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Covenants, Dispensations, and the Ten Commandments

Part One    Part Two    Part Three


Introduction

Throughout human history, God has made covenants with people. What are those covenants? Are any of them still in effect? Do any of them relate to Christians today? In Part One of this article we will examine the covenants and try to find the answers to these questions.

In addition to the covenants, throughout human history God has administered or dispensed His authority in different ways during different time periods. According to Easton's Bible Dictionary, a dispensation is "The method or scheme according to which God carries out his purposes towards men" (Easton's Bible Dictionary Offsite Link). What are the different dispensations? Which dispensation are we in now, and how does it affect us? In Part Two of this article we will examine the dispensations and try to find the answers to these questions.

In Part Three of this article we will examine the Ten Commandments and try to determine how they relate to Christians.


The Covenants

Easton's Bible Dictionary defines a covenant as "a contract or agreement between two parties," and it says that "The word is used with reference to God's revelation of himself in the way of promise or of favour to men" (Easton's Bible Dictionary Offsite Link).

Various Christian authors say that God has made 5 or 8 or 10 different covenants with people (or some other amount), and we will look at all of these covenants in this article.

Some of God's covenants are unconditional, which means that God intends to fulfill His promises even if the people involved in those covenants don't obey the conditions of the covenants. In other words, there might be certain conditions in one of these covenants, and if an individual failed to obey any of the conditions then he had personally broken the covenant and would receive the consequences. However, the covenant itself cannot be broken because God promised that He would fulfill it, which is why it is referred to as an "unconditional" covenant.

The other covenants were conditional, meaning that those covenants would be broken if the people did not obey the conditions of the covenants. After the conditional covenants were broken, they were each replaced with a different covenant.

At the point when a covenant is "signed" or "sealed," some of the provisions or promises might go into effect immediately, and some might go into effect in the near future, and some might go into effect in the distant future.

Here are the covenants:

  1. The Edenic Covenant

    This covenant was made between God and the human race (through Adam and Eve as the representatives of the human race). Since this covenant was made in the Garden of Eden, it is often referred to as the "Edenic" Covenant (as you can see by Googling "Edenic Covenant"):
    Genesis 1:28: "God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.""
    Genesis 1:29: "Then God said, "I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food."
    Genesis 1:30: "And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground--everything that has the breath of life in it--I give every green plant for food." And it was so."

    Genesis 2:15: "The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it."
    Genesis 2:16: "And the LORD God commanded the man, "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden;"
    Genesis 2:17: "but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.""
    The above passages do not contain the word "covenant," which is probably why a number of Christian authors don't appear to view this as a covenant (e.g. The Bible Knowledge Commentary Offsite Link, Old Testament edition, Walvoord and Zuck, Dallas Theological Seminary, p.29-31). However, in the above passages we see new revelation of God's will in the form of promises and blessings, along with a command of obedience which is essentially a type of contract between God and mankind (through Adam and Eve as the representatives of the human race). Notice that this fits the definition of "covenant" which we saw earlier, especially when we compare the above passages with the Noahic Covenant (covenant #3, below).

    According to the above passages, the Edenic Covenant contains the following provisions:

    • The human race was told to be fruitful and to increase in number and to fill (populate) the earth (Genesis 1:28, above).
    • The human race was given authority over the earth, to subdue it (Genesis 1:28, above).
    • The human race was given authority over every living creature (Genesis 1:28, above).
    • The human race (as well as every living creature) was told to be strictly vegetarian (Genesis 1:29-30, above). This is described in more detail in my article called The Biblical Evidence Against the Theories of Evolution.
    • The human race was intended to work the land in the Garden of Eden and take care of it (Genesis 2:15, above).
    • The human race was allowed to eat from any tree in the Garden of Eden, except that they were forbidden to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:16-17, above).
    • There was a penalty for breaking the covenant, because God said, "you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die" (Genesis 2:17, above).

    Unfortunately, Adam and Eve broke this covenant:
    Genesis 3:1: "Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?""
    Genesis 3:2: "The woman said to the serpent, "We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,"
    Genesis 3:3: "but God did say, 'You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.'""
    Genesis 3:4: ""You will not surely die," the serpent said to the woman."
    Genesis 3:5: ""For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.""
    Genesis 3:6: "When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it."
    Genesis 3:7: "Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves."
    Genesis 3:8: "Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden."
    The Edenic Covenant was a conditional covenant. When Adam and Eve ate the fruit, the Edenic Covenant was broken and they were expelled from the Garden of Eden (as we'll see in the next section). Then God made a new covenant with them, which is often referred to as the Adamic Covenant.

  2. The Adamic Covenant

    After the Edenic Covenant had come to an end, God made a new covenant with the human race:
    Genesis 3:14: "So the LORD God said to the serpent, "Because you have done this, "Cursed are you above all the livestock and all the wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life."
    Genesis 3:15: "And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.""
    Genesis 3:16: "To the woman he said, "I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.""
    Genesis 3:17: "To Adam he said, "Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, 'You must not eat of it,' "Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life."
    Genesis 3:18: "It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field."
    Genesis 3:19: "By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.""
    The word "covenant" is not used in the above passage, which is probably why a number of Christian authors do not appear to view this as a covenant (e.g. The Bible Knowledge Commentary Offsite Link, Old Testament edition, Walvoord and Zuck, Dallas Theological Seminary, p.33). But notice that once again we see new revelation of God's will in the form of promises (curses and a blessing) which were essentially a new contract between God and the human race through Adam and Eve. This seems to fit with the definition of "covenant" which we saw earlier, and many Christian authors view this as a covenant (for example, try Googling "Adamic Covenant").

    This covenant contained a set of curses upon the human race, and upon the devil, and upon all of Creation. This is an unconditional covenant (notice that there are no conditions in this covenant) which is still in effect today. For example, women still experience pains in childbearing, and we still experience painful toil and sweat when we work the ground, and the ground still produces thorns and thistles, and we still "return to dust" when we die, and so on. There is also a very great blessing which is promised in this covenant. In Genesis 3:15 (above), God said that someday in the future, the "offspring of the woman" (prophetically referring to Jesus) will crush the head of our enemy (the devil). Elsewhere in the Bible we are told that the above curses will someday be removed (for example, see my series called The Rapture of the Church).

    When the Edenic Covenant was broken and was replaced with the Adamic Covenant, notice that one provision of the Edenic Covenant was repeated in the Adamic Covenant, but the other provisions were not repeated:

    • Under the Adamic Covenant, God did not tell the human race to be fruitful and fill the earth. This command was not repeated until the Noahic Covenant (covenant #3, below), after God had killed off virtually the entire human race due to their wickedness.
    • Under the Adamic Covenant, the human race was not given authority over the earth. This is because the devil had stolen the authority over the earth as a result of the Fall (when Adam and Eve sinned):
      John 12:31: "Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out."

      2 Corinthians 4:4: "The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God."

      1 John 5:19: "We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one."
      In the above passages we are told that the whole world is under the control of the devil (because he usurped the authority from Adam and Eve), which is why he is called "the prince of this world" and "the god of this age" in the above passages. For more on that, and to see how human authority over the earth will one day be restored through Jesus, take a look at my series called The Rapture of the Church.

      Many Christians assume that we have authority over the earth, based on Genesis 1:28. However, Genesis 1:28 was part of the Edenic Covenant, which was broken in the Garden of Eden. The command for humans to have authority over the earth, to subdue it, has never been repeated.
    • Under the Adamic Covenant, the human race was not given authority over every living creature.
    • Under the Adamic Covenant, God repeated His command for the human race to be vegetarian. This is the only provision from the Edenic Covenant which was also included in the Adamic Covenant. As we'll see in the next section, this command was canceled in the Noahic Covenant.
    • Under the Adamic Covenant, the human race was no longer required to work the land in the Garden of Eden and take care of it. This is because they had been expelled from the Garden of Eden (see Genesis 3:22-24).
    • Under the Adamic Covenant, the human race was no longer allowed to eat from any tree in the Garden of Eden (because they had been expelled from the Garden).
    • There was no penalty for breaking the Adamic Covenant (as there was under the Edenic Covenant).

    Again, the Adamic Covenant is unconditional and it applies to every person on earth, even to this day.

  3. The Noahic Covenant

    After the Flood which destroyed the entire human race (except for those on the ark), God made another unconditional covenant between Himself and the human race, this time through Noah as the representative of the human race:
    Genesis 9:1: "Then God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth."
    Genesis 9:2: "The fear and dread of you will fall upon all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air, upon every creature that moves along the ground, and upon all the fish of the sea; they are given into your hands."
    Genesis 9:3: "Everything that lives and moves will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything."
    Genesis 9:4: ""But you must not eat meat that has its lifeblood still in it."
    Genesis 9:5: "And for your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting. I will demand an accounting from every animal. And from each man, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of his fellow man."
    Genesis 9:6: ""Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made man."
    Genesis 9:7: "As for you, be fruitful and increase in number; multiply on the earth and increase upon it.""
    Genesis 9:8: "Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him:"
    Genesis 9:9: ""I now establish my covenant with you and with your descendants after you"
    Genesis 9:10: "and with every living creature that was with you--the birds, the livestock and all the wild animals, all those that came out of the ark with you--every living creature on earth."
    Genesis 9:11: "I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be cut off by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.""
    Genesis 9:12: "And God said, "This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come:"
    Genesis 9:13: "I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth."
    Genesis 9:14: "Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds,"
    Genesis 9:15: "I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life."
    Genesis 9:16: "Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.""
    Genesis 9:17: "So God said to Noah, "This is the sign of the covenant I have established between me and all life on the earth.""
    According to the above passage, the Noahic Covenant contains the following provisions:

    • The human race was once again commanded to be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth (Genesis 9:1 and 9:7, above), which is similar to the Edenic Covenant (covenant #1, above). However, notice that this time God did not say that humans have authority over the earth. As we saw under the Adamic Covenant (covenant #2, above), the devil had stolen the authority over the earth as a result of the Fall (when Adam and Eve sinned).
    • The fear and dread of humans was put on all creatures, and they were "given into our hands" (Genesis 9:2, above).
    • People were allowed to eat meat ("everything that lives and moves") for the first time in history (Genesis 9:3, above).
    • Although people were allowed to eat meat, they were not allowed to eat or drink the blood of any animals (Genesis 9:4, above).
    • The death penalty was instituted for the first time in history (Genesis 9:5-6, above). Notice that Cain did not receive the death penalty for killing his brother Abel (see Genesis 4:8-16) because there was no capital punishment under the Adamic Covenant. Since the Noahic Covenant is unconditional (meaning that it can't be broken) and it is still in effect, this means that the death penalty still applies to anyone who is guilty of premeditated murder.
    • God promised that never again will there be a flood to destroy all life on earth (Genesis 9:11, above).
    • God provided a rainbow as the sign of the covenant between Himself and all life on the earth (Genesis 9:12-17, above). As my article called Do You Interpret Creation Literally? explains, this is the first time in history that a rainbow had ever appeared.

    Since there are no conditions or penalties, the Noahic Covenant is unconditional and it applies to every person on earth, even to this day.

  4. The Abrahamic Covenant

    God made some wonderful promises to a man named Abram, and some of those promises extend to us today. Since God changed Abram's name to Abraham (Genesis 17:5, below), we usually refer to him as Abraham. This unconditional covenant is described in the following passages:
    Genesis 12:1: "The LORD had said to Abram, "Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you."
    Genesis 12:2: ""I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing."
    Genesis 12:3: "I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.""
    Genesis 12:4: "So Abram left, as the LORD had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Haran."
    Genesis 12:5: "He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Haran, and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there."
    Genesis 12:6: "Abram traveled through the land as far as the site of the great tree of Moreh at Shechem. At that time the Canaanites were in the land."
    Genesis 12:7: "The LORD appeared to Abram and said, "To your offspring I will give this land." So he built an altar there to the LORD, who had appeared to him."

    Genesis 13:14: "The LORD said to Abram after Lot had parted from him, "Lift up your eyes from where you are and look north and south, east and west."
    Genesis 13:15: "All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever."
    Genesis 13:16: "I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone could count the dust, then your offspring could be counted."
    Genesis 13:17: "Go, walk through the length and breadth of the land, for I am giving it to you.""

