Theme: Covenant (Part 2)
(Key verses: Gen 6:17-22; Gen 8:20-22; Gen 9:9-11; Gen 15:9-17)
We continue with the theme of covenants in Scripture. We already established that all physical covenants mentioned in the Scriptures are types of the new spiritual or everlasting covenant (Heb 13:20-21; Heb 10:1; Jer 31:31-33; Deu 4:13). These various aspects within the numerous covenants mentioned in the Old Testament all help to increase our understanding of the one true everlasting covenant God made with Himself through Christ Jesus before the foundation of the world concerning the salvation process of all in the first man Adam (Gen 26:28-29; Gen 31:50-52; Exo 23:32; 1Sa 11:1-2; 1Sa 18:3; 1Ki 15:18,19; 1Ki 20:34; Pro 2:17; Mal 2:14; Eph 2:11-12; Heb 8:6-7; Heb 13:20-21). The temporary physical things indeed helps us to understand the eternal and invisible things of God although the physical is also the total opposite to what the spiritual is all about (Rom 1:20; Joh 1:17; Gal 5:17; Deu 9:9-11; Heb 8:6; Heb 9:4; Php 1:10; 2Co 5:17; Mat 24:35). A shadow is indeed dark and cannot display the detail and full splendour of the object it represents (Heb 8:5-13; Col 2:17). One important aspect of covenants we discussed last week was that covenants involved the sacrificing of animals and the cutting of flesh. This relates not only to the roles and commitment of the different parties involved in a covenant, but also to the total destruction of “the world of the ungodly” in our own flesh and its carnal mind to obtain the spiritual things of God (1Jn 2:16; 2Pe 3:7-10; Mat 10:28):
2Pe 2:5 And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood [Greek: “kataklusmos”] upon the world of the ungodly.
The Hebrew word for the Greek “kataklusmos” is “mabbûl” and this specific Hebrew word only appears in Scripture when it refers to the flood in Noah’s days (Gen 6:17, Gen 7:6-7; Gen 7:10; Gen 7:17; Gen 9:11; Gen 9:15; Gen 9:28; Gen 10:1; Gen 10:32; Psa 29:10). Here is the Merriam-Webster definition of this word “cataclysmic” which comes from the Greek “kataklusmos”:
“A momentous and violent event marked by overwhelming upheaval and demolition; an event that brings great changes.”
The covenant God made with Noah included a cataclysmic or earth changing experience because everything relating to the earth was indeed changed and altered by those waters, “not seen as yet” then or since:
Heb 11:7 By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned [Hebrew: “katakrinō” = judged to be destroyed] the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.
We will look at this aspect of change or transformation which forms an integral part of covenant making and what that is saying to us, those who can receive these intense and powerful changes in our own lives. The judgment of God on the physical world (inside and outside) is a very important, yet painful process, which alone brings redemption from the physical attachments in our life (Isa 26:9; Psa 49:6-10; Psa 111:1-10; Luk 21:28; Rom 8:23; Eph 1:13-14). In this regard it is important to see that the global flood was essential to establish the covenant God made with Noah which was repeated three times in Scripture (Gen 6:17-22; Gen 8:20-22; Gen 9:9-11). All things of the earth did not continue “as they were from the beginning of the creation”, even with a much deeper application which the “scoffers” cannot see in their spiritually blinded state:
2Pe 3:3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,
2Pe 3:4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.
2Pe 3:5 For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:
2Pe 3:6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished.
All ignorance (which is spiritual darkness) is a creation and work of God, and those scoffers who are “willingly” propagating the lie that “all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation” are fighting with all their resources against the historic and spiritual significance of the global flood (Isa 45:7; Eph 4:18). The flood indeed brought enormous and remarkable changes on the physical earth universally as these Scriptures also testify to:
Gen 7:11 In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up [Hebrew: “bâqa” = split open / break up / break through / rip up the earth], and the windows of heaven were opened.
Gen 7:12 And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights.
Gen 7:19 And the waters prevailed exceedingly [Hebrew: “meôd” = swiftly / abundant force] upon the earth; and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered.
Gen 7:20 Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered.
