God's Plan of Salvation
The Covenants - Part 1
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7 Keys

Noahic Covenant

Abrahamic Covenant

Mosaic Covenant

Palestinian Covenant

Part 2 of the Covenants of God

For a little while, it was very good

In the beginning, God...

  • Gave the human race a healthy world, free of disease and death.
  • Commanded us to fill our world and keep it healthy.
  • Further commanded us to choose life and shun death.

Right from the very beginning, we humans have chosen to poison the earth, and to die rather than obey God.

  Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. Gen 1.31a

Then God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply;
fill the earth and subdue it
Gen 1.28

(God said...) "but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.'' Gen 2.17

And then it became very bad

Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned Rom 5.12

We know that
the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Rom 8.22
  Following Adam's refusal to believe and obey God, sin and death entered the human race. And now all creation groans with a terminal illness.

Even until today our philosophy has not changed.
We still choose death rather than God.

God's plan to restore the good

The plans of the LORD stand firm forever,
The purposes of his heart through all generations.
Ps 33.11

From the beginning, God formed a plan to redeem us from sin and death.

  • God DEVELOPED His Plan of Salvation in eternity past, as explained on Bible Bell's web page entitled "The Saga of Jesus - before time began."
  • God ACTIVATED His Plan of Salvation, step-by-step, during the time periods recorded in the Bible. The step-by-step activation of God's Plan is primarily recorded in seven KEY covenants between God and people.

The meaning of "covenant"

As shown in the verses alongside, the words translated as "covenant" are berith (OT Hebrew) and diatheke (NT Greek). Both words carry essentially the same meaning; namely...

  • A covenant is an agreement between two or more persons to do or refrain from doing some act.
  • "Covenant" is basically synonymous with "contract" or "treaty."

In the Biblical covenants, God is the person who makes the covenants. People and nations are the "party of the second part."

  (God said to Noah...) "But I will establish My covenant (berith) with you; and you shall go into the ark you, your sons, your wife, and your sons' wives with you."
Gen 6.18

(Jesus said...) "For this is My blood of the new covenant (diatheke), which is shed for many for the remission of sins."
Mt 26.28

Two part essay

To have a fuller understanding of God's Plan of Salvation, you need to understand God's covenants. Giving you that understanding is the goal of this two-part essay. What you are now reading is Part 1. A link to Part 2 is at the end of this page.

7 keys

There are seven KEY covenants made by God with people and nations.

Part 1 of this essay discusses four of the key covenants

Noahic Covenant - In this covenant, God promised to forbear from destruction of the earth and its creatures. In view of the exceeding sinful nature of the human race, this was a major concession on God's part.

Abrahamic Covenant - The Abrahamic Covenant is foundational to God's Plan of Salvation. In this covenant, God established the basis whereby He would raise up a special people (the Jews) through whom He would...

  • reveal His nature
  • cause the Bible to be written
  • bring forth a Savior to atone (die) for the sins of humankind

Mosaic Covenant - A main reason why God established the Mosaic Covenant (the Law) was to teach humankind that people cannot and will not attain righteousness under their own power, but that God must CONFER righteousness upon them.

Palestinian Covenant - Since God knew Israel would fail to attain righteousness under the Mosaic Covenant, God provided the Palestinian Covenant as the basis for redeeming and regathering Israel to their land after their failures lead to ultimate repentance.

 

Part 2 of this essay will cover the remaining three key covenants

Davidic Covenant - The Davidic Covenant provides for Lord Jesus to establish an eternal kingdom of the redeemed. For the redeemed of Israel it will be an earthly kingdom. For the Church it will be a heavenly kingdom. But Lord Jesus will be King of all.

New Covenant with Israel - The New Covenant (in effect) fleshes out the provisions of the Palestinian Covenant.

  • That is, the New Covenant further defines the basis whereby Israel will have righteousness conferred upon them by God.
  • To do this, God says, "I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts."

Covenant with the Church - God's Covenant with the Church provides for Lord Jesus to voluntarily suffer and die for the sins of humankind. Because of the substitutionary atoning death of Jesus, whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.

NOTE: The atoning death of Jesus Christ is the foundational Rock, not only for the covenant with the Church, but ALSO for the covenant with Israel. In the final analysis, the only substantial difference between these two covenants is that one of them saves Israel, whereas the other saves "whosoever believes."

Noahic Covenant

Bible references
Genesis 8.21- 9.17

Beneficiaries of the Covenant
God made this covenant with ALL life forms (animals as well as humans) on the earth.

God's promises - In the Noahic Covenant, God promised that...

