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Covenants, Part 1: Introduction to Bible Covenants

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Covenants, Part 1

Introduction to Bible Covenants

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Covenants, Part 1: Introduction to Bible Covenants

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This is the first in a Bible study and sermon series on the covenants taking us from the Old Testament covenants forward to the New Covenant. This first part will define what a covenant is and provide a brief overview of the major covenants between God and mankind.

Sermon Notes

Covenants, part 1

10-5-13 Bend

10-12-13 Medford

 

Introduction – Today we will begin a series on a very important and much needed topic of the covenants.

 

Definition -  “Generally speaking, a covenant is a long term agreement between two or more parties that formalizes a binding relationship between them. It defines their essential obligations and commitments to each other” (The New Covenant, Does it Abolish God’s Law?, p. 9).

  • This is an important topic to understand, because it relates to how God deals with mankind, especially His people.
  • It is also a key factor in determining what God requires of us.
  • Some of the wrong approaches to this topic:
  • Antinomianism – overemphasis on grace
  • Assumption that none of the OT is still valid unless repeated in NT
  • Legalism – overemphasis on laws
  • Assumption that all of the OT is still valid unless repealed in NT
  • Belief that all OT practices to be kept “throughout your generations” are still valid  for Christians today
  • Categorization of types of OT laws – ceremonial vs. commandments, statutes, etc.

 

SPS – We will cover these points and many others in this series.

  • Today – introductory session, overview of the major covenants mentioned in the OT

 

  1. 1.  Covenant with Noah

 

Genesis 6:9-18 Genesis 6:9-18 [9] These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God. [10] And Noah begat three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth. [11] The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. [12] And God looked on the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way on the earth. [13] And God said to Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth. [14] Make you an ark of gopher wood; rooms shall you make in the ark, and shall pitch it within and without with pitch. [15] And this is the fashion which you shall make it of: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits. [16] A window shall you make to the ark, and in a cubit shall you finish it above; and the door of the ark shall you set in the side thereof; with lower, second, and third stories shall you make it. [17] And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters on the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die. [18] But with you will I establish my covenant; and you shall come into the ark, you, and your sons, and your wife, and your sons' wives with you.
American King James Version×
  9  This is the genealogy of Noah. Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God.  10 And Noah begot three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth.  11  The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.  12 So God looked upon the earth, and indeed it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth.  13 And God said to Noah, "The end of all flesh has come before Me, for the earth is filled with violence through them; and behold, I will destroy them with the earth….  17 "And behold, I Myself am bringing floodwaters on the earth, to destroy from under heaven all flesh in which is the breath of life; everything that is on the earth shall die.  18 "But I will establish My covenant with you; and you shall go into the ark -- you, your sons, your wife, and your sons' wives with you. 

  • First occurrence of the word covenant
  • “The God of Creation can be desperately awe-inspiring. His "frowning countenance" shown in thunder cloud and overwhelming flood does not make for warm, intimate God-man relations. But His revelation in covenant does. Herein God shows Himself ready to meet with people, to promise a relationship with them, and to outline the details of behavior which will make this promised relationship warm and wholesome. Once this idea of covenant has been introduced in Scripture the theme persists right through to the new covenant, sealed in the blood of Christ whereby mankind is thoroughly reconciled to God. There are few things more encouraging to me than the thought that the God of Creation is the God of covenant”  (The Preacher’s Commentary).

 

