The Seven Great Covenants of the Bible
May 2nd, 1973 @ 7:30 PM
THE SEVEN GREAT COVENANTS OF THE BIBLE
Dr. W. A. Criswell
5-2-73 7:30 p.m.
Now tonight we are going to look at The Seven Great Covenants of the Bible. All of the Scriptures crystallize about, and is a development of, these seven covenants. They disclose God’s whole purpose for us in the world: the whole destiny of God’s handiwork centers around these seven covenants. Now they are of two kinds. They are unconditional: an “I will” from God. And they are conditional: “If thou wilt.” Now let us look at the difference in the two.
Turn to Genesis 9:11, Genesis 9:11 and here is an unconditional covenant of the Lord. Now we are looking at an instance. In Genesis 9:11 God says to Noah and to his sons:
I will establish My covenant with you . . . there shall never be a flood to destroy the earth . . .
And this is the token . . . I do set My rainbow in the cloud; it shall be for a token of a covenant between Me and the earth.
It shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud:
And I will remember My covenant, which is between Me and you and every living creature . . .
The bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, and I will remember the everlasting covenant between Me and every living creature on the earth.
And God said to Noah, This is the token of the covenant, which I have established between Me and all flesh that is upon the earth.
Now that is an unconditional covenant; doesn’t depend upon us, doesn’t depend on them, doesn’t depend on anybody. God says, “I will,” and it is without condition.
Now let’s take an example of a covenant that is conditional. Turn to Exodus 19:5. Turn to Exodus 19:5. This—we’re going to look at these covenants, all seven of them, in a moment, but this is an example of a conditional covenant: “And if thou wilt. . .” Exodus 19:5, “Now therefore, if you will obey My voice, and if you will keep My covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto Me.” This is a conditional covenant:
If you will obey My voice, and if you will keep My covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto Me above all people: for the whole earth is Mine: And ye shall be unto Me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation.
If you will do this, I will do that.
Now—which is as a great surprise to me—of the seven covenants in the Holy Scriptures, they are all unconditional except one, and the only conditional covenant is the Mosaic, the one I’ve just read [Exodus 19:5-6]. That’s an astonishing thing for me to learn: that of the seven covenants, all of them are unconditional—they are promises, agreements, contracts that God has signed, and they depend on nobody but God—they are all unconditional except one, and that is the Mosaic covenant [Exodus 19:5-6].
All right, now let’s start with the seven covenants. First is the Adamic, A-d-a-m-i-c, the Adamic covenant, and that is in Genesis 3, verses 14 through 19; Genesis 3:14-19. And in that story and in that covenant God has placed a curse upon the serpent. He has placed abiding enmity between the Seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent [Genesis 3:14-15]. He has given as a judgment, sorrow in childbirth upon the woman. He has subordinated the woman to the man [Genesis 3:16]. The ground and the earth is enslaved [Genesis 3:17-19]. The toil of physical labor is the part of the life of every man.
But the covenant says there will be a final victory of the Seed of the woman through suffering, and that, in the passage, is the great protoevangelium, Genesis 3:15: “I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her Seed; [He] shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise His heel.” This is the Adamic covenant; the promise of an ultimate victory through the Seed of the woman. And we read of that in Galatians 4:4, where the Messiah came, born of a woman [Genesis 3:15]. We read it in Matthew 4, verses 1 and following, when Christ was tempted of the devil and was unable to yield [Matthew 4:1-10], and in 1 John 3:8, where the apostle avows that the Son of God was manifested, He came, He was incarnate in order that He might destroy the works of the devil [1 John 3:8]. Now this is a very good instance—as we’re going to see the others are—of an unconditional covenant. This is something that God has promised to do, and God is going to do it [Genesis 3:15].
