Biblical Covenants

The entire underpinning of the Bible rests on the covenants that God has made with His creation. It is common to hear references to the “Old Covenant” and the “New Covenant.” Sometimes references are made to an “Edenic Covenant,” an “Adamic Covenant,” a “Noahide (or Noahic) Covenant,” an “Abrahamic Covenant,” a “Mosaic Covenant,” and a “Davidic Covenant.”

What are all these covenants, and what bearing do they have on our life today?

To begin, let’s look at the definition of a covenant.

The Definition of a Covenant

The English dictionary defines a covenant as “an agreement, usually formal, between two or more persons to do or not do something specified.”

In the Bible, the word “covenant” is first encountered in Genesis 6:18, and is the Hebrew word “beri?yth” (Strong’s number H1285). The word is used 285 times in the KJV, and is translated “covenant” 265 times out of those 285. It is also translated as “league,” and “confederate” or “confederacy.”

“Beriyth” is related to the word “ba?ra?h” (H1262) meaning “to select” and “ba?ra?'” (H1254) meaning “to cut.” It is frequently used with the word “ka?rath,” which also means “to cut.” In Genesis 9:11 where the KJV reads “I will establish my covenant,” it is literally saying “I will cut my covenant.” The context of “cutting a covenant” is portrayed in Genesis 15 when God has Abraham cut a heifer, a goat, and a ram in half, then God passes between the halves.

In the New Testament, the word for “covenant” is the Greek word “diathe?ke?” (Strong’s number G1242). The same word is also translated “testament.”

Old Testament Covenants

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