The Biblical Covenants

Covenants contained in the Scriptures are of primary importance to the interpreter of the Word and to the student of Eschatology. God (YHWH)’s eschatological program is determined and prescribed by these covenants and one’s eschatological system is determined and limited by the interpretation of them. These covenants must be studied diligently as the basis of Biblical Eschatology.It must be observed at the very outset of this study that the Biblical Covenants are quite different from the theological covenants posited by the Covenant theologian. He sees the ages of history as the development of a covenant made between God and sinners, by which God would save, through the value of the death of Christ, all who come to Him by faith”. ‘While there is much in the position of the Covenant theologian that is in agreement with Scripture, Covenant theology is woefully inadequate to explain the Scriptures eschatologically, for it ignores the great field of the Biblical covenants which determine the whole eschatological program.”
(Dwight Pentecost)

The major Biblical Covenants of the Holy Bible are mostly between God and Israel. This study, then, is not occupied with the covenants contained in Reformed Theology, but rather with the determinative covenants set forth in the Scriptures.
(Things to Come by Dwight Pentecost)

The covenants of God contained in Scripture fall into two classes, those that are conditional and those that are unconditional.  A conditional covenant is one in which God’s action is in response to some action on the part of those to whom the covenant is addressed.  A conditional covenant guarantees that God will do Him part with absolute certainty when the human requirements are met, but if man fails, God is not obligated to fulfill His covenant.

An unconditional covenant, while it may include certain human contingencies, is a declaration of the certain purpose of God, and the promises of an unconditional covenant is distinguished from a conditional covenant by the fact that its ultimate fulfillment is promised by God and depends upon God’s power and sovereignty.

An unconditional covenant, while it may include certain human contingencies, is a declaration of the certain purpose of God, and the promises of an unconditional covenant is distinguished from a conditional covenant by the fact that its ultimate fulfillment is promised by God and depends upon God’s power and sovereignty.

There are eight biblical covenants given in the Bible.  They are: Edenic (Genesis. 2:16); Adamic (Genesis. 3:15; Noahic (Genesis 9:16); Abrahamic (Genesu 12:2); Mosaic (Exodus 19:5); Palestinian (Deuteronomy.30:3); Davidic (2 Samuel. 7:16); and New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:31-34).  Six are unconditional and two are conditional.  In our study we will determine which are conditional and which are unconditional.

Although covenants in the Ancient Near East could have parity between parties (such as agreements between Hittites and Egyptians), covenants in the Torah were generally one-sided. However, covenants can either be conditional or unconditional in the Torah. Some appear to have the form of a Suzerainty treaty where there are clear stipulation to be upheld by both parties involved, but other covenants do not have stipulations and represent a divine charter or gift. As an example see the Abrahamic Covenant below that can involve both conditional and unconditional covenants.

The Edenic Covenant

The Edenic Covenant, a test of obedience, was the first covenant that God made with man.  It is the first of the general or universal covenants

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
(Genesis 1:26-31 ESV)

The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
(Genesis 2:15-17 ESV)

The Adamic Covenant

The Adamic Covenant was made with man after the fall. This is the covenant in which God declares to man what his lot in life will be because of his sin.  There is no appeal allowed, nor is any human responsibility involved.

The LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field; on your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” To the woman he said, “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.” And to Adam he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
(Genesis 3:14-19 ESV)

Throughout history, we are told that the serpent beguiled Eve and deceived her into eating the forbidden fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Paul the Apostle said, “Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor” (1 Timothy 2:11-14 ESV). Clearly Eve was deceived and Adam choose to participate in her transgression because of his love for her. The serpent never deceived Adam.

The serpent which was used of Satan was cursed for his actions. The Genesis natative says, The LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field; on your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life” (Genesis 3:15).

Although the disobedience had brought a curse upon themselves and all future generation, God promised them a redeemer. “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel” (Genesis 3:15 ESV). This is both the first prophecy in Scripture and it refers to the Virgin Birth of the coming Messiah  (women have no seed).

