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EXEGESIS > Old Testament > Pentateuch > Exodus > Ex. 6:4-5 - The Covenant

The Covenant
Ex 6:4-5

I have established My covenant with them . . .
I have remembered My covenant.
Ex. 6:4-5

The Initial Covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob

    Testimony of Scripture

Abraham – Gen. 12:1-5, 7; 13:14-17; 15:18-19; 17:1-22

Isaac – Gen. 26:1-4

Jacob – Gen. 28:13-15; 35:11-12

    Thoughts regarding the Covenant

God is the One making the Covenant; it is His doing; originates with Him not man.

The content deals mostly with the physical: people, land, nation, kings.

There are hints of something more, a spiritual dimension: “all families of the earth shall be blessed” (Gen. 12:3; 26:4; 28:14).

Glimpses of the Covenant in the Old Testament


Lev. 26:9, 15, 25 40-45
Num. 10:33
Jud. 2:1-2
II Ki. 13:22
Neh. 9:32
Ps. 89:3, 28-29, 30-37
Isa. 55:1-5
Jer. 31:31-34
Mal. 3:1


God is the One making and enlarging the Covenant; God is constantly reminding the people that the Covenant is His; He speaks of “My covenant”.

The covenant is not dependent on man; see Lev. 26 and Ps. 89; repeatedly we see God stating what He will do; emphasis is on God keeping the Covenant; following words are found: in Judges: “will never break”; in Neh.: “keep covenant”; and in Ps.: “shall stand firm,” and “nor alter”.

Hints of something more increase throughout the Old Testament: Isa.: “everyone”; Jer.: “new covenant”; and Mal.: “Messenger of the covenant”

The Covenant in the New Testament


Lu. 1:67-75
Lu. 22:20
Heb. 7:22
Heb. 8:6 Heb. 9:15
Heb. 12:24
Heb. 13:20

Note: “covenant” appears 17 times in Hebrews and 16 times in the rest of the NT


The Covenant is associated with Jesus rather than with Abraham and David; see: Gal. 3:15-16.   The Messenger of the Covenant is the Mediator of the Covenant.

Jesus is the Mediator because of His death; see Heb. 9:15.

The Covenant associated with Christ is “new” or “better”.

Dynamics of the Covenant

    * The Covenant is God’s doing.

To Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob God appeared and said “I will” and “I give”; He speaks of the Covenant as “My covenant”.

God is responsible for the initiation, the content, the continuation, and the accomplishment of the Covenant; it does not begin on earth and reach up; it begins in heaven and reaches down; the Covenant is God coming to man and revealing to man His purpose and determination; to know the Covenant is to know something of the mind of God.

If based on man, then the Covenant would fail, because man fails; it must be of God.

    * The Covenant is a Process.

A process in the sense that it was determined in eternity, is being accomplished in time, and will be finalized in eternity.

A process in the sense that it involves “descendants”; it is “forever” and for “all generations”; it is enduring.

A process in its revelation and in man’s understanding:

the shadow and type > the substance and reality
the old covenant > the new covenant
material blessings > spiritual blessings
lambs and sacrifices > The Lamb and the once and for all Sacrifice
lands and nations > new heaven and new earth
time > eternity

    * The Covenant is God creating, sustaining, and blessing a people.

“a great nation” – Gen. 12
“will keep you” – Gen. 28
“bless you” – stated numerous times
“everyone” and “nations” – Isa. 55
“My people” – Jer. 31
“those who are called” – Heb. 9

    * The Covenant obligates God to man and makes demands on man.

God says: “As for me . . .” and “As for you . . .” (Gen. 17:4, 9).

Numerous texts speak of God’s obligation and the fact that He will keep His word.

Numerous texts speak of man’s responsibility and the consequences if he fails his responsibility.

Man never meets the demands – but God remains faithful; the Covenant endures.

    * The Covenant results in a people knowing God and being with God.

In Jer. 31 we find the following: “their God”; “My people”; and “know Me”.

“And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God” (Rev. 21:3).

See: Ex. 7:8-13 - Serpent Rods

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