How to understand the bible through covenants.
Understanding the Whole Bible by Dr. Jonathan Welton
In ancient culture, a covenant was between two parties, written out and was legal and binding. Then as the parties walked the covenant out, they would record the cannon, which was filled with history, art, music, poetry etc.
What we have in scripture is five major covenants between God and mankind.
The Mosaic covenant began in Exodus 20 on Mt. Sinai. Prior to the Mosaic covenant, it is interesting to note that not one time does the Bible tell us what will make God wrathful. Sodom and Gomorrah and the flood were due to God being grieved at the wickedness of mankind. Sodom and Gomorrah was a response to justice to the cries and prayers of the people.
With this in mind, Romans 4:15 makes sense. “the law brings wrath…” So as we read the Old Testament, we have to keep in mind the different covenants between God and the people.
And as part of the New Covenant now, we have to know the entire bible does not apply to us. Otherwise, we couldn’t eat shrimp and bacon! The Mosaic Covenant was not written to us. We can learn from them, but they are not for us.
This is imperative to understanding how to apply the Bible to our lives!
In ancient times 3 main types of covenants were common:
Grant covenant – greater and lesser party come into agreement. The greater party takes on all the obligations and the lesser simply received it. (Noahic, Abrahamic, Davidic, New Covenant)
Kinship covenant – when two equal parties come together like a marriage. Both take on a small set of obligations. (Mosaic started out as this and later added the Vassal)
Vassal Covenant – greater and lesser party come together based on the greater one’s ability to destroy to lesser. Instead of destroying them, they offer protection in exchange for collecting taxes, or slavery or other. The greater had all the power and the lesser had to fulfill a large number of obligations.