~by Randy Bushey
The concept of covenant is vital to the Gospel.
In fact, the concept of covenant is so central that the Bible itself is divided into 2 comprehensive, correspondingly symmetrical covenants. We call them testaments – a synonym for covenant or contract – as in Old and New Testaments.
The Old Testament is largely based on the Law of Moses, and what preceded the events of that epochal covenantal declaration by God for Israel.
The New Testament is the fulfillment, the consummation, and the conclusion of the Old, in that the Law of Moses looked ahead to the ultimate Lamb of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Gospel that is predicated on His Person and His work.
As such, the Old is incomplete without the New.
Additionally, the keen student of the Bible will realize that God’s Word contains various other covenants.
And yet, biblical covenants are interconnected – one overarching redemptive plan by God for the eternal salvation of His people via the Gospel of Christ.
In this post, we’ll focus on one category of covenants – those that are contracts made by God, unconditionally and irrevocably. That means that nothing contained therein can ever be changed, abrogated or cancelled.
Not by anyone.
The terms are God’s alone to impose. The outcomes His to unilaterally fulfill.
Bible teacher John MacArthur lists 5 such covenants in Scripture:
a) with Noah, wherein the Lord asserted mankind’s dominion on the earth,emphasizing the duty for human government to uphold justice: Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made man (Genesis 9:6).
And God set His rainbow in the clouds as a sign promising that He would never again destroy the world by flood.
I now establish my covenant with you and with your descendants after you…I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be cut off by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth (Genesis 9:9,11).
b) with Abraham, the components of which were the Promised Land, the Chosen People, and various forms of blessing. The ultimate piece of that promise would be a blessing to “all peoples on earth” – Abraham’s seed, the coming Messiah.
The LORD had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you. (Genesis 12:1-3).
c) with Aaron, promising that his family would perpetually serve as the priests of Israel, and his tribe – the Levites – would have a distinct and significant role in the religious and educational life of Israel.
I myself have selected your fellow Levites from among the Israelites as a gift to you, dedicated to the LORD to do the work at the Tent of Meeting. But only you and your sons may serve as priests…I am giving you the service of the priesthood as a gift…
You will have no inheritance in their land, nor will you have any share among them; I am your share and your inheritance among the Israelites” (Numbers 18:6,7,20).
d) with David, wherein the Lord unconditionally committed to the fame of David’s name and to building his ruling dynasty – likely the longest in human history at over 400 years.
However, the definitive promise not initially apparent in the covenent terms: that David’s Ultimate Son would rule forever.
Now I will make your name great, like the names of the greatest men of the earth…I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom for ever…Your house and your kingdom shall endure for ever before me; your throne shall be established for ever (2 Samuel 7:9,12,13).
e) with His people by way of the New Covenant, foreshadowed by the prophet Jeremiah: The time is coming, declares the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt because they broke my covenant…This is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel…I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people (Jeremiah 31:31-33).
This 5th irrevocable biblical covenant was commissioned first to the nation of Israel, but ultimately to every nation, tribe, people and language (Revelation 7:9).
And this – the greatest of the 5 – was inaugurated on that first Easter weekend when events of cosmic, eternal proportion rocked the Greco-Roman world and have continued to reverberate through human history and beyond.
Christ in my place.
Our sin in exchange for His righteousness.
Takeaway: At Bethel, we often define the Gospel in 25 words: the proclamation of the Good News, of the Person and work of Christ, and the eternal benefit to all, only through repentant faith.
graphic by fundamentalbaptistchristian.blogspot.com