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Covenant

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Loyal
Covenant

Merriam Webster gives this defintion.

1: a usually formal, solemn, and binding agreement : compact
2
a : a written agreement or promise usually under seal between two or more parties especially for the performance of some action
b : the common-law action to recover damages for breach of such a contract

In the Bible it talks about the "new covenant" and the "old covenant".
This is really what divides the old testament from the new testament.
Before Jesus... and after Jesus (was resurrected) so to speak.

So if a covenant is an agreement between two people. Two people have to
agree to it. Now in some cases, the covenant doesn't depend on both
parties doing anything, only one of the parties has to do anything for the
covenant to be valid. But most of the time in the Bible, ( in fact really
everytime but once, when Abraham was promised descendants, and that they
would inhabit a certain piece of land ).

It was the custom of the times, when a covenant was made, to cut an animal
into two pieces, the two parties would then walk between the two pieces.
This was like saying "If I break the covenant, may the same thing happen
to me that happened to this animal".

In Genesis 15; God caused Abraham to fall into a deep sleep ( Gen 15:12; )
And while he was God asleep God cam down and walked between the pieces
of the animals. ( Gen 15:17; ) But God also told Abraham his descendants
would be enslaved and oppressed for 400 years ( Gen 15:13; )

God made three other "agreements/covenants" with Abraham, but in those other three
it depended upon Abraham doing some things.

=============================================================================

When we enter into a covenant with God, both sides are making a promise.
A solemn binding agreement. Both sides will agree to do their part.
In fact you can't really have a covenant without this agreement between both
sides. A covenant can't be made "between" one person, it can only be made
between two people.

==============================================================================

So there are a few questions that come up.

1. What is God promising us?
2. What are we promising God?
3. What did God do to keep His side of the agreement?
4. What are you doing to keep your side of the agreement?

Usually most Christians can (sort of) answer #3. Jesus died for us.
But what about the other three questions?

==============================================================================

Often times you will hear we are under the "promise" and not under the "law".
( Rom 4:13-16; Gal 3:17-19; )

I'm not disputing that at all. But I think what gets lost times, is that
there are things we have to do, that really don't have a lot to do with the law.

Gal 3:21; asks.. Is the law contrary to the promises of God?
May it never be!

===============================================================================

It wasn't a "law" for Abram to go Canaan.
But God told Abram that He would give Abraham the land there. ( Gen 12:1; )
But this did require Abram to get up and leave the country where he was.
This required Abram to be obedient to God.

Abram "went forth" and "set out for the land of Canaan" (Gen 12:5-6; )
Perhaps God already knew Abram would obey Him, but whether He knew or not.
Abram did obey Him.

================================================================================

It wasn't a "law" for Abraham to sacrifice Isaac.
But God told Abraham to go to the land of Moriah ( Gen 22:2; )
to offer up "your only son, whom you love" as a burnt offering.

God was testing Abraham... not to see if we obey the law (the 10 commandments
didn't exist yet) but to see if he would obey God, even to the point of killing
his son.

In Gen 22:12; the angel tell Abraham don't kill your son, for now I know
"now, I know" (did God not know before?) Perhaps God did know, but it still
required Abraham to go through the action of odedience.
"for NOW I KNOW, that you fear God". ( also see Heb 11:17; )

=================================================================================

So even though Abraham wasn't "under the law". He still had to be obedient to God.

so what is a covenant? An agreement between two people.. that usually requires
the "performing of some action" to seal the covenant.

=================================================================================

When Jesus said "It is finished" ( John 19:30; )
That didn't mean the whole world WOULD be saved. It meant the whole world
COULD be saved. Jesus did His part of the covenant, now we have to do ours.
 
Loyal
Covenant

Merriam Webster gives this defintion.

1: a usually formal, solemn, and binding agreement : compact
2
a : a written agreement or promise usually under seal between two or more parties especially for the performance of some action
b : the common-law action to recover damages for breach of such a contract

In the Bible it talks about the "new covenant" and the "old covenant".
This is really what divides the old testament from the new testament.
Before Jesus... and after Jesus (was resurrected) so to speak.

So if a covenant is an agreement between two people. Two people have to
agree to it. Now in some cases, the covenant doesn't depend on both
parties doing anything, only one of the parties has to do anything for the
covenant to be valid. But most of the time in the Bible, ( in fact really
everytime but once, when Abraham was promised descendants, and that they
would inhabit a certain piece of land ).

It was the custom of the times, when a covenant was made, to cut an animal
into two pieces, the two parties would then walk between the two pieces.
This was like saying "If I break the covenant, may the same thing happen
to me that happened to this animal".

In Genesis 15; God caused Abraham to fall into a deep sleep ( Gen 15:12; )
And while he was God asleep God cam down and walked between the pieces
of the animals. ( Gen 15:17; ) But God also told Abraham his descendants
would be enslaved and oppressed for 400 years ( Gen 15:13; )

God made three other "agreements/covenants" with Abraham, but in those other three
it depended upon Abraham doing some things.