Due to sin, mankind will henceforth earn his bread by the sweat of his brow. “And to Adam he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return” (Genesis 3:17-19 ESV).

Furthmore, mankind’s life will be one of sorrow and ultimate death. “By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return” (Genesis 3:19 ESV). Paul the Apostle said, “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ–by grace you have been saved– and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
(Ephesians 2:4-7 ESV)

The Noahic Covenant

The Noahic Covenant the promise that God made to Noah and his descendants after the flood which destroyed the world. The Noahic Covenant has several distinguishing features. First, it is an unconditional covenant. Second, it was made to Noah and all his descendents as well as “every living creature” and the earth in general  Third, it was sealed with a sign, the rainbow.

And when the LORD smelled the pleasing aroma, the LORD said in his heart, “I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth. Neither will I ever again strike down every living creature as I have done. While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.”
(Genesis 8:21-22 ESV)

And you, be fruitful and multiply, teem on the earth and multiply in it.” Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him, “Behold, I establish my covenant with you and your offspring after you, and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the livestock, and every beast of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark; it is for every beast of the earth. I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.” And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh. And the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant that I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth.” The sons of Noah who went forth from the ark were Shem, Ham, and Japheth. (Ham was the father of Canaan.)
(Genesis 9:7-18 ESV)

This covenant, while repeating some of the features of the Adamic covenant, introduced a new principle of human government as a means to curb sin.  It revealed God’s purpose for the race subsequent to Noah.

The normal order of nature was reaffirmed. “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease” (Genesis 8:22 ESV) and “The fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth and upon every bird of the heavens, upon everything that creeps on the ground and all the fish of the sea. Into your hand they are delivered” (Genesis 9:2 ESV).

Mankind (and animals) were no longer vegetarian. God gave us permission to eat their flesh. “Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything. But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood” (Genesis 9:3-4 ESV).

God told Noah that mankind would have dominion over manking (human govenment). “And for your lifeblood I will require a reckoning: from every beast I will require it and from man. From his fellow man I will require a reckoning for the life of man. “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image.” (Genesis 9:5-6 ESV) and “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.” (Romans 13:1-7 ESV)

The Abrahamic Covenant

The Abrahamic Covenant is one of the great revelations of God concerning future history, and in it, profound promises were given.  It is the first theocratic covenant (pertaining to the rule of God).

God told Abram to do three things: 1) To get out of his city and country; 2) To separate himself from his family; and 3) To go to a land that He would show him. There were four promises that God made to Abram: 1) He would become the father of a great nation; 2) He would be blessed and his name would be great; 3) God would bless those who blessed him and curse those who cursed him; and 4) All the families of the earth would be blessed in him.

The Mosaic Covenant

The Mosaic Covenant was given through Moses for the children of Israel.  It was a conditional covenant and embodied the principle that if Israel was obedient, God would bless them, but if Israel were disobedient, God would course and discipline them.  The Mosaic covenant was also temporary and would terminate at the cross of Christ. It is the second theocratic covenant.

Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel.” So Moses came and called the elders of the people and set before them all these words that the LORD had commanded him. All the people answered together and said, “All that the LORD has spoken we will do.” And Moses reported the words of the people to the LORD.
(Exodus 19:5-8 ESV)

And God spoke all these words, saying, “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. “You shall have no other gods before me. “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments. “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain. “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you. “You shall not murder. “You shall not commit adultery. “You shall not steal. “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.”
(Exodus 20:1-17 ESV)

The Palestinian Covenant

The Palestinian Covenant was both a conditional and an unconditional covenant regarding Israel’s final possession of the land. Ownership of the land is unconditional. It is the third theocratic covenant.

GotQuestions: What is the Palestinian Covenant?

This covenant came after the Mosaic Covenant and after Israel had wandered in the wilderness for forty years until the generation that had refused to enter the Promised Land had passed away. God made this covenant with Israel while they were in Moab waiting to go into the Promised Land, and the covenant would serve this new generation of Israelites as a reminder of their special covenant relationship with God.

