The Blood Covenant
The Bible says, if you are in Christ Jesus then you are Abraham’s seed and an heir according to the promise.
Why would any Christian today want to be an heir of Abraham?
What God promised Abraham was not just a little sliver of land in the eastern part the globe— that wasn’t what God had in mind at all. God was not looking to just create one tiny nation and put a few million people in it. There’s more to the story than you may have considered before! In Romans 7 Paul says, “the things I don’t want to do, I do; but the things that I want to do, I don’t!” Paul realized that when a person is born again he acquires a new nature, and this spiritual nature wars against the carnal nature we are born with. Later on, Paul makes an interesting statement that I didn’t understand for many years; he says, “whatever is not of faith is sin.” What does that mean? I think there’s a simple explanation now that I understand something about righteousness by faith. Paul is saying, if what you do isn’t motivated by a faith experience, it’s useless! Righteousness by faith. So important to understand. More studies will be coming but today, our study is on:
The Blood Covenant
In Genesis Chapters 12, 13, and 14, God makes a Unilateral Covenant with Abraham. What does unilateral mean? One-sided. What did God promise to Abraham? 1) The land; and, 2) that he would be the father of many nations. God promised this to Abraham unilaterally. One-sided. Think of this covenant as you would the time of the rainbow. The rainbow is the sign of a covenant that God would never destroy the world with a flood again. So a unilateral covenant is one-sided.
Then in Genesis Chapter 15, God entered into a Bilateral Covenant with the descendants of Abraham who do not yet exist. In fact, Abraham is still childless! Think about what God is doing; entering into a covenant with people that don’t even exist; with a man that doesn’t have any children. But with God, He doesn’t see things as they are.
God always sees things for what they could be.
In Genesis Chapter 15, Abraham is concerned and he says to the Lord, “How will I know that what you have promised me will come true?” God took him out and told him to look up at the stars and said, “Abraham, if you could count the stars, you’ll be able to count your offspring.” The Bible says that Abraham believed God and God credited it to him as righteousness. (Genesis 15:5,6) What that means is that Abraham went away from that meeting with perfect peace; that somehow, in God’s good time, this would all come about. When you take God at His word and when you believe in His sovereignty, [ability to do anything] you should be able to walk away with peace.
Now Abraham lost that peace a few years later when he, Sara and Hagar worked out a plan to make this happen and it didn’t turn out too well. (Genesis 16:1-15) The Lord would not honor Ishmael [Abraham’s son with Hagar] as the firstborn – as the one who would receive this bilateral covenant. Abraham was 86 years old when Hagar bore Ishmael to him. (Genesis 16:16) The Lord said Ishmael would become the father of a great nation (Genesis 17:20), but the bilateral covenant would not be done through Ishmael.
The Lord said to Abraham to go get five animals. (Genesis 15:9) We are going to make this Bilateral Covenant a Blood Covenant.
A blood covenant is a covenant based on a Life & Death Surety meaning that the only out on this one is only by the death of the one who initiated it. In Genesis 17 where this covenant is more fully expressed, nine times God called this covenant “My covenant.” God is initiating this covenant and He has Abraham go and get five animals: A three-year old-heifer, a three-year-old female goat, a three-year-old ram, a turtledove, and a young pigeon. Abraham cut the animals in half, separating the parts and laying them out on the ground. He didn’t separate the bodies of the turtledove or the pigeon. Genesis 15:9,10
The Bible tells us that Abraham went into a deep sleep. God came and spoke to him and Abraham saw a censor [a smoking pot] and a blazing torch walk through the parts. Who walked through the parts? Jesus walked through the parts. Obviously He wasn’t called Jesus at that time. He didn’t take that name until He was born of Mary but it is the same Member of the Godhead, Jesus Christ. Jesus walked through the parts and made this covenant with Abraham on behalf of his descendants.
