Understanding God's Covenants

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Understanding God's Covenants

This is a six-week course on the major covenants of the Bible. It will walk you through the key promises God has made to His people. Dive into this enlightening course today and gain a greater understanding of the promise-keeping God we serve.

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The Adamic Covenant: Part 1

This week we will discuss what it means to be made in God’s image.

Lesson Points

The covenants of the Bible involve promises that move the people of God closer to the fulfillment of all promises through Christ.
When we understand God’s purposes for humanity from the beginning, we will be able to understand the purpose behind End Times events.
Christ is our model for understanding the image of God.
There is controversy around the idea of theosis or deification.
People misunderstand the terms. They think the terms refer to the false idea that humans become gods. A better word for this concept is Christification, the process by which redeemed humans become more Christlike.
Through progressive glorification we are ever growing toward—but never fully attaining—the full likeness of the eternal God-Man.

Worship Moment

Many people probably don’t get invited to a lot of high society dinners. But the God of the universe invites us to participate in the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4). By grace, we find ourselves in a place where we don’t belong. Praise God that out of His great love, He calls us His children!

Discussion Questions

Eschatology is the study of the End Times. Why spend all this time on covenants in an Eschatology class? Why go back to the beginning?
Do you feel like you’re growing as a reflector of God’s image? Are you growing in your knowledge of God and your relationship with Him? Are you growing in your relationships with other believers?
Some people play down the supernatural when they talk about Jesus. They don’t like talking about His resurrection. They’re uncomfortable with the idea that He is both God and man, and they reduce Jesus to a mere moral example. What’s dangerous about this kind of thinking?

Further Study

Genesis 1 and 1 John 3 (recommended)
Exploring Christian Theology: Volume 3: The Church, Spiritual Growth, and the End Times (recommended)
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The Adamic Covenant: Part 2

This week we will examine God’s original purpose for humanity and how
that purpose ultimately will be fulfilled.

Lesson Points

Even before Adam and Eve fell, they were given the job to subdue the earth.
The glory and knowledge of God will fill the earth in a process Dr. Svigel calls Progressive Edenification.
As fallen creatures in a fallen world, we are all subject to disaster, sickness, pain, and death.
Humanity waits for redemption and restoration.
The Jewish and early Christian tradition has an interesting view of the location of Eden.
It teaches that after the fall, God took Eden back into heaven.
Now Eden is Paradise, the place believers go when they die while they wait for the resurrection.
When everything is renewed, Eden will be brought back to earth.

Worship Moment

Habakkuk 2:14 says, “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” Despite humanity’s fall from grace, God’s plan will prevail. Creation will be redeemed! Praise the Lord that no plan of His can be thwarted!

Discussion Questions

How did the early church use Luke 23:43, 2 Corinthians 12:2–4, and Revelation 2:7 to support the idea that Eden has been transformed into Paradise? What do you think of this interpretation?
How could a passage like Isaiah 2:2–3 be used to support the idea that we continue to grow in our knowledge of God for all eternity?
Why does Dr. Svigel say we’re not smart enough to know whether a particular tragedy is God’s particular wrath due to the sin of an individual or common wrath that affects all of humanity and creation itself? Wouldn’t God want us to figure out if our behavior is bringing specific wrath so that we can get back to obeying Him?

Further Study

Genesis 3, Romans 8, and Revelation 21–22 (recommended)
Exploring Christian Theology: Volume 3: The Church, Spiritual Growth, and the End Times (recommended)
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Noahic and Abrahamic Covenants

This week we will learn about the Noahic Covenant and the dispensation of Government
and the Abrahamic Covenant and the dispensation of Theocracy.

Lesson Points

Conscience was meant to keep humanity from wickedness. But, consciences can be seared.
After the flood, God gave humanity government to hold back wickedness and promote righteousness.
The tower of Babel story shows that government can be corrupted.
The Abrahamic Covenant goes with the Dispensation of Theocracy.
The word “seed” has a singular and a plural meaning.
It’s accurate to interpret “seed” as referring to Isaac and also the nation of Israel.
It’s also accurate to interpret “seed” as a reference to Christ, who is the ultimate fulfillment of all covenants.
Apart from Christ, there is no future for the nation of Israel.
Israel in the land today anticipates fulfillment of promises.
But, the nation of Israel today is not living in submission to God’s laws.

Worship Moment

Peter talks about Noah being saved through water and compares it to the baptism that saves believers in Christ. Just as Noah’s flood washed away sinners whose hearts were bent on evil all of the time, water baptism symbolizes the washing away of our old sinful lifestyles. Noah and his family were able to start life anew. In the same way, when we place our trust in Christ, we are given new lives. Praise be to our Savior, Jesus Christ, who has washed away our sins!

Discussion Questions

In your opinion, what is the best way for a government to hold back wickedness and promote righteousness? Should government be large with lots of deterrents and incentives? Or small and let forces like the free market motivate people toward the good and away from the bad? Does the Bible tell us what kind of government is best?
In Genesis 11, the people decided to build a tower in order to make a name for themselves. In Genesis 12, God called Abram and told him He will make his name great. Have you ever made the mistake of seeking to provide something for yourself that only God can provide for you?
In his lecture on the birth of Isaac, Dr. Svigel explains it’s as if God sets up a pattern where He gives us enough blessing to make us yearn for more. And that fuels our hope and trust in Him. What blessings has God given you? How does reflecting on those blessings help you to trust Him in your day-to-day life?

