denotes the whole creation in Rom. 8:39; Col. 1:15; Rev. 5:13;
the whole human race in Mark 16:15; Rom. 8:19-22.
The living creatures in Ezek. 10:15, 17, are imaginary beings,
symbols of the Divine attributes and operations.
"In the beginning" God created, i.e., called into being, all
things out of nothing. This creative act on the part of God was
absolutely free, and for infinitely wise reasons. The cause of
all things exists only in the will of God. The work of creation
is attributed (1) to the Godhead (Gen. 1:1, 26); (2) to the
Father (1 Cor. 8:6); (3) to the Son (John 1:3; Col. 1:16, 17);
(4) to the Holy Spirit (Gen. 1:2; Job 26:13; Ps. 104:30). The
fact that he is the Creator distinguishes Jehovah as the true
God (Isa. 37:16; 40:12, 13; 54:5; Ps. 96:5; Jer. 10:11, 12). The
one great end in the work of creation is the manifestation of
the glory of the Creator (Col. 1:16; Rev. 4:11; Rom. 11:36).
God's works, equally with God's word, are a revelation from him;
and between the teachings of the one and those of the other,
when rightly understood, there can be no contradiction.
Traditions of the creation, disfigured by corruptions, are
found among the records of ancient Eastern nations. (See ACCAD
¯T0000060.) A peculiar interest belongs to the traditions of the
Accadians, the primitive inhabitants of the plains of Lower
Mesopotamia. These within the last few years have been brought
to light in the tablets and cylinders which have been rescued
from the long-buried palaces and temples of Assyria. They bear a
remarkable resemblance to the record of Genesis.
(1.) Gr. katapausis, equivalent to the Hebrew word _noah_ (Heb.
(2.) Gr. anapausis, "rest from weariness" (Matt. 11:28).
(3.) Gr. anesis, "relaxation" (2 Thess. 1:7).
(4.) Gr. sabbatismos, a Sabbath rest, a rest from all work
(Heb. 4:9; R.V., "sabbath"), a rest like that of God when he had
finished the work of creation.
is the arrangement of facts and events in the order of time. The
writers of the Bible themselves do not adopt any standard era
according to which they date events. Sometimes the years are
reckoned, e.g., from the time of the Exodus (Num. 1:1; 33:38; 1
Kings 6:1), and sometimes from the accession of kings (1 Kings
15:1, 9, 25, 33, etc.), and sometimes again from the return from
Exile (Ezra 3:8).
Hence in constructing a system of Biblecal chronology, the
plan has been adopted of reckoning the years from the ages of
the patriarchs before the birth of their first-born sons for the
period from the Creation to Abraham. After this period other
data are to be taken into account in determining the relative
sequence of events.
As to the patriarchal period, there are three principal
systems of chronology: (1) that of the Hebrew text, (2) that of
the Septuagint version, and (3) that of the Samaritan
Pentateuch, as seen in the scheme on the opposite page.
The Samaritan and the Septuagint have considerably modified
the Hebrew chronology. This modification some regard as having
been wilfully made, and to be rejected. The same system of
variations is observed in the chronology of the period between
the Flood and Abraham. Thus:
| Hebrew Septuigant Samaritan
| From the birth of
| Arphaxad, 2 years
| after the Flood, to
| the birth of Terah. 220 1000 870
| From the birth of
| Terah to the birth
| of Abraham. 130 70 72
The Septuagint fixes on seventy years as the age of Terah at
the birth of Abraham, from Gen. 11:26; but a comparison of Gen.
11:32 and Acts 7:4 with Gen. 12:4 shows that when Terah died, at
the age of two hundred and five years, Abraham was seventy-five
years, and hence Terah must have been one hundred and thirty
years when Abraham was born. Thus, including the two years from
the Flood to the birth of Arphaxad, the period from the Flood to
the birth of Abraham was three hundred and fifty-two years.
The next period is from the birth of Abraham to the Exodus.
This, according to the Hebrew, extends to five hundred and five
years. The difficulty here is as to the four hundred and thirty
years mentioned Ex. 12:40, 41; Gal. 3:17. These years are
regarded by some as dating from the covenant with Abraham (Gen.
15), which was entered into soon after his sojourn in Egypt;
others, with more probability, reckon these years from Jacob's
going down into Egypt. (See EXODUS ¯T0001283.)