    Genesis 15:1: "After this, the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: "Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.""
    Genesis 15:2: "But Abram said, "O Sovereign LORD, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?""
    Genesis 15:3: "And Abram said, "You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.""
    Genesis 15:4: "Then the word of the LORD came to him: "This man will not be your heir, but a son coming from your own body will be your heir.""
    Genesis 15:5: "He took him outside and said, "Look up at the heavens and count the stars--if indeed you can count them." Then he said to him, "So shall your offspring be.""
    Genesis 15:6: "Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness."
    Genesis 15:7: "He also said to him, "I am the LORD, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to take possession of it.""
    Genesis 15:8: "But Abram said, "O Sovereign LORD, how can I know that I will gain possession of it?""
    Genesis 15:9: "So the LORD said to him, "Bring me a heifer, a goat and a ram, each three years old, along with a dove and a young pigeon.""
    Genesis 15:10: "Abram brought all these to him, cut them in two and arranged the halves opposite each other; the birds, however, he did not cut in half."
    Genesis 15:11: "Then birds of prey came down on the carcasses, but Abram drove them away."
    Genesis 15:12: "As the sun was setting, Abram fell into a deep sleep, and a thick and dreadful darkness came over him."
    Genesis 15:13: "Then the LORD said to him, "Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and mistreated four hundred years."
    Genesis 15:14: "But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterward they will come out with great possessions."
    Genesis 15:15: "You, however, will go to your fathers in peace and be buried at a good old age."
    Genesis 15:16: "In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure.""
    Genesis 15:17: "When the sun had set and darkness had fallen, a smoking firepot with a blazing torch appeared and passed between the pieces."
    Genesis 15:18: "On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram and said, "To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates--"
    Genesis 15:19: "the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites,"
    Genesis 15:20: "Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites,"
    Genesis 15:21: "Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites and Jebusites.""

    Genesis 17:1: "When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to him and said, "I am God Almighty ; walk before me and be blameless."
    Genesis 17:2: "I will confirm my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers.""
    Genesis 17:3: "Abram fell facedown, and God said to him,"
    Genesis 17:4: ""As for me, this is my covenant with you: You will be the father of many nations."
    Genesis 17:5: "No longer will you be called Abram ; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations."
    Genesis 17:6: "I will make you very fruitful; I will make nations of you, and kings will come from you."
    Genesis 17:7: "I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you."
    Genesis 17:8: "The whole land of Canaan, where you are now an alien, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God.""
    Genesis 17:9: "Then God said to Abraham, "As for you, you must keep my covenant, you and your descendants after you for the generations to come."
    Genesis 17:10: "This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you, the covenant you are to keep: Every male among you shall be circumcised."
    Genesis 17:11: "You are to undergo circumcision, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and you."
    Genesis 17:12: "For the generations to come every male among you who is eight days old must be circumcised, including those born in your household or bought with money from a foreigner--those who are not your offspring."
    Genesis 17:13: "Whether born in your household or bought with your money, they must be circumcised. My covenant in your flesh is to be an everlasting covenant."
    Genesis 17:14: "Any uncircumcised male, who has not been circumcised in the flesh, will be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant.""
    Genesis 17:15: "God also said to Abraham, "As for Sarai your wife, you are no longer to call her Sarai; her name will be Sarah."
    Genesis 17:16: "I will bless her and will surely give you a son by her. I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her.""
    Genesis 17:17: "Abraham fell facedown; he laughed and said to himself, "Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?""
    Genesis 17:18: "And Abraham said to God, "If only Ishmael might live under your blessing!""
    Genesis 17:19: "Then God said, "Yes, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him."
    Genesis 17:20: "And as for Ishmael, I have heard you: I will surely bless him; I will make him fruitful and will greatly increase his numbers. He will be the father of twelve rulers, and I will make him into a great nation."
    Genesis 17:21: "But my covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear to you by this time next year.""

    Genesis 22:15: "The angel of the LORD called to Abraham from heaven a second time"
    Genesis 22:16: "and said, "I swear by myself, declares the LORD, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son,"
    Genesis 22:17: "I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies,"
    Genesis 22:18: "and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.""
    In ancient times, the custom for making a blood covenant involved slaughtering animals and cutting them up and lining up the pieces in parallel rows. Both parties to the covenant would walk together between the rows, which made the terms of the covenant mandatory on both of the parties. This type of covenant was conditional, meaning that if one party broke the covenant then the other party was no longer obligated to keep the terms of the covenant (Israelology: The Missing Link in Systematic Theology Offsite Link, Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum, p.573). In the case of the Abrahamic Covenant, Abraham cut up some animals and arranged the pieces in parallel rows, but God was the only one who passed between the pieces (Genesis 15:9-21, above). Therefore, only God was obligated to keep the terms of the covenant, which makes this an unconditional covenant.

    According to the above passages, the Abrahamic Covenant contains the following provisions:

    • Abraham's descendants will become a great nation (Genesis 12:2, above). As we will see in a moment, this a reference to the nation of Israel, which came through Abraham's son Isaac and Isaac's son Jacob.
    • Abraham will be blessed personally, and he will be a blessing, and his name will be great (Genesis 12:2, above).
    • Those who bless Abraham (and by extension, the nation of Israel which came through Abraham, since they are the covenant people) will be blessed, but those who curse Abraham (and the Jewish people) will be cursed (Genesis 12:3, above).
    • All peoples and nations on earth will be blessed through Abraham (Genesis 12:3 and 22:18, above). To the Jews, a reference to "nations" specifically means the Gentile nations rather than the single nation of Israel. Therefore, the Abrahamic Covenant specifically promises blessings to Gentiles (non-Jews) through Abraham's obedience to the Lord.
    • Since Abraham had no children at this point, he assumed that his estate would be inherited by his servant, through whom Abraham's heirs would come (Genesis 15:2-3, above). However, God promised that Abraham will have a son from his own body (Genesis 15:4, above) through his wife Sarah (Genesis 17:15-21, above).
    • Abraham's offspring will be as numerous as the dust of the earth (Genesis 13:16, above), and as numerous as the stars in the heavens (Genesis 15:5, above), and as numerous as the sand on the seashore (Genesis 22:17, above).
    • Abraham's descendants (the covenant people, meaning the Jews) will be given the land of Canaan (Genesis 12:5-7, 13:14-17, 15:7, 17:8, and 22:17, above), which extended "from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates--the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites, Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites and Jebusites" (Genesis 15:18-21, above).
    • The Jewish people will be enslaved for 400 years (Genesis 15:13, above). This took place when they lived as slaves in Egypt, until Moses was sent by God to help set the captives free (see Exodus 12:40).
    • God will punish the nation which will enslave the Jews, and the Jews will come out of bondage with great possessions (Genesis 15:14, above). This was fulfilled after the 10 plagues which God brought against Egypt, because the Egyptians gave the Jewish slaves an incredible amount of gold and silver and clothing and so on (see Exodus 12:33-36).
    • Abraham will live to a good old age and will die in peace (Genesis 15:15, above).
    • In the fourth generation, the Jews will return to the land of Canaan (Genesis 15:16, above).
    • Abraham will be the father of many nations and kings (Genesis 17:4-6 and 17:16, above). For example, various nations in the Bible such as the Edomites, Midianites, Amalekites, and so on were descended from Abraham (see Genesis 36:9-19 and 1 Chronicles 1:28-42). Also, many Bible scholars say that some of the Arab peoples are descended from Abraham's son Ishmael.
    • Abram's name was changed to Abraham, and his wife Sarai's name was changed to Sarah (Genesis 17:5 and 17:15, above).
    • God established this covenant with Abraham and his physical descendants through Isaac (Genesis 17:7, 9, 19, and 21, above), and the token or sign of the covenant was that every male must be circumcised, and male children must be circumcised on the eighth day of life (Genesis 17:10-13, above). If any male descendant of Abraham (or any male slave owned by descendants of Abraham) was not circumcised then he was cut off from the blessings of the Abrahamic Covenant (Genesis 17:12-14, above). This is a condition which applies to Abraham's descendants individually, so if an individual failed to obey this condition then he had broken the covenant in a personal way. However, the covenant itself cannot be broken. It is an unconditional covenant (as we saw above) which is still in effect for the Jews, and therefore Jewish males (whether saved or unsaved) should be circumcised in obedience to the Abrahamic Covenant. Circumcision according to the Abrahamic Covenant was a sign of Jewishness (Israelology: The Missing Link in Systematic Theology Offsite Link, Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum, p.575). Gentiles will be blessed or cursed based on whether they bless or curse Israel (as we saw above), and Gentiles will receive the spiritual blessings of Abraham based on faith in the Messiah (as we will see under the New Covenant), but Gentiles do not participate in the physical blessings which are promised to Israel under the Abrahamic Covenant. Some people mistakenly believe that the Church has "replaced" Israel, or that Gentile Christians are "spiritual Jews," but my article called Are Gentile Christians All "Spiritual Jews"? explains why those views are false. Gentile Christians are not "spiritual Jews" and are not required to be circumcised. For example, Titus was a Gentile Christian, and he was not compelled to be circumcised (see Galatians 2:3-4). There is nothing wrong with Gentiles being circumcised, as long as it is not done for the purpose of being "obedient" to Scripture.
    • Abraham's son Ishmael will be blessed and will be the father of 12 rulers and a great nation (Genesis 17:20, above). However, God will only establish His covenant through Abraham's son Isaac (Genesis 17:21, above).

    God established this covenant with Abraham and his physical descendants through Isaac (but not through any of Abraham's seven other sons), and then God confirmed this covenant with Isaac's son Jacob and all of Jacob's descendants (but not with Isaac's son Esau). Therefore, the covenant people are the physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob:
    Genesis 17:19: "Then God said, "Yes, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him."
    Genesis 17:20: "And as for Ishmael, I have heard you: I will surely bless him; I will make him fruitful and will greatly increase his numbers. He will be the father of twelve rulers, and I will make him into a great nation."
    Genesis 17:21: "But my covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear to you by this time next year.""

    Genesis 26:1: "Now there was a famine in the land--besides the earlier famine of Abraham's time--and Isaac went to Abimelech king of the Philistines in Gerar."
    Genesis 26:2: "The LORD appeared to Isaac and said, "Do not go down to Egypt; live in the land where I tell you to live."
    Genesis 26:3: "Stay in this land for a while, and I will be with you and will bless you. For to you and your descendants I will give all these lands and will confirm the oath I swore to your father Abraham."
    Genesis 26:4: "I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and will give them all these lands, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed,"
    Genesis 26:5: "because Abraham obeyed me and kept my requirements, my commands, my decrees and my laws.""

    Genesis 26:24: "That night the LORD appeared to him [Isaac] and said, "I am the God of your father Abraham. Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bless you and will increase the number of your descendants for the sake of my servant Abraham.""

    Genesis 28:10: "Jacob left Beersheba and set out for Haran."
    Genesis 28:11: "When he reached a certain place, he stopped for the night because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones there, he put it under his head and lay down to sleep."
    Genesis 28:12: "He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it."
    Genesis 28:13: "There above it stood the LORD, and he said: "I am the LORD, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying."
    Genesis 28:14: "Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring."

    Exodus 2:24: "God heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob."

    Exodus 6:2: "God also said to Moses, "I am the LORD."
    Exodus 6:3: "I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob as God Almighty, but by my name the LORD I did not make myself known to them."
    Exodus 6:4: "I also established my covenant with them to give them the land of Canaan, where they lived as aliens."

    Leviticus 26:42: "I will remember my covenant with Jacob and my covenant with Isaac and my covenant with Abraham, and I will remember the land."
    As we can see in the above passages, the covenant people are the physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. To better understand who these covenant people are, here is a quote from my article called Are Gentile Christians All "Spiritual Jews"?:
    "the people of the 12 tribes (i.e. the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob), are collectively referred to in the New Testament as "Jews," "Hebrews," and "Israelites."

