our reaction and obedience we can alter God’s will from perfect to second-best, etc.
4. To show the stages of progressive revelation (1Cor 2:6-10; Eph 3:2-6).
a. God starts off with man in a perfect Garden. No further revelation is provided other than a set of ground-rules for how each party is to live and co-exist. God did not tell them that they were going to sin, and that there was a devil, etc.
b. God, after man’s sin, has to reveal the value of the soul, and the actual cost of sin’s penalty by shedding blood, and bringing in the curse upon all mankind.
c. God then reveals the plan for a redeemer (Gen 3:15), and initiates the plan with the death of the lambs in the Garden.
d. Jesus told His disciples that even after 3 ½ years, he had more to teach them, but that the Holy Spirit would do the finishing work (Jn 16:12,13; 14:26).
e. Like a mystery novel, you must work your way through to the end to enjoy and understand its truths.
The Main Covenants that God enacts between Himself and His People
1. The Covenants God Made With the Current Universe
The Covenants are as follows:
a. “The FIRST Covenant,” or the Earthly Covenant – It states that the earth is to be the centre of attraction by God, and all peoples – not some other planet of galaxy, or even heaven for that matter (Ge 1:1; 8:22; Ps 89:34-37; Jer 31:35-37; 33:19-26; Jn 3:16). This covenant seems to be the underpinning of all the other covenants.
1) The purpose of this “covenant” is to show God’s faithfulness; His consistency and trustworthiness.
2) It also shows the inability of “man” to alter God’s portion of the covenant – you can’t remove the moon, or the stars, so you might as well give up trying to change God – He keeps His promises!
3) The promises of this covenant include:
a) Regular seasons and day and night – dependability
b) It establishes the universal seven day week
c) It shows the full attention of God Almighty toward this little planet of ours to the exclusion of all other worlds
4) This covenant with this universe began at creation, and lasts until 2 Peter 3 and Rev 20 – until the new heaven and the new earth replace this current universe.
5) This covenant includes the covenant that God made with himself as the Son (The Eternal Covenant), to redeem and rule this universe (Heb 1:8-13) – this covenant is in force in heaven, but not in the universe fully until the new heaven and earth.
b. The Pre-Fall, or “Edenic Covenant” (Gen 1:26 – 3:24). This is the first real covenant made between man and God where man has anything to do with the covenant.
1) It is under this covenant that the following things were required of man (Gen 1:29-30; 2:9,15,16):
a) Be fruitful and fill the earth
b) Have dominion over the earth – take charge and develop it as far as you want – be in charge.
c) Enjoy the fruits of your labours – eat of any tree
d) Do not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good & evil
2) This covenant had two covenants operating under it
a) Angelic Covenant – Between God, Lucifer and all angels (Ps 8:4-6; 91:11; 103:20; 104:4; 1Cor 6:3)
(i) Work with God, serve and obey god (Heb 1:7,14)
(ii) Or, lose your position (Isa 14:12-17; Jude 1:6; Mt 25:41)
(iii) This part of the Edenic covenant continues from creation, until the new heaven and earth.
(iv) This covenant establishes how God allows Lucifer to operate
(a) He has to check-in with God
(b) He has to ask permission from God to do damage
(c) He is directed by God at times to judge or chasten
b) Humanic Covenant – covenant God made with Adam and Eve in the Garden (2:17)
(i) Obey and live forever – this is just what Adam and Eve would have done, if they had not sinned.
(ii) Or, disobey, and die.
(iii) This covenant ended the moment Eve sinned.
c) There is the “Eternal Covenant” in temporary operation, but it stops at the fall, only to be revived in the new heaven and new earth time frame.
c. Adamic Covenant (Gen 3:12-19). This covenant is between Adam, and his seed. It is only capable of being modified by the coming of another “seed” that is of God, and not man (Jesus).
1) God could have turned His back on Adam and Eve once they had disobeyed Him, but instead He throws away the first covenant, and establishes another one that will enable them, and all people back to God.
2) The beginning of the covenant is established on the punishments for breaking the first covenant.
a) If God didn’t punish, no one would take God seriously
b) If God did not introduce death, then Adam and Eve, as well as their descendants would have been trapped in immortal, sinful bodies for all eternity – but praise God we are free from the penalty of sin now; we are being made free from the power of sin on a daily basis; and one day we will be free from the very presence of sin!
