Covenant, in its secular demand, binds and establishes a relationship between two parties. However, God’s covenant establishes a relationship with men through his obedience. His covenant is not bilateral, but unilateral. For He is the One Who initiated, and He is the One Who determines the principles of it. Men are subjected to His commands in order to be recipients of the blessings He offers through His covenant. When God covenanted with Adam, He instructed him not to eat of the certain fruit from the garden. To maintain the relationship with God Adam had to obey God’s covenant’s instruction. When Adam failed what the covenant demanded, he died spiritually, as God told him he would. However, right then, God’s covenant went as far as to promise a Savior to restore the human race into covenant with Him through His Son. Speaking to Satan, He said, And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her Offspring; He will bruise and tread you under underfoot, and you will lie in wait and bruise His heel (Gen. 3: 15). God’s covenant was never annulled in spite of Adam’s disobedience, for He in His mercy, provided a way for the covenant relationship to exist between Him and men through the death of His Son.
God covenanted with Noah when He told Him to build an ark. He followed God’s orders and God promised him to establish His covenant (promise, pledge) of salvation with him when His wrath would pour over the entire earth. Noah and his family were delivered in the shelter of the ark God told him to make when he entered into the covenant relationship with God in obedience to the demand of the covenant (Gen. 6). God’s covenant with Abraham was a covenant of promise which was to continue through Abraham’s generation, that is, through his son Isaac, the son of the promise. For the covenant of promise to have affected, or to have bound to him, Abraham was to act in faith and in obedience. Abraham showed faithfulness to God’s covenant, when he satisfied the demand of the covenant in the sacrifice of his son, as he was told, believing that God would raise him from the dead, to fulfill His covenantal promise. Abraham found favor with God and the confirmation of the promise was then literate in God’s own words, I have sworn by Myself, that since you have done this and have not withheld or begrudged your son, your only son, in blessing I will bless you and in multiplying, I will multiply your descendants like the stars of the heavens and like the sand on the seashore. And your Seed YAHSHUA will possess the gate of His enemies. And in your Seed (YAHSHUA) shall all the nations of the earth be blessed and [by Him] bless themselves, because you have heard and obeyed My voice (Gen. 22). We are recipients of this blessing because Abraham obeyed the demands of God’s covenant. Abraham’s blessings have a prophetic perspective, embracing the entire world.
In Exodus 19 we see God covenanting with Israel, a nation which He created to covenant with Him and thus bless it. When Israel arrived at the wilderness of Sinai, God appeared to them. Moses, as their mediator, received the instructions before they were to appear before God. God, then covenanted with Israel by saying, You have seen what I did to the Egyptians and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself. Now, therefore, if you will obey My voice in truth and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own peculiar possession and treasure from among the above all peoples; for all the earth is Mine. And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests, a holy nation. These are the words you shall speak to the Israelites. And all the people answered together, and said, All that the Lord has spoken we will do. And Moses reported the words of the people to the Lord (vs. 3-8). There, the Lord gave the nation of Israel the Ten Commandments- the written covenant. Israel came to a mountain that was ablaze with fire and to gloom and darkness and a raging storm, with a blast of a trumpet and a voice whose words make the listeners beg that nothing more be said to them for they could not bear the command that was given; if even a wild animal touches the mountain it shall be stoned to death. In fact, so awful and terrifying was the sight that Moses s aid, I am terrified (Heb. 12:19-21). That was Israel’s experience when God covenanted with them.
The covenant God made with King David is a covenant comprised of promises. He covenanted with David by saying, I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep, to be prince over My people Israel. I was with you wherever you went, and have cut off all your enemies from before you; and I will make you a great name, like [that] of the great men of the earth. (II Sam. 7: 8-9). David’s subjected himself to the covenant saying, what more can David say to You? For You know Your servant, O Lord God. Because of Your promise and as Your own heart dictates, You have done all these astounding things to make Your servants know and understand. Therefore, You are great, O Lord God; for none is like You, nor is there any God besides You, according to all [You have made] our ears to hear… You have established for Yourself Your people Israel to be Your people forever, and You, Lord, became their God (II Sa. 7: 21-22,24).
Until YAHSHUA’S coming to earth, the nation of Israel was under the covenant of the law. But YAHSHUA came to fulfill it, since there was no one who could perfectly and accordingly to God’s demand, fulfill it. He came while the old covenant was in effect, and not only fulfilled the old covenant, but brought the new covenant with Him. This new covenant was predicted by Moses, Jeremiah, and Ez ekiel. (Deut. 29:4; Jer. 31:33; Ezekiel 36: 26-27). YAHSHUA was the mediator of the new covenant. His death carries the fulfillment and the basis of His promise. Before His death, He established the new covenant with those with Him and with those who would believe in Him: He took the cup after supper saying, This cup is the new testament or covenant [ratified] in My blood, which is shed for you (Luke 22:20). With His death, YAHSHUA made the first covenant obsolete. He did not abolish the law, but he fulfilled the law and taught us to observe the summary of the Law: love God with all our heart, soul and mind and love our neighbor as ourselves. That is the summary of the entire law because where there is love, there is no stealing, adultery, murder, coveting, etc. The old covenant was then replaced by the new: For if that first covenant had been without defect, there would have been no room for another one or an attempt to institute another one (Heb. 8:7).
YAHSHUA established the new covenant while He was shedding His blood when being beaten, when a crown of thorns was put on His head and when on the cross. As a Mediator, He connected us to God in the covenant of blood. His demands in His covenant are that we dwell in Him, bear fruit, abide in His love, keep His commandments, obey His instructions, and His principal commandment: love God, love one another, just as He loved us (John 15). The old covenant was written on a stone, but the new one was written in our hearts with the blood of YAHSHUA. The Prophet Jeremiah prophesized concerning this new covenant many years before the coming of YAHSHUA to establish it. Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. Not according to the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was their Husband, says the Lord. But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel: After those days, says the Lord, I will put My law within them and on their hearts will I write it; and I will be their God and they will be My people (Jer. 31:31-33).