The Forgotten Covenant

Jeremiah---Michael-AngeloYou know lately I’ve been especially awed at how congruent the Biblical message is about the promised Messiah. As many of you know I’ve been working on Book II in my Prophecies and Patterns series: Daniel’s 70 Weeks: Keystone of Bible Prophecy. Those with an interest in Bible prophecy are likely familiar with the infamous  “covenant” mentioned in the prophecy of 70 Weeks. By far the majority of scholars today believe this covenant found in Daniel 9:27 is made by some yet future evil world leader and it is this covenant that sets in motion the final seven years of this age before the Messiah Yeshua returns to reign on this earth.

But what about the other covenant mentioned in Daniel 9? How many of you are familiar with the covenant of Daniel 9:4? Arguably, it is this covenant which establishes the underlying context for the prophecy which was revealed to Daniel by the angel Gabriel. In fact a careful reading of Daniel 9:1-23 shows that the prophecy of 70 weeks was, in part, an answer to Daniel’s impassioned prayer in those first twenty three verses.

  And I prayed unto YHWH my God, and made my confession, and said, O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments; Daniel 9:4

To me, one of the most wonderful aspects of the Bible is the consistency of its messianic message. Each part builds color and texture to show our Creator YHWH’s, love for mankind and His plan to reconcile us to Him. To be sure sometimes the threads of this plan are not obvious and other times they are on bold display but you can count on the fact that each thread builds part of the tapestry which shows YHWH’s love.

Here in Daniel 9:4 we have a major thread of YHWH’s plan to reconcile mankind to Himself. Together let’s trace that thread back in time and see if we can find the original context of this forgotten covenant.

Crossing the Jordan
Our first destination takes us back to very end of Israel’s 40 years in the wilderness. Israel is just this side of the Jordan river and ready to enter the Promised Land. Moses is admonishing, instructing, and encouraging the people before he passes leadership to Joshua (Yeshua) the son of Nun and Israel crosses over the Jordan.

37 And because he loved thy fathers, therefore he chose their seed after them, and brought thee out in his sight with his mighty power out of Egypt; (Deuteronomy 4:37)

6 For thou art an holy people unto YHWH thy God: YHWH thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth. 7 YHWH did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people:

8 But because YHWH loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath YHWH brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.  9 Know therefore that YHWH thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations;….  12 Wherefore it shall come to pass, if ye hearken to these judgments, and keep, and do them, that YHWH thy God shall keep unto thee the covenant and the mercy which he sware unto thy fathers:  (Deuteronomy 4:34; 7:6-12)

Covenant and Mercy
Just to be clear that the Daniel is referring to the same “covenant and mercy” as mentioned by Moses in Deuteronomy, all we need to do is read the next several verses of Daniel 9. Daniel goes on to acknowledge that indeed they had not kept the words of Moses and he pleads with YHWH despite that, to remember the Exodus and His deliverance of them from Egypt.

Consider the context of Daniel’s words in chapter 9 for a moment. Here we find Daniel a very old man who has been a captive in the land of Babylon for nearly 70 years. He has just read and understood the prophecy of Jeremiah in which he learns that his captivity is nearly over. For further clarity remember that it was Daniel’s captivity along with king Jehoiakim which began the 70 years prophesied by Jeremiah. (Daniel 1:1-6)

Promised to the Fathers
With this realization Daniel gives one of the most beautiful and impassioned prayers in the Bible. This prayer is the catalyst for the prophecy of 70 Weeks which followed. In this context the very first words out of Daniel’s mouth concerning the “covenant and mercy” take on added significance.

So what is the “covenant and mercy” promised to the fathers and when did this covenant take effect? According to Moses in Deuteronomy 9:5 the “fathers” are none other than Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Keep in mind the passage below is still within the context of Moses’ speech to Israel before they were to cross over the Jordan river and take possession of the Promised Land.

5 Not for thy righteousness, or for the uprightness of thine heart, dost thou go to possess their land: but for the wickedness of these nations YHWH thy God doth drive them out from before thee, and that he may perform the word which YHWH sware unto thy fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.(Deuteronomy 9:5)

So there you have it. The covenant and mercy promised to the fathers which Moses mentioned in Deut. 7, begins with the father Abraham. So let’s explore this covenant made with Abraham and see why Daniel might bring this to mind when he petitioned YHWH in Daniel 9:4.

