What is the meaning of Covenant & what are the Covenants in the Bible?

Covenant in Hebrew is bereeth.  The word covenant is first used in the Old Testament in Genesis 6:18.  Covenant in Greek is diatheke.  The word covenant is first use in the New Testament is in Luke 1:72.  Testament is another word for covenant.   The Old Testament (Old Covenant) is the Mosaic Covenant which is the same as the Law of Moses.  The New Testament (New Covenant) supercedes or overrules the Old Testament (Old Covenant).  Covenant means a promise or an agreement between two or more parties.  A conditional covenant means there are conditions required by man to keep or fulfill the covenant.  A conditional covenant goes something like this; If man does his part then God will do His part; if man does not keep his part then God will not keep His part.  An unconditional covenant has no requirements for man to keep in order for God to keep the covenant or to fulfill it.  An unconditional covenant is only dependent upon God to keep.  There are specific covenants in the Bible and are called the Biblical covenants.  These all are covenants, or promised contracts, between God and man:  These are the six Biblical covenants: Noahic Covenant (unconditional); Abrahamic Covenant (unconditional); Mosaic Covenant (only conditional one); Land (Palestinian) Covenant (unconditional); Davidic Covenant (unconditional); & New Covenant (unconditional).  While there may be other minor ones named in the Bible, these are the dominant ones affecting practically all areas of theology.  Some people include two more covenants than those listed here; the Edenic and Adamic.  The Edenic Covenant is supposedly the first made with man (Genesis 1:26-31 & 2:16-17) and is thought to be conditional.  The Adamic Covenant is supposedly the second made with man after the Fall (Gen. 3:16-19) and would be unconditional.  Neither the Edenic or Adamic have the same characteristics as the six Biblical covenants. In Scripture the Lord does not call these two passages covenants.  They seem to be a mild compromise with Covenant Theology.  They most likely were derived from the Reformed teaching of the Covenant of Works and the Covenant of Grace.  These Reformed covenants are not found in the Bible but are instead a theological approach imposed upon Scripture.  The Covenant of Works and the Covenant of Grace, foundations to Covenant Theology, are not even found in the Bible.

James Utter  3/2012


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