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What Did Jesus Say? (2012) - 7 topics 

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Appendix D: The Abrahamic Covenant

Most Christians are unaware that Paul also overthrew the true Abrahamic Covenant. Paul's arguments create a de-facto new Abrahamic covenant from Genesis 15:5-6. Paul insisted it had priority over the true Abrahamic covenant which is recorded in Genesis 17:1-7. Paul says the alleged promise in Genesis 15:6 of justification by faith is inherited by the offspring of Abraham, including believers in Christ (Gal. 3:6, 26). However, Genesis 15:5-6 does not say any such thing. In making this claim, Paul makes of none effect the terms of the true Abrahamic Covenant of Genesis 17:1-7. How so?

First, Paul tries to claim the promise of Genesis 15:6 created faith alone as a basis of Abraham being right with God. Gal. 3:6. (As discussed elsewhere, this verse had nothing to do with imputed righteousness.) 1 Then Paul says we inherit the promise of Genesis 15:5 (blessing of offspring as the number of stars) by the sheer step of faith that supposedly justified Abraham in Genesis 15:6. (Gal. 3:26.) The problem is that Paul has utterly ignored that there is no covenant offered with either Abraham or with any offspring in Genesis 15:5-6. A covenant with Abraham is only offered in Genesis 17:1-7, specifically mentioning it runs in favor of Abraham's offspring: "And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee." (Gen 17:7.) 2 Please also note it was an eternal covenant. Its terms would never expire.

Furthermore, the condition of the Abrahamic covenant is not faith, but the obedience of Abraham: "walk before me, and be thou blameless and 3 I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly." (Gen 17:1-2.) Consequently, Abraham and his "seed after you" had a duty in turn to "keep my covenant." (Gen. 17:3.) God repeats this in Genesis 18:19, saying that the covenant promise of God is contingent on Abraham obeying and teaching his children to obey God's commands. 4 Then, after Abraham's death, God affirmed to Isaac that Abraham had obeyed all God's law, which now justified God keeping His side of the covenant to Abraham's seed, namely Isaac:

(1)... And Isaac went... unto Gerar. (2) And Jehovah appeared unto him, and said, Go not down into Egypt. Dwell in the land which I shall tell thee of. (3) Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee. For unto thee, and unto thy seed, I will give all these lands, and I will establish the oath which I sware unto Abraham thy father. (4) And I will multiply thy seed as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these lands. And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed. (5) Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws. Gen 26:1-5 (ASV)

Thus, Paul turned a mere promise to Abraham alone in Genesis 15:5-6 into something it was never intended to be. Paul made it a distinct covenant of righteousness by faith that belonged to Abraham's offspring. Paul has caused generations of Christians to ignore the true covenant made between Abraham and God that was inheritable. It was clearly one premised on Abraham "walking with me blamelessly" in which case God "will" later enter into a covenant with Abraham. Gen. 17:1-2. We know from Genesis 26:1-5 that Abraham did obey God's commandments, and that God did assume His obligation under the covenant. God at that juncture brought a blessing on offspring of Abraham. The blessing was obtained by a covenant of obedience, not one upon faith alone.

Indeed, thereafter the terms of the true Abrahamic Covenant remained "eternal," just as God said. (Gen. 17:7.) This is ignored by Pauline Christians for it would overthrow Paul's Gospel if ever accepted.

For the same terms of the Abrahamic Covenant were then repeated by Moses in the Law in Deuteronomy 6:25: "And it shall be righteousness unto us, if we observe to do all this commandment before Jehovah our God, as he hath commanded us." Mercy is always possible for transgression if you turn from evil (Deut.13:17), but righteousness was only to be imputed again if repentance ensued. (Ezekiel 33:12-14.)

This is why the Prophet Daniel likewise repeated the obedience-requirement for covenant promises to be kept: "And I prayed unto Jehovah my God, and made confession, and said, Oh, Lord, the great and dreadful God, who keepeth covenant and lovingkindness with them that love him and keep his commandments..." Dan 9:4.

Then of course Jesus put the same emphasis on "obeying" all "my teaching" for eternal life in John 8:51. Then, of course, if you fail to obey but you repent from sin and turn back to obedience, you are once more "justified" with God. (Luke 18:10 ff.) But those who "keep on disobeying the son continue to have the wrath of God reside on them." (John 3:36 ASV.)

