Understanding Bible Covenants! Part 1 Covenants and Marriage!

(Ver 1.2)  Most people who have read the Bible, know that the Bible is divided into 2 covenants.  The first is called the Old Testament and the other is called the New Testament.  The Word Testament is really just a synonymous term for the word covenant.   A last will and testament are what many people write to control what happens to their assets when they die.  This is an amazing realization of the Bible to some extent.  It is also important to know that these two covenants are completely different and separate from each other.  In fact each of these covenants involve 2 completely different individuals.  The two individuals of the Old Covenant are not the same two individuals of the New Covenant.  I know that statement will cause many to think.  What I am doing is being very specific and detailed oriented when I make that statement.   I don’t think a lot of people think that way when they read the Bible.  The Old Covenant was between God and the natural nation of Israel.   The New Covenant has been established between Jesus and His bride the church.  The old covenant was made with God the Father and the new covenant was made with God the Son.  I know it sounds like I’m nit picking because there is only one God that is made up of three revealed personalities, but it is a very important designated difference to understand.  There is a major difference between these two revealed covenants.  I have personally heard that many Christians think that the new covenant spiritual church was grafted into the old covenant natural Israel covenant and therefore God has produced a combined and integrated mixed up conglomeration of the natural and the spiritual individuals in a single combined covenant with God.  But this is not true and does not conform to scriptures.

God reveals to us in the Bible that the body of Christ (the new covenant people) are made up  of a widely diverse conglomeration of individual members from every natural race and creed that we can find on this planet.  But, even that does not mean that God has included the old covenant and combined it with the New Covenant.  However, I will say that new covenant Christianity is based upon the established morals and principles found within the Jewish Old Covenant, but God has implemented a New Covenant that is so unique and fresh that it is completely different while being completely the same simultaneously.   Always remember this establish truth, the old covenant a covenant with a natural people in the physical world and the other is a brand new covenant with a spiritual people in the spiritual realm.   If you do not know the difference between those two, you are reading Bible lessons from the wrong Bible teacher.

Let’s understand basic logic and apply it to God’s Word.  We never say that something is new without first understanding that it is NOT the same as what is called the old.  If I said that I bought a new car, you would automatically know and understand that the new car is not the old car that I use to drive or own.  I might still have an old car, but the car that I have now is newer and certainly much different than the car that I use to have.  When God said I will make a New Covenant in His Word, you must automatically conclude, know and understand that it is not the same as the old covenant.  These are basic principles based upon basic logic and grammatical syntax for adverbial qualification.  One never needs to place the adverb new qualifier before the noun covenant if there are no other covenants to distinguish it from.  But yet we have people teaching a wide variety of things that go against these truths.

Jer 31:31  Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:

Everyone that reads this verse almost always automatically assumes that God is talking about the natural nation of Israel.  However, this of course is a problem to make any assumptions without studying to find out who God is talking about.  Making assumption will normally lead to error 100 times out 100 attempts.  We have a widespread problem within the body of Christ of people taking one truth and attempting to make it all of the truth.  I really don’t know if you understood what I just said, or not?  But, we can find many truths in the Bible, but the Bible is much more complex than that.  For example, there are natural things and then there are spiritual things.  There are also multiple different things, items or people called by the exact same name in the Bible.  Sometimes one of them is a natural people, item or location that reflects an image or a pattern of a spiritual reality.  God uses a wide variety of methods of concealing information and truths in the Bible.  In order to correctly understand what you are reading, you must understand how the Bible was written and why God concealed things in this encoded fashion.

Let’s get back to our subject, what is a covenant?  If we look in the dictionary we can see several definitions for the word covenant.  The basic definition of the word covenant is a formal sealed agreement or legal contract.  In many commercial loans from banks, the legal document produced between the bank and the customer making the loan often times contains a list of covenants.  These are usually legal stipulations, restrictions and requirements concerning the terms and usages of the money that is loaned.  However, this type of covenant does not accurately represent a Bible covenant.  Then if you’ve ever bought a piece of property in an established organized neighborhood or development, most of the time the property comes with a set of covenants.  These are usually  restrictions and rules of property usage. These often time will tell you what kind of fences you can build, what kind of buildings you can add, even what colors you can paint your house.  This also does not represent a Bible covenant.

The Hebrew word translated as covenant occurs approximately 284 times in the Old Testament.  This Hebrew word is H1295 according to the Strong’s and it has the following definition:

From H1262 (in the sense of cutting (like H1254)); a compact (because made by passing between pieces of flesh): – confederacy, [con-]feder[-ate], covenant, league.