    "Now let's take a look at a short family history of the Jewish people. Recall that Abraham had several sons, including Ishmael and Isaac (Genesis 16:16, 17:18-21, 25:1-6). Isaac had two sons named Esau and Jacob (Genesis 25:21-26). Jacob was renamed "Israel" by God (Genesis 32:28). Jacob/Israel had 12 sons (Genesis 35:22-26), who were the 12 patriarchs of Israel (Acts 7:8). One of these patriarchs was Judah (Genesis 35:22-23), from whom the word "Jew" is derived (see the definition for "Jew" above). Eventually the word "Jew" referred to all of the Israelites (i.e. the 12 tribes who were descended from Jacob - see the definitions above).

    "So a "Jew" is a physical descendant of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, which is why God is sometimes referred to as "the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob" (see Matthew 22:32, Luke 13:28, 20:37, Acts 3:13, 7:32, for example). Jewish-ness is based on a person's physical ancestry, and therefore a Jew can never become a non-Jew.

    "A "Gentile" is a person who is not a Jew. Gentile-ness is based on a person's physical ancestry, and therefore a Gentile can never become a non-Gentile. Gentiles who converted to Judaism are never called "Jews" in the Bible, but instead they are called "converts" or "proselytes" (see Matthew 23:15, Acts 2:10-11, 6:5, 13:43, for example)."
    So the Abrahamic Covenant contains certain provisions or blessings for Abraham personally, and for his sons, and for the world, but the covenant people are specifically the Jews, meaning the physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Later we will see that some of the blessings of the Abrahamic Covenant are also extended to Gentile Christians under the New Covenant.

    Since God promised physical and spiritual blessings to the Jews in the unconditional Abrahamic Covenant, this means that there will always be Jewish people somewhere in the world so that the Abrahamic Covenant is not broken. Dr. Fruchtenbaum points out this fascinating fact of history:
    "Today, Israel is a scattered nation but still a nation. Just as Israel remained distinct in Egypt, the Jewish people have remained distinct throughout the Church Age. No other nation that lost its national homeland and was dispersed for centuries survived as a distinct entity. On the contrary, where they scattered they intermarried and disappeared into a melting pot. Not so the Jews, whose distinctive history is easily traceable throughout the years of Jewish history. The fact that Jews have continued to survive as a people in spite of so many attempts to destroy them shows that this covenant has continued to operate." (Israelology: The Missing Link in Systematic Theology Offsite Link, p.629-630)
    In addition, the Abrahamic Covenant is the basis for the coming of the Messiah:
    Luke 1:68: ""Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come and has redeemed his people."
    Luke 1:69: "He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David"
    Luke 1:70: "(as he said through his holy prophets of long ago),"
    Luke 1:71: "salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us--"
    Luke 1:72: "to show mercy to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant,"
    Luke 1:73: "the oath he swore to our father Abraham:"
    Luke 1:74: "to rescue us from the hand of our enemies, and to enable us to serve him without fear"
    Luke 1:75: "in holiness and righteousness before him all our days."
    As we have seen, the Abrahamic Covenant is unconditional and it primarily applies to the Jewish people. Later we will see that some of the blessings of this covenant also extend to Gentile Christians under the New Covenant.

  5. The Mosaic Covenant (the Old Covenant)

    This covenant was made between God and the Israelites (through Moses as the representative head of the Jewish people), so once again the covenant people are the Jews:
    Exodus 19:3: "Then Moses went up to God, and the LORD called to him from the mountain and said, "This is what you are to say to the house of Jacob [Israel] and what you are to tell the people of Israel:"
    Exodus 19:4: "'You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles' wings and brought you to myself."
    Exodus 19:5: "Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine,"
    Exodus 19:6: "you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.' These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.""
    In the above passage we can see that out of all of the nations of the world, Israel alone would be God's treasured possession. All of the other nations of the world are Gentile nations, and they were never required to obey the commands of the Mosaic Covenant. This is because the Mosaic Covenant, which is described in Exodus 20:1 through Deuteronomy 28:68, was specifically made between God and the nation of Israel (the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob). Notice that Exodus 19:5 (above) says that the Jews will be God's treasured possession if they obey Him fully and keep His covenant. Later we will see that they broke this covenant by their disobedience.

    The content of the Mosaic Covenant was the Law of Moses, which contained a total of 613 commandments (10 of which are referred to as "the Ten Commandments"). Deuteronomy 28:1-13 describes the many blessings which would come upon the Israelites if they obeyed the Law of Moses, and Deuteronomy 28:15-45 describes the many curses which would come upon the Israelites if they did not obey the Law of Moses.

    Since the 613 individual decrees and laws in the Law of Moses (including the Ten Commandments) were contained within the Mosaic Covenant, they specifically applied to the nation of Israel:
    Deuteronomy 4:5: "See, I have taught you decrees and laws as the LORD my God commanded me, so that you may follow them in the land you are entering to take possession of it."
    Deuteronomy 4:6: "Observe them carefully, for this will show your wisdom and understanding to the nations, who will hear about all these decrees and say, "Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.""
    Deuteronomy 4:7: "What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the LORD our God is near us whenever we pray to him?"
    Deuteronomy 4:8: "And what other nation is so great as to have such righteous decrees and laws as this body of laws I am setting before you today?"

    Psalms 147:19: "He has revealed his word to Jacob [Israel], his laws and decrees to Israel."
    Psalms 147:20: "He has done this for no other nation; they do not know his laws. Praise the LORD."

    Malachi 4:4: ""Remember the law of my servant Moses, the decrees and laws I gave him at Horeb for all Israel."
    The above passages make it clear that the Law of Moses was specifically given to the Jews. As we will see in more detail in Part Three of this article, the Law of Moses was not given to any Gentile nation, and it was not given to the Church. In fact, the Law of Moses with its commandments and regulations was designed to be "the dividing wall of hostility" which excluded the Gentiles from enjoying any of the blessings of the Jewish covenants:
    Ephesians 2:11: "Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called "uncircumcised" by those who call themselves "the circumcision" (that done in the body by the hands of men)--"
    Ephesians 2:12: "remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world."
    Ephesians 2:13: "But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ."
    Ephesians 2:14: "For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility,"
    Ephesians 2:15: "by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace,"
    Ephesians 2:16: "and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility."
    The only way that Gentiles could enjoy the spiritual blessings of the Jewish covenants while the Law of Moses was in effect was if they converted to Judaism and submitted themselves to obey all of the commandments in the Law. But all other Gentiles were excluded from citizenship in Israel and were foreigners to the covenants of the promise (Ephesians 2:12, above) because the Law of Moses was "the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility" (Ephesians 2:14, above) which prevented Gentiles in general from enjoying any of the blessings of the Jewish covenants.

    Since everyone has a sin nature which we inherited from Adam and Eve (see for example Romans 5:14-19 and 1 John 1:8-10), the Mosaic Covenant provided for atonement of sins through a blood sacrifice:
    Leviticus 17:11: "For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement [kaphar] for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement [kaphar] for one's life."
    The essential meaning of the Hebrew word kaphar ("atonement") is "to cover" (for example, see The KJV Old Testament Hebrew Lexicon Offsite Link). The Israelites' sins were "covered" by the blood sacrifices, but it was impossible for those sacrifices to actually remove anyone's sins:
    Hebrews 10:3: "But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins,"
    Hebrews 10:4: "because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins."

    Hebrews 10:11: "Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins."
    The blood sacrifices under the Mosaic Covenant "covered" the Israelites' sins, but did not remove their sins.

    Earlier we saw that the rainbow was the sign of the Noahic Covenant, and we saw that circumcision was the sign of the Abrahamic Covenant. The sign of the Mosaic Covenant was the keeping of the Sabbath:
    Exodus 31:16: "The Israelites are to observe the Sabbath, celebrating it for the generations to come as a lasting covenant."
    Exodus 31:17: "It will be a sign between me and the Israelites forever, for in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day he abstained from work and rested.'""
    We'll look at the Sabbath more closely in Part Three of this article.

    Under the Abrahamic Covenant we saw that all Jewish males are required to be circumcised as a sign of their Jewishness. Under the Mosaic Covenant, circumcision was also commanded:
    Leviticus 12:3: "On the eighth day the boy is to be circumcised."

    Exodus 12:43: "The LORD said to Moses and Aaron, "These are the regulations for the Passover: "No foreigner is to eat of it."
    Exodus 12:44: "Any slave you have bought may eat of it after you have circumcised him,"
    Exodus 12:45: "but a temporary resident and a hired worker may not eat of it." ...
    Exodus 12:48: ""An alien living among you who wants to celebrate the Lord's Passover must have all the males in his household circumcised; then he may take part like one born in the land. No uncircumcised male may eat of it."
    Exodus 12:49: "The same law applies to the native-born and to the alien living among you.""
    Circumcision was a sign that a boy or a man was under the Abrahamic Covenant, and it was also used as a sign that a boy or a man (whether Jew or Gentile) was under the Mosaic Covenant. In the case of the Mosaic Covenant, however, circumcision obligated a man to obey the entire Law of Moses:
    Galatians 5:3: "Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law."
    So if any Gentile (non-Jewish) men wanted to convert to Judaism then they had to be circumcised and they needed to observe all of the commandments in the Law of Moses. But the Gentile nations as a whole were never under the Mosaic Covenant and so they were not obligated to obey any of the commandments in the Law of Moses. Instead, all Gentiles are under the Adamic and Noahic Covenants, and Gentile Christians receive some of the blessings of the Abrahamic Covenant (as we'll see in the section on the New Covenant).

    If you recall, under the Noahic Covenant God told the human race that all meat can be eaten. But under the Mosaic Covenant God narrowed the range of animals which the Jews were allowed to eat, saying that certain creatures are "unclean":
    Leviticus 11:1: "The LORD said to Moses and Aaron,"
    Leviticus 11:2: ""Say to the Israelites: 'Of all the animals that live on land, these are the ones you may eat:"
    Leviticus 11:3: "You may eat any animal that has a split hoof completely divided and that chews the cud."
    Leviticus 11:4: ""'There are some that only chew the cud or only have a split hoof, but you must not eat them. The camel, though it chews the cud, does not have a split hoof; it is ceremonially unclean for you."
    Leviticus 11:5: "The coney, though it chews the cud, does not have a split hoof; it is unclean for you."
    Leviticus 11:6: "The rabbit, though it chews the cud, does not have a split hoof; it is unclean for you."
    Leviticus 11:7: "And the pig, though it has a split hoof completely divided, does not chew the cud; it is unclean for you."
    Leviticus 11:8: "You must not eat their meat or touch their carcasses; they are unclean for you."
    Leviticus 11:9: ""'Of all the creatures living in the water of the seas and the streams, you may eat any that have fins and scales."
    Leviticus 11:10: "But all creatures in the seas or streams that do not have fins and scales--whether among all the swarming things or among all the other living creatures in the water--you are to detest."
    Leviticus 11:11: "And since you are to detest them, you must not eat their meat and you must detest their carcasses."
    Leviticus 11:12: "Anything living in the water that does not have fins and scales is to be detestable to you."
    Leviticus 11:13: ""'These are the birds you are to detest and not eat because they are detestable: the eagle, the vulture, the black vulture,"
    Leviticus 11:14: "the red kite, any kind of black kite,"
    Leviticus 11:15: "any kind of raven,"
    Leviticus 11:16: "the horned owl, the screech owl, the gull, any kind of hawk,"
    Leviticus 11:17: "the little owl, the cormorant, the great owl,"
    Leviticus 11:18: "the white owl, the desert owl, the osprey,"
    Leviticus 11:19: "the stork, any kind of heron, the hoopoe and the bat."
    Leviticus 11:20: ""'All flying insects that walk on all fours are to be detestable to you."
    (see the rest of Leviticus 11 as well)
    We saw that one purpose for the Law of Moses was that it acted as "the dividing wall of hostility" which excluded the Gentiles from enjoying any of the blessings of the Jewish covenants of promise. The following passages describe some other purposes for the Law of Moses:
    Leviticus 19:1: "The LORD said to Moses,"
    Leviticus 19:2: ""Speak to the entire assembly of Israel and say to them: 'Be holy because I, the LORD your God, am holy."

    Leviticus 20:7: ""'Consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am the LORD your God."
    Leviticus 20:8: "Keep my decrees and follow them. I am the LORD, who makes you holy."

