Covenant Relationships

Understanding

Covenants are ongoing, never-ending relationships.  After the fall of man, the intimate relationship between YHWH and man was broken.  Holy and unholy cannot be mixed.  Therefore, man lost his authority as king and privilege as a priest.  YHWH’s plan is to restore man back into relationship with Him as originally intended in the garden.  Several covenants were created signifying this relationship.

The New Testament should actually be translated “Renewed Covenant.”  In Hebrew, Brit Hadashah, means “Covenant renewed,” and comes from Jeremiah 31:31-34.  It is a renewing of the covenant that man broke.  Testament is a legal transaction which is obtained and held by works and should not be used to describe either portion of scripture.  Covenant is relational and lived in by faith.  Covenants do not become void.  (Galatians 3:15)  They can layer on top of one another to broaden or deepen the previous but never disannul.

And please keep in mind that the book of the covenant, ratified at Mt Sinai, Exodus 24:1-11, is different than the book of the law, which was ADDED because of transgressions during the golden calf incident. (Gal 3:19)  The book of the covenant is by faith and continues today.  The book of the law was kept until the book of the covenant was “renewed” by Messiah.  Now, the book of the law, its Levitical priesthood, and its ordinances are done.  A new and greater priesthood, after the order of Melchizedek, now exists, walking in the renewed covenant by faith.  (See entire book of Hebrews)

  1. Service Covenant.  This is a covenant of service sealed by blood or death.  It is an ongoing work, performed daily.  Every day we offer our bodies as living sacrifices.  Rom 12:1, 1 Cor 15:31.  This is the first step of covenant relationship with YHWH.  John 14:15, Luke 17:10, 2 Cor 5:10, Matt 16:27, 25:14-30, James 2:14-18.  This covenant was clearly modeled by Noah: Gen 6:22, 8:20

                                                                                   

  2. Friendship Covenant.  This covenant is performed with salt and is everlasting.  In Hebraic custom, people would carry small bags of salt.  When encountering or visiting someone, either in the relationship of friend or manner of hospitality, each person would pour some of their salt into a bowl, signifies a bond that could never be broken.  Then, bread would be broken and dipped into the salt.  Abraham is called the friend of YHWH.  James 2:23.  When Melchizedek blessed Abram, he did so with wine (blood of the grape for service) and the breaking of bread (sharing of salt for friendship). This signified the type of relationship Abram would have with YHWH.  The friendship covenant does not nullify the service covenant but rather builds upon it.  Abram still obeyed YHWH in service.  A blood covenant also was demonstrated in Genesis 15:5-21.

     

  3. Inheritance Covenant.  This again builds on the other two relational covenants.  When man lost his kingship in the garden, his inheritance was lost as well.  The earth is YHWH’s and the fullness thereof.  Ps 24:1.  He gives us the right to plant and harvest on the land.  The third relational covenant restores harvesting rights through the symbol of feet or shoes.  When Israel finally came into the promised land, each tribe, clan, and family received land.  Boundary stones were placed at borders, signifying the family’s inheritance, Deut 19:14.  Joshua was told that where he placed his feet would be an inheritance, Josh 1:3.  When Moses met YHWH in the burning bush, he was told to take off his sandals because it was holy ground.  This act signified two things: first, Moses was entering into an inheritance covenant layered upon the previous two, and secondly, with each relational covenant, you draw nearer to the manifest presence of YHWH which requires more strict obedience to a holy lifestyle.  Another example of the shoe/sandal aspect of the inheritance covenant is seen when Boaz offered his sandal for the land as kinsman redeemer, Ruth 4:1-13.

     

  4. Betrothal/Marriage Covenant.  This is the ultimate covenant of intimacy with YHWH.  It will be fulfilled when He returns for His bride in Rev 19.  King David saw glimmers of this as he wrote in the Psalms, such as chapter 45.  However, Yeshua has not married His bride, Israel, yet.  We are betrothed, and given our bridegroom’s assurance that He will return for the wedding, Eph 1:13-14.  We must make ourselves ready for the wedding, lest He comes and we are not.  Rev 19:7, Matt 25:1-13, Matt 22:1-14.  Not all guests are the bride.  Not all virgins expecting the return of the bridegroom will be married. 

     

Our Christian culture has incorrectly combined two doctrinal concepts: justification and sanctification.  Justification is a one-time event that when mixed with faith in Yeshua and the Holy Spirit’s indwelling, a person is washed clean by the blood of the Lamb.   This leads to us being found in the book of life, and the beginning of a service relationship.  Sanctification is the lifestyle and process of leading a holy life.  It is the progression of covenant relationship with YHWH, starting with service.  Paul states this in Phil 2:12-15.  Peter declares this, “be Holy, for He is holy,”  1 Peter 1:16.  Like Paul, Peter encourages readers to embrace trials for the strengthening of their faith and change into a Spirit-filled lifestyle.  Christian churches today sound the call for justification and repeat the call to those justified repeatedly, but few assemblies teach and disciple believers through sanctification.  They assume after justification that their work and the believer's salvation is complete.  Where is the call to holiness and building intimacy with our Heavenly Father?

Yeshua modeled all four of these covenants at the last supper with His disciples, John 13:4-14.  He shared the blood (wine: the blood of the grape), broke bread and dipped it into their shared salt bowl, washed their feet and brought them into an inheritance, and stated that He would no longer drink of the cup of the vine until He returned.  Once the bridegroom was betrothed to the bride, he went away to his father’s house and prepared a place for he and his new bride to live.  He was not allowed to drink wine until the marriage was complete.  While he was preparing their new dwelling place, the bride would make herself ready.  The timing of the marriage was determined by the bridegroom’s father, who understood when his son was ready.  Yeshua left His betrothed bride on earth to prepare a place in His Father’s house, and hopefully, the bride is making herself ready.  Then, at His return, He will drink the marriage cup, completing relational restoration back to Garden of Eden intimacy.

This article was written by Todd.  He is a board member of FIY Ministries.

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Blessings,

Maria Schaefer / Director of FIY Ministries