God made His covenants with Adam and Noah. Both were “universal” covenants with all mankind and set some foundational parameters on how the world works, such as the fear of man in animals, for example. Now God calls a particular people to be in covenant with Him. He will be their God and they, His people. These covenants also have implications for all mankind and each one reveals more of the character of God and the plan of salvation.
In the covenant with Abraham, God renews the dominion mandate again. This time He narrows it to Abraham’s descendants, who will fill the earth and be a blessing to the nations. Circumcision is given as a sign identifying who is in covenant with God, serving Him, and who is not. Interestingly, in the covenant ceremony, Abraham is passive, being put into a deep sleep, and God fulfills both parts of the covenant Himself. This looks forward to coming of Jesus Christ where God will accomplish the salvation of man Himself since man is dead in his sins.
In the Mosaic covenant there is significant advancement. God will now actually be present with His people in the tabernacle. Because of this, many directions are given not only in the building of God’s tent but also about how the people are supposed to live with God’s presence in the camp. These laws are specifically to teach the people the difference between what is holy and what is unclean. They reveal God’s character in more detail than ever before and also how to worship Him rightly. Up until Moses, mankind, even those circumcised and in covenant with Him, were without this information and without God’s presence with them. It’s because of this that Paul can say in Romans 5:14 that, “...death reigned from Adam to Moses”. The giving of the Law of Sinai was a signal that the reign of death has ended, God is saving His people. However, it isn’t until the New Covenant administration that death truly gets defeated. The next two covenants in the Old Covenant point primarily to the New Covenant.