“And if you faithfully obey the voice of the LORD your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the LORD your God. Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the field. Blessed shall be the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground and the fruit of your cattle, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock. Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out. “The LORD will cause your enemies who rise against you to be defeated before you. They shall come out against you one way and flee before you seven ways. The LORD will command the blessing on you in your barns and in all that you undertake. And he will bless you in the land that the LORD your God is giving you. The LORD will establish you as a people holy to himself, as he has sworn to you, if you keep the commandments of the LORD your God and walk in his ways. And all the peoples of the earth shall see that you are called by the name of the LORD, and they shall be afraid of you. And the LORD will make you abound in prosperity, in the fruit of your womb and in the fruit of your livestock and in the fruit of your ground, within the land that the LORD swore to your fathers to give you. The LORD will open to you his good treasury, the heavens, to give the rain to your land in its season and to bless all the work of your hands. And you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow. And the LORD will make you the head and not the tail, and you shall only go up and not down, if you obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you today, being careful to do them, and if you do not turn aside from any of the words that I command you today, to the right hand or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them. “But if you will not obey the voice of the LORD your God or be careful to do all his commandments and his statutes that I command you today, then all these curses shall come upon you and overtake you. Cursed shall you be in the city, and cursed shall you be in the field. Cursed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. Cursed shall be the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock. Cursed shall you be when you come in, and cursed shall you be when you go out. “The LORD will send on you curses, confusion, and frustration in all that you undertake to do, until you are destroyed and perish quickly on account of the evil of your deeds, because you have forsaken me. The LORD will make the pestilence stick to you until he has consumed you off the land that you are entering to take possession of it. The LORD will strike you with wasting disease and with fever, inflammation and fiery heat, and with drought and with blight and with mildew. They shall pursue you until you perish. And the heavens over your head shall be bronze, and the earth under you shall be iron. The LORD will make the rain of your land powder. From heaven dust shall come down on you until you are destroyed. “The LORD will cause you to be defeated before your enemies. You shall go out one way against them and flee seven ways before them. And you shall be a horror to all the kingdoms of the earth. And your dead body shall be food for all birds of the air and for the beasts of the earth, and there shall be no one to frighten them away. The LORD will strike you with the boils of Egypt, and with tumors and scabs and itch, of which you cannot be healed. The LORD will strike you with madness and blindness and confusion of mind, and you shall grope at noonday, as the blind grope in darkness, and you shall not prosper in your ways. And you shall be only oppressed and robbed continually, and there shall be no one to help you. You shall betroth a wife, but another man shall ravish her. You shall build a house, but you shall not dwell in it. You shall plant a vineyard, but you shall not enjoy its fruit. Your ox shall be slaughtered before your eyes, but you shall not eat any of it. Your donkey shall be seized before your face, but shall not be restored to you. Your sheep shall be given to your enemies, but there shall be no one to help you. Your sons and your daughters shall be given to another people, while your eyes look on and fail with longing for them all day long, but you shall be helpless. A nation that you have not known shall eat up the fruit of your ground and of all your labors, and you shall be only oppressed and crushed continually, so that you are driven mad by the sights that your eyes see. The LORD will strike you on the knees and on the legs with grievous boils of which you cannot be healed, from the sole of your foot to the crown of your head. “The LORD will bring you and your king whom you set over you to a nation that neither you nor your fathers have known. And there you shall serve other gods of wood and stone. And you shall become a horror, a proverb, and a byword among all the peoples where the LORD will lead you away. You shall carry much seed into the field and shall