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Covenants

The Bible

Bible Usage:

Dictionaries:

  • Included in Eastons: Yes
  • Included in Hitchcocks: No
  • Included in Naves: No
  • Included in Smiths: Yes
  • Included in Websters: Yes
  • Included in Strongs: Yes
  • Included in Thayers: Yes
  • Included in BDB: No

Strongs Concordance:

 

Easton's Bible Dictionary
Covenant

A contract or agreement between two parties. In the Old Testament the Hebrew word berith is always thus translated. Berith is derived from a root which means "to cut," and hence a covenant is a "cutting," with reference to the cutting or dividing of animals into two parts, and the contracting parties passing between them, in making a covenant (Genesis 15; Jeremiah 34:18, 19).

The corresponding word in the New Testament Greek is diatheke, which is, however, rendered "testament" generally in the Authorized Version. It ought to be rendered, just as the word berith of the Old Testament, "covenant."

This word is used (1) of a covenant or compact between man and man (Genesis 21:32), or between tribes or nations (1 Samuel 11:1; Joshua 9:6, 15). In entering into a convenant, Jehovah was solemnly called on to witness the transaction (Genesis 31:50), and hence it was called a "covenant of the Lord" (1 Samuel 20:8). The marriage compact is called "the covenant of God" (Proverbs 2:17), because the marriage was made in God's name. Wicked men are spoken of as acting as if they had made a "covenant with death" not to destroy them, or with hell not to devour them (Isaiah 28:15, 18).

2. The word is used with reference to God's revelation of himself in the way of promise or of favour to men. Thus God's promise to Noah after the Flood is called a covenant (Genesis 9; Jeremiah 33:20, "my covenant"). We have an account of God's covernant with Abraham (Genesis 17, comp. Leviticus 26:42), of the covenant of the priesthood (Numbers 25:12, 13; Deuteronomy 33:9; Nehemiah 13:29), and of the covenant of Sinai (Exodus 34:27, 28; Leviticus 26:15), which was afterwards renewed at different times in the history of Israel (Deuteronomy 29; Joshua 1:24; 2 Chronicles 15; 23; 29; 34; Ezra 10; Nehemiah 9). In conformity with human custom, God's covenant is said to be confirmed with an oath (Deuteronomy 4:31; Psalms 89:3), and to be accompanied by a sign (Genesis 9; 17). Hence the covenant is called God's "counsel," "oath," "promise" (Psalms 89:3, 4; 105:8-11; Hebrews 6:13-20; Luke 1:68-75). God's covenant consists wholly in the bestowal of blessing (Isaiah 59:21; Jeremiah 31:33, 34).

The term covenant is also used to designate the regular succession of day and night (Jeremiah 33:20), the Sabbath (Exodus 31:16), circumcision (Genesis 17:9, 10), and in general any ordinance of God (Jeremiah 34:13, 14).

A "covenant of salt" signifies an everlasting covenant, in the sealing or ratifying of which salt, as an emblem of perpetuity, is used (Numbers 18:19; Leviticus 2:13; 2 Chronicles 13:5).

COVENANT OF WORKS, the constitution under which Adam was placed at his creation. In this covenant,

1. The contracting parties were (a) God the moral Governor, and (b) Adam, a free moral agent, and representative of all his natural posterity (Romans 5:12-19).

2. The promise was "life" (Matthew 19:16, 17; Galatians 3:12).

3. The condition was perfect obedience to the law, the test in this case being abstaining from eating the fruit of the "tree of knowledge," etc.

4. The penalty was death (Genesis 2:16, 17).

This covenant is also called a covenant of nature, as made with man in his natural or unfallen state; a covenant of life, because "life" was the promise attached to obedience; and a legal covenant, because it demanded perfect obedience to the law.

The "tree of life" was the outward sign and seal of that life which was promised in the covenant, and hence it is usually called the seal of that covenant.

This covenant is abrogated under the gospel, inasmuch as Christ has fulfilled all its conditions in behalf of his people, and now offers salvation on the condition of faith. It is still in force, however, as it rests on the immutable justice of God, and is binding on all who have not fled to Christ and accepted his righteousness.

COVENANT OF GRACE, the eternal plan of redemption entered into by the three persons of the Godhead, and carried out by them in its several parts. In it the Father represented the Godhead in its indivisible sovereignty, and the Son his people as their surety (John 17:4, 6, 9; Isaiah 42:6; Psalms 89:3).