In modern times the systems of Biblical chronology that have
been adopted are chiefly those of Ussher and Hales. The former
follows the Hebrew, and the latter the Septuagint mainly.
Archbishop Ussher's (died 1656) system is called the short
chronology. It is that given on the margin of the Authorized
Version, but is really of no authority, and is quite uncertain.
| Ussher Hales
| B.C. B.C.
| Creation 4004 5411
| Flood 2348 3155
| Abram leaves Haran 1921 2078
| Exodus 1491 1648
| Destruction of the
| Temple 588 586
To show at a glance the different ideas of the date of the
creation, it may be interesting to note the following: From
Creation to 1894.
According to Ussher, 5,898; Hales, 7,305; Zunz (Hebrew
reckoning), 5,882; Septuagint (Perowne), 7,305; Rabbinical,
5,654; Panodorus, 7,387; Anianus, 7,395; Constantinopolitan,
7,403; Eusebius, 7,093; Scaliger, 5,844; Dionysius (from whom we
take our Christian era), 7,388; Maximus, 7,395; Syncellus and
Theophanes, 7,395; Julius Africanus, 7,395; Jackson, 7,320.
Babel, tower of
the name given to the tower which the primitive fathers of our
race built in the land of Shinar after the Deluge (Gen. 11:1-9).
Their object in building this tower was probably that it might
be seen as a rallying-point in the extensive plain of Shinar, to
which they had emigrated from the uplands of Armenia, and so
prevent their being scattered abroad. But God interposed and
defeated their design by condounding their language, and hence
the name Babel, meaning "confusion." In the Babylonian tablets
there is an account of this event, and also of the creation and
the deluge. (See CHALDEA ¯T0000758.)
The Temple of Belus, which is supposed to occupy its site, is
described by the Greek historian Herodotus as a temple of great
extent and magnificence, erected by the Babylonians for their
god Belus. The treasures Nebuchadnezzar brought from Jerusalem
were laid up in this temple (2 Chr. 36:7).
The Birs Nimrud, at ancient Borsippa, about 7 miles south-west
of Hillah, the modern town which occupies a part of the site of
ancient Babylon, and 6 miles from the Euphrates, is an immense
mass of broken and fire-blasted fragments, of about 2,300 feet
in circumference, rising suddenly to the height of 235 feet
above the desert-plain, and is with probability regarded as the
ruins of the tower of Babel. This is "one of the most imposing
ruins in the country." Others think it to be the ruins of the
Temple of Belus.
life; living, the name given by Adam to his wife (Gen. 3:20;
4:1). The account of her creation is given in Gen. 2:21, 22. The
Creator, by declaring that it was not good for man to be alone,
and by creating for him a suitable companion, gave sanction to
monogamy. The commentator Matthew Henry says: "This companion
was taken from his side to signify that she was to be dear unto
him as his own flesh. Not from his head, lest she should rule
over him; nor from his feet, lest he should tyrannize over her;
but from his side, to denote that species of equality which is
to subsist in the marriage state." And again, "That wife that is
of God's making by special grace, and of God's bringing by
special providence, is likely to prove a helpmeet to her
husband." Through the subtle temptation of the serpent she
violated the commandment of God by taking of the forbidden
fruit, which she gave also unto her husband (1 Tim. 2:13-15; 2
Cor. 11:3). When she gave birth to her first son, she said, "I
have gotten a man from the Lord" (R.V., "I have gotten a man
with the help of the Lord," Gen. 4:1). Thus she welcomed Cain,
as some think, as if he had been the Promised One the "Seed of
(Heb. verb shabbath, meaning "to rest from labour"), the day of
rest. It is first mentioned as having been instituted in
Paradise, when man was in innocence (Gen. 2:2). "The sabbath was
made for man," as a day of rest and refreshment for the body and
of blessing to the soul.
It is next referred to in connection with the gift of manna to
the children of Israel in the wilderness (Ex. 16:23); and
afterwards, when the law was given from Sinai (20:11), the
people were solemnly charged to "remember the sabbath day, to
keep it holy." Thus it is spoken of as an institution already
In the Mosaic law strict regulations were laid down regarding
its observance (Ex. 35:2, 3; Lev. 23:3; 26:34). These were
peculiar to that dispensation.
