Covenant (biblical) - Wikipedia
The covenant meaning of binding or establishing an relationship between two parties is often mentioned in the Bible - both between people and God. Learn the to a marriage. The biblical words most often translated "covenant" are berit [tyir. For this reason, we've entitled this lesson, "The People of the Covenant. what special role came to the people of Israel through covenant relationship; and then, . As God's covenant emissaries, Old Testament prophets focused most of their. A biblical covenant is a religious covenant that is described in the Bible. All Abrahamic religions consider biblical covenants important. The Hebrew Bible contains the Noahic Covenant (in Genesis), which is between God and all people , as well as a number of more specific covenants Most Christians believe this New Covenant is the "replacement" or "final.
This is evident from the blood element of the covenant. The blood of the covenant recognizes that there is a need for forgiveness in order for God to have a relationship with imperfect people.
The nation of Israel offered sacrifices. So, built within the covenant was provision for forgiveness. The Ark of the Covenant provides evidence of the relation of the commandments, forgiveness, God and the people Deut.
It contained the ten commandment regulations. The Mercy Seat upon which blood was sprinkled was on top of the regulations. All of this represented the covenant relationship God had with His people Israel. So, coming back to the necessity of obedience—It is necessary and appropriate, but there will be occasional violations. Thus, the mercy seat and the blood sprinkled for forgiveness. Such occasional violations did not mean that they were no longer in relationship with God.
But when they forsook Him and went and served other gods this constituted a breaking of the covenant. They were taken into Assyrian and Babylonia captivity, and God withdrew His presence from them because they had broken covenant with Him Jer. This led to God establishing a new covenant Jer. This covenant also involves blood sacrifice Matt. This means that this covenant does not involve perfect obedience.
It includes an element of forgiveness in which sins are remembered no more. However, it definitely involves faithfulness loyaltysubmission and obedience.
The book of Hebrews has much to say about this covenant. It is better 8: The first had regulations associated with an earthly tabernacle; the new has a greater more perfect tabernacle Heb.
The blood used obtains eternal redemption 9: I will repair its broken places and restore its ruins, and build it as it used to be. His covenant was so important to them that they mention David by name thirty-four times.
The New Covenant Of course, we would be remiss if we do not mention that Old Testament prophets were also aware of a covenant that was still in their future. I have in mind here the New Covenant, which God made through Christ.
He Gave Us Prophets: People of the Covenant
What were the main concerns of this New Covenant? The New Covenant may be characterized by one word: All the promises given to God's people in the earlier covenants with Abraham, Moses, and David, were to be realized in the period of the New Covenant. The people of God would be numerous and inherit the entire earth as their land.
The law of Moses will be written in the heart and obeyed from the heart. The Son of David, the great Son of David, would reign on the throne forever. How were the prophets influenced by this New Covenant? Well, the Old Testament prophets longed for the day of this grand covenant. For example, Jeremiah spoke of the New Covenant in Jeremiah chapter 31 verse The prophet Ezekiel spoke of this future covenant as well.
In chapter 34 verse 25 we read these words in Ezekiel: I will bless them. And as we learn about Old Testament prophets, we'll see them anticipating this New Testament covenant time and again. The covenants that God established with Israel guided the Old Testament prophets in all that they did. They understood that God had a special role for the nation of Israel, and that the covenants with Abraham, Moses, and David, and even the New Covenant, guided Israel in that special role.
And so when prophets ministered to God's people, they ministered within the confines of these special covenants God had made with his people. So far in this lesson on the people of the covenant we've seen that Old Testament prophets served as emissaries of God's covenants with humanity in general and with Israel.
All the people of the earth were subject to the universal covenants with Adam and Noah. But the Israelites and Gentiles who converted to their faith were in very special covenants with God.
They were separated from the rest of humanity. At this point, we need to look at one other aspect of the people of the covenant. How did the prophets understand salvation in the covenant community?
Under the influence of revivalism, many times we divide the human race into two tidy groups-those who are saved and those who are not saved, or the regenerate and the unregenerate.
Now, don't get me wrong, that distinction is very important because people are either saved or not saved, or, regenerate or not regenerate. But at the same time, these are not the categories that Old Testament prophets thought in terms of.
One of the best ways to understand how prophets understood salvation is to make distinctions between three different kinds of people in the world: Outside Covenant Consider the first category of those who were outside of the covenant. In reality, this is the most obvious category of people that the prophets followed.
These are people outside of the covenants God made with Israel. When God chose the nation of Israel and gave her special covenants in Moses, Abraham, and David, this choice of Israel meant that other nations of the earth were not among the chosen people.
With rare exceptions of people like Ruth and Rahab, Gentiles were separated from God's people and therefore outside of these special covenants with the nation. As we have seen, the prophets believed that Gentiles were bound to the universal covenants of Adam and Noah. The basic structures of judgment and redemption in those covenants applied to all nations. But at the same time, during the days of the Old Testament, those outside of the covenant community, or outside of Israel's special covenant relationship with God, these people were cut off from the possibility of salvation.
Their sin had left them without hope in the world. Paul spoke this way about Gentiles in the book of Ephesians. In Ephesians chapter 2 verses 11 and 12 he says these words: Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth They were outside of the covenant and, with rare exception, very distant from the possibility of salvation which came through the covenants with Israel. Visible Covenant Most Christians have little trouble understanding the category of Gentiles as outside of the covenant, but I have found that difficulties begin to arise when we move to the second category of people in the prophetic outlook-people within the visible community of Israel.
When we speak of the visible covenant community, we have in mind all of those in the Old Testament days who were a part of the nation of Israel. This category included both true believers and those who were not true believers.