We can see that this word also means a legal contract, but it also has a basis founded on division or the cutting of flesh.  You see in the definition that the word implies the presence of a knife that must be used to cut and produce blood.  This definition would also imply that there is the necessity for the flow of blood if someone were cutting flesh.  We can find this reality given to us as a pattern in the Old Testament.  For example, the Abrahamic covenant in Genesis 15 involved the killing and splitting down the back bone of 3 different 3 year old animals, a male ram, a female heifer and a female goat.  As you can imagine this would have been an extremely bloody mess after this cutting took place.  Abraham cut the animals into two pieces and they were then laid on the ground.  Then the covenant was made by walking between all of the pieces.  So a foundational principal of blood covenants involves cutting.  This is the concept of dividing one piece into two.  This is very significant whether you realize it or not right now.  There is a principle being established within a Bible covenant.  It involves the creation of a covenant relationship between two individuals.  But it also involves a separation of those who are in covenant from those who are not in that covenant.  Did you understand that statement?  It is very important that you do.  So why is this so significant?   In the Old Covenant, God made a covenant with the nation of Israel and they became God’s covenant people.  The establishment of this covenant made the natural nation of Israel God’s people and all those not in  this covenant excluded from being called God’s covenant people.  We can clearly observe the establishment of a division, or a partition of distinction between the covenant people and the non-covenant people.  What a powerful concept that God has implemented through is superior divine wisdom.

The closest thing that we have to a Bible blood covenant in this world is a marriage between a man and a woman.  Of course modern marriages today can come with pre-nups and other legal restrictions that disqualify them from being an example of a Bible covenant.  In an example of a Bible covenant, the one party making the covenant with the other says, what I have is yours and what you have is mine.  There are no exclusions, exemptions, or exceptions and it is an all or nothing proposition.   A Bible covenant is the 100% commitment from both participants in the covenant.  Each participant in the covenant can fully count on the resources of the other participant if they have need of them.  This was how Bible covenants worked and this is how marriages should work

You can also see by studying this subject that there are different strengths of covenants in the Bible.   One of these is the blood covenant, which is the strongest covenant that can be made between any two individuals or parties.  David made a blood covenant with Jonathan in the Old Testament.  Even though Jonathan’s father Saul tried to kill David, David never retaliated against that family because of the covenant.  Even after Saul and Jonathan were killed, David tried to establish the blessings of the covenant with the descendants of Jonathan.  You can read these accounts of David in 2 Samuel and it has a story of how David wanted to honor the covenant that he made with Jonathan.  David sends out his people to find a crippled boy named Mephibosheth to confirm and establish his covenant with Jonathan.  Mephibosheth was in hiding because he  thought that David the king was going to kill him, but David just wanted to bless him.  These are types and patterns of Jesus and the world.  Jesus came and died  to save the world and they are all afraid of Him becuase they think that He just wants to kill them also.  So we have a stand-off, the world is in hiding and those who are sent out to tell them that, Jesus loves them and wants to bless them because of the covenant.  Mephibosheth was eventually brought to the king’s palace and given the best of the best.  That was done only because of the covenant that David made with Jonathan, Mephibosheth enjoyed everything that David enjoyed.  This is an example of  a Bible covenant, a blood covenant that describes Jesus and the church.

I guess this should establish the fact that true Bible covenants have blessings attached to them.  If the one party of the covenant has any need of something that the other party in the covenant has, it is available for them to freely use and partake of.  This is one of the key ingredients to a Bible covenant.  I think in most people’s minds today, a marriage means you also take the bad or the curses along with the good and the blessings.  But with covenants with God, He is always good and only provides us with blessings.  God does not intend to do any harm or anything bad or evil for or to any of us.  He wants to bless us with only the good.  This is what a Bible covenant is all about.

Bible, covenants are always between two parties exactly like a marriage is only between a husband and a wife.   It is important to note that covenants can be between a diverse type of individuals.   You will understand this better as we go on in the series.  God many times considers a group of people such as the nation of Israel to be identified corporately as a single entity, personality or even named individual.  Everyone in the nation is treated the same, given the same benefits and blessings.

