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It was a process of gradual development, issuing finally in the fullness of gospel grace

Above we have pointed out that the continual additions which God made to His original revelation of mercy in Genesis 3:15 were, for a while, given mainly through the covenants He made with the fathers. It was a process of gradual development, issuing finally in the fullness of gospel grace; the substance of those covenants indicated the outstanding stages in this process. They are the great landmarks of God’s dealings with men, points from which the disclosures of the divine mind expanded into increased and established truths. As revelations they exhibited in ever augmented degrees of fullness and clearness the plan of salvation through mediation and sacrifice of the Son of God; for each of those covenants consisted of gracious promises ratified by sacrifice (Gen. 8:20; 9:9; 15:9-11, 18). Thus, those covenants were so many intimations of that method of mercy which took its rise in the eternal counsels of the divine mind.

Arthur W. Pink- The Divine Covenants-Part One-The Everlasting Covenant

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No mention of any conditions, or work to be done by them: only a promise of unconditional blessings

God made covenants with Noah, Abraham, David; but were they, as fallen creatures, able to enter into covenant with their august and holy Maker? Were they able to stand for themselves, or be sureties for others? The very question answers itself. What, for instance, could Noah possibly do which would insure that the earth should never again be destroyed by a flood? Those subordinate covenants were less than the Lord’s making manifest, in an especial and public manner, the grand covenant: making known something of its glorious contents, confirming their own personal interest in it, and assuring them that Christ, the great covenant head, should be of themselves and spring from their seed.

This is what accounts for that singular expression which occurs so frequently in Scripture: “Behold, I establish my covenant with you and your seed after you” (Gen. 9:9). Yet there follows no mention of any conditions, or work to be done by them: only a promise of unconditional blessings. And why? because the “conditions” were to be fulfilled and the “work” was to be done by Christ, and nothing remained but to bestow the blessings on His people. So when David says, “He hath made with me an everlasting covenant” (2 Sam. 23:5) he simply means, God had admitted him into an interest in the everlasting covenant and made him partaker of its privileges. Hence it is that when the apostle Paul refers to the various covenants which God had made with men in Old Testament times, he styles them not “covenants of stipulations” but covenants of promise” (Eph 2:12).

Arthur W. Pink- The Divine Covenants-Part One-The Everlasting Covenant

The first germinal publication of the everlasting covenant is found in Genesis 3:15

The first germinal publication of the everlasting covenant is found in Genesis 3:15 “I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” Thus, immediately after the Fall, God announced to the serpent his ultimate doom through the work of the Mediator, and revealed unto sinners the channel through whom alone salvation could flow to them. The continual additions which God subsequently made to the revelation He gave in Genesis 3:15 were, for a considerable time, largely through covenants He made with the fathers, covenants which were both the fruit of His eternal plan of mercy and the gradual revealing of the same unto the faithful. Only as those two facts are and held fast by us are we in any position to appreciate and perceive the force of those subordinate covenants.

Arthur W. Pink- The Divine Covenants-Part One-The Everlasting Covenant

That provision of grace which God made for His people before the foundation of the world embraced the appointment of His own Son

The Word of God opens with a brief account of creation, the making of man, and his fall. From later Scripture we have no difficulty in ascertaining that the issue of the trial to which man was subjected in Eden had been divinely foreseen. “The Lamb slain (in the purpose of God) from the foundation of the world” (Rev. 13:8) makes it clear that, in view of the Fall, provision had been made by God for the recovery of His people who had apostatized in Adam, and that the means whereby their recovery would be effected were consistent with the claims of the divine holiness and justice. All the details and results of the plan of mercy had been arranged and settled from the beginning by divine wisdom.

That provision of grace which God made for His people before the foundation of the world embraced the appointment of His own Son to become the mediator, and of the work which, in that capacity, He should perform. This involved His assumption of human nature, the offering of Himself as a sacrifice for sin, His exaltation in the nature He had assumed to the right hand of God in the heavenlies, His supremacy over His church and over all things for His church, the blessings which He should be empowered to dispense, and the extent to which His work should be made effectual unto the salvation of souls. These were all matters of definite and certain arrangement, agreed upon between God and His Son in the terms of the everlasting covenant.

Arthur W. Pink- The Divine Covenants-Part One-The Everlasting Covenant

First, we shall take up and discuss the everlasting covenant or covenant of grace

We shall then take up in the chapters which follow, first, the everlasting covenant or covenant of grace, which God made with His elect in the person of their head, and show how that is the sure foundation from which proceed all blessings unto then. Next we shall consider the covenant of works, that compact into which the Creator entered with the whole race in the person of their human and federal head, and show how that had to be broken before the blessings agreed upon in the covenant of grace could be bestowed. Then we shall look briefly at the covenant God made with Noah, and more fully at the one with Abraham, in which the everlasting covenant was shadowed forth. Then we shall ponder the more difficult Sinaitic covenant, viewing it as a confirmation of the covenant of works and also in its peculiar relation to the national polity of Israel. Some consideration will also have to be given to the Davidic covenant, concerning which we feel greatly in need of more light. Finally, we shall point out how the everlasting covenant has been administered under the old and new covenants or economies. May the Holy Spirit graciously preserve us from all serious error, and enable us to write that which shall be to the glory of our covenant God and the blessing of His covenant people.

Arthur W. Pink- The Divine Covenants-Introduction

It is clear that there can be but two and only two covenants possible between God and men

Now as we pointed out in previous paragraphs, God’s dealings with men are all based upon His covenant engagements with them—He promising certain blessings upon their fulfillment of certain conditions. This being so, as G. S. Bishop pointed out, “It is clear that there can be but two and only two covenants possible between God and men—a covenant founded upon what man shall do for salvation, a covenant founded upon what God shall do for him to save him: in other words, a Covenant of Works and a Covenant of Grace” (Grace in Galatians, p. 72). Just as all the divine promises in the Old Testament are summed up in two chief ones—the sending of Christ and the pouring out of the Spirit—so all the divine covenants may be reduced unto two, the other subordinate ones being only confirmations or adumbrations of them, or having to do with their economical administration.

Arthur W. Pink- The Divine Covenants-Introduction

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