3) The curses include:
a) The Adamic nature being passed onto all of Adam’s descendants (Gen 5:3).
b) Pain for the woman in conception (3:16; 1Cor 11:3).
c) The ground is cursed (3:17-19; Rom 8:18-23).
d) Adam and all workers are never going to really enjoy the fruits of their labours anymore like they could have (Gen 3:17-19; Ps 90:9,10).
e) The serpent is cursed (Gen 3:14).
f) Satan is cursed (Gen 3:14).
4) The promises of this covenant include:
a) The redemption of mankind, as well as life itself – all part of the removal process.
b) The removal of the curses (Rom 8:18-23; Rev 21:1-4; 22:3): Death, sorrow, land curses, conception and pain. These curses are partially removed in stages:
(i) By substitutionary sacrifices in the Old Testament
(ii) By the crucifixion of Jesus Christ
(iii) By the Rapture
(iv) God intends on restoring all the damage that Satan inflicts, all by the faith of any individual, starting with Eve, then Adam, and then through any who believe God’s promise!
5) The requirements for man under this covenant included:
a) Work hard anyway – if you don’t work, you’re against God
b) Have children anyway – replenish the earth
c) Have dominion anyway
d) Look forward to the coming of the Redeemer, Messiah
e) Accept the fact that you are doomed
f) Accept the lambs in your place
6) This covenant began while Adam and Eve were still in the Garden and lasts until the new heaven and new earth.
7) PROJECT: Write a one or two page report in your own words explaining your understanding of the Adamic Covenant.
d. Noahic Covenant (Gen 8:21,22; 9:1-16)
1) Timing - It is right after the flood. Noah has left the ark to find a new world laid-out before him – 2,500 years before Christ.
2) This covenant was established between God, and the descendents of Noah – all mankind.
3) Promises that God made:
a) That God was through cursing the earth with a flood anymore (8:22; 9:12,16). Up until that point, God’s curses were constantly on the increase until the flood came.
b) That the rainbow would be a sign of the covenant forever
(i) Proves that it never rained on the earth before the flood
(ii) Supposed to remind folks about existence of God, and the trustworthiness of His promises
c) That this covenant would be eternal – not like the Edenic
4) Commandments required by God to be obeyed
a) To replenish the earth (9:1,12,16). Fill it up.
(i) Don’t complain about having children
(ii) Don’t believe in population control
(iii) Raise up a Godly generation for God
b) To dominate the earth (9:2,3)
(i) Be in control of it
(ii) Decide what to do with land, etc.
(iii) Be responsible for it as well!
c) That animals may now be eaten – except for the blood
(i) Because of connections with Satan and devil worship
(ii) Because of disease
d) That there must be capital punishment for murders (9:5,6). Mankind is going to have to be more pro-active in dealing with its sinful nature, if we want to survive!
(i) Not vigilantism
(ii) Operated by rule of law, and with checks and balances. This places the responsibility of governing upon the backs of people. They must govern right to survive!
5) Noah’s three sons head off ultimately in three different directions with different relationships towards God – it seems to differentiate each from the other’s descendants
a) Shem – God blesses Shem for his faith and obedience. Shem is the father of the Orientals – he headed east from Ararat. Shem is God’s choice to continue a Godly line through which to bring into the world Jesus.
(xii) Down through to Abraham
(xiii) Abraham to David
(xiv) David to Jesus
(i) Ham grossly sins against his father Noah, and gets his son, Cainan cursed by Noah. Ham, as a people group are in trouble with God
(ii) Africa, and Egypt in particular are called the land of Ham (Ps 105:23; 105:27; 106:22)
(iii) Nimrod comes from this line
(iv) The Philistines come from this line
(v) The Ethiopian Eunuch, and the Queen of Sheba!
(i) By nature, Japeth is a conqueror.
(ii) He heads west by north-west. He is a European
(iii) He ends up dwelling in the tents of Shem when he invades and conquers America.
(iv) Japeth’s line has Alexander the Great, William the conqueror, all the Ceasars, etc.
d) These three are the three basic classifications of people in the world
(i) Shemites –Mongoloids, Orientals, or Occidentals, far Easterners
(ii) Japethites – Caucasoids. Westerners, Europeans
(iii) Hammites – Negriods, Negros, Blacks, Africans
e) God deals with all of them on the basis of the Noahic Covenant, but then specially on the basis of the Shemitic Covenant (9:26)
(i) If you are going to get to God, it is going to have to be in the same manner as Shem’s relationship
(ii) Ham and his descendants are going to have to overcome some sort of additional curse because of his sin
(iii) Japeth is going to have to overcome materialism
e. Abrahamic Covenant (Gen 12:1-3; 13:14-17; 15:18-21)
1) God Himself was the mediator
2) It was established between God and the physical descendants of Abraham (Gen 12:1-7; 15:18; 17:4-7). Formally established in Gen 15:18.