Part of it has been fulfilled. Part of it is yet to be fulfilled. But that covenant does not depend upon anything we do, or anything we say, or any reaction that we have. This is something God is going to do. The Seed of the woman is going to crush Satan’s head [Genesis 3:15], and all the other things that went along with the giving of that covenant are everlastingly true. There will never be any change in the way a woman bears a child [Genesis 3:16]. It will always be that. However science may discover things and other things may come and develop, always that’s going to be. Always, despite any lib movement that will ever succeed, the woman is going to be subjected to the man [Genesis 3:16]. No matter what the lib movement does, that’s going to be true, everlastingly true. Whatever science or ecology or any kind of these studies may come up with, the earth is going to remain cursed, and we will never get beyond toil and labor if we are to be blessed of God [Genesis 3:17-19].
Whenever a nation thinks that it can live without work and toil—and America is coming into that persuasion—you’re going to see the nation begin to disintegrate. That’s what’s the matter with the American dollar. We have thought that we can borrow from the government, and print money, and print money, and print money, and give it out, and give it out, and give it out, and we can just all live without toil and labor. All we’ve got to do is just print more money, and print more money, and go in debt. And the national debt rises and rises and rises as money is printed and printed and printed, and we are beginning to learn that there’s payday someday. No nation ever has more than it will work for. And the Japanese work, and the West Germans work, and the American people are beginning to be persuaded that they can live without working, and the American nation and its monetary system is going down just like that. Used to be a dollar bill had that much silver to back it up. It used to be a yellow ten-dollar bill had that much gold to back it up. It used to be when you took a dime out of your pocket, you could go melt it, and it would be a dime’s worth of silver. That dime is not worth anything. Throw it away. The currency that you have in your pocket, this dollar bill, is not backed by anything; absolutely nothing! There’s not anything to back that dollar bill. And the whole monetary fiscal system of America is beginning to disintegrate. That’s why in the stock market there never has been a time when dividends were so high, when the corporations were making so much money, and the stock market goes down just like that. What’s the matter with it? Because people are beginning to lose confidence in paper, paper. That’s all our money is now, is paper. It used to be we worked, and America became a great nation. But now we just go to the government and they dish out the money, and they go in debt billions and billions of dollars every year. You can’t get by with that. Why can’t you get by with that? Because God lives, and these things of work and morality and blessing are rooted in the character of Almighty God! And you can’t change that. That is an unconditional covenant. And we don’t ever change it or go beyond it. That’s the Adamic covenant: we’ve got to work if we have any ultimate reward from the hands of the Lord [Genesis 3:17-19].
All right, now we turn next to the Noahic covenant: N-o-a-h-i-c, Noahic covenant. And that’s the one that I read a while ago. This is covenant number two. In the eighth chapter of the Book of Genesis, starting at verse 20, going to chapter 9, verse 27, this is the Noahic covenant [Genesis 8:20-9:27]. And that covenant says, in that passage that we won’t take time to read, that the human race will no more be wholly smitten; there’ll never be a judgment from God that destroys the human family [Genesis 8:21-22]. So when people say that there is coming down on us someday a bunch of atomic bombs, and they’re going to make the earth inhabitable, and they’re going to kill all the people of the earth, there’s not a syllable of truth in that. That will never come to pass. The Noahic covenant says that the Lord God has avowed there will never be anything that will wholly smite the human race; never again [Genesis 8:21].
Another part of that Noahic covenant is that the natural order of seasons will be perpetual. While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night shall not cease” [Genesis 8:22]. It’ll be this way when Jesus comes. Another thing in that covenant: in the twenty-sixth verse of the ninth chapter, Shem has an especial relationship with Jehovah [Genesis 9:26], and, of course, Shemitic, Semitic, the Jewish people came from Shem [Genesis 10:21-31]. Another thing in that covenant: Japheth is to be enlarged—that’s Genesis 9:27—and the great moving masses of the people of the world belong to Japheth. And another thing in that covenant: that Canaan, the son of Ham, is to be a slave of slaves. You have it translated “a servant of servants”; that’s Genesis 9:25. And the conquest of Canaan by Joshua is an illustration of that [Joshua 1:1-12:24]. This is the Noahic covenant [Genesis 8:20-9:27], and the part that especially is pertinent to us is that Shem is to have a special relationship with God [Genesis 9:26], out of that comes Israel; that Japheth is to be enlarged [Genesis 9:27], that is the great body of people to whom we belong, Japheth; that the human race will be no more destroyed; that the natural order of seasons will be perpetual [Genesis 8:21-22]; and this is the promise of God. It doesn’t depend upon us, doesn’t depend upon our obedience, doesn’t depend upon anything we do, think, or anything; it’s just something that God has said, swore, swearing by Himself [Hebrews 6:13], “This is the truth, and this is the way it’s going to be.”
