For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. – John 1:16-17 ESV
Warrior: When studying the Bible, when seeking to understand God, when you are working to become ALL GOD has created you to be, you need to understand what COVENANT MEANS and implies. The preferred meaning of this Old Testament word is bond; a covenant refers to two or more parties bound together. In the Bible a covenant is a formal agreement, or contract, between God and humans or between two human parties to do or refrain from doing something. Sometimes only one party was responsible to carry out the terms (a unilateral covenant, which was essentially a promise). At other times both parties had terms to carry out (a bilateral covenant). A few times in the Bible, A covenant became a solemn binding agreement that was made by passing through pieces of flesh. In Genesis 15, God made the Palestinian covenant with Abraham about the land that would be given to his people; Then the LORD said to Abram, “Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not their own, and they will be enslaved and mistreated four hundred years. But I will judge the nation they serve as slaves, and afterward they will depart with many possessions. You, however, will go to your fathers in peace and be buried at a ripe old age. In the fourth generation your descendants will return here, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.” (Genesis 15:13-16)
Leader, the word Covenant can be interchanged with Agreement or Testament. The Old Testament is the old Agreement, the OLD Covenant. Whereas, the New Testament is the NEW AGREEMENT, the NEW COVENANT. As far as the Covenant that God made with man there are upwards of 8 that are identified by biblical scholars, sometimes as little as 5 are identified- as KEY COVENANTS. Gotquestions.org identifies seven different covenants, four of which (Abrahamic, Promised Land, Mosaic, Davidic) God made with the nation of Israel. Three of the covenants (Adamic, Noahic and the New) are made between God and mankind in general, and are not limited to the nation of Israel. Of those four Covenants God made specifically with Israel, three are unconditional in nature; that is, regardless of Israel’s obedience or disobedience, God still will fulfill these covenants with Israel. Only the Mosaic Covenant is conditional, in other words- this covenant will bring either blessing or cursing depending on Israel’s obedience or disobedience. In studying God and His word, HIS STORY, we also need to know a word called DISPENSATION. Dispensationalism is a method of interpreting history that divides God’s work and purposes toward mankind into different periods of time. Many consider there are seven dispensations identified, although some theologians believe there are nine. Others count as few as three or as many as thirty-seven dispensations. The Mosaic Covenant is the DISPENSATION OF LAW into Israel. Before Law, there was GRACE, during the dispensation of INNOCENCE, and after the law, THERE IS GRACE! And Abram believed the LORD, and the LORD counted him as righteous because of his faith. (Genesis 15:6)
Conduit, the Majority of God’s Covenants are timeless, they are eternal, they DO NOT expire. As we move closer in our intimate relationship with Jesus Christ, the Major Covenants are important players in the development of that relationship with God and with our growing into God’s will and wisdom for us. The Abrahamic, Promised Land, and the Davidic Covenant are unconditional- they are not dependent on man, however, the Mosaic covenant was, and it was given only for a short time to show man’s inability to keep it. The Mosaic Covenant was technically a short term, conditional covenant that man COULD NOT keep, would not keep, and God knew this from the beginning. Now if you will obey me and keep my covenant, you will be my own special treasure from among all the peoples on earth; for all the earth belongs to me. And you will be my kingdom of priests, my holy nation.’ (Genesis 19:5-6a) The Mosaic Covenant made way, by THE WAY, to the NEW COVENANT, and this closed out the Dispensation of Law and opened a new dispensation, the DISPENSATION OF GRACE! Just like the Promised Land Covenant, the New Covenant was Initiated and completed by God Himself through the Person of Jesus. But as it is, Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion to look for a second. (Hebrews 8:6-7) This is the covenant that we are UNDER, and it is an eternal covenant. Even though Jesus did ALL THE WORK, HE PAID IT ALL, He is the author and perfecter of our Faith- this agreement is CONDITIONAL. We must accept His paid price, and realize that our part of the agreement is to ACT AS IF HE DID, what He did, and we accept that we had NOTHING TO DO WITH IT! It is by Grace alone, through Faith alone, in Christ Alone that we are a party to this agreement. However we are called to believe and SPEAK OUT about our BELIEF: If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved- you WILL BE a partaker of the NEW, BETTER COVENANT! Jesus DID IT ALL: to equip the saints for works of ministry and to build up the body of Christ, until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God, as we mature to the full measure of the stature of Christ. (Ephesians 4:12-13) Give God all the praise and Glory!