The conditions of this covenant were,

1. On the part of the Father (a) all needful preparation to the Son for the accomplishment of his work (Hebrews 10:5; Isaiah 42:1-7); (b) support in the work (Luke 22:43); and (c) a glorious reward in the exaltation of Christ when his work was done (Philippians 2:6-11), his investiture with universal dominion (John 5:22; Psalms 110:1), his having the administration of the covenant committed into his hands (Matthew 28:18; John 1:12; 17:2; Acts 2:33), and in the final salvation of all his people (Isaiah 35:10; 53:10, 11; Jeremiah 31:33; Titus 1:2).

2. On the part of the Son the conditions were (a) his becoming incarnate (Galatians 4:4, 5); and (b) as the second Adam his representing all his people, assuming their place and undertaking all their obligations under the violated covenant of works; (c) obeying the law (Psalms 40:8; Isaiah 42:21; John 9:4, 5), and (d) suffering its penalty (Isaiah 53; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 3:13), in their stead.

Christ, the mediator of, fulfils all its conditions in behalf of his people, and dispenses to them all its blessings. In Hebrews 8:6; 9:15; 12:24, this title is given to Christ. (See DISPENSATION.)


Naves Topical Index
Covenant

Miscellany of minor sub-topics

Sacred
Joshua 9:18-21; Galatians 3:15

Binding
Joshua 9:18-20; Jeremiah 34:8-21; Ezekiel 17:14-18; Galatians 3:15

Binding, not only on those who make them, but on those who are represented
Deuteronomy 29:14-15

Blood of
Exodus 24:8

Book of
Exodus 24:7

The Mosaic law called a covenant
Exodus 34:28
Contracts; Vows

Of men with men:

Breach of, punished
2 Samuel 21:1-6; Jeremiah 34:8-22; Ezekiel 17:13-19

National
Alliances, Political

Ratified:

By giving the hand
Ezra 10:19; Lamentations 5:6; Ezekiel 17:18


By loosing the shoe
Ruth 4:7-11


Written and sealed
Nehemiah 9:38; Jeremiah 32:10-12


By giving presents
Genesis 21:27-30; 1 Samuel 18:3-4


By making a feast
Genesis 26:30


By a monument
Genesis 31:45-46; Genesis 31:49-53


By salting
Leviticus 2:13; Numbers 18:19; 2 Chronicles 13:5


By offering a sacrifice
Genesis 15:9-17; Jeremiah 34:18-19


By oath
Oath; Contracts


Instances of:

Abraham and Abimelech
Genesis 21:22-32


Abimelech and Isaac
Genesis 26:26-31


Jacob and Laban
Genesis 31:44-54


Jonathan and David
1 Samuel 18:3-4; 1 Samuel 20:16; 1 Samuel 20:42; 2 Samuel 21:7


Jews with each other, to serve God
2 Chronicles 15:12-15; Nehemiah 10:28-32


King Zedekiah and his subjects
Jeremiah 34:8


Ahab with Ben-Hadad
1 Kings 20:34


Subjects with sovereign
2 Chronicles 23:1-3; 2 Chronicles 23:16


Of God with men:

Confirmed with an oath
Genesis 22:16; Genesis 26:3; Genesis 50:24; Psalms 89:35; Psalms 105:9; Luke 1:73; Hebrews 6:13; Hebrews 6:17-18

Binding
Hebrews 3:26; Jeremiah 11:2-3; Galatians 3:15

Everlasting
Genesis 8:20-22; Genesis 9:1-17; Psalms 105:8; Psalms 105:10; Isaiah 54:10; Isaiah 61:8

God faithful to
Leviticus 26:44-45; Deuteronomy 4:31; Deuteronomy 7:8-9; Judges 2:1; 1 Kings 8:23; Psalms 105:8-11; Psalms 106:45; Psalms 111:5; Micah 7:20

Repudiated by God on account of Jews' idolatry
Jeremiah 44:26-27; Hebrews 8:9

Broken by the Jews
Jeremiah 22:9; Ezekiel 16:59; Hebrews 8:9

Punishments for breaking of
Leviticus 26:25-46

Instances of:

Of the sabbath
Exodus 31:16


Of the Ten Commandments
Exodus 34:28; Deuteronomy 5:2-3; Deuteronomy 9:9


With Adam
Genesis 2:16-17


With Noah
Genesis 8:16; Genesis 9:8-17


With Abraham

General references
Genesis 12:1-3; Genesis 1:15; Genesis 17:1-22; Exodus 6:4-8; Psalms 105:8-11; Romans 9:7-13; Romans 48:3
Circumcision

