Archive for the ‘Covenants’ Category

Having just finished our Saturday Weekly Series on Hermeutics and the Covenants, I thought it was good to put all in one location the outlines of all three hermeneutics courses we have on our blog.  Lord willing, sometime in the future I want to make a fourth level hermeneutics course on Logic for Biblical Hermeneutics.

I think it’s important for Christians in terms of spiritual life, practical theology, systematic theology and apologetics to be conscious of our hermeneutics.  To that end, I hope this would be helpful.


Introduction to Hermeneutics Series: Session One: Introduction

Introduction to Hermeneutics Series: Session Two: How Should We Study Theology? Issues of Sources and Authority

Introduction to Hermeneutics Series: Session Three: Doctrine of Special Revelation

Introduction to Hermeneutics Series: Session Four: The Doctrine of the Self-Attesting Word of God

Introduction to Hermeneutics Series: Session Five: Doctrine of Inerrancy and Ramifications for Hermeneutics

Introduction to Hermeneutics Series: Session Six: Doctrine of Biblical Clarity

Introduction to Hermeneutics Series: Session Seven: The importance of Words and Grammars

Introduction to Hermeneutics Series: Session Eight: Context Part I: The Immediate Context

Introduction to Hermeneutics Series: Session Nine: Context Part II: The Chapter and Book Context

Introduction to Hermeneutics Series: Session Ten: Context Part III: The Entirety of Scripture

Introduction to Hermeneutics Series: Session Eleven: The Aid of Natural Revelation in Hermeneutics

Introduction to Hermeneutics Series: Session Twelve: Hermeneutics and Apologetics





















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I. Introduction

a. Covenants were not given in a vacuum that is in the absence of other covenants.

b. The beauty of Christianity is the coherence of the multifaceted aspect of Christian theology.

c. Although not exhaustive, the ramification of Biblical Covenant in relations to other aspects of Christianity is explored here.

II. Hermeneutics

a. Hermeneutics concerns the rule and method of interpretation in general and the Bible in particular.

b. Relationship

i.      Hermeneutics in light of the Covenants

1. Covenants are the thread that goes through the entire Bible.

2. An understanding of the Covenants allow fuller contextual background in making sense of the passages.

3. Understanding elements of the Covenant illuminates Biblical passages:

a. How does God’s promise in the Covenants illuminate this text?

b. Does the passage reveal God’s covenantal blessings and curses taking place?

c. What is God’s Covenantal requirement here in this passage?

ii.      The Covenants in light of hermeneutics

1. How one properly understand the Covenants is the result of proper hermeneutics.

2. Understanding the Covenants begin with the basic hermeneutical principles used in beginning to interpret any passage of Scripture.

3. Historical-Grammatical approach still applies to passages that discuss about Biblical Covenants.

III. Apologetics

a. Apologetics is the art and science of defending the Christian faith as true and refuting error contrary to the faith.

b. Relationship

i.      Apologetics in light of the Covenants

1. There are Covenantal promises given which have been fulfilled.

2. There is an evidential value to these Covenantal promises that have been “prophesied” and “fulfilled”.

a. Example: Jesus Christ is the Messiah in light of the promise of the Davidic Covenant.

b. Example: Uniformity of Nature such as set days, months and season is accounted for within the Christian worldview because of the Noahic Covenant (Genesis 8:22).

ii.      The Covenants in light of Apologetics

1. Future Covenantal promises will be fulfilled because the Word of God is true.

2. The truthfulness of the Word of God is the domain of apologetics.

IV. Soteriology

a. Soteriology is the area of theology pertaining to Salvation.

b. Relationship

i.      Soteriology in light of the Covenants

1. Details of Salvation is slowly revealed in the Covenants.

Example: Salvation for the Gentiles is revealed in incipient form through the Abrahamic Covenant (Genesis 12:3)

2. The fullest expression of Soteriology in the Covenants is found in the New Covenant.

ii.      The Covenants in light of Soteriology

1.  Any proper assessment of the relationship between the Mosaic Covenant to the Abrahamic Covenant must take into account Scripture’s clear testimony of salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone (Romans 3:27-4:25; Galatians 3).

