Yesterday I wrote about covenants and why they are important to understanding God and His relationship with us. Today I want to write about 6 major covenants and their signs. I think understanding God's plan as it is laid out for us in scripture is very beneficial to understanding our duty as Christians.
The Covenant with Adam
The covenant of Adam was one of a marital bond. God told them to be fruitful and multiply. He created a covenant with the mother and father of the entire human race, one that was fulfilled by Christ. In the covenant bond God declared that there would be enmity between the seed of the woman, and the seed of the Serpent. Genesis 3:15. The sign of this covenant was the Sabbath day. For the very first full day of mans existence was spent in the Sabbath.
The other thing to notice is that Adam fulfilled a covenant role. He was the Husband of the covenant under the form of a marriage. We'll talk about the role and form of each of the major covenant men as we go through, they are important to note.
The Noahic Covenant
Now we see that Noah fulfilled a covenant role as well. He was the father of the family the covenant was made with, the form of the covenant now goes from marriage to household. God made his first covenant with a man and woman, now he makes it with an extended family.
The Abrahmic Covenant
Now we see that we have another covenant where Abraham fulfilled a covenant role. He was the chieftain of a tribe, the form of the covenant now goes from a household to a tribe! We are starting to see a pattern here, where God is starting to include more and more people in his covenant promises.
The Covenant with Moses
Then comes Mount Sinai. God makes a covenant with a people. He declares his words from the mountain top and after hearing just the ten commandments, the people don't want to hear his voice anymore. They are afraid of God. They ask Moses instead to listen to God and then come and tell them the rest of it. So Moses does so. In the end Moses writes down everything God has commanded and it's 612 different commands. The people agree, this 'we will do.' (Exodus 19:8) The sign of this covenant was the passover meal.
Here we see that God has now made a covenant with a nation! 12 tribes have now become a single nation under the 'constitution' of the law of Moses! It's no longer just the family, or just the tribe.. but the entire nation of Israel! Moses again fulfills a role in the covenant, the role of judge.
The Davidic Covenant
God promised a throne that would last forever through David's 'son' and the sign of this covenant is the throne of David! David's role was king.
The New Covenant
The final covenant, the one that fulfilled all others and formed a new and everlasting covenant is the covenant formed by Jesus Christ. Though Jesus Christ salvation was extended to all nations, all peoples, every race and creed! God extended his covenant promises beginning with the just a single man and woman, to include the entire human race! (It was his plan from the beginning!) He fulfilled the covenant promise of the Sabbath by becoming Lord of the Sabbath, and becoming a means of eternal rest and emulation of God. Where as the Sabbath was the way the Isrealites emulated God and gained much needed rest, through Jesus Christ we find a much more perfect way of emulating God while also providing rest and peace to our neighbors and ourselves.
The Abrahmic covenant required circumcision for the promises of God, to bring people into God's family. Jesus fulfilled the promise to Abraham by extending the spiritual descendents of Abraham to every nation, thereby fulfilling the promise that Abraham's descendents would be more numerous than the stars! (Genesis 26:4)
Where as the Mosaic covenant required men who broke to be under the curse of death, Jesus himself took that curse and bore it that we might be freed from the law. The law is not done away with, but fulfilled! Fulfilled by God himself!
The New Covenant, which made the old obsolete (Hebrews 8:13) and replaced it with a 'better' one, did not destroy them or make them meaningless. It fulfilled them! It gave us a new sign, a new seal whereby we show our faith in God. We no longer circumcise, but we baptize into the family of God! We no longer celebrate Passover, but instead we participate in communion!
You see Jesus also had a role in the New Covenant, many of them in fact. Not only was He the sacrifice to seal the covenant, but He was the High Priest! Just like the other covenants it extended the scope of God's salvation to the extent that it was original intended. From a marriage, to a family, to a tribe, to a nation, to a kingdom, to the Church. We are under the New Covenant of God, and our sign is Holy Communion, do this in memory of Him! Think about that for a second! The sign of our covenant is in fact the Blood of Jesus Christ!
Now the question becomes, which covenant are you living under? What are some of the other signs that have been 'fulfilled' with new versions, shadows that have been brought to light?