Now our third covenant is Abrahamic; the Abrahamic covenant, A-b-r-a-h-a-m—in each one of these instances we just take an “i-c” on it—the Abrahamic covenant. Now that covenant we read in Genesis 12:1-3, in Genesis 13:15-16, Genesis 15:18, Genesis 17:1-8, Genesis 22:18, Genesis 26:4, Genesis 28:14. Now in this Abrahamic covenant we find the origin of the nation of Israel [Genesis 15:4-5]. The promises God makes to Israel through Abraham are unconditional. The title of the land is vested in them, and they have the promise of divine protection [Psalm 105:8-11]. This is the Abrahamic covenant, and it is unconditional! I cannot tell you the number of times that I hear teachers and preachers say that God’s promises to Israel were “Israel, if you do this, then I will do that.” There is no such thing as that in the Abrahamic covenant. In the Abrahamic covenant the promises to Israel are unconditional.
Now I’m going to take one instance of that, because we could just spend the rest of our lives talking about these things. When you’re talking about these covenants, now you’re talking about the whole Bible, because the whole Bible is an outworking of these promises of God. I want you to turn to Psalm 105, and we’re going to read verses 8 through 11. Psalm 105, verses 8 through 11. Now I’m talking about the fact that the Abrahamic covenant is unconditional, and a part of that Abrahamic covenant is that the title of the land is invested in Israel. A part of it was that in the Seed—and the apostle Paul, in Galatians 3:16, says that’s of one, Christ—the Seed is to come through Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah, David; that’s the Abrahamic covenant. It’s unconditional. We don’t have anything to do with that. Somebody might say, “Well, we’re going to change that, and the Messiah is going to come through the lineage of the Stuarts in England, or going to be born through the lineage of the Hapsburgs in Austria.” Or we could say, “Now we are going to change that: the Messiah is going to come through the Hohenzollerns in Prussia, or it’s going to come through the czars of Russia.” I’m just illustrating to you that it is idiocy for any of us to think that we can change the unconditional covenants of God. God said this Messiah is coming through Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah, David [Genesis 49:10]. That’s God! And it’s unconditional.
All right, here’s another one: an unconditional covenant that God made with Abraham and to his seed was that the land of Palestine belongs to them forever. Now we’re going to illustrate it with one passage, Psalm 105:8-11. Listen to it:
God hath remembered His covenant for ever, the word which He commanded to a thousand generations.
Which covenant He made with Abraham, and His oath unto Isaac;
And confirmed the same unto Jacob for a law, and to Israel for an everlasting covenant:
Saying, Unto thee will I give the land of Canaan, the lot of your inheritance.
That is an unconditional covenant. Just as God promised Abraham that through him the Seed, the Messiah, would come, through whom all the world would be blessed [Genesis 22:18], the same Lord God made an unconditional covenant to Abraham saying that “To thee and to thy seed,” and repeated the same to Isaac, and His oath to Jacob for a law, for an everlasting covenant, “unto thee do I give this land” [Psalm 105:8-11].
Now I listen to these pro-Arabic sympathizers, and I can just sympathize with them, and on and on and on. But as long as you believe the Bible, you don’t have any other choice but to believe that the land of Palestine belongs to the seed of Jacob, whose name was changed to Israel [Genesis 32:28]. That is an unconditional covenant! [Psalm 105:8-11].
