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Today’s question: How does Christ appear in the Covenants of the Bible?
One of the most delightful things in life is to enjoy the portraits of Christ in the pages of Holy Scriptures. In today’s episode, let us spend some time understanding the covenants of God in the light of Christ.
In the Bible, God made some covenants with the people. A covenant simply means a ‘contract’ or ‘agreement’. People make agreements with each other. Some of them are verbal agreements while some are written. When we join a job, we sign a contract. If we violate the contract, we risk losing that job.
I have been running a medical center for almost 10 years. I hired many individuals to work with me. Before I give them a job, I make them sign a contract. I give them the job description. You should keep this place clean. You should treat all our patients with respect and dignity. You should take their vital signs. You should give them medications on time. You should be punctual. You should not be using office time on your personal tasks. You should not steal money from the cash box. If you are willing to follow these rules, please sign the contract.
If you violate any of these rules, it means you violated the contract you signed. You don’t treat patients with respect. You don’t come on time. You don’t give meds to the patients. You steal money from the office. If you do any of these things, you would violate the contract you signed. You are fired. You are dismissed.
When we sell or buy land, we sign a contract. Recently I was going through one such document. I found the word ‘covenant’ all over that document. You should not sell one land to different people. Lot of people are getting deceived by these scams. They buy a piece of land and later find out it was sold to a few other individuals over the years. All of them spend years and years in a litigious process to settle the true owner of that land. The reason for that chaos is simple: someone broke the covenant out of greed.
If you make a promise to someone, you should keep it. Rahab, the prostitute, was living on the walls of Jericho. The spies from Israel went to survey Jericho. They met Rahab during their espionage. Rahab hid them in her home. To show her their gratitude, they told her, ‘Rahab, we are going to destroy the city of Jericho. If you want to escape our slaughter, hang this red thread on your window. That’s what she did. Rahab gathered all her family in her house and tied the red thread on her window. On the day of destruction, the Israelites spared everyone who took shelter in her house. They kept their word to protect her and her family.
God made some contracts with human beings and God will keep his word to fulfill those contracts. They are called covenants. That is so unique to the Bible. Allah does not make any covenants with the Muslims. Buddha does not make any covenants with the Buddhists. Krishna does not make any covenants with the Hindus. But in the Bible, we find a God who made covenants with human beings. This is so unique to the Bible. In the Bible, we see 8 covenants of God.
3. Abrahamic Covenant
4. Mosaic Covenant
5. Aaronic Covenant
6. Land Covenant
7. Davidic Covenant
8. New Covenant
First, the Adamic Covenant. Every covenant has a sign. The sign of this covenant is the tree of knowledge of good and evil. It was an unconditional covenant. That means God fulfills it irrespective of man’s actions.
God made this covenant with Adam. There are two parts in this covenant. Before the Fall and After the Fall. Before the sin entered into the human race and after it entered.
God told Adam in the Garden, “Adam, I gave you this beautiful garden. Enjoy everything in this garden. Enjoy every tree and its fruits except one tree: the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Do not eat the fruits of that tree. On the day you eat it, you will die. We know how that story ends. Adam and his wife Eve were disobedient to this explicit commandment of God and sin entered into the human race.
Some people say, why is there so much fuss about a fruit? Why was God obsessed with a fruit?
The problem is you do not stop with a fruit. You go after things which do not belong to you.
I want your house
I want your land
I want your money
I want your business
I want your wife
I want your husband
I want your child
I want your country
I want the whole world
There is no end to human greed and lust. Look at the stealings, look at the murders, look at the wars, look at the concentration camps, look at the porn industry. We go after things which do not belong to us.
God told Adam, don’t touch my fruit. If everyone of us did not touch the things which do not belong to us, this world would be a much different place. When Adam ate that fruit, sin entered into the human race.
On that very day, Adam and Eve died spiritually. God evicted them from the garden. All that precious and joyful time they spent in the garden came to a screeching halt. When they looked at the garden, they saw a big sign: Do Not Enter. Do Not Enter.
That must have been a very painful sight for Adam and Eve. That must have been a heartbreaking experience to be removed from the presence of God. Breaking a covenant of God will yield serious consequences.
But praise the gracious name of God. Read Genesis 3:15. He made another covenant with Adam and Eve. God told that he would put enmity between the seed of woman and Satan. A fight will continue between Satan and the offspring of Adam. On that very day, God promised a Savior to humanity (Genesis 3:15). This Savior or Messiah will crush the head of Satan. Who is this Savior? He is our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He defeated the power of Satan on the cross. He saved humanity from the power and penalty of sin. He liberated humanity from sin. Irrespective of man’s disobedience in the Garden, God sent us a Savior named Jesus. Thus this covenant is an unconditional covenant.