2. In light of progressive revelation, New Testament understanding of soteriology gives us a fuller perspective of one of the ways that Gentiles has been blessed through the promise found in the Abrahamic Covenant (cf. Romans 1:16).

V. Israelology

a. This is the area of theology that pertains to the doctrine of Israel.

b. Relationship

i.      Israelology in light of the Covenants

1. God is a Covenant keeping God who does what He promise.

2. Biblical Covenants proves that God still has a place for Israel in the future.

ii.      The Covenants in light of Israelology

1. Outside the passages mentioning the Covenants, what does the data of Scripture shows concerning the truth of the promises God covenantally made to Israel?

VI. Eschatology

a. Eschatology is the area of theology that pertains to last things and end times.

b. Relationship

i.      Eschatology in light of the Covenants

1. What are the Covenantal promise of God and concepts from the Covenant that will be fulfilled eschatologically?

Example: There is no unfolding of heaven without the “root of David” (Revelation 5:5)

2. In light of the Biblical Covenants, does Israel as a nation have a role in the future?

ii.      The Covenants in light of Eschatology

Can a Bible-centered eschatology provide any further insight as to when certain Covenantal promises be fulfilled?

VII. Sanctification

a. Sanctification is the initial act of God and the progressive work of God of setting believers apart for Him.

b. Relationship

i.      Sanctification in light of the Covenants

Believers can be sanctified in their hearts and obey God’s law because the New Covenant has promised God’s law written in their hearts (Jeremiah 31:31).

ii.      The Covenants in light of Israelology

Fulfilling God’s Covenantal requirement can only be possible because of God’s sanctification of believers.

VIII. Glory of God

a. The fame of God.

b. Relationship

i.      The glory of God in light of the Covenants

1. Worship- All the great truths about God’s Covenants should lead believers to worship God even more deeply!

a. Give glory to God for the revelation of His Covenants!

b. Give glory to God for what His Covenants promises!

c. Give glory to God for the great and deep truths of the inter-relationship of the Covenants!

d. Give glory to God for how majestically wise He is, to have the Covenants be tied in inter-relationship with other aspects of Christian theology!

e. Give glory to God for how majestically wise He is, to have the Covenants bear implications for the Christian life!

f. Give glory to God for how majestically wise He is, to have the Covenants bear implications for Christian thought!

g. Give glory to God for the beauty of the coherence of the Covenants and other aspects of theology!  The beauty of the great design He has in the intricate inter-relationship and implications of Covenantal truths with other spheres of study!

2. Hope- The Covenants should give believers hope

a. Because as part of the Word of God, the Word of God by design gives hope (Romans 15:4)!

b. Because God has given His promise!

c. Because God is Covenantally faithful!

d. Because the truth of God’s Covenantal promises is a part of the “defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you” (1st Peter 3:15)

ii.      The Covenants in light of the glory of God

1. No matter what the requirements might be in each respective covenant, “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1st Corinthians 10:31).

2. “Whatever you do,” including studying the Biblical Covenants, “do all to the glory of God!”

3. Studying the Covenants itself, no matter how trivial, boring and unimportant some non-Christians and even Christians might think it is, is totally relevant if it glorifies God since all we do should glorify God!  Glorifying God is also relevant!

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GO TO PART 6a-covenant-with-god

I. Introduction

a. Covenants were not given in a vacuum that is in the absence of other covenants.

b. Since this is the case, is there any relationship among the covenants?

II. Covenants do not contradict one another

a. Law of Non-Contradiction defined: The condition in which A can not be non-A at the:

i.      Same time

Note: When reconciling whether something is a contradiction, take into account also as well dispensations.

ii.      In the same sense.

b. Truths cannot be contradictory

c. Since God’s Word is truth[1] the content of the Word of God including the Covenant cannot in any sense be truly contradictory.

