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Today we will go back to the time. When God, the Eternal One made a covenant of love that was sealed in blood. A covenant being a mutual, binding agreement or pledge of an alliance to each other.
In ancient cultures blood had significant meaning and applications. Firstly a blood covenant was symbolic of an intimate relationship of identity and loyalty. To enter into a blood covenant was to be bonded together for life. It was seen to link individuals to each other and even to the supernatural world.
blood was a sign
For the Ancient Israelites the blood was a sign. It was evidence that a death had occurred and more specifically an offence against another had taken place. Blood also in the eyes of the Ancient Israelites determined one’s guilt.
The first time blood is mentioned in the Bible is the shedding of the blood of Abel. He was the son of the first man and woman. Brother of same blood killed brother. Cain killed Abel and God confronted Cain in a way that Cain would understand.
God declared, ‘What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to Me from the ground.’ The blood of the brother testified of both his unjust death and also the guilt of the brother who killed him. God also reminds Cain of his close relationship with the one he killed.
Conversely to the Ancient Israelites blood also represented life. In the blood sacrifice there was believed a transfer of innocence to the guilty, as the cost of the offence had been paid in the sacrifice. With the cost of the offence being paid, the guilty would be released from obligation and be able to receive forgiveness.
So into this culture and mindset, God reached down into the hearts and minds of humanity.
Let us go back in time. When God brought judgement on the gods of Ancient Egypt and exposed their lies and deceptions. The Ancient Israelites were held captive and slaves to the Egyptians. God heard the cries of the Ancient Israelites and was about to pass through the land to deliver the Ancient Israelites. God instructed the Ancient Israelites to place the blood of a lamb on the doorposts.
blood a symbolic act
The blood was a sign for them. It was a symbolic act of making the choice to give their allegiance to the one true God, instead of the gods of Egypt. As a result God’s judgement against the gods of Egypt would pass over them. For all those who chose to give their allegiance to the gods of Egypt, they aligned themselves with the judgment, lies and deceptions of those gods.
After God had delivered the Ancient Israelites from the hands of their oppressor, they all gathered together at the foot of the mountain. Remembering what the blood means to the Ancient Israelites let us now go to:
Exodus 24:3-8 So Moses came and told the people all the words of the LORD and all the judgments. And all the people answered with one voice and said, “All the words which the LORD has said we will do.” And Moses wrote all the words of the LORD. And he rose early in the morning, and built an altar at the foot of the mountain, and twelve pillars according to the twelve tribes of Israel.
Then he sent young men of the children of Israel, who offered burnt offerings and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen to the LORD. And Moses took half the blood and put it in basins, and half the blood he sprinkled on the altar.
Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read in the hearing of the people. And they said, “All that the LORD has said we will do, and be obedient.” And Moses took the blood, sprinkled it on the people, and said, “This is the blood of the covenant which the LORD has made with you according to all these words.”
a true covenant of love
Covenant means an alliance or pledge to each other. It is when both people willingly agree. So the creator of heaven and earth and all things good made a covenant of love sealed in blood with the Ancient Israelites. The Ancient Israelites agreed.
The sprinkling of the blood was a symbolic act of a special bond. God would be with them wherever they wandered. Intimately and personally.
Yet unfortunately the Ancient Israelites said they would give their allegiance to God the Eternal One, yet in their hearts, just 40 days later, they gave their allegiance to the gods of Egypt. Not only that but they publicly and falsely attributed their deliverance from oppression to the golden calf they had just made!
If only they had chosen in their heart to give their allegiance to Him. Time passed. God continued to remain faithful to His covenant, yet sadly the people continued to say yes with their mouth and no in their heart.
Ezekiel 44:5-7 And the LORD said to me, “Son of man, mark well, see with your eyes and hear with your ears, all that I say to you concerning all the ordinances of the house of the LORD and all its laws. Mark well who may enter the house and all who go out from the sanctuary. “Now say to the rebellious, to the house of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “O house of Israel, let Us have no more of all your abominations. When you brought in foreigners, uncircumcised in heart and uncircumcised in flesh, to be in My sanctuary to defile it—My house—and when you offered My food, the fat and the blood, then they broke My covenant because of all your abominations.
covenant of free choice
Sadly they made the choice in their hearts to give their allegiance to the gods made by the empires of humanity. Not only did they break the covenant of love that they said they agreed to enter into, but they defiled God’s sanctuary in offering the blood and the choicest pieces, to the gods made by humanity.
Defile is to be dark, violate, pollute, desecrate. They did all this in the place that was given to God, the Eternal One.
In the blood sacrifice of the law given to the Ancient Israelites, they would be reminded of their need for a saviour and their covenant of love with God. The blood was evidence that a death had taken place and the cost had been paid for their offence. It also conversely represented life and salvation to all who chose to believe God and give their allegiance to Him.
Over the centuries God continues to offer His covenant of love, sealed in blood. Hundreds and hundreds of years later, a culture that publicly executed the guilty of humanity with the shedding of blood was in power. It was the era of the Roman Empire.
So during this time in human history, God became one of us. He clothed Himself in humanity and willingly provided the sacrifice for us.
Matthew 26:26-28 And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
a new covenant
Jesus declares that His blood that is shed for many is the blood of the new covenant of love. Remember God’s love never changes. He continually pursuers humanity in a way each one will understand. God revealed His love to the Ancient Israelites in a way they would understand. In Jesus’ death the new covenant begins.
It is through Jesus’ death that we can receive and believe God’s forgiveness. A forgiveness that is already there, yet we struggle so hard to receive and believe.
Jesus’ own blood, seals the covenant of love. A covenant is actually a legally binding agreement written in Jesus’ own blood.
Even in our culture today, we understand the cost of ones life to sacrifice for another. Also the legal requirements of the last will of a person. How it can only come into effect after the person’s death. To share in Jesus’ inheritance of eternal life, He first had to become one of us and pay the cost of all offences every said, thought and done by humanity. The cost is death.
covenant relationship for all eternity
The writer of Hebrews puts it this way.
Hebrews 9:16-22 For where there is a testament, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is in force after men are dead, since it has no power at all while the testator lives. Therefore not even the first covenant was dedicated without blood. For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water, scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, saying, “This is the blood of the covenant which God has commanded you.” Then likewise he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry. And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission.
For us today we have a relationship of intimacy and oneness, identity and status, purpose and value, forgiveness and freedom. A covenant relationship for all eternity, sealed with the blood of the living God. The blood of Jesus testifies of God’s great love and all that we inherit in Him.
jesus the mediator
The writer of Hebrews continues.
Hebrews 12:22-29 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel. See that you do not refuse Him who speaks.
For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven, whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven.” Now this, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire.
God willingly became the sacrifice for us. So we could say yes to Him and enter into His covenant of love, sealed with His own blood. In doing so we come to His royal heavenly city. We are registered in heaven and citizens of God’s kingdom.
We have inherited an eternal kingdom that cannot be shaken. Each day is a new day to receive more of God’s love, truth and power. In receiving from God more of Himself, we serve Him acceptably.
a covenant of awe and wonder
With reverence in this context means with respect, modesty and regard for others. When we know and experience His love, truth and power each day we cannot help but be reverent of God. For as we surrender our self will to our Father in heaven. We receive more of His love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control. It is His love in us that gives us respect for God and others.
Serving in fear is an action of taking hold of something by the root. It is to be in awe and wonder of the living God.
This is a work of God in us. As we surrender and receive more of Him, we live in the reality of being in a covenant of love. The covenant of love that God sealed in His own blood.
Hebrews 13:20-21 Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.