|THE ABRAHAMIC COVENANT: The Covenant of Promise (Part 1)
HIS GLORY REIGNS
Apr 4 2008 08:00A.M.
As seen in connection with the previous covenants, each covenant begins a probation cycle.
1. Man's probation in relation to the terms of the covenant given.
2. Man's failure to keep the terms.
3. God's judgment on sin.
4. God's redemptive covenant given.
With the establishment of the Noahic Covenant and the new beginning on a cleansed earth came a further period of
probation. There were further terms added to those of the previous covenants, as God continued to unfold His ways to
Soon after the giving of the Noahic Covenant, the failure of man began to evidence itself. Noah's drunkenness and
nakedness and Ham's disrespect to his father were failures in relation to God's reproductive purposes for man as stated
in the Noahic Covenant (Genesis 9:1). Their conduct was not consistent with the high and holy purpose God intended
for the powers of reproduction. This failure in the family of Noah led to the failure of the entire race at the Tower of
Babel. Nimrod, of the line of Ham, led a rebellion against God's command to replenish the earth by drawing the people
together at Babel. This rebellion was epitomized in the building of the Tower of Babel to reach unto heaven to the glory
of man and the defiance of God (Genesis 10:6-10; 11:1-4). They took the delegated authority of human government
given in the Noahic Covenant and turned it against God and His government. Thus, human government was usurping
the place of Divine government.
God foresaw the man's unified rebellion would soon deserve universal judgment. Thus, in judgment with a view to
mercy, God stepped into the scene at Babel and brought man's evil unity into confusion. By confusing their languages,
scattering them across the earth and dividing them into nations, God was setting the stage for the unfolding of His
redemptive purpose among the nations (Genesis 10:25,31,32; 11:5-9; Acts 17:26,27; Deuteronomy 32:8).
While the families were developing into nations in their respective places God chose the next covenant man from the line
of Shem. It would be through Abram that God would bless all the nations of the earth (Genesis 11:10-32; 12:1-3).
I. The WORDS of the Covenant
A. The Promises of the Covenant
covenants. The Abrahamic Covenant enlarges upon the Edenic, Adamic and Noahic Covenants. It also includes
in itself the covenants relative to the chosen nation of Israel, which are the Mosaic, Palestinian, Davidic and New
Covenants (Romans 9:4,5).
then Israel after him (I Chronicles 16:15-17). These three fathers were together partakers of one covenant; even
as the three persons in the eternal Godhead are partakers of one covenant (Exodus 2:24; 3:6,15).
1. Promises of Blessing
This promise was confirmed to Isaac (Genesis 26:3), Jacob (Genesis 28:3) and to Israel (Deuteronomy 28:1-
being blessed was that he might be a blessing to others. This promise was confirmed to Isaac, Jacob, and
to Israel. This was fulfilled in:
from Sodom's destruction (Genesis 13:5-9; 14:1-16; 18:16-33).
the nation of Israel (Deuteronmy 28:1-14).
promised to bless those who show favor to Abraham. This promise was confirmed also to Isaac (Genesis
26:12-33), Jacob (Genesis 30:25-43) and the nation of Israel (Numbers 24:9).
promise of blessing, that through Abraham God would bestow His favor upon all the peoples of the earth.
This promise involved the birth of the Seed Messiah, Jesus Christ, and was fulfilled in the New Covenant.
(Numbers 24:17), and finally to David (II Samuel 7; Psalms 89,132).
through David (Galatians 3:8, 16,29; Matthew 1:1; Romans 1:3; 16:20; Genesis 3:15).
to be given an honorable and well-known name.
(Genesis 24:12; 26:24; 28:13; Exodus 3:15; Mark 12:26,27).
groupings that honor the name of Abraham; Islam, Judaism, and Christianity.
Rebekah, Jacob, and to Joseph's two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh.
(d) To be a father of many nations (Genesis 17:4-8).
(e) Seed to be as innumerable as the stars and the sand (Genesis 22:17-18).
nations (Genesis 21:13,18; 25:12-18).
united kingdom and nation of Israel, and then after the division of the nation the two nations of the House of
Israel and the House of Judah (Ezekiel 37:15-28).
that is other nations including some Arab nations which trace themselves back to Abraham (Genesis 25:1-
2:5-10; Revelation 5:9-10; Ephesians 2:12-21).