All right, our fourth covenant, and this one is conditional: this is the Mosaic covenant, M-o-s-a-i-c, the Mosaic covenant, and we read that just a moment ago in Exodus 19:5 and 6 and 8; in Exodus 19:5 and 6 and 8. “If ye will obey My voice, and keep My covenant, then shall ye be a peculiar treasure unto Me above all people” [Exodus 19:5]. Then, after that, God gave them the words of the covenant: the Ten Commandments [Exodus 20:1-17]. And that’s why it was called the ark of the covenant, the ark of the covenant; that is, the words of the covenant were in that ark, namely, the two tables of stone [Deuteronomy 10:1-5]. And there’s no more eloquent way to describe this covenant than Jesus as He spoke of it in Luke 10:28: “This do, and thou shalt live. This do, and thou shalt live.”
All right, now look what the people said in Exodus 19:8: “And all the people answered together, and said, All that the Lord has spoken we will do. And Moses returned the words of the people unto the Lord.” Did they keep that promise, that covenant? No, they didn’t. Do we? No, we’re no better than they. “This do, and thou shalt live”: that’s the way Jesus spoke of it in Luke 10:28. The law of duty is given here in the Ten Commandments, in the twentieth chapter of Exodus [Exodus 20:1-17], and the law of the priesthood and the sacrifice and the worship is given in the Book of Leviticus, and it’s repeated, summarized, in Hebrews 9:1-7.
Well, the Lord God knew that the man wasn’t going to keep that covenant. Well, why did He give it to us, then? What is the purpose of the law? If you’ve been coming here to church when I preached through the Book of Galatians, you surely could answer that [Galatians 3:19-29]. The law was given, this covenant was made, not for us to be saved by it, because God knew we couldn’t be saved by it, and the Lord God knew when the people said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do” [Exodus 19:8], God knew they weren’t going to do that. Well, what is the purpose of the law? All right, one: “that sin might be shown to be exceeding sinful,” Romans 3:19 and Romans 7:13. The law was given in order, as a plumb line, that we could see how crooked our lives were. Straight down the plumb line and by the side of it the wall goes in and out.
You know, I had the funniest feeling—you just can’t imagine—because first time I’d ever had anything like this. They built an addition to the parsonage out there, and evidently good workmen are hard to come by. So we were gone, say, for the month of August, or whatever, and when we came back and looked, the wall that that bricklayer had made was this way, and that way, and that way, and that way. That was the funniest looking thing I ever saw in my life. As the guy, instead of making the wall true to a plumb line, you know, have a bob—don’t you call it a bob? A bobbit? A bob, you know, down here, it hangs down, bob? Is that it? Bobbit? Plumb bob, all right, whatever that thing is—you know, you got a plumb bob down here, and it’s just a weight with a string, and that thing will be just as straight no matter where it is in the world. Down here on the other side of the earth, why, it will be just as straight up this way as on this side, as on straight down that way or this on either side, and it’ll be straight this way. I tell you this earth’s a funny thing, funny thing. You go to see the scientist, you know, that’s supposed to have all the answers—they think—and you say, “Why is it that the plumb bob will come up this way down there in India, and come up this way here in Texas, and come up that way in Africa, and come up that way over there in Lapland? Why is it?” Why, he says, “That’s what gravity does. Gravity does that.” Well, that’s a very obvious answer, so we ask him, “Well, Mr. Scientist, what is gravity?”
“Well, gravity is what makes the plumb bob go like this.” Oh my! And these kids go to college and they listen to those stupid teachers, and they go away, and they say to me, “Oh, I don’t believe in God anymore,” or “I’ve learned that all of that is adolescent superstition.” It just sounds so strange to me. And yet you could ask any man anywhere in the earth to explain anything, there is no man that can explain anything. I don’t care what it is. All he can do is observe it, that’s all. He can just observe what is done. We don’t explain anything, nothing. There is nothing explicable. We just observe it. And just take anything. Now, one of the jokes is that the colored preacher, you know, he gets up and he says, “How does a black cow eat green grass and give white milk out of which you can churn yellow butter?” Why, you couldn’t answer that to save your life. Nobody knows.
