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New Wine for the End Times
The Seven Redemptive Covenants
“ In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1). John begins his gospel by making a strong allusion to the Greek doctrine of Logos. In the beginning was the Logos, and the Logos was with God, and the Logos was God. (Logos is Greek for “Word.”) The Greek doctrine of Logos, dating back to the 6th-century BC Greek philosopher Heraclitus, taught that the orderly rules of nature happen because of this Word, and that the Word is spoken though nature. Logos was the reason why rabbits have many young; while lions, who may eat rabbits, have few young. The Logos said what is right and wrong for each and every species of nature. “All things were made through him. Without him was not anything made that has been made” (John 1:3).
Every man and woman, since the Garden of Eden, has been able to hear the Word of Christ. Christ’s sheep hear his voice. But Satan has continued his practice of lies intended to trick man into trusting anything and everything except Christ’s voice. Satan does not want us to hear the Logos. Satan does not want us to accept God’s Word about what is right and what is wrong. However, we are all made in the image of Christ, and we all can hear Christ’s voice. Christ loves each and every one of us and continues to speak to us like children until we understand enough about Him to accept or reject Him.
Every man and woman, since the Garden of Eden, has been able to hear the Logos of Christ. Satan has deceived us into trusting anything and everything except for Christ. When God speaks to us more directly, however, such as doing the miracles that were done by Moses and Jesus, then we must respond to Christ’s voice. If one does not, then one is blotted out, and one can no longer hear Christ’s voice. Such a person can no longer hear the Logos.
Only those who hear the voice of Christ will be resurrected (John 5:25, 28-29). Those who hear Christ’s voice includes those who do not as yet know Christ. They hear the Logos, which is Christ. But they are lost sheep (Matthew 9:36, 10:6, 12:11-12, 15:24, 18:12, 26:31, Mark 6:34, 14:27, Luke 15:4-6) who hear Christ’s voice (John 10:1-18). The wicked, like some of these the Jewish leaders, do not hear Christ’s voice. They do not hear the Logos. So they will not be resurrected when Christ returns and will not receive any more life.
“In him was life, and the life was the light of men” (John 1:4). We can accept or reject that light. Adam and Eve were given the exact same choice. There were two unusual trees in that garden. I believe these trees were literally there. But the symbolism involved is the important thing for us to understand. The tree of life symbolizes Christ. He is the bread of life. Those who eat of Christ will live forever. Nevertheless, we can eat from this tree only if we remain obedient to Christ’s voice. Christ is the light of men. Christ tells us what is right and what is wrong. We must hear and obey the Logos of Christ. We must allow God to say what is good and what is evil, just as He does for all His Creation. Those who harden their hearts against Christ’s voice can be blotted from the Book of Life. The foolish can become evil.
“The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it” (John 1:5). The light shows us God’s nature. The light shows us what is good and what is evil. The other tree in the garden is the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Satan tempted Eve by convincing her that if she ate the fruit, she would be like gods, knowing good from evil (Gen 3:5).
This knowledge is not an intellectual knowledge. It’s an intimate knowledge. In the Hebrew, it’s the same word as in Genesis 4:1, where Adam knew Eve and she conceived and bore a son. Satan was telling Eve that she would not die, but instead would become like God so that she could decide for herself what is good and what is evil. But this is darkness. Only God can truly show us what is good and what is evil.
Once we start deciding for ourselves what is good and what is evil, we are in darkness. This is ignoring Christ’s voice that is within. Still, the light remains shining in the darkness all over the world for every son or daughter of Adam to perceive. The light shines in the darkness. We see it in God’s Creation. By contrasts, those who believe the lie of Satan don’t understand the Logos of Christ. They don’t perceive the light.
Our sinful nature results in children quickly wanting to test their boundaries and rebel against the authority of their parents. Children tend to decide for themselves what they will and will not do. This sinful nature prevents us from partaking in eternal life. Yet Christ still considers us to be His. Everyone is still Christ’s Creation. Christ died for Adam and for all his children. Christ walked and talked with Adam in the Garden (Gen. 3:8-9). And Christ still speaks to all of us today.