With Isaac
Genesis 17:19


With Jacob
Genesis 28:13-15


With the Israelites to deliver them from Egypt
Exodus 6:4-8


With Phinehas
Numbers 25:12-13


With Israel, at Horeb
Deuteronomy 5:2-3


In Moab
Deuteronomy 29:1-15


Of the Levites
Nehemiah 13:29; Malachi 2:4-5


With David
2 Samuel 7:12-16; 1 Chronicles 17:11-14; 2 Chronicles 6:16


With David and his house
2 Samuel 23:5; Psalms 89:20-37; Jeremiah 33:21


With his people
Isaiah 55:3; Isaiah 59:21


To be confirmed
Daniel 9:27


The second covenant
Jeremiah 31:31-34; Hebrews 8:4-13; Hebrews 12:18-24; Hebrews 13:20

Of man with God:

Jacob
Genesis 28:20-22

Joshua
Joshua 24:19-28

Absalom
2 Samuel 15:7-8

Jehoiada and Joash
2 Kings 11:17

Josiah
2 Kings 23:3

Asa
2 Chronicles 15:12-15

Nehemiah
Nehemiah 9:38; Nehemiah 16:10

Israelites
Jeremiah 50:5
Vows


Smith's Bible Dictionary
Covenant

The Heb. berith means primarily "a cutting," with reference to the custom of cutting or dividing animals in two and passing between the parts in ratifying a covenant. (Genesis 15; Jeremiah 34:18,19) In the New Testament the corresponding word is diathece (diatheke), which is frequently translated testament in the Authorized Version. In its biblical meaning two parties the word is used

  1. Of a covenant between God and man; e.g. God covenanted with Noah, after the flood, that a like judgment should not be repeated. It is not precisely like a covenant between men, but was a promise or agreement by God. The principal covenants are the covenant of works

    God promising to save and bless men on condition of perfect obedience

    and the covenant of grace , or God's promise to save men on condition of their believing in Christ and receiving him as their Master and Saviour. The first is called the Old Covenant, from which we name the first part of the bible the Old Testament, the Latin rendering of the word covenant. The second is called the New Covenant, or New Testament.

  2. Covenant between man and man, i.e. a solemn compact or agreement, either between tribes or nations, (Joshua 9:6,15; 1 Samuel 11:1) or between individuals, (Genesis 31:44) by which each party bound himself to fulfill certain conditions and was assured of receiving certain advantages. In making such a covenant God was solemnly invoked as witness, (Genesis 31:50) and an oath was sworn. (Genesis 21:31) A sign or witness of the covenant was sometimes framed, such a gift, (Genesis 21:30) or a pillar or heap of stones erected. (Genesis 31:52)


Webster's 1828 Dictionary
Covenant

COVENANT, noun [L, to come; a coming together; a meeting or agreement of minds.]

1. A mutual consent or agreement of two or more persons, to do or to forbear some act or thing; a contract; stipulation. A covenant is created by deed in writing, sealed and executed; or it may be implied in the contract.

2. A writing containing the terms of agreement or contract between parties; or the clause of agreement in a deed containing the covenant

3. In theology, the covenant of works, is that implied in the commands, prohibitions, and promises of God; the promise of God to man, that mans perfect obedience should entitle him to happiness. This do, and live; that do, and die.

The covenant of redemption, is the mutual agreement between the Father and Son, respecting the redemption of sinners by Christ.

The covenant of grace, is that by which God engages to bestow salvation on man, upon the condition that man shall believe in Christ and yield obedience to the terms of the gospel.

4. In church affairs, a solemn agreement between the members of a church, that they will walk together according to the precepts of the gospel, in brotherly affection.

COVENANT, verb intransitive To enter into a formal agreement; to stipulate; to bind ones self by contract. A covenants with B to convey to him a certain estate. When the terms are expressed ti has for before the thing or price.

They covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver. Matthew 26:15.

COVENANT, verb transitive To grant or promise by covenant


Webster's 1828 Dictionary
Covenanted

COVENANTED, participle passive Pledged or promised by covenant.


Webster's 1828 Dictionary
Covenantee

COVENANTEE, noun The person to whom a covenant is made.


Webster's 1828 Dictionary
Covenanter

COVENANTER, noun He who makes a covenant.


Webster's 1828 Dictionary
Covenanting

COVENANTING, participle present tense Making a covenant; stipulating.