That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:
Ephesians 2:12 (KJV)
Covenants – Yup, that’s right, it’s in the plural form. And you thought there was just one covenant didn’t you? We focus on the new covenant and forget about all the rest. But that’s the Greek mind, not the Hebrew. In Hebrew thinking, covenants are layered one upon the other. They build upon the previous covenants and grow from them, never doing away with the ones that came before.
And so here’s Paul trying to explain this to a people who were outside of these covenants, but by the blood of Yeshua, have been included into what? Just the new covenant? Nope. They’ve been added into every one of the covenants of promise.
There was a covenant with Noah (Genesis 9:8-17) which we still see that God keeps His end of the deal by revealing rainbows in the heavens.
There was also a covenant with Abraham (Genesis 17:1-14). This covenant made Abraham’s name great. It ensured that Abraham would have many descendants, and nations with kings would come from him. And God also gives Abraham a geographical portion of the earth which is the land of Israel forever.
The Mosaic Covenant was decreed at Mt Sinai (Exodus 19:5-6). Peter reaffirms the Mosaic Covenant in 1 Peter 2:9. If we obey God and keep His commandments, we will be a peculiar people, a royal priesthood, and holy nation.
Renewed (New) Covenant
And finally, the Renewed Covenant, often referred to as the New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:31-34 and Hebrews 8:8-10). This affirms Yeshua as the High Priest along with a new priesthood under Melchizedek.
So now as someone who was not a part of these covenants, we’ve been included into each of them by the blood of Yeshua. They are each a part of one another. The final covenant did not destroy any of the previous covenants. They exist completely and fully in their respective orders. They are simply layered upon each other. As Paul writes, you are now made a part of the covenants of promise.
One thought on “It’s Not Just One Covenant”
I like the point you bring out about Hebraic thinking layering covenants. Not that a new covenant abolishes the former. I look forward to the covenant of Peace….Ez 34:25, 37:26. Or does it exist with us today?
Keep on Mark!