Thursday, March 31, 2022

Lessons from the Wilderness, Volume 51: What is Covenant and what is our relationship to the God of Covenant? Let us see... Part One

Lessons from the Wilderness, Volume 51: What is Covenant? What is our relationship to the God of Covenant? Let us see…

©2022, David E. Robinson: At the Gates of Yerushalayim Ministries

Go to Part Two

Lessons from the Wilderness, Volume 51

Covenant and Relationship Part One[i] [ii] [iii] [iv]

·         Thus, I establish My covenant with you: Never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood; never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth… Genesis 9:11


·         I set My rainbow in the cloud, and it shall be for the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth.  Genesis 9:13


·         Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine… Exodus 19:5


·         So, he was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights; he neither ate bread nor drank water. And He wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments.  Exodus 34:28


·         So, He declared to you His covenant which He commanded you to perform, the Ten Commandments; and He wrote them on two tablets of stone. Deuteronomy 4:13


·         Therefore, know that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments. Deuteronomy 7:9


·         And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you; He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed. Deuteronomy 31:8


·         But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting
On those who fear Him, And His righteousness to children’s children,
To such as keep His covenant,
And to those who remember His commandments to do them.
Psalm 103:17-18


·         And for this reason, He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. Hebrews 9:15


·         Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.  Hebrews 13:20-21


·         But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises. Hebrews 8:6


·         I have made a covenant with my eyes; Why then should I look upon a young woman?  Job 31:1


·         “For the mountains shall depart
And the hills be removed,
But My kindness shall not depart from you,
Nor shall My covenant of peace be removed,”
Says the Lord, who has mercy on you. 
Isaiah 54:10


·         Likewise, He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you.”  Luke 22:20


·         31 The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. 32 It will not be like the covenant that I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt—a covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, g says the Lord. 33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, “Know the Lord,” for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more. Jere 31:31-34[v] 


Isa 42:1-12

Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.  2 He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street.  A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth.  

4 He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he has set judgment in the earth:

and the isles shall wait for his law.  

5 Thus saith God the LORD, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein:  6 I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles;  7 To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.  

8 I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.  Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare: before they spring forth, I tell you of them.  

10 Sing unto the LORD a new song, and his praise from the end of the earth, ye that go down to the sea, and all that is therein: the isles, and the inhabitants thereof.  11 Let the wilderness and the cities thereof lift up their voice, the villages that Kedar doth inhabit: let the inhabitants of the rock sing, let them shout from the top of the mountains.  

12 Let them give glory unto the LORD and declare his praise in the islands.



If I were to ask you to describe one theme that is consistent throughout the entire bible using only one word [and not using the word love] what comes to your mind?


There may be many answers, and none of them would be wrong, as there is no wrong in God’s word. But I have a specific word in mind that I will talk about today, though most of the words you can think of are worthy of an epistle on their own merit. Since I am writing this though, I get to use my word, and that word is:



Now, as seen in the verses I gave at the beginning of this epistle, covenant bears heavy on the relationships YHVH has made with His creation. Let me share a brief explanation of the covenant with you:


…The Concept of Covenant…

“… A covenant in the ancient world was similar to what we in the modern world would call a contract, treaty, or a will. Each covenant established the basis of a relationship, conditions for that relationship, promises and conditions of the relationship and consequences if those conditions were unmet. One of the most familiar examples of a covenant for us is marriage.

Why do I think understanding covenant is so important? It is because the covenants provide the skeletal framework for how the whole biblical story holds together. As the story of the Bible unfolds, we see God is a covenant making, covenant keeping, and covenant fulfilling God. God establishes covenants with certain people and these covenants are the way God unfolds his redemptive plan. The covenants are the structure of the story.


The Biblical Covenants

There are several covenants in the Bible, but five covenants are crucial for understanding the story of the Bible and God’s redemptive plan: the Noahic Covenant, the Abrahamic Covenant, The Mosaic Covenant, the Davidic Covenant and the New Covenant.


The Noahic Covenant

From Genesis 9, this is a covenant God establishes with Noah after the flood in which he resets and renews the blessings of creation, reaffirming God’s image in humanity and the work of dominion. This covenant promises the preservation of humanity and provides for the restraint of human evil and violence.