In the subsequent history of the Jews frequent references are
made to the sanctity of the Sabbath (Isa. 56:2, 4, 6, 7; 58:13,
14; Jer. 17:20-22; Neh. 13:19). In later times they perverted
the Sabbath by their traditions. Our Lord rescued it from their
perversions, and recalled to them its true nature and intent
(Matt. 12:10-13; Mark 2:27; Luke 13:10-17).
The Sabbath, originally instituted for man at his creation, is
of permanent and universal obligation. The physical necessities
of man require a Sabbath of rest. He is so constituted that his
bodily welfare needs at least one day in seven for rest from
ordinary labour. Experience also proves that the moral and
spiritual necessities of men also demand a Sabbath of rest. "I
am more and more sure by experience that the reason for the
observance of the Sabbath lies deep in the everlasting
necessities of human nature, and that as long as man is man the
blessedness of keeping it, not as a day of rest only, but as a
day of spiritual rest, will never be annulled. I certainly do
feel by experience the eternal obligation, because of the
eternal necessity, of the Sabbath. The soul withers without it.
It thrives in proportion to its observance. The Sabbath was made
for man. God made it for men in a certain spiritual state
because they needed it. The need, therefore, is deeply hidden in
human nature. He who can dispense with it must be holy and
spiritual indeed. And he who, still unholy and unspiritual,
would yet dispense with it is a man that would fain be wiser
than his Maker" (F. W. Robertson).
The ancient Babylonian calendar, as seen from recently
recovered inscriptions on the bricks among the ruins of the
royal palace, was based on the division of time into weeks of
seven days. The Sabbath is in these inscriptions designated
Sabattu, and defined as "a day of rest for the heart" and "a day
of completion of labour."
The change of the day. Originally at creation the seventh day
of the week was set apart and consecrated as the Sabbath. The
first day of the week is now observed as the Sabbath. Has God
authorized this change? There is an obvious distinction between
the Sabbath as an institution and the particular day set apart
for its observance. The question, therefore, as to the change of
the day in no way affects the perpetual obligation of the
Sabbath as an institution. Change of the day or no change, the
Sabbath remains as a sacred institution the same. It cannot be
If any change of the day has been made, it must have been by
Christ or by his authority. Christ has a right to make such a
change (Mark 2:23-28). As Creator, Christ was the original Lord
of the Sabbath (John 1:3; Heb. 1:10). It was originally a
memorial of creation. A work vastly greater than that of
creation has now been accomplished by him, the work of
redemption. We would naturally expect just such a change as
would make the Sabbath a memorial of that greater work.
True, we can give no text authorizing the change in so many
words. We have no express law declaring the change. But there
are evidences of another kind. We know for a fact that the first
day of the week has been observed from apostolic times, and the
necessary conclusion is, that it was observed by the apostles
and their immediate disciples. This, we may be sure, they never
would have done without the permission or the authority of their
After his resurrection, which took place on the first day of
the week (Matt. 28:1; Mark 16:2; Luke 24:1; John 20:1), we never
find Christ meeting with his disciples on the seventh day. But
he specially honoured the first day by manifesting himself to
them on four separate occasions (Matt. 28:9; Luke 24:34, 18-33;
John 20:19-23). Again, on the next first day of the week, Jesus
appeared to his disciples (John 20:26).
Some have calculated that Christ's ascension took place on the
first day of the week. And there can be no doubt that the
descent of the Holy Ghost at Pentecost was on that day (Acts
2:1). Thus Christ appears as instituting a new day to be
observed by his people as the Sabbath, a day to be henceforth
known amongst them as the "Lord's day." The observance of this
"Lord's day" as the Sabbath was the general custom of the
primitive churches, and must have had apostolic sanction (comp.
Acts 20:3-7; 1 Cor. 16:1, 2) and authority, and so the sanction
and authority of Jesus Christ.
The words "at her sabbaths" (Lam. 1:7, A.V.) ought probably to
be, as in the Revised Version, "at her desolations."
red, a Babylonian word, the generic name for man, having the
same meaning in the Hebrew and the Assyrian languages. It was
the name given to the first man, whose creation, fall, and
subsequent history and that of his descendants are detailed in
the first book of Moses (Gen. 1:27-ch. 5). "God created man
[Heb., Adam] in his own image, in the image of God created he
him; male and female created he them."
