Volume 44, Issue 3 ________________________________Bible Prophecy Ministry

Basics on Biblical Covenants

     In endeavoring to write an article regarding the future confirmation of the covenant by the Antichrist, which is mentioned in Daniel chapter 9 and verse 27, a great deal of research was necessary into the many Biblical covenants. What is a covenant in the first place? Which covenant was Daniel referring to? The Hebrew word for covenant is “berit”. This particular word appears over 280 times throughout the Old Testament scriptures. A Covenant can include treaties, alliances, agreements, compacts, pledges, mutual agreements, promises, and solemn statements of faith. The Greek word diatheke was used in the Septuagint version. In the New Testament, the word “testament” is often used instead of the Greek word diatheke when referring to certain covenants.

     Another Greek word, syntheke, refers to a mutual agreement between two equal signing parties. However Covenants can often exist between unequal parties. One obvious example of unequal contracting parties is when a conquering nation mandates the details for a defeated foe. But far and away the most unequal party to any covenant is God. These words give expanded meaning to the idea of covenants. The New Covenant of course was based solely upon the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, since he fulfilled God's covenant of a promised deliverer.

    Covenants in the Bible often were agreements between two individuals, between a king and his people; or between God and individuals, or between God and nations. Covenants can be conditional or unconditional. Conditional covenants are forfeited if one party violates or defaults on his part of the agreement. Unconditional covenants are arrangements in which the default of one party does not negate the ultimate fulfillment and blessing of the covenant by the second party.

    Sometimes, a covenant can involve multiple parties. For example, a marriage agreement is not only a covenant between man and wife, but since the name and blessing of God are often invoked as well, it can be a covenant between three parties. The state enters into marriage covenants because it licenses marriage, and the families involved usually pledge to work together to strengthen the marriage bond between man and wife. Marriage is the oldest institution in the world. It was founded by God himself, and honored in the Old Testament and the New Testament and approved by God for all man-kind.

    All of the covenants between God and Man in the Bible are in actuality based on our Creator's unmerited favor and loving-kindness towards his fallen and sinful creatures. God always meets man on the basis of grace. The only way that man-kind can meet God is through accepting God's gracious covenant offered in his son.

The respected Bible scholar C.I. Scofield defines a covenant in this way:

"A covenant is a sovereign pronouncement of God by which He establishes a relationship of responsibility between himself and an individual, between Himself and mankind in general, between Himself and a nation, or between Himself and a specific human family. A covenant in one category may overlap others...The covenants are normally unconditional in the sense that God obligates Himself in grace, by the unrestricted declaration, "I will" to accomplish certain announced purposes, despite any failure on the part of the person or people with whom he covenants. The human response to the divinely announced purpose is always important, leading as it does to blessing for obedience and discipline for disobedience. But human failure is never permitted to abrogate the covenant or block its ultimate fulfillment."

The Abrahamic Covenant

     The covenant God made with Abraham was an Un-Conditional Covenant. Upon Abraham's faith in following God's call to leave his native land, and go in search of a new land, he received the solemn covenant of God to a Promised Land. God gave Abraham the promise of a becoming great nation, primarily meant to be Israel, but that promise also includes the great peoples in the line of Ishmael and Abraham's others sons. All Abraham had to do to receive the promise of God was to honor the request of God to leave the city of Ur, and go where the Lord led him. Abraham obeyed! God had providentially determined to fashion a nation to be the prodigy for his own son. Because of Abraham's unconditional faith, that new nation eventually materialized as the nation of Israel. God will honor the Abrahamic Covenant someday when he sends his son, Jesus Christ to complete the circle of his Divine Covenants with mankind.

Genesis 12:1-4 Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that “I will” shew thee: And “I will” make of thee a great nation, and “I will” bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. So Abram departed, as the Lord had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran.

Genesis 13:14-17 And the Lord said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: For all the land which thou seest, to thee “will I” give it, and to thy seed for ever. And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered. Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for “I will” give it unto thee.

Genesis 15:18 In the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates:

The Covenant With Abraham was Confirmed To Isaac By The Lord

Genesis 26:3
Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee; for unto thee, and unto thy seed, “I will” give all these countries, and “I will” perform the oath which I sware unto Abraham thy father;

The Covenant With Abraham was Confirmed To Jacob By The Lord

Genesis 28:13-15
And, behold, the Lord stood above it, and said, I am the Lord God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed; And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed. And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.

