GOD’S LOVE and Genesis Covenants
In the previous lesson we talked about sin. God is a God of justice, mercy and grace. Meaning: God is Love. His very nature is loving. He created us with a mind, body and soul so He could have a relationship with His creation. Above all He created us to marvel at Who He is and be amazed at His goodness, mercy and grace. From the beginning, God knew these fragile creatures He created would not be able to sustain a perfect relationship with Him. He knew we would sin and even though He grieved because of our sin, He loved us.
Those of you who have children, understand this because you love your children and grieve at the times that don’t do as you say or talk back to you in hurtful terms. If we as parents can still love our children when they are disobedient, then how much more is God capable of loving us.
God knew we would sin, in fact, He had a plan. In this verse in Revelation, these words indicate that before the foundation of the world was put into place, the Lamb of God (Jesus Christ the Messiah) was slain as a sacrifice for sin.
Revelations 13:8 “All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” NKJV
How marvelous! How wonderful! God had a plan to save fallen man. A plan even before the earth was formed that would provide a way for us to come before the presence of God. Because we are sinful and God is Holy, we can not come before His presence without redemption. The price had to be paid for our sins. Jesus is the one who paid that price for our sins. He did it with His death on the cross.
God made a series of covenants with man as a way of pointing to the coming of Christ. We will address the Genesis covenants in this lesson. God made covenants with Adam, Noah, Abraham and confirmed the Abrahamic covenant with Isaac and Jacob.
What is a covenant? According to C.I. Scofield:
“A covenant is a sovereign pronouncement of God by which He establishes a relationship of responsibility (1) between himself and an individual, (2) between Himself and mankind in general, (3) between Himself and a nation, or (4) between Himself and a specific human family. A covenant in one category may overlap others…The covenants are normally unconditional in the sense that God obligates Himself in grace, by the unrestricted declaration, ‘I will’ to accomplish certain announced purposes, despite any failure on the part of the person or people with whom He covenants. The human response to the divinely announced purpose is always important, leading as it does to blessing for obedience and discipline for disobedience. But human failure is never permitted to abrogate the covenant or block its ultimate fulfillment.” (C.I. Scofield)
Watch the following video for an overview of the covenants made by God and produced by thebibleproject.com You will also find many more videos produced by this group of Christian men and women.
The Adamic Covenant
God had created a perfect world and placed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden to walk with Him in perfect harmony. But because Eve was deceived by the serpent and Adam did what his wife told him to do, sin entered the world. As a result, God cast them out of the garden and made some changes. As a result of these changes the following consequences occurred in
Genesis 3: 14-19:
14 Then the Lord God said to the serpent: Because you have done this, you are cursed more than any livestock and more than any wild animal. You will move on your belly and eat dust all the days of your life.15 I will put hostility between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.16 He said to the woman: I will intensify your labor pains; you will bear children in anguish. Your desire will be for your husband, yet he will rule over you. 17 And He said to Adam, “Because you listened to your wife’s voice and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘Do not eat from it’: The ground is cursed because of you. You will eat from it by means of painful labor all the days of your life. 18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. 19 You will eat bread by the sweat of your brow until you return to the ground, since you were taken from it. For you are dust, and you will return to dust.”
The Covenant promise with Adam
- God cursed the serpent more than any other animal.
- Hostility between you (serpent) and the woman.
- He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel. (Promise of Redeemer).
- Changed state of woman-husband rule over you.
- Intensify labor pains in childbirth.
- The ground would be cursed and produce thorns and thistles and man would work by the sweat of his brow.
- Death and sorrow.
- The loss of the garden and intimate fellowship with God.
The Messiah would come through the lineage of Adam, Seth, Noah. Shem, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah and David. The serpent would bite the heel of the Messiah at crucifixion trying to destroy Him. However, Jesus was born to crush the serpent’s head by His resurrection from the dead and proclaim victory over sin.
