The Abrahamic Covenant is the central theme of The Old Testament and was sealed by the blood of Christ. And it was called the “second” or the Abrahamic covenant. Because the blood with which it was packed was poured out after the blood of the first covenant. That the new covenant was valid in Abraham’s day is clear from the fact that it was confirmed both by faith and by the oath of God. The “two things which cannot change, in which God can’t lie” (Hebrews 6:18). But if the Abrahamic covenant contained the promise of salvation, why was another covenant made at Sinai?
In the bondage, the people had lost mainly their knowledge of God and the principles of the Abrahamic covenant. In delivering them from Egypt, God sought to reveal His power and mercy to them so they would be made to love and trust Him. He took them to the Red Sea, where, being pursued by the Egyptians, escape seemed impossible. It was so that they could realize their utter helplessness, their need for God’s help, and the fact that He had worked their deliverance. This way, they fill them with love, gratitude for God, and confidence in His power to help them. He had joined them to Himself as their Deliverer from the bondage of the past.
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Was Abraham the first to make a covenant with God?
There was a greater truth to be inscribed in the minds of the Israelites. Living amid idolatry and corruption, they had no proper conception of God’s holiness, the boundless sinfulness of their hearts, the fact that they had no power to obey the law of God, and their need for a Saviour. All this they had to learn.
God made the most critical covenant and the first one with Abraham. The Jewish and Christian Bibles spoke first of the Abrahamic covenant. But Muslims, Alevis, and Baha’is also know this story. It is said to have happened about 3,500 years ago. Back then, most people believed in many gods. Jews believe that God asked Abraham for the “everlasting covenant” only to believe in him, the only God to spread this belief widely. Always obey God’s commandments and be an example to all other people.
In addition, Abraham was to demonstrate his absolute trust in God and ensure that each of his male descendants, through eternity, confirmed the Abrahamic covenant by circumcision. It should always take place on the eighth day. In return, God promised Abraham many children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. He announced that they would experience much suffering. But he also assured that the people of Israel would receive Canaan’s “Promised Land” and that he would always rule and care for the people.
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How many covenants did God make with Abraham?
Bible says that God made three different covenants with Abraham. God and Abraham met three times before the covenant was made. After that, the first meeting was about Abraham’s seed and the land of Canaan for his people, the second was about the covenant of circumcision, and the third was about Abraham’s proof of his absolute trust in God.
The Bible records the covenant between God and Abraham in Genesis 15, 17, and 22. After these things, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a dream at night. “Do not be afraid, Abram, for I am your shield, and your reward will be great.” Then he took him out and said, “Look up to the sky and count the stars, if you can count them.” And he added: “So many will be your descendants” (Acts 15:1-6). And Abraham believed in God, which he counted for righteousness (Rom. 4:3).
God changes Abram’s name.
When Abram was 99 years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am God Almighty; do what is pleasing in my sight, and be blameless. From now on, you shall no longer be called Abram, but Abraham shall be your name, for I will make you the father of many peoples” (Acts 17:1-4). Abraham receives the commandment of cutting around.
Then God said to Abraham, “You and your descendants after you shall keep my covenant from generation to generation. All your fathers shall cut themselves in pieces; this shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you” (Acts 17:9-11).
God announces the birth of Isaac.
Then God said again to Abraham, “Do not call your wife Sarai anymore but let Sarra be her name. And I will bless her and give you a son by her, and you shall call his name Isaac. And I will make my covenant with him, an everlasting covenant; I will be God to him and his descendants after him” (Acts 17:15-19). These are the sons of Abraham, who are born of faith (Gal. 3:7). The Abrahamic covenant is fundamental to the whole course of salvation history. Paul turned to it to explain the plan of salvation as it was fulfilled through Jesus.
God intended to bless the whole world through Abraham’s seed (the word “seed” refers to his descendants, but especially to Jesus – see Galatians 3:16). All who are Abraham’s seed (status obtained through faith in Christ – see Galatians 3:29) enter into this covenant. The patriarch “believed God, and this faith was counted to him as righteousness” (Galatians 3:6). Works did not save him any more than the thief on the cross was saved by works.
Read also: Why did God choose Israel?