  • He will preserve the Solar System for as long as the earth exists
  • He will preserve the stability of the earth's natural physical laws for as long as the earth exists
  • He will never again bring a worldwide flood to destroy all life on the earth.
  And God said: "This is the sign of the covenant which I make between Me and you (Noah), and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations Gen 9.12

(God said...) "While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and winter and summer, and day and night shall not cease.''
Gen 8.22

(God said...) "Thus I establish My covenant with you: Never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood; never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.'' Gen 9.11

Requirements
The Noahic Covenant places NO requirements on anyone except God. It is "Unconditional."

Sign
The rainbow. At the time that God established the Noahic Covenant, He ordained that a rainbow would thenceforth follow every rainfall, as a remembrance of His covenant with all living things on earth.

Abrahamic Covenant

Bible references
Genesis 12.2-7, 13.14-17, 15.5-18, 17.8

Big picture
The Abrahamic Covenant is foundational to God's plan to provide a Savior,
a plan of salvation, and a nation to testify of His nature and purposes.

(God said...) "And I will make thy (Abraham's) seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered. Gen 13.16

And He
(God) brought him (Abraham) forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell (count) the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be. Gen 15.5

And
if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise. Gal 3.29

(God said...) "... in you (Abraham) all the families of the earth shall be blessed.''
Gen 12.3c
 

Beneficiaries of the Covenant - The Covenant's beneficiaries fall into three main groups as follows...

  • Abraham's earthly seed (Genesis 13.16 - dust). The earthly seed is the nation Israel (the Jewish people)
  • Abraham's heavenly seed (Genesis 15.5 - stars). The heavenly seed is the church -- all who receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior (Romans 4.11; Galatians 3.29)
  • All people in the world (Gen 12.3c)

God's promises - God's promises under the Abrahamic Covenant fall into three main categories:

  • Land
  • Kingdom
  • Blessings

Each of these three categories is discussed below.

In the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram (Abraham), saying, "Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates" Gen 15.18  

Part 1 of God's Promises - the Land. God promised to give Abraham a vast amount of land, the boundaries of which are specified in Genesis 15.18.

  • The beneficiary of this promise is Abraham's earthly seed, the nation Israel.
  • The promise of land is further defined by God's "Palestinian Covenant," as discussed further on in this essay.
  • Israel has never possessed more than a fraction of the land that God gave Abraham, but they WILL possess it in the future (Ezekiel 47.13-48.35).
(God said to Abraham...) "And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing" Gen 12.2  

Part 2 of God's Promises - the Kingdom. God promised to make Abraham a great nation.

  • The beneficiary of this promise is Abraham's earthly seed, the nation Israel.
  • The promise of a kingdom is further defined by God's "Davidic Covenant," as discussed further on in this essay.
(God said ...) "... in you (Abraham) all the families of the earth shall be blessed.''
Gen 12.3c

(Jesus said...) "...salvation is of the Jews." John 4.22b

What advantage, then, is there in being a Jew, or what value is there in circumcision? Much in every way! First of all, they
(the Jews) have been entrusted with the very words of God. Rom 3.1-2

Theirs
(Israel's) is the adoption as sons; theirs the divine glory, the covenants... and from them (the Jews) is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen. Rom 9.4-5
 

Part 3 of God's Promises - the Blessing. God promised that, in Abraham's seed, all nations of the earth will be blessed. This blessing was fulfilled from the standpoint that Abraham's earthly seed (Israel) was used by God as...

  • the special channel whereby God revealed Himself to the human race
  • the source of the prophets who revealed God and spoke His word
  • the source of the writers whom God inspired to write the Bible
  • the source (according to the flesh) of Jesus Christ, the Savior whom God gave to all the world
(God said to Abraham...) "In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.''
Gen 22.18

Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He
(God) does not say, "And to seeds,'' as of many, but as of one, "And to your Seed,'' who is Christ.
Gal 3.16
  The beneficiary of the Abrahamic blessing is the Church -- all believers on Abraham's Seed who is Christ.

Since this blessing is available to "whosoever believeth in Jesus" (John 3.16), ALL nations of the earth are blessed by the opportunity to receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

Requirements
The Abrahamic Covenant places NO requirements on anyone except God. It is "Unconditional."

Signs
Circumcision (for the earthly seed -- the Jews)
Water baptism (for the heavenly seed -- the Church)

Mosaic Covenant

Bible references
Exodus 19.3-8, 20.1-31.18; Leviticus chapter 26; Deuteronomy chapter 28

Beneficiaries
T
he nation Israel

God's promises - In the Covenant with Israel that God gave through Moses, God promised that He would...