Thus, we see all three covenants have identical principles on obedience and justification. They are a continuum of an identical message. God's promise of salvation is upon those who obey all His commands, statutes and ordinances. Atonement under such a system only applied to those who fled the altar first to be reconciled to the one they knew they had sinned against, as Jesus Himself said. (Matthew 5:23-24.) 5 As Jesus repeatedly said, if you violate the commandments, you must engage in severe repentance (figuratively cut off offending body parts) to avoid being sent to hell. (Matthew 5:29,Matthew 18:8, and Mark 9:42-48.) Thus, all three covenants match each other with the same salvation doctrine.

This explains why God could say the Abrahamic covenant was "an everlasting covenant" (Gen 17:7) just as God could say "these ordinances" given Moses in the Law shall be "everlasting for all generations." (Ex. 27:21; 30:21; Lev. 6:18; 7:36; 10:9; 17:7; 23:14, 21, 41; 24:3; Num. 10:8.)

But if obedience to the Law creates justification (Deut. 6:25) this never meant it does so without faith, as Paul assumed. A command to have faith is not absent in the Law. Jesus said the "weightier matters of the Law" include not only Justice and Mercy, but also Faith. (Matt. 23:23.) A command to have faith/trust is found numerous times in the Law and Prophets, e.g., Deut. 31:6; Isaiah 26:4; and Jer. 17:7.

1. See pages 251-53, 495, and 507.

2. Pauline-biased scholars try to assert the covenant was put in place fourteen years earlier than Genesis 17:1-7. They claim it really was instituted when we read the promise in Genesis 15:5-6. (Keil & Delitzsch.) However, that is not testing Paul by God's word for consistency, is it? That is backward reading into a passage to vindicate Paul. However, there is nothing in Genesis 17:1-7 to suggest any covenant was previously in place. In fact, as worded in Genesis 17:1-7, a covenant is still only a plan of God in the future, dependent on Abraham's obedience which had to be proven, not assumed. Genesis 17 reads: "And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, Jehovah appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be thou blameless [a]nd I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly." (Gen 17:1-2 NAS.)

3. Some break these two clauses by putting a period before and. The apparent rationale is to weaken the embarrassing conditionality of obedience to God's adoption of the Abrahamic Covenant. The correct translation has no period, such as in the Geneva Study Bible, Latin Vulgate, Websters, Young's Literal, Italian Riveduta, Contemporary English Version, etc. The period punctuation appears in the KJV, NAS and the German Luther Bible. Yet, even with a period before and, the conditionality remains.

4. "For I have known him [Abraham], to the end that he may command his children and his household after him, that they may keep the way of Jehovah, to do [work] righteousness and justice; to the end that Jehovah may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him." (Gen. 18:19 ASV.)

5. For a full discussion on this passage, and the clear reference to the Days of Ten, see index.


Study Notes

Jesus’ words about obedience are identical to the Abrahamic Covenant that God said was an “eternal covenant.” Thus, Jesus’ words prove it survived even in a New Covenant. This covenant was first entered into at Genesis 17. (Due to Paul, a myth has been born this covenant took place many years earlier in Genesis 15. Keil & Delitzsch. However, you will see no such covenant mentioned in Genesis 15.)

Genesis 17 reads: “And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, Jehovah appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be thou blameless. And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly.” (Gen 17:1-2 NAS.) Then God says this would be an eternal covenant: “And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee and to thy seed after thee.” (Gen 17:7.)

Thus, God set the condition as obedience. If performed by Abraham, then God will make a Covenant.

Much later,God is prepared now to institute His side of the covenant (to multiply Abraham’s seed) “because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.” Gen 26:4-5.

Realizing the Abrahamic covenant is actually contingent on actual obedience, not faith, what do Pauline commentators say eternal in Genesis 17:7 means? Gil says “everlasting covenant” here may mean “until the Messiah came, in whom the covenant ... was at an end.” Thus, the eternal nature of the Abrahamic Covenant, which Jesus repeated, is overthrown when you follow Paul to a logical conclusion. What was eternal before is no longer eternal when Paul's words are factored into the equation.