3) The promises included:
a) A great nation of descendants would arise – the Jews
(i) Starting with just one son, Isaac. A son of promise (miracle; Gal 4:28). Not of the flesh, lust, or possibility
(ii) The children would number more than the dust of the earth (Gen 13:14-16)
(iii) More than the _________ of the heavens (Gen 15:1-6)
(iv) More than the _______ of the sea (Gen 22:17)
b) Abraham’s name will be __________ (Gen 12:2)
c) Abraham, and his descendants would be a great _________ to the world. All nations ultimately will be blessed by Abraham and his descendants (12:3; 22:18; 28:14)
d) Those that bless and are a blessing to Abraham and his descendants, will be blessed by God
e) Those that ________, or adversely affect Abraham, or his descendants, will be ________ by God
f) Notice that these promises were directed at the PHYSICAL descendants of Abraham. Christians get in on the blessings by being adopted into Abraham’s family
g) The land of Palestine, the Promised Land would always belong to the Jews (Gen 12:7; 13:14,15; 15:18-21; 17:8)
(i) From the river of __________
(ii) To the __________
h) That God would be his protector (15:1), just as He is of all those who obey Him (Josh 1:5).
4) The requirements were (Gen 12:1) – the requirements of faith:
a) Leave behind your old life – pictures the new birth
b) Follow and obey the Lord (Rom 4:20,21). Walk before the Lord (Gen 17:1,2)
c) Seek to be perfect – mature – holy (Gen 17:1)
d) Prepare for _____________ ahead – being slaves in Egypt for 400 years (Gen 15:13-16)
e) Have children, even when it is hard to – God can’t provide children to those who don’t seek to have any!
f) Keep the covenant (17:9):
(i) Circumcise all male children – of everyone, including the stranger (the Gentile) in the land
(ii) Circumcise specifically on the ________day (17:12)
(iii) If someone is not circumcised, then God’s relationship with them is null and void – even if a descendant of Abraham (Gen 17:12,13; Ex 4:24-27)
(iv) Circumcision of the flesh represented the more important one of the _____ (Dt 10:15,16; 30:6; Jer 4:4)
5) The signs of this covenant included
a) ________________ (Gen 17:1-21)
b) Name changes:
(i) Abram (father of a nation) – to Abraham (father of many nations) – remember, these were nomads!
(ii) Sarai (princess) – to Sarah (noblewoman; Gen 17:15). To be a noblewoman means a woman of character (Acts 17:10,11).
(iii) Children of the covenant should have names relating to the covenant – starting with Isaac (laughter, and joy)
6) This was an everlasting covenant (Gen 17:7). Still in power in Matthew 24 & 25 (Mt 25:31-46).
a) Even though the descendants sinned, God remained faithful
(i) Abraham sinned (lying about Sarah being his _______; Gen 16:6,20)
(ii) Isaac sinned like his father, yet the covenant was still in force (Gen 26:1-4)
(iii) See Jacob and his deceptions (Gen 37 & 38), yet the covenant was still in force (Gen 28:13-15; 35:9-12; 48:3-4)
(iv) Even though Israel turned to idolatry (Dt 4:25-31)
b) Moses declares that according to God, the covenant was still in force (Ex 2:24; 6:2-8)
c) David comments on God’s covenant (1Chron 16:15-18; Ps 105:8-11), called it an “____________ covenant.”
d) Zacharias realises John was part of the continuing commitment of God to Israel because of Abraham (Lk 1:67-75).
e) God says the promise was always one-sided (Dt 7:6-8)!
(i) Because of our Adamic nature – we are incapable of keeping our side of the bargain, so God has to remain faithful for OUR sakes!
(ii) Because without this covenant, the Redeemer would never be able to come to redeem our nature!
f) It was because of Abraham, and God’s commitment to Abraham’s seed, that God sent His Son into Israel, and preached _________ to Israel (Mt 15:24)!
g) This is also the reason why all the Apostles preached first to the Jews before preaching to the Gentiles (Rom 1:16)!
h) Peter calls the physical descendants of Abraham “the children of the prophets, and of the __________ which God made (not only with Abraham, but notice the plural) with the fathers… (Acts 3:25,26).
7) This covenant then clearly demonstrates that the nation of Israel must exist forever.
a) Some suggest that Christianity “represents” Israel now
b) But Romans 9-11 states that Israel has been “demoted” but not destroyed as a nation (see Dt 4:25-31), and Christianity has been “_________ in” (Rom 11:1,2,17-29). But only for a while. All “___________” shall be saved!
c) Jer 30:11 says God will not make a “______ end” of Israel.
d) Jer 46:27,28 says the same promise!