    Leviticus 23:1: "The LORD said to Moses,"
    Leviticus 23:2: ""Speak to the Israelites and say to them: 'These are my appointed feasts, the appointed feasts of the LORD, which you are to proclaim as sacred assemblies."

    Romans 3:20: "Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin."

    Romans 7:7: "What shall we say, then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! Indeed I would not have known what sin was except through the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, "Do not covet.""

    1 Corinthians 15:56: "The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law."

    Galatians 3:24: "So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith."
    Galatians 3:25: "Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law."
    The above passages demonstrate that through the Law of Moses the Jews were intended to be holy as God is holy (Leviticus 19:1-2 and 20:7-8, above), and the Law of Moses specified how the Jews should worship the Lord (such as the Sabbaths and feasts and sacred assemblies described in Leviticus 23), and the Law of Moses makes people conscious of what sin is, although no-one was declared righteous by obeying the Law of Moses (Romans 3:20 and 7:7, above), and the Law of Moses gave power to sin (1 Corinthians 15:56, above), and the Law of Moses was a "schoolmaster" to lead people to faith in Christ (or until Christ came, according to the NIV footnote) (Galatians 3:24-25, above, especially in the KJV), and so on.

    Since the Israelites did not properly observe the commandments in the Law of Moses, the Mosaic Covenant was viewed as being broken by the time of Jeremiah, and God said that He will someday make a new covenant with the Jews:
    Jeremiah 31:31: ""The time is coming," declares the LORD, "when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah."
    Jeremiah 31:32: "It [the New Covenant] will not be like the covenant [the Mosaic Covenant] I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant [the Mosaic Covenant], though I was a husband to them," declares the LORD."
    So the Mosaic Covenant (the Old Covenant) was a conditional covenant which the Jews had broken, and God said that He will someday make a new covenant with them (i.e. the New Covenant). In Part Three of this article we will see that the Mosaic Covenant was canceled at the cross.

  6. The Palestinian Covenant

    This covenant relates to the Promised Land which was described in the Abrahamic Covenant (covenant #4, above). The Bible never uses the term "Palestine," but for some reason this covenant is usually referred to as the Palestinian Covenant.

    Notice that in Deuteronomy chapters 29 and 30, God made a separate covenant with the Israelites in Moab, in addition to the Mosaic Covenant which He made with them at Horeb ("Horeb" is Mt. Sinai, as we can see by comparing Deuteronomy 4:10-14 and Exodus 19:1-20:22):
    Deuteronomy 29:1: "These are the terms of the covenant the LORD commanded Moses to make with the Israelites in Moab, in addition to the covenant he had made with them at Horeb."

    Deuteronomy 29:12: "You are standing here in order to enter into a covenant with the LORD your God, a covenant the LORD is making with you this day and sealing with an oath,"
    Deuteronomy 29:13: "to confirm you this day as his people, that he may be your God as he promised you and as he swore to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob."
    Deuteronomy 29:14: "I am making this covenant, with its oath, not only with you"
    Deuteronomy 29:15: "who are standing here with us today in the presence of the LORD our God but also with those who are not here today."

    Deuteronomy 29:22: "Your children who follow you in later generations and foreigners who come from distant lands will see the calamities that have fallen on the land and the diseases with which the LORD has afflicted it."
    Deuteronomy 29:23: "The whole land will be a burning waste of salt and sulfur--nothing planted, nothing sprouting, no vegetation growing on it. It will be like the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboiim, which the LORD overthrew in fierce anger."
    Deuteronomy 29:24: "All the nations will ask: "Why has the LORD done this to this land? Why this fierce, burning anger?""
    Deuteronomy 29:25: "And the answer will be: "It is because this people abandoned the covenant of the LORD, the God of their fathers, the covenant he made with them when he brought them out of Egypt."
    Deuteronomy 29:26: "They went off and worshiped other gods and bowed down to them, gods they did not know, gods he had not given them."
    Deuteronomy 29:27: "Therefore the Lord's anger burned against this land, so that he brought on it all the curses written in this book."
    Deuteronomy 29:28: "In furious anger and in great wrath the LORD uprooted them from their land and thrust them into another land, as it is now.""

    Deuteronomy 30:1: "When all these blessings and curses I have set before you come upon you and you take them to heart wherever the LORD your God disperses you among the nations,"
    Deuteronomy 30:2: "and when you and your children return to the LORD your God and obey him with all your heart and with all your soul according to everything I command you today,"
    Deuteronomy 30:3: "then the LORD your God will restore your fortunes and have compassion on you and gather you again from all the nations where he scattered you."
    Deuteronomy 30:4: "Even if you have been banished to the most distant land under the heavens, from there the LORD your God will gather you and bring you back."
    Deuteronomy 30:5: "He will bring you to the land that belonged to your fathers, and you will take possession of it. He will make you more prosperous and numerous than your fathers."
    Deuteronomy 30:6: "The LORD your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live."
    Deuteronomy 30:7: "The LORD your God will put all these curses on your enemies who hate and persecute you."
    Deuteronomy 30:8: "You will again obey the LORD and follow all his commands I am giving you today."
    Deuteronomy 30:9: "Then the LORD your God will make you most prosperous in all the work of your hands and in the fruit of your womb, the young of your livestock and the crops of your land. The LORD will again delight in you and make you prosperous, just as he delighted in your fathers,"
    Deuteronomy 30:10: "if you obey the LORD your God and keep his commands and decrees that are written in this Book of the Law and turn to the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul."

    Deuteronomy 30:15: "See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction."
    Deuteronomy 30:16: "For I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess."
    Deuteronomy 30:17: "But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them,"
    Deuteronomy 30:18: "I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess."
    Deuteronomy 30:19: "This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live"
    Deuteronomy 30:20: "and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the LORD is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob."
    According to the above passages, the Palestinian Covenant contains the following provisions:

    • If the Jews abandon the Mosaic Covenant (which God made with them when He brought them out of Egypt), then the land will become a burning wasteland, and the Jews will be uprooted and dispersed among the nations of the world (Deuteronomy 29:22-28, 30:1, and 30:17-18, above).
    • When the Jews repent and return to the Lord, He will restore the fortunes of Israel and gather them back to their land from among the nations where they had been scattered. They will possess the Promised Land and be more prosperous and numerous than their fathers (Deuteronomy 30:2-5, above).
    • The Lord will circumcise the Jews' hearts (Deuteronomy 30:6, above), which possibly refers to a national regeneration. My article called The Second Coming describes the future national regeneration of Israel.
    • The Lord will put curses on the Jews' enemies (Deuteronomy 30:7, above).
    • The Jews will again obey the Lord and follow His commands and be blessed (Deuteronomy 30:8-10, above), which probably refers to the Millennial Kingdom (see my article called Beyond the Second Coming).

    Based on the above provisions, the Palestinian Covenant expands on the parts of the Abrahamic Covenant which deal with the Promised Land, further demonstrating that this land belongs to Israel. In Deuteronomy 30:9-10 and 30:15-20 (above) we can see that living in the land of Israel was based on the Jews' obedience, but their ownership of the land is unconditional because it is based on the unconditional Abrahamic Covenant (covenant #4, above).

    The Palestinian Covenant was confirmed in Ezekiel 16 (especially verses 35-63), which describes the Jews being scattered among the nations of the world due to their disobedience and then being restored and prospered as promised in the above passages.

    Sometimes people will claim that God has already fulfilled the land promises because several Old Testament passages seem to say that the Israelites took the land. However, the context of those passages makes it clear that the Jews did not in fact possess and dwell in all of the land which God had promised to them (for example, see my article called Is Modern Israel a Fulfillment of Prophecy?). To this day, the Jews have never fully possessed and occupied the entire Promised Land, but it is a certainty that someday they will, based on the Palestinian Covenant.

    The Palestinian Covenant is unconditional and it specifically applies to the Jewish people.

  7. The Phinehas Priestly Covenant

    This covenant was made between God and the family line of Phinehas:
    Numbers 25:10: "The LORD said to Moses,"
    Numbers 25:11: ""Phinehas son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, the priest, has turned my anger away from the Israelites; for he was as zealous as I am for my honor among them, so that in my zeal I did not put an end to them."
    Numbers 25:12: "Therefore tell him I am making my covenant of peace with him."
    Numbers 25:13: "He and his descendants will have a covenant of a lasting priesthood, because he was zealous for the honor of his God and made atonement for the Israelites.""
    In the above passage, God promised Phinehas a covenant of peace in which the descendants of Phinehas will be a lasting priesthood. Phinehas was descended from Aaron the priest (Numbers 25:11, above), who was a member of the Levitical priesthood:
    Deuteronomy 18:1: "The priests, who are Levites--indeed the whole tribe of Levi--are to have no allotment or inheritance with Israel. They shall live on the offerings made to the LORD by fire, for that is their inheritance."

    Numbers 26:59: "the name of Amram's wife was Jochebed, a descendant of Levi, who was born to the Levites in Egypt. To Amram she bore Aaron, Moses and their sister Miriam."
    So Phinehas was a Levitical priest who was descended from Aaron the priest (the brother of Moses - see Exodus 4:14), and God promised that there will be a lasting Levitical priesthood through the descendants of Phinehas.

    Now, notice that two of the descendants of Phinehas were men named Zadock:
    1 Chronicles 6:1: "The sons of Levi: Gershon, Kohath and Merari."
    1 Chronicles 6:2: "The sons of Kohath: Amram, Izhar, Hebron and Uzziel."
    1 Chronicles 6:3: "The children of Amram: Aaron, Moses and Miriam. The sons of Aaron: Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar."
    1 Chronicles 6:4: "Eleazar was the father of Phinehas, Phinehas the father of Abishua,"
    1 Chronicles 6:5: "Abishua the father of Bukki, Bukki the father of Uzzi,"
    1 Chronicles 6:6: "Uzzi the father of Zerahiah, Zerahiah the father of Meraioth,"
    1 Chronicles 6:7: "Meraioth the father of Amariah, Amariah the father of Ahitub,"
    1 Chronicles 6:8: "Ahitub the father of Zadok, Zadok the father of Ahimaaz,"
    1 Chronicles 6:9: "Ahimaaz the father of Azariah, Azariah the father of Johanan,"
    1 Chronicles 6:10: "Johanan the father of Azariah (it was he who served as priest in the temple Solomon built in Jerusalem),"
    1 Chronicles 6:11: "Azariah the father of Amariah, Amariah the father of Ahitub,"
    1 Chronicles 6:12: "Ahitub the father of Zadok, Zadok the father of Shallum,"
    In the above passage we see two men named Zadok, and they were both sons of men named Ahitub. Since Solomon's Temple was in existence after the first Zadok is mentioned but before the second Zadok is mentioned (1 Chronicles 6:10, above), it appears that the first Zadok is the one who faithfully supported Solomon as the new king according to King David's wishes:
    1 Kings 1:32: "King David said, "Call in Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet and Benaiah son of Jehoiada." When they came before the king,"
    1 Kings 1:33: "he said to them: "Take your lord's servants with you and set Solomon my son on my own mule and take him down to Gihon."
    1 Kings 1:34: "There have Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet anoint him [Solomon] king over Israel. Blow the trumpet and shout, 'Long live King Solomon!'"
    1 Kings 1:35: "Then you are to go up with him, and he is to come and sit on my throne and reign in my place. I have appointed him ruler over Israel and Judah."" ...
    1 Kings 1:39: "Zadok the priest took the horn of oil from the sacred tent and anointed Solomon. Then they sounded the trumpet and all the people shouted, "Long live King Solomon!""
    The above passage tells us that King David made his son Solomon his successor to the throne of Israel. However, another one of King David's sons, Adonijah, tried to usurp the throne without David's knowledge. Abiathar the priest supported Adonijah in this rebellion, but Zadok did not:
    1 Kings 1:5: "Now Adonijah, whose mother was Haggith, put himself forward and said, "I will be king." So he got chariots and horses ready, with fifty men to run ahead of him." ...
    1 Kings 1:7: "Adonijah conferred with Joab son of Zeruiah and with Abiathar the priest, and they gave him their support."
    1 Kings 1:8: "But Zadok the priest, Benaiah son of Jehoiada, Nathan the prophet, Shimei and Rei and David's special guard did not join Adonijah." ...
    1 Kings 1:11: "Then Nathan asked Bathsheba, Solomon's mother, "Have you not heard that Adonijah, the son of Haggith, has become king without our lord David's knowing it?"
    So Abiathar the priest supported Adonijah in his rebellion against King David and against Solomon, but Zadok the priest remained faithful to King David and to Solomon.