“The Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). If the Word, to which all of the Creation is obedient (Mark 4:39-41), became a man in the flesh, then that man must be the King of all Kings (1 Timothy 6:15, Revelation 17:14, Revelation 19:16). The two trees in the Garden of Eden symbolize two kingdoms as well as two choices.
In Daniel 4, Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom was symbolized as a tree. Daniel called Nebuchadnezzar a king of kings (Daniel 2:37). When Adam chose to disobey Christ, Adam’s descendants fell under the reign of Satan’s kingdom. Satan is called the prince of this world (John 12:31, 14:30, 16:11). Nevertheless, we can choose to obey Christ again. We can listen to Christ’s voice. We can choose to let Christ say what is good and what is evil in our own personal lives.
We die due to our disobedience. Disobedience prevents us from fully partaking of the tree of life, which is Christ. Satan’s lies of confusion block us from developing a full understanding of the Logos of Christ before we die. This is why the Logos became flesh and dwelt among us. Christ demonstrated how we should live, even to the point of dying for us to pay the price for our disobedience.
After enough of us have matured in obedience in order to teach the world, the dead will rise and Christ will again dwell among us as our literal King of Kings. Being the King of Kings is literally being the Logos to the entire Creation. Everyone will be forced to make the same informed choice that Adam decided upon. It’s the choice of being obedient to the Logos, or to reject that obedience.
But to effectively run a literal worldwide government, Christ must have loyal kings and priests from every nation, tribe, people, and language (Revelation 7:9). These must be rulers and priests (Revelation 1:6, 5:10, 20:6) who will have matured in their relationship with Christ so that they are no longer deciding for themselves what is good and what is evil. They must be entirely motivated out of love for their King, and out of love for their neighbors, over which they will then rule with wisdom and compassion. These kings and priests will be the teachers who will lead all who are willing into a mature relationship with Christ.
In order to accomplish this, God instigated a plan that was governed by a series of progressive covenants. Covenants are promises, as well as the instigation and establishment of relationships. Covenants are much more a relationship than a promise. God uses covenants to show that a restoration of relationship is at the heart of God’s plan. We must come into maturity in our relationship with Christ, under the bond of these covenants. It’s very much like the relationship of marriage, which is also a covenant.
Rules, laws, or conditions can be related to a covenant. But the rules, if any, are not themselves the covenant. The covenant between Jonathan and David did not involve rules (1 Samuel 18:3). Most covenants between men occur through the explicit establishment of new relationships. If one of the two is greater in authority, then he is the one that makes the covenant. So, Jonathan made a covenant with David, not the other way around. Any newly established covenant must be explicitly stated before such a relationship exists.
Marriage is a covenant. Marriage requires agreement from both parties, but the man marries the woman. The man makes a covenant with the woman. (At least this is the case in Scripture.) Marriage may involve rules, but the rules do not establish the relationship. If anything, the rules are a means by which the covenant may be broken. But the rules, in and of themselves, do not establish the covenant.
There is a similar relationship between parents and their children. In this case, the relationship is established before the children are even born. The parents have covenantal authority over the children. At some juncture, after understanding and growing up, the children may break the covenant. But they do not establish the covenant. The parents establish the covenant before the child is born. When children grow up into mature and loving adults, they generally do not even think about the possibility of breaking their covenantal relationship with their parents. Children, however, with their lack of understanding, do not have the authority to break the covenantal relationship that was established by their parents.
There was a similar relationship between Adam and his Father. The following verse makes reference to that prior covenantal relationship:
Hosea 6:7 But they, like Adam, have broken the covenant. They were unfaithful to me, there.
This relationship provided Adam with life. With it, a rule was established that Adam understood. If Adam broke the rule, it would break the relationship. It would break the covenant. God promised that the eating of the fruit would bring death. The covenant with Adam was broken when Adam ate the fruit. The relationship was lost. The covenant was broken.
