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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Similarities of the Covenants

The Bible talks about 6 covenants that have been made between God and Man. Each one is unique and yet there are several similarities. Here is what I've found that makes covenants that were made in the Bible alike.

I have found that they each have at least 5 themes in common. They are each present, though some are more explicit than others. There is a creation theme, a temple, an Adam-like figure, a mountain, and finally a fall, or rebellion of some kind.

Start at the Beginning with Adam and go through these 5 similarities.

Well, the creation is the creation theme. That is pretty easy to spot. The temple is not so easy to spot. The temple is the garden of Eden itself. Now it doesn’t SAY that it is a temple, but it doesn’t have to if you know what is in a temple. You all know that priests work in temples. Well, Adam was a priest and the Bible hints at this as much.

In Genesis 2:15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it.

These words “till and keep” in Hebrew are just loaded with meaning, especially when they are used elsewhere together. They have another meaning , not of tilling and keeping, but of working, or serving and guarding.

For example, in Numbers 3:8 And they shall keep all the instruments of the tabernacle of the congregation, and the charge of the children of Israel, to do the service of the tabernacle.

There are many examples, but as you can see these words when used together can have an idea of worship. So when we read this back into Genesis 2:15, it is saying that Adam was a farmer, but also a priest. Besides, who taught Cain and Abel to offer sacrifice?

Adam is the Adamic figure.

What about a mountain? Yes, Eden was a mountain. Ezekiel 28:13-14 You were in Eden, the garden of God; you have many treasures. On the day that you were created they were prepared. With an anointed guardian cherub I placed you; you were on the holy mountain of God; in the midst of the stones of fire you walked.

So, Eden was a mountain.

Finally, the fall occurred when our first parents ate of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.

Let's look at God's covenant with Noah.

The creation theme is clear. The water parts and dry land appears.

The temple is the Ark itself. Both the Ark and the temple have three parts. And because the temple represents our Lord himself and all those who are IN Jesus are saved. It seems fitting that since the whole world is saved because they are in the ark, the ark is a kind of temple.

The Adamic figure is Noah, who also offers sacrifice pointing us to his priesthood. The mountain is Mount Ararat. His fall is when he plants a garden and eats some of its fruit. It is a garden of grapes and Noah gets drunks from the wine. That is his fall.

Abraham is the next person with whom God makes a covenant.

The creation theme on this one is a little harder to find, but I think it is when they leave the land of Ur and separate themselves from those people and go to where God shows Abraham, which is the land of Canaan.

I think the temple is the whole of the land because Abraham knows that the land represents heaven, which the book of Hebrews confirms.

Hebrews 11:8-16 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place which he was to receive as an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was to go…For he looked forward to the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one.

Abraham is the Adamic figure who makes a covenant with God on Mount Moriah. His fall is found apparently in the Hebrew language. (I can’t read Hebrew, so I am standing on the wisdom of others here). In the Hebrew, when Sarah is telling Abraham to take Hagar for a wife so he can have children, it is said to be similar to the temptation and fall of Eve by the Devil.

Then we have the covenant with Moses and the Israelites in the desert.

They are a new creation by passing through the Red Sea on dry ground. That is the creation theme. The temple is the tabernacle. The Mountain is Mount Sinai. I think there are two Adamic figures. Both Moses and Aaron, Moses for his leadership role and Aaron for his priestly role. The fall is of course when they worship the golden calf.
The next covenant is with David and his descendants.

In my opinion, I think that the Temple that Solomon builds serves as both the temple and the creation theme because the temple was built in seven years signifying the 7 days of creation.

The mountain is Mount Zion or Jerusalem where the temple is built. I think the Adamic figure is again twofold, David and Solomon. The Covenant is made between God and David, yet his son Solomon built the temple and they are both great types for Christ.

The fall lies mainly on Solomon. While beginning with humility and gaining wisdom, ultimately he became a type of antichrist. Moses specifically said that a King can’t do three things: multiply his gold, multiply his wives and have a standing army. Solomon in two chapters does all three and begins the downfall of Israel.

These covenants are all fulfilled in the final covenant between Jesus and the world.

In some sense, Jesus is the New Creation. In another sense, His baptism begins the New Creation, which of course points to His death on the cross, so it isn’t just one point. His baptism is the fulfillment of the creation, with the Holy Spirit over the waters like creation, but in the form of a dove like at the flood. He is crossing the Jordan river like Israel did with Joshua. So, His baptism fulfills many creations themes of the Old Testament.

Jesus is the New Temple. He said in the Gospel of John, "...destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up...," meaning His body.

The mountain is again Mount Zion, or Jerusalem, where He is sacrificed. He is the New Adam, yet unlike all of the other types, there is no fall. There is only Glory is His obedience and faithfulness to His Father.

1 comment:

Brandon Black said...

Nice observations! I have been teaching on the covenants for a few weeks and my studies (I'm a seminary student with access to scholarly material that is sometimes quite helpful) have led me to similar findings, but I would urge you to consider that the temple, mountain, and creation themes are all one and the same (part of the land covenant idea). They are all places where communion with God occurs (we are a new creation in Christ). The Adam/priestly component is also there. Additionally, they have a passing through/passing over (walking in between the cut pieces of the covenant, or through the door in the Passover, or in between the waters Noah/Moses), a sacrifice, a sign/seal, vows/language/obligations on both parties. All of this can be found in the marriage covenant which is still practiced today.