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Old and New Covenants

TEXT: Heb 13:20-21 — 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 13:21 Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Introduction: What is a Covenant?

It is important to be able to answer, "how did we get here?" If we are to properly embrace the New Testament or the New Covenant.

  • What do we do as Believers saved by grace through faith, DO with the Old Testament and its included Covenant?
  • Do I know what to do with the Old Testament?
  • Do I know what to do with the New Testament?
  • Do I understand the relationships of Scripture beyond, "Well, the Bible says ..."
  • It is one thing to know what the Bible says, but it is the pursuit of a lifetime to know what it means.

convenant: a compact; confederacy; league; divine-human partnership

Made By God

  • God enters into 5 Key Convenants in the Bible.
  • God is the one who "makes"/"initiates" these covenants.
  • God is not bound by any natural law to make covenants with his creation and yet He enters into at least 5 of these agreements.
  • These covenants make up a significant part of the fabric of the Bible. Why does God make convenants?
  • Also each of these covenants are always estableshed as "eternal" or "everlasting".
  • These Covenants are inter-related as EVERY covenant God has made is consistent with WHO HE IS and his MIND that does not change. Each is invaluable as a schoolmaster, but we are living as Christians withine ONE COVENANT — the New Testament. There are also spirital LAWS introduced in each covenant that are immuteable and eternal.

Job 23:13 — But he is in one mind, and who can turn him? and what his soul desireth, even that he doeth.

There are at least 5, but they can also be considered as one developing plan. (Like a flower comming to blossom.) The particulars of each covenant are binding only to those between it was made. That is details made specifically with Israel cannot just be applied universally to all mankind. And yet because the "God" side of the equation is constant, each covenant progressively reveals to us the nature and intentions of God.

  • The details matter to God. Intentions, Motivations, Timing, etc.
  • God understands how the heart and mind of man works and He operates within that.
  • He desires unbroken fellowship (unity, coming to one) with the crown of his creation — mankind.

Relational in Nature

These God-made covenants are different from a contract as they are relational and personal in the same way a business contract to partner in business is different from a marriage covenant.

These covenants are made up of various promises and blessings on God's part, and commanded obligations or conditions on man's part accompanied by various signs and or ceremonies.

We can consider these covenants as defintions to the nature of mans relationship to God and God's relationship to man. We see that man will forget, break and turn away from his end of the arrangement over and over and yet we will see by contrast the persistance and faithfulness of God. God's actions work faithfully toward redemption and reconcilliation of the broken relationship with man.

  • Sin (the breaking of God's commands and rebellion against His will) sets man at odds with this Holy God.

Numbers 14:22 — Because all those men which have seen my glory, and my miracles, which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tempted me now these ten times, and have not hearkened to my voice;

James 4:4 — Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

Shared Purpose

As far as their reason, each covenant established a distinct shared purpose or goal.

  • Managing and Filling the Earth (the natural world)
  • Preserving and Multiplying Mankind physically
  • Developing and Maintaining a healthy (mutually beneficial) relatship between God and Man, spiritually.

God made man for a purpose and these convenants remind and motivate man in this purpose. By God making such convenants, he also is cementing the nature of man's existence as being an interection with God and His will. These covenants provide the bounds, definitions and meaning of man's existence.

Daniel 9:4 ¶ And I prayed unto the LORD my God, and made my confession, and said, O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments;

A covenant is more than applying universal principles and benefiting from them. To them that love him and keep his commandments. God's covenant making with man, brings man into cooperation with God.

Details are Revealed Progressively

  • Adam and Even (Genesis 2-4; Women's Seed & sacrifices)
  • Noah (Genesis 6 and 9 Salvation and Redemption & altars)
  • Abraham - Isaac - Jacob (Shiloh through Judah & circumcision) - Moses (Genesis 12,15,17,26,28; Exodus; detailed law)
  • David (Messiah through the line of David, a king and a kingdom)
  • Jesus (fully revealed)

Do Not Forget It (Give Attention to It)

forget: to mislay, i.e. to be oblivious of, from want of memory or attention

The nature of a Covenant is that the parties must not "forget" it: Deut. 4:23; Deut. 4:31; 2Ki 17:38; Ps 44:17; Jer 50:5

1. God's Convenant with Adam and Eve (Genesis 2-4)

Genesis 2:15 And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. 16 ¶ And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: 17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

God blessed Adam and Even with the Garden of Eden and commanded them to dress and keep it. God also gave a restriction to not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and even for if they do they would surely die.

a.Why Would God Place the Tree of the Knowledge of God and Evil in the Garden

  • INESCAPEABLE?: As long as we are in this world, we will have temptations.

