By Dr. Victor Torres
Covenants in the Scriptures are of primary importance to every believer. Learning about covenants is vital to understanding God’s eternal plan of salvation for mankind.
We find covenants throughout the entire Bible, from Genesis to Revelation. Yet their significance is not always apparent to us. Both the general concepts of covenants, and the specific details of each covenant made between God and man, are important to study.
Foundational to our study of covenants is knowing that God is a Covenant-Making and a Covenant-Keeping God. Our God makes promises. Then He makes an oath upon Himself – since there is nothing greater (Heb 6:13) – that He will fulfill His promises. God is the supremely all-powerful Being in the universe. He has all the power and authority needed to fulfill His promises to mankind.
WHY STUDY COVENANTS?
God has progressively revealed Himself and His plans for mankind over the centuries. They are recorded in the Bible. This revelation is further detailed through God’s covenants with man, also in the Bible. The covenants reveal much about how God communicates with and deals with mankind.
Students of the Bible know that one way to determine the importance of a word or subject in the Bible is to count how many times it appears. When God speaks about a subject repeatedly, it likely has high importance with God.
The subject of covenants is one of those important topics. The word covenant is used 282 times in the Old Testament and 34 times in the New Testament – a total of 316 times! It is obvious that the subject of covenants is a priority principle to God. Therefore, we need to understand this significant subject.
There is a principle in Bible study known as the “law of first mention.” The law of first mention means that the first time something is mentioned in the Bible, it is important to take notice. A doctrine or truth, when first mentioned in Scripture, is in its most basic form. More about that doctrine or truth may be revealed later in the Bible. Thus, this law of first mention should also guide how we interpret each following occurrence in Scripture of that same word or subject.
The Book of Genesis is the first book in the Bible. It begins God’s revelation of Himself to mankind. Even the word “genesis” means begin, or come into existence. It is important to notice that four of the eight covenants that God makes with mankind are found in this book of beginnings called Genesis.
Our study of God’s covenants begins in the Garden of Eden, with Adam and Eve. We will then progress through Noah, Abraham, Moses, David and conclude with the final covenant in Scripture, the New Covenant.