Y O U N G P E O P L E ' S D I C T I O N A R Y O F S C R I P T U R A L • & • R E L I G I O U S T E R M S
“Covenant” is found many times in the the KJV Bible, both in the Old and New
Testament. In a general way covenant is a binding agreement of some sort made be-
tween two parties. For example, people often refer to marriage as a sacred covenant
between a man and a woman made to each other, promising to remain faithful to each
other as long as they live.
Sometimes in the Old Testament covenant is translated league (see 1 Kings 15:19).
Where ‘league’ is used it often means a ‘peace treaty’.
In the New Testament the word for covenant is often translated testament (both
English words are translated from the same original Greek word). A testament can
mean a statement of the desire or it can express the wishes of an individual for
others to act on. The Lord Jesus told His disciples, when He instituted the remem-
brance of Himself shortly before He went to the cross, that the cup of wine served
at the “Lord’s supper” was a covenant/testament symbol: “Likewise also the cup
after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for
you” (Luke 22:20).
This new covenant which the Lord speaks about is particulary meant for Israel. The
old Mosaic covenant was ‘conditional’ on Israel’s obedience to the law. The new
covenant based on the shed blood of Christ is based on God’s grace, not on the
“works of the law”. Christians are a heavenly company, Israel an earthly company.
Both are blessed by the blood of Christ. But Biblical covenants always refer to
agreements regarding this earth, not with heaven.
The Lord Jesus, by shedding His blood at the cross for sin, established a new covenant—
a new relationship based on God’s complete satisfaction of His beloved Son’s blood shed
once forever to put away sin and forgive the sins of those who believe.
Unfortunately, there is a very involved and intellectualized Christian philosophy
called “Covenant Theology”. This complicated theological philosophy can lead
Christians into Biblical error. Some who believe in ‘covenant theology’ feel that
since the Nation of Israel failed to keep the law and rejected their Messiah (the
Lord Jesus), they not only lost the blessings God had ‘covenanted’ with them at
Sinai, but God has forever cast them away as His beloved, blessed earthly people.
These ‘covenant theologists’ teach that the church has ‘replaced Israel and should
expect to have Israel’s earthly blessings. But the Bible says that believers (the
church) are “blessed with all spiritual blessings in the heavenlies in Christ—not on
earth. Christians are members of the body of Christ, His Bride, and will live with
Him forever in heaven. Israel will be blessed on this earth because of the new
covenant made by God in view of His complete satisfaction with the blood shed by
His beloved Son, though they will first go through severe tribulation.