The Four Covenants with Israel and Their Associated Provisions and Key Elements


There are four covenants God made with Israel that are unconditional and bear much weight in prophecy and Israel. They are the Abrahamic Covenant, the Palestinian Covenant, the Davidic Covenant, and the New Covenant. The foundational Covenant of these four is the Abrahamic Covenant.

The Abrahamic covenant is an unconditional, unilateral, eternal covenant found in six passages of Scripture: Genesis 12:1-3, 12:7, 13:14-17, 15:1-21, 17:1-21, and 22:15-18. The persons involved in this covenant are God and Abraham. Abraham was the representation of the entire Jewish nation in by nature of his descendants in this covenant.

There are fourteen promises made in this covenant. First, a great nation would come from Abraham (Israel). Second, Abraham was given Canaan geographically. Third, Abraham would be blessed extensively. Fourth, Abraham would have a great name. Fifth, Abraham would become a blessing to others. Sixth, those who blessed would receive blessing themselves. Seventh, those who cursed Abraham would experience cursing of themselves. Eighth, all would be blessed ultimately by Abraham, specifically the Gentiles. Ninth, Sarah would bear Abraham a son. Tenth, Abraham’s seed would see bondage by the Egyptians. Eleventh, other nations beside Israel would descend from Abraham (Arabs). Twelfth, Abram’s name would be changed to Abraham. Thirteenth, Sarai’s name would be changed to Sarah. Finally, circumcision on the eight day would be the token of the covenant.[1]

This would be a unilateral covenant meaning that the responsibility would be completed by God unconditionally. The land would be covered in the Palestinian covenant, the seed would be developed in the Davidic covenant, and the blessing would be ultimately designated in the new covenant. Much of the Abrahamic covenant has been unfulfilled to this day and will ultimately be completed in the Millennium.

This covenant was confirmed and reconfirmed several times to Abraham and his descendants. In Genesis 26:2-5 and 24 Jehovah appears to Isaac and reminds him of the covenant that God made with his father that would continue through Isaac. Later in Genesis 28:13-15, God moves the covenant through Jacob to establish the perpetuality of it. The twelve sons then became the twelve tribes of Israel that would be the patriarchs of the nation to whom God would work this covenant through.

The second unconditional covenant is called the Palestinian covenant because it mainly has to do with the geographical land of Palestine. Fruchtenbaum prefers the more accurate term of “Land Covenant” to reduce confusion with what we associate with Palestine in this day.[2] The main text for this covenant is found in Deuteronomy 29:1-30:20. It is not a part of the Mosaic Covenant but separate as stated in 29:1.

There are eight provisions in this covenant. First, Israel would be scattered because of their disobedience to Moses’ law. Second, Israel would repent. Third, the Messiah would return. Fourth, Israel would be regathered. Fifth, Israel would finally possess all the area in the Promised Land that He had originally intended for them to conquer. Sixth, Israel would be regenerated. Seventh, the foes of the Jews would be under God’s judgment. Eighth, the complete blessings of the millennial kingdom would be enjoyed by Israel.[3]

The importance of the Palestinian Covenant is that God gave His full stamp of approval and affirmation of Israel’s legitimate right to the land He promised her. Her disobedience conditioned her enjoyment of the land but never did it relinquish her right to ownership. The unconditional Abrahamic covenant bypasses the Mosaic covenant conditions through this Palestinian covenant and is in effect today where ultimately it will be fulfilled during the Millennial kingdom.

The next covenant is the Davidic Covenant. Two primary passages spell out the Davidic Covenant. They are 2 Samuel 7:11b- 17 and 1 Chronicles 17:10b-15. The Samuel passage focuses on Solomon’s role and the Chronicles passage emphasizes Messiah’s[4]. This covenant was made between God and David as David represented the kingly line of Israel.

This covenant has seven provisions. First, an eternal dynasty kingdom is eternally promised to David through his descendants. Second, Solomon would take the throne after David’s death. Third, the temple would not be built by David because of his shedding of blood in war and his murder of Uriah, but by Solomon. Fourth, David’s throne and Solomon’s kingdom or his authority to rule would be forever established. Fifth, although Solomon would be punished for his disobedience, God would not take away His lovingkindness from him because of the unconditional nature of the covenant. Sixth, the Messiah would come from the line of David. Seventh, the Messiah would rule His kingdom forever.[5]

So four main things from these seven provisions are promised in summary: an everlasting dynasty, an eternal kingdom, and an eternal descendant promised thorough the Messiah.[6] The Davidic covenant amplifies the seed portion of the Abrahamic covenant and narrowed down to the Israelites from who the Redeemer would be born. Much of the Davidic covenant is still unfulfilled and will be seen in its fullness in the Millennium.

The New Covenant is recorded in Jeremiah 31:31-34. Nine promises are seen in this covenant. First, the nature of the covenant is unconditional involving God and both houses of Israel, the entire nation of Israel, or all Jews. Second, it is not involved with the temporal and conditional Mosaic covenant and is the cancellation of the Mosaic Law. Third, the new covenant will see Israel as a nation regenerated. Fourth, this regeneration will be for all Jews from the initial generation to succeeding generations, and therefore the unregenerate people at that time will be in the group of Gentiles. Fifth, forgiveness of sin will be provided for since the Mosaic covenant could only accomplish covering of sin but not forgiveness. Sixth, the Holy Spirit will supply the power to obey God’s righteous expectations of man. Seventh, physical blessings will be given to Israel as they are empowered to Keep God’s righteous law. Eight, the temple would be rebuilt for worship in the Millennium. Ninth, the Law of Christ rather than the Law of Moses would be the standard of obedience.[7]

The New Covenant expounds the blessings of the Abrahamic Covenant and because it is unconditional it is in action today in some parts but will ultimately be fulfilled in the millennial reign of Christ. This covenant is the basis now for the age of grace in which the church participates in and enjoys the salvation and spiritual blessings spoken of.

Each of these four covenants has parts that have been partially fulfilled and others that have yet to see fulfillment. The partial fulfillment does not cast doubt on the fulfillment of these four, but rather proves the future fulfillment of these. The very character of God will see these entirely fulfilled as they relate to the nation of Israel in the Messianic Kingdom.

[1] Fruchtenbaum, Israelology. 574-575.

[2] Ibid 581.

[3] Ibid 582.

[4] Ibid 583-584.

[5] Ibid 584-585.

[6] Ibid 585.

[7] Ibid 586-587.

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