8) The Abrahamic Covenant has been partially fulfilled
a) Great blessing of Abraham – wealth (Gen 24:1,35)
b) A miracle son by promise
c) He was a blessing to others – as was even his grand-son, Jacob (to Laban).
d) Abraham’s name has been made great – revered by Jews, Christians, and Muslims
e) Nationally, Israel became a great nation, under David and Solomon – it is the only ancient nation to have died off, and yet return to a measure of greatness, and retain its Biblical culture and language!
f) Through Israel, God has brought forth His word (Jn 4:24), and His Son! And equal with that, he has proved His faithfulness, and dependability!
g) So far, all the promises have been literally fulfilled, so the rest must be applied literally, not allegorically.
9) This results in the understanding that the land of Palestine will always belong to Israel – part of what is termed, the Palestinian Covenant (discussed later).
10) This covenant best portrays God’s faithfulness to His people
a) To save them, To protect them
b) To use them – even when in rebellion – as examples
c) At least we ought to work hard at being faithful as well
11) PROJECT: A one or two-page report on the Abrahamic Covenant – especially note how it relates to Christians.
f. Ishmaelic Covenant was also provided for under Abraham’s covenant – it was for Ishmael and his descendants (Gen 16:7-14).
1) Since Ishmael was a physical descendant of Abraham
a) Notice that covenants relate to physical relationships.
(i) Blessing, promises, curses are passed down, or are able to affect descendants
(ii) People get into covenants, by becoming related to someone already IN the covenant – that’s how a sinful Gentile gets into ANY covenant with God – by becoming RELATED to someone IN the covenant (example would be getting citizenship by marriage or by birth)
(iii) We get into the Abrahamic covenant either by becoming a Jew ourselves, or by getting born-again, into the same family that Abraham was “born” into back in Gen 15 by his faith.
(iv) The problem with becoming a Jew is that being a Jew only brought you into the covenant relationship with God – not salvation
b) Salvation relates ONLY to spiritual relationships (John 1:11-13) – you cannot obtain it physically.
c) Many religions think that by being related to a “Christian” (born into a Catholic home, or Protestant family), the person is then “by blood” a “Christian” as well. That is one of the most damnable heresies because it makes salvation a human event, and not “of God” (John 1:13)!
d) Ishmael was NOT a man of faith!
2) Hagar had no part in this covenant, but her son did – simply because he was of Abraham. Hagar was only USED by Abraham – she was not married to him, so she had no part in Abraham’s God. Hagar did trust the Lord (Gen 16:13,14; Rom 10:13).
3) God required that she:
a) Had to return to Sarah, and submit to her (16:9)
b) Call him, Ishmael, which means “God shall hear” (16:11)
4) God promised:
a) A seed beyond number from Ishmael – he will have been greatly influenced by Abraham (16:10; 17:20-22)
b) Ishmael would be blessed of God, as would his descendants (Gen 17:20; 21:17,18)
c) Ishmael would beget 12 princes (17:20; 25:12-18)
d) Ishmael would be a wild man (16:12; 21:20,21) as Nimrod
e) He would end up having to fight every man. He would become every man’s enemy (16:12). Never be in bondage
f) Yet Ishmael would dwell right in the midst of his enemies (Gen 16:12), the other sons of Abraham – he would be their thorn in the flesh. At peace in war – war would be normal!
g. Palestinian Covenant – the Land Covenant
1) God Promised the land of Palestine to the Jews (the descendants of Abraham), as theirs forever!
2) This is further established under the Mosaic covenant (Ex 34:10-16; Dt 11:22-25)
3) Promises include:
a) It would always be theirs, because it was God’s land (Gen 15:13-16)
b) It would be only Jewish owned, not Christian or otherwise
c) It could be trampled upon by the gentiles for a time, but would always be available for the Jews to reclaim if they got right with God.
d) Judgment of all of Israel’s oppressors (Dt 30:7)
e) National prosperity while in the land (Dt 30:9-10)
4) Warnings include:
a) The Jews would be dispersed if they broke God’s covenants (Dt 30:1; 28:63-68)
b) The land could be forfeited temporarily if Israel as a nation rebelled and got away from God – this would lead to different forms of captivity as in the Book of Judges, and the captivities of Israel under Assyria, and then of both Israel and Judah under Nebuchadnezzar.
