• BERITH = Hebrew word for covenant
• Berith is found in the earliest records in the Bible and is fundamental to Hebrew religion. In Latin it is Testamentum.
• The Old Testament and the New Testaments means the old and the new covenants. A covenant is a promise.
• Chesed = Hebrew word for the attitude of loyalty and faithfulness which both parties should observe towards one another in a covenant relationship.
• The covenant ‘chesed’ of God is so strong that it can never pass away.
The Covenant with Abraham
• The records of ancient Israel were not written down until the time of King David, who had a court and a scribe. This was the time when Israel possessed the land of Canaan.
• The records were then redacted at later dates, significantly in the period of the exile (597BCE)
• There are two covenants recorded in Genesis made with Abraham.
• Genesis 15. Abraham is told to kill a selection of animals and is then put into a deep sleep. A flaming pot passes through. This is a ceremony to seal the covenant. The covenant was one sided, God made promises, Abraham received them.
The Covenant with Abraham
• Genesis 17 records the outward sign of the covenant, circumcision. This is still an important practise today.
• 17:9 God also said to Abraham: "On your part, you and your descendants after you must keep my covenant throughout the ages.This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you that you must keep: every male among you shall be circumcised. Circumcise the flesh of your foreskin, and that shall be the mark of the covenant between you and me.
• 17:12 Throughout the ages, every male among you, when he is eight days old, shall be circumcised… Thus my covenant shall be in your flesh as an everlasting pact.
• Scholars believe this is a later covenant influenced by the experiences of the exile.
The Promises of the Covenant with Abraham
• Abraham is promised that he will be the father of...
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...en the The Kingdom of God reigns once more on earth.
• Another prophet of the exile.
• Absolute monotheism emerged during the period of the exile.
• If there is only one God, then he is also the God of the nations.
• Isaiah pictures a renewal of the covenant on return from exile at Jerusalem.
• Significantly all nations will come to worship Israel’s God.
ISAIAH 40:1 Comfort, give comfort to my people,
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her
that her service is at an end, her guilt is expiated;
Indeed, she has received from the hand of the LORD
double for all her sins.
40:3 A voice cries out:
In the desert prepare the way of the LORD!
Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God!
40:4 Every valley shall be filled in,
every mountain and hill shall be made low;
The rugged land shall be made a plain,
the rough country, a broad valley.
40:5 Then the glory of the LORD shall be revealed,
and all mankind shall see it together;
for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.
Peter Vardy “Covenant and Promise” 2000
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