We have studied in general terms the definition of a covenant, principles of making a covenant, and the importance of the exchange of power, authority and wealth. Let us now examine in more detail seven primary covenants in the Old Testament, and then the New Covenant.
COMPONENTS OF EACH COVENANT
- Name of the Covenant – Each covenant name describes either the human “covenant head” or the location where the covenant was made. These are not all names that God gave to the covenants. They are names given by theologians to help distinguish the covenants one from another.
- Covenant Heads – In each covenant, God was one of the covenant heads. The person(s) with whom God made the covenant was the other covenant head.
- Survey and Terms of the Covenant – This will give a brief overview of the times, places and people of the covenant, as well as the terms of the covenant.
- Christ Revealed in the Covenant – Old Covenant characters sometimes “foreshadow” the character or actions of Jesus Christ. For instance, Moses was an intercessor for the people (Num 11:2; 21:7); Christ is our Intercessor today (John 17:9; Heb 7:23-25). This kind of foreshadowing or symbolism is called typology. We would say that Moses is an Old Testament type of Jesus Christ.
These typologies provide a prophetic glimpse into what will come. For example, the flood of Noah’s day (Genesis Chapters 6 and 7) is later referenced as a symbol for baptism (1Pet 3:21). So “Christ Revealed” in a particular covenant references the person or events that symbolize what is to come in Jesus Christ our Lord.
- Keys to the Covenant – Many volumes of books would be needed to thoroughly examine the details of each covenant. Our purpose here is to highlight some important “keys” of each covenant that lead us to the ultimate covenant – the New Covenant that was purchased through the blood of Jesus Christ.
- Concluding Thoughts about the Covenant – Closing thoughts for summary and reflection.
THE EDENIC COVENANT
God made the first covenant with Adam in the Garden of Eden before Adam and Eve had sinned. This period before the “fall of man” is often called the Age of Innocence because Adam and Eve knew no evil.
The Edenic covenant is found in Genesis 2:15-17: “Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to tend and keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, ‘Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.’”
God said, “You shall not eat.” With that command was the immediate ability for Adam to choose: he could either obey or disobey God.
God made the covenant with Adam; therefore, both God and Adam were the covenant heads. However, everyone joining Adam’s family or future clan would also be subject to the terms of the covenant. This means that the entire human race was represented by Adam, the first man, in this covenant.