Older, Old, and New Covenant


My friend Dee Gredler has a Masters in Divinity and is the Christian Education and Small Groups Leader at Anchor Community Church. She is the friend I call when I have a biblical question and this is one of the subjects she teaches on quite regularly. I’m excited and I hope you are too. God’s Word is full of treasure and today we have a teacher that will help us dig out a few more precious gems.

I had to smile when she asked the question.  “What’s this with an old and a new part of the Bible?”  It sounded so much like the questions I asked after I first began to follow Jesus.  I also pronounced the “p” in Psalms and thought the italicized words were meant to be emphasized (although that didn’t make any sense when I tried it).
Such a big book, so old, so many questions!  But the question she asked really goes to the heart of the matter when it comes to understanding the overall work of God as He lays it out in the Bible.

Throughout history God has used the concept of covenant to define His relationship with people.  Covenant is a word that doesn’t have much meaning for us today.  We know what homeowner covenants are but we don’t really have a clue as to what a covenant is as it’s understood in the Bible. There are echoes of covenant around today even though we don’t realize that they have anything to do with covenants.
You might have heard of blood brothers (or blood sisters).  Two people make a cut in their finger or hand until it bleeds and then they rub the cuts together so that the blood mingles.  The idea is that now each person has some of the other person’s blood in him which now makes them one.  And they will always be one.  After all, there’s no way to remove the other person’s blood after it’s been mixed with yours.   Or how about the bride and groom feeding each other the wedding cake after the
wedding?  This goes back to the practice of a covenant meal when the two people would kill an animal, cook it and then feed it to one another.  The idea was
that they were giving each other their body to “eat” and so were forever united
as one.  If you get the idea that covenants were serious, binding and irrevocable then you’ve got the right idea.

There are many instances of covenants in the Bible but there are three major ones that God invited people to enter into with Him.  These three covenants
are the Abrahamic covenant (made between God and Abraham), the Old Covenant or
the Law (made between God and the nation of Israel) and the New Covenant (made
between God and whoever chooses to enter into it by faith in Jesus Christ as
their substitute for sin).

It was through the Abrahamic covenant that God began building the nation of Israel.  All covenants include promises and God made three basic promises to Abraham in the Abrahamic covenant.  The first was that the land now known as Israel would belong to Abraham and his descendants forever.  God also promised that Abraham’s descendants would be more numerous than the stars in the sky.  Finally, there was the promise of a special descendant, Jesus Christ, through whom all the world would be blessed.  And while there were ways that some of Abraham’s descendants could be cut off from the promises of the covenant, there would always be vast numbers who were included as heirs of these promises.  Knowing about this covenant is foundational to understanding the story of God bringing people back to Himself even though they had rejected Him.  While at this point you might be thinking, “So what?” it is definitely important that we understand about these three covenants.
We’ll look at the other two in the next few weeks.

 

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Comments

  1. Thanks Dee. I can’t wait for the rest. This post explained covenant in such a way that I can understand it.

  2. Great Job Dee. Loved the post.

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