Covenants can be between any of the following three groups or classifications of individuals:

1.  spiritual being to another spiritual being or a spiritual group of beings

  • God and Lucifer
  • Jesus and the Church

2.  spiritual being to a physical being or a physical group of people

  • God and Abraham
  • Satan and Adam
  • God and Israel
  • Satan and Israel

3.  physical being to another physical being

  • Natural husband and wife
  • Adam and Eve
  • Abraham and Sarah
  • Abraham and Hagar
  • David and Jonathan

I tried to give you some examples of some of the possibilities of each of these types of covenant relationships.  I know you have probably never heard of many of these covenants that I mentioned, but yet that doesn’t mean they don’t exist, it just means you never researched them and studied them to see if they exist.  I have done the research and I am convinced that every example that I gave you is a valid covenant found in the Bible.  There is of course one noteworthy difference in some of these covenants.  Covenants with God are a blessing and covenants with Satan are a curse.  God wants to bless you and Satan wants to kill, steal and destroy you and everything you have.  There are major consequences, distinctions and differences between the party you are in covenant with and who you are not in covenant with.   I don’t know you personally and only you and God know where you are right now and who you are in covenant with.  But I can guarantee you that you are in covenant with someone right here and right now, either Satan or God.

Some have tried to differentiate between covenants that involve God and covenants that don’t involve God.  But the principles and practices of Bible covenants apply across the board to whoever is in covenant with another.  So there really is no difference in the basic concepts of Bible covenants, they apply equally across the board to all participants and all types of covenants mentioned in the Bible.

What I will do now, is to give you some scriptural backing for what these covenant types are to help you understand them more completely.  Let’s start with a physical or natural husband and wife type of covenant.  We call these covenants, marriages and in the eyes of God a marriage is a covenant relationship and a covenant relationship is a marriage.  If you asked me if I could prove that by the Bible, I would say yes.  Let’s look at a verse found in the book of Malachi to begin this part of the study.  This verse is a scripture that is certainly very relevant to our subject:

Mal 2:14  Yet ye say, Wherefore? Because the LORD hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously: yet is she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant.

We can clearly see a relationship being established between a husband and his wife.  God chastises the man for mistreating his wife.  But he ends the verse with a statement that declares his wife to be in direct covenant relationship with him.   A husband and wife are the natural example of a Godly Bible blood covenant, or at least they should be.   It is funny how perverted our society has gotten.  So who were the first husband and wife?  Of course they were Adam and Eve in Genesis.  God created a natural covenant family as a pattern for us to see into the future spiritual realm.  Let us go back to Genesis 2 briefly and discover what God says about the law of marriage.

Gen 2:23  And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.

We can learn from this verse in Genesis that the woman was taken from a man and that her body was his body.  This is a natural pattern for a spiritual reality of Jesus and the church.  The church is called the body of Christ and most accept that reality without asking how the church got to be the body, if you want to learn more about this I would recommend that you  read my blog on the subject.  How the church became the body of Christ.

Gen 2:24  Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

In these two verses in Genesis 2 a spiritual law is established by God that governs every true covenant relationship, both physical and spiritual.  God establishes a precedence that two will become one.  Either one flesh or one spirit, depending on the two parties in covenant.  If they are both physical, then they are one flesh.  If they are both spiritual then they are one spirit.  If one is a spirit being and one is a natural people, then they are the least common denominator, or one flesh but that is my opinion and I haven’t found that in the Bible yet.  I do know that the church is called the body of Christ (1 Cor 12:27) and is also said to be one spirit with Christ (1 Cor 6:17).  We can learn from these two stated dimensions that Christ has been joined with the church both physically and spiritually.

So  a marriage covenant represents a union as well as a division.  The taking of two separate individuals and making one out of them, with the exclusion of all the rest.  That is the basis of a Bible covenant.  Now what one has the other has.  What one has need of the and the other has, it is automatically made available without conditions or cost.  This is the foundation of a Bible covenant, how well does it fit your marriage?    So let’s shift our focus to a spirit being in covenant to a natural physical people example and see if it fits the pattern that I have described for you:

Jer 31:32  Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD:

Wow, this verse really blew me away!  The creator God of the entire universe was married to a natural people.  The verse speaks directly about a time when God led the people of Israel out of the country of Egypt and He says He took them by the hand.  That is what a man does to a woman when he proposes marriage.  We can clearly see that God intended it that way, but did Israel?  Obviously not.  Israel didn’t understand what they were getting into, even though it was the best offer they ever had, at least until Jesus came along.  God called himself the husband to the nation of Israel.   God directly links marriage to be a covenant and His covenant with Israel to be a marriage to them.  God does not with the association of words from H1285  translated as covenant and H1166 translated as husband.  An omnipotent God married to a physical natural nation of people, both males and females.  That would make the entire nation of Israel the female wife (bride) to the LORD GOD.  I truly hope you are grasping the concepts of this lesson because they are so very important.   Could it really be possible that a spirit being could be in covenant marriage to a natural nation of people.  Obviously it was true.  However, this was the Old Covenant, which was only a natural pattern for the coming New Covenant.

