The Biblical Definition Of “COVENANT”
The subject of Covenant courses through every book of the Bible and is the vehicle for one of the most powerful revelations of God to humanity. The word “Covenant” is used 272 times in the Old Testament and 33 times in the New Testament. It is used more than the word “love” in the Bible yet it is a subject that is only marginally understood.
The Hebrew word for “Covenant” is the word “Berith”. It means binding, an agreement, or contract. Everything that God does in His interaction with man, is based on Covenant. It is the keynote of our belief and our Christian life so it is extremely important to understand the implications of “Berith” or “Covenant”. Along with the idea of agreement or contract, there is the meaning of cutting. So, making a covenant could also be known as cutting a Covenant. Thus, in all the Covenants of the Bible, there would be the cutting and the shedding of blood.
- “Berith” represents a treaty or alliance as seen in Genesis 21:27, 26:28 and Joshua 9:6,7,11, and 18. Of course, there are many other scriptures concerning this.
- “Berith” also means a constitution or ordinance between a monarch and his subjects. This is seen in 2 Samuel 3:12,13; Samuel 5:3; 1 Chronicles 11:3.
- It also means an agreement and pledge as seen in 2 Kings 11:4; 2 Chronicles 23:1.
- It also speaks of friendship as between David and Jonathan seen in 1 Samuel 18:3; 20:8; 22:18.
- In Joshua 24:25, it represented an ordinance, a constitutional agreement between Joshua and Israel to serve the Almighty God above.
- Also seem with Josiah and the people in 1 Kings 23:3, it speaks of a constitutional agreement to obey the book of the Covenant.
- It is seen with Ezra and the people in Ezra 10:3 where a constitutional agreement to put away foreign wives and observe the law was made.
Let me summarize this, a Covenant exists between two parties, sometimes equal and other times between superior and inferior. It would also be concerned with Nations, peace treaties or an alliance based on friendship. It also could deal with individuals to create a pledge or agreement with mutual obligation to each other. It would deal with the relationship between a monarch and subjects but consummately between God and man. Apart from blood connections the covenant was the way people of old formed relationships. David and Jonathan are prime examples of this in the Old Testament was the Covenant between these two young men spoken of in the Old Testament, as the Covenant of the Lord.
“Covenant” is the ultimate guarantee which provides legal security, loyalty, security and peace. The words that we use to describe the Bible, the Old Testament and the New Testament are actually the word, Covenant when God made special commitments to His people, He used the laws of Covenant. God made His commitment legally binding by using the mechanism or method of Covenant. Consequently, all doubt, fear, unbelief would be removed. Hebrews 6:13-19 says: “13For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself, 14Saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee. 15And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise. 16For men verily swear by the greater: and an oath for confirmation is to them an end of all strife. 17Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath: 18That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: 19Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil;”