All covenants between God and Man, which are explicitly established in the Scripture, are about the re-establishment of that lost relationship. They are progressive in nature. One covenant builds upon the previous. God instigates these covenants unilaterally. Being our Father, He doesn't ask Man to agree to them. Like the covenant with Adam, these new covenants with God can be broken.
Since the first relationship (or covenant) with Adam was broken, the sacrifice of Christ, and His blood, was needed for any new relationship between God and Man. Adam did not originally agree to his covenantal relationship with God. He was “born” into it. Likewise, we don't agree to enter into the re-establishment of covenants between God and Man. Christ died for us before we were even born.
We did not decide to enter into a mutual agreement between us and our parents before we were born. Likewise, we did not decide to enter into a mutual agreement between us and our heavenly Father. Salvation is not a mutual agreement. We don’t become saved one day. Salvation is a free gift for everyone. But at some point in our journey of righteousness, we must seek a personal (discipleship) relationship with Christ that will bring about the overcoming of all our sinful habits. If, however, we break this covenantal relationship, there is no longer a sacrifice. When we break the relationship, our names are blotted out of the Lamb's Book of Life.
If we do not accept Christ, we will eventually reject Christ. Everyone is given the same choice as Adam. We must choose between the two trees. We must choose between Satan and Christ. Everyone will be given the opportunity to make this choice. God is patient. God is powerful. Death is not the end of the journey of righteousness to complete holiness.
The Bible speaks of seven different covenants between God and Man, which are explicitly called covenants by Scripture. This does not include the pre-existent covenant with Adam, because these covenants are all about God’s re-establishment of a covenantal relationship with Man after the fall of Adam. The seven covenants explicitly and newly established by Scripture are: (1) the Covenant of Creation, (2) the Covenant of Blessing, (3) the Covenant of Law, (4) the Covenant of Priests, (5) the Covenant of Kings, (6) the Covenant of Grace, and (7) the Covenant of Peace.
1) God’s covenant with Noah (Gen 6:18, 9:8‑17) is the Covenant of Creation. God promises to never destroy the Creation with water again. The covenant is explicitly established with Noah and all his descendants (verse 9). It’s also explicitly established with every living creature on the earth (verse 10). Everyone on earth today is a descendent of Noah. Hence, God has established a covenant with everyone from every nation, tribe, people, and language.
The sign of this covenant is the rainbow (verses 12‑17). God promises to remember the covenant whenever a rainbow appears in the clouds (verse 14). God has a covenant (relationship) with everyone. It’s not just with those who follow the Law of Moses or who have already accepted Christ. This is a relationship between God and Man that speaks through the Creation itself. This covenant is the Logos. Just as the rainbow appears in the clouds, the author of this covenant will appear in the clouds. Christ will reign as King of Kings over not only the Creation, but over every man, woman, and child on the earth.
The book of Job may date from before even Abraham, and shows God’s relationship with Job. Job understood God to be the Creator. Job said, “I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes -- I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!” (Job 19:25‑27). Job had faith in the Logos, and even knew that someday he would be resurrected and would see Christ stand upon the earth.
Just as parents unilaterally establish a covenant with their children, God unilaterally established this covenant with Noah and all of Noah’s children. Everyone is a child of Noah. We can, however, break the covenant. We can harden our hearts against Christ’s voice. We can deny the Creator.
2) God’s covenant with Abraham (Genesis 13:14‑17, 15:9‑10, 15:17‑21, 17) is the Covenant of Blessings. Abraham is blessed because of his faith. This includes the promise of all the land in Palestine. God promises Abraham that his descendants will be as numerous as the stars in the sky and the sand of the seashore. Land and descendants were the ultimate blessings of the ancient world.
This promise to Abraham came down through Isaac and Jacob. Specifically, the promise did not come down through Esau, the older twin, but through Jacob. This was so that God’s election would stand (Romans 9:11). The older will serve the younger (Romans 9:12). Jacob was given the name Israel, and his twelve sons are the twelve tribes of Israel.