III. Covenants are also inter-dependent among one another

a. Abrahamic (existence of Israel: Jeremiah 31:35-36) is grounded in Noahic covenant (Genesis 8:22).

b. The Mosaic Covenant was establish in light of the God’s miraculous deliverance; this deliverance is on the basis of God’s covenantal faithfulness to the Abrahamic Covenant (Exodus 2:24-25).

c. The Mosaic Covenant must be understood in light of the Abrahamic Covenant (faith and not works; see Romans and Galatians)

d. The reason that the righteous Branch of David will spring forth and a ruler in the Davidic throne forever as part of the content of the Davidic Covenant (Jeremiah 33:15-18) is because of the Noahic Covenant (Jeremiah 33:19-26)

e. The same reason one can expect the fulfillment by God that Davidic throne is forever (Jeremiah 33:17) is the same basis for the Mosaic’s Levitical priesthood to later exist (Jeremiah 33:18).

f. The Mosaic Covenant’s provision of a Levitical priesthood is actually forever, just as the Noahic Covenant is forever (Jeremiah 33:20-21)

IV. Implication

a. The beauty of Christianity is the inter-relationship of every parts of it’s doctrines to other doctrines and also doctrines to practical living.

b. This is also true concerning Biblical covenant to other Biblical covenants and to the areas of practical theology, which will be explored in the next section.

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I. Introduction

a. Last time we left off with the Davidic covenant where we learned that:

i.      Jesus will rule on the throne of David forever (Psalm 89:4)

ii.      Jesus will rule over all the earth (Jeremiah 33:15)

b. That future rule will involve subjects whom God has transformed from the inside out as promised in the New Covenant.[1]

c. The New Covenant is also called the “eternal” covenant, after the giving of the Davidic Covenant.

d. Passages: Jeremiah 31:31-34, 32:40, Ezekiel 16:60-62, 34:25-31, 37:26-28, Romans 11:25-27.

II. Elements

a. Setting

i.      Jeremiah 31:31-34 and 32:40 is in the context of God giving His hearers hope for the future after the prophecy of the Babylonian captivity.

ii.      Likewise Ezekiel 16:60-62, 34:25-31 and 37:26-28 are rays of hope in the prophecies of the future to Israel.

iii.      Romans 11:25-27 is in the context of discussing about what will happen to the Jews in light of the salvation of Gentiles.

b. Recipients

i.      The Jews

1. God says “I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah” (Jeremiah 31:31)

2. Referring to literal Jews since Jeremiah 31:32 says “their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt,

ii.      Gentiles in the Church

1. Given that the Lord’s supper is the symbol of the New Covenant, the Church partakes of this as well in light of 1 Corinthians 11:25ff.

2. Paul, is a minister of the New Covenant (2 Corinthians 3:6), went to the Gentiles.

c. Promise

i.      God will put His Laws in the heart of His people: “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it;” (Jeremiah 31:33b; cf. 34:31)

ii.      God will have a relationship with His people: “and I will be their God, and they shall be My people” (Jeremiah 31:33c; cf. Ezekiel 34: 30-31, Ezekiel 37:27b)

iii.      God’s people will know God: “They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the Lord,” (Jeremiah 31:34a; cf. 34:30; Ezekiel 16:62, Ezekiel 34:27b, 30)

iv.      God will not turn away from His people: “I will make an everlasting covenant with them that I will not turn away from them…”(Jeremiah 32:40a)

v.      God will be good to His people: “…to do them good …”(Jeremiah 32:40b)

vi.      God will give them the fear of God and preserve them: “…and I will put the fear of Me in their hearts so that they will not turn away from Me.”(Jeremiah 32:40c; cf. )

vii.      Eliminate harmful beast from the land (Ezekiel 34:25, reiteration of Mosaic blessings in Leviticus 26:6)

viii.      Agricultural blessings (Ezekiel 34:26-27a; reiteration of Mosaic blessings in Leviticus 26:3-4; Deuteronomy 28:12)

ix.      God will rescue Israel from their enslavement (Ezekiel 34:27c-28)

x.      National prominence of Israel (Ezekiel 34:29)

xi.      God will also establish His sanctuary before them forever (Ezekiel 37:26b-27a, 28b)

xii.      As a result of God’s sanctuary, the nations will know Yahweh is God (Ezekiel 37:28)

d. Requirement

i.      The New Covenant is mainly the initiative of what God does in light of the numerous reference God stated of “I will.”[2]

ii.      A believer will fear God that leads to perseverance (Jeremiah 32:40)

iii.      A believer will know God.

e. Signs

i.      Lord’s supper (Luke 22:20)

VI. Is the New Covenant forever?

a. Stated as an everlasting covenant (Jeremiah 32:40, Ezekiel 16:60, Ezekiel 37:26)

b. Builds upon the foundation of other eternal Covenants when it reiterates these promises.