2. Secondly, the Noahic Covenant. Its sign is a rainbow. It was an unconditional covenant. God destroyed the whole human race in a global flood. All life was destroyed except what was preserved in the ark of Noah. In that Ark, God preserved Noah, his family and animals and birds. After the flood, Noah became the father of the human race. God made an eternal covenant with Noah. I will never destroy this planet with another global Flood. No matter what the climate activists tell us, there will never be a global flood. God promised it. God said, ‘I will make the rainbow a sign of this covenant’. Every time we see a beautiful rainbow, we are reminded of this great covenant God made with Noah.
At the time of this covenant, God established the human government. The age of government started on that day. This covenant was also fulfilled in Christ. The government shall be on his shoulder, said prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 9:6). There will be a day when all human government will be under Lord Jesus Christ. He is the ark God prepared for our salvation. You must take shelter in Jesus. Otherwise the flood waters of God’s judgment will drown you. Next time, the judgment of God will come in the form of a Global fire. You must be saved to escape that judgment.
3. Thirdly, the Abrahamic Covenant.
God made this covenant with Abraham. The sign of this covenant is circumcision. All godless ideologies are characterized by their perverted views of human sexuality. But God wanted Abraham and his offspring to be different from their pagan neighbors. Through circumcision, they are reminded that they are a people of a divine covenant which influences even their sexuality. They must live a separated life different from their pagan neighbors. Your faith must influence everything in your life, even your sexual life. That is what is signified in the circumcision.
It was an unconditional covenant. God told Abraham, ‘Abraham, I will make you a great nation. I will make your name great. I will bless those who bless you and will curse those who curse you. All the nations of the world will be blessed through you.’
God fulfilled that covenant in a magnificent way. God gave Abraham a son named Isaac. He gave his offspring a nation named Israel. He gave them his manifestations. He gave them his scriptures. He sent them his prophets. Finally, he sent them the Lord Jesus Christ, the greatest son of Abraham. The Abrahamic covenant is fulfilled in Jesus.
4. The fourth covenant is Mosaic Covenant. God made this covenant with the children of Israel through Moses, their first and greatest prophet. It’s sign was sabbath. It was a conditional covenant.
After over 400 years of slavery in Egypt, God delivered the children of Israel through the ministry of Moses. God performed great miracles to liberate his people. Splitting the Red Sea before them, he led them through the wilderness. Enroute to Canaan, God stopped them at Mt.Sinai and gave them the Law. It starts with Ten Commandments, the most important laws of God. In total there are 613 commandments in this covenant. They dictate what they should believe, how they should live, how they should marry, and how they should behave with others, how they should worship etc.
The sign of this covenant is sabbath. Every week, they take a day of rest to remember that God made a covenant with them to make them a holy nation before Him.
This covenant of Moses was fulfilled in Christ. We all came short of the laws of God. Have you ever lied? Have you ever stolen something? Have you ever felt jealous? Have you ever hated someone? Have you ever lusted after someone? Then you are guilty of breaking the law. Jesus Christ was the only person who fulfilled all the laws of God ever given to humanity.
Galatians 3:24 says,
Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
Note those words, the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ. The law is pointing us to Christ and we are saved by faith in him.
So, this legal covenant of Moses shows us our imperfections before God and leads us to Christ who makes us perfect when we put our faith in Him.
5.Fifthly, the Aaronic Covenant.
God made this priestly covenant with Aaron and his sons. It was an unconditional covenant. Its sign was the Ark of the Covenant.
It was called a peaceful covenant (Numbers 25:12). It was called an eternal priestly covenant. It was established to provide for the remission of the sins of Israel.
God appointed Aaron and his sons as the priests. They represent Israel before God. No one can go to God without a priest. We can approach God only through a priest.
God designed and directed the construction of a tabernacle to be the meeting place between himself and Israel. Among other things, we see an altar, the lamp stand, the holy place and the most holy place in this tabernacle.
In the most holy place, we see the ark of the covenant. The high priest would enter the presence of God with the blood of his sacrifice and sprinkle it on the Ark of the Covenant.
This priestly covenant was also fulfilled in Christ. Jesus is our High Priest. Today, no one can enter the presence of God unless he or she is in Christ. We read in Hebrews 7:26, For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens.
This High priest is Jesus Christ our Lord. He is the greatest high priest who ever mediated between God and humanity. The priestly covenant is called a peaceful covenant. Jesus brought peace between God and individuals whom he represents.
6. Sixthly, the Land Covenant. Its sign is the Land of Israel. It was a conditional covenant. After crossing the River Jordan, the children of Israel entered the Promised Land. They all gathered on two mountains named Mount Gerizim and Mount Ebal. All people gathered on Mount Gerizim recited the blessings of the Law and all people gathered on Mount Ebal recited the curses of the Law.
There God made the Land Covenant with the children of Israel. ‘If you faithfully follow my commandments, I will give you this land. You will increase, prosper and receive my blessings. If you violate my commandments, you will not increase and prosper. You will be cursed. I will evict you from this land and disperse you among the nations of the world’.