Romans 16: 20 “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.” (NIV)
2 Corinthians 11: 3, 14 “3 But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.” and “14 And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.”(NIV)
Revelation 12: 9 “The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.”(NIV)
The Noahic Covenant
Read Genesis 8: 21-9: 17.
“And when the LORD smelled the pleasing odor, the LORD said in his heart, ‘I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; neither will I ever again destroy every living creature as I have done. While the earth remains, seed time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.’ And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth. The fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every bird of the air, upon everything that creeps on the ground and all the fish of the sea; into your hand they are delivered. Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you; and as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything. Only you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood. For your lifeblood I will surely require a reckoning; of every beast I will require it and of man; of every man’s brother I will require the life of man. Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for God made man in his own image. And you, be fruitful and multiply, bring forth abundantly on the earth and multiply in it.’
“Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him, ‘Behold, I establish my covenant with you and your descendants after you, and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the cattle, and every beast of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark. I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of a flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.’ And God said, ‘This is the sign of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. When the bow is in the clouds, I will look upon it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth.’ God said to Noah, ‘This is the sign of the covenant which I have established between me and all flesh that is upon the earth.” (Gen. 8: 21-9: 17)
The covenant promise with Noah is an unconditional covenant and affects all mankind. God makes an everlasting covenant between Himself and Noah and his descendants.
- God would never again curse the ground because of man or destroy every living creature.
- While the earth remains there will be seasons and day and night.
- All living creatures would fear man.
- Every moving thing that lives will be food except flesh with life (man).
- Whoever sheds the blood of man-by man will his blood be shed.
- Be fruitful and multiply.
- An everlasting covenant between God and Noah and his descendants and all living creatures.
- God would never destroy the earth with water.
- A rainbow will be the sign of the covenant.
The Abrahamic Covenant
God speaks to Abraham. Read the following Scripture from Genesis:
“Now the LORD said to Abram, ‘Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who curses you I will curse; and by you all the families of the earth shall bless themselves.’ So Abram went, as the LORD had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son, and all their possessions which they had gathered, and the persons that they had gotten in Haran; and they set forth to go to the land of Canaan. When they had come to the land of Canaan, Abram passed through the land to the place at Shechem, to the oak of Moreh. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. Then the LORD appeared to Abram, and said, ‘To your descendants I will give this land.’ So he built there an altar to the LORD, who had appeared to him.” (Gen. 12: 1-7)
“The LORD said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, ‘Lift up your eyes, and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward; for all the land which you see I will give to you and to your descendants for ever. I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth; so that if one can count the dust of the earth, your descendants also can be counted. Arise, walk through the length and the breadth of the land, for I will give it to you.” (Gen. 13: 14-17)
“After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, ‘Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.’ But Abram said, “O Lord GOD, what wilt thou give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” And Abram said, ‘Behold, thou hast given me no offspring; and a slave born in my house will be my heir.’ And behold, the word of the LORD came to him, ‘This man shall not be your heir; your own son shall be your heir.’ And he brought him outside and said, ‘Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.’ Then he said to him, ‘So shall your descendants be.’ And he believed the LORD; and he reckoned it to him as righteousness. And he said to him, ‘I am the LORD who brought you from Ur of the Chaldeans, to give you this land to possess.’ But he said, ‘O Lord GOD, how am I to know that I shall possess it?’ He said to him, ‘Bring me a heifer three years old, a she-goat three years old, a ram three years old, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.’ And he brought him all these, cut them in two, and laid each half over against the other; but he did not cut the birds in two. And when birds of prey came down upon the carcasses, Abram drove them away. As the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell on Abram; and lo, a dread and great darkness fell upon him. “Then the LORD said to Abram, ‘Know of a surety that your descendants will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs, and will be slaves there, and they will be oppressed for four hundred years; but I will bring judgment on the nation which they serve, and afterward they shall come out with great possessions. As for yourself, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried in a good old age. And they shall come back here in the fourth generation; for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.’ When the sun had gone down and it was dark, behold, a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch passed between these pieces. On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, ‘To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates, the land of the Kenites, the Kenizzites, the Kadmonites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites and the Jebusites.” (Gen 15: 1-21)
“And the angel of the LORD called to Abraham a second time from heaven, and said, ‘By myself I have sworn, says the LORD, because you have done this, and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will indeed bless you, and I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore. And your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies, and by your descendants shall all the nations of the earth bless themselves, because you have obeyed my voice.” (Gen. 22: 15-18)
The Abrahamic covenant made by God is unconditional. God established this covenant with one man and through him God would created a nation through which Jesus Christ would be born to restore the relationship between God and man.