VII. What about the Jews today? See Romans 11:25-27.

[1] Paul Benware, Understanding End Times Prophecy, (Chicago: Moody Publishers), 71.

[2] Ibid., 71-72.


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I. Introduction

a. This covenant is God’s covenant to David and David’s descendants.

b. The content of the Covenant is found mainly in four passages

i.      2 Samuel 7:8-16

ii.      1st Chronicles 17:7-14

iii.      Psalm 89

iv.      Jeremiah 33:14-26

II. Elements

a. Setting

i.      2 Samuel 7:8-16

1. God gave David peace from his enemies (v.1)

2. David plans to build a house of Cedar for the for the ark of God (v.2)

ii.      1st Chronicles 17:7-14

1. David plans to build a house of Cedar for the for the ark of God (v.1)

iii.      Psalm 89

1. A Psalm written by Ethan the Ezrahite (Hebrew Psalm 89:1)

iv.      Jeremiah 33:14-26

1. Word of the LORD coming to Jeremiah the second time while confined in the court of the Guard (v.1)

b. Recipients

i.      David (2 Samuel 7:8; Psalm 89:3)

ii.      David’s descendants (2 Samuel 7:12)

c, Promise

i.      David’s name will be made great (2 Samuel 7:9; 1 Chronicles 7:8; Psalm 89:24-27)

ii.      David will be protected by God (Psalm 89:19-23)

iii.     Israel will be at peace from her enemies (2 Samuel 7:10; 1 Chronicles 7:9b-10a; Jeremiah 33:16)

iv.     Israel will have their own place (1 Chronicles 7:9a; Jeremiah 33:16)

v.      A house will be made for David (2 Samuel 7:11; 1 Chronicles 7:10b)

vi.      God will discipline David’s descendants (2 Samuel 7:14; Psalm 89:30-32)

vii.      A descendant of David whom God will establish His kingdom (2 Samuel 7:12; 1 Chronicles 7:11)

viii.      A descendant of David who will build a house for God (2 Samuel 7:13a; 1 Chronicles 7:12)

ix.      A descendant of David who will have the throne of his kingdom forever (2 Samuel 7:13b; 2Samuel 7:16; 1 Chronicles 17:12, 14; Psalm 89:4, 29, 36; Jeremiah 33:17)

x.      A descendant of David who will be God’s Son (2 Samuel 7:14; 1 Chronicles 17:13)

xi.      A descendant of David who will be shown God’s loving-kindness forever (1 Chronicles 17:13)
xii.     This descendant (“Branch of David”) will execute justice on earth (Jeremiah 33:15)

d. Requirement

i.     Obedience

III. Is the Davidic Covenant forever?

a. A descendant of David is said to be in the future as reigning forever (2 Samuel 7:13b; 2Samuel 7:16; 1 Chronicles 7:12, 14)

b. Yahweh will be faithful (Psalm 89:1-2, 5-10, 46-52)

c. Covenant mentioned as forever

i.      Psalm 89:28

ii.      Even if the descendants of David are being disciplined (Psalm 89:30-35)

d. Comparison to the moon and the sky being established (Psalm 89:37)

e. Based upon the certainty of the Noahic Covenant (Jeremiah 33:20-21, 25-27)

IV. Further notes


a. Matthew 1:1- “Son of David” mentioned before “Son of Abraham”!

b. Matthew 2:2- Jesus is the King of the Jews!

c. Luke 1:32- “the throne of His Father David”

d. Luke 1:67- A horn of Salvation for those “in the House of David”

e. Romans 1:3- Jesus “descendant of David”


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GO TO PART 2a-covenant-with-god

I. Introduction

a. Following the Noahic Covenant, the next Covenant God makes is the Abrahamic Covenant.

b. Be conscious of one’s hermeneutics

i.      The same principles (hermeneutics) in interpreting the Noahic Covenant will be employed here as well.

ii.      Beware of sudden shifts in heremenutical principles when we move away to other Covenants after the Noahic.

iii.      Be aware of hermeneutical consistencies, beware of hermeneutical inconsistencies.