God’s first promises to Abraham
God’s first promises to Abraham are one of the most beautiful passages in the Old Testament. They tell us about his grace. God makes these promises, not Abraham. There is no indication that God and Abraham agreed to the terms of this deal together. God makes the promises, and Abraham is called upon to believe that they are sure and to prove that faith by leaving his relatives (at the age of seventy-five) and setting out for the promised land.
“By the “blessing” pronounced on Abraham and, through him, on all human beings, the Creator reaffirmed His plan to redeem mankind. He blessed Adam and Eve in Paradise (Genesis 1:28; 5:2) and then “blessed Noah and his sons” after the Flood (9:1). In this way, God clarified the earlier promise of a Savior. Who would redeem mankind, destroy evil, and restore Paradise (Genesis 3:15). He confirmed His promise to bless ‘all families’ in His universal plan.”, according to Hans K. LaRondelle, in Our Creator Redeemer.
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The Faith of Abraham
It’s easy to praise Abraham for his faith, but we forget that he, too, had his questions and doubts. The faith of Abraham was growing. In Genesis 15:8, he says something similar to what the father says in Mark 9:24: “I believe, Lord! Help my unbelief!” But God graciously assures him of the certainty of His promise. By entering into a formal covenant (Genesis 15:7-8). The surprising thing about this passage is not that God enters into the Abrahamic covenant but His willingness to enter into that covenant.
The ancient rulers of the Near East could not accept the idea of entering into a covenant with their subjects, but God not only gave His word but, by symbolically passing flames through the split animals, swore on His life that He would fulfill it. In the end, Jesus gave His life on Calvary, making the promise a reality. The events presented in Genesis chapter 17 are part of a larger picture, the story of Abraham. They are central to that story in their position in the biblical text and their significance.
In this passage of Scripture, we are presented with the covenant God made with Abram some 24 years after he was called and left his parents’ home. This period of almost a quarter of a century is essential for biblical revelation because it realistically and honestly presents a man’s relationship with God, with all its positive and negative aspects. We are dealing with a man who will be called the father of faith and is the model to look to and learn from.
God’s covenant with Abraham
The events presented in Genesis chapter 17 are part of a larger picture of the story of Abraham. They are central to that story in their position in the biblical text and their significance. This passage of Scripture presents us with the covenant God made with Abram. Twenty-four years after, he was called and left his parents’ home. Almost a quarter of a century is essential for biblical revelation. Because it realistically and honestly presents a man’s relationship with God. With all its positive and negative aspects. We are dealing with a man who will be called the father of faith. And is the model to look to and learn from.
In analyzing God’s Abrahamic covenant, we see that it is a narrowly defined reworking of the general blessing given to all men before the fall. And the one reaffirmed after the fall in the covenant with Noah and the human race. To understand God’s will concerning sure of our plans. We must understand God’s will and economy in the world in its fundamental data. As the biblical covenants show us, God’s work in the world is that of blessing. And his plans for people are part of this large-scale project.
In the Christian vision, human life is part of the larger project of uniting all things in Christ, of acquiring. And also actualizing the blessing of being God’s children in history and then for eternity. Abraham’s experience also shows us that particular accounts develop in contexts and spaces where God’s economy always has an antecedent closer. Or further back in history. This heritage must be known, understood, and exploited.
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The covenant with God does not remain at a contractual level. But touches man’s being and gives him a clear identity. Changing Abram’s name to one that signifies God’s promise is part of biblical logic. And indicates God’s way of working very personally with man. In the Christian view, each person is a unique presence in the world who can uniquely embody and express God’s blessing.
The hallmark of the Abrahamic covenant with God is this permanent becoming into his likeness, which is his will for man. In the typological language of Scripture, the circumcision of the flesh is a sign that heralds the “circumcision of the heart.” This permanent imprint on man’s being shows the faithfulness of dedication to the divine person, which makes a man become in the likeness of God.
God’s will implies a space of freedom of action, of taking on projects and decisions that express the believer’s personality in becoming. Without this freedom, the person’s uniqueness is stifled and cannot be described. Thus, the believer’s life cannot be a series of specific projects built by someone, be it God himself. Instead, it is the experience of an effort to express an identity and to develop a relationship in an adverse environment that admits to setbacks, stumbling blocks, and failures. The certainty of a relationship is not the certainty of plans, answers, or solutions but the confidence in the presence of the other who supports and develops you even when there are no certainties.