1 Corinthians 10:13 — No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

  • PURPOSEFUL: God has a purpose in allowing temptation.

temptation: a putting to proof (by experiment (of good), experience (of evil), solicitation, discipline or provocation); by implication, adversity:--temptation, X try.

James 1:12 — Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. 13 ¶ Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: 14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.

  • God does not: entice, entrap, draw away
  1. Temptation can PROVE what we are made up. highlight what is in us (good/bad) - An Effective temptation pulls at something that is in us.

  2. Temptation can PROVE our commitment. (Fairweather Fanatic)

Luke 22:31 — And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: 32 But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. 33 And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death. Lu 22:34 And he said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me.

  1. Tempation can BUILD our resilence.

Ro 5:3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; 4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope: 5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

  1. Temptation reminds us to FULLY RELY ON GOD.

Mt 26:41 — Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.

Adam and Even, violate/break this covenant in the fall.

  • God tested the Obedience and Faith of Adam and Eve, with the placing of the tree of knowledge of good and evil in the garden.

  • There were consequences for this breaking of the covenant: serpent cursed, woman's multiplied sorrow and she will not be able to escape it for her subjection to her husband and Adam's work is cursed. Noone would enter the Garden of Eden again.

  • Was there a remedy or another covenant immediately provided?

Genesis 3:15 — And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

  • Not another covenant is made to remedy this broken one, just yet, but a promise is given that speaks one will be forth coming. And a covering of skins.

  • All bear in part the consquences of their breaking of this convent: (Original Sin)

Ps 51:5 — Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.

Romans 5:12 — Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

God's covenant with Adam and Eve established the nature of man's relationship to God concerning His will. God has a will and man's actions will be judged in light of that will.

  • Animals were slain for Adam and Eve's covering and their very souls died in the condemnation of sin.

2. God's Covenant with Noah and his Sons (Genesis 6 and 9)

In Genesis 6, v.13 The end of all flesh is come ... v.18 with thee [Noah] will I establish my convent

Genesis 6:18 — But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons' wives with thee.

  • Come into the ark ... the LORD shut them in ... rained 40 days and 40 nights .. waters prevailed 150 days on the earth (7:24)
  • God made a wind to pass over the earth and the waters aswaged (abated, become smaller or less intense) and returned after 150 days the waters were abated. ... the ark rest in the 7th month, 17th day on Mountains of Ararat (8:4)
  • waters decreased continually until the 10th month, 1st day tops of Mtns. were seen. ... After 40 days Noah sent raven ... then sent out a dove ... after 7 days sent dove again which returned with an olive leaf ... stay another 7 days and sent dove a 3rd time and it never returned.
  • (8:13) In the 601st year, 1st month, 1st da, Noah removed the covering of the ark and saw the face of the ground dry ... in the 2nd month, on the 27th day, the earh was dired and God tells Noah to go forth .. (8:20) Noah built an altar

Genesis 8:21,22 — And the LORD smelled a sweet savour; and the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done. 22 While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.

  • Genesis 8:21-22; 9:1-17
  • (9:1-17) God blessed Noah and his sons,
  • Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.
  • Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things.
  • But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat. (v.4,5)
  • (v.6) Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.
  • (v.9) I establish my covenant with you, and with your seed after you;
  • neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth.
  • This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: I do set my bow in the cloud,

This covenant included a promise of blessing, a command to be fruitful, mulitply and replenish the earth, restrictions concerning blood and taking a life, a promise to never destroy the earth again with a flood and an accompanying token — the rainbow. This covent was made not just with Noah but his children in perpetuity.

God's covenant with Noah established the partnership of God and man in the keeping and ruling of all of God's creation.

  • This covenant does not remedy what was broken in the garden. It gives order to a temporal problem, physical life and death and this present world, but does not remedy the world to come, the broken spiritual relationship with our creator.
  • A great death was the context of this convenant and establishing the imporantance of LIFE despite that fact.