II. Setting of passages on the Abrahamic Covenant


a. Abram’s call out of his country (Genesis 12:1-3)

b.Abram after parting of ways with Lot (Genesis 13:14-17)

c. Actual Land Grant Covenant (Genesis 15:18-21)

d. Covenant ceremony (Genesis 17:1-27)

III. Recipients

a. Abram

i.      Genesis 12:1

ii.      Genesis 13:14

b. Nations

i.      “And I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse…” (Genesis 12:3a-b)

IV. Promise

a. Blessing to Abraham

i.      Genesis 12:2b

ii.      Genesis 17:2b

b. Abraham’s name will be great (Genesis 12:2c)

c. A great nation from Abraham’s line (Genesis 12:2a)

d. All the families of the earth will be blessed (Genesis 12:3c)

e. Promise Land forever to Abraham’s descendants

i.      Genesis 13:14-15, 17

ii.      Genesis 15:18-21

iii.      Genesis 17:8

f. Numerous descendants (Genesis 13:16)

g. Multitude of nations from Abraham (Genesis 17:4-6)

h. Child of the Covenant promised: Issac (Genesis 17:19, 21)

V. Requirement

a. Nation’s relationship will be reciprocated: “And I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse…” (Genesis 12:3a-b)

b. Renaming of Abram and Sarai (Genesis 17:5, 15)

c. Circumcision (Sign)

i.      Of Descendants (Genesis 17:9-10)

ii.      Of Slaves and servants (Genesis 17:12-13)

iii.      Punishment if not circumcised (Genesis 17:14)

iv.      This is a sign: “And you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskin, and it shall be the sign of the covenant between Me and you.” (Genesis 17:11)

VI. Is the Abrahamic Covenant forever?

a. The Conditions of the Covenant explicitly states the case

i.      Genesis 17:7 “I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your descendants after you.”

ii.      Other passages: Genesis 13:15, Genesis 17:13, Genesis 17:19

b. Other Old Testament indications

i.      1st Chronicles 16:16-17

ii.      Psalm 105:8-11

“He has remembered His covenant forever,
The word which He commanded to a thousand generations,
The covenant which He made with Abraham,
And His oath to Isaac.
Then He confirmed it to Jacob for a statute,
Israel as an everlasting covenant,
Saying, “To you I will give the
land of Canaan
the portion of your inheritance,”

c. New Testament indications

i.      Hebrews 6:13-14, 17-18

If God can make a promise that still stand in effect in the New Testament era, how much more will God’s Covenant stand?

ii.      Galatians 3:15-18

1. Covenants are forms of promises (cf. v.17)

2. Covenants can not be set aside or nullify (v.15, 17)

3. God made a covenantal promise to Abraham (v.16)

4. Therefore the Covenant to Abraham stands (v.18)


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I. Definition

a. A Near Eastern form of literature that offers “a binding agreement between two parties…”[1]

b. “Covenant in the OT essentially incorporates a legally binding obligation.”[2]

II. Two forms of Covenants

a. Note: Covenants appear throughout the Ancient Near East during the era of the Old Testament.  It seems that the Old Testament intentionally structure the format that appear around them.[3]

b. Voluntary partnership

i.      Both parties enter into the covenant voluntarily.

ii.      The terms of the covenant is agreed upon bilaterally.

iii.      Examples include Jacob and Laban (Genesis 31:54) and David with Jonathan (1st Samuel 18:3-4).

c. Imposed by a superior on a subordinate

i.      “It usually designates an agreement made to or for, not with, the subordinate, depicting a legally binding promise which one party makes toward another.”[4]

ii.      The terms of the covenant is agreed upon unilaterally.

iii.      Examples include Noahic, Abrahamic and Davidic Covenant.