5) There is no other place the Jews could call home! For the Christian, heaven is OUR Promised Land (Heb 11:9,10, 13-16).
h. Mosaic Covenant – The Old Covenant of Moses
1) This Covenant is usually referred to as THE Covenant
2) Moses is the mediator of this Covenant
a) Most covenants have God as the mediator of the covenant – the go-between when things go bad, or there is confusion.
b) But God establishes Moses as the “Lawgiver” (Jn 1:17)
c) That’s why when Jesus, the apostles, and most of the Jews would refer to “the Law” of the Old Testament, they would say Moses said … instead of just saying, God said…
(i) Mt 22:24
(ii) Mk 7:10
(iii) Mk 10:3,4
(iv) Lk 16:31
(v) Lk 24:44
(vi) Acts 6:11
(vii) Acts 15:1
3) It is referred to as the Old Covenant, and the Old Testament (2Cor 3:14; Heb 8:13) because it’s requirements “became old,” or having served their purpose, were finished.
4) Also called the “covenant of circumcision” (Act 7:8)
5) Particulars about this covenant
a) Written while around Mount Sinai (Ex 24:1-8; 34:27). Because Moses was both the writer, and the go-between (mediator), the covenant is referred to as the law of Moses (Ex 34:28).
b) This covenant was the greatest for God yet (Ex 34:10)
c) It is to be a perpetual covenant (Ex 31:16), but some of the particulars would be done away with by the New Covenant.
6) There are five components to this Covenant
a) The Law – these are man’s requirements
b) The Promises – these were God’s benefits
c) The Levitical Covenant – this was God’s way of maintaining the main covenant when mankind fails
d) The Davidic Covenant – this would demonstrate God’s mercy and grace under the law
e) The Covenant with Phineas – this would show
7) The responsibilities of the human race included:
a) Keep the Laws defined under the covenant (Dt 6:17), and LIVE by them (Dt 17:19)
b) Don’t modify the Law in any way (Deut 4:2). All the Law must simply be FULFILLED (Mt 5:17)
c) Worship God ONLY according to the Laws (Dt 6:4,5)
d) Fear God and the breaking of His laws (Dt 27:26; Gal 3:10)
e) Get forgiven when you break the Laws or else you will die
8) The Promises include:
a) That there is a way to get forgiven when you break the Covenant (Ex 20:24-26; Lev 17:11)
b) Blessings (Dt 7:9, etc)
c) Long life (Ex 20:12; Pr 7:2; Eph 6:1-3)
9) Facts about the Law
There are 613 commandments given under the Old Testament Law given from
Genesis through Deuteronomy.
The law had three sections:
Only the Ceremonial Laws were nailed to the cross (Col 2:13-16)
The Law Was A Schoolmaster (Gal 3:21-25)
The Old Testament Law was not given to save anybody.
It was a schoolmaster and it taught Jews three main lessons *intending*
to lead them to Christ.
The LAW was the storm that drove the ship into a safe haven
The LAW was the dog that drove the sheep into the fold.
The LAW was the policeman that prompted the criminal to seek a lawyer (An
It keeps people as in a garrison until either pardon, or
Even though they were kept under it as persons under a military guard,
the law kept a watchful eye over them to protect them, and all society!
The Jews were kept distinct and separate from the rest of the nations of
the world; and so were preserved in some measure both from their impieties and
idolatries, which otherwise they were naturally prone to; and as a distinct
people, unto the coming of the Messiah, who was to arise from among them; so
that their being kept under the law in this sense, was both for their honour and
The LAW then was the SCHOOLMASTER that brought believing and practicing
Jews to Christ. It brings EVERYONE that learns to fear God by His
holiness, to Christ (Cf Acts 10:34,35; 16:14). Under the care of a schoolmaster.
They were taught:
By the moral law:
Their duty to God and men
What is to be done and to be avoided
What is righteousness and what is not
The nature of sin, its demerit and consequences
These gave them no instructions about a Saviour, and life and
righteousness by him.
The ceremonial law gave them some hints of:
The Gospel scheme - the way of salvation by Christ - but in a manner
suited to their estate of childhood
By sights and shows - miracles
By types and figures
By rites and ceremonies
By shadows and sacrifices
It taught them by divers washings the pollution of their nature, their
need of the blood of Christ to cleanse from all sin
By circumcision, the necessity of regeneration, and the internal
circumcision of the heart
By the passover, the daily sacrifice and other offerings, the doctrines
of redemption, satisfaction, and atonement
By the brazen serpent, the necessity of looking to Christ for life and
The Civil law gave them a CONSTANT reminder that GOD was the source (or
at least should be) of all right laws, and that Laws are to be OBEYED.