Genesis 9:1-17 Genesis 9:1-17 [1] And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth. [2] And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be on every beast of the earth, and on every fowl of the air, on all that moves on the earth, and on all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered. [3] Every moving thing that lives shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things. [4] But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall you not eat. [5] And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man's brother will I require the life of man. [6] Whoever sheds man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man. [7] And you, be you fruitful, and multiply; bring forth abundantly in the earth, and multiply therein. [8] And God spoke to Noah, and to his sons with him, saying, [9] And I, behold, I establish my covenant with you, and with your seed after you; [10] And with every living creature that is with you, of the fowl, of the cattle, and of every beast of the earth with you; from all that go out of the ark, to every beast of the earth. [11] And I will establish my covenant with you, neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth. [12] And God said, This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: [13] I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth. [14] And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud: [15] And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh. [16] And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look on it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth. [17] And God said to Noah, This is the token of the covenant, which I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth.
American King James Version×
  So God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them: "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth.  2 "And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be on every beast of the earth, on every bird of the air, on all that move on the earth, and on all the fish of the sea. They are given into your hand.  3 "Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. I have given you all things, even as the green herbs.  4 "But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood.  5 "Surely for your lifeblood I will demand a reckoning; from the hand of every beast I will require it, and from the hand of man. From the hand of every man's brother I will require the life of man.  6 "Whoever sheds man's blood, By man his blood shall be shed; For in the image of God He made man.  7 And as for you, be fruitful and multiply; Bring forth abundantly in the earth And multiply in it."  8  Then God spoke to Noah and to his sons with him, saying:  9 "And as for Me, behold, I establish My covenant with you and with your descendants after you,  10 "and with every living creature that is with you: the birds, the cattle, and every beast of the earth with you, of all that go out of the ark, every beast of the earth.  11 "Thus I establish My covenant with you: Never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood; never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth."  12 And God said: "This is the sign of the covenant which I make between Me and you, and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations:  13 "I set My rainbow in the cloud, and it shall be for the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth.  14 "It shall be, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the rainbow shall be seen in the cloud;  15 "and I will remember My covenant which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh.  16 "The rainbow shall be in the cloud, and I will look on it to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth."  17 And God said to Noah, "This is the sign of the covenant which I have established between Me and all flesh that is on the earth."

  • There are covenant conditions or obligations and covenant rituals or signs.
  • “In ancient times, major covenants were ratified and kept alive through symbolic rituals that reflected each party’s commitment to, and acceptance of, the covenant’s binding requirements. However, covenant rituals are not the same as covenant commitments and obligations.

    “Rituals in divine covenants serve primarily as symbolic reminders and are intentionally given only a figurative value. The real value is in the substance of the commitments made! Through the substance of His covenants—His divine commitments—God binds Himself to perform all of the promises He makes.

    In a divine covenant, God defines the basic obligations that He imposes on Himself and, usually, on the other participants. Thus a dominant feature of a covenant is a list of blessings that God promises to give to those who honor their covenant commitments. A divine covenant can be compared to a sacred constitution established to regulate human relationships with God. It is a formal declaration of God’s will and purpose. It typically expresses His deep love for humanity and reveals one or more major aspects of His plan for humanity’s salvation” (The New Covenant, Does it Abolish God’s Law?, p. 9).

  • The rainbow is the sign of this covenant.
  • There are also covenants with conditions or obligations and covenants with unconditional promises.
  • This covenant is unconditional—an unconditional promise God makes with all mankind that is still valid today.

 

 

  1. 2.  Covenant with Abraham

 

Genesis 15:1-21 Genesis 15:1-21 [1] After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am your shield, and your exceeding great reward. [2] And Abram said, LORD God, what will you give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus? [3] And Abram said, Behold, to me you have given no seed: and, see, one born in my house is my heir. [4] And, behold, the word of the LORD came to him, saying, This shall not be your heir; but he that shall come forth out of your own bowels shall be your heir. [5] And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if you be able to number them: and he said to him, So shall your seed be. [6] And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness. [7] And he said to him, I am the LORD that brought you out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give you this land to inherit it. [8] And he said, LORD God, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it? [9] And he said to him, Take me an heifer of three years old, and a she goat of three years old, and a ram of three years old, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon. [10] And he took to him all these, and divided them in the middle, and laid each piece one against another: but the birds divided he not. [11] And when the fowls came down on the carcasses, Abram drove them away. [12] And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell on Abram; and, see, an horror of great darkness fell on him. [13] And he said to Abram, Know of a surety that your seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not their's, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; [14] And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance. [15] And you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried in a good old age. [16] But in the fourth generation they shall come here again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full. [17] And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces. [18] In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, To your seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates: [19] The Kenites, and the Kenizzites, and the Kadmonites, [20] And the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Rephaims, [21] And the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Girgashites, and the Jebusites.
American King James Version×
  After these things [defeat of kings of Sodom to free his nephew, Lot] the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, saying, "Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward."  2 But Abram said, "Lord GOD, what will You give me, seeing I go childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?"  3 Then Abram said, "Look, You have given me no offspring; indeed one born in my house is my heir!"  4 And behold, the word of the LORD came to him, saying, "This one shall not be your heir, but one who will come from your own body shall be your heir."  5 Then He brought him outside and said, "Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them." And He said to him, "So shall your descendants be."  6 And he believed in the LORD, and He accounted it to him for righteousness. 

