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A careful consideration of these human examples will enable us to understand better the covenants which God has been pleased to enter into

We read of Jonathan and David making a covenant (1 Sam. 18:3) which, in view of 1 Samuel 20:11 17,42, evidently signified that they entered into a solemn compact (ratified by an oath: 1 Sam. 20:17) that in return for Jonathan’s kindness in informing him of his father’s plans—making possible his escape—David, when he ascended the throne, would show mercy to his descendants: (cf. 2 Sam. 9:1). Again, in 1 Chronicles 11:3 we are told that all the elders of Israel (who had previously been opposed to him) came to David and he made a covenant with them, which, in the light of 2 Samuel 5:1-3 evidently means that, on the consideration of his captaining their armies against the common foe, they were willing to submit unto him as their king. Once more, in 2 Chronicles 23:16 we read of Jehoiada the priest making a covenant with the people and the king that they should be the Lord’s people, which, in the light of what immediately follows obviously denotes that he agreed to grant them certain religious privileges in return for their undertaking to destroy the system of Baal worship. A careful consideration of these human examples will enable us to understand better the covenants which God has been pleased to enter into.

Arthur W. Pink- The Divine Covenants-Introduction

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The nature of a covenant: in what it consists

Before attempting to furnish any answers to these questions, let us point out the nature of a covenant: in what it consists. “An absolute agreement between distinct persons, about the order and dispensing of things in their power, unto their mutual concern and advantage” (John Owen). Blackstone, the great commentator upon English law, speaking of the parts of a deed, says, “After warrants, usually follow covenants, or conventions, which are clauses of agreement contained in a deed, whereby either party may stipulate for the truth of certain facts, or may bind himself to perform, or give something to the other” (Vol. 2, p. 20). So he includes three things: the parties, the terms, the binding agreement. Reducing it to still simpler language, we may say that a covenant is the entering into of a mutual agreement, a benefit being assured on the fulfillment of certain conditions.

Arthur W. Pink- The Divine Covenants-Introduction

The Puritans writings on the covenants fell into neglect and men arose who propagated the false views found within the Scofieldian-dispensational schema of the covenants

During the palmy days of the Puritans considerable attention was given to the subject of the covenants, as their writings evince, particularly the works of Usher, Witsius, Blake, and Boston. But alas, with the exception of a few high Calvinists, their massive volumes fell into general neglect, until a generation arose who had no light thereon. This made it easier for certain men to impose upon them the crudities and vagaries, and make their poor dupes believe a wonderful discovery had been made in the rightly dividing of the word of truth. These men shuffled Scripture until they arranged the passages treating of the covenants to arbitrarily divide time into “seven dispensations” and partitioned off the Bible accordingly. How dreadfully superficial and faulty their findings are appear from the popular (far too popular to be of much value—Luke 16:15!) Scofield Bible, where no less than eight covenants are noticed, and nothing is said about the everlasting covenant!

If some think we have exaggerated the ignorance which now obtains upon this subject, let them put the following questions to their best-informed Christian friends, and see how many can give satisfactory answers. What did David mean when he said, Although my house be not so with God; yet he hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure: for this is all my salvation (1 Sam. 23:5? What is meant by The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him, and he will show them his covenant (Ps. 25:14)? What does the Lord mean when He speaks of those who take hold of my covenant (Isa. 56:6)? What does God intend when He says to the Mediator: As for thee also, by the blood of thy covenant, I have sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit wherein is no water? To what does the apostle refer when he says, That the covenant, that was confirmed before of God is (or “to”) Christ (Gal. 3:17)?

Arthur W. Pink- The Divine Covenants-Introduction

A true knowledge of the covenants is indispensable to a correct presentation of the gospel

March 26, 2019 4 comments

Sufficient should have already been said to impress us with the weightiness of our present theme, and the great importance of arriving at a right understanding of the divine covenants. A true knowledge of the covenants is indispensable to a correct presentation of the gospel, for he who is ignorant of the fundamental difference which obtains between the covenant of works and the covenant of grace is utterly incompetent for evangelism. But by whom among us are the different covenants clearly understood? Refer unto them to the average preacher, and you at once perceive you are speaking to him in an unknown tongue. Few today discern what the covenants are in themselves, their relations to each other, and their consequent bearings upon the design of God in the Redeemer. Since the covenants pertain unto the very “rudiments of the doctrine of Christ,” ignorance of them must cause obscurity to rest upon the whole gospel system.

Arthur W. Pink- The Divine Covenants-Introduction

God is said to bind Himself by oath and it is upon the ground of His covenant engagement that He does so

In like manner, when God is said to bind Himself by oath to the heirs of promise – Wherein God, willing more abundantly to show unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath (Heb. 6:17)— it is upon the ground of His covenant engagement that He does so. In fact the one merges into the other, for in Scripture covenanting is often called by the name of swearing, and a covenant is called an oath. That thou shouldest enter into covenant with the Lord thy God, and into his oath, which the Lord thy God maketh with thee this day. . . Neither with you only do I make this covenant and this oath (Deut. 29:12,14). Be ye mindful always of his covenant, the word which he commanded to a thousand generations: even of the covenant which he made with Abraham, and of his oath unto Isaac (1 Chron. 16:15,16). And they entered into a covenant to seek the Lord God of their fathers with all their heart and with all their soul… .And they sware unto the Lord with a loud voice And all Judah rejoiced at the oath (l Chron. 15:12,14, l5).

Arthur W. Pink- The Divine Covenants-Introduction

The same blessed truth is set forth in the New Testament that the covenant is the foundation from which proceed all the gracious works of God

The same blessed truth is set forth in the New Testament that the covenant is the foundation from which proceed all the gracious works of God. This is rendered as the reason for sending Christ into the world: To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant (Luke 1:72). Remarkable too is that word in Hebrews 13:20: Now the God of peace that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant. Another illustration of the same principle is found in Hebrews 10:15,16: Whereof the Holy Spirit also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them the words .. supply proof that the good which God does unto His people is grounded on His covenant. Anything which in Scripture is said to be done unto us for Christs sake signifies it is done by virtue of that covenant which God made with Christ as the head of His mystical body.

Arthur W. Pink- The Divine Covenants-Introduction

The everlasting covenant, with its shadowings forth His temporal covenants, form the basis of all His dealings with His people

The everlasting covenant, with its shadowings forth His temporal covenants, form the basis of all His dealings with His people. Many proofs of this are to be met with in Holy Writ. For example, when God heard the groanings of the Hebrews in Egypt, we are told that He remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob (Ex. 2:24; cf. 6:2-8). When Israel was oppressed by the Syrians in the days of Jehoahaz, we read, And the Lord was gracious unto them, and had compassion on them, and had respect unto them, because of his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (2 Kings 13:23; cf. Ps. 106:43-45). At a later period, when God determined to show mercy unto Israel, after He had sorely afflicted them for their sins, He expressed it thus, Nevertheless I will remember my covenant with thee in the days of thy youth (Ezek. 16:60). As the psalmist declared, He hath given meat unto them that fear him: he will ever be mindful of his covenant (111:5).

Arthur W. Pink- The Divine Covenants-Introduction