Besides the instruction the Law gave, it made use of discipline as
a schoolmaster does
It kept a strict eye and hand over them, to the performance of their duty
It restrained them from many things their inclinations led them to,
threatening them with death in case of disobedience, and inflicting its
penalties on delinquents
Hence they that were under its discipline, were through fear of death it
threatened them with, all their time subject to bondage
Even the ceremonial law had something awful and tremendous in it
Every beast that was slain in sacrifice was not only an instruction to
them that they deserved to die as that creature did; but carried in it a
implicit acknowledgment and confession of their own guilt; and the whole was an
handwriting of ordinances against them.
The law being called a schoolmaster, shows that the use of it was but temporary,
and its duration but for a time; children are not always to be under, nor
designed to be always under a schoolmaster, no longer than till they are come to
a proper age for greater business and higher exercises of life; so the law was
to continue, and did continue, to be of this use and service until Christ came
Today Gentiles have the Holy Spirit working through the Word that
convicts men of sin and shows them their need of a Saviour through the LAW
working as a divine agent to led men to Christ.
The LAW was a very good schoolmaster and it taught three main lessons.
It taught the nature of God.
His Mercy (Provisions made to atone for sin)
His Attitude Toward Sin
The Nature of Sin
The necessity of shedding of blood for a remedy
It Taught The Nature Of Man (Rom 3:19,20)
His Sinfulness (Depravity)
His Weakness (Inability to keep the LAW)
His Spiritual Need
It Taught The Nature Of The Saviour. Each sacrifice taught
something about the nature of Christ (Lev 1:1-4)
– sin offerings (Lev 5)
– sin offering (Lev 5, 6)
– for sins out of ignorance (Lev 4)
– for peace offerings, to restore peace
– for purifying the flesh (Num 19)
–simple and inexpensive offerings for sin for the poor
Always with the following characteristics
A male animal
when of the herd, except for certain sins of ignorance (Lev 4)
blemish or spot
Only offered by
man’s free will
The LAW could not save. The
strength of sin is the LAW. The LAW
was Spiritual, Holy, and good, but had no power to save.
However if a OT Jew practiced the LAW, he was confronted with several
lessons which would bring him to Christ.
10) The Levitic Covenant rides underneath (Ex 32:26; Dt 10:8)
a) That they as a tribe would be special unto God – for His use as priests
b) That of that tribe, one family, of Aaron’s sons, God would call the High priest (Ex 28:1)
c) There is another Priesthood that Jesus comes from (Ps 110:4; Heb 6:20) of which all believer are now priests
11) Special covenant with Phinehas (a Levite) is established (Num 25:1-13)
a) Again, not a covenant of salvation, but protection, blessing
b) All because of zealousness for the purity of the law (see also Josh 22:30, although this may possibly be another man named Phinehas)
12) Davidic Covenant (2Sam 7:1-17; Jer 33:17-21) – focuses of the promised “Seed” of Abraham
a) Mediator was Nathan the Prophet
b) David’s family would always be around (Ps 89:20-37; Lk 1:32-35)
c) The throne would always be occupied by a descendant of David (Ps 89:3,4)
d) This was an everlasting covenant (Ps 89:34-36)
e) This covenant pointed to the coming Messiah (Gen 3:15; Isa 9:6,7; Lk 1:32,33)
f) Jesus fulfills ALL these elements – that what critical! But notice that it is not that Christ fulfilled (in the past) all the requirements – He still has some yet to complete (Isa 9:6,7)
g) Actually allows for the re-placement of David BACK on his throne in the Millennium
(i) The throne is known as the throne of David (Jer 22:2)
(ii) David will be resurrected (Ezek 34:23,24; 37:24,25; Hos 3:5)
13) PROJECT: a 2-page report on the Mosaic Covenant. Answer the following questions:
a) Why was the Mosaic Covenant so special?
b) What are the three parts, or sections of the Law
c) What part died with Christ on the Cross?
d) Describe why the Law is still good.
i. The New Covenant
1) This is the covenant that all Christians are currently under.
2) It is the other side of the two-edged sword of the Abrahamic Covenant (Gal 4:21-31)
a) The first side being the Law – the Mosaic Covenant
b) The second being Grace – the New Covenant.
c) The two must go together or God’s plan of redemption fails
(i) The Law could never save
(ii) Grace could never save without brokenness
3) It is referred to as the “everlasting covenant” (Heb 13:20,21)
4) Jesus is the mediator this time (Heb 12:24).
a) In the Old Testament, the intermediary of the New Covenant was known as the Messiah (Dan 9:24-27)
b) In the New Testament, He is known as the Christ (Jn 1:41; Mt 16:15,16; Lk 3:15). That’s why He is referred to not only as Jesus of Nazareth, but Jesus the Christ – the mediator of a new and better covenant!