Very few can accept that God created a physical creation with a complete and mature appearance in six days, and even fewer can agree to the swift, revolutionary and cataclysmic changes which the flood brought about (Exo 20:11; Isa 48:3). The devastating effects of those waters which “prevailed exceedingly upon the earth” changed the whole earth in such a short space of time that modern sophisticated radiometric dating techniques read millions of years into its calculations to describe the age of things on the earth (1Ti 6:20). As per God’s design, the data they get from these modern physical instruments cannot determine what earthly life was like before the flood. God has determined that faith in what the Scriptures describe will be the only spiritual “instrument” through which the truth will be revealed to those to whom He has chosen to give it (Heb 11:6; Eph 2:8; Rom 1:17; Rom 10:17):
Heb 11:3 Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.
We cannot underestimate the deep complexities in the strong delusion God has sent on those who advocate natural arguments (Rom 16:17; 1Ti 6:20; 2Ti 2:25; 2Ti 3:7; 1Pe 3:15). This is the way humanity denies that God has a covenant with all mankind which include a far-reaching process of change to bring them all through an evil experience in the flesh to be eventually like Him in spirit in Christ (1Co 15:22-28; Col 1:19-20). As far as the scoffers are concerned, God’s judgment (“the day of the Lord”) is not coming. But the drastic changes within this spiritual transformation process is the way by which God ordained His everlasting covenant with all mankind will be established (Isa 2:12; Joe 1:15; Rom 6:9; Rom 8:6-8; Rom 8:1-2; Rom 12:2):
1Co 15:26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.
Rev 21:4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
Other detractors, who deny this truth that painful changes are part of God’s covenant, are convinced that God’s chosen elect will not suffer this necessary process of deep changes which only come through “much tribulation” (Act 14:22; Rev 15:8). They believe that God’s elect will somehow be “taken away” to avoid it. All of these arguments are just different versions of the so-called “secret rapture” doctrine which is keeping many in deep deceptive bondage. It will indeed be through enduring much tribulation and patience within the process of all these drastic changes that all, especially the elect, will possess spirit life, and there is not a quick-fix solution as many falsely prescribe to (1Ti 4:9-11):
Rev 14:9 And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand,
Rev 14:10 The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:
Rev 14:11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.
Rev 14:12 Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.
All in the first man Adam were given the mark of the beast being created on the sixth day with all the beasts of the earth (Gen 1:24-31). All in that same Adam thereby worships this beast and his image in them (2Th 2:3-4; Rev 13:3,14):
Ecc 3:18 I said in mine heart concerning the estate of the sons of men, that God might manifest them, and that they might see that they themselves are beasts.
Rev 13:18 Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man [Adam]; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.
To change from a self-righteous beast worshipper to one that worships God takes the wrath of God which is the judgment and scourging of the Father on every son He receives, even Jesus Christ and His elect:
Heb 12:6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.
Isa 54:8 In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the LORD thy Redeemer.
Isa 54:9 For this is as the waters of Noah unto me: for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth; so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke thee.
Isa 54:10 For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the LORD that hath mercy on thee.
This “little wrath” was typified in “the waters of Noah” which did not go on endlessly as some propagate in their delusion. All in this first Adam are not appointed to be under God’s wrath “forever and ever” as some translations have it, but to obtain salvation by Jesus Christ:
1Th 5:9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ.
This wrath of God is His work of grace to bring the everlasting change and take away all ungodliness and worldliness from us. As with God’s covenant with Noah and his family, we have the promise of life and peace after we lose our old life (Mat 10:39):
Gen 6:8 But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.
Tit 2:11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
Tit 2:12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world.
This grace which Noah (and his family found) is within the very covenant God made with Noah and that included judgment. Noah and his family lost everything in the process – all their families and friends, their belongings, their houses and physical possessions. When God made the covenant with the nation of Israel through Moses, the “thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking” they were not prepared to change and lose their lives with the result that only the younger new generation was allowed entrance into the promised land (Exo 20:18-19; Num 14:28-29). God is indeed a “horror of great darkness” to the flesh of the old man in us as God works His covenant with all mankind, typified by the covenant He made with Abram:
Gen 15:12 And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him.
Everything changed for Noah and his family, and in Abram’s case these changes were typified by a change of name for him and his wife Sarai (Rom 4:16-17):
Gen 17:1 And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect.
Gen 17:2 And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly.
Gen 17:3 And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying,
Gen 17:4 As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations.
Gen 17:5 Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram [meaning “high father” = ironically he had no children at this stage of his life], but thy name shall be Abraham [meaning “father of many nations” typifying Christ – Gal 3:29]; for a father of many nations have I made thee.
Gen 17:15 And God said unto Abraham, As for Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call her name Sarai [meaning “my princess”], but Sarah [meaning “mother of nations”] shall her name be.
