BY ELDER DR MASIMBA MAVAZA
_Memory Text: And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you’ ” (Genesis 17:7, NKJV).
This week we will look at the idea of the covenant as expressed in the book of Deuteronomy, where the covenant and all that it entails is made manifest.
Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth—to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people” (Rev. 14:6, NKJV). Notice, “the everlasting gospel,” everlasting as in always existing, as in having always been there, as in having been promised to us in Christ Jesus “before time began” (Titus 1:2, NKJV).
Hence, it’s no wonder that the Bible talks at other times about the “everlasting covenant” (Gen. 17:7, Isa. 24:5, Ezek. 16:60, Heb. 13:20), because the essence of the gospel is covenant, and the essence of the covenant is the gospel: God out of His saving grace and love offers you a salvation that you do not deserve and cannot possibly earn; and you, in response, love Him back “with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30, NKJV), a love that is made manifest by obedience to His law: “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments” (1 John 5:3, NKJV).
SABBATH: The gospel & covenant are entwined—“the essence of the gospel is covenant & the essence of the covenant is the gospel.” This is epitomized by the first angel’s message where the gospel (Rev. 14:6) is declared as “everlasting”. The covenant between God & man is also “everlasting” (Gen. 17:7, Isa. 24:5, Ezek. 16:60, Heb. 13:20, Titus 1:2). We’re to love God back for saving us (Mark 12:30, 1 John 5:3).
SUNDAY: Salvation by faith alone is the basis of the lifelong covenant & gospel. God united with man in an eternal covenant even before the nation Israel (e.g. patriarchs like Noah). By faith, Abraham entered into a solemn covenant with God (Gen. 12:1-3; 15:5-18, Rom. 4:1-5). He kept his end of the deal by exact obedience & was credited to him as righteousness (Gen. 22, Rom. 4:5, Gal. 3:7-9, Jer. 31:33, Lev. 26:12).
MONDAY: God close Israel only out of grace & entered into a covenant with them to bless His people as they obeyed & witnessed Him to neighbor nations (Deut. 9:5, 9:27). God’s covenant with the fathers of Israel came with promises which was passed on from age to age. He forgave & blessed Israel because of the covenant of grace (Exod. 2:24, 6:8, Lev. 26:42, Exod. 20). Central to the covenant is the law & gospel.
TUESDAY: Covenant (which is berit in Hebrew) is often found in the book of Deuteronomy—making it the book of the covenant. Israel was under covenant obligation for all God’s grace shown to them. The requirement was obedience. When they sinned, they detoured for 40 years. God renewed His covenant with them by giving them His law. He hopes to save us (Deut. 5:1-21, Gen. 12:7, Exod. 12:25; DA, p. 834).
WEDNESDAY: The culture of the neighbor nations of Israel was of pagan invention. Some worshiped more than a god & accepted child sacrifice. God warned Israel not to borrow from this pagan practices & philosophies (Deut. 18:9). Instead, Israel was to be a light to the pagan nations & a special witness for God. Through Israel the gospel invitation was to be extended to all people on earth (Deut. 26:16-19, John 14:6).
THURSDAY: In ancient Israel, legal or covenantal agreement between kingdoms was a norm. Moses made used of images that the people could understand to reveal their covenant agreement with God. God was to them a corrective father & their bodies were God’s temple, & they were to abide in God, their Rock (Deut. 8:5, 14:1, 32:6, 18-20). God invited them to be His family (Deut. 4:20, 32:9, Matt. 28:10).
FRIDAY: Although the law forms an integral part of the covenant, we cannot in our own selves be sinless. The covenant itself, made with Abraham, is of grace. Human might cannot secure salvation. We have to practice the obedience & faith of Abraham. The gospel he received is the same being preached to us today. God’s covenant to redeem man was not an afterthought but had always existed. God saves!
—Ellen G. White Comments, The SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 6, p. 1077 & The Desire of Ages, p. 834.
DA- The Desire of Ages
SUNDAY- The Covenant And The Gospel
MONDAY- The Covenant And Israel
TUESDAY- The Book Of The Covenant
WEDNESDAY- His Special People
THURSDAY- Other Images
📌 Dwell on the idea that even before the foundation of the world, the Father and Son had “united in a covenant” to redeem us if the race fell. Why should that be so encouraging to us? What should this teach us about how much God wants us to be saved into His kingdom?
📌 As the Seventh-day Adventist Church, in what ways should we fulfill the role that ancient Israel should have fulfilled in its time? How can we learn to avoid the mistakes that they made?
📌 Why are the gospel and the promises of the gospel so central to the whole idea of the new covenant? What texts can you find in the New Testament that show how the law and obedience to the law were not abolished under the new covenant, as commonly taught by other Christians? Why do you think so many Christians say that the gospel nullifies the need to keep the Ten Commandment.