5) This covenant was foretold – promised to those who were under the Mosaic covenant. The prophecy was that the Mosaic Covenant was going to be over-thrown by a BETTER covenant
a) Jer 31:31-40; 50:4,5
b) Isa 59:20,21
c) Ezek 34:25-30
6) This covenant is a Massive covenant (covers a lot of things)
a) God told Judah and Israel that he would establish a better covenant with them one day (Jer 31:32). Implying that the Mosaic Covenant was not complete, or perfect.
b) This new covenant was to begin with God’s people first – they therefore have to be around at it commissioning
c) This covenant will extend into the rebuilding of Jerusalem, and the Temple, into the Millennium (Jer 31:33-40), so they have to be around at its fulfillment
The New Covenant is NOT the Gospel
The Gospel is not a covenant, it is a declaration, a
revelation of the salvation that is to be found in the sacrificial death of
Jesus Christ who died to establish it!
The New Covenant is the vow God makes towards those who do receive the
The basis for the Abrahamic Covenant was Circumcision, and the agreement
to the Law
The basis for the New Covenant was faith in the fulfilment of the
Abrahamic, and Mosaic Covenants accomplished by Jesus Christ!
8) The promises of the covenant are staggering!
a) Spiritual Promises
(i) Regeneration – a new heart (Jer 31:33; 32:39,40; Ezek 36:26)
(ii) Forgiveness of sin (Jer 31:34; Ezek 36:25). No more curse for the believer (Gal 3:13).
(iii) The indwelling of the Holy Spirit (Ezek 36:27)
(iv) Universal knowledge of Jehovah among all Israel (Jer 31:34) personal relationship, not just head knowledge
(v) Israel would obey God, and have a right attitude forever (Jer 32:39-40)
God’s Spirit and Words would never depart
from them (Isa. 59:21)
Once again God would have His sanctuary in Israel and would dwell in the
midst of the nation forever (Ezek. 37:26-28)
God would never turn away from the people of Israel (Jer. 32:40).
National, physical promises
- Under the New Covenant
Israel would be re-gathered, living in their own land forever (Ezek.
Israel's cities would be rebuilt and inhabited (Ezek. 36:33)
The nation would enjoy a population explosion (Ezek. 36:37-38; 37:26)
Israel would be one nation, ruled by one king (no longer a split
nation (Ezek. 37:21-22).
The nation would have a great reputation because of God's special
blessing (Isa 61:8-9)
Israel would have a unique relationship with Him as His special people
(Jer 31:33; Ezek 36:28)
God would do them good (Jer 32:40-42)
Wild beasts would be eliminated from their land (Ezek 34:25, 28)
Israel would enjoy complete security in its land (Ezek. 34:25-28). All wars
would cease (Hos 2:18).
The nation would receive no more threats and insults from other nations
Great abundance of food would eliminate famine (Ezek. 34:27, 29;
Israel's land would be so luxurious that it would have the reputation of
being like the Garden of Eden (Ezek. 34:29; 36:34-35)
Rainfall would be controlled perfectly (Ezek. 34:26)
It should be noted that some of the promises of
the New Covenant were purely spiritual in nature, but others were material and
national in nature.
Many of the promises are fulfilled today in
Christians, but most of the promises of the New Covenant are yet to be
completely fulfilled – in the millennium!
This is why the Kingdom of God, and the Kingdom
of Heaven is so confusing to many Christians.
The Kingdom of heaven is a literal
kingdom of Jesus Christ ruling and reigning in Jerusalem, and the world fully
regenerated – this is the fulfillment of the New Covenant.
Since this has not been fulfilled, people tend
to spiritualise it and make its promises not literal.
The Kingdom of God is revealed in the New Testament,
which was fulfilled at the Cross.
The Nature Of The New
Three things can be said
concerning the nature of the New Covenant.
First, God intended it to be an unconditional
God stated no conditions in the passages which deal with this covenant.
This means that the fulfilment of the promises of the New Covenant would
not depend upon the obedience of Israel. In
fact, God indicated He would fulfil the New Covenant's promises, not
because Israel would deserve it but because of Israel's disobedience.
See Ezekiel 36:21-22, and 36:32.
In addition, one of the promises of the New Covenant was that God would
cause the people of Israel to have a right attitude toward Him and to obey Him
(Jer 32:39-40; Ezek 36:27; 37:23-24). Thus,
instead of the New Covenant being dependent upon Israel's obedience for its
fulfilment, it would cause Israel's obedience.