Gentiles and believing Israelites are grafted into the olive tree and all together become one in "the
commonwealth of Israel" (Romans 11; Ephesians 2:12). In Christ there is neither Jew nor Gentile but all
believers are now the seed of Abraham (Galatians 3:28-29). Together they constitute the one new man
and the body of Christ (Ephesians 3:1-9).
many nations there would have to be lands for that seed to dwell in. God set the bounds of the other
nations according to the number of the children of Israel (Deuteronomy 32:8,9; Acts 17:26).
24; I Kings 4:20-25; II Chronicles 9:26), in other lands for the seed of Abraham (Genesis 36:8,9,43; II
Samuel 7:10-16), and also in Abraham being "heir of the world" (Romans 4:13). The ultimate fulfillment is in
the heavenly country of which Canaan was an earthly shadow (Hebrews 11:8-16). As with all the promises
of the Abrahamic Covenant there is both natural and spiritual fulfillment of the land promises.
possession of the land.
conquest of enemies was confirmed to Rebekah (Genesis 24:60) and to Judah (Genesis 49:8-12).
confirmed to Sarah (Genesis 17:16), to Jacob (Genesis 35:11), to Judah (Genesis 49:8-12), to Israel
(Deuteronomy 17:14-20; Numbers 23:21), and finally to David (II Samuel 7).
was confirmed to Moses (Exodus 6:1-8) and the Prophets (Jeremiah 24:7; 30:22; 31:31-34; 32:38-40;
Ezekiel 11:19,20; 36:25-28).
Covenant (Hosea 1:6-11 with 1 Peter 2:9-10; Romans 9:25-29).
2. Promises of Cursing
actually a blessing for Abraham and his seed. God said to Abraham: "I will curse him that curseth thee" (Genesis
12:3). It was also confirmed to Isaac (Genesis 27:26-29). Even Balaam recognized that he could not curse the
people God had blessed (Numbers 22:6; 23:8; 24:9).
one of faith. For this reason he has been called "the father of all who believe." Romans 4:3 states that
"Abraham believed God and it was counted unto him for righteousness" (Genesis 15:6; Psalms 106:31;
Galatians 3:6; Hebrews 11:8-19). His faith was tested and perfected as he progressed from "faith to faith"
attitude of faith (Genesis 22:18; 26:5; Hebrews 11:8; James 2:20-24).
irrevocable. The first statement of oath is given in connection with the typical death and resurrection of Isaac, the
only begotten son of the Old Testament (Genesis 22:16-18; Hebrews 11:17-19). It was confirmed to Isaac
(Genesis 26:2-5), and in subsequent Scriptures to Jacob and Israel (I Chronicles 16:16; Psalms 105:8-10;
Deuteronomy 7:8; 29:9-13; Jeremiah 11:5; Micah 7:20; Acts 7:17; Luke 1:72,73). Hebrews 6:13-18 explains that
when God made promise to Abraham He confirmed it by an oath that by two immutable things (His promise and His
oath), He bound Himself irrevocably to its fulfillment. The promises of the Abrahamic Covenant can never be
annulled (Galatians 3:15-17).
inspired Moses to give the account of it when he wrote the first five books of the Bible, particularly Genesis and
II. The BLOOD of the Covenant
The sacrificial elements of the Abrahamic Covenant were progressively unfolded during Abraham's life-time.
1. The Bread and Wine (Genesis 14:18)
the "communion" of bread and wine, which New Testament Scripture shows to be symbolic of the body and
blood of Jesus Christ (Matthew 26:26-28).
2. The Animal Sacrifices (Genesis 15:7-17)
offerings. These were an heifer, a she-goat, a ram, a turtledove, and a young pigeon. He was to divide
the animals in half and lay the pieces, with the birds, in two rows. God Himself, as a burning lamp and
smoking furnace, passed between the pieces of the sacrificial body and blood and thus ratified the
promises of the covenant (Jeremiah 34:18,19). The particular instructions God gave concerning the
covenant sacrifices were later confirmed and expanded in the five offerings of the Mosaic Covenant
(Leviticus 1-7). All of these sacrifices were fulfilled and abolished in the perfect sacrifice of Christ on
Calvary (Hebrews 10:1-10).
3. The Sacrifice of Isaac (Genesis 22)
after three days journey to Mount Moriah. The supreme test of faith and obedience was passed by
Abraham in this act and God opened his eyes to offer a ram as a substitute for his only son. Thus God the
Father led father Abraham to do typically with his only begotten son, Isaac, on Mt. Moriah, what He Himself
as the Father would do actually with His only begotten Son, Jesus, on Mount Calvary (Hebrews 11:17-19;
B. The Mediator of the Covenant
1. The Priesthood of Melchisedek
the most high God" (Genesis 14). Melchisedek was not only a priest but was also a king, "King of
Righteousness and King of Peace." He blessed Abraham, ministered to him the bread and wine and
received tithes from him. Subsequent Scripture shows that Christ's king-priesthood is after the order of
Melchisedek (Psalms 110; Hebrews 7).