  • Quoted in the NT

 

7  Then He said to him, "I am the LORD, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans, to give you this land to inherit it."  8 And he said, "Lord GOD, how shall I know that I will inherit it?"  9 So He said to him, "Bring Me a three-year-old heifer, a three-year-old female goat, a three-year-old ram, a turtledove, and a young pigeon."  10 Then he brought all these to Him and cut them in two, down the middle, and placed each piece opposite the other; but he did not cut the birds in two.  11 And when the vultures came down on the carcasses, Abram drove them away. 

  • Ritual of the covenant to confirm it (like signing a contract)

 

13 Then He said to Abram: "Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them four hundred years [significant period of time as we will see later in this series].  14 "And also the nation whom they serve I will judge; afterward they shall come out with great possessions.  15 "Now as for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried at a good old age.  16 "But in the fourth generation they shall return here, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete." 

 

17 And it came to pass, when the sun went down and it was dark, that behold, there appeared a smoking oven and a burning torch that passed between those pieces. 

  • Covenant ritual – God “signs the contract.”

 

18 On the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying: "To your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the River Euphrates …."

 

Genesis 17:1-27 Genesis 17:1-27 [1] And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said to him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be you perfect. [2] And I will make my covenant between me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly. [3] And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying, [4] As for me, behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations. [5] Neither shall your name any more be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made you. [6] And I will make you exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come out of you. [7] And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your seed after you in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God to you, and to your seed after you. [8] And I will give to you, and to your seed after you, the land wherein you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God. [9] And God said to Abraham, You shall keep my covenant therefore, you, and your seed after you in their generations. [10] This is my covenant, which you shall keep, between me and you and your seed after you; Every man child among you shall be circumcised. [11] And you shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant between me and you. [12] And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of your seed. [13] He that is born in your house, and he that is bought with your money, must needs be circumcised: and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. [14] And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant. [15] And God said to Abraham, As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall her name be. [16] And I will bless her, and give you a son also of her: yes, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her. [17] Then Abraham fell on his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born to him that is an hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear? [18] And Abraham said to God, O that Ishmael might live before you! [19] And God said, Sarah your wife shall bear you a son indeed; and you shall call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him. [20] And as for Ishmael, I have heard you: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation. [21] But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear to you at this set time in the next year. [22] And he left off talking with him, and God went up from Abraham. [23] And Abraham took Ishmael his son, and all that were born in his house, and all that were bought with his money, every male among the men of Abraham's house; and circumcised the flesh of their foreskin in the selfsame day, as God had said to him. [24] And Abraham was ninety years old and nine, when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. [25] And Ishmael his son was thirteen years old, when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. [26] In the selfsame day was Abraham circumcised, and Ishmael his son. [27] And all the men of his house, born in the house, and bought with money of the stranger, were circumcised with him.
American King James Version×
 When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, "I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless.  2 "And I will make My covenant between Me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly." 

  • God repeats the covenant and makes it conditional upon Abram’s obedience.
  • He then expands the promises to Abram.

 

3 Then Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying:  4 "As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations.  5 "No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you a father of many nations.  6 "I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you.  7 "And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you.  8 "Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God."  9  And God said to Abraham: "As for you, you shall keep My covenant, you and your descendants after you throughout their generations. 