When God presented the
promises of the New Covenant, instead of stating conditions for Israel, He
continually said, "I will" (Jer 31:31-34; 32:37-42; Ezek
36:24-37). This meant that the
fulfilment of the promises of the New Covenant would be dependent totally upon
God's faithfulness to His Word. God
emphasized this fact when He said, "I, the LORD, have spoken it, and I will
do it" (Ezek 36:36).
The second thing which can be said concerning the nature of the New
Covenant is that God intended it to be an everlasting
He specifically declared it to be everlasting in nature (Isa 61:8-9; Jer
32:40; Ezek 16:60; 37:26).
The fact that God intended the New Covenant to be everlasting, together
with the fact that it would be unconditional in nature, means that the New
Covenant will never be abolished or annulled with or by Israel.
Once it was established, its promises would have to be fulfilled.
Once Israel entered into that covenant relationship with God, it would
continue in that relationship forever.
The third thing is that the New Covenant is millennial in
nature, not just for today (Cf Hos 2:18 with Isa 2:4). It cannot be fully
realised until Israel’s salvation as a nation, and Jesus’ Second coming as
King of kings (Rom 11:26,27).
The Relationship Of The
Church To The New Covenant
The Old Testament clearly
indicated God would establish the New Covenant with the literal people of
Israel, the physical descendants of Jacob.
The Old Testament said nothing concerning a relationship of the Church to
the New Covenant. This silence
should not come as a surprise for at least two reasons.
First, the Apostle Paul indicated that no revelation concerning the
Church was given before the time of the apostles and New Testament prophets
(Eph. 3:2-9). This means that the
Old Testament contained no clear information concerning the Church.
Secondly, the Old Testament prophets who presented God’s revelation
concerning the New Covenant were Israelite prophets.
It was their responsibility to declare God's message specifically to the
people of Israel. Thus, they
described how the nation of Israel would be related to the New Covenant, not how
others possibly would be related to it. Since
the Old Testament contains their declaration of God’s message to Israel, one
would expect the Old Testament to present only that nation's relationship to the
The Christian is brought
under this covenant relationship in the following ways
By adoption – the new birth into God’s family
By the blood of a Jewish sacrifice – Jesus
By obedience to the message of the Bible
The differences between the
New Covenant and the New Testament.
The New Covenant is an extension of the Abrahamic Covenant’s
promises (Act 3:25)
The New Covenant relates primarily to the Jews (Rom 9:4; 11:27;
The New Covenant can relate to anybody by faith (Eph 2:12) since the
promises are available to anyone who obeys the conditions of the covenants.
The New Testament provides for the removal of sins so that a person can
abide under the terms of the New Covenant (Mt 26:28)
The New Testament is the will of God concerning the removal of our
sins through the shedding of the blood of God’s Son (Heb 9:15-20)
that we may abide in Christ (the New Covenant’s promise),
just as the Old Testament was the will of God concerning the removal of the sins
of people so they could remain under the Old Covenant (Heb 9:18-20).
The New Testament is the only way for ANYBODY, especially a Jew,
to enter into the New Covenant.
The New Covenant was tailored for, and presented first to the Jew,
but was rejected. So its promises are only partially fulfilled, and extend to
The New Testament is far more important eternally than the New Covenant.
The benefits of the New Testament can now be received by ANYBODY, and
some of the blessings of the New Covenant are enjoyed before the time of the
Jewish nation’s salvation.
j. The Perfect Covenant (Rev 21:5; Pro 4:18; 1Cor 13:10; Eph 4:11-13)?
1) This is not a clear covenant. It seems that all covenants are only partial things, until perfection comes.
2) Perfection finally does come at the end of the millennium, after the last battle with Satan (Rev 20)
3) This covenant then is the beginning of the Eternal Covenant between God, and all of His creation, that was broken by the sin, first of angels, and then by man, and now reconciled.
2. The FINAL Covenant, with the New Heaven, New Earth, and New Jerusalem – It is called the Eternal Covenant
a. All covenants since the fall focus on getting mankind to this place and position - back with God.
b. Covenants will still be in effect because God has subjected Himself to the promises of His word, so the work of the following covenants will continue throughout all time.
1) Abrahamic Covenant
2) Palestinian Covenant
3) Davidic Covenant
4) Levitic Covenant
5) Parts of the Mosaic Covenant
6) The New Covenant
c. Only, this time, mankind has been willingly changed so that they can easily comply with any and all conditions of the covenants.