gather in little, for the locust shall consume it. You shall plant vineyards and dress them, but you shall neither drink of the wine nor gather the grapes, for the worm shall eat them. You shall have olive trees throughout all your territory, but you shall not anoint yourself with the oil, for your olives shall drop off. You shall father sons and daughters, but they shall not be yours, for they shall go into captivity. The cricket shall possess all your trees and the fruit of your ground. The sojourner who is among you shall rise higher and higher above you, and you shall come down lower and lower. He shall lend to you, and you shall not lend to him. He shall be the head, and you shall be the tail. “All these curses shall come upon you and pursue you and overtake you till you are destroyed, because you did not obey the voice of the LORD your God, to keep his commandments and his statutes that he commanded you. They shall be a sign and a wonder against you and your offspring forever. Because you did not serve the LORD your God with joyfulness and gladness of heart, because of the abundance of all things, therefore you shall serve your enemies whom the LORD will send against you, in hunger and thirst, in nakedness, and lacking everything. And he will put a yoke of iron on your neck until he has destroyed you. The LORD will bring a nation against you from far away, from the end of the earth, swooping down like the eagle, a nation whose language you do not understand, a hard-faced nation who shall not respect the old or show mercy to the young. It shall eat the offspring of your cattle and the fruit of your ground, until you are destroyed; it also shall not leave you grain, wine, or oil, the increase of your herds or the young of your flock, until they have caused you to perish. “They shall besiege you in all your towns, until your high and fortified walls, in which you trusted, come down throughout all your land. And they shall besiege you in all your towns throughout all your land, which the LORD your God has given you. And you shall eat the fruit of your womb, the flesh of your sons and daughters, whom the LORD your God has given you, in the siege and in the distress with which your enemies shall distress you. The man who is the most tender and refined among you will begrudge food to his brother, to the wife he embraces, and to the last of the children whom he has left, so that he will not give to any of them any of the flesh of his children whom he is eating, because he has nothing else left, in the siege and in the distress with which your enemy shall distress you in all your towns. The most tender and refined woman among you, who would not venture to set the sole of her foot on the ground because she is so delicate and tender, will begrudge to the husband she embraces, to her son and to her daughter, her afterbirth that comes out from between her feet and her children whom she bears, because lacking everything she will eat them secretly, in the siege and in the distress with which your enemy shall distress you in your towns. “If you are not careful to do all the words of this law that are written in this book, that you may fear this glorious and awesome name, the LORD your God, then the LORD will bring on you and your offspring extraordinary afflictions, afflictions severe and lasting, and sicknesses grievous and lasting. And he will bring upon you again all the diseases of Egypt, of which you were afraid, and they shall cling to you. Every sickness also and every affliction that is not recorded in the book of this law, the LORD will bring upon you, until you are destroyed. Whereas you were as numerous as the stars of heaven, you shall be left few in number, because you did not obey the voice of the LORD your God. And as the LORD took delight in doing you good and multiplying you, so the LORD will take delight in bringing ruin upon you and destroying you. And you shall be plucked off the land that you are entering to take possession of it. “And the LORD will scatter you among all peoples, from one end of the earth to the other, and there you shall serve other gods of wood and stone, which neither you nor your fathers have known. And among these nations you shall find no respite, and there shall be no resting place for the sole of your foot, but the LORD will give you there a trembling heart and failing eyes and a languishing soul. Your life shall hang in doubt before you. Night and day you shall be in dread and have no assurance of your life. In the morning you shall say, ‘If only it were evening!’ and at evening you shall say, ‘If only it were morning!’ because of the dread that your heart shall feel, and the sights that your eyes shall see. And the LORD will bring you back in ships to Egypt, a journey that I promised that you should never make again; and there you shall offer yourselves for sale to your enemies as male and female slaves, but there will be no buyer.”
(Deuteronomy 28:1-68 ESV)

