CovenantA contract or agreement between two parties. In the Old Testament the Hebrew word Berith Is always thus translated. Berith Is derived from a root which means "to cut," and hence a covenant is a "cutting," with reference to the cutting or dividing of animals into two parts, and the contracting parties passing between them, in making a covenant (Genesis 15; Jeremiah 34:18,19).
The corresponding word in the New Testament Greek is Diatheke , Which is, however, rendered "testament" generally in the Authorized Version. It ought to be rendered, just as the word Berith of the Old Testament, "covenant."
This word is used (1) of a covenant or compact between man and man (Genesis 21:32), or between tribes or nations (1 Samuel 11:1; Joshua 9:6,15). In entering into a convenant, Jehovah was solemnly called on to witness the transaction (Genesis 31:50), and hence it was called a "covenant of the Lord" (1 Samuel 20:8). The marriage compact is called "the covenant of God" (Proverbs 2:17), because the marriage was made in God's name. Wicked men are spoken of as acting as if they had made a "covenant with death" not to destroy them, or with hell not to devour them (Isaiah 28:15,18).
The term covenant is also used to designate the regular succession of day and night (Jeremiah 33:20), the Sabbath (Exodus 31:16), circumcision (Genesis 17:9,10), and in general any ordinance of God (Jeremiah 34:13,14).
A "covenant of salt" signifies an everlasting covenant, in the sealing or ratifying of which salt, as an emblem of perpetuity, is used (Numbers 18:19; Leviticus 2:13; 2Chr 13:5).
COVENANT OF WORKS, the constitution under which Adam was placed at his creation. In this covenant,
This covenant is also called a covenant of nature, as made with man in his natural or unfallen state; a covenant of life, because "life" was the promise attached to obedience; and a legal covenant, because it demanded perfect obedience to the law.
The "tree of life" was the outward sign and seal of that life which was promised in the covenant, and hence it is usually called the seal of that covenant.
This covenant is abrogated under the gospel, inasmuch as Christ has fulfilled all its conditions in behalf of his people, and now offers salvation on the condition of faith. It is still in force, however, as it rests on the immutable justice of God, and is binding on all who have not fled to Christ and accepted his righteousness.
CONVENANT OF GRACE, the eternal plan of redemption entered into by the three persons of the Godhead, and carried out by them in its several parts. In it the Father represented the Godhead in its indivisible sovereignty, and the Son his people as their surety (John 17:4,6,9; Isaiah 42:6; Psalms 89:3).
The conditions of this covenant were,
Christ, the mediator of, fulfils all its conditions in behalf of his people, and dispenses to them all its blessings. In Hebrews 8:6; 9:15; 12:24, this title is given to Christ. (See DISPENSATION .)
These dictionary topics are from M.G. Easton M.A., D.D., Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Third Edition, published by Thomas Nelson, 1897. Public Domain, copy freely.