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Promises Promises Sermon Series


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What is a Covenant? The idea of covenant runs throughout the Bible. A covenant is one of the forms by which God communicates his promises to and deals with individuals and people. For example in Genesis 6:18, God tells Noah, “I will establish my covenant with you.” A covenant is all about relationship and that relationship is established with a sign and an oath, which usually dictates blessings and curses upon the outcome.

There are five major covenants in the Old Testament: The Adamic, The Noahic, The Abrahamic, The Mosaic, and The Davidic. When studying each of these covenants, one is provided with a general overview of the Old Testament and can discover throughout the pages of scripture a unifying story that connects the Old and New Testaments around the person and work of Jesus Christ.

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Where can I find these five major Old Testament Covenants:

1. The Adamic: In Genesis 2-3, God establishes Adam in the Garden of Eden. The sign of this covenant is the tree of life and the promise is if you eat of it you will surely die. Upon Adam’s failure, God establishes a covenant of grace in the promised seed or Eve and shows his redeeming care in clothing Adam and Eve in garments of skin--perhaps picturing the first instance of animal sacrifice.

2. The Noahic: In Genesis 8-9:22, God establishes a covenant with Noah. The sign of the covenant is a rainbow and the promise is that God will never destroy the earth again. God saves Noah’s family through water, foreshadowing Baptism; the importance of a universal created order similar to the ones found in the Adamic story are affirmed.

3. The Abrahamic: In Genesis 12, 15, 17 God establishes a covenant with Abraham. Unlike the previous two covenants, the promise in this covenant is very specific to Abraham; that he would be made into a great nation. The sign of this promise was circumcision. This covenant was received by Abraham by faith and could not be superseded by any other covenant. In Galatians 3, St. Paul makes the point that by faith in Christ we are made heirs of Abraham and promises made to him.

4. The Mosaic: In Exodus 19-24 God establishes a covenant with Israel through Moses. The most prominent part of this covenant is the 10 Commandments. It is a national covenant that promises blessing and curses based on Israel’s obedience; and therefore St. Paul points out in 2 Corinthians 3, it is fading and is a ministry of death. The way this covenant is appeased is through a sacrificial system, which foreshadows the work of Christ.

5. The Davidic: In 2 Samuel 7 God establishes a covenant with King David. Like the Abrahamic covenant this covenant is given specifically to David as opposed to the world or Israel. God promises that David’s throne will be an everlasting throne. During the exile the prophets look forward to the reestablishment of the Davidic line where there will hope, peace, and justice throughout the world. This covenant meets its fulfillment in Christ who through his resurrection conquers all the enemies of God, and from his throne at the right hand of the father lavishes his gifts of love, grace, and mercy upon all God’s people through word and sacrament.

Is there a sixth covenant? Absolutely, the sixth covenant is established by Christ in his shed blood on the cross and is called the New Covenant. Jesus specifically states this at the last supper, “this is my blood of the New Covenant which is shed for you.” The New Covenant fulfills and supersedes all the previous covenants. The signs of the New Covenant are in the dominical sacraments: Holy Baptism and The Eucharist.

This Lent, Calvary-St. George’s will be learning about the covenants as we look forward to the fulfillment of all of these covenants in Easter and the establishment of the New Covenant in Jesus blood.


February 26 Genesis 9:8-17A Promise of Life

March 4 Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16A Promise of Faith

March 11 Exodus 20:1-17A Promise Broken

March 18 2 Samuel 7:1-17A Promised Kingdom

March 25 Jeremiah 31:31-34A Promised Heart

April 1 Palm Sunday, A Promised King

April 8 Easter, A Promise Kept