The idea of “covenant” is fundamental to both the Old and New Testaments. From the end of the second century A.D., the Church has named the two sections of Scripture we call the Old Testament and the New Testament as the Old and New Covenant.

A. DEFINITION OF “COVENANT “

  1. Hebrew: “berith”- an agreement. contract or compact
  2. Greek: the Sepuagint (the name of the Old Testament version written in Greek) and the New Testament translate “berith” with two words: “sunatheke” – an agreement between equal parties (bilateral contract); “diatheke”an agreement between unequal parties (unilateral contract). This “diatheke” is the type of covenant we have with God.

B. DIMENSIONS

God’s eternal agreement includes three basic elements. One or more of these are found in all of God’s covenants, beginning with Abraham

  •  “I will be your God.”
  1. Ezekiel (Ez. 37:27).
  2. Jeremiah (Jer. 31:33; cp. Heb. 8:10).
  3. David (II Sam. 7:24).
  4. Moses (Ex. 29:45, 46; Deut. 29:13).
  5. Jacob (Gen. 28:13, 14).
  6. Isaac (Gn.26:24)
  7. Abraham (Gen. 17:7).
  • “You will be my people”.
  1. Moses (Deut. 7:6; 29:12, 13).
  2. David (II Sam. 7:24).
  3. Jeremiah (Jer. 1:33; cp. He. 8:10).
  4. Ezekiel (fa. 37:27).
  • I will dwell among you.”
  1. Moses (Ex.29:45, 46)
  2. David (II Sam. 7·5-14; cp. Acts 7:44-49)
  3. Ezekiel (Ez. 37:27, 28).

Fulfillment of these covenant dimensions finds its fullest climax in Christ and the New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:3, 4; cp. II Cor. 6:16-18).

C. DEVELOPMENT

The “new” covenant promised in the Old Testament (Jer. 31:31-34) and fulfilled in Jesus Christ (Heb. 8:8-12) is “new” in the sense that it is different in quality and nature. The nature of the “old” covenant was external, written on tablets of stone; the “new” covenant is internal written on the heart (II Cor.3:1-6). The quality of the new covenant is superior to the old in that the pathway of direct relationship with God is now open to each individual who believes in Christ for salvation. (For further study, please see Hebrews, Chapters 7-10.)  Nevertheless both the “old” and “new” covenants have the same three fundamental dimensions.

Development of these is a follows:

  1. The Covenant initiated: Genesis – Deuteronomy
  2. The Covenant illustrated: Joshua -II Samuel; Job -Song of Solomon
  3. The Covenant violated: I Kings – Esther; Isaiah – Malachi
  4. The New Covenant initiated: Matthew – John
  5. The New Covenant illustrated: Acts; Romans – Jude
  6. The New Covenant Consummated: Revelation

CONCLUSION

God’s eternal covenant reveals His intention to bless mankind in three basic ways:

  1. with Divine headship “l will be your God”
  2. with Divine relationship: “you will be my people”
  3. with Divine fellowship: “I will dwell with you”.

INTRODUCTION TO THE PENTATEUCH

GENESIS THROUGH DEUTERONOMY

I. NAME

  • Hebrew: torah: ”laws, instruction”. From verb “to teach”.
  • Greek: pentateuch: “five scrolls”. The Five Books of Moses.

II.CONTENTS

  1. Events
  • Beginnings (Genesis 1·11).
  • Creation: Adam and Eve
  • Fall: Cain and Abel
  • Flood: Noah and 3 Sons
  • Babel and the nations
  • Beginning of God’s People (Genesis 12 – Exodus 19).
  • Patriarchs: Abraham, Isaac. Jacob, Joseph
  • Bondage in Egypt.
  • Deliverance from Egypt.
  • Revelation at Mt. Sinai (Exodus 20- Numbers 9).
  • Preparation to enter Canaan (Numbers 10 – Deuteronomy 34).
  • Defeat at Kadesh-barnea.
  • Wandering in the wilderness.
  • Second giving of the law on plains of Moab.

       2. Themes

  • Creation: God’s act (direct and indirect)
  • Election: God’s choice (privilege and responsibility)?
  • Covenant: God’s commitment (unilateral)
  • Exodus: God’s deliverance (through blood from slavery for service)
  • Law: God’s conditions (requirements)
  • Disobedience: Man’s waywardness (explained by the Fall)

        3. Authorship: Anonymous

  • Traditional – Moses (1400/1200 B.C.).
  • Information included only what Moses had access to (Mt. Sinai)
  • Pentateuch claims words of M (Ex. 24:3; Deut. 31:9).
  • Quoted by Jesus as from Moses (Mark 7:10; 10:3;12:26).