  • Bless Israel as His special treasure, a holy nation, a kingdom of priests
  • Protect Israel and give them victory over all their enemies
  • Lead Israel to the land He had promised to Abraham, and grant them possession of it
  • Prosper Israel in their land
  (God said...) "Now therefore, if you (the nation Israel) will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation." Exod 19.5-6a

The Lord will cause your
(Israel's) enemies who rise against you to be defeated before your face; they shall come out against you one way and flee before you seven ways. The Lord will command the blessing on you in your storehouses and in all to which you set your hand, and He will bless you in the land which the Lord your God is giving you. Deu 28.7-8

Requirements
This covenant places requirements, not just on God, but also on Israel. Therefore it is a "Conditional" covenant. Israel agreed that they must obey the Laws of God in order to receive the blessings God promised.

God's warning - God warned Israel that, if they failed to obey God's Laws, they would suffer defeat and enslavement at the hands of their enemies.   But it shall come to pass, if you do not obey the voice of the Lord your God, to observe carefully all His commandments and His statutes which I command you today, that all these curses (as enumerated in Deu 28.16-69) will come upon you and overtake you Deu 28.15

Signs
The signs of the Mosaic Covenant included...
Circumcision
The Ark of the Covenant

Palestinian Covenant

Bible references
Deuteronomy 30.1-10; Romans 3.20; Gal 3.24

Beneficiaries
T
he nation Israel

Now it shall come to pass, when all these things come upon you (Israel), the blessing and the curse which I have set before you... that the Lord your God will bring you back from captivity, and have compassion on you, and gather you again from all the nations where the Lord your God has scattered you. Deu 30.1a, 30.3

And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.
Deu 30.6
 

God's Promises - The Palestinian Covenant presupposes that Israel will fail to keep the Mosaic Covenant. In the event of such failure, God will (in His own good time)...

  • Have compassion on Israel
  • Free Israel from enslavement
  • Regather Israel, from all parts of the earth, into their own land
  • Circumcise Israel's HEART such that their love and obedience of God will be perfect

NOTE: The implications of Israel's being "circumcised in the heart" (Deu 30.6) are fully equivalent to a Christian's being "born again" (John 3.3-7)!

Requirements

The Palestinian Covenant affirms the Abrahamic Covenant
with respect to God's promise of a land for Abraham's earthly seed.

The Palestinian Covenant is "Unconditional" from the standpoint that God has foreordained that Israel WILL eventually repent as a nation and turn, finally and ultimately, unto God.

At that time, God will bring to pass all the promises of His covenants with Israel.

The Strange Nature of the Palestinian Covenant

God gave Israel the Palestinian Covenant as (in effect) a "back-up plan"
for the eventuality that Israel would fail to obey the Mosaic Covenant.

In God's omniscience, God KNEW that Israel would fail to keep the Laws of the Mosaic Covenant
-- not just once, but again and again and again.

One might ask, "Since God knew Israel would fail,
WHY did God make the Mosaic Covenant in the first place?"
READ ON!

Then all the people (of Israel) answered together and said, "All that the Lord has spoken (in the Mosaic Covenant) we will do.'' So Moses brought back the words of the people to the Lord. Exod 19.8   The answer to the preceding question is this - God knew Israel would fail, but Israel did NOT know that Israel would fail.

In fact, Israel was totally confident of their ability to attain complete righteousness by their OWN power.

Accordingly, God gave Israel the opportunity to succeed or fail under their own steam.

In so doing,
God's goal was to display to Israel, and to the entire human race, the fact that people cannot and will not love and obey God unless God helps them.
Wherefore the law (as given in the Mosaic Covenant) was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. Gal 3.24   In essence, the Law of God, as set forth in the Mosaic Covenant, was a SCHOOLMASTER to teach us (Israel, you, me, and everybody) a vital lesson.

The Law's lesson is that we simply CANNOT climb up to God's heaven on the ladder of our own righteousness -- for that ladder is, at best, but a few miserable millimeters in height.
 

Summary

A primary reason that many people shun the Gospel is that all the work of salvation is done by God. Human pride detests and rejects the fact we cannot - simply CANNOT! -- earn our way to heaven by works of our own sinful flesh.

Before I was saved, there was a hymn that my Mother (a Christian) often sang. How I hated that hymn then. And oh, how much I love and rejoice in it now. The hymn?

Jesus Paid it All!
All to Him I owe.
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.

Go to Part 2 of the Covenants of God

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