Covenant is another word for promise but much stronger. It’s more like a contract signed in blood. God has different types of covenants. The Blood Covenant is the strongest most serious binding contract because the life of every living thing is in the blood. (Leviticus 17:11) Let me tell you, if God makes a promise with you, you can take that to the bank. God does not break His promises under a blood covenant.
Circumcision is an example of the blood covenant between God and Abram. God later renamed him Abraham. God promised to protect Abram, grant him a family larger than all the stars that he could count in the sky, give his family a large area of land to live on, and they would become a great nation whose descendants will bear kings and ultimately the Messiah.
God told Abram that his children must become part of their covenant and enjoy the benefits thereof as long as they do that “one thing” too. *Snip Snip* If they didn’t, they would be cast out of the family and put out of their nation. If they took part in the covenant and broke it, then the was penalty death. A blood covenant was not entered into lightly. It’s THAT serious.
This is all recorded in Genesis chapters 15-17. This particular covenant is still valid today. People all over the world, mostly Jews, continue participating in it. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Entering into a solemn promise with God is always a good thing. It’s just that there’s a better one to choose now. We’ll be getting to that soon.
Sometime after Abraham’s family grew to be a nation, God ordained animal sacrifices, and the spilling of their blood, to provide a temporary covering of sins (Leviticus 4:35, 5:10). A pure virgin firstling of the flock is chosen to die for the sins of its owner. The priest lays hands on it, says a prayer transferring the owner’s sins to it, and then kills it. The blood is poured out onto the alter and the body is broken, then burned on the alter. This ritual is a foreshadowing of the perfect and complete sacrifice to be made for us by our Messiah. Animal sacrifice is an important theme found throughout Scripture because “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” (Hebrews 9:22).
More than a thousand years later, along comes Jesus our Messiah. He is to be the “sacrificial lamb” for all mankind. He is from the flock of Israel, the firstborn in his family, unblemished and perfect.
In Matt 26:26-28 Jesus speaks of the blood covenant He’s about to enter into with us thus fulfilling God’s plan for redemption of all mankind.“While they were eating, Jesus took some bread, and after a blessing, He broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you; for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.”
Jesus is referring to the prophecy about him in Jeremiah 31:
31) “Behold, days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah,”
33) …this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the LORD, “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”
34) … “for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”
This passage is paraphrased in Hebrews 10:16-17:
16) “This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.
17) … Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more."
The author of Hebrews goes on, adding:
18) “And where these have been forgiven, there is no longer any sacrifice for sin.”
During the Last Supper, Jesus was proclaiming that he is the way in which God will usher in the new covenant that renders the old one obsolete. Is the old blood covenant between God and Abraham still in effect today, nearly 4,000 years later? Yes it is. It’s a tough way to live, being under the law, but if one so chooses that path he’s welcome to follow it. God does not break His promises.
But now, because of what the Messiah accomplished for us, there is a better and easier way with many more benefits. Simply follow Christ’s instructions and enter into his blood covenant with him. No cutting required like when joining Abraham’s blood covenant or in the nasty business of sacrificing animals.
The bread and wine of the Lord's Supper remind us of two elements of our redemption: the bread signifies the body in which a perfect life was lived on our behalf. Remember they were eating the Passover dinner so it was unleavened bread on the table. That represents purity. The cup of wine signifies the blood shed in atonement for our remission of sins.
Participating in this new covenant has its price. You have to leave the world behind, follow Christ accepting him as your Lord and obey his commandments. When you do that, his sacrifice applies to you. You are now under his protection and benefit from his perfect relationship with God. This blood covenant with Christ is not to be entered into lightly. The penalty for not doing your part is death.
1 Corinthians 11:
27) Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord.
28) But a man must examine himself, and in so doing he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup.
29) For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself if he does not judge the body rightly.
30) For this reason many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep [dead].
31) But if we judged ourselves rightly, we would not be judged.
32) But when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord so that we will not be condemned along with the world.
It’s not like God instantly puts us to death if we break the covenant. Thankfully we’re not under the law, but under grace. What happens is, through separation from Christ, death finds US… and we’re powerless to stop it. The Blood Covenant is serious business. Penalty for breaking this promise is death. Neither God nor Jesus ever welch on a deal. To become a born again Christian, one is entering into a blood covenant with Jesus Christ. Are we as Christians holding up our end of the contract?
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About Daniel Sweet, Minister of Christ:
Daniel Sweet is an ordained minister of Christ, a world renowned author on the subject of Leadership and very well versed in bible history. He is an avid dirt biking enthusiast who makes the bible easy for everyone to understand by using humor and fun personal stories from his own life experiences. Daniel enjoys sharing with others how to gain strength through the knowledge and truth of God’s Word