GENESIS: SUMMARY

  1. BACKGROUND
  • Authorship – Anonymous, attributed to Moses.
  • Date ·Around 1400/1200 B.C.
  • Sources – “Book of the generations of Adam” (5:1).
  • Occasion – Need for the people of Israel to understand their origin and roots against the background of the origin and fall of mankind.

       2. CONTENTS

  • Title “Genesis”.
    • Hebrew: bereshith (“in the beginning”).
    • Greek: genesis (“beginning”).
  • Theme – The beginnings of God’s world and God’s people.
  • Purpose – To show the beginnings of God’s chosen people against the background of the beginnings of the heaven, the earth and mankind.
  • Key verse 🙁 Genesis 1:26; 12:2, 3) “Then God said: Let us make man in our image, and after our likeness, and let them have dominion...and I will make of you Abraham, a great nation...and by you all the families of the earth shall be blessed .”

EXODUS:  SUMMARY

  1. BACKGROUND
  • Authorship – Anonymous, attributed to Moses.
  • Date – Around 1400/1200 B.C.
  • Sources – Book of the Covenant ” (24:4,7).
  • Occasion – Need for God’s chosen people to 1) under­stand how they were formed as a nation through God’s mighty deliverance out of Egypt celebrated in the Feast of Passover, and 2) understand God’s laws, ordinances and statutes which they were to obey a His people.

       2. CONTENTS

  • Title – “Exodus”.
  • Hebrew: shemoth (“names”).
  • Greek: exodus (“way out”).
  • Theme – The deliverance and redemption which gave birth to a nation chosen of God to be His people.
  • Purpose – To record how God delivered Israel out of slavery in Egypt in order to enter into covenant with them as His people through whom His nature and salvation was to be shown to a wayward world.
  • Key verse 🙁 Exodus 19:4-6) “You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now therefore, if you will obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my own possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.”

LEVITICUS: SUMMARY

  1.  BACKGROUND
  • Authorship – Anonymous, attributed to Moses.
  • Date – Around 1400/1200 B.C.
  • Sources – Sinaitic revelation from God written down by Moses.
  • Occasion ·Written for Israel so that they might know what God has commanded them to do as His covenant people.

      2. CONTENTS

  • Title – “Leviticus”.
  • Hebrew: wayyigra (“and He called”).
  • Greek: /levitikon (“pertaining to the Levites”).
  • Theme – Manual for holy living for a people set apart for God’s service and glory.
  • Purpose – To set forth dearly those ritual regulations concerning access to God and living for God which were required of Israel, God’s chosen nation.
  • Key verse: (Leviticus 11:45) “I am the Lord who brought you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God; you shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.”

NUMBERS: SUMMARY

  1. BACKGROUND
  • Authorship – Anonymous, attributed to Moses
  • Date ·Around 1400/1200 B.C.
  • Sources ·Books of the Wars of YHWH (Yahweh 21:14).
  • Occasion – Need for God’s people to be reminded of the reason for their wanderings in the wilderness: that God was trying to reveal their hearts. Would they trust Him as the Lord their God?

      2. CONTENTS

  • Greek: arithmoi (“numbers”) .
    • Two censuses (numberings) taken. (Chap 1 & 26).
  • Hebrew: bemidbar (“in the wilderness of”).
  • Title – “Numbers”.
  • Theme ·Wilderness wanderings during a generation of divine disciplining.
  • Purpose – To underscore the truth that insufficient faith, not insufficient numbers, kept God’s people out of the Promised Land.
  • Key verse :(Numbers 32:13) “And the Lord ‘s anger was kindled against Israel, and he made them wander in the wilderness forty years, until all the generation that had done evil in the sight of the Lord was consumed.”

DEUTERONOMY: SUMMARY

  1. BACKGROUND
  • Authorship ·Anonymous, attributed to Moses.
  • Date – Around 1400/ 1200 B.C.
  • Sources – Memoirs of Moses with some from Leviticus in modified form.
  • Occasion – In anticipation of entrance into the Promised Land under a new leader (Joshua), Moses addressed the multitude, popularizing the essentials of Leviticus into something of an “Everyman’s Torah” so that all could understand God’s law and obey it.

      2. CONTENTS

  • Title – “Deuteronomy”.
  • Hebrew: elleh haddebarim (“these are the words”).
  • Greek: deuteronomion (“second law-giving”‘)
  • Theme – A rehearsing of God’s law as Moses last will and testament.
  • Purpose -To give a restatement of God’s requirements so that His people may obey Him and live when they enter and settle in the land of promise.
  • Key verse: (Deuteronomy 4:1) “And now, O Israel, give heed to the statutes and the ordinances which I teach you, and do them; that you may live, and go in and take possession of the land which the Lord, the God of your fathers,  gives  you.”

INTRODUCTION TO THE HISTORICAL LITERATURE

JOSHUA THROUGH ESTHER

  1. HEBREW CANON (8 BOOKS)

A . Former prophets: Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings (4 books).