    Since Zadok the priest (who was a descendant of Phinehas, as we saw earlier) remained faithful and did what was right, God promised that the descendants of Zadok will be the only priests who will be allowed to enter His sanctuary in the Temple during the Millennium (i.e. during Christ's future thousand-year reign of righteousness, peace, and prosperity on the earth - see my article called Beyond the Second Coming):
    Ezekiel 43:18: "Then he said to me, "Son of man, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: These will be the regulations for sacrificing burnt offerings and sprinkling blood upon the altar when it is built:"
    Ezekiel 43:19: "You are to give a young bull as a sin offering to the priests, who are Levites, of the family of Zadok, who come near to minister before me, declares the Sovereign LORD."

    Ezekiel 44:10: ""'The Levites who went far from me when Israel went astray and who wandered from me after their idols must bear the consequences of their sin."
    Ezekiel 44:11: "They may serve in my sanctuary, having charge of the gates of the temple and serving in it; they may slaughter the burnt offerings and sacrifices for the people and stand before the people and serve them."
    Ezekiel 44:12: "But because they served them in the presence of their idols and made the house of Israel fall into sin, therefore I have sworn with uplifted hand that they must bear the consequences of their sin, declares the Sovereign LORD."
    Ezekiel 44:13: "They are not to come near to serve me as priests or come near any of my holy things or my most holy offerings; they must bear the shame of their detestable practices."
    Ezekiel 44:14: "Yet I will put them in charge of the duties of the temple and all the work that is to be done in it."
    Ezekiel 44:15: ""'But the priests, who are Levites and descendants of Zadok and who faithfully carried out the duties of my sanctuary when the Israelites went astray from me, are to come near to minister before me; they are to stand before me to offer sacrifices of fat and blood, declares the Sovereign LORD."
    Ezekiel 44:16: "They alone are to enter my sanctuary; they alone are to come near my table to minister before me and perform my service."

    Ezekiel 48:11: "This will be for the consecrated priests, the Zadokites, who were faithful in serving me and did not go astray as the Levites did when the Israelites went astray."
    In the above passages, God confirmed the Phinehas Priestly Covenant and promised that Phinehas' descendants (through Zadok) will minister before Him during the future Millennium, because the above passages are part of the prophecies which God gave to Ezekiel concerning Christ's future thousand-year reign of righteousness, peace, and prosperity on the earth (see my article called Beyond the Second Coming).

    Since the Mosaic Covenant has been canceled and replaced with the New Covenant (as we will see), and since the Phinehas Priestly Covenant is a lasting covenant which will extend through the future Millennium, this demonstrates that the Phinehas Priestly Covenant is separate from the Mosaic Covenant.

    The Phinehas Priestly Covenant is unconditional and it specifically applies to the line of Phinehas.

  8. The Davidic Covenant

    In this covenant, God promised King David that his "house" (his family line) and his kingdom and his throne will endure forever, and God also promised that the Messiah will be in David's family line:
    2 Samuel 7:11: "...'The LORD declares to you [King David] that the LORD himself will establish a house for you:"
    2 Samuel 7:12: "When your days are over and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom."
    2 Samuel 7:13: "He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever."
    2 Samuel 7:14: "I will be his father, and he will be my son. When he does wrong, I will punish him with the rod of men, with floggings inflicted by men."
    2 Samuel 7:15: "But my love will never be taken away from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you."
    2 Samuel 7:16: "Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever.'"
    2 Samuel 7:17: "Nathan reported to David all the words of this entire revelation."

    1 Chronicles 17:10: "...'I declare to you [King David] that the LORD will build a house for you:"
    1 Chronicles 17:11: "When your days are over and you go to be with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, one of your own sons, and I will establish his kingdom."
    1 Chronicles 17:12: "He is the one who will build a house for me, and I will establish his throne forever."
    1 Chronicles 17:13: "I will be his father, and he will be my son. I will never take my love away from him, as I took it away from your predecessor."
    1 Chronicles 17:14: "I will set him over my house and my kingdom forever; his throne will be established forever.'"
    1 Chronicles 17:15: "Nathan reported to David all the words of this entire revelation."
    The above two passages appear to say the same things, but Dr. Fruchtenbaum (Israelology: The Missing Link in Systematic Theology Offsite Link, p.583-585) points out that there are some significant differences in those passages. In the 2 Samuel passage (above), the prophet Nathan told King David that one of David's offspring from his own body (referring to Solomon) will build a house for God (the Temple), and that Solomon will be punished for his sins, and that David's "house" (his family line) and his kingdom and his throne will endure forever. The 1 Chronicles passage (above) sounds very similar, but notice that in this case there is no mention of any sins in relation to "David's offspring," and notice that God said, "I will set him over my house and my kingdom forever" (1 Chronicles 17:14, above). So it is not just the house and the kingdom which will endure forever in the 1 Chronicles passage, but also the person will be on the throne forever. Recall that Jesus is frequently referred to as "the Son of David" (e.g. Matthew 1:1, 9:27, 15:21-22, 21:9, etc.), and Jesus committed no sins (1 Peter 2:22), and Jesus is the only one who will rule forever on the throne of David (see my article called Beyond the Second Coming). Therefore, in the 2 Samuel passage (above) the emphasis is on Solomon, and in the 1 Chronicles passage (above) the emphasis is on Jesus, both of whom are "David's offspring."

    According to the above passages, the Davidic Covenant contains the following provisions:

    • God's promises will not be fulfilled during David's lifetime (2 Samuel 7:12, above).
    • One of David's offspring from his own body (Solomon) will succeed David on the throne (2 Samuel 7:12-13, above).
    • Solomon will build a house (the Temple) for God's Name (2 Samuel 7:12-13, above).
    • Solomon might commit sins and be punished, but God's love will never be taken away from him (2 Samuel 7:14-15, above).
    • God will establish David's "house" (his family line) and his throne forever (2 Samuel 7:16, above). This means that there are descendants of David in the world today, even though we don't know who they are. No-one is currently on David's throne, but his throne has not died away because during the future Millennium Jesus will occupy David's throne (as we saw above). Notice in 2 Samuel 7:16 (above) that it is David's house and kingdom and throne (but not Solomon himself) which will last forever.
    • God will raise up one of David's offspring, one of his own sons, to succeed him on David's throne (1 Chronicles 17:11, above). Notice that in 2 Samuel 7:12 (above) God had said that the successor to the throne will be one of David's sons from David's own body, but in 1 Chronicles 17:11 (above) God did not say that David's successor will come from David's own body. Recall that Jesus was referred to as "the Son of David," and that Jesus will succeed David on the Davidic throne. Also notice that 1 Chronicles 17:11-14 (above) never mentions the possibility of committing sins and being punished, unlike in 2 Samuel 7:14-15 (above). Again, the 2 Samuel passage is referring to Solomon, but the 1 Chronicles passage is prophetically referring to the future Messiah (Jesus).
    • God will set "him" over God's house and kingdom forever (1 Chronicles 17:14, above). Since Solomon was not immortal, he was not set over God's house and kingdom forever. Again, this can only be referring to Jesus.

    The word "covenant" is not used in the 2 Samuel and 1 Chronicles passages (above), but elsewhere the Bible refers to those promises as God's everlasting covenant with David:
    2 Samuel 23:1: "These are the last words of David: "The oracle of David son of Jesse, the oracle of the man exalted by the Most High, the man anointed by the God of Jacob, Israel's singer of songs :" ...
    2 Samuel 23:5: ""Is not my house right with God? Has he not made with me an everlasting covenant, arranged and secured in every part? Will he not bring to fruition my salvation and grant me my every desire?"

    Psalms 89:3: "You said, "I have made a covenant with my chosen one, I have sworn to David my servant,"
    Psalms 89:4: "'I will establish your line forever and make your throne firm through all generations.'" Selah"

    Psalms 89:20: "I have found David my servant; with my sacred oil I have anointed him." ...
    Psalms 89:28: "I will maintain my love to him forever, and my covenant with him will never fail."
    Psalms 89:29: "I will establish his line forever, his throne as long as the heavens endure."
    Under the Abrahamic Covenant (covenant #4, above) we saw that Jewishness is defined as being physically descended from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (recall that Jacob's name was changed to Israel), which means that the Jewish Messiah could be born into any of the 12 tribes of Israel. Later, God said that the Messiah will specifically come through the tribe of Judah (see Genesis 49:10). Now in the Davidic Covenant we have seen that the Messiah will come through the family line of King David, who was in the tribe of Judah (see Matthew 1:1-6). So the Davidic Covenant expands on the part of the Abrahamic Covenant which deals with the offspring of Abraham, because the Messiah was promised to come from the "seed" of Abraham through the house of David.

    The Davidic Covenant was also confirmed to David's son Solomon:
    1 Kings 9:1: "When Solomon had finished building the temple of the LORD and the royal palace, and had achieved all he had desired to do,"
    1 Kings 9:2: "the LORD appeared to him a second time, as he had appeared to him at Gibeon."
    1 Kings 9:3: "The LORD said to him: "I have heard the prayer and plea you have made before me; I have consecrated this temple, which you have built, by putting my Name there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there."
    1 Kings 9:4: ""As for you, if you walk before me in integrity of heart and uprightness, as David your father did, and do all I command and observe my decrees and laws,"
    1 Kings 9:5: "I will establish your royal throne over Israel forever, as I promised David your father when I said, 'You shall never fail to have a man on the throne of Israel.'"
    1 Kings 9:6: ""But if you or your sons turn away from me and do not observe the commands and decrees I have given you and go off to serve other gods and worship them,"
    1 Kings 9:7: "then I will cut off Israel from the land I have given them and will reject this temple I have consecrated for my Name. Israel will then become a byword and an object of ridicule among all peoples."
    1 Kings 9:8: "And though this temple is now imposing, all who pass by will be appalled and will scoff and say, 'Why has the LORD done such a thing to this land and to this temple?'"
    1 Kings 9:9: "People will answer, 'Because they have forsaken the LORD their God, who brought their fathers out of Egypt, and have embraced other gods, worshiping and serving them--that is why the LORD brought all this disaster on them.'""
    In the above passage, God confirmed the Davidic Covenant to David's son Solomon. This is not a separate covenant with Solomon because in 1 Kings 9:5 (above) God said that His promise to Solomon was the same as His promise to David. In 1 Kings 9:6-9 (above), the penalty for disobeying God was that Israel will be cut off from the land that God had given them, and God will reject the Temple which Solomon had built. However, God did not say that the rightful authority to the throne of David will be removed from Solomon's family line if Solomon or his family disobeyed God.

    Solomon married foreign wives and worshiped their gods, and God became angry and promised that He would tear the kingdom of Israel apart during the reign of Solomon's son (see 1 Kings 11:1-13). After Solomon died, his son Rehoboam became king over the 12 tribes of Israel (see 1 Kings 11:42-43), but God had earlier told a man named Jeroboam that he will become the king over 10 of the 12 tribes after they split away from Solomon's kingdom (see 1 Kings 11:29-39). Jeroboam was one of Solomon's officials and was a son of Nebat (see 1 Kings 11:1), which means that he was not a son of Solomon and therefore he was not an heir to David's and Solomon's throne. So Jeroboam became the king of Israel (which consisted of the 10 northern tribes of the Israelites), and Rehoboam was the king of Judah to the south (which consisted of the Israelite tribes of Judah and Benjamin), where Jerusalem was located (see 1 Kings 12:1-24). For a long period of time, the Israelites were split between the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah. Eventually, the northern kingdom of Israel was carried off into captivity by the Assyrians (see 2 Kings 17:1-8), but the southern kingdom of Judah continued to exist and was ruled by a number of kings who were descended from Solomon.