Gen 17:16 And I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her: yea, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her.
In the Hebrew, a letter (ה) was added to both the names of Abram and Sarai which is one of the letters of the tetragrammaton or “four letters” (יהוה) which was the unpronounceable name of God (Yahweh or Jehovah) given to the physical nation of Israel.
God is intimately working all things after the counsel of His will, and in that sense, His part is actually on both sides of the covenant to also bring about the changes or transformation in our lives. As we have , this is also demonstrated in the covenant God made with Abraham when he fell asleep during the process of making the covenant:
Gen 15:12 And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram [called Abraham after this covenant was cut]; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him.
Gen 15:17 And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking [Hebrew: “âshân” = fury] furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces.
Christ is that Sun that came down to become the furnace and the lamp not only for Abraham, but also for all in Adam (Joh 1:1-4, 14). He took our name (Adam) and became like us (in flesh) as He took on “the seed of Abraham”, who was of the same “body of death” of Adam, “the figure of Him who was to come” (Rom 7:24):
Rom 5:14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.
Heb 2:16 For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham.
Heb 2:17 Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.
As the wife takes on the name of the husband in the marriage covenant, so does the church takes on the name of Christ in this new spiritual covenant. Through the resurrection of Jesus we were justified to attach ourselves to all His spiritual blessings (Rom 4:24; Eph 1:3-4). This new Name is the inheritance of all in Adam which will apply at the appointed time for each and every person within this everlasting covenant (1Co 15:22-28):
Php 2:9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
Php 2:10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
Php 2:11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Act 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Act 2:39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.
As Jesus took on our “name”, we will also take on His “name”! All names (especially in the Scriptures) have purpose and meaning which are also reflected in the changes these covenants work in the lives of the people who were involved – from a marriage covenant to covenants among nations. In the same way, everything about a person changes when God’s spiritual covenant is invoked at the appointed time. We also see this change in purpose and direction in the lives of all with whom God is working to fulfill His plan for all mankind; for example in the lives of men like Jacob and the apostles John and Paul:
Gen 32:28 And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob [meaning “surplanter” = schemer / plotter], but Israel [meaning “who prevails with God”]: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.
Joh 1:42 And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon [meaning “one that hears”] the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas [meaning “stone” / “small rock”], which is by interpretation, A stone.
Act 13:9 Then Saul [meaning “desired”/”demanded” – Israel desired a physical ruler – king Saul], who also is called Paul [meaning “small” or “little” – “Lord what would you have me to do?”], filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him.
Although Jesus still called Peter by the name of Simon while He was in the flesh, the same Peter, who denied Jesus three times at Jesus’ arrest, became a living stone speaking the living words of the everlasting covenant after the spirit of the new covenant was invoked in downpayment in Peter (Eph 1:13-14):
Act 2:14 But Peter, standing up with the eleven [“when the day of Pentecost was fully come”], lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words.
The new covenant establishes the new Name, and it is the same Name by which we will overcome and be changed from glory to glory (Joh 17:3; Act 9:4-5; 2Co 3:18). The new Name of the everlasting covenant changes all physical customs as we are His messengers amidst being falsely accused, rejected, persecuted and even killed for His Name sake (Heb 7:12; 1Co 15:51; Php 3:20-21):
Act 6:14 For we have heard him [Steven] say, that this Jesus of Nazareth shall destroy this place, and shall change the customs which Moses delivered us.
Act 6:15 And all that sat in the council, looking stedfastly on him, saw his face as it had been the face of an angel.
This new Name has nothing to do with the verbalisation of a name in a known language – no matter how much we love and respect that language. It is all about the new doctrine (“new tongues”) by which we speak:
Mar 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
Mar 16:16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
Mar 16:17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;
Mar 16:18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.
All these “signs” are spiritual for those who can receive this. Casting out devils, speaking with new languages, taking up serpents, drinking deadly things, healing the sick are all pointing to drastic and earth-shaking changes in our own old way of thinking (Matt 24:3-51). This new name we receive is hidden for others, but they shall observe great and wonderful changes in the way we talk and walk (Isa 62:2; 2Co 1:12; Eph 4:22; 2Pe 3:11). The new covenant indeed brings an earth-changing glory which opens the graves of the dead, especially within us (Mat 28:1-6; Mat 25:31):
Rev 2:17 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.
Rev 3:12 Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.
In our next study on the foundational theme of covenants we will be discussing more interesting aspects which will also help us to appreciate the spiritual covenant of Jesus Christ, God willing.