Chapter 2 Covenants
The most meaningful relationships are “covenant” relationships. The best example of a covenant relationship is the marriage covenant. Each person demonstrates whom he or she trusts by the covenants they enter. Just as a bride and groom demonstrate covenant faith in each other, we are called to place covenant faith in God.

The central book of end-time prophecy, titled Revelation, tells about three covenants. Just as with God’s covenants in the Old Testament, scripture depicts covenants in Revelation with a mark on the forehead or hand (Deuteronomy 6:6-8). This type of mark may seem odd. However, consider that a common covenant symbol today, the wedding ring, distinguishes (marks) the left hand of the husband and wife.

During the end-times, it will be most convenient to accept the covenant offered by the preeminent world leader, a powerful man commonly called the Antichrist. Initially the leader of a restored Roman Empire, Antichrist will enter the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and claim to be God. Paul wrote that Antichrist takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God (2 Thessalonians 2:4b).

Belief in religion is a second covenant option. A person can have faith in his or her religion without having any faith in God. The Pharisees were the preeminent first-century teachers of Israel; yet their faith was in religion instead of God (Matthew 23:23). Pharisees wore long flowing robes (Mark 12:38), prayed in an impressive manner (Mark 12:40), and routinely fasted (Matthew 9:14). The typical Israeli citizen thought they set the gold standard for religious behavior.

Those who followed such religion were also in perilous danger. Jesus warned the Pharisees and their congregations when he said, “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from people; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in. (Matthew 23:13)

The three covenants in Revelation are depicted as a mark on the hand or forehead (Deuteronomy 6:6-8)

Faith in Antichrist:  And he causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free men and the slaves, to be given a mark on their right hand or on their forehead, (Revelation 13:16)

Faith in Religion: and on her forehead a name was written, a mystery, “BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.” (Revelation 17:5)

Faith in God: saying, “Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees until we have sealed the bond-servants of our God on their foreheads.” (Revelation 7:3)

The covenant that God offers makes each believer a member of the body of Christ. Jesus took bread during the last supper before his death and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” (Matthew 26:26b). Paul later noted that we are members of His body. (Ephesians 5:30b).

Also at the last supper, Jesus took wine and said, for this is My blood of the covenant (Matthew 26:28a). The shedding of blood pays the penalty for sin because without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness (Hebrews 9:22b; NIV).

Christians have entered into the following covenant relationship with God.

For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel
After those days, says the Lord:
will put My laws into their minds,
And I will write them on their hearts.
And I will be their God,
And they shall be My people.
And they shall not teach everyone his fellow citizen,
And everyone his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’
For all will know Me,
From the least to the greatest of them.
For I will be merciful to their iniquities,
And I will remember their sins no more.”
 
(Hebrews 8:10-12)

*Gentile believers have been made citizens of Israel (Ephesians 2:11-13)