Volume. XXXIV, No. 47
Saturday, 23 May 2020


Divine Outworking Pattern of Promise-Fulfillment through Faith (Part 2)


 

III. The Historical Development of the OT covenants

The OT covenants show a series of development through sacred history. The focus of each covenant becomes more clearly fixed on Jesus the Messiah. This historical process is culminated in the NT when we see Jesus the Messiah explicitly fulfilling the New Covenant. 

 

A. The Edenic Covenant (Gen. 3:15)

This was made at man’s fall. It shows hostility between the woman and the serpent. This “he” that will strike a lethal blow to the serpent’s head becomes the focal point of this covenant. The Seed of the woman refers to Jesus Christ. 

 

B. The Noachian Covenant (Gen. 9:9-27)

John Murray summarizes this covenant as follows: (1) It is God’s covenant in that it is conceived, devised, determined, established, confirmed, and dispensed by god Himself; (2) It is universal in its scope; (3) It is an unconditional covenant; (4) The covenant is intensely and pervasively monergistic; and (5) It is an everlasting covenant. The sign or seal of the covenant is rainbow. God promised to preserve the world so that the Seed of the woman would ulfil the New Covenant. 

 

C. The Abrahamic Covenant (Gen. 12:1-3; 13:14-16; 15:4-21; 17:4-16; 22:15-18)

This is the first of the theocratic covenants, pertaining to the rule of God. It is unconditional, depending solely upon God who obligates Himself in grace. It becomes the basis of all the other subsequent covenants. It is threefold. (1) The seed-The repeated idea of a seed is seen. The seed showed the corporate and representative aspects of the seed. It collectively refers to the nation of Israel. Out of that nation comes the Messiah, that is, the true Israel.  

 

D. The Mosaic Covenant (Ex. 24:4-8)

It developed from the Abrahamic covenant. God instituted it with His people through Moses at Sinai. The giving of the law presupposes the framework of grace in which it can be received. In the giving of the law, the people of Israel were constituted to be an holy nation and given stipulations to follow so that fellowship with God might be ensured. The Exodus deliverance was the preamble to this covenant. So, the Mosaic covenant presupposes God’s saving act and grace. The covenant was ratified by a covenant sacrifice and the sprinkling of blood. The emphasis of this covenant is on the solemn obligations of Israel to keep the covenant (Ex. 19:5). It places more emphasis on morality and spirituality than on political and economic values. The Ten Commandments (Ex. 20:2-27), complemented by the book of the covenant (Ex. 21-23), form its major stipulations. God’s laws were to regulate the lives of God’s priestly nation. But they were given so that the people would realize their helplessness and that their only hope is to receive the righteousness of God by faith in Jesus (Gal. 3:22-24). God’s stipulations constitute not the basis of the covenant but the condition of continuing blessings. They were not an alternative means of salvation. Jesus Christ fulfilled the Mosaic covenant by perfectly obeying the law of God. 

 

E. The Davidic Covenant (2 Sam. 7:8-17; Ps. 89:3-4)

It is mainly promissory (Ps. 89:3-4; 2 Sam. 7:13). It arose from a concession to Israel’s disobedient request for a king (1 Sam. 8:5-8). Nathan delivered God’s promise to David in 2 Sam. 7:12-17). Though berith does not occur here, the concept is in view. God promised David three things: (1) a land forever (2 Sam. 7:10); (2) an unending dynasty (vv. 11-16); and (3) an everlasting kingdom (vv. 13, 16). The kingly line of David is seen to be eternal. This seed promised to Eve and Abraham is also promised to David. The Son of David, Jesus Christ, is the focal point of God’s covenant with David. Thus, promises given to David are messianic, finding ultimate fulfillment in Jesus Christ. 