 

10 "This is My covenant which you shall keep, between Me and you and your descendants after you: Every male child among you shall be circumcised; 11 "and you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between Me and you.

  • Some mistakenly refer to this as a separate covenant, but it is simply another sign of the covenant (an additional “contract to sign”).

 

  12 "He who is eight days old among you shall be circumcised, every male child in your generations, he who is born in your house or bought with money from any foreigner who is not your descendant.  13 "He who is born in your house and he who is bought with your money must be circumcised, and My covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant.  14 "And the uncircumcised male child, who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, that person shall be cut off from his people; he has broken My covenant."  15  Then God said to Abraham, "As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name.  16 "And I will bless her and also give you a son by her; then I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples shall be from her."  17 Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said in his heart, "Shall a child be born to a man who is one hundred years old? And shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?"  18 And Abraham said to God, "Oh, that Ishmael might live before You!"  19 Then God said: "No, Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his descendants after him.  20 "And as for Ishmael, I have heard you. Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly. He shall beget twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation.  21 "But My covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this set time next year." 

 

22 Then He finished talking with him, and God went up from Abraham.  23 So Abraham took Ishmael his son, all who were born in his house and all who were bought with his money, every male among the men of Abraham's house, and circumcised the flesh of their foreskins that very same day, as God had said to him.  24 Abraham was ninety-nine years old when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin.  25 And Ishmael his son was thirteen years old when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin.  26 That very same day Abraham was circumcised, and his son Ishmael;  27 and all the men of his house, born in the house or bought with money from a foreigner, were circumcised with him.

  • Abraham “signs the contract.”
  • Later God repeated His promises to Isaac and Jacob.

 

Genesis 26:1-5 Genesis 26:1-5 [1] And there was a famine in the land, beside the first famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went to Abimelech king of the Philistines to Gerar. [2] And the LORD appeared to him, and said, Go not down into Egypt; dwell in the land which I shall tell you of: [3] Sojourn in this land, and I will be with you, and will bless you; for to you, and to your seed, I will give all these countries, and I will perform the oath which I swore to Abraham your father; [4] And I will make your seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give to your seed all these countries; and in your seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; [5] Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.
American King James Version×
 There was a famine in the land, besides the first famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went to Abimelech king of the Philistines, in Gerar. 2 Then the LORD appeared to him and said: "Do not go down to Egypt; live in the land of which I shall tell you. 3 "Dwell in this land, and I will be with you and bless you; for to you and your descendants I give all these lands, and I will perform the oath which I swore to Abraham your father. 4 "And I will make your descendants multiply as the stars of heaven; I will give to your descendants all these lands; and in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed; 5 "because Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws."

 

Genesis 28:1-4 Genesis 28:1-4 [1] And Isaac called Jacob, and blessed him, and charged him, and said to him, You shall not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan. [2] Arise, go to Padanaram, to the house of Bethuel your mother's father; and take you a wife from there of the daughers of Laban your mother's brother. [3] And God Almighty bless you, and make you fruitful, and multiply you, that you may be a multitude of people; [4] And give you the blessing of Abraham, to you, and to your seed with you; that you may inherit the land wherein you are a stranger, which God gave to Abraham.
American King James Version×
 Then Isaac called Jacob and blessed him, and charged him, and said to him: "You shall not take a wife from the daughters of Canaan. 2 "Arise, go to Padan Aram, to the house of Bethuel your mother's father; and take yourself a wife from there of the daughters of Laban your mother's brother. 3 "May God Almighty bless you, And make you fruitful and multiply you, That you may be an assembly of peoples; 4 And give you the blessing of Abraham, To you and your descendants with you, That you may inherit the land In which you are a stranger, Which God gave to Abraham."