The Davidic Covenant

The Davidic covenant was an unconditional covenant in which God promised David an unending royal lineage, a throne, and a Kingdom, all of them forever. It is the fourth theocratic covenant.

“When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. When he commits iniquity, I will discipline him with the rod of men, with the stripes of the sons of men, but my steadfast love will not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away from before you. And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever.'”
(2 Samuel 7:12-16 ESV)

Now when David lived in his house, David said to Nathan the prophet, “Behold, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of the covenant of the LORD is under a tent.” And Nathan said to David, “Do all that is in your heart, for God is with you.” But that same night the word of the LORD came to Nathan, “Go and tell my servant David, ‘Thus says the LORD: It is not you who will build me a house to dwell in. For I have not lived in a house since the day I brought up Israel to this day, but I have gone from tent to tent and from dwelling to dwelling. In all places where I have moved with all Israel, did I speak a word with any of the judges of Israel, whom I commanded to shepherd my people, saying, “Why have you not built me a house of cedar?”‘ Now, therefore, thus shall you say to my servant David, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep, to be prince over my people Israel, and I have been with you wherever you have gone and have cut off all your enemies from before you. And I will make for you a name, like the name of the great ones of the earth. And I will appoint a place for my people Israel and will plant them, that they may dwell in their own place and be disturbed no more. And violent men shall waste them no more, as formerly, from the time that I appointed judges over my people Israel. And I will subdue all your enemies. Moreover, I declare to you that the LORD will build you a house. When your days are fulfilled to walk with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, one of your own sons, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for me, and I will establish his throne forever. I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. I will not take my steadfast love from him, as I took it from him who was before you, but I will confirm him in my house and in my kingdom forever, and his throne shall be established forever.'” In accordance with all these words, and in accordance with all this vision, Nathan spoke to David.
(1 Chronicles 17:1-15 ESV)

The New Covenant

The New Covenant prophesied in the Old Testament was partially fulfilled in the Church (a mystery – Acts 15:6-16Ephesians 3:1-7), but will have a final fulfillment in the millennial kingdom.  This is an unconditional covenant and is the fifth theocratic convent.

The apostles and the elders were gathered together to consider this matter. And after there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, “Brothers, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe. And God, who knows the heart, bore witness to them, by giving them the Holy Spirit just as he did to us, and he made no distinction between us and them, having cleansed their hearts by faith. Now, therefore, why are you putting God to the test by placing a yoke on the neck of the disciples that neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? But we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will.” And all the assembly fell silent, and they listened to Barnabas and Paul as they related what signs and wonders God had done through them among the Gentiles. After they finished speaking, James replied, “Brothers, listen to me. Simeon has related how God first visited the Gentiles, to take from them a people for his name. And with this the words of the prophets agree, just as it is written, “‘After this I will return, and I will rebuild the tent of David that has fallen; I will rebuild its ruins, and I will restore it.”
(Acts 15:6-16 ESV)

For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner for Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles– assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for you, how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly. When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit. This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel. Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace, which was given me by the working of his power.
(Ephesians 3:1-7 ESV)

The new covenant guarantees all that God proposes to do for men will be on the grounds of the shed blood of His Son. will save, preserve, and present in heaven, conformed to His Son, all who have believed and received Christ and the future salvation of Israel is promised under the unconditional new covenant.

I wish you would bear with me in a little foolishness. Do bear with me! For I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ. But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.
(2 Corinthians 11:1-3 ESV)

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us–for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”– so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith. To give a human example, brothers: even with a man-made covenant, no one annuls it or adds to it once it has been ratified. Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, “And to offsprings,” referring to many, but referring to one, “And to your offspring,” who is Christ. This is what I mean: the law, which came 430 years afterward, does not annul a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to make the promise void. For if the inheritance comes by the law, it no longer comes by promise; but God gave it to Abraham by a promise. Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the offspring should come to whom the promise had been made, and it was put in place through angels by an intermediary. Now an intermediary implies more than one, but God is one. Is the law then contrary to the promises of God? Certainly not! For if a law had been given that could give life, then righteousness would indeed be by the law. But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.
(Galatians 3:13-29 ESV)

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
(Philippians 1:6 ESV)

And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written, “The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob”; “and this will be my covenant with them when I take away their sins.”
(Romans 11:26-27 ESV)

I will make you pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant.
(Ezekiel 20:37 ESV)

In the whole land, declares the LORD, two thirds shall be cut off and perish, and one third shall be left alive. And I will put this third into the fire, and refine them as one refines silver, and test them as gold is tested. They will call upon my name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘They are my people’; and they will say, ‘The LORD is my God.'”
(Zechariah 13:8-9 ESV)

“And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn.”
(Zechariah 12:10 ESV)

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The Cult of Christianity

After Sunday worship in recent months, Mormon bishops around the country gathered their congregations for an unusual PowerPoint presentation to unveil the church’s latest strategy for overcoming what it calls its “perception problem.”