But not all Israel is Israel (Romans 9:6). Not all of Abraham’s descendants are Israel (Romans 9:7). Those who are in Christ are the ones considered to be Abraham’s seed, and heirs to the promise (Galatians 3:29). The promise was not to all of Abraham’s seed, but to a specific seed, meaning one person, which is Christ (Galatians 3:16). Therefore, only those who are in Christ are Abraham’s seed, and heirs to this promise of land. This covenant is not with everyone. This covenant is only with Israel. The Gentiles who are in Christ are grafted into the vine of Israel. So we are also the elect of Israel, and the covenant is with us through election.
This Covenant of Blessing is specifically for the land of Palestine (Genesis 12:7, 15:7, 15:18-21, 17:8). This covenant is unilateral. God instigated it, yet it’s not with everybody. Only those who are chosen by God will receive this blessing. Only those who have an [agape] love for Christ, and who walk as Jesus walked (1 John 2:9) during this life, are chosen as priests and kings, and will receive this blessing of the land in Palestine. Everyone else, including Esau and his sons, is still under the Covenant of Creation. Esau will serve Jacob. The older will serve the younger. Jacob and the true seed of Abraham are the heirs to the promise and will reign in the millennium.
In Old Testament times, this covenant involved the revelation of the promise of Christ (which means Messiah). But some broke the covenant. They turned to idol worship. When the people of Israel turned to idol worship, they broke the covenant. Their names were blotted from the Book of Life. Their relationship with God came to an end. But for ignorant pagans, idol worship did not break the covenant, because no such covenant was in place with them. Moreover, even those under the covenant have the choice to break the covenant, just as adults can break the covenant with their parents. However, it must be a knowledgeable decision as an adult would make. Breaking the covenant with God brings eternal condemnation. But people who are not in Christ are not under this covenant.
3) God’s covenant with Moses (Deuteronomy 5:1-3) is the Covenant of Law. The Law of Moses formed a theocracy. The government laws were also the laws of God. Any set of governmental laws needs to be changed or revised as times change. The Law of Moses also included moral laws, such as the Ten Commandments. These laws are eternal. They are the very Logos of Christ that tell us what is good and what is evil. These laws never become obsolete.
Many of the government laws of Moses were shadows of Christ (Colossians 2:17), who was to come. Now that Christ has come, they are no longer needed. In a broader sense, the entire Theocracy of Moses itself was a shadow of Christ. When Christ returns, he will set up an earthly government (Isaiah 9:6-7). The government will be on his shoulders. The words of the King are the Law of the land. Thus, the laws of that government will be God’s laws. So it will again be a Theocracy. The Theocracy of Moses would seem to be a shadow of the future Theocracy of Christ.
4) God’s covenant with Phinehas (Numbers 25:10‑13) is the Covenant of Priests. When Christ returns, those who will have matured in Christ will be priests and kings over the nations.
5) God’s covenant with David (2 Samuel 7:11b‑16, 2 Chronicles 21:7, Psalm 8:3‑4) is the Covenant of Kings. This covenant says that a descendent of David will always be on David’s throne. Of course, Christ is the fulfillment of this covenant. Today, the kingdom of Christ is in the hearts of those who believe. The kingdom is in the hearts of the kings and priests to come, but the kingdom is not yet in the nations. It’s only partially fulfilled. Likewise, the Covenant of Priests is only partially fulfilled. When Christ returns, King David’s throne will extend throughout the world as a literal one-world government.
God’s covenants are progressive in nature. One covenant does not replace the next. They are partially fulfilled. When Christ returns, they will all be completely fulfilled. When Christ comes again, there will again be a Theocracy.
