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Meaning of COVENANT

Pronunciation:  'kuvununt

WordNet Dictionary
  1. [n]  a signed written agreement between two or more parties (nations) to perform some action
  2. [n]  (Bible) an agreement between God and his people in which God makes certain promises and requires certain behavior from them in return
  3. [v]  enter into a covenant
  4. [v]  agree to a covenant

COVENANT is a 8 letter word that starts with C.


 Synonyms: compact, concordat
 See Also: agreement, bar mitzvah, bat mitzvah, commune, communicate, confirm, contract, pledge, plight, understanding, undertake, written agreement



Webster's 1913 Dictionary
  1. \Cov"e*nant\ (k?v"?-nant), n. [OF. covenant, fr. F. &
    OF. convenir to agree, L. convenire. See {Convene}.]
    1. A mutual agreement of two or more persons or parties, or
       one of the stipulations in such an agreement.
             Then Jonathan and David made a covenant. --1 Sam.
                                                   xviiii. 3.
             Let there be covenants drawn between us. --Shak.
             If we conclude a peace, It shall be with such strict
             and severe covenants As little shall the Frenchmen
             gain thereby.                         --Shak.
    2. (Eccl. Hist.) An agreement made by the Scottish Parliament
       in 1638, and by the English Parliament in 1643, to
       preserve the reformed religion in Scotland, and to
       extirpate popery and prelacy; -- usually called the
       ``Solemn League and Covenant.''
             He [Wharton] was born in the days of the Covenant,
             and was the heir of a covenanted house. --Macaulay.
    3. (Theol.) The promises of God as revealed in the
       Scriptures, conditioned on certain terms on the part of
       man, as obedience, repentance, faith, etc.
             I will establish my covenant between me and thee and
             thy seed after thee in their generations for an
             everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to
             thy seed after thee.                  --Gen. xvii.
    4. A solemn compact between members of a church to maintain
       its faith, discipline, etc.
    5. (Law)
       (a) An undertaking, on sufficient consideration, in
           writing and under seal, to do or to refrain from some
           act or thing; a contract; a stipulation; also, the
           document or writing containing the terms of agreement.
       (b) A form of action for the violation of a promise or
           contract under seal.
    Syn: Agreement; contract; compact; bargain; arrangement;
    Usage: {Covenant}, {Contract}, {Compact}, {Stipulation}.
           These words all denote a mutual agreement between two
           parties. Covenant is frequently used in a religious
           sense; as, the covenant of works or of grace; a church
           covenant; the Solemn League and Covenant. Contract is
           the word most used in the business of life. Crabb and
           Taylor are wrong in saying that a contract must always
           be in writing. There are oral and implied contracts as
           well as written ones, and these are equally enforced
           by law. In legal usage, the word covenant has an
           important place as connected with contracts. A compact
           is only a stronger and more solemn contract. The term
           is chiefly applied to political alliances. Thus, the
           old Confederation was a compact between the States.
           Under the present Federal Constitution, no individual
           State can, without consent of Congress, enter into a
           compact with any other State or foreign power. A
           stipulation is one of the articles or provisions of a
  2. \Cov"e*nant\ (k?v"?-n?nt), v. i. [imp. & p. p.
    {Covenanted}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Covenanting}.]
    To agree (with); to enter into a formal agreement; to bind
    one's self by contract; to make a stipulation.
          Jupiter covenanted with him, that it should be hot or
          cold, wet or dry, . . . as the tenant should direct.
          And they covenanted with him for thyrty pieces of
          silver.                                  --Matt. xxvi.
    Syn: To agree; contract; bargain; stipulate.
  3. \Cov"e*nant\, v. t.
    To grant or promise by covenant.
          My covenant of peace that I covenanted with you.
Easton Bible Dictionary

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, 19).

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. 28:15, 18).

(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. 31:33, 34).

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. 2:16, 17).

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 law.

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 his righteousness.

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 DISPENSATION.)

Thesaurus Terms
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