Adam was absolutely the first man whom God created. He was
formed out of the dust of the earth (and hence his name), and
God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and gave him
dominion over all the lower creatures (Gen. 1:26; 2:7). He was
placed after his creation in the Garden of Eden, to cultivate
it, and to enjoy its fruits under this one prohibition: "Of the
tree of the knowledge of good and evil thou shalt not eat of it;
for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die."
The first recorded act of Adam was his giving names to the
beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, which God brought
to him for this end. Thereafter the Lord caused a deep sleep to
fall upon him, and while in an unconscious state took one of his
ribs, and closed up his flesh again; and of this rib he made a
woman, whom he presented to him when he awoke. Adam received her
as his wife, and said, "This is now bone of my bones, and flesh
of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken
out of Man." He called her Eve, because she was the mother of
Being induced by the tempter in the form of a serpent to eat
the forbidden fruit, Eve persuaded Adam, and he also did eat.
Thus man fell, and brought upon himself and his posterity all
the sad consequences of his transgression. The narrative of the
Fall comprehends in it the great promise of a Deliverer (Gen.
3:15), the "first gospel" message to man. They were expelled
from Eden, and at the east of the garden God placed a flame,
which turned every way, to prevent access to the tree of life
(Gen. 3). How long they were in Paradise is matter of mere
Shortly after their expulsion Eve brought forth her
first-born, and called him Cain. Although we have the names of
only three of Adam's sons, viz., Cain, Abel, and Seth, yet it is
obvious that he had several sons and daughters (Gen. 5:4). He
died aged 930 years.
Adam and Eve were the progenitors of the whole human race.
Evidences of varied kinds are abundant in proving the unity of
the human race. The investigations of science, altogether
independent of historical evidence, lead to the conclusion that
God "hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on
all the face of the earth" (Acts 17:26. Comp. Rom. 5:12-12; 1
the high land or mountains, a city in the land of Shinar. It has
been identified with the mounds of Akker Kuf, some 50 miles to
the north of Babylon; but this is doubtful. It was one of the
cities of Nimrod's kingdom (Ge 10:10). It stood close to the
Euphrates, opposite Sippara. (See SEPHARVAIM ¯T0003277.)
It is also the name of the country of which this city was the
capital, namely, northern or upper Babylonia. The Accadians who
came from the "mountains of the east," where the ark rested,
attained to a high degree of civilization. In the Babylonian
inscriptions they are called "the black heads" and "the black
faces," in contrast to "the white race" of Semitic descent. They
invented the form of writing in pictorial hieroglyphics, and
also the cuneiform system, in which they wrote many books partly
on papyrus and partly on clay. The Semitic Babylonians ("the
white race"), or, as some scholars think, first the Cushites,
and afterwards, as a second immigration, the Semites, invaded
and conquered this country; and then the Accadian language
ceased to be a spoken language, although for the sake of its
literary treasures it continued to be studied by the educated
classes of Babylonia. A large portion of the Ninevite tablets
brought to light by Oriental research consists of interlinear or
parallel translations from Accadian into Assyrian; and thus that
long-forgotten language has been recovered by scholars. It
belongs to the class of languages called agglutinative, common
to the Tauranian race; i.e., it consists of words "glued
together," without declension of conjugation. These tablets in a
remarkable manner illustrate ancient history. Among other
notable records, they contain an account of the Creation which
closely resembles that given in the book of Genesis, of the
Sabbath as a day of rest, and of the Deluge and its cause. (See
BABYLON ¯T0000409; CHALDEA ¯T0000758.)
Decrees of God
"The decrees of God are his eternal, unchangeable, holy, wise,
and sovereign purpose, comprehending at once all things that
ever were or will be in their causes, conditions, successions,
and relations, and determining their certain futurition. The
several contents of this one eternal purpose are, because of the
limitation of our faculties, necessarily conceived of by us in
partial aspects, and in logical relations, and are therefore
styled Decrees." The decree being the act of an infinite,
absolute, eternal, unchangeable, and sovereign Person,
comprehending a plan including all his works of all kinds, great
and small, from the beginning of creation to an unending
eternity; ends as well as means, causes as well as effects,
conditions and instrumentalities as well as the events which
depend upon them, must be incomprehensible by the finite
intellect of man. The decrees are eternal (Acts 15:18; Eph. 1:4;
2 Thess. 2:13), unchangeable (Ps. 33:11; Isa. 46:9), and
comprehend all things that come to pass (Eph. 1:11; Matt. 10:29,
30; Eph. 2:10; Acts 2:23; 4:27, 28; Ps. 17:13, 14).