The Abrahamic Covenant

See Genesis 12 and 15. This is the most central to the biblical story. In it, God promises Abraham a land, descendants and blessing. This blessing promised to Abraham would extend through him to all the peoples of the earth. Understanding the Abrahamic Covenant is paramount to understanding theological concepts like a Promised Land, election, the people of God, inheritance and so on. It provides context for understanding practices like circumcision, conflicts with surrounding nations and divisions between Jews and Gentiles.


The Mosaic Covenant

See Exodus 19 and 24. This is the covenant God establishes with the people of Israel at Mt. Sinai after he led them out of Egyptian slavery. With it, God supplies the Law that is meant to govern and shape the people of Israel in the Promised Land. This Law was not a means of salvation but would distinguish the people from the surrounding nations as a special kingdom of priests (Exodus 19:1-7). This covenant was conditional and defined blessings and curses based on obedience or disobedience (see Deuteronomy 28-29). Understanding the Mosaic Covenant is foundational to understanding the cycles of blessing and curse in the Old Testament, the exiles of Israel and Judah, the disputes between Jesus and the Pharisees and Paul’s pastoral teachings about law and grace.


The Davidic Covenant

See 2 Samuel 7. This is the covenant where God promises a descendant of David to reign on the throne over the people of God. It is a continuation of the earlier covenants in that it promises a Davidic king as the figure through whom God would secure the promises of land, descendants, and blessing. This covenant becomes the basis for hope of a Messiah and makes sense of the Gospels’ concern to show Jesus was the rightful King of the Jews.


The New Covenant

See Jeremiah 31:31-34 and Luke 22:14-23. This is language first used in Jeremiah’s promise of rescue and renewal of the exiled people of God in Babylon. It promises a coming day when God would make a new covenant unlike the one which Israel had broken. This coming day would bring forgiveness of sin, internal renewal of the heart, and intimate knowledge of God. On the night of Jesus’s Last Supper, Jesus takes the cup and declares that his death would be the inauguration of this new covenant…”[vi]


Now I could have given you my own take on each of these covenants, but I wanted to show you, dear reader, what the covenants look like to the typical western 21st century mindset. This is not saying that the opinions cast are wrong in anyway, but they have a slight bias attached to them. That bias is how we in the west conceive of the topics in the Bible. To Mr. Berger’s credit, he addressed this very issue in the beginning of his article with this:


“…For a long time, I had a tough time understanding the Bible. That is not to say that I have all my questions answered now. It is simply to say that when I read the Bible in the past, there seemed to be a disconnection between my expectations, my preconception, and what the Bible said. It was difficult for me to see how the whole thing fit together, especially when it came to the relationship between the Old and New Testaments.


A Conceptual Gap

Part of this difficulty is the distance of time, space, and culture that stands between the texts of the Bible and me. A major gap stands between 21st century America and first-century Palestine that can make understanding difficult…”[vii]


And it is this conceptual gap that allows error to creep into our understanding of the Scriptures as a whole; we try to force the text to fit what our conceptions are [this is called eisegesis], instead of letting the text tell us what it means [this is exegesis]. These two approaches to Biblical study are described this way:

“…Exegesis and eisegesis are two conflicting approaches in Bible study. Exegesis is the exposition or explanation of a text based on a careful, objective analysis. The word exegesis literally means “to lead out of.” That means that the interpreter is led to his conclusions by following the text. The opposite approach to Scripture is eisegesis, which is the interpretation of a passage based on a subjective, non-analytical reading. The word eisegesis literally means “to lead into,” which means the interpreter injects his own ideas into the text, making it mean whatever he wants.

Obviously, only exegesis does justice to the text. Eisegesis is a mishandling of the text and often leads to a misinterpretation. Exegesis is concerned with discovering the true meaning of the text, respecting its grammar, syntax, and setting. Eisegesis is concerned only with making a point, even at the expense of the meaning of words.

Second Timothy 2:15 commands us to use exegetical methods: “Present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” An honest student of the Bible will be an exegete, allowing the text to speak for itself. Eisegesis easily lends itself to error, as the would-be interpreter attempts to align the text with his own preconceived notions. Exegesis allows us to agree with the Bible; eisegesis seeks to force the Bible to agree with us.

