The Everlasting Covenant of Christ

By Todd Dennis (todd @
Written in 1995, Updated 2007

Dr. John Gill: The Body of Divinity (1769)

Galatians 3:16 “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seedwhich is Christ.”

Of What Is The Old Testament a Record?
Were the People of Israel saved by the works of the law?

In any study regarding God’s relationship with man, we must turn to the Bible to see the terms of the association. For example, in the garden of Eden, Adam and Eve were told that they could eat of every tree, except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:17). Part of the mercy and greatness of God is that He has always been very clear as to what He expects and demands of His people. Unlike the confusion and uncertainty that led the followers of dead gods to sacrifice babies for placation, God has plainly and delicately declared His righteousness and expectations. In the Bible, we see this association many times presented in the revelatory relationship that God calls “covenants.”

One of the first covenants mentioned in the Bible is found in the book of Genesis, at chapter six. This covenant was between God and all future inhabitants of the earth, promising never to destroy the earth again with a flood. This contract was made between God and man, with the rainbow as the token, or sign, of His perpetual performance of that promise (Gen. 9:13).

The entirety of the Word of God is seen in relation to another covenant of God.   In fact, the covenant is revealed in the very first promise in the Bible.   This covenant was forthtold in the garden of Eden, as God declared to the Serpent, “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed, and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel” (Gen. 3:15). This same truth was later told to a man by the name of Abraham, as being a promise that was made to him, as well as his ‘seed’ (Gal 3:16). In Genesis, chapter twelve, God tells Abram that he would make of him and his seed a great nation. In chapters fifteen and seventeen, we can read the full presentation of this revelation, which is full of promises to Abraham and his seed, promising an inheritance of many things, most notably an everlasting possession of land, abundant prosperity, and numerous posterity. If we are going to understand the rest of the Word of God, especially who Jesus Christ is, we must understand what this promised covenant truly is, and its significance.

To study this issue in the Bible, however, we must acknowledge the unity of the Old and New Testaments. In the Old Testament, we can see how that God, from at least the time of the curse in the Garden of Eden, promised that there would come a Saviour for His people (Gen 3:15). In Genesis 12:3, this same promise is given to Abraham, couched in the terms, “In thee shall all families of the earth be blessed” (Gen. 12:3) This was the declaration that through the line of Abraham would come the Messiah, who we know was revealed in the New Testament (Gal. 3:8). This is confirmed, and the greater importance of this covenant shown, as we are told in Galatians 3:816-18 that this covenant was more than just a promise… It was the gospel of Christ revealed.

In order to understand what the Old Testament is, and its relationship to the New, we must first establish that the words ‘testament’ and ‘covenant’ are synonymous. The word ‘testament’ and ‘covenant’ both are defined as referring to a binding contract. Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines the word ‘testament’ as being “equivalent to covenant”. Hebrews 9:20, in quoting an Old Testament passage, mentions “…the blood of the testament…” The Old Testament passage quoted from, in Exodus 24:8, identifies it as “…the blood of the covenant…” Strong’s Greek Dictionary defines the word “diatheke” using the words covenant and testament interchangeably. Therefore, when we mention the Old Testament, we are referring to the Old Covenant; and when we refer to the New Testament, we are speaking of the New Covenant, both of which dominate the pages of their respective revelatory sections. What, though, is the Old Testament/Covenant? Most teach that it is a “Mosaic Covenant of law”. The purpose of this guide will be to show that this is simply not so.

Contained within the account of Moses going before the Lord prior to the giving of the law, God mentions a previous covenant (Ex. 19:5). It reads, “Now, therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant…” To which covenant was God referring? We know that, since this was prior to the giving of the Siniatic Law, as well as the Moabic ceremonial covenant (Deut. 29:1 – See The Covenant and its substitute), it cannot be referring to any ‘Mosaic covenant”. In Exodus 2:23, in reference to the people of Israel being in bondage, we learn that “God heard their groaning, and remembered his covenant” Which covenant did God remember? Certainly not one that had not been made yet! This teaches that God did not make an entirely new covenant at Sinai, but, rather, that he remembered the previous covenant- that which was made with Abraham. Hebrews 4:2 confirms the fact that the words which were “preached” to the children of Israel were actually the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In Exodus 6:2-8, God confirms that His working through Moses was in reference to the original gospel covenant. In fact, Galatians chapter three, in addressing whether the ceremonial Law (which was the Moabic substitute of the initial Horebic [Siniatic/Abrahamic] covenant- Deut. 29:1) was superior to the Abrahamic covenant, reads, “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made… And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect. For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise” (vv. 16-19). This clearly identifies the covenant as being before the giving of the Law, with the ceremonial law being added later because of transgression (Exodus 32:9-10; v. 19). Therefore, the Old Testament is that covenant between God and Abraham and his seed, who we are told, in Galatians 3:16, is not the children of Israel after the flesh, but Christ alone. This promise made to Abraham was the same promise made to Eve, that Christ would destroy the authority of the devil, even though He would be bruised in the process.

