Covenents 1

 

Covenants 1

 

What is a covenant? In our day and time it has lost some of its power and fullness. We have a lot of covenants between men and they are called treaties, alliances and leagues. In Joshua 9:6-16, we see the word league used. Joshua makes a league with the Gibeonites and even though he was tricked into making this covenant, it was a binding covenant. Marriage between a man and a woman is a covenant. There are so many different kinds of covenants and because man is involved in them, most are broken. The bible reveals to us that God is a covenant making, covenant keeping and covenant revealing God. The bible itself is a covenantal book divided into 2 sections, the old and the new testaments. They contain a progressive revelation of the purposes of God in creation and redemption. I am going to write about the 8 major divine covenants God made with man.

 

EDENIC Covenant

The Edenic covenant has to do with creation. In Genesis 1:1-19, God created the heaven and the earth and everything in it; the land, the water, the fruit and everything needed in order to sustain human and animal life. In Genesis 1:20-31, God created animals and humans to live on the earth. I believe that this covenant had 2 parts. The first had to do with night and day, sun and moon, stars and planets. Man could not break this part of the covenant because God maintained it. The word covenant is not used until after the flood, but there is much language in the bible that confirms a covenant. For example, Jeremiah 33:20 says, ‘Thus saith the Lord;’ “If ye can break my covenant of the day, and my covenant of the night, and that there should not be day or night in their seasons.” Verse 21 gives the answer. “Then may also my covenant be broken with David my servant, that he should not have a son to reign upon his throne.” We know that Jesus is the son and king who reigns today. So God made a covenant in creation that there would always be a day and night. These verses in Jeremiah show that man cannot break this part of the covenant. God is still maintaining this part of the covenant today. It was given for all creatures of the earth and remember; it was given before the fall of Adam. The fall had nothing to do with canceling this part because it is still in effect today. It is an everlasting covenant. The second part of this covenant has to do with mankind. It has a few different parts to it. The first is in Genesis 1:26, where there is a promise of blessing. God talked about creating man in His own image and likeness.  In verse 27, God talks about male and female. We know that the bodies of men and women are different, so image and likeness are not physical. We also know that we are given our own will and our own mind, so what is the image and likeness of God? It is spiritual. The second part is in Genesis 1:28, where God tells Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply. This is a blessing from God. So in the garden, before the fall, they could have had many children, grandchildren, and so on. Many people believe that the 7 days of creation were 24-hour periods. I don’t. There are 2 verses in scripture that say that 1 day to God is like a thousand years to us: Psalm 90:4 and 2 Peter 3:8. If these days of creation were a thousand years, Adam was created in one part of the 6th day and Eve was created in another part and they had plenty of time to have children. On the 7th day God rested. That’s another thousand years that many more children could have been born. The third part is in Genesis 1:28, ‘to subdue it.’ I will get back to this after the others. The fourth part is in Genesis 1:28, ‘to have dominion over the fish, the birds and the animals.’ Before the fall, they were all tame and lived together in peace and Adam would rule over them like a king under God. The fifth part is in Genesis 1:29, ‘to eat herbs and fruit.’ God provided sustenance for all of His creatures. No meat was eaten; Animals did not eat animals. Birds did not eat birds. Fish did not eat fish. All were vegetarians. The sixth part is in Genesis 2:15, in the garden, where Adam was put to cultivate the land and keep it. This was man’s first occupation, as a farmer. He was created to be a worker. At this time the land was perfect, with no weeds or thorns or anything else to hinder the growth of all the fruit of the ground. Adam had dominion over all of the kingdoms; animals, birds, fish and earth, but God was still in control of the elements. Back to the third part. I wanted to show that Adam had nothing to subdue as far as all the kingdoms were concerned. The meaning of the word subdue has to do with warfare, to tread down, to conquer. In the garden, there was only one enemy, Satan. God had given Adam all that he needed to defeat him. These are the blessings of the covenant:

1. They were created in God’s image and likeness.

2. They would have many children.

3. There was only 1 foe, (Satan), and they would be able to subdue him.

4. They would rule over all of the animal kingdom.

5. They would always have plenty to eat from the ground.

6. Adam would be a farmer and till the ground.

There was also 1 curse. There are only 2 trees named in the garden: the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. In Genesis 2:16-17, Adam was commanded by God not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for in the day that he ate of that tree, he would die. The curse of this covenant was given to Adam and not to Eve. The curse does not take place until Adam eats of the forbidden fruit in Genesis 3:6-7. Her eyes were not opened after she ate of the fruit, but both their eyes were opened after he ate of the fruit. The seal of this covenant is the tree of life and we as Christians who have accepted Christ as our savior have eaten of the tree of life because Jesus is the tree of life. This covenant is unique because it is the only covenant God made with man before the entrance of sin into the world. Because of sin, man lost all of the blessings of the Edenic covenant, but God made plans for a new covenant that would redeem him and restore the blessings.