The process of exegesis involves 1) observation: what does the passage say? 2) interpretation: what does the passage mean? 3) correlation: how does the passage relate to the rest of the Bible? and 4) application: how should this passage affect my life?

Eisegesis, on the other hand, involves 1) imagination: what idea do I want to present? 2) exploration: what Scripture passage seems to fit with my idea? and 3) application: what does my idea mean? Notice that, in eisegesis, there is no examination of the words of the text or their relationship to each other, no cross-referencing with related passages, and no real desire to understand the actual meaning. Scripture serves only as a prop to the interpreter’s idea…”[viii]

Okay, so now that I have that off my chest, let us move on…

The five big covenants mentioned above, are not the focus today, except to get you to study and understand them [with proper Exegesis of course]. I want to focus on the notion that covenant equals relationship, and that can be shown by the relationship covenants:


·         The Covenant of the Blood

·         The Covenant of the Salt

·         The Covenant of the Threshold


This may be a long study, to do honor to each Covenant. We will see where we arrive and how long we may have to make each topic fit, to give one more than just a glance over of the concepts presented. Most of what I will present to you comes from the following sources, each written by the same author, H. Clay Trumbull.[ix] Though many other books have been written on these subjects, I find Trumbull’s view to be the most comprehensive, for he covers each subject in lecture form. The Blood Covenant covers a period of lectures given in 1885. While it seems dated, please note that from a period of time in from 1850 to the 1900’s, there was an uptick in Old Testament related studies. Scholars and teachers and pastors alike all found a renewal in becoming Berens and searching the Scriptures to see if these things spoken were so.


May this be our cry today as we launch a new series of studies to explore the covenantal relationships that form our faith and hold fast to the things of God. Why is this important? Words and languages imply that there are limitations and a type of imperfect understanding in the transmission of ideas. No language can contain a one-on-one translation of concepts. Take the word covenant: do we even understand the fullness and importance of what this word is actually trying to convey? Ideas precede words,[x] just as action precedes understanding. What I mean is this: sometimes you just have to do what God expects, even if you do not understand why.

Understanding follows the action; what is important is that we act. The heart will follow with our obedience. That is the only way to prove to God that we actually love Him, by keeping His commandments and His word. Yeshua said this also:


John 14:12-15

Truly, truly, I say to you, He who believes on Me, the works that I do he shall do also, and greater works than these he shall do, because I go to My Father.  13  And whatever you may ask in My name, that I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.  14  If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.  

15  If you love Me, keep My commandments.


We can see this further in the epistle of 1 John:


1 John 5:1-5 

Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God. And everyone who loves Him who begets also loves him who has been born of Him.  

2  By this we know that we love the children of God, whenever we love God and keep His commandments.  

For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments, and His commandments are not burdensome.  

For everything that has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that overcomes the world, our faith.  5  Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?


Covenant with God depends on three factors:

1.       Obedience to The Father’s word.

2.       Believe in Yeshua the Messiah.

3.       A continuous walk with YHVH, following His commandments, precepts, and ordinances while holding onto the faith [trust] in the finished work of Machiach.


This is what defines our love of Him and Yeshua.


1)      It is not with our lips, for our lips can and do speak false hoods.

2)      It is not with words or oaths, for our words ring untrue, and our oaths are quickly forgotten.

3)      It is in what we do.

a)       Do we keep [guard and obey] His words? Do we trust in them? Do we walk in the Torah of Adonai?

b)      Do we seek, do we treasure, do we proclaim His ways?

c)       Do we rejoice, do we meditate, do we delight in All he commands? [xi]


If we do, then we have covenant with Him. We are in a relationship with Him and for Him. And what if we are not? Some would say, “Well, we have Christ!” The role of Christianity in the world seems to tell us this, but are Christians in covenant with God? There is no “Christian” covenant mentioned in the Scriptures. What of the Jews? What of their covenant, broken and shattered so many times by disobedience? Are they in covenant still?