III. Elements of a Covenant

a. Pledges or gifts

b. Signs

i.      “Though similar to a pledge or gift, which was given when enacting a human covenant, the sign of a divine covenant was generally a repeatable memorial.”[5]

ii.      Examples include: Circumcision and the Rainbow.

c. Witnesses

Can be others or God

d. Consequences

i.      Blessings

1. Obedience to the covenant bring forth good fruits.

2. Positive consequences.

ii.      Curses

1. Disobedience to the covenant bring forth severe punishments.

2. Negative consequences.

e. Promises

i.      Covenants are forms of promises.

ii.      Covenants with God depends on God to fulfill it.

f. Conditionality

i.      This is only for covenants that are of voluntary partnership.

ii.      Not the case for covenants that are unilateral.

IV. Identifying Biblical Covenants in the Bible

a. By Biblical covenants, this syllabus is referring to covenants that include God as a party.

b. We can only know the covenants that God made from what He has revealed to us in His Word.

c. Given the above, there is no room for any man-made ideas of covenants that are the result of speculations.

d. Therefore, Biblical covenants are identified by what the Scripture explicitly identify as covenants.

i.      While covenants are promises, not every promise is a covenant.

ii.      As a result, covenant can only be identified when it is called a covenant.

V. Importance of Covenants in Hermeneutics

a. It is a frequent theme found in the Scriptures

i.      “The covenant idea itself, first mentioned in Genesis 6 during the days of Noah, is intricately woven into the fabric of the biblical account all the way through to Revelation 11 where the “ark of His covenant” reappears in the temple. The word itself occurs in 27 of 39 OT books and in 11 of 27 NT books.”[6]

ii.      Given how frequently it is mentioned, it is important to understand the Covenants that appear in the Bible.

b.      It is God’s promise found in the Scriptures

i.      Covenants are the thread that goes through the entire Bible.

ii.      The Bible is about God as the Hero: He is the one who will keep His promises.

iii.      “For men swear by one greater than themselves, and with them an oath given as confirmation is an end of every dispute.  In the same way God, desiring even more to show to the heirs of the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose, interposed with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold ofthe hope set before us.”  (Hebrews 6:16-18)


[1] Bill T. Arnold and Bryan E. Beyer, Readings From the Ancient Near East, (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic), 96.

[2] Irvin Busenitz, “Introduction to the Biblical Covenants: The Noahic Covenant and the Priestly Covenant”, The Master’s Seminary Journal, Volume 10 Number 2 (Fall 1999), 173.

[3] Bill T. Arnold and Bryan E. Beyer, Readings From the Ancient Near East, (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic), 96.

[4] Irvin Busenitz, “Introduction to the Biblical Covenants: The Noahic Covenant and the Priestly Covenant”, The Master’s Seminary Journal, Volume 10 Number 2 (Fall 1999), 176.

[5] Ibid, 178.

[6] Irvin Busenitz, “Introduction to the Biblical Covenants: The Noahic Covenant and the Priestly Covenant”, The Master’s Seminary Journal, Volume 10 Number 2 (Fall 1999), 173.



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Bible 2


Ideally in a perfect world, I would love to develop and teach a four level hermeneutics course and lecture series.  Level One would be Introduction to heremeneutics.  Level two on the Literary Forms/Genres found in the Bible.  Level three would be on the covenants of the Bible and it’s hermeneutical implications.  Finally level four would be a course on Logic.  Then there’s other hermeneutical topic that deserve to be taught in it’s own right as well (perhaps as an elective?): how does the NT uses the OT, and Finding Christ in the Scriptures, etc.

I have made Level one and two available online.

Beginning next Saturday, Lord willing we will feature outlines as teaching aides going over the covenants that are explicitly found in the BIble that has hermeneutical implications.

It will be a short series.

Stay tune!

And pray!

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