Or just take eating, just eating. How do you explain the process of assimilation? How does your body take peanut butter, hamburgers, Coca-colas, Dr. Peppers, whatever it is that we gormandize with, and how does it turn it into hair and eyes and heart and soul and me and love and life? I am a monument to all of the hamburgers and ketchup and potatoes and stuff that I’ve eaten. And if somebody comes along and says, “Why, why that’s not so,” well, then you just take all that stuff away from me and see what happens to me. I’d just dwindle away and die. How do you explain that? You don’t explain it. You just observe it. You just observe it. The whole earth and all God’s creation is that way. We don’t explain anything.
A little cell in a woman’s womb, and there those mitotic processes start, and pretty soon the little engineers are hammering out teeth buds, and other little workmen are hammering on a backbone, and pretty soon little buds start out here and they turn into legs, and another one turns into something else, and pretty soon on the inside, in an abdominal cavity, all those little workmen are hammering out spleens, and livers, and gall bladders, and duodenums, and stuff that I don’t even know what’s down there. Well, who taught them all that stuff? You see, you don’t know. You never will know.
The sign of God’s signature is mystery. You don’t know; you never will know. And when these people come along and say, “We know all these things. We know all these things. There’s no God. We know all things. There is no God”—well, would you admit there’s something that you don’t know? “Yea, I’d have to admit there might be something I don’t know.” Well, right there, where you don’t know, God might be. Or have you been everywhere? “No, I haven’t been everywhere.” Well, right where you weren’t and have never been, God might be there; you just can’t tell.
Oh dear, what got us off on all that? Oh, I was talking about that plumb line, that bob; that plumb bob got me off on all that. The purpose of the law was a plumb bob against which we could see how crooked is our lives. Or as Paul spoke of it in Galatians 3:24, it’s our paidagōgos: the law is our paidagōgos, our slave who led the child to school, to bring us to Jesus. The law manifestly was not given to save us, because four hundred thirty years before, the covenant of promise was made with Abraham, as the apostle Paul points out in Galatians 3:17-18. So let’s just summarize it. The purpose of the Mosaic covenant, the giving of the Mosaic law, was to show us how desperately we needed God [Galatians 3:24].
Now may I say a word about Christ’s relation to the law? First, He was made under it, Galatians 4:4. Second, He kept it, He fulfilled it [Matthew 5:17]. Compare last Sunday night—were any of you here Sunday night? I spoke of the sēmeia in the Gospel of John; the sēmeia, the signs. He never uses the word “miracle”; never will use the word dunamin, never use the word teras, always sēmeion, singular, sēmeion, “sign.” So in the second chapter of John, why, you have those six waterpots for the purifying of the Jews when they came into the feast; that is, they washed their feet in them, six waterpots, and they were filled up to the brim, filled up to the brim [John 2:6-7]. Then the Lord said, “Take out now, draw out now, and bear to the governor of the feast” [John 2:8]. And when they drew out from the well, on the way it turned into wine [John 2:9]. That is a sēmeion. That is, it’s a picture: whatever Jesus did, John saw it as a spiritual picture. It is a picture that in Christ the law is fulfilled; all those old purification rites, all of those old commandments and rituals, all of it is fulfilled. “Fill it up to the brim” [John 2:7]. Six, a number of uncompleteness, incompleteness. “Fill it up to the brim, then draw out,” and this is the Lord; the new wine in a new wineskin. “Take it to the governor of the feast” [John 2:8]. So Christ’s relation to the law: He was made under it [Galatians 4:4], He kept it, He fulfilled it perfectly [Matthew 5:17], and He bore the curse vicariously for us. “As it is written, cursed is everyone that hangeth on a tree [Deuteronomy 21:23] . . . And cursed be everyone who does not keep these commandments.” That’s in 2 Corinthians 5:21, in Galatians 3:10-14, in Ephesians 2:15-16, in Colossians 2:12-14.