 

ADAMIC Covenant

 

The Adamic covenant is a covenant that God made with Adam and Eve in the garden after the sin of Adam. It is the first rung of the ladder that God expresses His purpose of redemption. In Eden, man was on probation to test his commitment to the terms of that covenant. God allowed Satan as the serpent to enter Eden and test Adam. Satan’s objective was to get the covenant between God and man broken. The sin of Adam and the consequences of that sin set the stage for the revelation of the Adamic covenant. The promises of the covenant are expressions of God’s purposes in redeeming man and judging Satan. The promises of blessing seen in Genesis 3:15; ‘the seed of the woman would bruise the head of the serpent.’ This seed would crush and conquer Satan and his entire realm. This promise is seen in Luke 10:19 and Romans 16:20 and involved the chosen seed of Israel, the virgin birth of Christ, His ministry, the church and victory over the enemy, Satan. In Genesis 3:14, God puts a curse on the serpent and the devil. We see that also in Revelation 12:9, 20:1-3. In Genesis 3:17, God also cursed the ground. The man and the woman were not cursed but they were judged. The woman is judged in Genesis 3:16 for tempting Adam to eat of the fruit, not for her eating of it. The command from God was given to Adam to not eat of that fruit. I believe that when Adam relayed the command to Eve, he added, “You can’t touch it either.” When Adam did that, the command to Eve was no longer God’s command, but Adam’s. We are told in Deuteronomy 4:2, that we are not to add or subtract from the words of His commandments. That’s why there is nothing said of Eve eating of the fruit. Her punishment was that God would multiply her sorrows in childbearing. Before sin, all pregnancies were without any problems or pain. The second part of that judgment was that her husband would rule over her. Before sin, Adam did not rule over Eve. She was his equal. She was his helper. They both ruled over all other creatures. In Genesis 3:17-19, Adam is judged. Why? Because Adam did not listen to God, he listened to his wife and he ate of the fruit. Before sin, it was a pleasure to take care of the ground, but after sin it would take a lot of work on his part to get the food needed to survive. The soil of the earth was cursed and it would bring forth weeds and thorns. A curse was put on the animal kingdom because of sin. The animals and the birds and the fish would no longer be tame or vegetarians, they would be carnivorous. The judgment for sin was death. Before sin, Adam would have lived forever, but after sinning he would die physically at some time. So physical death and sickness entered this world. These are the results of sin, not the punishment for sin. If a person smokes cigarettes and gets lung cancer, the cancer is not the punishment for smoking but it is the result of smoking. Physical death cannot be the punishment because Jesus paid the price for all our sins when He died on the cross. Those who know Him as savior still die physically. The death had to be spiritual. God’s spirit in us comes alive when we accept Christ as savior. Romans 6:23 and Ephesians 2:1,5 help us to see that. The final act of judgment was to expel Adam and Eve from the garden. The emphasis of the covenant was to restore man back to obedience and faith in God. Adam showed faith by naming the woman Eve, the mother of all living. They both received coats of skin to replace their self made coverings. Eve’s faith response at the birth of Cain was in Genesis 4:1. Adam communicated faith sacrifices to his children in Genesis 4:2-4. After Adam’s sin, Genesis 3:6, they tried to cover up the sin in their own way by covering themselves with fig leaves to make themselves acceptable to God and to each other. It was not acceptable to God. Hebrews 9:22 says that without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sin. God, in His grace, acted as priest and slew 2 innocent animals and shed their blood to make skins to cover the nakedness of the man and the woman. The blood of the animals covered their sin. This is the beginning of all sacrifices for sin. This is also the beginning of the redemption of man. Without this sacrifice, man could not have fellowship with God. All of this points to the shedding of the blood of Jesus on the cross. His blood washes away all sin of those who accept him as savior. Adam and Eve were expelled from the garden. Cherubims and a flaming sword protected the entrance from the man and woman so that they could not re-enter the garden and eat of the tree of life. The Adamic covenant is a seed covenant introducing the covenants of redemption. Jesus is the seed of the woman and He fulfills this covenant in redeeming man.