- Abraham would become a great nation with many descendents.
- God would bless Abraham and make his name great.
- He would be a channel of blessing to others. Those who blessed him would be blessed. Those who cursed him would be cursed.
- All the families of the earth would be blessed because of Abraham. (Messiah)
- To his descendants God would give the land.
- Abraham’s descendants would be sojourners in a land not theirs and become slaves for four hundred years but will come out with great possessions.
Truly, Abraham’s descendants are as numerous as stars in the sky and sand in the sea. Ishmael fathered the Arab nation, Isaac fathered the Jewish nation and Keturah, Abraham’s second wife after Sarah died, bore him six sons who would also become nations. The covenant promise, however, would remain with the son of promised. His name was Isaac.
Confirmation of the Covenant Promise to Isaac:
“And Isaac went to Gerar, to Abimelech king of the Philistines. And the LORD appeared to him, and said, ‘Do not go down to Egypt; dwell in the land of which I shall tell you. Sojourn in this land, and I will be with you, and will bless you; for to you and to your descendants I will give all these lands, and I will fulfill the oath which I swore to Abraham your father. I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven, and will give to your descendants all these lands; and by your descendants all the nations of the earth shall bless themselves: because Abraham obeyed my voice and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.” (Gen. 26: 1-5)
- Isaac and his descendants would be blessed.
- Give all the lands and multiply descendants as the stars of heaven.
- Fulfill the oath sworn to Abraham.
- By your descendants all the nations of the earth will be blessed.
Confirmation of the Covenant Promise to Jacob:
“Jacob left Beersheba, and went toward Haran. And he came to a certain place, and stayed there that night, because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones of the place, he put it under his head and lay down in that place to sleep. And he dreamed that there was a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven; and behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it! And behold, the LORD stood above it and said, ‘I am the LORD, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and to your descendants; and your descendants shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south; and by you and your descendants shall all the families of the earth bless themselves. Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done that of which I have spoken to you.‘” (Gen. 28: 10-15)
- Gave Jacob and his descendants the land.
- Your descendents will be like the dust of the earth.
- You will spread abroad to the west and east and north and south.
- By you and your descendants all the families of the earth will be blessed
The Covenant promise to Judah:
Before his death, Judah was given a blessing from Jacob in Genesis 49: 8-12:
“Judah, your brothers will praise you; your hand will be on the neck of your enemies;
your father’s sons will bow down to you 9 You are a lion’s cub, Judah; you return from the prey, my son. Like a lion he crouches and lies down, like a lioness—who dares to rouse him? 10 The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he to whom it belongs shall come and the obedience of the nations shall be his. 11 He will tether his donkey to a vine, his colt to the choicest branch; he will wash his garments in wine, his robes in the blood of grapes.12 His eyes will be darker than wine, his teeth whiter than milk”.
Although the birthright went to Joseph, the covenant promise of the Messiah as well as a dynasty of kings would be through the house of Judah. David whom God chose to be the king of His people would be the first king from Judah. “He to whom it belongs” (the scepter) recorded in Genesis 49: 10 is Jesus Christ the Messiah and it is He who begins the New Covenant.
- His descendants would be a dynasty of kings.
- The scepter would not pass from Judah’s lineage until He to whom it belongs comes.
- Jesus would be born in the lineage of Judah.
1. How do you think God’s Covenant with Abraham affects you?
2. Is the Abrahamic covenant still in place today? If so in what way?
3. What did God require Abraham to do to keep the covenant?