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What is a Covenant?

What is a Covenant?

If you are a believer, then you are aware that you have some kind of relationship with God. The relationship of being His child. In the Bible, there are several relationships many people had with God. The Creator can be a friend, ruler, teacher, father etc.  

However, not so many have a good idea of this relationship with God known as a partnership. A partnership is in essence working together to accomplish a goal. This can be seen all over the Bible; starting from the very beginning.

In the Book of Genesis, the Creator made the earth full of potential. He called it good. Then He set these unique creatures called humans on the earth as His partners to co-rule, draw out earth’s potential and create a world on the earth full of more goodness.

However, humans rebelled and chose their own path on how to create their own world. They broke partnership with God, and as a result corruption, injustice and chaos and death found their way into our world.

In order to correct that error God stepped in. He chose a small group of people and formed a new partnership with them with the goal that the blessing out of that partnership will transform the whole world. These new partnerships God formed are what we call in the Bible, Covenants.

What is a Covenant?

A Covenant is a partnership between God and human(s) to achieve a certain vision, where God makes promises of fulfilling His part of the deal and in exchange, the other partner(s) is asked to fulfill certain commitments.

The Old Testament records 4 main covenants that God initiated with people:

  • Noah
  • Abraham
  • Israel
  • David

It was through these covenants with a few that God intends to renew his partnership with all of humanity once again.

Covenant With Noah

This covenant was right after God cleansed the earth of human corruption and evil with a massive flood. Noah and his family were the only ones who survived. God made a covenant with them, all of humanity and every creature (Genesis 9: 12 -17)

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God promised humans through Noah without expecting anything in return. He knew that human corruption will rise again. However, He promised not to destroy the earth again irrespective of the level of depravity and wickedness. Noah had to do nothing.

God withdrew from fighting after He unleashed His weapon – the flood. He promised to set his bow down for all to see. That bow is the rainbow. He promised to never to destroy the earth anymore. He would rather wait till the day of judgment.

Let’s move on to the next one.

Covenant with Abraham

The next covenant God made was with Abram and his family. In this covenant God promised to bless Abram exceedingly and make him a father of nations. That’s how Abram became Abraham. God changed his name. Abram in Hebrew means “Exalted Father” God took the root words out of the Hebrew word “hamon” which means “multitudes” and added it to Abram’s name. Abram, in turn, was expected to train his people in the ways of the LORD (YHWH), starting with the act of circumcising every male (Genesis 17:2-14).

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The goal of this covenant that God initiated was for Abraham’s descendants to a channel through which God would bless the entire human race.

Covenant With Israel

Centuries later, after God brought them out of the slavery of Egypt through Moses, God made a covenant with the people of Israel. He promised to bless them and make them his treasured people. They would be his representatives to the rest of humanity and display God’s majesty to all. Their role was to obey His voice and keep His commandments. The people of Israel readily agreed:

And all the people answered together, and said, All that the LORD hath spoken we will do. And Moses returned the words of the people unto the LORD.

Exodus 19:8

On to the next covenant…


Israel grew to become a great nation ruled by king David. God made a covenant with king David. God promised to give rulership to David’s descendants and also that one of His descendants will bring the blessing of God’s kingdom to the entire human race. This descendant will rule the earth.

David’s role was for him and his descendants to lead the nation in line with God’s commandments.

Broken Covenants

What happened to all the covenants? Well, for the first one, Noah and his descendants were not expected to do anything. It was all about God’s promises. Because God knew that humans will fail on their part. He was right. The people of Israel together with their kings, forsook God and worshipped the gods of the other nations. They committed so much injustice and many even went as far as burning their children alive as a sacrifice to the god Molek. They broke every single covenant they made.

Just like God, Moses knew from the beginning that the people of Israel will break their covenant. They even broke their first covenant right after by worshipping a golden calf right beside God’s presence.

There had to be another way. The apostle Paul said something significant in His letters to the Galatian church:

Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith.

Galatians 3:24

The story of the Torah (Law) goes to show that humans fulfill their part of the covenant on their own. There is something broken within humanity because of the effects of sin that they cannot fulfill the covenant sealed in the law. This was a learning curve for humans about themselves, that even the people chosen to be used as God’s channel to bless and restore humanity to glory, failed.

There had to be another way. There has to be a new covenant. Not just for the people of Israel, but the whole world in effect.

The New Covenant

A young Jewish lad arrived on the scene. His name was Jesus. This strange man called fulfilled all the expectations required for every covenant. He kept all the commandments and covenants that the others failed in doing,

Jesus was a descendant of Abraham and he extended the blessing of Abraham to the whole world. He was also the faithful Israelite who was able to truly keep God’s law. This same Jesus, being a descendant of King David, fulfilled that covenant by extending the rule, peace, and justice of God’s kingdom to the rest of the earth.

The most impressive thing about Jesus is that there is more to him than meets the eye. He is not just any human. He was actually God who came as a man.

(Check out our article on Yahweh – Lord)

It’s good to note that God was faithful with His part of the covenants. Humans weren’t. However, God did not give up on humanity. If Abraham’s family was called to be the channel of God’s blessing to the rest of humanity, humanity will suffer if God kept on to the old covenant He made with the people of Israel.

God set off to restore all the covenants by Himself by doing something beyond adorable. He came in and through the human Jesus, to fulfill the human part in the covenants. This is God reactivating the goal of restoring the blessing to all of humanity.

New Covenant in Christ

Through Jesus, God has opened up a new way. A new covenant. Any human can simply join in with no expectations on their behalf as partners to restore God’s blessing to creation. All they have to do is to believe and follow this same Jesus, who fulfilled the role of humans in all the covenants. By doing so, they too fulfill the covenants in Jesus, the Messiah.

These humans are changed into a new race and family of God taking up the mantle to be a channel of blessing.

The Story of the Bible ends with a renewed world only full of God’s goodness, peace, and joy. Where God once again partners with this renewed humanity through Jesus to extend this goodness and blessing of God’s kingdom as it was intended in the very beginning.

A new story begins.

if you are not already… want to be part of this new humanity?

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