 

Genesis 35:9-12 Genesis 35:9-12 [9] And God appeared to Jacob again, when he came out of Padanaram, and blessed him. [10] And God said to him, Your name is Jacob: your name shall not be called any more Jacob, but Israel shall be your name: and he called his name Israel. [11] And God said to him, I am God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall be of you, and kings shall come out of your loins; [12] And the land which I gave Abraham and Isaac, to you I will give it, and to your seed after you will I give the land.
American King James Version×
 Then God appeared to Jacob again, when he came from Padan Aram, and blessed him. 10 And God said to him, "Your name is Jacob; your name shall not be called Jacob anymore, but Israel shall be your name." So He called his name Israel. 11 Also God said to him: "I am God Almighty. Be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall proceed from you, and kings shall come from your body. 12 "The land which I gave Abraham and Isaac I give to you; and to your descendants after you I give this land."

 

Genesis 48:1-19 Genesis 48:1-19 [1] And it came to pass after these things, that one told Joseph, Behold, your father is sick: and he took with him his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim. [2] And one told Jacob, and said, Behold, your son Joseph comes to you: and Israel strengthened himself, and sat on the bed. [3] And Jacob said to Joseph, God Almighty appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan, and blessed me, [4] And said to me, Behold, I will make you fruitful, and multiply you, and I will make of you a multitude of people; and will give this land to your seed after you for an everlasting possession. [5] And now your two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, which were born to you in the land of Egypt before I came to you into Egypt, are mine; as Reuben and Simeon, they shall be mine. [6] And your issue, which you beget after them, shall be yours, and shall be called after the name of their brothers in their inheritance. [7] And as for me, when I came from Padan, Rachel died by me in the land of Canaan in the way, when yet there was but a little way to come to Ephrath: and I buried her there in the way of Ephrath; the same is Bethlehem. [8] And Israel beheld Joseph's sons, and said, Who are these? [9] And Joseph said to his father, They are my sons, whom God has given me in this place. And he said, Bring them, I pray you, to me, and I will bless them. [10] Now the eyes of Israel were dim for age, so that he could not see. And he brought them near to him; and he kissed them, and embraced them. [11] And Israel said to Joseph, I had not thought to see your face: and, see, God has showed me also your seed. [12] And Joseph brought them out from between his knees, and he bowed himself with his face to the earth. [13] And Joseph took them both, Ephraim in his right hand toward Israel's left hand, and Manasseh in his left hand toward Israel's right hand, and brought them near to him. [14] And Israel stretched out his right hand, and laid it on Ephraim's head, who was the younger, and his left hand on Manasseh's head, guiding his hands wittingly; for Manasseh was the firstborn. [15] And he blessed Joseph, and said, God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac did walk, the God which fed me all my life long to this day, [16] The Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; and let my name be named on them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the middle of the earth. [17] And when Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand on the head of Ephraim, it displeased him: and he held up his father's hand, to remove it from Ephraim's head to Manasseh's head. [18] And Joseph said to his father, Not so, my father: for this is the firstborn; put your right hand on his head. [19] And his father refused, and said, I know it, my son, I know it: he also shall become a people, and he also shall be great: but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his seed shall become a multitude of nations.
American King James Version×
  Now it came to pass after these things that Joseph was told, "Indeed your father is sick"; and he took with him his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim. 2 And Jacob was told, "Look, your son Joseph is coming to you"; and Israel strengthened himself and sat up on the bed. 3 Then Jacob said to Joseph: "God Almighty appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan and blessed me, 4 "and said to me, 'Behold, I will make you fruitful and multiply you, and I will make of you a multitude of people, and give this land to your descendants after you as an everlasting possession.' 5 "And now your two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, who were born to you in the land of Egypt before I came to you in Egypt, are mine; as Reuben and Simeon, they shall be mine. 6 "Your offspring whom you beget after them shall be yours; they will be called by the name of their brothers in their inheritance…."

