The message of Old Testament covenants

Covenant #1

Genesis 6:18 (NIV)
I will establish my covenant with you, and you will enter the ark
Genesis 9:11 (NIV)
I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be destroyed by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.”

Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. God established covenant with Noah. The world was very wicked. First, God promised to destroy the world and save Noah by water. Secondly, God promised that he would not use water again to purge the earth. The earth will be purged the second time by fire. 

2 Peter 3:6-8 (NIV)
By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.

We receive the same covenant of salvation and cleansing from the sins of the old life when we are baptized in water. 

1 Peter 3:20-21(NIV)
God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water,  and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God…

John the Baptist initiated New Testament water baptism, but he promised that a second baptism of fire was coming. It would be the baptism of the Holy Spirit. 

Luke 3:16 (NIV)
“I baptize you with water. But one who is more powerful than I will come…He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

Covenant #2

God made a covenant with Abraham. He promised blessings to those that kept the covenant by being circumcised.

Genesis 17:6, 7, 10, 14 (NLT)
I will make you extremely fruitful...“I will confirm my covenant with you and your descendants...This is the covenant that you and your descendants must keep: Each male among you must be circumcised...Any male who fails to be circumcised will be cut off from the covenant family for breaking the covenant.”

In the New Testament, the covenant blessing is received by Abraham's children according to faith when they receive a spiritual circumcision by believing and obeying Christ's command to be baptized.

Colossians 2:9-13 (NLT)
For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body. So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority. When you came to Christ, you were “circumcised,” but not by a physical procedure. Christ performed a spiritual circumcision—the cutting away of your sinful nature. For you were buried with Christ when you were baptized. And with him you were raised to new life because you trusted the mighty power of God, who raised Christ from the dead. You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins.

Galatians 3:27, 29 (NLT)
And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ...And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and God’s promise to Abraham belongs to you.

Abraham’s covenant consisted of the sign of circumcision as well as a promised blessing. Our hearts are circumcised at water baptism and the promised blessing that we receive by faith is the gift of the Holy Ghost. 

Galatians 3:14 (NIV)
14 He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit

Covenant #3

Exodus 6:2 - 8 (NLT)
God said to Moses, “I am Yahweh—‘the LORD.’  I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob as El-Shaddai—‘God Almighty’—but I did not reveal my name, Yahweh, to them… And I am well aware of my covenant with them. “Therefore, say to the people of Israel: ‘I am the LORD. I will free you…I will redeem you with a powerful arm and great acts of judgment. I will claim you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the LORD your God who has freed you from your oppression in Egypt. I will bring you into the land

The Lord reaffirmed His covenant by further revealing His name, freeing his people, and leading them to the promised land. Pharaoh agreed to let them go when the death angel took the life of all the first born sons except for those covered by the blood of the Passover lamb. They were ultimately delivered when the Egyptian army was buried in the sea. They were led into the Promise Land by the Spirit in the form of a cloud. 

1 Corinthians 10:2 (NKJV)
2 all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea,

Quick Recap: covenant, name, blood of lamb, water, Spirit

Just as Moses, according to God’s covenant, led the people out to establish a natural kingdom, Jesus came to offer us a new covenant and a spiritual kingdom. The new covenant is only accessible by faith in the name and by the blood of the perfect lamb. Like the children of Israel of old, you can only enter this kingdom by the water and by the Spirit. 

John 3:5 (NKJV)
5 Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.

Covenant #4

God made a special covenant with Israel at Mt. Sinai. Moses instructed the people to wash and prepare themselves for the presence of God. A storm blew in, a voice spoke, and fire burned. The people were confused and terrified. The Lord spoke, “I am Jehovah.” He proceeded to give the Law written on tablets of stone. The people were sprinkled with blood and water. The Spirit of God was visibly manifested. This giving of the law was celebrated during the Feast of Pentecost. 

Hebrews 10 (NLT)
10 The old system under the law of Moses was only a shadow, a dim preview of the good things to come…And the Holy Spirit also testifies that this is so. For he says, “This is the new covenant I will make with my people on that day, says the LORD: I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.”… let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water.

The day of Pentecost under the old covenant was just a shadow, but it wasn’t the real substance. God would fulfill the covenant by writing His law on hearts by the power of the Spirit, allowing His people to enter His very presence, and cleansing their guilt by the sprinkling of His blood and the washing of pure water. This Pentecostal covenant was fulfilled in Acts 2. 

Acts 2 New King James Version (NKJV)
2 When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.  Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

When Pentecost fully came, a wind blew in, fire was seen, and the Spirit gave utterance. Peter declared the name of the Lord, invited the crowd to cleanse their conscience and have their sins forgiven by the washing of water, and to enjoy the Spirit, the very presence of God. 

Acts 2:37-38 (NIV)
When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.