An aside before I start reading this chapter. I know that covenants are looked at different by the various branches of Protestant denominations. I find myself holding my breath wondering what approach Allan Harman will take in Learning about the Old Testament. Let’s dig in shall we? 🙂
Covenant in the Old Testament, or testament in the New Testament often signify the same thing. In the Old Testament covenant refers to relationship between two people, a relationship of a formal nature. It also refers to the relationship between God and mankind. Many times these covenants made have a ceremony attached to them, where God promises something and the people also promise something in return.
A covenant, or treatise, between nations or between people was a very common one in biblical times. They had a particular formula to them and God replicated this formula quite often when he dealt with his people. When God did this, he helped his people more easily grasp the significance of their relationship with him.
In the New Testament we see a less formulated covenantal process. We see more of God stooping down to help the helpless. Of God making a promise to help people who can’t help themselves. Here we see him fulfilling old covenants and then making a new covenant (or testament).
The old points to the new
So we see how the Old Testament covenants always point their way to the new covenant made in the New Testament.
Part of me wants to spell out everything Harman writes in this chapter, but to do so gives YOU no incentive to go out and get this helpful book for yourselves. I was delighted to see how Harman connected the Old and New Testaments so well. He pointed out several situations which showed how the Old Testament covenants point to the new covenant God made. Harmon also showed how the New Testament linked the old and the new together. It is very interesting reading and pondering on.
But it’s important to understand that the Old Testament people well understood the concept of a covenant, of the promises made between a king and his people, between one nation and another, and what obligations a covenant wrought upon both parties. As we read the Old Testament we need to remember how it points to the New, and how covenants impacted the lives of the people in it.