The decrees of God are (1) efficacious, as they respect those
events he has determined to bring about by his own immediate
agency; or (2) permissive, as they respect those events he has
determined that free agents shall be permitted by him to effect.
This doctrine ought to produce in our minds "humility, in view
of the infinite greatness and sovereignty of God, and of the
dependence of man; confidence and implicit reliance upon wisdom,
rightenousness, goodness, and immutability of God's purpose."
The five books of Moses were collectively called the Pentateuch,
a word of Greek origin meaning "the five-fold book." The Jews
called them the Torah, i.e., "the law." It is probable that the
division of the Torah into five books proceeded from the Greek
translators of the Old Testament. The names by which these
several books are generally known are Greek.
The first book of the Pentateuch (q.v.) is called by the Jews
Bereshith, i.e., "in the beginning", because this is the first
word of the book. It is generally known among Christians by the
name of Genesis, i.e., "creation" or "generation," being the
name given to it in the LXX. as designating its character,
because it gives an account of the origin of all things. It
contains, according to the usual computation, the history of
about two thousand three hundred and sixty-nine years.
Genesis is divided into two principal parts. The first part
(1-11) gives a general history of mankind down to the time of
the Dispersion. The second part presents the early history of
Israel down to the death and burial of Joseph (12-50).
There are five principal persons brought in succession under
our notice in this book, and around these persons the history of
the successive periods is grouped, viz., Adam (1-3), Noah (4-9),
Abraham (10-25:18), Isaac (25:19-35:29), and Jacob (36-50).
In this book we have several prophecies concerning Christ
(3:15; 12:3; 18:18; 22:18; 26:4; 28:14; 49:10). The author of
this book was Moses. Under divine guidance he may indeed have
been led to make use of materials already existing in primeval
documents, or even of traditions in a trustworthy form that had
come down to his time, purifying them from all that was
unworthy; but the hand of Moses is clearly seen throughout in
the third Person of the adorable Trinity.
His personality is proved (1) from the fact that the
attributes of personality, as intelligence and volition, are
ascribed to him (John 14:17, 26; 15:26; 1 Cor. 2:10, 11; 12:11).
He reproves, helps, glorifies, intercedes (John 16:7-13; Rom.
8:26). (2) He executes the offices peculiar only to a person.
The very nature of these offices involves personal distinction
(Luke 12:12; Acts 5:32; 15:28; 16:6; 28:25; 1 Cor. 2:13; Heb.
2:4; 3:7; 2 Pet. 1:21).
His divinity is established (1) from the fact that the names
of God are ascribed to him (Ex. 17:7; Ps. 95:7; comp. Heb.
3:7-11); and (2) that divine attributes are also ascribed to
him, omnipresence (Ps. 139:7; Eph. 2:17, 18; 1 Cor. 12:13);
omniscience (1 Cor. 2:10, 11); omnipotence (Luke 1:35; Rom.
8:11); eternity (Heb. 9:4). (3) Creation is ascribed to him
(Gen. 1:2; Job 26:13; Ps. 104:30), and the working of miracles
(Matt. 12:28; 1 Cor. 12:9-11). (4) Worship is required and
ascribed to him (Isa. 6:3; Acts 28:25; Rom. 9:1; Rev. 1:4; Matt.
a name frequently used in the Old Testament as denoting a person
clothed with authority, and entitled to respect and reverence
(Gen. 50:7). It also denoted a political office (Num. 22:7). The
"elders of Israel" held a rank among the people indicative of
authority. Moses opened his commission to them (Ex. 3:16). They
attended Moses on all important occasions. Seventy of them
attended on him at the giving of the law (Ex. 24:1). Seventy
also were selected from the whole number to bear with Moses the
burden of the people (Num. 11:16, 17). The "elder" is the
keystone of the social and political fabric wherever the
patriarchal system exists. At the present day this is the case
among the Arabs, where the sheik (i.e., "the old man") is the
highest authority in the tribe. The body of the "elders" of
Israel were the representatives of the people from the very
first, and were recognized as such by Moses. All down through
the history of the Jews we find mention made of the elders as
exercising authority among the people. They appear as governors
(Deut. 31:28), as local magistrates (16:18), administering
justice (19:12). They were men of extensive influence (1 Sam.
