Covenants in the Bible

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Covenants in the Bible - Introduction
Scholars point to seven main covenants in the Bible. Three of them are covenants God made with Israel as a nation. These are often called the unconditional covenants because they are not dependent on Israel’s obedience. The conditional covenants have the guarantee that God will fulfill His part when human requirements are met.

The word covenant (berit in Hebrew and diathéké in Greek) means “an agreement” or “an arrangement.”

Covenants in the Bible – The Unconditional Covenants
The unconditional covenants in the Bible are:

  • Abrahamic Covenant: This covenant is recorded in Genesis 12:1-3, 6-7; 13:14-17; 15; 17:1-14; 22:15-18. God promises that He will make Abraham’s name great, his descendants numerous, and that he would be the father of many nations. God also shared the geographic boundaries of the land given to Abraham for his natural descendants forever.

  • Palestinian Covenant: Deuteronomy 30:1-10 amplifies the land covenant that was spoken of in the Abrahamic Covenant. The people disobeyed God and were scattered around the world (Deuteronomy 30:3-4). Verse 5 shares that God would restore the nation together again and prosper them.

  • Davidic Covenant: You can read this covenant in 2 Samuel 7:8-16. It also amplifies a section of the Abrahamic Covenant, but this time it is the seed portion. God promises David that his seed (physical line of descendants) would last forever. There is a day coming when Jesus, a descendant of David, will serve as king.

  • Noahic Covenant: This covenant is found in Genesis 9. God promised to never again flood the world and destroy all life. A rainbow was given as a sign of this covenant.

Covenants in the Bible – The Conditional Covenants
The conditional covenants in the Bible are:

  • Adamic Covenant: There are two parts to this covenant—the Edenic Covenant (Genesis 1:26-30; 2:16-17) and the Adamic Covenant (Genesis 3:15). The first part shares man’s responsibility toward creation and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The second part includes the curses for the sins of Adam and Eve. It also includes God’s provision for that sin.

  • Mosaic Covenant: This conditional covenant found in Deuteronomy and Exodus includes the 10 commandments (Exodus 20) and the rest of the commands of the law. The history books of the Old Testament show how Israel obeyed the law or failed at obeying it.

  • New Covenant: This covenant (Jeremiah 31:31-34) was first made with Israel and then with all mankind. It is God’s promise to forgive sin through the Messiah. Both Jews and Gentiles can be free from the penalty of the law and choose to accept salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.
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