Hidden Treasures

The Bible is much more than a book of religion.

Covenant series #1: Old Covenant

 The Abrahamic Covenant

Four thousand years ago God reached into Ur of the Chaldees, now known as Iraq, and in His wisdom, sovereignty and grace chose Abram (later called Abraham) for a very special purpose. He called him to leave his country and go to a place He would show him. Separated from the culture of his birthplace, God established a new nation and a new culture totally separate from the rest of the world. God led him to and gave him the land of Palestine. He promised to bless him and make his progeny a blessing to the world. The promise God gave to Abraham is called the Abrahamic Covenant and it is found in Genesis chapters 12 and 17.

Abrahamic Covenant continues through Isaac, Jacob and Judah

Time passed and Abraham and his wife Sarah grew old. Though promised descendents as vast as the stars in number, they still had no children. His wife was well past the age of bearing children. In their impatience with God, Abraham, at the suggestion of Sarah, had a son, Ishmael, by Sarah’s handmaid, Hagar. Ishmael became father of the Arabs. Finally when Abraham was 100 years old it is recorded in Genesis 22 that God gave Abraham and Sarah their promised son, Isaac, through whom the Abrahamic Covenant continued. Later, Isaac was married to Rebecca and they had twin sons, Esau and Jacob. In Genesis 28 it is recorded that God in His sovereignty continued His Covenant through Jacob, whose name was changed to Israel. Jacob had twelve sons, and from those sons, Genesis 49 records that God chose Judah through whom the Abrahamic Covenant should continue and through whom the Messiah would come.

The rest of the Old Testament story is the record of how God directed and protected the Tribe of Judah through whom came our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. Through Christ we who have trusted Him have been blessed, and through Him one day the whole world will be blessed.

Joseph protects his brothers, including Judah, in famine

Later because of famine in Israel, the twelve sons of Jacob went down to Egypt to find food. Interestingly, years earlier eleven of these sons, had grown jealous of their brother Joseph and sold him to some traders going down to Egypt. God was with Joseph and eventually he became the prime minister of Egypt under Pharaoh. God used the wisdom of Joseph to prepare for famine and the twelve sons were reunited in Egypt and settled there in a special place called Goshen. There the twelve tribes of Israel prospered and grew until a new Pharaoh came along who did not know or appreciate Joseph. For the next four hundred years, Israel suffered in slavery in Egypt.

Moses leads the Exodus of Israel from Egypt to their Promised Land

At the end of the four hundred years of slavery in Egypt, God raised up a new leader from the tribe of Levi, whose name was Moses. You can read the exciting story in the early chapters of Exodus. God prepared and used Moses to lead Israel, now millions strong, to go back to the land God had promised them in the Abrahamic Covenant. In their journey back to Canaan, they traveled through the Sinai desert. There in the Sinai desert God gave to Moses to give to the people, His Laws: including His moral law, His civil law and His ceremonial law.

The moral law, summed up in the Ten Commandments, showed Israel God’s moral standards for them. The people promised to keep His law, but like all of us as sinners, they failed miserably.

The ceremonial law provided a way for sinful people to approach a holy God. It was a system of intricate details concerning the building of a tabernacle. It included a system of approaching God through the sacrifice of animals. All of these animal sacrifices were a picture and a type of the Lord Jesus Christ who as the Lamb of God, would one day be the complete and final sacrifice for sin. If Jesus had not come and died for sin, then all of the ceremonial system of worship with its sacrifices, feasts, Sabbaths and holy days would have been in vain.

The Abrahamic Covenant continues through King David and King Solomon

Later David of the Tribe of Judah was born and eventually became king of Israel. While king God gave him what is known as the Davidic Covenant. You can read it in II Samuel 7:8-17. In that covenant he refers to David’s son, Solomon, who would follow him on the throne. God also promised David that his throne would be eternal. Jesus, the Messiah and Saviour was promised who would reign forever on David’s throne over the whole earth. Read more about that reign in Isaiah 11 and 35 and in the Minor Prophet, Zechariah 11-13. Read also the prophetic fulfillment that is yet to come as it is described in Revelation 19:11-16 and Revelation 20:4.

The New Covenant Prophesied

Several hundred years later the Prophet Jeremiah appeared on the scene and in Jeremiah 31:31-37 he announced a New Covenant that would one day replace the Old Covenant. In a later article I will say more about this New Covenant.

The Old Covenant Ceases

When the Lord Jesus Christ came and died on a cross for the sins of the world the ceremonial system came to an abrupt end. The moment Jesus died, Matthew 27:50-51 tells us that the heavy veil in the temple was torn supernaturally from top to bottom, thus showing that the way to approach God through the Old Covenant had come to an end forever. At that moment salvation would come to sinful man through the New Covenant.

May 29, 2006 - Posted by | Covenant Series

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