Abraham-offering-Isaac

Abraham offering Isaac

The Faith of Abraham
To me one of the most poignant stories in the Bible is when YHWH tests Abraham’s faith by asking him to sacrifice his only son. Abraham’s response and actions are a testimony to his amazing faith. It is here in the 22nd chapter of Genesis where we find this story and the origins of the “covenant” which both Moses and Daniel mention. Take a moment to read a few excerpts of this wonderful story.

  And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am2 And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of. (Genesis 22:1-2)

So Abraham arrives in the land of Moriah where he knew he was to sacrifice his son on one of the mountains, but listen to his faith speaking in this passage:

  5 And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you. (Genesis 22:5)

The next passage is one of my favorites. Listen to words of a father and his young son. These words are both a testimony to Abraham’s faith but also a prophecy which speaks to the coming Messiah:

  7 And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering? 8 And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together. (Genesis 22:7-8)

As a father of five precious children this passage nearly brings me to tears when I read it. How innocent Isaac’s question and what faith by Abraham. I can’t help but ask myself if I would have that kind of faith. Thankfully Abraham had that faith because as you will see it was this act of faith which YHWH used to bring forth the “seed” of the Messiah.

  15 And the angel of YHWH called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time, 16 And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the YHWH, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son: 17 That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; 18 And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice. (Genesis 22:15-18)
You see the covenant made with Abraham was not just about Israel and their possession of the Promised Land but it was covenant which promised that through Abraham all nations of the earth would be blessed. The apostle Paul explains this passage more fully in Galatians 3.

 16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. 17 And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.(Galatians 3:16-17)

In beautiful Biblical congruency this passage by the apostle Paul brings us full circle. The forgotten covenant mentioned by the prophet Daniel in Daniel 9:4 is none other than the promise of the coming Messiah by which all nations of the earth were to be blessed. How awesome and appropriate is that! Daniel’s first words in chapter 9 are a petition to the living God of the Bible to remember the covenant of the coming Messiah. In answer to Daniel’s prayer, just twenty verses later, YHWH sends the angel Gabriel with the prophecy of 70 weeks, the defining Messianic prophecy in the Scripture.

  23 At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to shew thee; for thou art greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision.  24 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. (Daniel 9:23-24)

Christ-bearing-His-crossA Wonderful Plan of Redemption
As I stated at the beginning of this article, the Bible is congruent. YHWH has had a plan to reconcile mankind through Yeshua, the promised “seed” of Abraham and this plan of redemption is woven into every aspect of the Biblical record. This promised reconciliation is the very essence of the prophecy of Daniel’s 70 Weeks from the start of Daniel’s prayer to the very last verse.

So next time you are thinking about the “covenant” of Daniel 9:27 won’t you considered the forgotten covenant of Daniel 9:4? While you are at it consider it in light of the words of Zechariah, the father of John, and Mary, the mother of Yeshua.

 68 Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people, 69 And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David; 70 As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began:… 72 To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant; 73 The oath which he sware to our father Abraham,… To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins,  78 Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us,  79 To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace. (Luke 1:68-79 – see also Isaiah 42)

  46 And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, 47 And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. 48 For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed….  54 He hath holpen his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy; 55 As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever. (Luke 1:46-55)

Never forget the Covenant!

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Digging Deeper
For those who would like to dig deeper into this subject I encourage you to contrast and compare the covenant of Daniel 9:4 with the covenant of Daniel 9:27. Consider each in the light of the other. Context does indeed matter.

  27 And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate. (Daniel 9:27)

16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. 17 And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.(Galatians 3:16-17)

28 For this is my blood of the new testament [covenant], which is shed for many for the remission of sins. (Matthew 26:28)   

 

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2 thoughts on “The Forgotten Covenant

  1. Joyce Ann Woidtke

    I have read the above and it brings me back full circle to the fact that God chose the tribes of Jacob and has always and will continue to work in them and through them to bring His Word to completion. I study and teach Leviticus 23 and it shows us clearly that God will bring all to pass in His Own Time.
    working, watching and waiting for HIs soon return joyce woidtke

    Reply

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