The Role of Covenant in the Bible
April 3, 2013
The bible is a book filled with many different themes and lessons, most of them having a direct root in the idea of human nature. One reoccurring theme or event rather, that stood out to me was the idea of covenant in the bible. Covenant plays a huge role in the Christian religion, and it could even be said that it holds the whole basis of Christianity. There are quite a few covenants throughout the bible made between God and man. Webster’s New World Dictionary defines the word covenant as “A binding and solemn agreement to do or keep from doing a specified thing; compact, a will, or an agreement made by or between two or more parties; orig., a covenant, esp. one between God and man; a statement, act, etc. testifying to the fact, validity, or worth of something; testimonial”. The covenant resembles powerful ancient codes and treaties. In ancient times of the bible, covenants were as easy to understand as the fact that you breathe in and out to live. A marriage is a covenant; a friendship was not made unless you made a covenant with the other person. Covenants were made every day, all the time, and they were never to be broken. Covenants between men can only be broken by death. The biblical covenant, however, represents not only a contractual agreement but also a powerful, passionate, relationship between god and humanity. There are two different types of covenants in the bible; conditional and unconditional. Conditional covenants are based on the fact that there is an agreement that both parties must comply with, otherwise the covenant may be broken. God gives man certain conditions that must be followed through on in order for him to keep his side of the bargain. Unconditional covenants are ones in which God promises to keep no matter the circumstances. He obligates himself to fulfill the promises he has made. “Know therefore that the lord thy god, he is god, the faithful god, witch keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations;” (Deuteronomy 7:9) this is an example of how god always keeps his promises. The bible is broken into two documents, the Old Testament and the New Testament. But it seems based on some passages from the bible, it could maybe, more accurately, be called the old and new Covenant. Moses calls the bible “the book of the covenant”. “And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said all that the lord hath said we will do, and be obedient.”(Exodus 24:7) This would make sense because most of the events in the bible have to do with the covenant. They are either god making a covenant, man obeying the covenant, man breaking the covenant, the results of the covenant, or the covenant being fulfilled. There is some variation on how many covenants there are in the bible. Some seem to think there are five worth talking about, some seven, and some eight. I am going to brush on six of the possible covenants in the bible. There seems to be a reoccurring format for the different covenants, broken up into three parts. Some of them are hard for me to identify a certain part but the basic structure seems to be there. The possible exception to this three part structure might be an unconditional covenant. The structure consists of three parts: A promise or promises, conditions made by god, and a seal that closes the covenant, makes it final or unbreakable. The first biblical covenant in the bible is the Edenic covenant; it is made between god and Adam, (Adam representing the human race). The promises are made by god, in which he blesses them and says that they will be fruitful and multiply, they will be workers of the earth and have domain over the fish in the sea and the birds in the air and all of the living things that move upon the earth. And God says that the plants will yield themselves to them. God promised all of this and more, but then comes...
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