The roots of Covenantal Theology in Church History

Covenantal theology has roots far before the time of the Canons of Dort, even in the church fathers. Irenaeus (c.100-165) and Augustine (354-430) showed that they had similar ideas. Also John Calvin (1509-64), Casper Oliviane (1536-87) and Robert Rollock (1555-99) believed in Covenantal theology.

This was all before the Calvinistic teaching had been defined in 1618-19. As said before Calvin has NOT brought forth Calvinism, he had already passed away half a century before in 1564. That is why "Calvinistic Covenantal Theology" should be understood as a DEVIATION from the pure doctrine taught by Calvin! So Calvinistic Covenantal Theology should be seen as just a form of Covenantal Theology, and cannot be defined as the only form of it!

Biblical Covenants

The Bible speaks a lot about covenants. A covenant is an weighty agreement. In the Old Testament the word is berith. By a covenant they used to, in most cases, make a wound, and put ash into it, so the wound would live a scarf, and both parties would be remembered to it. Berith descends from the word for "to cut". The word appears 284 times in the Old Testament. The whole bible speaks about a covenant between God and mankind, so you'll understand that the connection between explaining the bible along the lines of covenants is easily made.

The Greek word for covenant is "διαθηκη" (diathēkē). It means covenant or testament. Usually the word "συνθηκη" (sunthēkē) should be used, but this doesn't appear in the New Testament because "συνθηκη" (sunthēkē) is used for a covenant between equal partners. This is not the case between God and man.

  1. The Edenic Covenant (before the fall) (Genesis 1:28-30; 2:16-17; Hosea 6:7)
  2. The Adamic Covenant (after the fall) (Genesis 3:15)
  3. The Noahic Covenant (Genesis 8 and 9)
  4. The Abrahamic Covenant (Genesis 12, 15, 17, 22)
  5. The Mosaic Covenant (Exodus 19-24; Deuteronomy 4-5)
  6. The Covenant of the Promised Land (Deuteronomy 29-30)
    Often this covenant is referred to as the Palestinian Covenant. Then they mean with Palestine the area of land that now is called Israel as well as the area that is now under Arabic self control. This sounds scientifically, but the facts speak different. Since the second century the name Palestine has been made up, by the Roman Emperor Hadrian to punish the Jews for their rebellion against the peace of Rome. With this decision the area would no longer be called Judea, to its former citizens, that had lost its position of grace by Roman Emperors after their rebellion. Its new name was a term of abuse since Palestine is the Latin name of the Philistea, that were ancient enemies of Israel, who disappeared in the nations after the Babylonian captivity.

    Because of thousands of years being passed there´s no need to keep calling the land to ancient enemies of the Jews, like if we were not almost 2000 years further in history. We can´t blame such far descendents for the rebellion of ancient forefathers! The area should be rightfully called Israel or Judea, nowadays.

    Evenso the nations should understand that the nowadays called Palestines are just the Arab people that happen to live in Israel, some have built their lives there for centuries, after the fall of Jerusalem (70 A.D.).
    The Covenant of the promised land is the fulfilment of inhabiting the land God had promised to the Jews and this covenant was valid UNTIL Christ came and the spiritual Jew, the body of Christ can now take the whole earth under its dominion.
    Unfortunately, there are many Muslims whom are anti-Jew (Not Anti-semitic, because Arabs are also seeds (NOTE the S on the END of the Word) of Abraham and his forefather Sem). At least their governments are anti-Jew, and they have a profit from the falsification of history, that is: still calling these people, Palestinians while they are in fact just Arabs living in Judea or Israel. This is not to attack the fact that they do live out their for many years already. Any solution must be found in doing well to all parties especially those that dwell there for a long time, this includes both Arabs and Jews.

Today Christians ought to take dominion of the whole earth, they ought to do this though without the use of violence. Except by defence of their lands by means of decisions of the government they may acceptably chase people out of their lands. In this way the fighting parties are NOT fighting people in Christ's name but in the name of a nation, an earthly Kingdom or a Republic. The binding of nations together in Continental Unity's is to be looked upon with negative critism, because much of todays problems have been created by such bindings, with actually only financial profit as their purpose, while misusing and even killing their own or other nations citizens.

  1. The Davidic Covenant (2 Samuel 7:8-17; Psalm 89:20-38; 132:11-12; Jeremiah 33:17-22) established David on his throne and his descendants or house as eternal rightful rulers, ruling all of the Kingdom of Israel for ever.
  2. The New Covenant, by whom the rightful Seed of Abraham (Jeremiah 33:17-22), which is Christ, makes the way for all the people to enter in the progressive covenant of God, this used to be only valid for the descendants of Abraham, but is now available for everyone who believes. (Ephesians 2:11-22). This Covenant surpasses all covenants and creates: "a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvellous light." (1 Peter 2:9, out of the NKJV. Note that we became chosen in Him (Ephesians 1:7, 2:6-7), Calvinism does not make this distinction.) The New Covenant was predicted by the prophets, among which Jeremiah, in the book that's been called to his name, chapter 31 (Jeremiah 31:31-37). This has been linked by Jesus with the last supper to whom he says that the cup is "the New Covenant in My blood" (1 Corinthians 11:25; Matthew 26:28). And further in the letter to the Hebrews chapter 8 to 10).

The expression "the New Testament," which is the most used expression for the books of the bible written after the life of Jesus Christ on earth, can also refer to "the New Covenant." As written above, I explained that the word for "συνθηκη" (sunthēkē) was not used in the New Testament, because it relates to a covenant between to equal partners, so the word for "testament" or "(decision of) will" was used: "διαθηκη" (diathêkê). The word "καινη" (=kainē) means renewed, so we can say that there is one continuation of covenants of God with humanity, in which the prequisitions and benefits are renewed! For more information on this subject: dutch link see note 8 (you can set changes to english translation of bibletexts on For instance the Old Covenant get a prequisition of obedience, after the people bost that : "All that JaHuWeH hath spoken we will do" (Exodus 19:8b, KJV, with original name of God) I read that the frase in Hebrew reads more like this: "All that JaHuWeH hath spoken we are well able and competent to do and perform." After this boast comes the covenant of which writes the apostle Paul that: "Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound." (Romans 5:20a, taken from the KJV) What the law could not offer was forgiveness of sins, even the rituals took for only a year, but... what was impossible under law came possible under grace (John 1:17), by the blood of Jesus, as the writer of Hebrews writes:
"For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your concience from dead works to serve the living God?" (Hebrews 9:13-14)

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