The Palestinian or Land Covenant

    The Palestinic Covenant was a “Conditional Covenant” for several reasons: (first) the dispersion of the Jewish people was to be a consequence of disobedience. (2nd) The prophesied repentance of Israel will be accomplished by God. (3rd) God will re-gather his scattered people and restore them to the land. (5th) The enemies and oppressors of national Israel will be punished by God. (6th) The future national prosperity and preeminence is guaranteed, when Jesus Christ returns as Israel's King during the Millennium Kingdom. Because of the Palestinic Covenant, Israel's privilege to live in the land was conditional upon their obedience and keeping of God's commandments.

    Deuteronomy 30:1-8 And it shall come to pass, when all these things are come upon thee, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before thee, and thou shalt call them to mind among all the nations, whither the Lord thy God hath driven thee, And shalt return unto the Lord thy God, and shalt obey his voice according to all that I command thee this day, thou and thy children, with all thine heart, and with all thy soul; That then the Lord thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations, whither the Lord thy God hath scattered thee. If any of thine be driven out unto the outmost parts of heaven, from thence will the Lord thy God gather thee, and from thence will he fetch thee: And the Lord thy God will bring thee into the land which thy fathers possessed, and thou shalt possess it; and he will do thee good, and multiply thee above thy fathers. And the Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live. And the Lord thy God will put all these curses upon thine enemies, and on them that hate thee, which persecuted thee. And thou shalt return and obey the voice of the Lord, and do all his commandments which I command thee this day.

     Deuteronomy 30:16-20 In that I command thee this day to love the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the Lord thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it. But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them; I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish, and that ye shall not prolong your days upon the land, whither thou passest over Jordan to go to possess it. I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: That thou mayest love the Lord thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the Lord sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.

The Davidic Covenant

    The Davidic Covenant was a promise of God to provide Israel with a Temple, a Kingdom in perpetuity, and a royal throne in the royal lineage of King David. Lastly, but most important was the promise of the Messiah in the line of David!

Antichrist's Covenant With Israel, or Israel's Covenant with Hell

     Israel has longed for her Messiah for centuries. Unfortunately she missed him 2000 years ago. Jesus reprimanded Israel for being unable to discern the time of her visitation. Israel will be deceived by an imposter in her time of trouble, and enter into a covenant with him. But God almighty will not allow that covenant to stand. Jehovah will send his son to rescue Israel at the Midnight hour!

     Daniel 9:27 And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: ( seven years, or Daniels 70th week, or Revelation 17:10's short space ) and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, ( cessation of Jewish sacrificial system ) and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, ( abomination of desolation-Matthew 24:15 ) even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.

     Isaiah 28:14-18 Wherefore hear the word of the Lord, ye scornful men, that rule this people which is in Jerusalem. Because ye have said, We have made a “covenant with death”, ( Daniels' confirmation of the covenant ) and “with hell are we at agreement”; ( Antichrist ) when the overflowing scourge ( Tribulation ) shall pass through, it shall not come unto us: ( Israel will think it has security ) for we have made lies our refuge, ( false alliances ) and under falsehood have we hid ourselves: Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste. Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet: and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place. And your covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with hell shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge ( Tribulation ) shall pass through, then ye ( Israel ) shall be trodden down by it. ( but not destroyed )

The New Covenant with Israel

     The New Covenant was established by Jesus Christ at the Last Supper. Upon his anticipation of the cross, Jesus contemplated the cup. Symbolized in the cup of acceptance in the Jewish marriage ceremony, Jesus took up the cup of affliction and drank when he voluntarily went to the cross to purchase our redemption. Today, all who accept the cup of his salvation can drink freely of the water of eternal life. Romans 11:25-26 indicate that all Israel will be saved at the midnight hour!

     Matthew 26:26-31 And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom. And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives. Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad.

     Romans 11:17-24 And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee.

    Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in. Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear: For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee. Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be graffed in: for God is able to graff them in again. For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert graffed contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be graffed into their own olive tree?

     Romans 10:1 Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.

     Hebrews 10:16 This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;

Gentiles Invited Into The New Covenant

     Hebrews 8:6-13
But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second. For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more. In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.

     Hebrews 13:20 Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant.

Author: Darrell G. Young

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