30:26-31). In New Testament times they also appear taking an
active part in public affairs (Matt. 16:21; 21:23; 26:59).
The Jewish eldership was transferred from the old dispensation
to the new. "The creation of the office of elder is nowhere
recorded in the New Testament, as in the case of deacons and
apostles, because the latter offices were created to meet new
and special emergencies, while the former was transmitted from
the earlies times. In other words, the office of elder was the
only permanent essential office of the church under either
The "elders" of the New Testament church were the "pastors"
(Eph. 4:11), "bishops or overseers" (Acts 20:28), "leaders" and
"rulers" (Heb. 13:7; 1 Thess. 5:12) of the flock. Everywhere in
the New Testament bishop and presbyter are titles given to one
and the same officer of the Christian church. He who is called
presbyter or elder on account of his age or gravity is also
called bishop or overseer with reference to the duty that lay
upon him (Titus 1:5-7; Acts 20:17-28; Phil. 1:1).
literally means foresight, but is generally used to denote God's
preserving and governing all things by means of second causes
(Ps. 18:35; 63:8; Acts 17:28; Col. 1:17; Heb. 1:3). God's
providence extends to the natural world (Ps. 104:14; 135:5-7;
Acts 14:17), the brute creation (Ps. 104:21-29; Matt. 6:26;
10:29), and the affairs of men (1 Chr. 16:31; Ps. 47:7; Prov.
21:1; Job 12:23; Dan. 2:21; 4:25), and of individuals (1 Sam.
2:6; Ps. 18:30; Luke 1:53; James 4:13-15). It extends also to
the free actions of men (Ex. 12:36; 1 Sam. 24:9-15; Ps. 33:14,
15; Prov. 16:1; 19:21; 20:24; 21:1), and things sinful (2 Sam.
16:10; 24:1; Rom. 11:32; Acts 4:27, 28), as well as to their
good actions (Phil. 2:13; 4:13; 2 Cor. 12:9, 10; Eph. 2:10; Gal.
As regards sinful actions of men, they are represented as
occurring by God's permission (Gen. 45:5; 50:20. Comp. 1 Sam.
6:6; Ex. 7:13; 14:17; Acts 2:3; 3:18; 4:27, 28), and as
controlled (Ps. 76:10) and overruled for good (Gen. 50:20; Acts
3:13). God does not cause or approve of sin, but only limits,
restrains, overrules it for good.
The mode of God's providential government is altogether
unexplained. We only know that it is a fact that God does govern
all his creatures and all their actions; that this government is
universal (Ps. 103:17-19), particular (Matt. 10:29-31),
efficacious (Ps. 33:11; Job 23:13), embraces events apparently
contingent (Prov. 16:9, 33; 19:21; 21:1), is consistent with his
own perfection (2 Tim. 2:13), and to his own glory (Rom. 9:17;
a contract or agreement between two parties. In the Old
Testament the Hebrew word _berith_ is always thus translated.
_Berith_ is derived from a root which means "to cut," and hence
a covenant is a "cutting," with reference to the cutting or
dividing of animals into two parts, and the contracting parties
passing between them, in making a covenant (Gen. 15; Jer. 34:18,
The corresponding word in the New Testament Greek is
_diatheke_, which is, however, rendered "testament" generally in
the Authorized Version. It ought to be rendered, just as the
word _berith_ of the Old Testament, "covenant."
This word is used (1) of a covenant or compact between man and
man (Gen. 21:32), or between tribes or nations (1 Sam. 11:1;
Josh. 9:6, 15). In entering into a convenant, Jehovah was
solemnly called on to witness the transaction (Gen. 31:50), and
hence it was called a "covenant of the Lord" (1 Sam. 20:8). The
marriage compact is called "the covenant of God" (Prov. 2:17),
because the marriage was made in God's name. Wicked men are
spoken of as acting as if they had made a "covenant with death"
not to destroy them, or with hell not to devour them (Isa.
