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Covenant Throughout The Old And New Testaments

1452 words - 6 pages

Agreements these days are usually typed contracts that are composed by a lawyer and signed in front of a witness. However, it has not always been so formal. During the years the Old Testament was written, agreements and deals were primarily verbal contracts between two participants. Those contracts took on many forms and different customs were associated with each. These contracts also called covenants and have many different uses and meanings throughout the bible. Some commitments made in these covenants had been accompanied by self-maledictory oaths or curses that would have been implemented if the covenants were violated (New International Version 25). There are numerous ways to translate the word covenant, and many different types of covenants that are in use throughout the Old and New Testaments.
In the Old Testament the covenants were used by the people to make agreements among themselves. God also participated in these agreements and made promises with specific people and tribes throughout the Old and New Testament. In the bible the word covenant means ‘to cut’ (Monk), which is why when two people made a covenant they would walk through the cut bodies of slain animals (New International Version, ( Jer 34;14). Although, it was customary for both parties to benefit from such an agreement, it was not always customary for the covenant to be mutual. Many of the covenants made between God and his followers were contingent upon their loyalty to him. “Covenant concepts, used for the relationship between God and his people, form a large part of the Bible's skeletal structure” (Foster 206). Most covenants had specific implications and between the participating individuals. There are different types of covenants currently in use in the bible that are composed of multiple elements. There are a number of views as to the literal meaning of covenant in the bible (Bingham 156). The current meaning is easy to understand; however, the exact meaning is not easy to understand. The Hebrew word for the translation of covenant is ‘berith,’ which we could derive the ideas of ‘bond’ or ‘bind’ (Bingham 156). Berith is used around 286 times in the bible in many different perspectives. Covenants are composed of five main elements: promises, stipulations, oaths, responsibilities, witnesses. The idea of a covenant basically and agreement, pact, contract, and agreement or arrangement (Bingham 156).
During the Old Testament years there were different styles or levels of covenants that were used between the different classes of people. In the bible there are three main types of covenant that are used: Royal Grant, Parity, and the Suzerain-Vassal. The Royal Grant is a grant of land or some other benefit from a king to his loyal subject for the subjects faithful and loyal service(NIV 25).There were a number of Royal Grants mad in the Old Testament, the lord made a Royal Grant with Noah in Genesis 9:8-17. The covenant that the Lord made with Noah was specifically made...

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