Covenants are an important feature of the Bible’s teaching. Seven specific  covenants are revealed in Scripture. These seven covenants fall into three  categories—conditional, unconditional, and general. Conditional covenants are  based on certain obligations and prerequisites; if the requirements are not  fulfilled, the covenant is broken. Unconditional covenants are made with no  strings attached and will be kept regardless of one party’s fidelity or  infidelity. General covenants are not specific to one people group and can  involve a wide range of people.

The conditional covenant mentioned in  Scripture is the Mosaic Covenant; the blessings it extends are contingent upon  Israel’s adherence to the Law. The unconditional covenants mentioned in the  Bible are the Abrahamic, Palestinian, and Davidic Covenants; God promises to  fulfill these regardless of other factors. The general covenants mentioned are  the Adamic, Noahic, and New Covenants, which are global in scope. Each of these  covenants is listed below in biblical order with a brief description:

1.  Adamic Covenant. Found in Genesis  1:26-30 and 2:16-17,  this covenant is general in nature. It included the command not to eat from the  tree of the knowledge of good and evil, pronounced a curse for sin, and spoke of  a future provision for man’s redemption (Genesis  3:15).

2. Noahic Covenant. This general covenant  was made between God and Noah following the departure of Noah, his family, and  the animals from the ark. Found in Genesis  9:11, “I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be  cut off by the waters of the flood, and never again shall there be a flood to  destroy the earth.” This covenant included a sign of God’s faithfulness to keep  it—the rainbow.

3. Abrahamic Covenant. This  unconditional covenant, first made to Abraham in Genesis  12:1-3, promised God’s blessing upon Abraham, to make his name great and to  make his progeny into a great nation. The covenant also promised blessing to  those who blessed Abraham and cursing to those who cursed him. Further, God  vowed to bless the entire world through Abraham’s seed. Circumcision was the  sign that Abraham believed the covenant (Romans  4:11). The fulfillment of this covenant is seen in the history of Abraham’s  descendants and in the creation of the nation of Israel. The worldwide blessing  came through Jesus Christ, who was of Abraham’s family line.

4.  Palestinian Covenant. This unconditional covenant, found in Deuteronomy 30:1-10, noted God’s promise to scatter  Israel if they disobeyed God, then to restore them at a later time to their  land. This covenant has been fulfilled twice, with the Babylonian Captivity and  subsequent rebuilding of Jerusalem under Cyrus the Great; and with the  destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, followed by the reinstatement of the nation  of Israel in 1948.

5. Mosaic Covenant. This conditional  covenant, found in Deuteronomy 11 and elsewhere, promised the Israelites a  blessing for obedience and a curse for disobedience. Much of the Old Testament  chronicles the fulfillment of this cycle of judgment for sin and later blessing  when God’s people repented and returned to God.

6. Davidic  Covenant. This unconditional covenant, found in 2 Samuel 7:8-16,  promised to bless David’s family line and assured an everlasting kingdom. Jesus  is from the family line of David (Luke  1:32-33) and, as the Son of David (Mark 10:47),  is the fulfillment of this covenant.

7. New Covenant. This covenant, found in Jeremiah  31:31-34, promised that God would forgive sin and have a close, unbroken  relationship with His people. The promise was first made to Israel and then  extended to everyone who comes to Jesus Christ in faith (Matthew 26:28; Hebrews 9:15).

While not all Bible scholars agree on every detail regarding these biblical  covenants, it is clear that God has made certain promises. Some of His promises  are to all people, and some are limited to Israel. All of God’s promises are  based on who He is and His plan for the world. Under the New Covenant, which  Jesus sealed with His own blood, everyone is offered salvation by grace through  faith. “And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the  Lord shall be saved” (Acts  2:21).

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