=============================================================================

When we enter into a covenant with God, both sides are making a promise.
A solemn binding agreement. Both sides will agree to do their part.
In fact you can't really have a covenant without this agreement between both
sides. A covenant can't be made "between" one person, it can only be made
between two people.

==============================================================================

So there are a few questions that come up.

1. What is God promising us?
2. What are we promising God?
3. What did God do to keep His side of the agreement?
4. What are you doing to keep your side of the agreement?

Usually most Christians can (sort of) answer #3. Jesus died for us.
But what about the other three questions?

==============================================================================

Often times you will hear we are under the "promise" and not under the "law".
( Rom 4:13-16; Gal 3:17-19; )

I'm not disputing that at all. But I think what gets lost times, is that
there are things we have to do, that really don't have a lot to do with the law.

Gal 3:21; asks.. Is the law contrary to the promises of God?
May it never be!

===============================================================================

It wasn't a "law" for Abram to go Canaan.
But God told Abram that He would give Abraham the land there. ( Gen 12:1; )
But this did require Abram to get up and leave the country where he was.
This required Abram to be obedient to God.

Abram "went forth" and "set out for the land of Canaan" (Gen 12:5-6; )
Perhaps God already knew Abram would obey Him, but whether He knew or not.
Abram did obey Him.

================================================================================

It wasn't a "law" for Abraham to sacrifice Isaac.
But God told Abraham to go to the land of Moriah ( Gen 22:2; )
to offer up "your only son, whom you love" as a burnt offering.

God was testing Abraham... not to see if we obey the law (the 10 commandments
didn't exist yet) but to see if he would obey God, even to the point of killing
his son.

In Gen 22:12; the angel tell Abraham don't kill your son, for now I know
"now, I know" (did God not know before?) Perhaps God did know, but it still
required Abraham to go through the action of odedience.
"for NOW I KNOW, that you fear God". ( also see Heb 11:17; )

=================================================================================

So even though Abraham wasn't "under the law". He still had to be obedient to God.

so what is a covenant? An agreement between two people.. that usually requires
the "performing of some action" to seal the covenant.

=================================================================================

When Jesus said "It is finished" ( John 19:30; )
That didn't mean the whole world WOULD be saved. It meant the whole world
COULD be saved. Jesus did His part of the covenant, now we have to do ours.
A very good starter study B-A-C Did you also know that because it is a blood covenant that it is totally binding to the point of....The person who breaks it has to die? If God broke the covenant with us, He would have to terminate Himself, but since He cannot die...He cannot break the covenant.... That's waaay cool! The indians of North America are/were covenant peoples too, of the same type...They cut covenant...The movies would show 'blood brothers' cutting themselves and mingling their blood...but they had no understanding whatsoever what a blood covenant was and we whites broke those covenants all the time...Then when the covenant man tried to protect the honor of the man who broke covenant, by killing him, war broke out No wonder the North American indians do not trust white folk...
 
Loyal
The word covenant is found in over 260 verses in the old testament, some verses have the word more than once,
so it's actually in the old testament over 280 times.

But it's only found in 31 verses in the new testament. Again some verses have it more than once, for a total of 34 times.

So it's in the old testament about 250 more times than it is in the new testament, or about seven times as many times.
Both covenants required blood for multiple reasons.

Four times Jesus says His blood is the new covenant. Matt 26:28; Mark 14:24; Luke 22:20; 1 Cor 11:25;

This was for two reasons....
the first reason is explained in Hebrews 9:16-19;

Heb 9:15; For this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.
Heb 9:16; For where a covenant is, there must of necessity be the death of the one who made it.
Heb 9:17; For a covenant is valid only when men are dead, for it is never in force while the one who made it lives.
Heb 9:18; Therefore even the first covenant was not inaugurated without blood.

The second reason is also in Hebrews 9.

Heb 9:11; But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation;
Heb 9:12; and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.
Heb 9:13; For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh,
Heb 9:14; how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

Heb 9:19; For when every commandment had been spoken by Moses to all the people according to the Law, he took the blood of the calves and the goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people,
Heb 9:20; saying, "THIS IS THE BLOOD OF THE COVENANT WHICH GOD COMMANDED YOU."
Heb 9:21; And in the same way he sprinkled both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry with the blood.
Heb 9:22; And according to the Law, one may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.

So in both ways it is similar to the old covenant. Blood was required in order for there to be a covenant in the first place, but also blood was
required as a sacrifice for sin.
But it is of course different in some ways also...
 
Loyal
Out of the 31 verses in the new testament that mention the new covenant, 18 of them are in Hebrews.
It would seem that if you really want to understand the new covenant, Hebrews might be a good place to start.

The book of Hebrews is interesting in that no one really knows who wrote it.
Many believe Paul wrote it. He had the qualifications certainly. He was a well schooled Pharisee.

