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  Jews believe that they are in an eternal relationship with God who made a covenent with Noah after the flood, promising that there would never again be a comparable flood upon the Earth. Jewish tradition believes that implicit in that covenant are seven commandments which, if kept by the righteous the world over, ensure them a share of life everlasting. These commandments forbid murder, adultery and incest, idolatry, false oaths, theft and cruelty to animals, and require every society to set up systems of just laws. Then God made a more specific covenant with the Jewish people, the descendants of Abraham.

The concept of covenant was taken over by the first Christians, who maintained that Jesus had instituted a new covenant sealed in his blood, a sign of which was the sacramental meal when they broke bread together and shared a cup of wine, as Jesus had commanded them to do. The Christian Scriptures came to be known as ‘The New Covenant’ in Greek (English translation; ‘Testament’). In 1638, the radical Presbyterian party in Scotland opposed Charles I, his bishops and the Book of Common Prayer, revived the concept of covenant, getting their supporters to sign a covenant, hence their name, ‘The Covenanters’. EMJ RM

See also Judaism.Further reading John Bright, Covenant and Promise; , G.D. Henderson, Religious Life in Seventeenth-Century Scotland (1937); , Norman Snaith, The Distinctive Idea of the Old Testament.



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