 

NOAHIC Covenant

The Noahic covenant is the covenant that God made with Noah after the flood. It involved all creatures and all future generations of mankind. Under the Adamic covenant, man and woman were put on probation to test their faith and obedience. The length of this probation began when Adam was expelled from the garden and Noah entered the ark. During this time, the human race was divided into two groups: those who believed in God and obeyed, (called the sons of God), and those who did not trust and obey God, (called the sons of men). I call them that because in Genesis 6:1-2, the bible says that the sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were fair, and they took them as their wives. Soon after leaving the garden, man sinned again. Cain slew Abel. Man was given a conscience to live by in the beginning, but he refused to live by it. He would rather live by the pleasures of sin. In Genesis 6:5, God saw that the wickedness of man was great. The ungodly line, (Cain), is in Genesis 4, and the Godly line, (Adam), is in Genesis 5. In Hebrews 11:7, we are told about the faith of Noah and his building of the ark to the saving of his house and in 2 Peter 2:5 we are told of his preaching and that he was the 8th person. He was not the 8th person from Adam. In his family he was number 1, but he was the 8th and last person to enter the ark. Isaiah 54:9 tells us that God swore to Noah that He would never flood the earth again. God also promised no flood in Genesis 9:11,15. This promise takes away any fear that man may have had over the earth being flooded again. In Genesis 9:1, God blessed them and told them to be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth. In Genesis 9:2, they were promised that they would rule over the animal kingdom, but this time it would be by the animals fearing man. In Genesis 9:3, we see that for the first time man would be allowed to eat meat. The animals would also multiply and replenish the earth. Genesis 8:21 tells us that God would not put any other curse on the earth. The Adamic covenant and the Noahic covenant remain in affect today. In Genesis 8:22, the four seasons would continue. From the 3 sons of Noah, the earth was repopulated. Shem was in the lineage of Jesus and is one of the patriarchs of Israel. The 3 sons of Noah separate and become a multitude of races. Shem would be a blessing to Japheth. Ham, because of his sin in seeing the nakedness of his father, was cursed in his son Canaan and Canaan would be a servant to both Shem and Japheth. Canaan was the father of the Canaanite nation. Japheth was to be blessed with enlargement. He would also dwell in the tents of Shem. The territory of Shem ran from the Mediterranean Sea to the Indian Ocean. This included Syria, Chaldea, Assyria and Persia. The territory of Ham was Africa, Canaan, Phoenicia and Palestine. The territory of Japheth was the coastline of the Mediterranean Sea in Europe and Asia Minor. Even though man was allowed to eat meat now, Genesis 9:4 tells us that they could not eat of the blood. In Genesis 9:6, murder is forbidden and God installs capital punishment. Under the Adamic covenant, murderers were judged by God, but in this covenant, (Noahic), God delegated that authority to man. The principle was a life for a life. In the New Testament, Romans 13:1-7 agrees with that. For in verse 4, a sword is mentioned and the only thing a sword is used for in these verses is punishment. The blood of this covenant is found in Genesis 8:20-21, where Noah offers up a burnt offering of the clean animals and birds unto the Lord. Only the clean animals and birds could be sacrificed. Remember, in Genesis 7:2-3, there were 7 pairs of clean animals and birds instead of just 2 of the unclean. This was not a sin sacrifice. The mediator or priest of this covenant is Noah. Noah’s altar is the first mention of an altar in scripture. Wherever an altar was built to God, it became a sanctuary and God promised to record His name there and meet with them. The seal of this covenant is found in Genesis 9:12-17 which plainly states that it is the rainbow. This covenant arises from a time of great judgment and it establishes a hope in man, that God’s purpose in creation will be fulfilled through redemption.