    If you scan through the books of 1 and 2 Kings after the death of Solomon in 1 Kings 11:42-43, you'll find that some of Solomon's descendants obeyed the Lord, but most did not. Since Solomon and many of his "sons" (descendants) turned away from God and worshiped idols, God finally did what He had promised in 1 Kings 9:6-9 (above). During the reign of Jehoiachin (king of the Israelites in Judah), King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon laid siege to Jerusalem in Judah. Jehoiachin surrendered to Nebuchadnezzar, and the Babylonians looted the Temple and carried many Israelites off into captivity (including Jehoiachin and his family). Nebuchadnezzar then made Jehoiachin's uncle the king of Judah, after changing his name from Mattaniah to Zedekiah (see 2 Kings 24:8-17). During Zedekiah's reign, the Babylonians once again laid siege to Jerusalem, then they destroyed the city and the Temple, and carried most of the remaining Israelites off into captivity (see 2 Kings 24:20-25:21), fulfilling God's promise in 1 Kings 9:6-9 (above). Nebuchadnezzar appointed Gedaliah over the remaining people in Judah, but Gedaliah was assassinated seven months later and the remaining Israelites fled to Egypt (see 2 Kings 25:22-26). At this point the majority of the Israelites had been taken into captivity, and some had fled to Egypt. Israel had been cut off from her land just as God had promised in 1 Kings 9:6-9 (above), and the throne of David was temporarily interrupted. It was not permanently interrupted because God had promised both David and Solomon that their "throne" (i.e. the right and authority to rule over Israel) would last forever.

    With that background information in mind, let's go back to King Jehoiachin of Judah for a moment, who was captured by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon (as described in the previous paragraph). Notice what the Lord said about King Jehoiachin through the prophet Jeremiah:
    Jeremiah 22:24: ""As surely as I live," declares the LORD, "even if you, Jehoiachin son of Jehoiakim king of Judah, were a signet ring on my right hand, I would still pull you off."
    Jeremiah 22:25: "I will hand you over to those who seek your life, those you fear--to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and to the Babylonians."
    Jeremiah 22:26: "I will hurl you and the mother who gave you birth into another country, where neither of you was born, and there you both will die."
    Jeremiah 22:27: "You will never come back to the land you long to return to.""
    Jeremiah 22:28: "Is this man Jehoiachin a despised, broken pot, an object no one wants? Why will he and his children be hurled out, cast into a land they do not know?"
    Jeremiah 22:29: "O land, land, land, hear the word of the LORD!"
    Jeremiah 22:30: "This is what the LORD says: "Record this man as if childless, a man who will not prosper in his lifetime, for none of his offspring will prosper, none will sit on the throne of David or rule anymore in Judah.""
    According to the NIV footnote, the Hebrew word which was translated as "Jehoiachin" in Jeremiah 22:24 and 22:28 (above) is "Coniah," which the footnote says is a variant of "Jehoiachin." As we will see in a moment, he is also sometimes referred to as "Jeconiah." By comparing the kingly fathers and sons in Jeremiah's prophecy (see Jeremiah 22:11-24) with the kingly fathers and sons in 2 Kings 23:29-24:8, we can see that the same Jehoiachin is being referred to in both places (notice that King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon is also described in both places). So the Jehoiachin who was the king of Judah is the Jehoiachin in Jeremiah's prophecy above.

    The point here is that Jeremiah prophesied that Jehoiachin would be captured by the Babylonians (Jeremiah 22:24-25, above), and then Jeremiah said that none of Jehoiachin's offspring will ever sit on the throne of David (Jeremiah 22:28-30, above). As descendants of Solomon they had the legal right to the Davidic throne, but God decreed that they will never actually sit on the throne. This decree has never been removed, so it is still in effect to this day.

    Based on what we have seen, in order for any subsequent king to sit on the throne of David as the legitimate ruler of the Jews, he must meet the following criteria:

    1. He must be a physical descendant of David, because we saw that it will always be David's offspring who will sit on his throne.
    2. He must also be a legitimate heir of Solomon, because we saw that Solomon's "throne" (the authority to rule) will last forever.
    3. He must not be a physical descendant of Jehoiachin, because we saw that Jehoiachin's offspring will never sit on David's throne. They have the legal right to the throne because they are descendants of Solomon, but they will never actually sit on the Davidic throne.

    What this means is that if Jesus is really the King of the Jews (see for example Matthew 2:1-2 and 27:11) then He must meet all three of the above criteria. To check this, let's take a look at Jesus' genealogy:
    Matthew 1:1: "A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham:"
    Matthew 1:2: "Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers,"
    Matthew 1:3: "Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar, Perez the father of Hezron, Hezron the father of Ram,"
    Matthew 1:4: "Ram the father of Amminadab, Amminadab the father of Nahshon, Nahshon the father of Salmon,"
    Matthew 1:5: "Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab, Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth, Obed the father of Jesse,"
    Matthew 1:6: "and Jesse the father of King David. David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah's wife,"
    Matthew 1:7: "Solomon the father of Rehoboam, Rehoboam the father of Abijah, Abijah the father of Asa,"
    Matthew 1:8: "Asa the father of Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat the father of Jehoram, Jehoram the father of Uzziah,"
    Matthew 1:9: "Uzziah the father of Jotham, Jotham the father of Ahaz, Ahaz the father of Hezekiah,"
    Matthew 1:10: "Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, Manasseh the father of Amon, Amon the father of Josiah,"
    Matthew 1:11: "and Josiah the father of Jeconiah and his brothers at the time of the exile to Babylon."
    Matthew 1:12: "After the exile to Babylon: Jeconiah was the father of Shealtiel, Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel,"
    Matthew 1:13: "Zerubbabel the father of Abiud, Abiud the father of Eliakim, Eliakim the father of Azor,"
    Matthew 1:14: "Azor the father of Zadok, Zadok the father of Akim, Akim the father of Eliud,"
    Matthew 1:15: "Eliud the father of Eleazar, Eleazar the father of Matthan, Matthan the father of Jacob,"
    Matthew 1:16: "and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ."
    One thing to keep in mind about Jewish genealogies is that they sometimes skip one or more generations rather than mentioning every single father and son. For example, Matthew 1:1 (above) says that Jesus is the "son" of David and the "son" of Abraham, even though Jesus was not literally born from either David or Abraham. In the above genealogy of Jesus we see King David, which fulfills criterion #1. We also see David's son Solomon, which fulfills criterion #2. We also see a man named Jeconiah, and the NIV footnote says that "Jeconiah" is the same as "Jehoiachin." If we compare the "fathers" of Jeconiah in the above passage with the "fathers" of Jehoiachin in 2 Kings 23:29-24:8, we can see that the same person is being referred to in both places (notice that the exile to Babylon is also described in both places). So the "Jeconiah" in this genealogy is the same as the "Jehoiachin" in criterion #3. But if Jesus is physically descended from Jeconiah/Jehoiachin then He fails criterion #3, which means that Jesus cannot be the King of the Jews! Then how could Jesus call Himself the King of the Jews (e.g. Matthew 27:11)?

    To answer this question, notice that Matthew 1:1-16 (above) follows the line of descent from father to son, father to son, and so on (although some of the "fathers" might actually be the grandfathers or great-grandfathers, etc.). But we can see that when Matthew reaches "Jacob the father of Joseph" in Matthew 1:16 (above), suddenly Matthew breaks his pattern and no longer follows the line of descent from "father" to "son." Instead, Matthew points out that Joseph was "the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus." By breaking the pattern in this way, Matthew was demonstrating that Jesus was born of Mary but He was not born of Joseph (later Matthew specifically described the virgin birth in detail). This means that Joseph was not Jesus' physical father, but instead Joseph was Jesus' legal father. Therefore, the above genealogy demonstrates that Jesus was a legal heir of David's and Solomon's throne, which means that Jesus has a legal claim to that throne. Since Jesus was not physically descended from Joseph, this means that the Jeconiah/Jehoiachin in the above genealogy does not negate Jesus' right to the throne. So Jesus was legally an heir to Solomon's throne, which fulfills criterion #2, but the above genealogy does not tell us if Jesus was physically descended from King David or from Jeconiah/Jehoiachin. So now let's look at the genealogy which Luke recorded:
    Luke 3:23: "Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry. He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph, the son of Heli,"
    Luke 3:24: "the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Melki, the son of Jannai, the son of Joseph,"
    Luke 3:25: "the son of Mattathias, the son of Amos, the son of Nahum, the son of Esli, the son of Naggai,"
    Luke 3:26: "the son of Maath, the son of Mattathias, the son of Semein, the son of Josech, the son of Joda,"
    Luke 3:27: "the son of Joanan, the son of Rhesa, the son of Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, the son of Neri,"
    Luke 3:28: "the son of Melki, the son of Addi, the son of Cosam, the son of Elmadam, the son of Er,"
    Luke 3:29: "the son of Joshua, the son of Eliezer, the son of Jorim, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi,"
    Luke 3:30: "the son of Simeon, the son of Judah, the son of Joseph, the son of Jonam, the son of Eliakim,"
    Luke 3:31: "the son of Melea, the son of Menna, the son of Mattatha, the son of Nathan, the son of David,"
    Luke 3:32: "the son of Jesse, the son of Obed, the son of Boaz, the son of Salmon, the son of Nahshon,"
    Luke 3:33: "the son of Amminadab, the son of Ram, the son of Hezron, the son of Perez, the son of Judah,"
    Luke 3:34: "the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham, the son of Terah, the son of Nahor,"
    Luke 3:35: "the son of Serug, the son of Reu, the son of Peleg, the son of Eber, the son of Shelah,"
    Luke 3:36: "the son of Cainan, the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem, the son of Noah, the son of Lamech,"
    Luke 3:37: "the son of Methuselah, the son of Enoch, the son of Jared, the son of Mahalalel, the son of Kenan,"
    Luke 3:38: "the son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God."
    Notice that Luke said that Jesus "was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph" (Luke 3:23, above). Just as Matthew did, Luke was demonstrating that Jesus was not physically the son of Joseph. Then Luke appears to say that Joseph was the son of Heli (Luke 3:23, above). But is that really what Luke was saying? Notice that Matthew gave us Joseph's physical ancestry, but Matthew said that Joseph was the son of Jacob (Matthew 1:16, above). Then why does it appear as if Luke said that Joseph was the son of Heli, when there is no Heli mentioned at all in Matthew's genealogy of Joseph?

    Well, another thing to keep in mind about Jewish genealogies is that they are almost always male-oriented (although they might sometimes include the name of a woman here and there). By saying that Jesus "was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph" (Luke 3:23, above), Luke was pointing out that Jesus was not physically the son of Joseph. Instead, Jesus was physically the son of the virgin Mary, as Luke had already described in great detail (see Luke 1:26-35). Luke was following the custom of writing a male-oriented genealogy, but he specifically pointed out that Jesus was not physically Joseph's son. Therefore, Heli was Mary's father, and Luke was giving us Mary's ancestry (as many Bible commentaries point out). One interesting thing to notice is that Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel appears in both genealogies (Matthew 1:12 and Luke 3:27), and different authors explain this situation in different ways. However, the most likely answer is really quite simple. There is no reason to assume that the Shealtiel and Zerubbabel in Matthew are the same as the Shealtiel and Zerubbabel in Luke, and in fact the ancestry of Matthew's Shealtiel and Zerubbabel is completely different from the ancestry of Luke's Shealtiel and Zerubbabel. If you recall, under the Phinehas Priestly Covenant (covenant #7, above) we saw that there were two separate occurrences of "Ahitub the father of Zadok" who were descendants of Phinehas (see 1 Chronicles 6:8 and 6:12), and in the same way there could easily be two separate occurrences of "Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel." Therefore, there is no reason to assume that the Shealtiel and Zerubbabel in Matthew are the same as the Shealtiel and Zerubbabel in Luke, especially since the ancestry of Matthew's Shealtiel and Zerubbabel is completely different from the ancestry of Luke's Shealtiel and Zerubbabel.