3. God's Covenant with Abraham (Genesis 12,15,17)

Review

  • God has entered in to 5 Key Covenants with man: 1) Adam 2) Noah 3) Abraham 4)David and 5)Jesus (God made flesh)

  • We are not under all these convenants as New Testament Believers, but we are entered in 1: The Grace Covenant, the eternal convenant. But each preceding covenant holds tremendous value as progressive revelation of God and His will concerning man. Each Covenant is consistent and birthed out of the nature of who God is and his will and that never changes.

  • To help in understanding the duties of the Christian, it is often helpful to careful discern the "eternal principles" from the the "temporal ones" within each covenant. 1) Ceremonial (Of a Dispensation) 2) Civil (Of a Society, Community or People) and 3) Moral (of the eternal virtue of God).

  • The Moral Law is imposed through the conscience. That conscience is informed by experience: personal and historical, and the Word and the Spirit agreement. Who decides what is temporal or eternal? Does that mean we can just pick and choose the parts we like? ... We need the entire witness of Scripture and the Holy Ghost.

  • Every Covenant God has made with man is: 1) Inititated by God 2) Relational in Nature (Its terms and limits define the relationship:blessings, duty, but not transactional) 3) Are a Cooperation in a Shared Purpose 4) Details are Revealed Progressively 5) A duty to "remember", "do not forget", "mislay", "give attention to it"

  • Adamic Covenant: God made the world and then man in His own image. And entrusted Adam with keeping and caretaking God's creation. "To have dominion". Everything was free for the enjoyment, except the one tree. It was this one act of eating the fruit, that "broke the covenant". But it was a series of missteps that led to that fatal act. — would surely die. There has been a generational impact by their sin in the garden: sin has passed. Do not Kill was the law of the Garden of Eden ("the green herb for meat" Gen. 1:30). Also, the marriage relationship is created by God as part of this shared purpose of keeping the Garden. In the expelling from the Garden, God etablishes and "ceremonial" element of the sacrifical altar.

  • Noahic Covenant God restates that He is the judge of the sinner, but He is faithful to provide a covering/salvation. After the flood particularly God shares a purpose with man to replenish the earth (Genesis (9:1). There is a sign of the covenant, a rainbow (9:17), and God's promise not to destroy the world by a flood (9:11). New in Genesis 9:3 is that living things are now given for meat. (Do not Kill is modified to Do not Murder). But do not eat the blood. 9:6 Makes a distinction of murdering and killing. This was a general covenant with humanity as all following generations will sprint from Noah and His sons. (11:1 && 9:7) the whole earth.

  • Abraham Genesis 12:1-3

Genesis 17:2 — And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly.

Genesis 17:1-22

  • (1) I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect.
  • (2) will multiply thee exceedingly ... a father of many nation ... thy name shall be Abraham ... Sarah's name changed ... I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee.
  • The parties: (v.7) I [God] will establish my covenant between me and thee [Abraham] and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant,
  • The relationship established by this covenant is defined as: to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee
  • Land of Canaan is given as their possession
  • commanded and length: Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations.
  • ye shall keep, circumcision as a token of the covenant
  • I will establish my covenant with Isaac for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him. I will bless Ishmael and make him fruitful but the covenant is with Isaac.

God Establishes this covenant as tokenized by circumcision (progressively revealed):

  • first with Abraham, but then (Genesis 17)
  • Again with Isaac (Genesis 26)
  • Again with Jacob (Genesis 28)
  • Again with Moses and Israel in the Exodus (Exodus 6:5; 19:5)

Through Moses leadership, God expands the details of the obligations of His covenant with Israel (upon the rules concerning blood and living things and upon the sign of circumcision) in Moral/Civil Laws, Health Laws and religious ceremonies and rituals which included the Tabernacle (with an "ark of the Covenant", 45x's mentioned) and the Levitical Priesthood.

  • God confirms with convenant many times throughout Israel's History

Judges 2:1 — And an angel of the LORD came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said, I made you to go up out of Egypt, and have brought you unto the land which I sware unto your fathers; and I said, I will never break my covenant with you.

  • God confirms with David (Messiah shall come: Genesis 3:15)

2Sa 23:1 ¶ Now these be the last words of David. David the son of Jesse said, and the man who was raised up on high, the anointed of the God of Jacob, and the sweet psalmist of Israel, said, 2 The Spirit of the LORD spake by me, and his word was in my tongue. 3 The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God. 4 And he shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds; as the tender grass springing out of the earth by clear shining after rain. 5 Although my house be not so with God; yet he hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure: for this is all my salvation, and all my desire, although he make it not to grow.