And last: His sacrifice and His priesthood is the antitype of all of the Old Testament ritual system, all of it. Whatever you read in the Old Testament ritual system, all of it is a prefiguration of Jesus Christ. This is the Mosaic covenant. Oh, we must hurry.
Now the Palestinian covenant: that’s in Deuteronomy 30:1-20. In Deuteronomy 30:1-20 is the Palestinian covenant. This is the covenant under which Israel entered Canaan. Now we don’t have time to read it, I’m just going to show you the verses, point out the verses. In Deuteronomy chapter 30, verse 1, it foresees the worldwide dispersion of Israel. If you will take your Bible and turn to the passage, you can easily see it as I summarize it in my words. The first verse foresees the worldwide dispersion of Israel [Deuteronomy 30:1]. The second verse foresees the repentance and the return of Israel unto the Lord [Deuteronomy 30:2]. Verses 3 through 5 foresee the regathering of Israel into the land [Deuteronomy 30:3-5]. Verse 6 foresees the conversion of restored Israel [Deuteronomy 30:6]. You’ll see that also in Ezekiel 36: 25 [Ezekiel 36:24-25]. Verse 7 foresees the judgment upon Israel’s oppressors [Deuteronomy 30:7], such as God said to Abraham, “I will bless them that bless thee, and curse them that curse thee” [Genesis 12:3]. And verse 9 foresees the blessing and the prosperity for restored Israel [Deuteronomy 30:9].
Now I want to point out to you that this is an unconditional covenant. This covenant is not, “Now, if Israel does this, well I will do that. And if Israel does this, why, I will do the other.” There’s no such thing as that. The Palestinian covenant is an unconditional covenant. That is, God says that Israel someday is going to be scattered, be dispersed, the great Diaspora [Deuteronomy 30:1]. God says that someday she’s going to return [Deuteronomy 30:2]. God says that someday she is going to be regathered to the land [Deuteronomy 30:3-5]. God says that someday she is going to be converted [Deuteronomy 30:6]. And God says that someday He is going to judge Israel’s oppressors [Deuteronomy 30:7]. And God says someday Israel’s going to be blessed forever [Deuteronomy 30:9]. That is an unconditional covenant, most of which is yet to be fulfilled.
All right, covenant number [six] is the Davidic covenant. And this, D-a-v-i-d-i-c, the Davidic covenant, this is in 2 Samuel—this is number…well I’ll say, what’s the matter with me? I can’t count? That’s number six, the Davidic covenant is number six—don’t know what’s the matter. Can’t count; here I am supposed to be so smart, can’t even count to six. Second Samuel chapter 7, 2 Samuel 7:12- 16: this is the Davidic covenant; that is, that David should have a Son who would sit upon his throne for ever. That is the promise of God.
Now, this King is both human and divine, as we read in Isaiah 7:14 and Isaiah 9:6-7, and in Isaiah 11:1, 10. And the millennial kingdom in all of its glory is described in Isaiah 11:6-9. All of this was confirmed to the Virgin Mary. Now I’m going to take time to read that: Luke 1:31-33; Luke 1:31-33:
Behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus, Savior.
He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give Him the throne of His father David:
And He shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of His kingdom there shall be no end.
That is the unconditional Davidic covenant. It is given to Christ, and He will reign over that kingdom for ever, and He is going to return to set it up, as we read in Acts 3:20-23 and in Revelation 20 and in a thousand other places. That is the Davidic covenant, unconditional. David’s going to have a Son, a greater Son, and He is going to set up a kingdom, and that Son is going to be both human and divine, and of His kingdom there shall be no end [2 Samuel 7:12-16].
Now the seventh and the last covenant: my Greek testament says “hē Kainē diathēkē”—the new covenant. The new covenant is described in Hebrews 8:6-13. Israel is to be brought into it, Jeremiah 31:31-34. It is founded upon the sacrifice of Christ, Matthew 26:28. Would you like to turn to that one passage? Matthew 26:28. Matthew 26:28: “This is My blood of the new covenant, shed for the remission of sins.” And we who believe in Jesus are partakers of the new covenant, Ephesians 2:11-22. Do you want to turn to that? Ephesians 2:11-22:
Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, called Uncircumcision by the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world.