But two things go against Paul writing it.
First, in all of his known epistles ( Romans, Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Thessalonians, Timothy, Titus, Philemon )
He always identifies himself (usually in the first verse)
Second, Paul called himself the apostle to the Gentiles. ( Rom 11:13; 1 Tim 2:7; Gal 2:7; ) The Hebrews obviously weren't Gentiles.
Peter also says
Acts 15:7 After there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, "Brethren, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles would hear the word of the gospel and believe.

So it appears Peter also had a ministry to the Gentiles (Cornelius was a Gentile).
But I digress. It doesn't really matter who wrote Hebrews, it's in the Bible. So ultimately, God wrote it.

Back to Hebrews...

Heb 7:22; so much the more also Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant.
Heb 7:23; The former priests, on the one hand, existed in greater numbers because they were prevented by death from continuing,
Heb 7:24; but Jesus, on the other hand, because He continues forever, holds His priesthood permanently.
Heb 7:25; Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.

Jesus is the guarantee of a better covenant. We saw the two ways He does this in Hebrews 9 above, but wait.. there's more.
Since Jesus lives forever, He is the high priest of the new covenant permanently.
Jesus also "lives to make intercession" for people.

So here are a few of the ways the new covenant changed. But what else changed?
 
Loyal
Out of the 31 verses in the new testament that mention the new covenant, 18 of them are in Hebrews.
It would seem that if you really want to understand the new covenant, Hebrews might be a good place to start.

The book of Hebrews is interesting in that no one really knows who wrote it.
Many believe Paul wrote it. He had the qualifications certainly. He was a well schooled Pharisee.

But two things go against Paul writing it.
First, in all of his known epistles ( Romans, Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Thessalonians, Timothy, Titus, Philemon )
He always identifies himself (usually in the first verse)
Second, Paul called himself the apostle to the Gentiles. ( Rom 11:13; 1 Tim 2:7; Gal 2:7; ) The Hebrews obviously weren't Gentiles.
Peter also says
Acts 15:7 After there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, "Brethren, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles would hear the word of the gospel and believe.

So it appears Peter also had a ministry to the Gentiles (Cornelius was a Gentile).
But I digress. It doesn't really matter who wrote Hebrews, it's in the Bible. So ultimately, God wrote it.

Back to Hebrews...

Heb 7:22; so much the more also Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant.
Heb 7:23; The former priests, on the one hand, existed in greater numbers because they were prevented by death from continuing,
Heb 7:24; but Jesus, on the other hand, because He continues forever, holds His priesthood permanently.
Heb 7:25; Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.

Jesus is the guarantee of a better covenant. We saw the two ways He does this in Hebrews 9 above, but wait.. there's more.
Since Jesus lives forever, He is the high priest of the new covenant permanently.
Jesus also "lives to make intercession" for people.

So here are a few of the ways the new covenant changed. But what else changed?
Have you noticed? Everything in the Word, everything boils down to one thing...Covenant....God's hesed.
Hebrew has a word for life-long love that is richer and deeper than English has ever conceived of—hesed (HEH-sed). Based in a covenantal relationship, hesed is a steadfast, rock-solid faithfulness that endures to eternity:

“Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love (hesed) for you will not be shaken” Isaiah 54:10.

Hesed is a love that is so enduring that it persists beyond any sin or betrayal to mend brokenness and graciously extend forgiveness:

“No one is cast off by the Lord forever. Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love (hesed).” (Lamentations 3:31-32)

Hesed is to love as God loves. When God’s presence passed by Moses on Mt. Sinai and revealed his very essence, God proclaimed his great hesed. (Exodus 34:6) Biblical scholar John Oswalt describes it this way:

The word hesed…[is] the descriptor par excellence of God in the Old Testament. The word speaks of a completely undeserved kindness and generosity done by a person who is in a position of power. This was the Israelites’ experience of God. He revealed himself to them when they were not looking for him, and he kept his covenant with them long after their persistent breaking of it had destroyed any reason for his continued keeping of it. …Unlike humans, this deity was not fickle, undependable, self-serving, and grasping. Instead he was faithful, true, upright, and generous—always.(1)

Like other Hebrew words, hesed is not just a feeling but an action. It intervenes on behalf of loved ones and comes to their rescue. After Abraham’s servant miraculously found a wife for Isaac by bumping into her at a well, he praised God “who has not abandoned his kindness (hesed) and faithfulness to my master” (Genesis 24:27). Because hesed is often active, it’s translated as “mercy” or “loving-kindness,” but neither of these words fully convey that hesed acts out of unswerving loyalty even to the most undeserving.

Hesed is a bone-weary father who drives through the night to bail his drug-addict son out of jail. Hesed is a mom who spends day after thankless day spoon-feeding and wiping up after a disabled child. Hesed is an unsung pastor’s wife whose long-suffering, tearful prayers keep her exhausted husband from falling apart at the seams. Hesed is love that can be counted on, decade after decade. It’s not about the thrill of romance, but the security of faithfulness.
 

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