What is a Covenant?

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A covenant is a relationship between two or more people. It can be compared to a promise, but often has more weight behind it, and it includes consequences for failing to uphold it. It is often made between two parties in the sight of God, but it can be between individuals as well. The Hebrew word for covenant is berith, while the Greek word is diatheke.

Ancient world

The concept of covenants dates back to the ancient world. These agreements were made to regularize the relationships between different societies. Typically, a superior power would threaten or use military force to establish a bond. This type of agreement is also known as a salimum. In this form of contract, the vanquished state would make a promise to the new state that they would not harm them.

The covenant was a type of solemn agreement, often used to regulate behavior. In ancient times, the ancient world lacked social control, so these agreements were important to regularize behavior. While pre-Greek civilizations didn't have a systematic description of these agreements, they were still useful in regulating behavior. A covenant is an agreement between two or more parties that requires consideration and usually comes with a seal or guarantee. The seal is one of the distinguishing features of a covenant, as it differs from a modern contract.

The Sinai covenant has a close parallel with ancient Near Eastern treaties. These agreements were made by exogamous tribes and bands to stay within certain patterns of intermarriage. The Sinai covenant, however, takes a legal form.

Old Testament

This last sermon on the Old Testament covenant was entitled "Covenant Probe." This sermon will examine how the doctrine of covenant developed throughout the Old Testament and was ultimately fulfilled in the Lord Jesus Christ. The theme of covenant is fundamental to the Bible, and its development continues through the Old Testament. The Abrahamic covenant is the oldest, and it is also the most complex.

The Old Testament covenant was based on conditions and promises. It was established before the law, but it depends on the law. This is because the law was given to preserve the relationship. The covenant did not require God to give a law, but it did require the obedience of those who received it. This is a crucial element of the Old Testament covenant.

The Exodus 24 covenant outlines God's covenant with the people of Israel after He led them from Egyptian slavery. The Law did not offer salvation, but it distinguished the people of Israel from other nations and defined them as a special kingdom of priests. It also outlined blessings and curses.


Covenants are relational agreements made by people to live by their values. Unlike laws, which are rigidly enforced and written, covenants are relational. They are an invitation to a new way of life. In churches, covenants can help resolve conflicts and improve communication. By fostering these relationships, churches can become healthier, more productive places to belong and worship.

Covenants have many forms in the Bible, but they all share some essential elements. The first covenant was established between God and Adam and Eve. While the details of this relationship changed over time, the basic components remained the same. At the time of Adam and Eve, this covenant was the only hint of a relationship with God.

Although the Bible contains lots of information about covenant, the vast majority of it centers on God's covenant with his people. Covenants define God's relationship with us and move his plan of redemption forward.


A personal covenant is a legal obligation that binds the parties who enter into it. The covenant does not extend to successors or assigns of the original parties. It is common to see personal covenants in estate planning documents. Personal covenants may specify a specific use for a particular piece of land.

Covenants can be intransitive or transitive. Intransitive covenants are limited to the covenantor, while transitive covenants are general. Examples include the Lord's covenant with Noah, which guaranteed the survival of his family through the flood, Abraham's covenant with his descendants, and David's covenant with the Lamanites. Some covenants are universal and bind all who wish to be saved, but there are also special covenants made between individuals.

The new covenant with Israel is personal, not national. Adam and Eve were separated from God in the Garden of Eden through their sin. Their sinful nature could not appreciate God's presence, and they feared meeting him. Human nature is prone to the course of least resistance. It is tempting to indulge in pleasures, and to ignore the path leading to eternal life.

September 20, 2022


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