Covenants: unconditional/conditional

Generations past and present were/are taught that the Bible is only a book about the Jewish nation and moral laws that apply to all regardless of the age in which we live, and that its contents are a precursor to the arrival of the Messiah. All that mentioned is true, but not complete. It is common knowledge that some clergy, archaeologists, anthropologists, and related scholars have asserted that the Bible is not a book to be relied upon for science, accurate history, or some concepts of religion. Personally, my research does not agree with the aforementioned concepts, and will be a future topic for this site. The Bible is all that and more.

God himself exists as an unconditional, immutable state of eternity.  Unconditional means nothing can change for any reason or condition that relates to His person or presence in Heaven.  On the other hand, when man participates in a covenant, man’s part is always conditional.  God has yet to fail in keeping what He promises, man on the other hand has more often than not, broken his promise to God due to lack of faith, impatience or some other human flaw.

A covenant with God is a commitment instead of a contract that emphasizes God’s promises and laws.  The main Old Testament covenant (Ex 19-24) was at Mount Sinai, when Israel committed to obey God’s laws after He had redeemed them from slavery in Egypt.  Other covenants such as the one with Abraham (Gen 12:1-3) and his family, and the one with David (2 Samuel 7:1-17) provide a more broad context for the Sinai covenant, focusing on God’s promises.  Noah also received a covenant from God (Gen 9:8-17) that centers on a promise by God to not destroy the world with a flood again.  God also made a “covenant of peace” or an “everlasting covenant” (Ezekiel 34:25) with the people of Israel that the time would come when He would send a perfect shepherd, the Messiah, and would stop rebuking them, would restore their wealth, and would personally teach their children.  Peace in this case means more than lack of conflict it also means contentment, fulfillment, and security.

Four Unconditional Covenants:

  • Noahic Covenant – God promised to Noah that he would never flood the earth again (Genesis 9:11 NIV).  There was no involvement by man in this covenant, a promise was made by God alone, and therefore it was unconditional.
  • Abrahamic Covenant – Again, God made promises to Abraham, stating that “I will” each time provide a great nation, make your name great, bless those who bless you.  All promises made by God alone.  Another example of God’s unconditional covenant with man and mankind.  (Genesis 12:1-3 NIV)/
  • Davidic Covenant – in this covenant God establishes the throne of David as an everlasting king sit upon the throne of David, an everlasting kingdom.  God did not require any condition from David or mankind, thus it was God’s promise soley and another example of an unconditional covenant.  (2 Samuel 7:5-17)
  • Messianic Covenant – God states that a World Savior and King are coming through Israel, no conditional aspects with man regarding this covenant, just God’s promise.  (Isaiah 11:1-11

Three Conditional Covenants:

  • Covenant of Circumcision (Genesis 17 NIV) presents a condition that anyone who is not circumcised will be cut off from his people.  This invokes a decision by man to be circumcised or not, therefore it is a conditional covenant.
  • In (Deuteronomy 28 NIV) God requires that Israel remains faithful to Him, and threatens to put them into exile if they persistently disobey.  Their obedience is “conditional” remaining in the land.
  • Mosiac Covenant – This involves God and the nation of Israel, in which God places conditions.  God reminds the people they are to obey His laws (Exodus 19:5 NIV) and the people replied they would do all that God has asked them to do (Exodus 19:8).  It is “conditional” upon the Israelites following God’s law.

“Unconditional covenants, God makes promises that are His actions only, and God never lies thus these covenants are unconditional.  “Conditional” covenants require action by man or nation to fulfill the covenant, and due to man’s sinful nature and lack of ability for patience, and being prone to follow their own lead instead of the Father’s they break the covenant.  God never lies and His unconditional covenants are forever.

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