Perhaps one of the best ways to introduce this covenant category is to reach back into older Protestant theology. Although older Protestants used different terms than the prophets did, Protestant theologians from the past have described the church in ways that parallel the prophets' way of thinking about the covenant community of Israel.
I have in mind here the traditional designation of the "visible church. The visible church consists of all those throughout the world that profess the true religion and of their children; and is the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ, the house and family of God out of which there is no ordinary possibility of salvation.
This description of the visible church alerts us to two features of the visible covenant community. First, the visible church includes more than true believers. Many people who come to church simply claim to follow Christ, but these unbelievers have been separated from the world by their association with the Christian faith. They have placed themselves in the membership of the church, but they are still not eternally redeemed from their sins. Beyond this, it is important to notice the special titles given to the visible church.
It sounds strange to our ears, but according to traditional Protestant theology, the visible church, mixed with believers and unbelievers, may rightly be called the "Church," the "Kingdom," the "House of God," and the "Family of God. But according to traditional theology, these terms are general titles embracing everyone who is within the visible church whether they are eternally redeemed or not.
When we read Old Testament prophets it's not difficult to see that they thought in similar ways about the visible nation of Israel.
This category of the visible covenant community helps us understand many passages in the prophets. For instance, the first chapters of Hosea present a striking contrast of terms used to describe the visible covenant community. In chapter 1 verses 3 through 9, Hosea announces great curses to come upon northern Israel.
He does this by giving his three children names that predicted tremendous curses. He named one child Jezreel, recalling the destruction that took place in Israel in the days of Jehu. This child symbolized that God was threatening to destroy Israel. Hosea named his second child Lo-Ruhamah; her name meant, "not loved by God. This child symbolized that God's covenant blessings would soon be withdrawn from the nation. Hosea's third child was called Lo-Ammi; "not my people.
At the same time, however, Hosea also gave hope to those who were about to fall under God's judgment of exile. The prophet assured the nation of Israel that restoration to the land would take place one day. To convey this hope, Hosea recalled the terrible names that he gave his children once again. In chapter 1, verse 10, he says that Jezreel will take place again, but this time he does not mean that God will fight against his people.
Instead, God will fight against the enemies of Israel. Beyond this, when God returns the Israelites to their land after exile, he will rename them "Ruhamah," "loved by God," according to chapter 2 verse 1.
In that day, those who were called "not my people" will become "Ammi," "my people. The rest of Scripture makes it plain that Hosea was not talking about these people as having salvation, then losing it and getting salvation again. Instead, this is covenant language. With these special titles, Hosea is announcing that God will withdraw His covenant blessings but then one day renew his covenant, and Israel will receive God's blessings again. There are many terms that we normally reserve in our vocabulary for true believers that the prophets applied to the visible covenant community of Israel.
When we use terms like, "elect" or "chosen," we usually mean elect for salvation.
What is a Covenant? Bible Definition and Meaning
But the prophets did not mean this very often. Instead, they used the term "elect" or "chosen" to describe the people who are in the visible covenant community whether they were true believers or not. For this reason, in Isaiah chapter 14 in verse 1 we read these words: The Lord will have compassion on Jacob; once again he will choose [elect] Israel. As strange as it sounds to our ears, in the vocabulary of the prophets people can be chosen by God, rejected, and then chosen again.
This is because God's election in the prophetic vocabulary is not election to salvation but election to covenant blessing. The elect are those who were in the visible covenant community, and that community included both believers and unbelievers. Even in the New Testament, sometimes the term elect is used in this way.
When Jesus said in John chapter 6 verse Yet one of you is a devil! He does not speak of eternal salvation. Invisible Community Now we come to the third category of people with whom the prophets dealt-the invisible covenant community. Once again, traditional Protestant theology gives us some help in this area. Within the visible church, there is a select group known as the "invisible church. Consists of the whole number of the elect, that have been, are, or shall be gathered into one, under Christ, the Head thereof; and is the spouse, the body, the fullness of Him that filleth all in all.
In this confessional statement, the invisible church is described from God's perspective. It's defined from an eternal perspective as the full number of human beings who will come to saving faith and will spend eternity in the blessing of God. From this description of the invisible church, we can see at least two basic ideas. First, the invisible church is made up of true believers only.
These true believers are within the visible church, but they have exercised saving faith, and as a result they enter into the smaller community of the invisible church.
Second, we can see that the invisible church has a secure destiny of salvation. Noahic covenant[ edit ] Noah's Thanksoffering c. Noah builds an altar to the Lord after being delivered from the Flood ; God sends the rainbow as a sign of his covenant. Covenant of the pieces The covenant found in Genesis 12—17 is known as the Brit bein HaBetarim, the "Covenant Between the Parts" in Hebrew, and is the basis for brit milah covenant of circumcision in Judaism.
The covenant was for Abraham and his seed, or offspring,  both of natural birth and adoption. By contrast, Genesis 17 contains the covenant of circumcision conditional.
To make of Abraham a great nation and bless Abraham and make his name great so that he will be a blessing, to bless those who bless him and curse him who curses him and all peoples on earth would be blessed through Abraham. To make Abraham the father of many nations and of many descendants and give "the whole land of Canaan " to his descendants.
In Hebrew, the verb meaning to seal a covenant translates literally as "to cut". It is presumed by Jewish scholars that the removal of the foreskin symbolically represents such a sealing of the covenant. It is the obligation of the master to his servant and involves gifts given to individuals who were loyal serving their masters. In the covenant with Abraham in Genesis 15, it is God who is the suzerain who commits himself and swears to keep the promise.
In the covenant there are procedures of taking the oath, which involve a smoking oven and a blazing torch.