  • Psalm 89:34; 103:17,18; 105:8-15,(38),42-45

  • Israel breaks this covenant MANY times The consequences of this breaking are great:

Isa 24:5-7 The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant. 6 Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate: therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left. 7 The new wine mourneth, the vine languisheth, all the merryhearted do sigh.

  • and yet God repeatedly reminds them, that He will not break his convenant with them. (Judges 2:1)

**God's covenant with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and ultimately the Jewish people established an exclusive spiritual marriage (and that an eternal concept) where God would represent Himself as "their God" and they would represent themselves as "God's people". This is the first step in redeeming man after the fall in the garden.

  • The blood of millions of animals is shed in the keeping of this covenant and blood is shed in the circumcision.

4. God's Covenant with David ()

God also makes a particular covenant with David. Israel eventaully are infected with a desire to be like other nations and be ruled by king instead of by God through his chosen prophets and judges. God gives them what they want as a judgment in giving them Saul as their king. Saul starts out good but his relationship with God corrups to the point, he dies as one that had never been anointed (2 Samuel 1:21). David is Saul's successor and not by accident, but is a particular part of God's plan of redemption and reconcilliation.

  • David is a man after God's own heart

Acts 13:22 — And when he had removed him [Saul], he raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will.

Psalm 132:12 — If thy children will keep my covenant and my testimony that I shall teach them, their children shall also sit upon thy throne for evermore.

  • David and his descendants must remain faithful to God, following the covenantal laws. However, despite David and his sons' failures, God keeps his promise to provide a faithful descendant of David to reign — the Messiah.

  • fulfilll all my will Not satisfied in the David personally, but through GRACE in Jesus.

  • Messiah (at the end of David's life he testifies)

2 Smauel 23:4 — And he shall be as the light of the morning …

5. The New Covenant/Grace through Jesus

Jeremiah 31:31-34 — Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: 32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: 33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.

Heb 8:8 For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:

Matthew 5:17 — Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.

Hebrews 12:24 — And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.

Hebrews 8:12,13 — For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more. 13 In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.

Old and New ("The Old is Better")

  • It is not accurate to say that the Covenant of Grace is a continuation of the Old Covenant. Scripture describes these clearly as Old and New.

Lu 5:36-39 — And he spake also a parable unto them; No man putteth a piece of a new garment upon an old; if otherwise, then both the new maketh a rent, and the piece that was taken out of the new agreeth not with the old. 37 And no man putteth new wine into old bottles; else the new wine will burst the bottles, and be spilled, and the bottles shall perish. 38 But new wine must be put into new bottles; and both are preserved. 39 No man also having drunk old wine straightway desireth new: for he saith, The old is better.

The miraculous draught of fishes-the cleansing of the leper-the healing of the paralytic person-the calling of Levi-and the parable of the old and new bottles, and the old and new wine-all are related in this chapter.

  • The New cloth cause the old to be rent.
  • Violence of the fermentation would burst the goat skin bottle.

ADAM CLARKE: The institutes of Christ, and those of the Pharisees, could never be brought to accord: an attempt to combine the two systems would be as absurd [as illustrated in cloth and wine].

  • This New Covenant is the Final dispensation of God's grace.

Understanding the New through the Old

  • But it is made by God out of the same purpose that God had when He made the previous covenants — a whole and unbroken relationship with man.
  • The Old Covenant is Enlightening without in itself being binding to the N.T. Beleiver.
  • The Old Covenant made way for the new.
  • You cannot incorporate the New Covenant within the Old Covenant.
  • CARE MUST BE TOKEN WHEN REFERRING TO THE OLD COVENANT:

[ADAM CLARKE] Christian prudence requires that the weak, and newly converted, should be managed with care and tenderness. To impose such duties and mortifications as are not absolutely necessary to salvation, before God has properly prepared the heart by his grace for them, is a conduct as absurd and ruinous as putting a piece of raw, unscoured cloth on an old garment; it is, in a word, requiring the person to do the work of a man, while as yet he is but a little child.

What Does this Covenant Entail?

Hebrews 9

Heb 10:16 This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;

Heb 10:29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?

Heb 12:24 And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.

Condensed Outline