The Bible talks about God making and keeping covenants. But there’s more to covenants than legal agreements and binding documents.
The covenants of the Lord are about building a relationship, forming a partnership, working alongside Him to accomplish a purpose—His purpose for you and for His people—together.
The Hebrew word for covenant is brit, which appears 284 times in the Old Testament. It is likely derived from the Hebrew verb barah, which means to cut.
There is clear imagery of the seriousness and specificity of God’s covenants.
“So He said to him, ‘Bring Me a three-year-old heifer, a three-year-old female goat, a three-year-old ram, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.’ Then he brought all these to Him and cut them in two, down the middle, and placed each piece opposite the other; but he did not cut the birds in two…
“And it came to pass, when the sun went down and it was dark, that behold, there appeared a smoking oven and a burning torch that passed between those pieces. On the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying:
“’To your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the River Euphrates—the Kenites, the Kenezzites, the Kadmonites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites, and the Jebusites.’”—Genesis 15:9-10, 17-21
Read this excerpt from Curt Landry’s book Reclaiming Our Forgotten Heritage as he digs into the biblical meaning of covenants and how they manifest in our lives today.
“I saw that the Bible is a history of covenants God established with human beings and that each specific covenant had its own place and significance in expressing who God is. Covenant, in other words, is the spiritual foundation of everything we do as believers.
“All else is built upon it, and it is what attaches us to heaven. Yet very few fully understand how it began or how it works—or does not work—in our lives today.
“The Bible records eight biblical covenants between God and humanity—two conditional and six unconditional. Conditional covenants require certain conditions to be met for the covenant to remain valid. Unconditional covenants are basically ‘no strings attached’ and continue in effect whether or not both parties live up to their agreements.
“The first of the two conditional covenants is the Edenic covenant, also called the creation covenant, which was based on Adam and Eve not eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil (Genesis 2–3). That covenant was broken, of course, and the garden Eden is no more upon the earth.
“The second is the Mosaic covenant, or Sinaitic covenant, so named because it was made with Moses on Mt. Sinai. This covenant is based on the law of Moses, which starts with the Ten Commandments and is woven throughout the first five books of the Bible—known by Christians as the Pentateuch and by Jews as the Torah.
“The conditional nature of this covenant is clear. If God’s people obeyed its laws, they would receive the blessings of Abraham listed in Deuteronomy 28:
“’Now it shall come to pass, if you diligently obey the voice of the Lord your God, to observe carefully all His commandments which I command you today, that the Lord your God will set you high above all nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, because you obey the voice of the Lord your God.’” (page 118)
Curt Landry further explains the curses that come upon us when we don’t follow the voice of the Lord, as it is written in Deuteronomy 28:15-68. He goes on to reveal how this covenant is still active today… but not in the way many people think. It’s still a covenant and promise that God has made, but through the lens of the New Covenant—Jesus Christ.
Curt Landry unmasks the confusion as to the significance of the New Covenant and its relationship to all the others.
After all, Jesus Himself said…
“Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one little will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”—Matthew 5:17-19
More from the book Reclaiming Our Forgotten Heritage…
“This confusion reveals itself today in two common beliefs Christians hold:
- The new covenant wiped out all previous covenants and is the only covenant God honors today. This comes from a false doctrine called replacement theology, which we will look at later in more depth.
- The new covenant is for salvation only and has little to do with God’s promises for life on the earth. Yes, the promises of the Bible are ours, but God is sovereign, and how He honors His promises is completely up to Him.
“These beliefs twist the truth so subtly that it’s easy to see how they have misled many. In the next chapter we’ll take a closer look at how they became so prevalent, but for now let’s focus on how they have affected Christ’s church.
“On the surface, these false beliefs seem to be rooted in humility and to reject worldliness, but what they actually do is separate the church from her true heritage, inheritance, and place of authority as God’s representatives on the earth.
“So in the end, they are just the opposite of what they claim to be. They have made the church self-righteous and an embracer of worldliness, and those in the pews today seem no holier than those in the streets. These beliefs have become our works and our religion, instead of His grace and His covenant promises. Something is terribly wrong, and I think it is a result of our disconnection with our true Judeo-Christian heritage. It’s because we who accept Yeshua as Messiah have failed to recognize that the covenants God made with the Hebrew people are still in effect for us as well.” (page 122-123)
Curt Landry brings to light the meaning of the word fulfilled, which Jesus spoke about in Matthew 5, and how this pertains to the covenant. Don’t mistake fulfill to mean the end. The beauty of being adopted into God’s family, and the commonwealth of Israel, is that it’s the beginning of a prosperous, promise-filled, spiritual journey!
Don’t miss Curt Landry’s continued teaching on the Jewish roots of Christianity and how to live blessed in our reclaimed heritage! You can livestream services on Wednesdays at 7pm CT, and Fridays at 7:45pm CT at www.OneNewMan.com—or order your book Reclaiming Our Forgotten Heritage | How Understanding the Jewish Roots of Christianity Can Transform Your Faith and get your downloadable study guide to begin your journey today!