The Eternal Covenant
Religious literature, both Jewish and Christian, contain much about “the Covenant” (Hebrew: Brit Ha-Olam). Christianity teaches a “New versus an Old Covenant” and couple various other doctrines to this theme, eg. “Grace under the New Covenant”; the Predestination doctrine, etc. There are volumes to work through, erudite teachings to examine; and still the reader may not fully understand what the Covenant actually embraces. This study, however, will spell out the real meaning of the Covenant in short.
The Bible continuously refers to the Covenant and the importance thereof for the believer. It stipulates Divine Blessings for observing the Covenant and penal clauses for the breaking thereof. It is therefore absolutely important for the believer to clearly understand the actual nature and content of the Covenant
A covenant is simply an agreement, or a contract between two or more parties. The Covenant referred to in the Bible, is an Agreement between the Creator and His people Israel, and is nothing more but a Divine Contract. Judaism regards the Covenant as a ‘Marriage Contract’ between the God of Israel and His People. This ‘Marriage’ was concluded at the Event of Mt Sinai, when God revealed His Covenant to Moses to convey to the nation.
A marriage contract is an agreement between the parties committed thereto, whereby certain rights are obtainable, subject to certain stipulated requirements. The Bible Covenant is a Divine Agreement, according to which the people of Israel (or anyone who desires to join him/herself, and be united with Israel under this Divine Covenant), are entitled to certain Divinely given rights, subject to certain Divinely ordained conditions as required by the ‘Bridegroom’ for His ‘Household’.
With these two criteria in mind, namely (a) The rights and privileges with which the Almighty entitles His people, and (b) The conditions by which Israel should abide, let us now commence our research.
Concluding of the Covenant
The Covenant was concluded with Israel at the occasion of their stop-over at Mount Sinai, seven weeks (50 days) after their departure from Egyptian slavery (Exodus 19:1). According to Jewish tradition, this occasion took place on the day of the Feast of Weeks (Shavuot). Please note, that many decades later, the Pouring out of God’s Spirit on the Messianic Jews gathered in Jerusalem, occurred on this very same feast day (Acts 2;1-41 ‘Pentecost’). We shall clarify the relationship between these two important occasions later on in this study.
Let us now read about the happenings at this occasion, at Mount Sinai, on this particular day which is specified as one of the seven Holy Feast days: Exodus 19: 3-8 “And Moses went up unto God, and YHVH called unto him out of the mountain, saying, ‘Thus shall you tell the children of Israel; ‘… if you will obey My Voice indeed and keep My Covenant, then you shall be a peculiar Treasure unto Me above all people, for all the earth is Mine. And you shall be unto Me a kingdom of Priests and a Holy Nation’… And Moses called for the elders of the people and laid before their faces all these Words which YHVH commanded him. And all the people answered together and said: ‘All that YHVH has spoken, we will do. ’”
It is apparent from the above that:
- Certain divine rights are offered to Israel, such as being the elected nation among nations, and
- Certain special conditions are determined for receiving these wonderful privileges.