Covenant
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Covenant. What is a Covenant?. One of the central themes in the Bible is covenant The Hebrew word berit , is most often used to express the idea of covenant, and originally meant a “shackle” or “chain”. It later came to mean any form of binding agreement

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Covenant

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Covenant

Covenant


What is a covenant

What is a Covenant?

  • One of the central themes in the Bible is covenant

  • The Hebrew word berit, is most often used to express the idea of covenant, and originally meant a “shackle” or “chain”. It later came to mean any form of binding agreement

  • The covenant in the Biblical contexts combines God’s free offer of a special relationship and the people’s willing response in faith by agreeing to take the obligation to worship and obey only this God, Yahweh

    Boadt, L. (1984). Reading the Old Testament. New York, N.Y.: Paulist Press.


Covenant the historical connection to treaty

Covenant: The Historical Connection to Treaty

  • The covenant we find in the Bible is a similar structure to the ancient covenant or ‘treaty’ between countries

  • God’s covenant with the Hebrew people is written to resemble ancient vassal treaties in which overlords (major power) and the smaller nation that were conquered

  • The overlord promises to be kindly and protective, while spelling out a series of demands for the vassal to faithfully perform

    Boadt, L. (1984). Reading the Old Testament. New York, N.Y.: Paulist Press.


5 traits of a covenant

5 Traits of a Covenant

Complete page 7 of your student booklet using pages 72-73 of your textbook.


Covenant the historical connection to treaty continued

Covenant: The Historical Connection to Treaty continued….

  • The entire Pentateuch was influenced by the covenant format

  • The story from Abraham to the escape through the Red Sea serves as a formal preamble

  • The prologue listing the overlord’s great deeds to the vassal

  • The giving of the law on Mount Sinai acts as the submission, witness and the blessings and curses

    Boadt, L. (1984). Reading the Old Testament. New York, N.Y.: Paulist Press.


Biblical covenant

Biblical Covenant

  • The theology of the Torah covenant provides the framework for understanding God’s relationship with the Hebrew people

  • It gives context to God’s promises to Noah, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob

  • It becomes the standard for judging Israel’s national success or failure

  • It serves as a measuring stick for the kings

  • It forms the background of the prophets promises and judgments of Israel

  • The entire story of Israel is understood in light of its fidelity to the covenant of Mount Sinai

    Boadt, L. (1984). Reading the Old Testament. New York, N.Y.: Paulist Press.


The structure of the torah

The Structure of the Torah

GENESIS 1-11

Human

Origins

Divine blessings, sin, punishment and mercy

GENESIS 12-50

The remote Patriarchs

Divine election, promise of a son,

land, and

greatness

EXODUS 1-18

God saves his people

God saves Israel

And begins fulfillment of the promise of land

EXODUS LEVITICUS &

19-24 NUMBERS 1-10

The Covenant and Law for God’s People

The Covenant binds God and people forever and establishes Israel’s way of life

NUMBERS 11-36

Journey to the land

God leans the people to the land but punishes any rebellion

DEUTERONOMY 1-34

Final Warnings of Moses

Moses’ final warnings to obey the Covenant or lose the land


The covenant between god and the hebrew people

The Covenant Between God and the Hebrew People

  • The Covenant relationship with God who is always free – God makes the first move and does so freely

    • There is nothing in the nature of a person or in a person’s activities that deserves this devotion from God

  • The relationship is one of love – a total love relationship requires that the loving person take the risk of opening self to the other

    • In a loving relationship – willingness to share innermost thoughts and desires knowing that acceptance is not guaranteed

  • Divine love is more special because it is creative – divine love has formed people and extended their capabilities beyond those of creative and called them sons and daughters

    • Has formed a people that God insists on calling God’s own


The covenant between god and the hebrew people continued

The Covenant Between God and the Hebrew People continued…

  • The binding force is more special because it is creative

    • in the commitment of God’s self, God took an irreversible stand

    • no matter the response of God’s people, God was bound to continue God’s care for them

  • When God’s people failed to keep the covenant it would be God who would initiate the reinstatement

  • On the part of the people whom God has chosen was required the return of covenant love – the type of love that goes beyond the minimum requirements

    • “fidelity” = a steadfastness about this love that endures

    • The Hebrews as a group and as individuals were expected to mirror the love of God for them


The covenant between god and the hebrew people continued1

The Covenant Between God and the Hebrew People continued…

  • In Catholic theology, Jesus is the embodiment of covenant love

  • “… the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, ‘This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me’. In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.’” (1 Cor. 11-23-26)


The covenant as ethical guidelines

The Covenant as Ethical Guidelines

  • The Torah (the law) and the 10 Commandments are the first example of ethical guidelines in scripture

  • The 10 Commandments act as the general guidelines

  • Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy give the specific requirements

  • Jesus came to refocus the Hebrew people on the message and intent behind the Torah, emphasizing the general message of the covenant

  • Demonstrating the evolution of human understanding of God


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