Top Mormon leaders had hired two big-name advertising agencies in 2009, Ogilvy & Mather and Hall & Partners, to find out what Americans think of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Using focus groups and surveys, they found that Americans who had any opinion at all used adjectives that were downright negative: “secretive,” “cultish,” “sexist,” “controlling,” “pushy,” “anti-gay.”

On seeing these results, some of those watching the presentation booed while others laughed, according to people at the meetings. But then they were told that the church was ready with a response: a multimillion-dollar television, billboard and Internet advertising campaign that uses the tagline, “I’m a Mormon.” The campaign, which began in 2010, was recently extended to 21 media markets, and features the personal stories of members who defy stereotyping, including a Hawaiian longboard surfing champion, a fashion designer and single father in New York City and a Haitian-American woman who is mayor of a small Utah city.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints’ website says, “One definition listed for ‘cult’ in Webster’s Dictionary is “a religion regarded as unorthodox.” Since the roots of Mormonism are not a break off from the Catholic or Protestant churches, it is seen by some as “unorthodox.” For example, the LDS definition of the Godhead differs from the Nicene Creed accepted by most Catholic or Protestant churches. The “cult” label is usually applied by Church opponents attempting to criticize or discredit the Church. However, sometimes it’s simply a matter of characterization that has grown up over time by the lack of understanding. Such misunderstandings often vanish when people begin to realize the commonality of what The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints really teaches and believes. That Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that He is the Savior and Redeemer of the world whom we love and worship. When people begin to see and recognize these things about Mormons, then their opinion of the Church usually changes, and old beliefs are replaced with new understanding.”

Joseph Smith, Jr. (December 23, 1805 – June 27, 1844) was an American religious leader and the founder of the Latter Day Saint movement, which gave rise to Mormonism. Smith is regarded by his followers as a prophet.

Smith was born in Sharon, Vermont, the fourth child of Joseph Smith, Sr. and Lucy Mack Smith. By 1817, Smith’s family had moved to the “burned-over district” of western New York, an area repeatedly swept by religious revivals during the Second Great Awakening. Smith family members held divergent views about organized religion, but they believed in visions and prophecies and engaged in folk religious practices typical of the era.

According to Smith, beginning in the early 1820s he had visions, in one of which an angel directed him to a buried book of golden plates, inscribed with a Christian history of ancient American civilizations. In 1830, he published an English translation of these plates as the Book of Mormon, and organized the Church of Christ, as the restoration of the early Christian church. Church members were later called Latter Day Saints, Saints, or Mormons.

Joseph Smith made many false prophecies and yje Book of Mormon is filled with errors and discrepancies. Remember, that YHVH defined false prophets in the Torah. Please note that having several fulfilled prophecies and even a single false prophecy still means that the person is not a true prophet of God.  The test for a prophet is not if he gets them most right, but all right.

But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in my name that I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die. And if you say in your heart, ‘How may we know the word that the LORD has not spoken?’– when a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need not be afraid of him.
(Deuteronomy 18:20-22 ESV)

Joseph Smith not only a false prophet, but he changed Scriptures and even wrote the Book of Mormon as an addition to the Holy Bible that was “corrupt and translated incorrectly” according to him.