 

8  Then Israel saw Joseph's sons, and said, "Who are these?" 9 And Joseph said to his father, "They are my sons, whom God has given me in this place." And he said, "Please bring them to me, and I will bless them." 10 Now the eyes of Israel were dim with age, so that he could not see. Then Joseph brought them near him, and he kissed them and embraced them…. 12 So Joseph brought them from beside his knees, and he bowed down with his face to the earth. 13 And Joseph took them both, Ephraim with his right hand toward Israel's left hand, and Manasseh with his left hand toward Israel's right hand, and brought them near him. 14 Then Israel stretched out his right hand and laid it on Ephraim's head, who was the younger, and his left hand on Manasseh's head, guiding his hands knowingly, for Manasseh was the firstborn. 15 And he blessed Joseph, and said: "God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, The God who has fed me all my life long to this day, 16 The Angel who has redeemed me from all evil, Bless the lads; Let my name be named upon them, And the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; And let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth."

 

17  Now when Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand on the head of Ephraim, it displeased him; so he took hold of his father's hand to remove it from Ephraim's head to Manasseh's head. 18 And Joseph said to his father, "Not so, my father, for this one is the firstborn; put your right hand on his head." 19 But his father refused and said, "I know, my son, I know. He also shall become a people, and he also shall be great; but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his descendants shall become a multitude of nations."

  • Jacob confers the promises of the covenant to Ephraim and Manasseh.

 

  1. 3.  Covenant with Israel through Moses

 

Exodus 2:23-25 Exodus 2:23-25 [23] And it came to pass in process of time, that the king of Egypt died: and the children of Israel sighed by reason of the bondage, and they cried, and their cry came up to God by reason of the bondage. [24] And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. [25] And God looked on the children of Israel, and God had respect to them.
American King James Version×
  23  Now it happened in the process of time that the king of Egypt died. Then the children of Israel groaned because of the bondage, and they cried out; and their cry came up to God because of the bondage.  24 So God heard their groaning, and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob.  25 And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God acknowledged them.

 

Exodus 6:1-8 Exodus 6:1-8 [1] Then the LORD said to Moses, Now shall you see what I will do to Pharaoh: for with a strong hand shall he let them go, and with a strong hand shall he drive them out of his land. [2] And God spoke to Moses, and said to him, I am the LORD: [3] And I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by my name JEHOVAH was I not known to them. [4] And I have also established my covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their pilgrimage, wherein they were strangers. [5] And I have also heard the groaning of the children of Israel, whom the Egyptians keep in bondage; and I have remembered my covenant. [6] Why say to the children of Israel, I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments: [7] And I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God: and you shall know that I am the LORD your God, which brings you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. [8] And I will bring you in to the land, concerning the which I did swear to give it to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob; and I will give it you for an heritage: I am the LORD.
American King James Version×
 Then the LORD said to Moses, "Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh. For with a strong hand he will let them go, and with a strong hand he will drive them out of his land."  2  And God spoke to Moses and said to him: "I am the LORD.  3 "I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as God Almighty, but by My name LORD I was not known to them.  4 "I have also established My covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their pilgrimage, in which they were strangers.  5 "And I have also heard the groaning of the children of Israel whom the Egyptians keep in bondage, and I have remembered My covenant.  6 "Therefore say to the children of Israel: 'I am the LORD; I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, I will rescue you from their bondage, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments.  7 'I will take you as My people, and I will be your God. Then you shall know that I am the LORD your God who brings you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.  8 'And I will bring you into the land which I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; and I will give it to you as a heritage: I am the LORD.' "

 

Exodus 19:1-9 Exodus 19:1-9 [1] In the third month, when the children of Israel were gone forth out of the land of Egypt, the same day came they into the wilderness of Sinai. [2] For they were departed from Rephidim, and were come to the desert of Sinai, and had pitched in the wilderness; and there Israel camped before the mount. [3] And Moses went up to God, and the LORD called to him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shall you say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel; [4] You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles' wings, and brought you to myself. [5] Now therefore, if you will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then you shall be a peculiar treasure to me above all people: for all the earth is mine: [6] And you shall be to me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel. [7] And Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before their faces all these words which the LORD commanded him. [8] And all the people answered together, and said, All that the LORD has spoken we will do. And Moses returned the words of the people to the LORD. [9] And the LORD said to Moses, See, I come to you in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with you, and believe you for ever. And Moses told the words of the people to the LORD.
American King James Version×
, 16-19
 In the third month after the children of Israel had gone out of the land of Egypt, on the same day, they came to the Wilderness of Sinai….  3 And Moses went up to God, and the LORD called to him from the mountain, saying, "Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel:  4 'You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles' wings and brought you to Myself.  5 'Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine.  6 'And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.'

