by Hubert F. Sturges, www.everlastingcovenant.com, December 2013
The covenant is extensively referred to in the Old Testament. It was always considered in the singular, as “the covenant”. Covenants given to Phineas, David, the good kings of Judah, and the New Covenant of Jeremiah 31:31-34 all arise out of the everlasting covenant of God.
In the minds of the people of Israel, that covenant was the one given to Abraham. This covenant was to cover Abraham, his direct descendants, and all Israel to the end of time. There were hints of another covenant in Deuteronomy 5:2-5, 9:17 and Jeremiah 31:32.
Another covenant was made in Exodus 19:8, 23:20-31, 24:3-11. Bypassing the grace of God, and expecting to "do their part" they covenanted with God as equals! It was an imposible situation, and this covenant was broken 46 days after it was made and ratified. In the eyes of the people, it was a renewal of the Abrahamic covenant. In the eyes of God, He was disappointed in their self-confident human promises.
After Moses' intercessions the people were brought back under the Abrahamic Covnenant which was effectual to the end of their history. It was this covenant that was ratified by Jesus on Calvary. However the people looked back to an “old covenant,” which by Jesus’ time was corrupted and has lost its Gospel intent.
Only in the New Testament were there revelations of the covenant of God, made in council of the Godhead before creation of this world. The covenant of human promises made at Sinai was found to be faulty, broken, first and old and ready to vanish away (Hebrews 8-9).
An important issue is that there is always a division within any large group. There was the knowledgeable believing remnant who looked through the rituals and the sacrifices to the promised Redeemer. For them the ceremonial law illustratedd the plan of God for their salvation. They were in expectation when Christ came.
There was also the careless unbelieving majority who looked on the rituals and sacrifices as a direct means for their salvation and to appease God. They expected the Messiah to take the throne of David and to restore their lost glory. When He did not fulfill their selfish expectations He was rejected and eventually crucified.
Jesus now became the Mediator of the New covenant, which was actually a renewal of the Abrahamic covenant for the Christian Church era (Romans 11, 1 Peter 2:9).
Through Jesus Christ the covenant was revealed in all its glory. Yet in the New Testament, discussion then centered on Jesus Christ Himself, rather than on the covenant. Careful examination will show that the covenant will meet its full fruition in Jesus’ Second Coming!