Now that’s just about as far off as we could get! “But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. He is our peace, He is made us one, broken down the middle wall of partition; Having abolished in His flesh the enmity, the commandments, the ordinances; to make in Him one new man” [Ephesians 2:13-15], which is His church. This is the new covenant.
Isn’t that amazing? Israel is to be brought into it. Somebody always says, “Pastor, do you think Israel is going to be saved in some other way than what we’re saved?” My brother, listen. From one side of this Bible, that side, to the other side of this Bible, the concluding side, there is one way that we’re saved, just one: we’re saved by the grace and mercy of God [Ephesians 2:8; Titus 3:5]—in the Old Testament, looking forward to that propitiation [1 John 2:2], that expiation [2 Corinthians 5:21], that sacrifice [1 Corinthians 15:3], that atonement [Romans 5:11]; in the New Testament, looking back to it. And if the Jew is ever saved, that’s the way he’s saved. If I’m ever saved, that’s the way I’m saved. If anybody is ever saved, that’s the way we’re saved. No man is ever saved by keeping a law, by being good, by observing ordinances or rituals. There’s only way to be saved, and that is in the grace and mercy of God [Ephesians 2:8; Titus 3:5], casting ourselves upon the mercies of God, who put away our sins by the sacrifice of Himself [1 John 1:7; Revelation 1:5]. And Israel is to be brought into this new covenant, Jeremiah 31:31-34, founded upon the sacrifice of Christ [Matthew 27:32-50], and we who believe in Jesus are partakers of that new covenant [John 3:16; Romans 10:9-10, 13].
Well, then how in the earth is it unconditional if we’ve got to do all that? All right, the covenant is this: God has an everlasting promise to us—that’s Jew, Gentile, heathen, pagan, male, female, black, white, free, bond, rich, poor—God has made a covenant with us that if we’ll accept His Lord Jesus, He will save us forever and forever and forever [John 3:16]. “Oh, but pastor, man alive! I may trust in the Lord Jesus and just go right along, and five minutes before I die, I may commit a sin and fall into hell.” Ooh, I’d hate to believe that, and yet that’s what practically all of Christendom believes. “Oh, pastor, I may accept the Lord Jesus as my Savior, and I may trust Him, and I may let Jesus come into my heart, and I may go along for five years, and then I fall away, and I’m damned.” Ooh, wouldn’t that be awful? “Or I may go along twenty years, and I’d be lost.” Ooh. What did we say about these covenants? They are unconditional. When you accept Christ as your Savior, you come under an unconditional covenant. “When I see the blood, I will pass over you” [Exodus 12:7, 13, 22-23]. All you’ve got to do is to get under it.
God doesn’t say, “Now I am going in there and I am going to analyze that repentance, whether it was genuine or not,” or “I am going to analyze that trust, whether it was genuine or not,” or “I am going to analyze those motives.” God doesn’t do anything like that. He just says, “My death angel is going to visit the land, and anybody that will put blood there, and on either side, in the form of a cross, and get under it, My angel will pass over him that night” [Exodus 12:7,23]. And the promise, the covenant God makes with us who find refuge in Him is unconditional; it’s for ever and ever. “I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall anyone pluck them out of My hand” [John 10:28].