True to this Land Covenant, the Israelites received God’s blessings as long as they followed God’s righteousness. When they broke the Land Covenant, they lost the land of Israel.
Egyptians, Philistines, Assyrians, Babylonains, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Europeans, Arabs, Nazis, Communists, Muslims….they all plundered the land of Israel at various times in various ways.
Even in this Land Covenant, we see the faithfulness of God towards His children. As He promised through his prophets, God regathered the children of Israel to the lands of ancient Judea and Samaria. In our time, we see the nation of Israel flourishing in many ways.
The sign of this covenant is the length and breadth of the nation of Israel. When we see it, we are reminded of the Land Covenant.
This Covenant also will be fulfilled in Christ. Israel will experience its golden age under His reign. Israel will possess its largest geography under his reign. The best days of Israel will be when Jesus Christ will reign it as its Messiah.
7. Seventhly, the Davidic Covenant. God made this covenant with David, Israel’s greatest king. Its sign is the throne of the king in Jerusalem. It is both conditional and unconditional. Conditional because it depends on the righteousness of the lineage of David. Unconditional because God himself prepared a heavenly Son of David to sit on David’s throne.
David came from the tribe of Judah. Abraham’s son was Isaac; Isaac’s son was Jacob. Jacob had 12 sons, who became the forefathers of the 12 tribes of Israel.
Out of these 12 tribes, royalty was given to the tribe of Judah. The house of David would produce the kings of Israel.
Through Abrahamic Covenant, God promised an eternal nation while through the Davidic Covenant, God promised an eternal kingdom, an eternal throne and an eternal king.
When the nation of Judah was in turmoil, just before the Babylonian Captivity, prophet Jeremiah cursed the lineage of David. Read Jeremiah 22:30. We wonder, ‘Wow, boy, why would Jeremiah mess with God’s covenant with David?’. But it was God speaking through Jeremiah. Because of their failure to keep the covenant, God sees it through the tragic termination of the Solomonic kings.
But God in his wisdom continued David’s succession through one of his other sons named Nathan. Davidic Covenant is fulfilled in Christ. Virgin Mary came from Nathan. Jesus Christ, our Messiah was born through Virgin Mary. Jesus’s legal father, Joseph came in the line of Solomon. So, physically Jesus was a descendant of Nathan, a son of David and legally a descendant of Solomon, a son of David. The two royal lineages merged in Christ.
Jesus Christ is the greatest Son of David. As the son of David on the throne of David from the city of David, he will rule the world as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
8. Finally the Eighth Covenant, the New Covenant. Its sign is the Communion. Let us read Jeremiah 31:31
Behold, the days come, saith the LORD,
that I will make a new covenant with
the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah
The same Jeremiah who cursed the line of David, who prophesied the Babylonian Captivity also gave us the good news. God will make a new covenant with his people.
It was a turbulent time in the history of the nation of Israel. It was on the cusp of Babylonian Captivity. While it was the end of pagan Israel, God made it a new beginning for spiritual Israel through the Messiah using a New Covenant.
This New Covenant was fulfilled by Lord Jesus Christ. Before his crucifixion, he took bread, broke it and distributed it to his disciples. He told them, ‘this is my body, eat it’. Then he took a cup of wine and gave thanks. He told them, ‘this is my blood, drink it’.
For this is my blood of the New Testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom”
There are two parts in this covenant.
First, the forgiveness of sins and then the kingdom of God.
“This is my blood of the New Testament”
Jesus shed his precious blood for the forgiveness of our sins. It is a fountain filled with blood, drawn from his veins. We plunged beneath that flood and all our guilty stains were removed.
Then he told them very significant words.
I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom”
That is the blessed hope of this new covenant. One day we will be in the kingdom of God. One day we will have communion with Jesus in the kingdom of God.
Today, we have seen 8 covenants of God.
3. Abrahamic Covenant
4. Mosaic Covenant
5. Aaronic Covenant
6. Land Covenant
7. Davidic Covenant
8. New Covenant
There is a sign for every covenant
The tree of of the knowledge of good and evil in Adamic Covenant
The rainbow in Noahic Covenant
The circumcision in Abrahamic Covenant
The sabbath in Mosaic Covenant
The ark in Aaronic Covenant
The land of Israel in Land Covenant
The throne in Jerusalem in Davidic Covenant
The communion in the New Covenant
These signs are not ends in themselves. They only point to Christ. Some people said, ‘circumcision is enough for me’. No, circumcision is not enough. It is only a sign. Rahab was not saved by the red thread. She was saved by faith in God. We must put our faith in Christ. He is the fulfillment of all covenants God made with human beings.
These covenants show us the trustworthiness of God. In every covenant, we see the tragic failure of human beings. Yet, we see God is good, loving and faithful in all the covenants He made with human beings.
Dear reader, may you gaze upon Christ today and savor the blessings of these covenants!