  • God repeats to Israel the conditional promise He made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

 

These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel."  7 So Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before them all these words which the LORD commanded him.  8 Then all the people answered together and said, "All that the LORD has spoken we will do." So Moses brought back the words of the people to the LORD.  9  And the LORD said to Moses, "Behold, I come to you in the thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with you, and believe you forever." So Moses told the words of the people to the LORD. 

 

16 Then it came to pass on the third day, in the morning, that there were thunderings and lightnings, and a thick cloud on the mountain; and the sound of the trumpet was very loud, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled. 17 And Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. 18 Now Mount Sinai was completely in smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire. Its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked greatly. 19 And when the blast of the trumpet sounded long and became louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him by voice.

 

Exodus 20:1-17 Exodus 20:1-17 [1] And God spoke all these words, saying, [2] I am the LORD your God, which have brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. [3] You shall have no other gods before me. [4] You shall not make to you any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. [5] You shall not bow down yourself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; [6] And showing mercy to thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments. [7] You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that takes his name in vain. [8] Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. [9] Six days shall you labor, and do all your work: [10] But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD your God: in it you shall not do any work, you, nor your son, nor your daughter, your manservant, nor your maidservant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger that is within your gates: [11] For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: why the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it. [12] Honor your father and your mother: that your days may be long on the land which the LORD your God gives you. [13] You shall not kill. [14] You shall not commit adultery. [15] You shall not steal. [16] You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. [17] You shall not covet your neighbor's house, you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is your neighbor's.
American King James Version×
10 commandments given

 

Exodus 20:18-21 Exodus 20:18-21 [18] And all the people saw the thunder, and the lightning, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off. [19] And they said to Moses, Speak you with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die. [20] And Moses said to the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that you sin not. [21] And the people stood afar off, and Moses drew near to the thick darkness where God was.
American King James Version×
 Now all the people witnessed the thunderings, the lightning flashes, the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood afar off. 19 Then they said to Moses, "You speak with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die." 20 And Moses said to the people, "Do not fear; for God has come to test you, and that His fear may be before you, so that you may not sin." 21  So the people stood afar off, but Moses drew near the thick darkness where God was.

 

Exodus 24:1-8 Exodus 24:1-8 [1] And he said to Moses, Come up to the LORD, you, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel; and worship you afar off. [2] And Moses alone shall come near the LORD: but they shall not come near; neither shall the people go up with him. [3] And Moses came and told the people all the words of the LORD, and all the judgments: and all the people answered with one voice, and said, All the words which the LORD has said will we do. [4] And Moses wrote all the words of the LORD, and rose up early in the morning, and built an altar under the hill, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel. [5] And he sent young men of the children of Israel, which offered burnt offerings, and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen to the LORD. [6] And Moses took half of the blood, and put it in basins; and half of the blood he sprinkled on the altar. [7] And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the LORD has said will we do, and be obedient. [8] And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the LORD has made with you concerning all these words.
American King James Version×
 Now He said to Moses, "Come up to the LORD, you and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, and worship from afar.  2 "And Moses alone shall come near the LORD, but they shall not come near; nor shall the people go up with him."  3  So Moses came and told the people all the words of the LORD and all the judgments. And all the people answered with one voice and said, "All the words which the LORD has said we will do."  4 And Moses wrote all the words of the LORD. And he rose early in the morning, and built an altar at the foot of the mountain, and twelve pillars according to the twelve tribes of Israel.  5 Then he sent young men of the children of Israel, who offered burnt offerings and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen to the LORD.  6 And Moses took half the blood and put it in basins, and half the blood he sprinkled on the altar.  7 Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read in the hearing of the people. And they said, "All that the LORD has said we will do, and be obedient."  8 And Moses took the blood, sprinkled it on the people, and said, "This is the blood of the covenant which the LORD has made with you according to all these words."