Isn’t that all right? So I don’t have to sit down and worry about my salvation. I’ve settled that, did it a long time ago, took Jesus as my Savior, trusted Him as my Lord, let Him come into my heart. Now what I ought to busy myself with is how can I praise Him, and love Him, and serve Him, and work for Him, and do His kingdom’s assignment in the earth. And if you are worried about your salvation, quit it. If you trusted Jesus, and if you did it five hundred thousand times over again, that’s still what you’d have to do. You’d have to trust Jesus for it. So just trust Him right now, “And Lord, if I haven’t trusted Thee, right now I trust Thee, right now.” Just settle it right now, and then trust God for it, and go about doing good for Jesus and loving Him. That’s an unconditional covenant I point out to you: that these who come under the blood [Revelation 1:5], God says, “I will save them for ever” [John 3:16, 10:28-30]
Now a little summary here: all of the covenants meet in Christ. The Adamic: He is the Seed of the woman [Genesis 3:15; Galatians 4:4], and He is Satan’s final destroyer [Genesis 3:14-19; Hebrews 2:14]. The Noahic covenant: He came under the conditions of life, living under seasons, springtime, harvest-time, all that [Genesis 8:20-9:27; Philippians 2:8]. The Abrahamic: He is the Seed of that Abrahamic covenant [Genesis 22:18; Galatians 3:16]. The Mosaic: He bore the curse of the Mosaic covenant for us [Exodus 19:5-8; Galatians 3:13]. The Palestinian: He lived obediently as a Jew in the land, under the Palestinian covenant [Deuteronomy 30:1-20; Matthew 15:24]. The Davidic: He is the greater Son of David, the coming King [2 Samuel 7:12-16; Matthew 1:1]. And He is the sacrifice and the foundation of the new covenant [Luke 22:20; Hebrews 8:6-13]. All of them meet in Christ Jesus, and that’s the whole Bible. That’s what it is about from one end to the other.
Well, we’re doing good. We have two and one half minutes in order to underscore. So let’s take advantage of our two and one half minutes. We left off at Exodus 19:6 and we were talking about Exodus 20, Exodus 20, which is the Ten Commandments. And if anybody asks you where the Ten Commandments are, you say, “They are in the twentieth chapter of the Book of Exodus.” Now let’s turn to Exodus 21:24-25. The reason I point out this to you is because Jesus pointed it out [Matthew 5:38], and it is the law, this is the law. The law does not have mercy in it, remember [2 Corinthians 3:6; Hebrews 10:28]. The law is impersonal and inexorable. “Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe” [Exodus 21:24-25] That is the law. Now, mercy is something else; grace is something else. But the law is that if a man is found picking up sticks on Sunday, he’s to be stoned to death [Numbers 15:32-36]. That is the law. Boy, aren’t you glad God delivered you from it?
All right, Exodus 24, Exodus 24, Exodus 24:7-11. This is what the Book of Hebrews is about. In Exodus 24:7, “All that the Lord hath said we will do, and be obedient.” See. “And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant” [Exodus 24:8]. Then they saw God [Exodus 24:10]. Did they see God the Father? They saw a theophany; they saw Jesus. “Then went up Moses” [Exodus 24:9], this is 7 to 11, “And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under His feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, as it were the body of heaven in its clearness [Exodus 24:10]. And upon the nobles of the children of Israel He laid not His hand: also they saw God, and did eat and drink” [Exodus 24:11]. “No man hath seen God at any time” [John 1:18]. Again, “no man can see God and live” [Exodus 33:20]. Anytime in the Bible there is an appearance of the Angel of the Lord, not an angel, but an Angel of the Lord, or this appearance of God, it is a theophany: it is a Christophany, it is a preincarnate appearance of Jesus Christ.
Dr. W. A. Criswell
1. Genesis 1:26-30
2. Vegetable diet
for man and animals
3. Isaiah 11:6-7;
Millennial Kingdom returns to Edenic diet
Adamic Genesis 3:14-19
1. Curse of
serpent, man and woman
2. Promise Genesis
Noahic Genesis 8:21-9:17
1. Seasons established
2. Meat included in
3. Capital punishment
4. Never another
world flood judgment
Abrahamic Genesis 12:1-3
2. Confirmed to
Isaac and Jacob
Mosaic Exodus 20:1-26
1. Moral, civil,
2. Sabbath day
Davidic – establishes the perpetuity of the sons of David through Christ
forever; 2 Samuel 7:16, 25-26
1. Rests upon the
sacrifice of Christ; Matthew 26:26-30
2. Saving work
Hebrews 8:7-13; 9:13-28