The study of the major covenants helps you to better understand the scriptures (2 Tim. 3:16 – scripture is profitable for doctrine, first). The doctrinal or prophetic application of some verses would be obscure without knowing the right divisions in the Bible. In this lesson, we will study several passages in the Old Testament. We will locate them under their appropriate covenants. In other words, we will rightly divide the word of truth.
These divisions are most important when studying the time periods from the beginning of the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ through the beginning of eternity. The time periods are best described as follows:
|Jesus’ Ministry3 ½ years||Moses & DavidMt.5:17,18;Lk.1:32||Grace thru Faith & Works of the LawMt.8:3-4; Mt. 19:17; Mt. 23:23|
|Church Age2000 years||New1Cor.11:26;15:50-55||Grace thru Faith in Finished Atonement at CrossEph.2:8-9; Titus 3:5; Gal. 2:16-20|
|Tribulation7 years||Moses & NewRev.12:17;14:12||Grace thru Faith & Works, Can lose itMt. 24:13,20-21; Heb.3:6,14; Jas. 2:20-24|
|Millennium1000 years||New, DavidHeb. 8; Rev.20:4||WorksRev. 22:14, Mt. 5|
|EternityAfter White Throne||EternalRev.21:1-5||Sinless, Eternal PerfectionRev. 21:22-27|
Now in the Old Testament we can locate examples of these time periods. We will do this by finding the events that take place under the covenants in each passage. Keep in mind that the Second Advent of Christ is the most prophesied event in the Old Testament. The Second Coming takes place between the Tribulation and the Millennium. Therefore, you will find it often prophesied in Tribulation and Millennium passages.
These are examples of Old Testament prophecies concerning the earthly life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. In them, you will find references to his suffering and his glory (1 Pet. 1:10-11). That’s because under the covenant with Moses, Christ had to suffer the wrath of God for sin (Rom. 4:15; Gal. 3:11-13). And under the covenant with David, he was supposed to rule on David’s throne (Acts 2:36, 1 Cor. 2:8, Phil. 2:9-11). But he didn’t get to rule because the Jews rejected him.
Is. 7:14-16; Is. 9:6a; Is. 40:3-4; Is. 50:4-9; Ps. 41:9; Ps. 22:1-24; Is. 53:1-12; Ps. 16:10.
The Old Testament prophets didn’t “see” the Church. They “saw” the First Advent, the Tribulation, the Second Advent, and the Millennium. No one in the Old Testament was born again, spiritually circumcised, eternally secure, or baptized by the Holy Spirit into the body of Christ. These are all things that concern the Church. These are all New Testament doctrines. So, the Church only appears in type in the Old Testament.
Types: Gen. 24 – Abraham (type God the Father) sent a servant (type Holy Spirit) to get a gentile bride (type Church) for his son Isaac (type Jesus Christ) right after Sarah was buried (type Israel cut off in the Church Age); Est. 1:10-12,19 – Vashti (a gentile, type Church) was put away (type Rapture) for Esther (a Jew, type Israel in Tribulation).
These are examples of Old Testament prophecies concerning the assembly of nations against the Lord and the Jews, the day of trouble, the slaughter of the Jews, drought, famine, captivity, the shadow of death, feeding in the wilderness, and so forth. Under the covenant with Moses, the Jews were subject to certain curses for failing to keep the covenant (Deut. 28:15-68). The curses will come on them in full force during the Tribulation.
Ps. 2:1-3; Ps. 77:1-12; Ps. 79:1-9; Ps. 83:1-8; Ps. 107:4-5, 10-12, 17-18, 33-34
These are examples of Old Testament prophecies concerning the coming of the Lord to destroy the nations, rescue the Jews, end the drought, rule on the earth, receive praise, take over the world, and so forth. God ends the Tribulation with the coming of the Lord.
Ps. 2:4-5, 9; Ps. 77:16-18; Ps. 79:10-12; Ps. 83:13-17; Ps. 107:6-7, 13-14, 19-20
These are examples of Old Testament prophecies concerning the physical and spiritual restoration of Israel, the reign of the Lord Jesus Christ, the peaceful restoration of the earth, the continual praise of Jesus, and so forth. Under the New Covenant, Israel will be saved and Jesus will rule on David’s throne forever.
Ps. 2:6,8,10-12; Ps. 77:13-15; Ps. 79:13; Ps. 83:18; Ps. 107:1-3, 8-9, 15-16, 21-22, 35-38
Now these are just a few of the many examples of the major covenants as found in the Old Testament. In your studies, you should begin to locate the covenants so that you will know the doctrinal application of each verse. That will help you to understand your Bible and get more than just the spiritual application each time you read.