 

F. The New Covenant (Jer. 31:31-34)

Four provisions in this covenant were as follows: (1) regeneration and the giving of a new heart (Jer. 31:34); (2) a national restoration (31:33); (3) universal knowledge of God (31:34); and (4) forgiveness of sin (31:34). The New Covenant is called “new” in contrast to the covenant with Moses, which is called “old” (Jer. 31:22) because it actually fulfills what the Mosaic Covenant could only point to, that is, the people of God who would live in consistency with God’s character. In the face of personal and national trials, Jeremiah turned the hope of the people to the New Covenant Jesus Christ would fulfill by His blood (1 Cor. 11:25). The New Testament launched the whole New Covenant period and reaches into the eternal dominion of Christ. The Covenant of peace (Ezek. 34:25; 37:26) is part of the Covenant fulfilled by Jesus Christ. Thomas R. Schreiner well sums up the New Covenant as follows: “The new covenant represents the culmination of God’s saving work among his people. God regenerates his people by his Spirit and renews their hearts so that they obey him. He is their God, and they are his people. The basis for such renewal is the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ, for by his atoning death and resurrection complete forgiveness of sins is achieved” (Schreiner, Thomas R.. Covenant and God's Purpose for the World (Short Studies in Biblical Theology) (p. 118). Crossway. Kindle Edition)

 

Conclusion: The OT covenant refers to a legally binding pact or agreement. When it comes to covenants between human parties, it usually conveys the idea of a mutual contract. However, in the case of God’s covenant with humanity, it communicates the notion of a legally compelling bond. According to His sovereign pleasure, God graciously provides and protects His people from enemies. In return, His people bind themselves to keep loyal to Him and His Word. In so doing, they demonstrate their unrestrained love and devotion to God and enjoy the continuing blessings of God. From the beginning, though man has constantly broken covenants with God, God has graciously maintained them. Knowing man’s inability to keep the covenant completely, He provided the New Covenant  and fulfilled it through His Son Jesus Christ. By making covenants with His people, God has provided them with the means to relationship or communion with God Himself. In a sense, the fundamental idea of covenant is the communion relationship between God and His people in Christ. In Christ, God is their covenant God and they are His peculiar people. Faith is the only response to the gospel of the New Covenant.  Not only should God’s people appreciate the inscrutable depth of His sovereign love on which they enter into a living and personal fellowship with Him, but also they should unreservedly surrender to Him in faith, obedience, and love. 

 

 

 


More Lively Hope

 

Announcements

  • Please e-mail your availability for the Jul-Sep 2020 serving roster no later than Mon, 1 Jun to hopebpcrosterer@gmail.com.
  • Please continue to practise social/ physical distancing & take hygiene measures. Please avoid gathering in person (even privately) during the week.
  • Sunday Worship Service: Unless specifically invited or requested to attend church in person, all Hopefuls are to attend worship services virtually.
  • For security reasons, please do not share Zoom meeting links without approval from hosts or group leaders.
  • Please continue to support & pray for all health care workers & people in essential services during the COVID-19 emergency.
  • Tithes & offerings: Anyone wishing to give their tithes and offerings electronically can do so to the following bank account: 
    BSB No.: 015-257 
    Account No.: 2649 27547
    Please indicate if it is an offering, tithe or for a specific person or ministry.

 

Praise & Thanksgiving

  • Successful procedure for Pastor Ki.
  • God’s daily guidance, protection & providence.
  • Church virtual Sunday Worship Service & other virtual activities in the past week.
  • For the improving situation in Australia & God’s wisdom & guidance to the government in managing the crisis.

 

Prayer

  • Healing: Pastor Ki; Rev George van Buuren; Rev Pong Sen Yiew (S’pore); and others in affliction.
  • COVID-19 virus – for God’s grace & mercy; for God’s continuing guidance & wisdom to the government in managing the crisis.
  • Missions – IBPFM missionaries; Rev & Mrs JG (India); Rev & Mrs Sun Sokha & family, Faith Krang Angkrang Church (PhnomPenh); Sis Ang Liang & family, Filadelfia B-P Church, orphanage, primary school & kindergarten (Batam); House of Hope (Cebu); Sis Esther Kim & orphanage (Bandung) affected by COVID-19 pandemic & lockdown.

 

 

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PO Box 398, Fullarton, Adelaide, South Australia 5063