Now I will briefly show you the New Covenant so we can see if it also fits the pattern that I have described as being a husband to a wife.  There are many scriptures that I could give you but the best one is found in Ephesians 5:

Eph 5:30  For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.

These verses in Ephesians 5 starting around verse 22 are specifically directed to natural husband and wife relationships.  But, intermixed into this context of these natural marriage verse is also the spiritual relationship between Christ and the church.  So we can clearly see that God believes that the church is the bride of Jesus Christ and that Christ’s relationship wit the church is a marriage.  Here in verse 30 we can read that we are members of His body.  Then it declares the words of the law of marriage we read earlier in Genesis 2, we are bone of His bone and flesh of His flesh.  These are marriage terms and direct conformation to how the church became the body of Christ.  Then in verse 31:

Eph 5:31  For this cause shall a man (Jesus) leave his father (God the Father) and mother (Israel), and shall be joined (married) unto his wife (church), and they two shall be one flesh.

We again see the law of marriage being restated and applied for us.  I filled in the blanks and put in parentheses who God is talking about in this statement to help you see it.  I have had people question me about Jesus leaving His father and mother and being joined to His wife, but I just simply go by what the verse says. .  For we then see the realization to the truth in verse 32:

Eph 5:32  This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

God declares this covenant relationship to be a great mystery.  Obviously it has been greatly misunderstood even today.  There are many who refuse to believe the church is the bride/wife in covenant with Jesus, yet God tells us directly in verse 32 that He is speaking of Christ and the church as being a husband and a wife.  I’ve noticed that you can’t make people see the truth, you can only tell it like it is and hope they see it eventually.  I have given you three really great examples that describe covenants to be marriages and marriages to be covenants.  These included 1) physical to physical marriages, 2)spiritual to physical marriages and 3) spiritual to spiritual marriages/marriages.  These are all examples of Bible covenants that fit the truth of the pattern given to us in the Word of God.

It is important to note who originates Bible covenants.  True Bible covenants are always initiated by the man and God the Father is always the male in every covenant relationship, except when we see the new covenant that was initiated between the risen Son of God and His bride the church.   Always remember that Jesus represents a male son within the Triune Godhead.  The Triune Godhead is actually made up of three male personalities and all of them are One God.  In a normal human marriage the male asks the female to be his wife.  The female then has the choice to become one with this man or to walk away.  This is a picture and a direct pattern of the New Covenant relationship with the bridegroom Jesus Christ.  He has invited everyone on the planet to be in this covenant, He has proposed marriage and everyone on the earth has a choice to make, either to accept or reject.  A non decisions is of course the same as a rejection and a mistake with eternal consequences.

I hope that you are grasping these concepts, because they are truly great spiritual realities.  God created and  implemented natural things, systems, types and patterns to help us to see and understand spiritual unseen things.  I think I will end this lesson today on that note for now and hopefully continue the lesson of what a Bible Covenant is in my next lesson in this series.  Thank you for reading and studying the Bible with me and I pray that you will continue to grow in all of the knowledge of Christ Jesus.  If you would like to continue reading this series, please goto “Part 2“.

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About agapegeek

Using the Bible to understand the Bible! Advanced Bible study for mature Chrisitians who want to grow.

Posted on December 18, 2009, in Bible Study, Covenants, Understanding and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. its also interesting that under the new covenant one’s neighbor is EVERYBODYelse, even though this was not the understanding of the parable of the good samaritan, and to my knowledge was not taught by paul, it is reasoned thru the totallity of christ’s teachings, thru the grace of the holy spirit, and only has been revealed realitively recently(last several decades). how ever the spirit of that understanding has existed since christ walked the earth.

  2. its interesting that christendom after 2000 years, is just beginning to embrace that the new covenant is without regulation as in deut 28.

    that apart from the 2nd commandment(the summation of the entire law of the new covenant)((love your neighbor….) “everything is permissible but not everything is constructive”

    in regards, to women teaching in church, paul was saying that though it was permissible, in his churches he did not find it constructive.

    if god can raise stones to be sons of abraham, then the nature of marriage is not about a relationship based on physicality but about a relationship of a spiritual nature.

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