The prophets of God were the original covenant theologians.
On one hand, they preached the word of God as pastoral historians and theologians: “That is what happened; this is what it means.” On the other hand, they played the role of covenant prosecutors: “This is what God said, but that is what you did. This is what you must do or else…”
They were covenant visionaries who proclaimed God’s word in order to form, inform, reform, and transform God’s covenant people according to his covenant of grace.
Here are a few examples of the way the prophets appealed to and applied God’s covenant promises. In this way the prophets prepared the world for the arrival of Jesus the Christ — the Last Adam, the seed of woman, the ark of peace, the son of promise, the Great Prophet, and the King of kings.
ADAMIC COVENANT – GENESIS 3:14-20
In the Garden of Eden God pronounced a series of curses on the serpent, sinful humanity, and the rest of creation. Then God promised to send a savior into the world to crush the serpent’s head and to reverse the curse of sin and death. The prophets connected their hearers to the covenant promises.
Hosea 6:6-7 – God desires grace not works. “But like Adam they transgressed the covenant; there they dealt faithlessly with me.” In Adam’s fall we sinned all. Israel transgressed the covenant when their father Adam transgressed the covenant. (See Romans 5:12-21.)
Isaiah 7:14-15 – The Lord God gave a sign: a virgin shall be with child. The seed of woman would come into the world just as God promised.
Isaiah 9:6-7 – To us a son is born, a child is given. The ancient seed-of-woman promise is fulfilled in the son born of the virgin.
Isaiah 24:4-6 – The curse of sin and death infects the whole world and makes it formless, chaotic, and desolate. Creation groans and mourns under the sin curse “waiting for the sons of God to be revealed” (Rom.8:19-22)
Isaiah 49:1-23 – The Anointed One is the Covenant of Peace, a light to the nations, the seed of woman. He will reverse the curse and establish salvation.
Isaiah 65:17-25 – The Christ will establish the new heavens and new earth. Eden will be renewed and paradise will be restored.
NOAHIC COVENANT – GENESIS 9:18-18
God established a covenant of peace with the whole creation in the days of Noah. The prophets re-iterated God’s covenant promises and explained that God would (re)create the heavens and the earth.
Hosea 2:18 – God will make a covenant of peace with the whole creation – beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, and the creeping things of the ground. God will break the bow, the sword, and war from the land, and make his creatures lie down in safety.
Isaiah 54:9-10 – As it was in the days of Noah, so God will (re)establish his covenant of peace with his people.
Isaiah 66:22-23 – God will establish the new heavens and new earth for his covenant people and their children forever.
Ezekiel 34:25 – God will make a covenant of peace and banish wild beasts from the land, so that his people may dwell securely in the wilderness and sleep in the woods.
Ezekiel 37:26 – God will make a covenant of peace with his people. It shall be an everlasting covenant with them. And he will set them in their land and multiply them, and will set his sanctuary in their midst forevermore. (Compare Revelation 22)
ABRAHAMIC COVENANT – GEN. 12:2-3; 15:8-18; 17:1-14; 22:15-18
God chose Abraham and called him out of Ur to the promise land. God cut a covenant with Abraham and promised to bless all the nations of the world through him. The gospel was announced to Abraham — that God would justify the Gentiles by faith. The prophets developed the covenant promises to bless the nations.
Micah 7:18-20 God will show the same steadfast love to faithful covenant members that he showed to Abraham the patriarch.
Joel 2:28-29 – God promised to pour out his Spirit on all flesh, not on Jews only, but on Jews and Gentiles. (See the Apostle Peter’s comments in Acts 2 and Acts 11.)
Isaiah 2:1-4 – In the latter days the nations will flow into the covenant community for salvation and worship.
Isaiah 42:1-9 – A savior, born of a woman, will be the signal light of salvation for all the nations of the world.
Isaiah 51:1-3 – God will comfort his people and keep all his covenant promises made to Abraham.
Jeremiah 33:25-26 – The same God who established a covenant of creation will keep his covenant of redemption. God is a faithful covenant-keeper. All the promises made from Abraham to David will be realized.
MOSAIC COVENANT – EXODUS 19:5; 24:4-8; 34:27-28
God established his Law in Israel to make the nation a light to the world. The prophets reminded the people of the Law of Moses and its covenant of blessing and curses: faithful obedience resulted in blessing; unfaithful disobedience resulted in curses. And the prophets reminded the people of God’s covenant grace: God will save his people from sin and death.
Haggai 2:4-6 – God will shake off the shadows – physical temple and political throne – in order to establish realities – his eternal kingdom and sanctuary. See Heb. 12:26-29.
Isaiah 63:9-14 – God’s remembered Moses and his covenant community, therefore mercy triumphed over judgment.
Daniel 9:11-14 – Israel broke God’s covenant, so the covenant curses were poured out on the whole nation. They spent seventy years in Babylonian Exile.
Micah 6:3-8 – God is the Savior of his people. Covenant grace requires fruit of the Spirit, not works of the flesh.
Malachi 4:4-6 – This text marks a transition from the Law of Moses to the Gospel of Christ. Christ is the end-goal of the Law; the Law is a tutor that leads us to Christ.
[Malachi 2:4-9 – God established a covenant of life, peace, and reverence with the Levitical priests. They were bound by covenant to teach the word of God to Israel.]
DAVIDIC COVENANT – 1 SAMUEL 7:11-16; PSALM 89:3-4; PSALM 110
God promised to anoint an eternal king from David’s line and to establish his kingdom forever. The prophets re-iterated God’s promises and gave the people hope for the future. The future king deliver God’s people from all enemies and establish peace forever.
Amos 9:11-12 – God promised to restore David’s fallen tent so that the remnant of mankind and the nations may seek the Lord. (Compare Acts 15:13-19)
Isaiah 9:6-7 – The son born of the virgin will rule over the world on David’s throne.
Isaiah 55:3 – The Christ will sit on David’s throne and rule nations known and unknown. He will rule over Jews and Gentiles.
Jeremiah 33:14-22 – As surely as God is a covenant keeper as Creator, so God is a covenant keeper as Savior. The Christ will reign on David’s throne.
Ezekiel 37:24-28 – The Messiah will be the shepherd-king of Israel and he will establish an everlasting covenant of peace with his people.
This is a newer version of an older post from December 2008