 

Exodus 24:12-13 Exodus 24:12-13 [12] And the LORD said to Moses, Come up to me into the mount, and be there: and I will give you tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written; that you may teach them. [13] And Moses rose up, and his minister Joshua: and Moses went up into the mount of God.
American King James Version×
  12  Then the LORD said to Moses, "Come up to Me on the mountain and be there; and I will give you tablets of stone, and the law and commandments which I have written, that you may teach them."  13 So Moses arose with his assistant Joshua, and Moses went up to the mountain of God.

 

Exodus 25ff. Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy – additional laws given

 

Exodus 31:12-18 Exodus 31:12-18 [12] And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, [13] Speak you also to the children of Israel, saying, Truly my sabbaths you shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that you may know that I am the LORD that does sanctify you. [14] You shall keep the sabbath therefore; for it is holy to you: every one that defiles it shall surely be put to death: for whoever does any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. [15] Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD: whoever does any work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death. [16] Why the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant. [17] It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed. [18] And he gave to Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him on mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.
American King James Version×
 12  And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,  13 "Speak also to the children of Israel, saying: 'Surely My Sabbaths you shall keep, for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the LORD who sanctifies you.  14

 

'You shall keep the Sabbath, therefore, for it is holy to you. Everyone who profanes it shall surely be put to death; for whoever does any work on it, that person shall be cut off from among his people.  15 'Work shall be done for six days, but the seventh is the Sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death.  16 'Therefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant.  17 'It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever; for in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed.' "  18  And when He had made an end of speaking with him on Mount Sinai, He gave Moses two tablets of the Testimony, tablets of stone, written with the finger of God.

  • The Sabbath is emphasized as a sign of the covenant—to serve as a two-fold reminder that God has set them apart as His people and that He is the Creator of heaven and earth and of the Sabbath.

 

  1. 4.  Covenant with David

 

  • The next covenant to consider between God and a specific person is His covenant with King David.
  • In it God promises that David’s dynasty will last forever and that the Messiah—David’s special descendant—is to be the everlasting King of that dynasty.

 

Psalms 89:3-4 Psalms 89:3-4 [3] I have made a covenant with my chosen, I have sworn to David my servant, [4] Your seed will I establish for ever, and build up your throne to all generations. Selah.
American King James Version×
I have made a covenant with My chosen, I have sworn to My servant David: “Your seed I will establish forever, and build up your throne to all generations.”

  • God declares that this covenant will be irrevocable.

 

Jeremiah 33:20-21 Jeremiah 33:20-21 [20] Thus said the LORD; If you can break my covenant of the day, and my covenant of the night, and that there should not be day and night in their season; [21] Then may also my covenant be broken with David my servant, that he should not have a son to reign on his throne; and with the Levites the priests, my ministers.
American King James Version×
Thus says the LORD, “If you can break My covenant with the day and My covenant

with the night, so that there will not be day and night in their season, then My covenant may also be broken with David My servant, so that he shall not have a son to reign on his throne’.

 

Luke 1:30-33 Luke 1:30-33 [30] And the angel said to her, Fear not, Mary: for you have found favor with God. [31] And, behold, you shall conceive in your womb, and bring forth a son, and shall call his name JESUS. [32] He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give to him the throne of his father David: [33] And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
American King James Version×
Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end”.

 

  1. 5.  The New Covenant

 

Jeremiah 31:31-34 Jeremiah 31:31-34 [31] Behold, the days come, said the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: [32] Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they broke, although I was an husband to them, said the LORD: [33] But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, said the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. [34] And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, said the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.
American King James Version×
 31 " Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah --  32 "not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the LORD.  33 "But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.  34 "No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more."

 

Conclusion – Next time we will get more specific regarding the transition from the covenant God made with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the nation of Israel and the New Covenant mentioned in this prophecy.