Biblical Covenants

A covenant is an agreement where two parties vow to fulfill certain promises or conditions.

A “conditional” covenant is a promise by one party which will be honored only if the other party fulfills certain conditions. “I will do this, if you will do that.”

An “unconditional” covenant is a promise with no conditions attached. “I will do this, no matter what you do, or don’t do.”

There are a number of very interesting and important covenants in Scripture between God and man:

  1. Edenic …………..Between God and Mankind
  2. Adamic . ………. ..Between God and Adam
  3. Noahic …………..Between God and Noah
  4. Abrahamic ……….Between God and Abraham
  5. Mosaic (old) ………Between God and Israel
  6. Davidic. …….. …..Between God and David
  7. New Testament. …..Between God and the Church

The word “testament” means the same as “covenant.” We speak of the Bible as being divided into the Old and New “Testaments”.

In a more specific sense, the “Old Testament” refers to the Mosaic Covenant which was based upon God’s Law. The “New Testament” refers to a new and better covenant which is based upon God’s grace. We shall now study these two covenants in more detail.

The New Covenant Replaces The Old

To understand salvation, it is necessary to know the difference between the old and the new covenants. Like a sunbeam in the shadows, the contrast is very great. The writer of Hebrews explains it in this way: “But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises.

“For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second. Because finding fault  with them, He says: ‘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 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 did not continue in My  covenant, and I disregarded them,’ says the LORD.

”’For this is the covenant that l will make with the house of Israel after those days,’ says the LORD: ‘I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people ….

‘”For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.’

“In that He says, ‘A new covenant’, He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away” (Heb 8:6-10, 12, 13).

The New Covenant: Based On Love, Not Law

The laws and commandments of the old covenant were written by God on two tablets of stone, The Law was holy, but it was cold, hard and heavy to carry. It was always there -on the outside of one’s life – making demands that the “inner man” could not fulfill.