Vol: 25 Issue: 8 Friday, June 8, 2018
Our Bible is divided into two parts that we generally refer to as the Old Testament and the New Testament. The word ‘testament’ comes from the Latin word, tesamentum which means, ”covenant with God”.
The Old Testament is the record of the covenant made between God and Abram’s seed.
“And 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.” (Genesis 17:7)
“And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the LORD hath made with you concerning all these words.” (Exodus 24:8)
“Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed.” (Acts 3:25)
The New Testament is a record of the fulfillment of the the Promise of the Old.
“Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:” (Jeremiah 31:31)
“And to Jesus the Mediator of the New Covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh bether things than that of Abel.” (Hebrews 12:24)
Before going on, I want you to notice something. These are blood covenants. What is a blood covenant? In ancient times, it was the only covenant that mattered.
Oftentimes before getting a bank loan, the creditor is required to put up collateral to secure the loan. My mortgage is secured by the value of my home. If I default on my mortgage, the bank can seize the property.
The collateral on my car loan is my car. If I default on my car payments, they can seize my car.
So a blood covenant is an agreement in which one puts up one’s life as collateral against a default.
In Genesis Chapter 15, we find Abram questioning God’s promise that his seed will be numbered as the stars of heaven and that they would inherit the land to which God had led him.
“And he [Abram] said, LORD God, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it?” (15:8)
It was then that God proposed a blood covenant after the manner of the Chaldeans.
“And he [God] said unto him, [Abram] Take me an heifer of three years old, and a she goat of three years old, and a ram of three years old, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon.”
Abram knew what to do next, since this was something he was familiar with. He recognized the elements necessary for a blood covenant.
“And he took unto him all these, and divided them in the midst, and laid each piece one against another: but the birds divided he not.”
The blood covenant worked this way. The animals were slaughtered and cut up. The pieces were intermingled and then carefully arranged to form a kind of aisle through which the two parties to the covenant would walk together, hands joined.
The principle of a blood covenant, and the symbolism of the rended animal parts was clearly understood to Abram. Whoever broke the covenant would end up like those piles of animals.
A blood covenant was, by common custom, a joining of 2 or more persons, families, clans, tribes, or nations, where the participants agree to do or refrain from doing certain acts.
More specifically, God had proposed a patriarchal covenant. The patriarchal form of covenant is a self-imposed obligation of a superior party, to the benefit of an inferior party, as between a father and his son.
God’s proposal included not only Abram, but extended to Abram’s seed forever.
Genesis tells us that, having prepared the covenant ritual, Abram waited for God to show up so the two of them could walk through the grisly aisle together, sealing its terms.
Instead, as Abram waited for God, a deep sleep fell upon him. During that deep sleep;
“it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces. In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates:” (Genesis 15:17-18)
The burning lamp was the Shekinah Glory of God. The smoking furnace symbolized the spiritual darkness of this world. The penalty for defaulting on a blood covenant was death.
The covenant was further refined at Mt Sinai and codified as the Ten Commandments. But note that Abram did NOT walk through the aisle with God.
God passed through the aisle alone.
“Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” (Galatians 3:13-14)
Jesus Christ was cursed on our behalf, ‘hanged on a tree’ (the Cross) to fulfill the terms of the Old Covenant.
The New Covenant did NOT replace the Old Covenant with Israel, it extended it to all men.
“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.” (Matthew 5:17)
The Old Covenant is exclusively between God and the seed of Abraham and is represented by the Law of Moses.
The curse of the law was two-fold in that; 1) it was impossible to keep, and 2) the penalty for not keeping it was death.
The New Covenant is not with a people, but with the individual, whether he be Jew or Gentile. The New Covenant is between Jesus Christ and “whosoever will.”
The Apostle Paul was, before his conversion on the road to Damascus, a Pharisee, or a religious lawyer, one well qualified to explain the law of covenant oaths.
As Paul explains, “Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. (Galatians 3:7) Further, that “they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.” (3:9)
And also, “But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.” (3:11)
Of the covenant that God signed on behalf of Abraham, Paul explains “Though it be but a man’s covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto.” (3:15)
The covenant could only be confirmed when the price demanded for its violation was paid in full.
The blood Covenant demanded satisfactory payment for its violation, and no one who had broken that covenant was qualified to stand in payment.
It is for that reason that Jesus Christ stepped out of eternity and into space and time. To keep the provisions of the original covenant and be the true Son that it demanded.
And having kept its terms on behalf of sinful humanity, He made payment as justice demanded, for its violation by those on whose behalf the covenant was signed.
He allowed Himself to be torn and rended like the animals that formed the corridor through which God alone passed.
“But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5)
To make restitution on behalf of the seed of Abraham. You. Me. And everyone who ever sinned. All of us.
Jesus made that payment on our behalf. On the Cross, as He gave up the ghost, Jesus cried with a loud voice “Teletelstai!” (using the same word that would be written on a slave’s manumission papers), meaning,”Paid in Full”.
The terms of the violated Covenant were met, its price was paid by its Signer. God’s justice was fulfilled.
That is why Jesus took on human form and allowed Himself to be crucified by His own creation. That is the reason the Blood of Christ is so precious. Why nothing less would do.
And why nothing more is necessary.
Featured Commentary: The Wrath of Christ ~Alf Cengia