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The Biblical Covenants 

To understand the Word of God accurately one must become familiar with the eight BIBLICAL covenants. They fall into two classes:


A covenant which guarantees that God will do His part when the human requirements stipulated in that covenant are met.


Distinguished from a conditional covenant by the fact that its ultimate fulfillment is promised by God and depends upon God's power and sovereignty for its fulfillment.

Here is a cursory outline of them:

1. The EDENIC covenant (conditional), Gen. 1:26-31;2:16-17

Made with Adam in which life and blessing or death and cursing depended on the faithfulness of Adam. Adam and Eve failed, died spiritually and physically and their sin plunged the whole human race into its pattern of sin and death.

2. The ADAMIC covenant (unconditional), Gen. 3:16-19

Here God declares to man, after the fall, what his lot in life will be because of his sin. It includes the promise of the Redeemer.

3. The NOAHIC covenant (unconditional), Gen 9:1-18

Made with Noah and his sons after the flood, introducing human government to curb sin, the normal order of nature reaffirmed (Gen. 8:22; 9:2) and the permission for man to eat the flesh of animals. Also His promise never to destroy all flesh again by water.

4. The ABRAHAMIC covenant (unconditional), Gen. 12:1-4;13:14-17; 15:1-7; 17:1-8

This covenant is one of the great revelations of God concerning future history. Abraham would have numerous posterity, personal blessing, his name would be great, and he, personally, would be a blessing. Through Abraham would come a great nation (Israel) and through him (via that nation) all the nations of the earth would be blessed (Messiah). Through Abraham's descendents (the Jews) came the prophets of God, the writers of God's written Word (the Bible) and Christ/Messiah according to the flesh.

5. The MOSAIC covenant (conditional), Ex. 20:1 - 31:18

It is contained in Exodus but amplified in many other portions of Scripture. It was given through Moses as its mediator for the purpose of governing Israel's (national) relationship with God. It was mainly made up of (a) the commandments, the express will of God, (b) the judgments, the social and civic life of Israel, (c) and the ordinances. It was temporary and would terminate at the cross of Christ. Though it had gracious elements it was basically a covenant of works. It could not impart life to the sinner in Adam (Gal. 3:21) but it served as a tutor which would lead those who were under its jurisdiction to the only One who could impart LIFE (Christ Jesus, Gal. 3:24).

6. The LAND covenant (unconditional), Deut. 30:1-10

It is erroneously called by theologians the "Palestinian Covenant." However, the Bible does not recognize the land by that name. It is the land of Israel because it was divinely covenanted to Abraham's descendents through Jacob (Israel). It is an unconditional promise regarding Israel's final possession of their ancient land.

7. The DAVIDIC covenant (unconditional), 2Sam. 7:4-16; 1Chron. 17:3-15

God promised David an unending, royal lineage, throne, and kingdom. Though God reserved the right to interrupt the actual reign of David's sons for chastisement, the perpetuity of the covenant cannot be broken. The Abrahamic covenant guaranteed the nation and the land. The Davidic covenant guarantees an everlasting Throne, King and Kingdom connected to that people (the Jews) and the land. Jesus Christ, the Son of David, is the rightful heir of this promised Throne (Matt. 2:2; Lk. 1:32-33) and on it He will reign over this literal, promised, earthly, future Messianic Kingdom from Jerusalem at His second advent.

8. The NEW COVENANT (unconditional), Jer. 31:31-40

It is a new covenant with Israel in contrast with the old (Mosaic, "which they broke," Jer. 31:32). Christ Jesus is the Mediator (in His blood) of this new covenant which was inaugurated at the cross and is described in Scripture as, "enacted on better promises" (Heb. 8:6). The Mediator of this covenant has become, for all mankind, "the source of eternal salvation" (Heb. 5:9) to all who obey Him; as well as the cornerstone and Head of the Church (Eph. 2:20-22; Col. 1:18; Eph. 5:23) which is being built during this dispensation; individuals called out from both Jews and Gentiles alike. Ultimately and literally, this new covenant with its unconditional and eternal blessings will be established with NATIONAL Israel at Christ's second advent to earth.

Written by: Gary Nystrom

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