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Biblical Covenants, what's that got to do with me?

 

The one thing I love about my God is He teaches me something new almost every day. Hence the Scripture, “seek and you will find…”

 

Over the past several weeks I have been learning about Biblical Covenants.  At first, if I am being honest, I thought this particular class was just some FYI type stuff.  I mean covenants are Old Testament stuff, right, so who really cares?  WRONG.

 

I am going to dedicate the next few blog post to this study on two of the seven covenants I have been learning about.  First is the Adamic Covenant or The Covenant of Works and second is the New Covenant or The Covenant of the Christ.  These are the two the Lord spoke to me about in specific to share with anyone who the Holy Spirit brings to this prayer site and reads this.  You will understand why as the blog progresses so don’t miss one, ok?

 

What is a covenant anyway?  Webster’s dictionary defines covenant as:

 

 “a formal agreement or promise. Law: a formal written agreement between two or more people, businesses, countries, etc.” 

 

According to Strong’s Concordance Online the Hebrew word for covenant is Berith and appears 280 times in the Old Testament.  The Greek word is diatheke and is used approx. 33 times in the New Testament. There are of course variations of the word covenant but I shall allow you to dig deeper into this on your own.

 

In my studies, I have found there are two types of covenants (websites are not sited as there are many which use these exact same explanations):

1) Conditional Covenant—a bilateral covenant in which a proposal of God to man is characterized by the formula: if you will, then I will, whereby God promises to grant special blessings to man providing man fulfills certain conditions contained in the covenant.  If man fails to honor his part of the covenant then the result is punishment.  Blessings are secured by obedience and man must meet his conditions before God will meet His. (Some might refer to this definition as an oath.)

 

 

2) Unconditional Covenant—a unilateral covenant which is a sovereign act of God whereby He unconditionally obligates Himself to bring to pass definite blessings and conditions for the covenanted people.  This covenant is characterized by the formula: I will, which declares God’s determination to do as He promises.  Blessings are secured by the grace of God.  There may be conditions in the covenant by which God requests the covenanted one to fulfill out of gratitude but they are not themselves the basis of God’s fulfilling his promises. 

 

 

As we begin with the Adamic Covenant, I believe it is important for us to understand God has always had a plan.  While things may come into our lives that surprise us, this is not the case for God.  He is omniscience, an all knowing God.  He knew Adam would fall and He already had a plan for mankind.  This is what the Holy Scriptures are all about, God’s plan.  Nothing could have driven this home for me more perfectly than this study God brought into my life.  This deepens my desire to know God’s Word even more fully. 

 

The Adamic Covenant is one God made with Adam.  When God placed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, they had all they would ever need. This place was paradise, y’all!  It was beautiful, food was everywhere, tilling the ground was easy, and they wanted for nothing.  The only restriction God gave Adam and Eve was they were not to eat from the tree in the middle of the garden.  There was no misunderstanding in what God meant.  There was no failure to communicate here.  Eve herself repeated God’s instructions to the serpent in Genesis 3:3,


    3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.


Not only were they not to eat it, Eve added they were not even to touch it!  We all know the story, the serpent deceived her and she ate the tree’s forbidden fruit.  She then gave the fruit to Adam who willingly ate the fruit he knew was prohibited.  Outright disobedience. 

 

God gave Adam a conditional covenant.  The terms were simple. Adam was not to eat of the tree in the middle of the garden.  The condition was if he did eat from it then he would die, not only physical death but spiritual death.    

 

God’s promise to Adam, if he had obeyed, was everlasting life in a protected place.  A life in a garden where God provided His presence, His power and His provisions for Adam and Eve.   Adam possessed a perfect life without defect.  There was no deterioration, no curse, nothing undefiled and no aging.  His emotions were never wounded, or harmed.  God walked with him in the garden. (Genesis 3:8)  They were friends.

 

When Adam ate from the fruit, he lost the Holy Image of God.  He lost his friendship with God and he lost his authority over all the things God had given to him.  Once this happened, then the curses began and God began with the serpent.  Have you ever wondered what does this have to do with us? Everything. 

 

Adam had one command—to not eat from the tree.  He broke it.  By doing so he passed sin on to all of us.  To put it mildly, things changed for all mankind.  We are now apart from God.  How are we ever to get back in communion with God?  Thankfully God has a plan.  (BTW—He always does.)  

When God curses the serpent in v.14-15, He reveals His plan.  (hint...Look closely at v. 15):


14Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field; on your belly you shall go and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. 15I will put enmity between you and the woman and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head and you shall bruise his heel.”

 

In verse 14 God is cursing the serpent however in verse 15 many believe there is a significant switch and God is now cursing Satan.  The last part of verse-15- is often labeled the protoevangelium or the first gospel.  Adam’s sin and God’s provision of a Savior who takes the curse upon Himself.    The ESV Commentary says this:



“…it has traditionally been understood as pointing forward to the defeat of the serpent by a future descendant of the woman, and this interpretation fits well with the words and context. This defeat is implied by the serpent’s being bruised in the head, which is more serious than the offspring of Eve being bruised in the heel….This interpretation requires that the serpent be viewed as more than a mere snake, something which the narrative itself implies, given the serpent’s ability to speak and the vile things he says. While the present chapter does not explicitly identify the serpent with Satan, such an identification is a legitimate inference and is clearly what the apostle John has in view in Rev. 12:9 and 20:2.”

 

We must always take God’s Word as a full text.  He has a beginning plan and an end plan.  His plan started with Adam.  Adam failed but God provided an escape plan.  God’s plan ends with Salvation through His one and only Son Jesus Christ. 

 

Tune in next time for the New Covenant/The Covenant of the Christ.  It will knock your socks off!

 

Always loving our Lord,

 

Lori Robbins  

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