(2.) The word is used with reference to God's revelation of
himself in the way of promise or of favour to men. Thus God's
promise to Noah after the Flood is called a covenant (Gen. 9;
Jer. 33:20, "my covenant"). We have an account of God's
covernant with Abraham (Gen. 17, comp. Lev. 26:42), of the
covenant of the priesthood (Num. 25:12, 13; Deut. 33:9; Neh.
13:29), and of the covenant of Sinai (Ex. 34:27, 28; Lev.
26:15), which was afterwards renewed at different times in the
history of Israel (Deut. 29; Josh. 1:24; 2 Chr. 15; 23; 29; 34;
Ezra 10; Neh. 9). In conformity with human custom, God's
covenant is said to be confirmed with an oath (Deut. 4:31; Ps.
89:3), and to be accompanied by a sign (Gen. 9; 17). Hence the
covenant is called God's "counsel," "oath," "promise" (Ps. 89:3,
4; 105:8-11; Heb. 6:13-20; Luke 1:68-75). God's covenant
consists wholly in the bestowal of blessing (Isa. 59:21; Jer.
The term covenant is also used to designate the regular
succession of day and night (Jer. 33:20), the Sabbath (Ex.
31:16), circumcision (Gen. 17:9, 10), and in general any
ordinance of God (Jer. 34:13, 14).
A "covenant of salt" signifies an everlasting covenant, in the
sealing or ratifying of which salt, as an emblem of perpetuity,
is used (Num. 18:19; Lev. 2:13; 2 Chr. 13:5).
COVENANT OF WORKS, the constitution under which Adam was
placed at his creation. In this covenant, (1.) The contracting
parties were (a) God the moral Governor, and (b) Adam, a free
moral agent, and representative of all his natural posterity
(Rom. 5:12-19). (2.) The promise was "life" (Matt. 19:16, 17;
Gal. 3:12). (3.) The condition was perfect obedience to the law,
the test in this case being abstaining from eating the fruit of
the "tree of knowledge," etc. (4.) The penalty was death (Gen.
This covenant is also called a covenant of nature, as made
with man in his natural or unfallen state; a covenant of life,
because "life" was the promise attached to obedience; and a
legal covenant, because it demanded perfect obedience to the
The "tree of life" was the outward sign and seal of that life
which was promised in the covenant, and hence it is usually
called the seal of that covenant.
This covenant is abrogated under the gospel, inasmuch as
Christ has fulfilled all its conditions in behalf of his people,
and now offers salvation on the condition of faith. It is still
in force, however, as it rests on the immutable justice of God,
and is binding on all who have not fled to Christ and accepted
CONVENANT OF GRACE, the eternal plan of redemption entered
into by the three persons of the Godhead, and carried out by
them in its several parts. In it the Father represented the
Godhead in its indivisible sovereignty, and the Son his people
as their surety (John 17:4, 6, 9; Isa. 42:6; Ps. 89:3).
The conditions of this covenant were, (1.) On the part of the
Father (a) all needful preparation to the Son for the
accomplishment of his work (Heb. 10:5; Isa. 42:1-7); (b) support
in the work (Luke 22:43); and (c) a glorious reward in the
exaltation of Christ when his work was done (Phil. 2:6-11), his
investiture with universal dominion (John 5:22; Ps. 110:1), his
having the administration of the covenant committed into his
hands (Matt. 28:18; John 1:12; 17:2; Acts 2:33), and in the
final salvation of all his people (Isa. 35:10; 53:10, 11; Jer.
31:33; Titus 1:2). (2.) On the part of the Son the conditions
were (a) his becoming incarnate (Gal. 4:4, 5); and (b) as the
second Adam his representing all his people, assuming their
place and undertaking all their obligations under the violated
covenant of works; (c) obeying the law (Ps. 40:8; Isa. 42:21;
John 9:4, 5), and (d) suffering its penalty (Isa. 53; 2 Cor.
5:21; Gal. 3:13), in their stead.
Christ, the mediator of, fulfils all its conditions in behalf
of his people, and dispenses to them all its blessings. In Heb.
8:6; 9:15; 12:24, this title is given to Christ. (See