Israel: Covenants & Kingdom (25) – Chapter 4 – God’s Love and Covenants with Israel

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By Rev Willem J.J. Glashouwer.. From the book “Israel: Covenants & Kingdom”

Confirmation of the Abrahamic Covenant with Jacob
Genesis 28:3-4, 13-15: “…’May God Almighty bless you (Isaac says to Jacob) and make you fruitful and increase your numbers until you become a community of peoples. May He give you and your descendants the blessing given to Abraham, so that you may take possession of the land where you now live as an alien, the land God gave to Abraham.’…There above it [the stairway that Jacob saw in his dream at Bethel] stood the LORD, and He said: ‘I am the LORD, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. [Picture top right: Sacrifice of Isaac (Le sacrifice d’Abraham). Painting by Matthias Stom (1615 – 1649) | Credit Wikimedia Commons].  I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring. I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you’…”

“…After Jacob returned from Paddan Aram, God appeared to him again and blessed him. God said to him, ‘Your name is Jacob, but you will no longer be called Jacob; your name will be Israel.’ So He named him Israel… The land I gave to Abraham and Isaac I also give to you, and I will give this land to your descendants after you.’ Then God went up from him at the place where He had talked with him…”

Therefore the Bible calls Him the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, which is one of His Names. The lines of Ishmael (also a son of Abraham) and Esau (the twin brother of Jacob) were cut off from the line of the Abrahamic Covenant, although there certainly are great blessings in the Bible for Ishmael and his descendants. But the Covenant was with Isaac and Jacob. And the Covenant line continued after Jacob through his twelve sons which spawned the twelve tribes of Israel (Genesis 49).

Conditional and unconditional
Unconditional Covenants are those in which God promises to do certain things regardless. What He will do is not dependent upon the behaviour of the other partner(s) in these Covenants. God simply states what He is going to do, because He has made this decision for reasons of His own. In conditional Covenants the Lord promises to do something only if the other partner(s) keep their side of the covenant or contract, thereby meeting and fulfilling their obligations.

To clarify thinking on this point, we should note that an unconditional covenant, binding the maker of the covenant to a certain course of action, may have blessings attached to it that are conditional upon the response of the recipient. But these conditional blessings do not change the unconditional character of that covenant. The failure to observe that an unconditional covenant may have certain conditional blessings attached to it, has led many to the position that conditional blessings necessitate a conditional covenant, thus perverting the essential nature of Israel’s   determinative covenants. Israel frequently did not live up to God’s expectations, and consequently failed to obtain certain blessings. But this did not mean that God changed His mind, and could break the covenant. He will always do exactly as He promised.

We have seen that there are seven unconditional Covenants: (1) The Abrahamic Covenant (2) The Covenant of the Promised Land (3) The Levitical Covenant (4) The Davidic Covenant (5) The New Covenant (6) The Jerusalem Covenant (7) The Covenant of Peace.

There is one conditional Covenant: The Covenant of the Law (the Covenant of Sinai, the Mosaic Covenant, the ‘Old’ Covenant). This Covenant of the Law is the ‘Old’ Covenant. Paul discussed the difference between the ‘Old’ and the ‘New’ Covenant in his Epistle to the Hebrews. After he had explained the beauty of the New Covenant, he concluded in Hebrews 8:13: “…By calling this Covenant ‘New’, He has made the first one [the ‘Old’ one, the Covenant of the Law] obsolete; and what is obsolete and ageing will soon disappear…”

Paul does not say that this Covenant has already completed disappeared. Why not? Because the whole House of Israel has not yet received the revelation about Jesus and the fulfilment of the Covenant of the Law by Him. And also because the relationship of the wisdom of Torah to the Kingdom to come will remain. Isaiah 2:2-4: “…In the last days the mountain of the LORD’s Temple will be established as the highest of the mountains; it will be exalted above the hills, and all nations will stream to it. Many peoples will come and say, ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the Temple of the God of Jacob. He will teach us His ways, so that we may walk in His paths.’ The law [Torah] will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem…”

To be continued.. with: Chapter 4 – God’s Love and Covenants with Israel – Everlasting Covenants

The book “Israel: Covenants & Kingdom” and other books from Rev Willem J.J. Glashouwer can be ordered from the webshop of Christians for Israel International.


Rev Willem J.J. Glashouwer
President Christians for Israel International



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