Further Study

Genesis 6, 9, 11-13, and 15, Romans 13, Galatians 3, 1 Peter 3 (recommended)
Exploring Christian Theology: Volume 3: The Church, Spiritual Growth, and the End Times (recommended)
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Mosaic and Davidic Covenants

This week we will learn about the Mosaic Covenant, the Davidic Covenant, and the dispensation of Law.

Lesson Points

Theocracy does not involve direct rule by God. He uses mediators like patriarchs, judges, prophets, priests, and kings.
The Mosaic Law had two functions.
Dispensationally, it promoted righteousness and held back wickedness.
Covenantally, each generation determined how much of the Abrahamic blessing they would receive with their obedience or disobedience.
Christ fulfilled the law with His righteous life.
God promised David an eternal dynasty, one of His descendants would always be on the throne.
The Davidic Covenant promises a line of anointed kings that point toward the Messiah.
The Davidic promise is a major theme of Old Testament prophecy.

Worship Moment

God knew the people would not be able to keep the law perfectly. Out of His eagerness to forgive, He set up the sacrificial system. But, Hebrews 10 tells us that the people still felt guilty. The blood of an animal cannot cleanse sin. Praise the Lord that there is an effective sacrifice. By the blood of Christ we have been made holy once for all!

Discussion Questions

In God’s theocracy there were different people mediating between God and the people: patriarchs, judges, prophets, priests, kings. How do each of these offices point to Christ?
Reflecting on Old Testament passages you’ve read before, which ones would you reference in order to show that God’s blessing comes more quickly than His judgement?
How does the rule of David or Solomon or Rehoboam prepare the people for the Messianic kingdom?

Further Study

Exodus 19 & 24, 2 Samuel 7, Psalm 89 (recommended)
Exploring Christian Theology: Volume 3: The Church, Spiritual Growth, and the End Times (recommended)
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New Covenant: Part 1

This week we’ll finish discussing the Davidic Covenant and introduce the New Covenant. It might be helpful to note that Amillennialism is a belief that rejects the idea that Christ will literally and physically reign on earth for 1,000 years. In some ways, Classic Dispensationalism is the opposite of that. Generally speaking, Classic Dispensationalism interprets all the promises of the Bible as literally as possible

Lesson Points

There is disagreement over whether or not Christ is currently sitting on David’s throne.
Svigel makes the case that only after His second coming will Christ assume the throne of David.
The New Covenant, mediated by Jesus Christ, the Seed of Abraham and the Davidic King, is the unconditional means by which all covenants are fulfilled.
Jeremiah 31 explains that the New Covenant is distinct from the Mosaic covenant.
Under the New Covenant, all of Israel and Judah will know the Lord.

Worship Moment

Toward the end of Jeremiah 31, the Lord says He makes these promises to Israel as the One who appointed the sun to light up the day and the moon and stars to light up the night. He’s the One who stirs the sea. He’s the One who rules over all. What a blessing to serve a God who is faithful to the promises He has made!

Discussion Questions

Reread Revelation 3:21. What are the two thrones mentioned in the passage? Which throne does Jesus say He will sit on in the future? Which throne does He say He is sitting on now?
Do you believe Christ is currently reigning from David’s throne? Why or why not?
The dispensation of law included covenantal forgiveness available through the sacrificial system, prophets calling people to repent, and even exile as the ultimate punishment for disobedience in the land. Why does Dr. Svigel describe this system as unsustainable?

Further Study

Isaiah 9, Jeremiah 31, Matthew 25, Acts 1, Hebrews 8, Revelation 11
xploring Christian Theology: Volume 3: The Church, Spiritual Growth, and the End Times (recommended)
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New Covenant: Part 2

This week we will examine passages about the New Covenant and discuss how the covenant will be fulfilled.

Lesson Points

There are several repeated themes in Old Testament passages about the New Covenant.
The covenant is for Israel and the nations.
The covenant will be everlasting.
The land will be restored.
When Jesus spoke of the New Covenant in His blood, He took the promises of the Old Testament and centered them on Himself.
There are different perspectives on the fulfillment of the New Covenant.
The Amellennial view sees most of the New Covenant blessings as strictly spiritual.
At the other extreme, the Classic Dispensationalist view sees the New Covenant as promised only to the national of Israel.
The traditional Dispensationalists and Progressive Dispensationalists views seek a balance between an “already/not yet” fulfillment of the New Covenant.
Gentile believers partake in New Covenant promises because of our union with Christ.
The New Covenant will be fulfilled with Israel in the future.

Worship Moment

Walking through each of the covenants God made with His people, you can’t help but be amazed at God’s love for humanity! He created us in His image and gave us the task of subduing all of His creation. Even after humanity fell, God would not let His plans be thwarted. He sent us Christ: the Abrahamic Seed, the Davidic King, and the mediator of the New Covenant. Praise God for His blessings through Christ!

Discussion Questions

As ministers of the New Covenant (2 Corinthians 3:6), we are to carry on the ministry Christ began on earth. We are to tell people about Him and invite them to follow Him. Who in your life needs to know about Christ?
What does “already/not yet” mean regarding the fulfillment of Bible prophecy? How does it apply to the covenants we’ve discussed in this course?
What is your view on the New Covenant? Does Christ’s role as the mediator of the New Covenant mean the promises to Israel of land, seed, nation, and blessing will not be fulfilled literally? Or is Israel still waiting for these promises to be fulfilled? If the New Covenant promises to Israel will be fulfilled literally, do Gentile believers have any part in the New Covenant?

Further Study

Isaiah 42, Ezekiel 16, Luke 22, 2 Corinthians 3, Romans 11 (recommended)
Exploring Christian Theology: Volume 3: The Church, Spiritual Growth, and the End Times (recommended)
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