Overview of Covenantology
Written by: Unknown Posted on: 05/13/2004
Titus 1:1-3 "Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God's elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness; In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began; But hath in due times manifested his word through preaching, which is committed unto me according to the commandment of God our Savior"
Romans 9:1-5 "I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh: Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen."
Most Christians do not understand God's Covenants, nor do they seek out an understanding of them. This often causes problems in theological perspective. God promised eternal life to man prior to his creation, and from the beginning has revealed His Plan to man through a system of Covenants. You cannot properly interpret the Scripture without understanding the CONTEXT of the Scripture, and God's Covenants impact nearly every Scripture in the Bible. Thus, if you have a faulty knowledge of His Covenants, you could misinterpret Scripture because of this same lack of knowledge.
When we propose to study God's Covenants it immediately becomes evident that this is an immense study. In Genesis alone there are twenty-five references to God's Covenants, and the word "covenant" or "testament" is found 306 times in 285 Scriptures throughout the Bible. Though I have tried to give an overview on each of God's Covenants at this site, it must be remembered that this is only an overview. The complete study of the Covenants and Covenantology could literally take years, especially when you consider their ramification on the other Doctrines of Scripture. For instance, Christ sealed the New Covenant to Israel on the Cross with His own body and blood, but the Church became the recipient of the Covenant blessings of God because Israel refused to accept His offering and willed to stay under the Mosaic Covenant. Israel has not been cast off, though, and will one day come to God in one accord under the New Covenant.
The Covenants are, therefore, like pages in a book that reveal the successive stages in the unfolding of God's Messianic Grace through Christ. The Covenants will reach their culmination when Christ returns to earth to establish His Millennial Kingdom, which in turn will lead to the creation of a new Heaven and a new earth (see Romans 9-11). God is an intelligent Being, and intelligent Creator. Unlike the gods of evolution that teach things staggered into being, our God is a God of purpose who has an overall Plan of the Ages:
Ephesians 3:11 "According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord"
Acts 2:23 "Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain"
God created man knowing that He would fall under the Edenic Covenant, and the New Covenant was in His mind from eternity past. The Edenic Covenant was given, knowing that we would fall, to teach us that we had to rely solely on Him. God did not walk in the Garden one day and go "My goodness, Adam fell! What a surprise!". No, He knew that the fall was inevitable, this is why Christ was purposed prior to creation (eternal purpose and foreknowledge of God) to die for our sins. He was delivered to death by Judas, and God knew this before the creation of Adam. So what am I saying? The Covenants show how immense God is, and how in control He is of our everyday lives. He gave the Mosaic Covenant as a teaching tool, knowing full well that no one would be able to live up to its standards. He knew, in His immensity, that if He offered the New Covenant first we'd have to ignore it and try to work our way to Heaven anyway. So He gave the harsher Covenant first, the Mosaic Covenant, and allowed us to sin and fail for several thousand years. Once it was ingrained into the righteous that they couldn't make it to Heaven by their works, the children of God began to seek His face for an answer to this dilemma - and God offered it in the New Covenant. He offered it knowing that most of Israel was still not ready to accept, but He knew that the Gentiles would be responsive to the Gospel after Christ's death. Israel walked away from the Covenant, but the Gentiles embraced its saving elements and were formed into the Church of Christ. Israel will one day, after being sufficiently punished, walk back toward the Covenants and the New Covenant will still be waiting for them. On that day, that joyous day, all of Israel shall be saved and Jesus will sit on His Millennial throne.
Types Of Covenants
There are two types of Covenants found in the Scripture, the Covenants of Works and the Covenants of Grace. The Covenants of Works required that BOTH God and man do something in order for the Covenant to remain intact. The Edenic Covenant was purely of works. As long as man guarded the Garden and refrained from eating the forbidden fruit, he and his wife enjoyed an idyllic life free from sin. Once man broke the Covenant he was abruptly cast out of the Garden, and his life was filled with sin and sadness. The Covenants of Work required man to act as a PARTNER with God in order to keep it intact. However, the Covenants of Grace was an unconditional promise from God to man. In Covenants of Grace God maintained the Covenant whether man obeyed or not. God may have withheld the enjoyment of the promise from man while he was in disobedience, but never dissolved the Covenant. If you repent, it was still waiting for you. The Palestinian and Abrahamic Covenants are good illustrations. Israel was promised a seed (through Abraham) and a land of their own. Though Israel repeatedly disobeyed God, the Lord was faithful to the Abrahamic Covenant and raised Abraham's seed up to be a great nation. Though Israel was disobedient, they eventually possessed the land, though they had to repent to gain the land. The first generation of Israel died in the desert, but the second generation, more susceptible to God's Word, entered the land. Yet they only got some of the land, and once (under King David's rule) had all of the 300,000 square miles of land due them, though it was later lost due to disobedience. One day Israel will possess all of the land, when all of Israel repents. The Palestinian Covenant is still in force.
God Calls Israel
Zechariah 12:10-11 "And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn. In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon."
The only thing that stands between Israel attaining the Covenant promises is their acceptance of Jesus Christ as Savior. They must "look upon Me whom they have pierced", God in the flesh, Messiah, Jesus Christ and repent of their sins. They must reach toward the Covenant of Grace just as the Gentiles have, like starving men reach for food, or drowning men reach for a life preserver. In recent times many mislead denominations have attacked the Southern Baptists for "targeting the Jews with the Gospel message". "Let us live together in harmony, we all believe in the same God, leave Israel alone". What a pitiful statement which shows how little many Christians understand the Covenants of God and Grace. What a heretical statement in comparison to what Paul said:
Romans 9:3 "For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh"
Who was willing to be damned to eternal hell if only his fellow Israelites would come to Christ. God waits with long-suffering for His people to come to Christ, and any effort we can make to evangelize them to Jesus should be applauded, not discouraged. How many ministers will stand before Christ and give an account for ignoring the proclamation of salvation through Him to Israel? The ultimate Covenant, the Covenant of God's Grace demands that all come to Christ, recognizing their inability to get to Heaven on their own.
Jesus was betrayed by Judas, this action being predetermined by God's Covenant of Grace (Luke 22.22). Jesus walked the earth, ministering for three years within the will, the Covenant of God (John 6.38-39; Ephesians 3.11). The Father called "other sheep", the Church, to the fold of Christ because it suited His Covenants (John 10.16), but never ignored the original sheep, Israel. The Covenants of God ultimately lead to the promise of eternal life (Titus 1.2), a promise that God made before the foundation of the world (2 Timothy 1.9). To refuse to witness the Gospel as Paul witnessed the Gospel to the Jews because of "political correctness" or "religious unity" is the most heinous, unScriptural, Satanic doctrine known to man, and totally outside of God's Covenant Will. You can show no Scriptural justification for such errant thought, such humanistic thought. When I first heard it I clearly saw Satan's hand in it, and once you understand God's Covenants you will, too.
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