Covenants of Old and New
Covenants of Old and New
Within the Old Testament, a series of covenants is described: the Noachian, Abrahamic, Mosaic, Davidic, and New Covenant (Reed, 2018). These promises made between God and His people explore the development of the Hebrew tradition into Jewish faith throughout and leading up to the era before the coming of Christ. God’s determination to protect the lives and culture of His people is evident in each narrative and is largely what has nurtured the profound devotion characteristic of Judeo-Christian followers today.
The flood narrative of Genesis is where we find the context surrounding the Noachian Covenant. Genesis 6:5 states that “The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time,” (NIV) Noah, however, has lived a life of faith and obedience, and for this finds the favor of his creator. God commands Noah to construct an ark into which he is to bring “two of all living creatures,” (Genesis 6:19) along with himself and his family, in order that they would be spared when all else is destroyed as the earth begins to flood. When the waters recede, God declares to Noah, and by extension all future peoples, “I establish my covenant with you…never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth." (Genesis 9:11) From this point on, it is up to humans to make the right choices (Reed, 2018) to sustain righteous life and serve the Lord.
The Noachian Covenant is the first to establish God as being equally merciful and just. He blesses and restores the new earth and its populations. His divine favor is what makes possible his promises to protect and prosper of the Hebrew people. These assurances are the predecessors to the Abrahamic Covenant, one promising a great populace out of Abraham’s lineage. Although God pledges to give Abraham and his aging wife Sarah a child, they become impatient and Abraham instead fathers a son, Ishmael, with his wife’s handmaiden, Hagar (Harris, 2005). Thirteen years later, Sarah gives birth to her son Isaac. Until this point, God’s instructions for Abraham have been incentivized by the promise of blessings, but the narrative shifts when Abraham is commanded to sacrifice Isaac. Instead of resisting, Abraham prepares an altar upon which to kill his son and is halted only when an angel keeps his hand from plunging a dagger into his son’s body. At this moment, Abraham is wholly obedient. In response, God reiterates his initial covenant – to make Abraham the father of nations.
Moses, even having been adopted into royalty, embraces his heritage as he is called by God in order to free the Hebrew slaves. Plagues befall the ground as each time Moses requests the Hebrews be freed, the Pharaoh declines, refusing to recognize the Lord’s authority. Only after the last plague during which the angel of death passes over and kills the Pharaoh’s son do the people rece...