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The Blood Covenant
Good morning

A Biblical Covenant is a Promise Written in Blood

INTRODUCTION

 

Welcome to the profound truth of blood covenants. The people who lived on the pages of our Bible used blood to make a covenant when two parties swear an oath.

 

We understand very little about the concept of “Covenant” today. The Hebrew word “berith” means more than a promise; it is an unbreakable obligation. 

It is the backbone of the Bible and the Gospel. 

 

God made various covenants, and these are the main ones:

God’s covenant with Noah

See Genesis 9.

God’s covenant with Abraham

See Genesis 15.

God’s covenant with Moses

See Exodus 19-24.

God’s covenant with David

See 2 Samuel 7.

The New Covenant.

 

CONDITIONAL AND UNCONDITIONAL 

 

God made various covenants with Israel, swearing by Himself to uphold them. These were unconditional covenants. The only conditional covenant was the one for law. And subsequently, the Old Testament is the story of Israel’s failure to keep the law.

 

God and Jesus Christ cut the ultimate covenant, between them, at the cross. The New Covenant is unconditional. It depends on what Jesus did, not what we do. It involves us, but it does not rely on us.

 

Hebrews 8:6 “But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises.”

 

COVENANT INGREDIENTS

 

Every covenant had to have specific ingredients to make it a valid covenant. These were:

Representative

Oath

Sacrifice

Friends

Meal

Memorial

 

1. THE REPRESENTATIVE

 

In the Western world today, life begins and ends with the individual. In Biblical times, a representative had to be off the same blood family as those he represented. 

 

One man could bring a nation into victory or slavery. Remember the story of David and Goliath, when David represented Israel, and Goliath represented the Philistines? This concept of a representer was at play here.

 

1 Samuel 1:8 Goliath stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel, “Why do you come out and line up for battle? Am I, not a Philistine, and are you not the servants of Saul? Choose a man and have him come down to me. 9If he is able to fight and kill me, we will become your subjects; but if I overcome him and kill him, you will become our subjects and serve us.” 

 

By the same token, because of one man, Adam, we all fell into sin and death. And, because of one man, Jesus, we are made alive. He was born to represent the human race in the New Covenant; He was 100% man and 100% God.

 

2. THE OATH

 

The two parties laid out their responsibilities and made a solemn oath, calling upon God to be the witness. God promised Noah He would never again flood the earth. He promised Abraham the land of Israel and David a Messiah that would be born from his bloodline. 

 

 

The Bible laid out our New Covenant in detail for generations to come. So it shall be forever because God swears by Himself and guarantees both the divine and human side.

 

2 Timothy 2:13 If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself.

 

This New Covenant is known as the grace covenant. Grace is not a doctrine; it is a person. It is Jesus Christ making and upholding the covenant for us.  

 

3. THE SACRIFICE

 

When they were cutting a covenant, blood was flowing, either of themselves or animals. So-called blood-brothers were friends who cut their fingers or arms in agreement and commingle their blood by scraping the wounded body parts against one another.

 

The Bible gives a vivid picture of this in cutting the Abrahamic covenant. God put Abraham to sleep after laying animal carcasses on the floor, and He walked in the blood, in vivid symbolism. 

 

Genesis 15

“10Abram brought all these to him, cut them in two and arranged the halves opposite each other; the birds, however, he did not cut in half. 

12As the sun was setting, Abram fell into a deep sleep, and a thick and dreadful darkness came over him. 

17When the sun had set and darkness had fallen, a smoking firepot with a blazing torch appeared and passed between the pieces. 

18On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram and said, “To your descendants I give this land.”

 

The next vivid image of blood flowing was at the cross. Jesus’ crucifixion was a covenant cut in His own blood. 

 

 4. FRIENDS

 

The word friend has become cheap in Western society. However, in Biblical times it referred to the covenant and explained the friendship between God and Abraham. 

 

2 Chronicles 20:7 “Are You not our God, who drove out the inhabitants of this land before Your people Israel, and gave it to the descendants of Abraham Your friend forever?”

 

One of the most beautiful stories in the Bible is that of the covenant between two friends, David and Jonathan. See more here Uncovering the Fantastic Story of Mephibosheth.

 

Even after Jonathan died, David acted according to their covenant.

 

2 Samuel 9

3The king asked, “Is there no one still alive from the house of Saul to whom I can show God’s kindness?”

Ziba answered the king, “There is still a son of Jonathan; he is lame in both feet.”

5So King David had him brought from Lo Debar…

7 “Don’t be afraid,” David said to him, “for I will surely show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan.

 

The New Covenant brought us into a new relationship with Jesus, that of covenant friends. 

John 15:15 “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends“. 

 

5.THE MEAL

 

Every covenant ended in a meal, drinking from the same cup and eating the same bread. 

 

Jesus, at the last supper, broke bread and drank from the cup, declaring it the New Covenant meal. 

 

Matthew 26:26 “While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.”

27Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. 28This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.

 

6.THE MEMORIAL

 

The two parties would commemorate this event with an enduring memorial. Sometimes they erect a monument there where it took place. Other times, the parties may change the place’s name to reflect the covenant they made there. 

 

The cross is the memorial of the New Covenant cut at Golgotha.

 

WRAP IT UP

 

Knowing and understanding the covenant is at the foundation of the Christian life. God is not capricious. He wants you to know where you stand with Him. 

 

THE END

 

 

Sources for COVENANT, MORE THAN PROMISE:

Book: The Power of the Blood Covenant by Malcolm Smith.

biblehub.com – online bible and commentaries

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