Can we as humans, regardless of ethnicity, or background, can we fulfill the assignments that we are given? Look at this broken, shaken world. How can a holy God create human beings that are capable of so much evil as well as good, and then expect so much from frail, fallible, and mortal beings? If we are so fallible, so capable of sinning continuously, how is it even within our natures to make good a covenant that none have been able to keep? Why must God continuously be disappointed in us, when we are unable to keep the simple things He demands, when we act out our role as human beings with all our faults?


Are we able to rise above our own condition? Are we so neurotic that we seek religion or spirituality, so we can take upon ourselves a role that is realized in “I will be your God, and you will be my people”? Is that even a role that belongs to a Christian? A Buddhist? A Hindu? A Moslem? Or does it belong to a people chosen, the Jew?


The question of our lives is “Who are we?” Judaism does not exist without Jews. Christianity does not exist without Christians. Islam does not exist without Moslems. A Messianic does not exist without two components, a Messiah and the religion of the Jews. So, who are we then to God? What are we? What do we stand or fall upon?


Can we know anything? Can the nature of Scripture tell us anything? Do the ethics of the Jewish Scriptures, their social norms, their dogged hope in the olam haba, the world to come matter to humanity at all? Do the other “great” religions have anything to add to the story of God, or our own story? Does covenant equal a relationship? [xii]


These questions define our worldview, our perspective on who we are, and what is expected. God expects something, and it is our role to find out what that something is. But we will have to wait till next time.


May God richly bless you all, my beloveds











[i]NOTICE OF INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS: Unless otherwise cited, all material found on this blogsite (original text, opinions, conclusions, and other material not related to cited sources remains the collected intellectual property of the author of this site, David E. Robinson, Elder, Teacher, and are owned and controlled by myself and are protected by copyright and trademark laws and various other intellectual property rights and unfair competition laws of the United States, foreign jurisdictions, and international conventions. Any errors found within, rest solely upon me; please do not blame the Father for my mistakes. I am teachable and correctable, also fallible. 😊


[ii] FAIR USE DISCLAIMER: This blog site may contain content that is not authorized for use by its owner. All such material will be cited back to its original source. According to Section 107 of the Copyright Act: “…the fair use of a copyrighted work […] for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright…” I have made and will continue to make every effort to stay within all ethical and moral guidelines in the use of material presented here, and the use of these materials is solely intended for educational purposes only, and all efforts to obtain or sustain fair use of non-owned material will be made.


[iii] Author’s note: This site is for education only and is not affiliated with any institution, organization, or religious group. It is the sole production of its editor. Use of information from Jewish-themed websites (or any other source material) should not be construed as these sites endorsing or confirming any thesis introduced by the author of this epistle. I present the information from their respective sites for instructional purposes only and/or to aid in the readers understanding of the subjects discussed.


[iv] Author’s note:  Throughout this study I may be using the NET Bible® and the NET Notes®: within the notes you will see symbols like this: (א B Ψ 892* 2427 sys). These are abbreviations used by the NET Bible® for identifying the principal manuscript evidence that they (authors and translators of the NET Bible®) used in translating the New Testament. Please go to and see their section labeled “NET Bible Principals of Translation” for a more complete explanation on these symbols and other items pertinent to the way the NET Bible uses them.

vThe Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1989), Je 31:31–34.

[vi] From the article “Theology Thursday: What Are the Biblical Covenants?” by Brett a. Berger ThM, GSU University:,of%20human%20evil%20and%20violence

[vii] Ibid


[ix] The Blood Covenant: A Primitive Rite and its Bearing on Scripture first published 1896; The Threshold Covenant: or The Beginnings of Religious Rites published in 1896; The Covenant of Salt: As Based on the Significance and Symbolism of Salt in Primitive Thought, first published in 1899.

[x] I wish I could claim preeminence for this profound truth, but it comes from, alas, an unknown author, whom even though anonymous, I wish to give them credit for it. Such truth needs to be shared…

[xi] See Psalm 119.

[xii] I give credit where credit is due. The last few paragraphs of this epistle are adapted from Our Covenant with God, by Arnold M. Eisen, who asked deep and poignant questions. I wish to explore these and others in our following posts. You can read Mr. Eisen’s post at