2. The Priesthood of Abraham
Isaac, and Jacob unto the Levitical priesthood. The fact that Abraham built an altar and offered sacrifices in
obedience to God shows that he was priest of his household (Genesis 15). He also exercised his priestly
ministry in his intercession for Lot (Genesis 18-19).
C. The Sanctuary of the Covenant
This altar became God's meeting place with the fathers where He appeared to them and blessed them in
connection with the sacrifice (Exodus 20:24-26).
III. The SEAL of the Covenant
The Abrahamic Covenant was called the "covenant of circumcision" because its seal was the rite of circumcision (Acts 7:
It was referred to as:
* A Token (Genesis 17:11)
* A Seal (Romans 4:11).
* A Sign (Romans 4:11).
A. The Administration of the Rite
In administering the rite of circumcision, three things were involved:
1. The cutting off of the flesh, involving shedding of blood (Genesis 17:9-11).
2. The invocation of the name of the child (Genesis 21:4; Luke 1:59; 2:21).
3. The eighth day (Genesis 17:12; Luke 1:59; 2:21).
B. The Significance of the Rite
relationship with God and entitled to the promises, the privileges and the blessings of the covenant. To reject or
neglect this rite would be to break the covenant and to cut himself off from its benefits (Genesis 17:14).
Circumcision was the outward evidence of their inward commitment to the terms of the covenant.
C. The Importance of the Rite
covenantal relationship with God by circumcision. Moses could not deliver God's people Israel on the basis of the
Abrahamic Covenant when his own family did not have the seal of that covenant (Exodus 2:23-25; 3:1-6; 4:24-26).
seal of circumcision (Exodus 12:43-51).
D. The Fulfillment of the Rite
its internal application. Even the Old Testament prophets reflected the New Testament reality (Deuteronomy 10:
16; 30:6; Jeremiah 4:4; 6:10; Ezekiel 44:7).
1. Fulfillment in Christ
a. In His Experience as an Infant (Luke 2:21)
(1) The rite of circumcision.
(2) The eight day.
(3) The naming of the child, Jesus.
b. In His Baptism at Jordan (Luke 3:21-23)
(1) Into the water - pointing to His death.
(2) Out of the water - pointing to His resurrection
(3) Receiving the name Christ - pointing to His exaltation.
c. In His Experience at Calvary (Acts 2:22-36)
(1) His crucifixion - cutting off; His broken body and shed blood.
(2) His resurrection - the eighth day.
(3) His exaltation - the exalted name, LORD, received.
2. Fulfillment in Christians
a. In Water Baptism (Matthew 28:19,20; Acts 2:36-41; Colossians 2:11-13).
(1) Into the water - identification with His death.
(2) Out of the water - identification with His resurrection.
(3) In the name - invocation of the Godhead name.
b. In Circumcision of the Heart (Colossians 2:11-13; Romans 6:14).
(1) Cutting off of the fleshly life.
(2) Experiencing the newness of life.
(3) Walking in the nature of the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The seal of circumcision of the Abrahamic Covenant is fulfilled in the New Covenant circumcision of the heart. New
Covenant circumcision is not of the flesh, but of the heart; not of the letter but of the Spirit; not made by hands externally
but made by the Spirit inwardly, whose praise is not of men but whose praise is of God (Romans 2:24-29).
Abraham believed God both when he was uncircumcised and circumcised. Thus he is the father of all who believe,
whether the Circumcision or the Uncircumcision. This confirms the truth of the matter that God's desire is for the new
creature that is circumcised in heart (Romans 4:8-12; Ephesians 2:11-13; Galatians 6:15,16).
The general promise of the Adamic Covenant concerning the Messianic seed of the woman which was narrowed down to
the race of Shem under the Noahic Covenant was narrowed further to Abraham, who would become the father of the
chosen nation, Israel, through whom the Messiah would come. As the most comprehensive covenant of Old Testament
times the Abrahamic Covenant, either explicitly or implicitly includes in itself all previous and subsequent covenants. Its
ultimate fulfillment is in the New Covenant through Christ and His Church (Galatians 3).
The Covenants, by Keith J. Conner and Ken Malmin, Copyright 1983, Bible Temple Publishing.
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