This understanding explains the nature of Old Testament salvation. Many teach that it was through the works of the ceremonial law, but the Bible clearly teaches otherwise. Galatians chapter three, specifically, gives the answer, showing that all, including Abraham, are not saved by works, but by faith. This applies today to Jews and Gentiles alike. Verse 11 teaches us that “no man is justified by the law”. Instead, we see that one was saved through the same means as in the New Testament.

Hebrews 11:1 tells us that “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it, the elders obtained a good report.” They obtained a good report (i.e. salvation) by faith. This must be so, because verse six tells us that “without faith it is impossible to please (God).” So we know that only through faith is one saved, and verse 13 tells us that the Old Testament saints died in faith… but faith in what? The answer to this question is found in verse 39, which shows that these people obtained a good report through faith, but even so, they received not the promise. This promise is what they had faith in, and it was that faith that brought them a good report- eternal life, the salvation of the soul. But what was the promise, and how does it apply to the Old Covenant?

Galatians 3:16 teaches us that, “to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.” The promise was given to Abraham and his seed, who is Christ Jesus. Acts 13:23 tells us that, “Of this man’s (David’s) seed hath God according to his promise raised unto Israel a Saviour.” So, therefore, the promise referred to was that the Saviour would be raised to redeem to his people from their sins. It was faith in the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ, that brought a good report to the people.

This applies to the Old Testament, in that the Abrahamic Covenant was a promise made to Jesus Christ, the seed of Abraham, that he would be made great, the father of many nations, and that in him would all nations of the earth be blessed, with curses falling upon those that cursed Him. This is why Galatians 3:8 called the ‘Abrahamic’ covenant ‘the gospel’. The true Old Testament/Covenant was always a covenant of promise… for salvation through Jesus Christ to those of faith.

The confusion come as a result of misunderstanding as to the manifestation of this covenant in the law of Moses, which was built upon inferior promises (Heb. 8:6) than those shown to Abraham and Moses, as well as any others of faith (Ex. 19:5,6; fulfilled in Christ always, 1 Peter 2:9).

Old Testament salvation, therefore was the same as New Testament salvation… faith in Jesus Christ. The only difference is that the Old Testament saints died in faith before they were given the full revelation of the righteousness of Christ; the New Covenant believers have the full revelation of Jesus Christ with which to clothe themselves.

Therefore, the Old Covenant was an Inferior Revelation of the Eternal Gospel

What do YOU think ?

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Date:17 Nov 2004Time:04:51:15


Dear brothers in christ, I lovely feel so good to have your information about your organisation. please email me to know how we shall work together in unity. my email is ( pastor Nse Akpan Nigeria

Date: 02 Nov 2005
Time: 15:48:18


The Law of Moses was the lesser Law when Moses went back on the Mount Christ forbid Moses from giving the Higher Priesthood. John the Baptist had the lesser priesthood or the Aaronic P.H. It is referred to before the Children were found worshipping the golden Calf. John the Baptist said this when he spoke of Christ as baptising with fire and giving the Holy Ghost. after Christ ordained his Apostles they had to go behind John the Baptist and confer the Holy Ghost, as John did not have the Higher Priesthood like Christ and the Apostles.

Christ was ordained to the Melchezedek Priesthood in Romans. Most Ministers don;t know what the Priesthood or how to get it> In Mathiew there are two men that come up behind Christ and said they had cast out devils and healed the sick in Christ’s name and Christ says to them get behind me, ye that work iniquity, he said this because they did not have Christ’s priesthood or know how to get it.

Date: 08 Dec 2009
Time: 10:37:19

Your Comments:

Todd: Error at the end of the second paragraph – should be Gen. 9:13, not 6:13. AD 70 preterists somehow fail to recognize that the Gen. 9 covenant was made between God and the whole world, not just with the later-appearing nation of Israel. The errors of preterism’s Israel-only theology all develop from that fact. Christ’s parousia was a world event, not an Israel event.

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