God’s Covenant – Preface

Preaching the Word of God

God is Faithful…Preface …God’s Covenant

The Lord God is a faithful God and keeps His covenant for a thousand generations

The above phrase is a paraphrase from Deuteronomy 7:9 of God’s Holy Word, the Bible. Notice that the word covenant is singular, not plural. There are several Scripture references used throughout this series of lectures that will reference God’s Everlasting covenant. There are sixteen verses in the King James Version that reference God’s Everlasting Covenant. These sixteen verses are listed in appendix A. Literally this would mean that God has a single Everlasting Covenant, which He progressively revealed starting with Adam, then to Noah, Abraham, Moses, and David, and fulfilled in Jesus Christ our Lord.

The first occurrence is to Noah in Genesis 9:16 and the last is about Jesus’ blood in Hebrews 13:20 and with a number from the prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel, who prophesy the covenant culminating in Christ. Everlasting/Eternal means forever, therefore this Everlasting Covenant is still in effect today.

Heb 13:20 Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant,

Our study begins with the thought that “in the beginning” God.  God has always existed, and He created man for His pleasure. From the very point of creation, God deals with man through a Covenant relationship. God’s covenant defines both the boundaries of the freedom which He has granted man and man’s responsibilities to love God and keep His commandments. God determines the rules (terms) of this Covenant relationship and man has no input. Our first exposure to this concept is when God commands Adam not to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Adam had no input but was bound by it.

Also, we need to realize that God is all-knowing, all-powerful, and unchanging which are only a few of God’s traits. However, these are mentioned here to reinforce that God’s requirement of Adam (man) has not changed and his requirement covenant with Adam is still in effect and could be considered as the basis of God’s Everlasting Covenant when speaking to Noah to Noah.

This commandment to Adam is the foundation of God’s covenant relationship with His creation. The term covenant was not used (but implied) when He gave Adam this command, however, thousands of years later, God in the book of Hosea, God tells Israel that they like Adam have broken His Covenant.

A Covenant is similar to what we call a contract or treaty today. A Covenant defines the terms of the agreement which includes both the benefits and penalties. In the Bible, these benefits are sometimes called rewards or blessings and are received for keeping the Covenant and the penalties or punishments for breaking the Covenant are sometimes called curses.

The punishment for breaking the Covenant was death and the reward for keeping it was life (eternal).

We need to always remember that God has determined the terms of this covenant relationship. He is the superior party. It is for His glory. Man has no input into its terms and conditions, but the Covenant is binding to everything God has created. There is no negotiating. God’s Covenant is binding to all humans past, present, and future. Since creation, every person has lived under the same Covenant relationship with God.

Starting with God’s warning to Adam of don’t eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. God has progressively revealed this Everlasting (eternal) Covenant to man. In each revelation, God delegates freedom of choice to mankind. Each revelation emphasizes rewards (blessings) for those who accept (obey) the terms (commandments) and punishment (curse) for those who reject (disobey) the terms.

God’s first recorded use of the word Covenant was with Noah. In one of these references to Noah, God said when I see the rainbow, I will remember the eternal covenant with all living creatures. However, this was not God’s first revelation of a Covenant relationship to man, because we have already seen that the book of Hosea calls God’s relationship with Adam and Eve a Covenant.

God’s purpose for creating mankind was for His pleasure. He has a desire for a people to whom He will be their God, they will be His people, and He will dwell with them. God’s desired relationship with mankind is defined by His Everlasting Covenant. It is not revealed in a single Scripture reference but is progressively revealed, a composite of revelations. God’s Covenant revelation starts with Adam and ends with the second Adam who is Christ. Therefore, one of the major themes of the Bible is the revelation of this Everlasting Covenant relationship.

The key element of God’s Everlasting Covenant is God’s revelation of His covenant relationship with man culminates in Christ. This culmination of the covenant in Christ was planned by God before the world was created. The Bible states that this was kept a mystery, because if man knew they would not have crucified Jesus (1 Cor 2:7-8).

1 Cor 2:7-8 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: [8] Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

Due to God’s unchanging nature, all of God’s Covenant revelations are progressively cumulative and eternal. God is unchanging and all-knowing, therefore He will never revoke or change this Everlasting Covenant. Each revelation builds on the previous one and ultimately is fulfilled in Christ when He comes for His bride the church.

Progressive Covenantalism is a recent theological concept that results in a similar understanding of God’s Covenant relationship to man.

Jesus said that He came not to abolish the Law but fulfill it and not one letter or portion of a letter of the Law would pass until the heavens and earth pass away. God’s Law is a key ingredient (heart) of this Covenant relationship. Therefore the fulfillment of this Everlasting Covenant will not be complete until Christ comes again.

Understanding Jesus and His crucifixion (death, burial, and resurrection) is the key to understanding God’s Everlasting Covenant relationship with man. This is the unifying message of the Bible.

All of God’s covenant revelations terminate in fulfillment of God’s promises that a SEED of Eve, Abraham, and David (Jesus Christ) would crush the head of Satan.

Understanding our Covenant relationship with God is foundational in building our faith. God’s Everlasting Covenant planned before creation and initiated with the first Adam and completed in the second Adam (Christ) is still in effect and will be completely fulfilled when Jesus comes again for His bride, the church. This event will complete His final step in the Everlasting  Covenant revelation. This event is revealed in the book of Revelation.

My prayer is that “Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the Everlasting Covenant (Heb 13:20) might equip us with all that we may need to do His will.

This is the first of several lectures on “God’s Eternal Covenant”. This series of lectures was developed from a Christ-centered hermeneutic (redemptive) which interprets all of Scripture through the lens of Jesus Christ. Said another way, these lectures use the hermeneutic of the Emmaus road. On the Emmaus road, Jesus starts with Moses and the Prophets (Old Testament) and interprets all of Scripture concerning Himself.

In these lectures, we will look at the Bible through this lens with a focus on the belief that God’s Word progressively reveals Himself from Genesis to the book of Revelation. This concept is one of the foundations for the school of Biblical Theology and agrees with the newer concept of “Redemptive Theology”, therefore the progressive concept of Biblical Theology has greatly influenced these lectures.

The basic foundation of Biblical Theology is that it interprets the Bible as a progressive revelation of God that starts in Genesis and is complete at the end of the Book of Revelation. This approach is consistent with Paul’s statement that he preached “nothing but Jesus and Him crucified”. This is a Christ-centered hermeneutic, interpreting God’s revelation of His Covenant as a progressive process ending with the final revelation of Jesus. It is also consistent with the Christ-centered approach of Paul and the fourfold sequence of “Creation, Fall, Redemption, and Restoration” of Redemptive Theology”.

The book of Hebrews (possibly written by Paul) ends with the statement/prayer “Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well-pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom [be] glory forever and ever. Amen.” (Hbr 13:20-21)

As we continue these lectures we will do so encouraging that you and I always be mindful of another thought/prayer from the book of Hebrews, “let us run the race of life laying aside all the sins that encumber us a run with our eyes focused on Jesus the author and finisher of our faith, amen.”

This series of lessons on God’s Everlasting (Eternal) Covenant were written about 15 years ago. In recent years a new theological concept named “Progressive Covenantalism” looks at this subject through a different but related set of lens.

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