You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God that I command you.
(Deuteronomy 4:2 ESV)

Everything that I command you, you shall be careful to do. You shall not add to it or take from it.
(Deuteronomy 12:32 ESV)

Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Do not add to his words, lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar.
(Proverbs 30:5-6 ESV)

I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.
(Galatians 1:6-12 KJV)

For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
(Revelation 22:18-19 KJV)

In 1831, Smith moved west to Kirtland, Ohio intending to establish a city of Zion in western Missouri, but Missouri settlers expelled the Saints in 1833. After leading Zion’s Camp, an unsuccessful expedition to recover the land, Smith began building a temple in Kirtland. In 1837, the Kirtland Safety Society, a bank established by Smith and other church leaders, collapsed. The following year Smith joined his followers in northern Missouri, where earlier settlers fearing the rapid growth of Mormon communities fought them in the 1838 Mormon War. The Saints were defeated and expelled from Missouri, and Smith was imprisoned.

After being allowed to escape state custody in 1839, Smith led his followers to settle at Nauvoo, Illinois on Mississippi River swampland. There he served as both mayor and commander of its large militia, the Nauvoo Legion. In early 1844, he announced his candidacy for President of the United States. That summer, after the Nauvoo Expositor criticized Smith’s practice of polygamy and called for the repeal of the Nauvoo Charter, the Nauvoo City Council ordered the paper’s destruction. During the ensuing turmoil, Smith first declared martial law and then surrendered to the governor of Illinois. Although the governor promised his safety, Smith was killed while awaiting trial in Carthage, Illinois.

Smith’s followers regard many of his publications as scripture. His teachings include unique views about the nature of God, cosmology, family structures, political organization, and religious collectivism. He is seen as one of the most charismatic and inventive figures of American history, and his followers regard him as a prophet of at least the stature of Moses and Elijah. Smith’s legacy includes a number of religious denominations, including the Utah-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Missouri-based Community of Christ, which collectively claim a growing membership of more than 14 million worldwide.

The Book of Abraham is a 1835 work produced by Joseph Smith that he said was based on Egyptian papyri purchased from a traveling mummy exhibition. According to Smith, the book was "a translation of some ancient records, purporting to be the writings of Abraham while he was in Egypt, called the Book of Abraham, written by his own hand, upon papyrus". Smith's translation of the papyri describes a story of Abraham's early life, including a vision of the cosmos. Upon examination by Egyptologists, the papyri were found to bear no resemblance to Joseph Smith's interpretation, and were common Egyptian funerary texts, dating to about the first century BC. As a result, the Book of Abraham has been the source of significant controversy, with Mormon apologists offering a variety of explanations as to the reason for the differences.

So is the issue really an attempt to criticize or discredit the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints? Is the issue simply a matter of characterization that has grown up over time by the lack of understanding? Do they have a perception problem or are they being fairly criticized?

The first thing someone will notice when looking at the cover of the Book of Mormon is that is proclaims itself to be “Another Testament of Jesus Christ.” The Apostle Paul warned of exactly this kind of deception in his epistles to the churches in Cornith (G2882),  Greece (G882) and Galatia (G1053).

I wish you would bear with me in a little foolishness. Do bear with me! For I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ. But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.
(2 Corinthians 11:1-4 ESV)

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel– not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.
(Galatians 1:6-9 ESV)

In the Torah, YHVH commanded us, “You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God that I command you” (Deuteronomy 4:2 ESV) and “Everything that I command you, you shall be careful to do. You shall not add to it or take from it” (Deuteronomy 12:32 ESV).

In the Book of Proverbs, King Solomon wrote, “Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Do not add to his words, lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar” (Proverbs 30:5-6 ESV).

In the Book of Revelation, the Apostle John wrote, “I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book” (Revelation 22:18-19 ESV).

One common tactic that Satan uses to deceive people is to claim new revelations that aren’t in the Bible. His bag of tricks includes written “revelations” like the Book of Mormon and the Qur’an.  These extra-Biblical revelations are often very seductive because they offer alleged secret knowledge that wasn’t revealed in the Bible.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints considers itself not just a Christian denomination, but rather the only true expression of Christianity. However, the history, theology and practices of Mormonism show this religious movement to be outside of orthodox Christianity.