Understand that God has already made a Unilateral Covenant with Abraham. What God is now doing is setting up a Bilateral [two-sided]Covenant with the descendants of Abraham. Why would it be two-sided? It means this: The reason there is two sides to this covenant is because if one party wants out, it can be broken. What it really means is that only the party who passes through the blood can break it. Man can’t break this covenant! The only way this covenant can be broken is for God to die. Remember, He calls it My covenant nine times in Genesis 17, and, therefore, only He can break this blood covenant. Life for life. Blood for blood. So the animals are slain.
Jesus passes through the bodies and Abraham’s descendants have a blood covenant.
After the Exodus 430 years later, and just a few days before God is going to come down on Mt. Sinai, Moses tells the people that God is going to come to renew the blood covenant (Exodus 19:3 and onward). Moses tells the Israelites that God has chosen them to be a holy Nation, a kingdom of priests. What is the function of a priest? To serve God and man. God wanted a nation of baby Abrahams. After God gave to Moses what we call the Laws of Moses, [Moses wrote all that God told him in a book] while on top of the mountain, Moses came down off the mountain and gathered all the people together. The Bible says Moses read the entire book to them. The people answered, “All that the Lord has spoken, we will do.” (Exodus 19:8) Then, what did Moses do? He takes and slaughters an animal, dips a hyssop branch into the bowl of blood and sprinkles the people; and they enter into the Blood Covenant. The blood covenant is renewed with the descendants of Abraham.
These five animals that Moses used are the same ones used in the Sanctuary Service: The heifer, the goat, the ram, a turtledove and a pigeon. Why did God have Abraham chose these five? Because some of the descendants of Abraham would be poor and some would be rich. The poorest offering was a dove. The most expensive offering [which is offered by the high priest on the Day of Atonement] was a heifer. What God is doing is including every one of Abraham’s descendants in His covenant regardless of social stature. The poor as well as the rich. This is why James said we should not distinguish between the rich and the poor in our fellowship one with another because in God, we are all equal. God is no respecter of persons. He loves us all the same.
When the blood covenant was set up with Abraham, Jesus initiated it. Jesus was the One that passed through the flesh; this blood covenant goes into effect; it is renewed at Mt. Sinai and Jesus finally gets the children of Israel into the Promised Land where He wants to make them a light unto the world. In Acts 13:47 Paul clearly says and understands that God chose Israel to be a light unto the world and salvation unto the Gentiles.
But, what actually happened on their way to fulfilling God’s will?
Their hard hearts actually stopped them from accomplishing all that God wanted done. We have a history of nearly 1,400 years, from the Exodus to the time of Calvary, and one word sums it up: Apostacy. This is Israel’s experience – time after time after time after time. This is human nature. This is what happens when each generation is not born again. Example: Two people get married. They are wonderful people who have given their hearts to the Lord and serve Jesus in all that they do. They give birth to their first child and that little baby is born with a carnal nature. Two born-again parents never give birth to a born-again baby. It never happens. That little baby is born with a rebellious nature and if you don’t curb it, by the time he is nine-years-old he will think he is God. He will be ordering people around and telling them how to eat their cabbage. If you cross his will, he will throw a tantrum that will embarrass anybody. No two born-again parents ever give birth to a born-again baby.
Here is where legalism takes over.
The born-again parents are happy in their home but little Junior never catches the vision. Yes, he is taken to church every week; yes, he is taught what is right and what is wrong; and yes, he is taught all the good stuff he should do but his little carnal heart is just as hard as a brick. This little baby can become an adult of forty-years-old doing all the right things but still have a heart as hard as a brick. What you have here is a legalist. He is convinced that if he is doing everything right; God has nothing to hold against him. Until God comes to you and asks/demands you to do something you don’t want to do, that is where hostility toward God begins if you haven’t given your heart to Jesus and experienced the born-again experience.
Whose will is going to win? Yours, or His? That is the struggle every day of the Christian life. The Holy Spirit comes and nags us, producing guilt regarding something in our lives that we need to change. That nagging robs us of peace. The only way to enjoy peace is to submit to the Holy Spirit’s prompting and the nagging will go away.
The Holy Spirit speaks to everyone. The question is: Do you have ears to hear? Seven times in the book of Revelation the Bible says, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” Submitting is the only way to experience that wonderful peace that comes from the Father above. How well do you hear the Spirit?