Jeremiah 33:14‑26 shows how the covenants are progressive, and are to be completely fulfilled in the Messianic age. Verse 17 puts emphasis on the Covenant of Kings, the covenant with David. Verse 18 emphasizes the Covenant of Priests, the covenant with Phinehas. Verse 20 speaks of God’s covenant with the day and his covenant with the night. This is an obvious allusion to the Covenant of Creation, the covenant with Noah. Finally, verses 22‑26 make strong allusion to the Covenant of Blessing, the covenant with Abraham.
6) The New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:31‑36, Hebrews 8:8‑13), is the Covenant of Grace. At the Last Supper, Christ instigated this covenant the evening before the crucifixion. The Covenant of Grace, thus, had to await the crucifixion. With this covenant came the permanent indwelling of the Holy Spirit. As we mature in Christ, the very presence of God dwells within us, making us (corporately) the temple of God (John 2:19‑21, 1 Corinthians 3:16‑17, 6:19 2 Corinthians 6:16, Ephesians 2:20‑22, Revelation 3:12).
The Holy Spirit causes us to mature in Christ. In so doing, the Holy Spirit is writing God’s law in our minds and in our hearts (Jeremiah 31:33, Hebrews 8:10). Thus, we no longer need to be under a Theocracy, which was the Law of Moses. In the future, when we are mature with God’s law completely written in our minds and in our hearts, we will be eligible to be priests and kings to rule with Christ in Christ’s Theocracy. Those who inherit eternal life and reign with Christ will no longer under be judgment (John 5:24). We will not be under this theocracy. But the law is written on our hearts. So we will always obey the will of the Father.
The New Covenant is the Covenant of Grace. Grace means favor. (The Greek word for grace is the same as the Greek word for favor.) Those who are now maturing in Christ are those whom God has chosen. We are the elect. We are “a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9). It’s also a Covenant of Grace because it’s free from the Law of Moses. It’s a Covenant of Grace because we no longer abide under a theocracy.
Grace means favor. This grace and mercy extends to everyone who will have faith in God, not just to the elect. God has grace for everyone, because God does not show favoritism (Romans 2:11).
Like the covenant of Blessing with Abraham, the New Covenant is a covenant of election. The New Covenant is stated to be specifically with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah (Jeremiah 31:31, Hebrews 8:8). Since the covenant is not with everyone, the very fact that God instigates the covenants reveals God’s election. The seed of Abraham are those who are in Christ. Those who are in Christ are the true Israel. We are the seed of Abraham (Galatians 3:29). We are the elect, whom God has chosen to write his law on our hearts.
The covenant of Blessing with Abraham, during Old Testament times, could be broken. Likewise, the New Covenant can be broken. In other words, even after believing in Christ and receiving the Holy Spirit, the New Covenant can still be broken. We all have free choice. Breaking the covenant would cause your name to be blotted from the Book of Life.
This covenant is with Israel, and is also with the house of Judah. Judah is the Jews. Israel includes Judah and constitutes people from every nation, tribe, people, and language. God is forming us, true Israel, into a holy nation that will reign when Christ returns. Then Israel will lead the rest of the nations to follow Christ as King, and to build an everlasting relationship with Christ.
7) The Covenant of Peace (Isaiah 54:4‑10, 59:20‑21, Ezekiel 34:23‑25, 37:24‑28, Hosea 2:16‑19) is the covenant with the nations after Christ returns. It’s not just a covenant with true Israel. It’s also a covenant with the beasts of the field. This brings us back to the Covenant of Creation, given to Noah. Both the first and the last of these seven are covenants with everyone in all the nations.
The covenants are progressive in nature. Each builds upon the previous. They all form a progressive system of covenants that describe God’s redemptive plan for everyone in all the ages.
The first and last covenants are with everyone. However, this on-going covenantal relationship with God can be broken by anyone who rejects Christ, by knowingly choosing the tree of knowledge of good and evil. These progressive covenants are with everyone written in the Lamb’s Book of Life before the foundation of the world. Everyone’s name was there. Rejection of God’s personal revelations causes one’s name to be blotted out from this book of covenant recipients, those who are redeemed by the blood of the Lamb.