Mormons believe that their church is “the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth” (D&C 1:30), the only organization authorized by the Almighty God to preach His Gospel and administer the ordinances of salvation, and the only Church which has power to save (Mormon Doctrine; 1977 ed, p. 136).

Mormons either deny or pervert every essential doctrine of historic Christianity, including the uniqueness of God, the virgin birth, the Trinity, the authority of Scripture (by relegating it to a position below their other sacred writings), and salvation by grace through faith.

Individuals who, while claiming to be Christians, reject one of more central key doctrines of the Christian faith are considered heretics. Groups which reject such doctrines while claiming to represent Christianity, are considered cults of Christianity. A cult of Christianity is a group of people, which claiming to be Christian, embraces a particular doctrinal system taught by an individual leader, group of leaders, or organization, which denies (either explicitly or implicitly) one or more of the central doctrines of the Christian faith as taught in the sixty-six books of the Bible. Thus, while Mormons profess to be Christians, they are outside orthodox Christianity and the Mormon Church is considered to be, theologically, a cult of Christianity.

Is Mormonism Christian? No, Mormonism is not Christian. Why is Mormonism a non-Christian religion? It is not Christian because it denies that there is only one God, denies the true Gospel, adds works to salvation, denies that Jesus is the uncreated creator, distorts the biblical teaching of the atonement, and undermines the authority and reliability of the Bible.

Mormon theology teaches that God is only one of countless gods, that he used to be a man on another planet, that he became a god by following the laws and ordinances of that god on that world, and that he brought one of his wives to this world with whom he produces spirit children who then inhabit human bodies at birth. The first spirit child to be born was Jesus. The second was Satan, and then we all followed.  The Bible says that there is only one God (Isaiah 43:10; Isaiah 44:6-8; Isaiah 45:5), that God has  been God eternally (Psalm 90:2) , which means he was never a man on another planet.  Since the Bible denies the existence of other gods (and goddesses), the idea that Jesus is the product of a god and goddess couple is rejected.  The Bible tells us that the Jesus of Mormonism is definitely not the same Jesus of the Bible. Therefore, faith in the Mormon Jesus is faith misplaced because the Mormon Jesus doesn’t exist.

In order to justify its aberrant theology, Mormonism has undermined the authority and trustworthiness of the Bible.  The 8th article of faith from the Mormon Church states, “We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly.”  This means that when the Bible contradicts Mormonism, the Bible isn’t trustworthy.

The interesting thing is that Joseph Smith (the founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) allegedly corrected the Bible in what is called , though it is not used by the Mormon church.  Though they claim they trust the Bible, in reality they do not.  They use Mormon presuppositions to interpret it instead of letting it speak for itself.  For example, where the Bible says there are no other gods in the universe (Isaiah 43:10; 44:6-8), they interpret it to mean “no other gods of this world,” which is not what those verses say.  They do not trust the Bible and they often state that the Bible is not translated correctly.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints also have many unusual rituals, such as baptism for the dead and eternal marriage. Mormons are also taught secret handshakes and are given secret names that are said to be necessary to enter heaven. Through these temple rituals men and women can become gods and goddesses, according to the Mormon Church. It claims that these rites were a part of early Christianity but were sabotaged by false teachers. However, these Mormon temple rituals are not supported by the Bible, ancient Jewish literature, or early Christian history. Many the rituals and symbolism found in Mormonism have roots in paganism and Freemasonry.

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.
(1 John 4:1 ESV)

So is the issue really an attempt to criticize or discredit the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints? Is the issue simply a matter of characterization that has grown up over time by the lack of understanding? Do they have a perception problem or are they being fairly criticized?

Nobody that calls Mormonism a cult is unfairly attempting to criticize or discredit the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The problem with Mormonism is not a matter of characterization that has grown up over time through a lack of understanding. The problem with Mormonism is Mormon Doctrine which is entirely unorthodox. The problem with the Mormon Church is that they worship “another Jesus” who is Satan’s brother and a god who used to be a man on the planet Kolob before he was exalted to become a deity.