    In Mary's genealogy (Luke 3:23-38, above) we can see that Jesus was physically descended from King David through David's son Nathan (Luke 3:31, above), which fulfills criterion #1. We can also see that Jesus was not physically descended from Jeconiah/Jehoiachin, which fulfills criterion #3. In the genealogy which Matthew recorded we saw that Jesus is a legal heir of Solomon's throne, which fulfills criterion #2. Therefore, Jesus fulfills all of the requirements to be a king of the Jews. Notice that Joseph's ancestry disqualified his family line from sitting on David's and Solomon's throne (because of Jeconiah/Jehoiachin), and notice that Mary's ancestry disqualified her family line from sitting on David's and Solomon's throne (because she was not descended from Solomon). But in a fascinating and completely unique way, Jesus is qualified to sit on David's and Solomon's throne because of the combination of Joseph's and Mary's family lines!

    Some people claim that the Davidic Covenant has already been fulfilled because Jesus is already sitting on the throne:
    Revelation 3:21: "To him who overcomes, I [Jesus] will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne."
    The above passage says that Jesus is sitting on God's throne, but take a look at this promise which was made about Jesus:
    Luke 1:32: "He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David"
    The above passage promises that Jesus will sit on David's throne, which is not the same as God's throne because David never sat on God's throne! Therefore, the fact that Jesus is now sitting on God's throne does not mean that the Davidic Covenant has been fulfilled, because Jesus has never occupied the throne of King David.

    Again, the Davidic Covenant is unconditional and it specifically applies to the line of David, reaching its fulfillment in Jesus the Messiah.

  9. The New Covenant

    Earlier we saw that the Mosaic Covenant (the Old Covenant) was considered to be broken by the time of the prophet Jeremiah, and God told Jeremiah that He will make a new covenant with both the house of Israel and the house of Judah (recall that the kingdom of Israel had been torn apart due to Solomon's sins, as we saw under the Davidic Covenant):
    Jeremiah 31:31: ""The time is coming," declares the LORD, "when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah."
    Jeremiah 31:32: "It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant [the Mosaic Covenant], though I was a husband to them, " declares the LORD."
    Jeremiah 31:33: ""This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time," declares the LORD. "I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people."
    Jeremiah 31:34: "No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest," declares the LORD. "For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.""
    The New Covenant is an everlasting covenant of peace and prosperity:
    Isaiah 61:8: ""For I, the LORD, love justice; I hate robbery and iniquity. In my faithfulness I will reward them and make an everlasting covenant with them."
    Isaiah 61:9: "Their descendants will be known among the nations and their offspring among the peoples. All who see them will acknowledge that they are a people the LORD has blessed.""

    Jeremiah 32:40: "I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good to them, and I will inspire them to fear me, so that they will never turn away from me."
    Jeremiah 32:41: "I will rejoice in doing them good and will assuredly plant them in this land with all my heart and soul."

    Ezekiel 34:25: ""'I will make a covenant of peace with them and rid the land of wild beasts so that they may live in the desert and sleep in the forests in safety."
    Ezekiel 34:26: "I will bless them and the places surrounding my hill. I will send down showers in season; there will be showers of blessing."
    Ezekiel 34:27: "The trees of the field will yield their fruit and the ground will yield its crops; the people will be secure in their land. They will know that I am the LORD, when I break the bars of their yoke and rescue them from the hands of those who enslaved them."
    Ezekiel 34:28: "They will no longer be plundered by the nations, nor will wild animals devour them. They will live in safety, and no one will make them afraid."
    Ezekiel 34:29: "I will provide for them a land renowned for its crops, and they will no longer be victims of famine in the land or bear the scorn of the nations."
    Ezekiel 34:30: "Then they will know that I, the LORD their God, am with them and that they, the house of Israel, are my people, declares the Sovereign LORD."
    Ezekiel 34:31: "You my sheep, the sheep of my pasture, are people, and I am your God, declares the Sovereign LORD.'""

    Ezekiel 36:24: ""'For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land."
    Ezekiel 36:25: "I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols."
    Ezekiel 36:26: "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh."
    Ezekiel 36:27: "And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws."
    Ezekiel 36:28: "You will live in the land I gave your forefathers; you will be my people, and I will be your God."
    Ezekiel 36:29: "I will save you from all your uncleanness. I will call for the grain and make it plentiful and will not bring famine upon you."
    Ezekiel 36:30: "I will increase the fruit of the trees and the crops of the field, so that you will no longer suffer disgrace among the nations because of famine."
    Ezekiel 36:31: "Then you will remember your evil ways and wicked deeds, and you will loathe yourselves for your sins and detestable practices."
    Ezekiel 36:32: "I want you to know that I am not doing this for your sake, declares the Sovereign LORD. Be ashamed and disgraced for your conduct, O house of Israel!"
    Ezekiel 36:33: ""'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: On the day I cleanse you from all your sins, I will resettle your towns, and the ruins will be rebuilt."
    Ezekiel 36:34: "The desolate land will be cultivated instead of lying desolate in the sight of all who pass through it."
    Ezekiel 36:35: "They will say, "This land that was laid waste has become like the garden of Eden; the cities that were lying in ruins, desolate and destroyed, are now fortified and inhabited.""
    Ezekiel 36:36: "Then the nations around you that remain will know that I the LORD have rebuilt what was destroyed and have replanted what was desolate. I the LORD have spoken, and I will do it.'"
    Ezekiel 36:37: ""This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Once again I will yield to the plea of the house of Israel and do this for them: I will make their people as numerous as sheep,"
    Ezekiel 36:38: "as numerous as the flocks for offerings at Jerusalem during her appointed feasts. So will the ruined cities be filled with flocks of people. Then they will know that I am the LORD.""

    Ezekiel 37:26: "I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant. I will establish them and increase their numbers, and I will put my sanctuary among them forever."
    Ezekiel 37:27: "My dwelling place will be with them; I will be their God, and they will be my people."
    Ezekiel 37:28: "Then the nations will know that I the LORD make Israel holy, when my sanctuary is among them forever.'""

    Romans 11:26: "And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: "The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob."
    Romans 11:27: "And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins.""
    According to the above passages, the New Covenant contains the following provisions:

    • The New Covenant applies to both Israel and Judah (i.e. all 12 tribes of the Jews) (Jeremiah 31:31, above).
    • The New Covenant is separate and distinct from the Old Covenant (the Mosaic Covenant) (Jeremiah 31:32, above).
    • The Jews will all know God, and He will put His law in their minds and write it on their hearts (Jeremiah 31:33-34, above) through the indwelling Holy Spirit (Ezekiel 36:27, above). This is a promise of the national regeneration of Israel, which is why the apostle Paul said, "And so all Israel will be saved" (Romans 11:26, above). This future national salvation of Israel is described in my article called The Second Coming.
    • God will take away the Jews' sins (Jeremiah 31:34 and Romans 11:26-27, above). Under the Mosaic Covenant we saw that the Jews' sins were never removed, but instead their sins were "covered." But under the New Covenant their sins will be removed and forgotten. My article called The Second Coming explains how this regeneration will ultimately include every individual Jew.
    • The New Covenant is an everlasting covenant (Isaiah 61:8, Jeremiah 32:40, and Ezekiel 37:26, above).
    • God will greatly bless the Jews with peace and prosperity (Isaiah 61:9, Jeremiah 32:40-41, Ezekiel 34:25-31, 36:24-38, and 37:26, above).
    • God will put His sanctuary (His Temple) among them and dwell among them forever (Ezekiel 37:26-28, above). This will take place during the Millennium (Christ's thousand-year reign of righteousness, peace, and prosperity after the Second Coming), which is described in detail in my article called Beyond the Second Coming.

    As we can see, the New Covenant was specifically made between God and Israel (the Jewish people). Yet in the New Testament we see a "new covenant" in Jesus' blood which includes the Gentiles. This seems rather confusing on the surface, and a number of Bible scholars have concluded that there are two "new covenants" in the Bible. Other Bible scholars believe that the Church has "replaced" Israel, and therefore the New Covenant which God made with Israel is being fulfilled in the Church. However, both of these explanations are unsatisfactory because the Bible does not clearly define two separate and distinct "new covenants," and because the Church has not "replaced" Israel (see my article called Do Gentile Christians Become "Spiritual Jews"?).

    To clear up this confusion, notice what the New Testament says about the New Covenant in Jesus' blood:
    Matthew 26:28: "This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins."

    Mark 14:24: ""This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many," he said to them."

    Luke 22:14: "When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table."
    Luke 22:15: "And he said to them, "I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer."
    Luke 22:16: "For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.""
    Luke 22:17: "After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, "Take this and divide it among you."
    Luke 22:18: "For I tell you I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.""
    Luke 22:19: "And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.""
    Luke 22:20: "In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you."

    1 Corinthians 11:25: "In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.""

    2 Corinthians 3:6: "He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant--not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life."

    Hebrews 7:22: "Because of this oath, Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant."

    Hebrews 8:6: "But the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, and it is founded on better promises."
    Hebrews 8:7: "For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another."
    Hebrews 8:8: "But God found fault with the people and said: "The time is coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah."
    Hebrews 8:9: "It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they did not remain faithful to my covenant, and I turned away from them, declares the Lord."
    Hebrews 8:10: "This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people."
    Hebrews 8:11: "No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,' because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest."
    Hebrews 8:12: "For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.""
    Hebrews 8:13: "By calling this covenant "new," he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear."

    Hebrews 9:15: "For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance--now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant."

    Hebrews 10:16: ""This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.""

    Hebrews 10:29: "How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?"

    Hebrews 12:24: "to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel."

    Hebrews 13:20: "May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep,"
    As the above passages demonstrate, the New Covenant which God said that He will make between Himself and the Jews is the same as the New Covenant in Jesus' blood. There is only one New Covenant in the Bible, which was prophesied in the Old Testament and fulfilled in Jesus. Some of the above passages point out that the New Covenant is "a better covenant" (Hebrews 7:22, above), and the New Covenant is "superior to the old one, and it is founded on better promises" (Hebrews 8:6, above), and the Old Covenant is "obsolete" (Hebrews 8:13, above). In Part Three of this article we will see that the Mosaic Covenant (the Old Covenant) was canceled at the cross.

    The New Covenant was specifically made between God and the Jewish people, but Gentiles are able to share in some of the promises through faith in Christ:
    Ephesians 2:11: "Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called "uncircumcised" by those who call themselves "the circumcision" (that done in the body by the hands of men)--"
    Ephesians 2:12: "remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world."
    Ephesians 2:13: "But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ."
    Ephesians 2:14: "For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility,"
    Ephesians 2:15: "by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace,"
    Ephesians 2:16: "and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility."

    Ephesians 3:4: "In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ,"
    Ephesians 3:5: "which was not made known to men in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God's holy apostles and prophets."
    Ephesians 3:6: "This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus."
    The above passages give us the following information:

    • Gentiles were excluded from Israel and were foreigners to the covenants which God had made with Israel (Ephesians 2:12, above).
    • Gentiles have been "brought near" through the blood of Christ (Ephesians 2:13, above).
    • As we saw earlier, the Mosaic Covenant was "the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility" which prevented the Gentiles from receiving any of the benefits of the unconditional Jewish covenants. But now Christ has brought Jews and Gentiles together by destroying that barrier (Ephesians 2:14, above).
    • Jesus destroyed the barrier (the Old Covenant) by abolishing in His flesh the Law of Moses, thus making peace between Jews and Gentiles (Ephesians 2:15, above).
    • Christ reconciled both Jews and Gentiles to God through the cross, putting to death the hostility between Jews and Gentiles (Ephesians 2:16, above).
    • Gentiles are heirs together with Jews through the Gospel, and Jews and Gentiles are members together of one body, and Jews and Gentiles are sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 3:6, above).

    What this means is that the Old Covenant was abolished at the cross, and now the Gentiles are able to share in the spiritual blessings of the Jewish covenants through faith in Christ. The Church (which consists of everyone who is saved by faith in Christ) has not "replaced" Israel nor taken over the blessings which were promised to Israel because saved Gentiles share in (not "take over") the spiritual blessings of the Jewish covenants. However, the physical blessings such as ownership of the Promised Land were promised only to the Jews, which means that the New Covenant can only be fulfilled through the Jews.

    The salvation of Gentiles is the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies, such as the following:
    Genesis 12:3: "I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.""

    Isaiah 42:1: ""Here is my servant [prophetically referring to Jesus], whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him and he will bring justice to the nations."

    Isaiah 49:6: "he says: "It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth.""

