The bible study on Friday of week 2 focused on Covenants and the Original Intent of God for the earth and humanity, something of which I had a vague idea, but no true understanding of. Here are some of the notes that were most important for me today:
- Covenants were used in everyday life, not just in the bible
- For example, when a powerful nation conquered a weaker nation, the covenant between those two nations was called a “suzerain” covenant
- This covenant would give the lesser nation protection, on the grounds that the nation would submit to the stronger power and do something for them, like pay taxes.
- There are multiple parts to a suzerain covenant
- Preamble: Who I am, What I can do for you (the powerful entity would be speaking here)
- Stipulation: What you have to do for me
- Blessings/Curses: If you do/don’t do x,y,z…you will be blessed/cursed
- Witnessing: either people around, sometimes the witnesses were simply heaven and earth
- Documentation: There was one for each party, like the tablets Moses received
- Genesis 1:28-30 sounds like a suzerain covenant
28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” [Stipulation: What to do for God]
29 Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. 30 And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” [Blessings: If they did what God told them, they would be blessed] And it was so.
- However, in a covenant, the lesser party always has a choice whether or not to keep the promise, and unfortunately the covenant between God and man was broken
- We find God’s original intent for earth and humanity in Genesis 1 and 2
- The people of God, in the place of God, dwelling in the presence of God
- The original intent was broken by the lesser party: humankind
- Nevertheless, from the minute mankind sins, God has already put a redemption plan in place, and already has a final intent
- God’s final intent is found in Revelation 21
21:1 Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,”for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.
- The word “sea” being used here in Hebrew meant a place of chaos and destruction. There will be no more of that!
3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.
- 21:3 is his final intent, and what he has wanted from the beginning: the people of God,in the place of God, dwelling in the presence of God,
Covenants Used to Achieve Final Intent
- The whole Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, is God’s rescue plan for humanity.
- He used covenants to show his never-ending promise to his people that he would redeem them no matter how many promises to him they broke, and bring them back into his presence and his place
- God uses the Noahic, Abrahamic, Mosaic, Davidic, and finally, the New Covenant (a.k.a, Jesus: the most important)
We will continue to be learning about the importance of the covenants for 6 weeks and I am very excited to dive deeper into the meaning and the significance of these major Biblical and historical events.