 

ABRAHAMIC Covenant

The Abrahamic covenant is the covenant God made with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Israel). It involves the nation Israel, the seed Messiah (Christ) and all believers. From Noah to Abraham, man had failed miserably again, even though the earth had been cleansed and repopulated by the 3 sons of Noah. This failure began soon after the Noahic covenant was given; Noah’s drunkenness, Ham’s disrespect to his father, the tower of Babel and Nimrod going against God’s command to replenish the earth by drawing the people to him at Babel. God knew that if man continued in his ways that a universal judgment would be needed again. So in His grace and mercy, God brought man’s unity into confusion in their language and scattered them across the earth and divided them into nations. From all of this, God chose the next covenant man, Abraham, from the line of Shem. This covenant was given to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Israel). There are many passages in scripture that corroborate this fact. God promised to bless Abraham himself in Genesis 12:2. Confirms it in Isaac in Genesis 26:3 and in Jacob in Genesis 28:13-15, 32:28 and 35:10-12. These blessings were fulfilled in Abraham in Genesis 13:2 and 24:1, in Isaac in Genesis 26:12-14 and in Israel in Deuteronomy 8:18. God told Abraham that he would be a blessing to others and others would be a blessing to him and that God would also bless them that blessed him. There are many verses in scripture that confirm this, not only to Abraham but to Isaac and Jacob also. In Genesis 12:3 and 22:18, God promised Abraham that his seed would bless all the families and nations of the earth. This promise was fulfilled in the birth of the Messiah, (Jesus Christ). God also promised him a great name and in Genesis 17:5, He changed his name from Abram to Abraham. There are 3 major religious groups that honor Abraham: Islam, Judaism and Christianity. God’s promise that his seed would be as the dust of the earth is found in Genesis 13:16, as the stars of heaven in Genesis 15:5 and as the sand at the seashore in Genesis 22:17. Today, all believers are the spiritual seed of Abraham. We can read this in Galatians 3:28-29. In Genesis 17:7, God promised Abraham that He would be a God to him and his seed after him. There is only 1 curse in this covenant and it’s not against Abraham. Genesis 12:3 says that God would curse them that cursed Abraham. The terms of this covenant had to do with faith. We read in Genesis 15:6 and in Romans 4:3 that Abraham believed God and in Genesis 22:18, he was obedient. Both faith and obedience are found in Hebrews 11:8. This covenant was one of the few covenants that had an oath attached to it: To Abraham in Genesis 22:16-18, confirmed in Isaac in Genesis 26:2-3, to Jacob, (Israel), in 1 Chronicles 16:16-17 and to the nation of Israel in Deuteronomy 7:8. Hebrews 6:13-18 explains the promise and the oath. In Genesis 14:18-20, Melchizedek appears to Abraham as the High Priest of God. I believe that Melchizedek is God the Son in the Trinity and the Son of God (Jesus). Melchizedek blesses Abraham and ministers unto him the communion of bread and wine, which New Testament scripture shows to be symbolic of the body and blood of Jesus Christ. In Genesis 15:7-17, Abraham asks God how can he be sure of all of the promises? God gives him 3 specific animals and 2 birds to sacrifice: a heifer, a she-goat, a ram, a turtledove and a young pigeon. After Abraham divided the animals in half and layed them out with the birds, God put Abraham into a deep sleep and God Himself, as a burning lamp and smoking furnace, passed between the pieces of the sacrifice. This showed Abraham that He accepted his sacrifice and he could be sure that the promises of God would be fulfilled. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Israel) were the priest in their families, just like Adam and Noah. The seal of the covenant is the rite of circumcision; it involved the shedding of blood by cutting away the skin and naming the child on the 8th day. Only by obedience to this command could any of Abraham’s seed be in covenant relation with God. In other words, without circumcision they were not true sons of Abraham. Circumcision was the outward evidence of their inward commitment to the terms of the covenant. In Luke 2:21, this was fulfilled in Christ. He was circumcised on the 8th day and named Jesus. In Colossians 2:11, God fulfills the rite in Christians and we become spiritual sons of Abraham. Romans 4:8-12 tells us that Abraham believed God and was righteous both in circumcision and uncircumcision of the flesh and that’s why Paul can say that physical circumcision is not important to the gentile but circumcision of the heart is and that is done by God. Abraham continues the line of the seed of the woman, (Messiah Christ), and is the father of the chosen nation Israel.

 

Bill Gauthier

 

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Category: UNCLE BILL
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