    Hosea 2:23: "I will plant her for myself in the land; I will show my love to the one I called 'Not my loved one. ' I will say to those called 'Not my people, ' 'You are my people'; and they will say, 'You are my God.'""

    Romans 9:22: "What if God, choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath--prepared for destruction?"
    Romans 9:23: "What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory--"
    Romans 9:24: "even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles?"
    Romans 9:25: "As he says in Hosea: "I will call them 'my people' who are not my people; and I will call her 'my loved one' who is not my loved one,""
    In Genesis 12:3 (above), God promised that all peoples on earth (which includes Gentiles) are able to be blessed through the Abrahamic Covenant. Isaiah 42:1 (above) tells us that Jesus will bring justice to "the nations" (to the Jews, a reference to "the nations" specifically means the Gentile nations rather than the single nation of Israel). Isaiah 49:6 (above) confirms that part of Jesus' ministry is to bring salvation to the Gentiles. Hosea 2:23 (above) prophesies that God will someday say to those who were not His people that they are now His people, and Romans 9:22-25 (above) explains that this is referring to Gentiles.

    The apostle Paul tells us that salvation has come to the Gentiles until the full number of Gentiles has come into the Church, in order to make Israel envious so that they will come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah:
    Romans 11:7: "What then? What Israel sought so earnestly it did not obtain, but the elect did. The others were hardened,"
    Romans 11:8: "as it is written: "God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes so that they could not see and ears so that they could not hear, to this very day.""
    Romans 11:9: "And David says: "May their table become a snare and a trap, a stumbling block and a retribution for them."
    Romans 11:10: "May their eyes be darkened so they cannot see, and their backs be bent forever.""
    Romans 11:11: "Again I ask: Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious."
    Romans 11:12: "But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their fullness bring!"
    Romans 11:13: "I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I make much of my ministry"
    Romans 11:14: "in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of them."

    Romans 11:25: "I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in."
    Romans 11:26: "And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: "The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob."
    Romans 11:27: "And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins.""
    So at the present time, Israel has been "hardened" while Gentiles are receiving salvation. Individual Jews are receiving salvation during this period of time, but when "the full number of Gentiles" has come into the Church, at that time God will once again begin dealing with the Jews as a whole. That's when the final seven years of Daniel's "Seventy Sevens" prophecy will be fulfilled (see my series called The Rapture of the Church), which we refer to as the seven-year Tribulation period, and at the end of that period the entire nation of Israel will receive salvation and then Christ will return to the earth (see my article called The Second Coming). As Romans 11:26 (above), says, "And so all Israel will be saved."

    Since Gentile Christians share in the spiritual blessings of the Jewish covenants, the Bible says that Gentile Christians owe something to the Jews:
    Romans 15:25: "Now, however, I am on my way to Jerusalem in the service of the saints there."
    Romans 15:26: "For Macedonia and Achaia were pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the saints in Jerusalem."
    Romans 15:27: "They were pleased to do it, and indeed they owe it to them. For if the Gentiles have shared in the Jews' spiritual blessings, they owe it to the Jews to share with them their material blessings."

    1 Corinthians 16:1: "Now about the collection for God's people: Do what I told the Galatian churches to do."
    1 Corinthians 16:2: "On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made."
    1 Corinthians 16:3: "Then, when I arrive, I will give letters of introduction to the men you approve and send them with your gift to Jerusalem."
    As the above passages describe, since Gentile Christians share in the Jews' spiritual blessings, the Gentile Christians owe it to the Jews to share with them their material blessings.

    The Bible also says that salvation, as well as "trouble and distress" and "glory, honor and peace," are first for the Jew, then for the Gentile:
    Romans 1:16: "I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile."

    Romans 2:9: "There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile;"
    Romans 2:10: "but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile."
    So salvation is "first for the Jew, then for the Gentile." Because of this, even though Paul was an apostle to the Gentiles and was entrusted with the task of preaching the Gospel to the Gentiles, everywhere he went he consistently preached the Gospel to the Jews first, then to the Gentiles:
    Galatians 2:7: "On the contrary, they saw that I [Paul] had been entrusted with the task of preaching the gospel to the Gentiles, just as Peter had been to the Jews."
    Galatians 2:8: "For God, who was at work in the ministry of Peter as an apostle to the Jews, was also at work in my ministry as an apostle to the Gentiles."
    Galatians 2:9: "James, Peter and John, those reputed to be pillars, gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship when they recognized the grace given to me. They agreed that we should go to the Gentiles, and they to the Jews."

    Acts 13:2: "While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, "Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul [the apostle Paul] for the work to which I have called them.""
    Acts 13:3: "So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off."
    Acts 13:4: "The two of them, sent on their way by the Holy Spirit, went down to Seleucia and sailed from there to Cyprus."
    Acts 13:5: "When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the Jewish synagogues. John was with them as their helper."

    Acts 13:13: "From Paphos, Paul and his companions sailed to Perga in Pamphylia, where John left them to return to Jerusalem."
    Acts 13:14: "From Perga they went on to Pisidian Antioch. On the Sabbath they entered the synagogue and sat down."
    Acts 13:15: "After the reading from the Law and the Prophets, the synagogue rulers sent word to them, saying, "Brothers, if you have a message of encouragement for the people, please speak.""
    Acts 13:16: "Standing up, Paul motioned with his hand and said: "Men of Israel and you Gentiles who worship God, listen to me!" ...
    Acts 13:38: ""Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you."
    Acts 13:39: "Through him everyone who believes is justified from everything you could not be justified from by the law of Moses."

    Acts 13:44: "On the next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord."
    Acts 13:45: "When the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and talked abusively against what Paul was saying."
    Acts 13:46: "Then Paul and Barnabas answered them boldly: "We had to speak the word of God to you first. Since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles."
    Acts 13:47: "For this is what the Lord has commanded us: "'I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.'""

    Acts 14:1: "At Iconium Paul and Barnabas went as usual into the Jewish synagogue. There they spoke so effectively that a great number of Jews and Gentiles believed."

    Acts 17:1: "When they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a Jewish synagogue."
    Acts 17:2: "As his custom was, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures,"
    Acts 17:3: "explaining and proving that the Christ had to suffer and rise from the dead. "This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Christ," he said."

    Acts 17:16: "While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols."
    Acts 17:17: "So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Greeks, as well as in the marketplace day by day with those who happened to be there."

    Acts 18:1: "After this, Paul left Athens and went to Corinth."
    Acts 18:2: "There he met a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had ordered all the Jews to leave Rome. Paul went to see them,"
    Acts 18:3: "and because he was a tentmaker as they were, he stayed and worked with them."
    Acts 18:4: "Every Sabbath he reasoned in the synagogue, trying to persuade Jews and Greeks."

    Acts 18:5: "When Silas and Timothy came from Macedonia, Paul devoted himself exclusively to preaching, testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ."
    Acts 18:6: "But when the Jews opposed Paul and became abusive, he shook out his clothes in protest and said to them, "Your blood be on your own heads! I am clear of my responsibility. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.""

    Acts 18:19: "They arrived at Ephesus, where Paul left Priscilla and Aquila. He himself went into the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews."

    Acts 19:8: "Paul entered the synagogue and spoke boldly there for three months, arguing persuasively about the kingdom of God."
    Acts 19:9: "But some of them became obstinate; they refused to believe and publicly maligned the Way. So Paul left them. He took the disciples with him and had discussions daily in the lecture hall of Tyrannus."

    Acts 28:16: "When we got to Rome, Paul was allowed to live by himself, with a soldier to guard him."
    Acts 28:17: "Three days later he called together the leaders of the Jews. When they had assembled, Paul said to them: "My brothers, although I have done nothing against our people or against the customs of our ancestors, I was arrested in Jerusalem and handed over to the Romans." ...
    Acts 28:23: "They arranged to meet Paul on a certain day, and came in even larger numbers to the place where he was staying. From morning till evening he explained and declared to them the kingdom of God and tried to convince them about Jesus from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets."
    Acts 28:24: "Some were convinced by what he said, but others would not believe."
    Acts 28:25: "They disagreed among themselves and began to leave after Paul had made this final statement: "The Holy Spirit spoke the truth to your forefathers when he said through Isaiah the prophet:"
    Acts 28:26: ""'Go to this people and say, "You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.""
    Acts 28:27: "For this people's heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.'"
    Acts 28:28: ""Therefore I want you to know that God's salvation has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will listen!""
    The above passages demonstrate that even though Paul was the apostle to the Gentiles, everywhere he went he consistently preached to the Jews first. Salvation is "first for the Jew, then for the Gentile" (Romans 1:16, above).

    As we saw earlier, the Mosaic Covenant contained the Law of Moses, which was the code of conduct for Jews from the time of Moses until Christ came, as described in Exodus 20:1 through Deuteronomy 28:68. The New Covenant contains the Law of Christ (e.g. Galatians 6:2 and 1 Corinthians 9:20-21), which is the code of conduct for Christians, as described throughout the New Testament. As we'll see in Part Three of this article, the Law of Christ contains some of the same commandments as the Law of Moses (such as nine of the Ten Commandments), but there are also differences between the Law of Moses and the Law of Christ. For example, the Law of Moses contains a commandment to observe the Sabbath, but there is no Sabbath command in the Law of Christ (as we'll see in detail in Part Three). Also, the Law of Moses contains commandments which limit the types of foods which the Jews were allowed to eat, but all foods are allowed to be eaten under the Law of Christ (see Romans 14:2-23, 1 Corinthians 8:4-13, 1 Corinthians 10:25-31, and Colossians 2:16). In addition, some of the commandments in the Law of Christ are similar to the Law of Moses (as it was taught by the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law), but the Law of Christ brings out the true intent of those commands. Here are some examples:
    Matthew 5:21: ""You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.'"
    Matthew 5:22: "But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, 'Raca, ' is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, 'You fool!' will be in danger of the fire of hell."

    Matthew 5:27: ""You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery.'"
    Matthew 5:28: "But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart."

    Matthew 5:31: ""It has been said, 'Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.'"
    Matthew 5:32: "But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery."

    Matthew 5:33: ""Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not break your oath, but keep the oaths you have made to the Lord.'"
    Matthew 5:34: "But I tell you, Do not swear at all: either by heaven, for it is God's throne;"
    Matthew 5:35: "or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King."
    Matthew 5:36: "And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black."
    Matthew 5:37: "Simply let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No'; anything beyond this comes from the evil one."

    Matthew 5:38: ""You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.'"
    Matthew 5:39: "But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also."
    Matthew 5:40: "And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well."
    Matthew 5:41: "If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles."
    Matthew 5:42: "Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you."

    Matthew 5:43: ""You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.'"
    Matthew 5:44: "But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,"
    Matthew 5:45: "that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous."
    Matthew 5:46: "If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?"
    Matthew 5:47: "And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?"
    Again, the New Covenant is unconditional and it primarily applies to the Jews (through faith in Christ), but Gentiles are able to share in the spiritual blessings of the New Covenant through faith in Christ.

Conclusion

The Edenic Covenant is usually regarded as being a conditional covenant. When Adam and Eve ate the fruit, the Edenic Covenant was broken and they were expelled from the Garden of Eden. Then God made a new covenant with them, which is often referred to as the Adamic Covenant.

The Adamic Covenant is unconditional and it applies to every person on earth, even to this day.

The Noahic Covenant is unconditional and it applies to every person on earth, even to this day.

The Abrahamic Covenant is unconditional and it primarily applies to the Jewish people. Some of the blessings of this covenant also extend to Gentile Christians.

The Mosaic Covenant (the Old Covenant) was a conditional covenant which the Jews had broken. It was replaced with the New Covenant.

The Palestinian Covenant is unconditional and it specifically applies to the Jewish people.

The Phinehas Priestly Covenant is unconditional and it specifically applies to the line of Phinehas.

The Davidic Covenant is unconditional and it specifically applies to the line of David, reaching its fulfillment in Jesus the Messiah.

The New Covenant is unconditional and it primarily applies to the Jews (through faith in Christ), but Gentiles are able to share in the spiritual blessings of the New Covenant through faith in Christ.


May the Lord greatly bless you in every way as you study His Word!


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  • 02/11/2007 - New article.