Apocalypse welcome banner

God’s Salvation Plan

       Believers are familiar with the formal division of the Bible into the Old and New Testaments and the sixty-six books they contain. We are less knowledgeable about God’s “informal” organization of Scripture through the Covenants. Yet the Bible is actually the written historical record of these covenants. With the Fall of Adam and Eve, mankind lost eternal life and became subject to the power of sin and death. However, God promised a Redeemer to restore what Adam lost through disobedience. The Lord’s salvation plan is based on seven messianic covenants that progressively reestablished man’s knowledge of, and relationship with, God in preparation for the coming Messiah.

       The messianic covenants mark the unfolding of God’s plan of Redemption, from the first shedding of blood in Eden to the redeeming blood of Christ that opened the gates to the kingdom of God. The seven Messianic Covenants differ from the covenants researched by theologians such Pentecost and Unger and presented as Biblical Covenants. The traditional presentation of Biblical covenants misses the thematic development of God’s redemptive plan, i.e., the underlying restorative purpose of the messianic covenants. While there are in fact many Old Testament covenants, there are only seven that can be considered messianic, and these can be identified by seven elements listed in Scripture that are common to each. They are also identified by their themes, which are confirmed elsewhere in Scripture, especially the feasts of the Lord. These themes provide a window into the mind of God as it pertains to his salvation plan.

       The following chart illustrates the conditions that existed prior to the Fall and how things changed afterwards. The six Old Testament messianic covenants prepared the way for Jesus to restore what mankind had lost. Christ’s fulfillment of these covenants on the cross will come to completeness after the establishment of a new heaven and earth, when God’s will prevails and mankind once again lives in a paradise on earth, and Christ turns the Kingdom over to the Father. (1Cor. 15:24-26)

results of the Fall of mankind chart

The Messianic Covenants

       From the beginning, God established covenant relationships with mankind. Because a covenant is similar to a legal contract, with each party having certain rights and responsibilities, those in covenant relationship with God knew exactly what he expected of them, as well as what they could expect from him. Covenants made relationship with God possible.

       The first recorded messianic covenant in Scripture was between God and Adam in the Garden of Eden. It was made without the shedding of blood, before human nature had become corrupted by sin. After Adam’s disobedience, man became separated from God, losing many of the blessings he had enjoyed. Though mankind paid the price for violation of God’s commandment, the Lord’s Covenant with Adam continued in force. God and man made a new beginning through the blood of the first recorded animal sacrifice, producing clothes for Adam and Eve. When the Lord drove them from Eden, he promised he would send a Redeemer, or Messiah to defeat Satan and redeem mankind, to pay the required penalty of death for sin so the lost Father-child relationship could be restored.

When the rebellion of the ancient serpent and the sin of mankind grew so great on the earth that violence threatened God’s redemption plan, the Lord cleansed the earth of its sin and corruption, leaving only eight people alive. He made his second messianic covenant with Noah, establishing accountability for the lifeblood of man to ensure that the cleansing Flood would not be in vain, ensuring the continuation of the line that would bring forth the Redeemer.  Later, God called a tribe of people for himself out of the world to preserve a righteous standard of living and keep the hope of the promised Redeemer alive. The Lord made his third messianic covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the firstfruits of a the tribe and later the nation of Israel. The Lord made two more messianic covenants, one with Levi and another with David, ensuring the establishment of a consecrated priesthood and righteous kingship that would be fulfilled in Christ. He made another messianic covenant with the entire nation of Israel through Moses, the Old Covenant of law founded on an annual new beginning with God through repentance that would be fulfilled in the New Covenant by the long awaited Messiah and outpouring of the Holy Spirit, the Presence of God with man.

       An essential part of messianic covenants involved atonement for all those who would come under them. These covenants were therefore accompanied at some point in their making or confirmation by blood sacrifice. The atoning blood of an innocent animal enabled mankind to enter into covenants with a holy God. Repeated animal sacrifice provided Atonement, the ‘covering’ of sin. The animal’s life was given in payment for the  death penalty that man should have paid for his own sin. This was a temporary fix until the Redeemer came to pay the blood price with his lifeblood once and for all. Although different animals were used for such sacrifices, a young ram became the standard offering of atonement, prefiguring Christ’s later forgiveness of sin through redemption. That’s why John the Baptist called Jesus the “Lamb of God.” (Jn. 1:29)

       The following page charts the messianic covenants God entered into with mankind. These covenants are progressive, building on those that came before. Each covenant revealed a new aspect of God’s nature and brought closer the advent of the Redeemer. That is why covenants are fulfilled rather than replaced. The six Old Testament messianic covenants culminated in the New Covenant instituted by Christ. Of the numerous Biblical covenants that have been identified or proposed by theologians and scholars, some are merely refinements or adjuncts of the seven messianic covenants that foreshadowed the redeeming work of Christ. In order for a Biblical covenant to be included in the list of the seven messianic covenants, it must pass two tests. The first is thematic: the messianic covenants fulfill the same themes that run through the Old Covenant feasts of the Lord, and in the same order. The reason these themes can be found in different places in Scripture is that God does not mark time with planetary movement as man does, but with the accomplishment of his will, specifically his plan to redeem mankind. From God’s perspective, time can therefore be viewed as more ‘thematic’ than chronological in nature. Second, the messianic covenants share seven common elements. 


The Bible reveals the elements by which the seven messianic covenants can be recognized and identified. The elements common to these covenants are: 1. A (new) revelation of God, 2. A commission for man to fulfill, 3. A law for man to keep, 4. Consequences for breaking that law, 5. A promised blessing or reward for those who keep the covenant, 6. A sign, acting as proof that man accepts the covenant and that God will keep his word, and 7. A memorial of the covenant to bring it to man’s remembrance. Covenants may be renewed (Gen. 35:11) or enhanced (Gen. 15, 17, Deuteronomy 4-6). Some elements from previous covenants find their way into subsequent ones, such as keeping the Sabbath and the proscription against eating meat with blood in it. Although some covenants are revealed and fulfilled over time, such as those with Levi through Aaron, and David through Solomon, they are named for the individual to whom God’s covenant promise was first made, and presented in that order.

Copyright 2011

Click on right arrow to view Messianic Covenant Charts