Covenant…A Bond in Blood

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Have you heard of Kay Arthur?  She is the co-founder of Precept Ministries International, a ministry for the edifying and building up of the body.  She is a Bible study author and teacher.  She was my mentor for fifteen years, not in the flesh, but via videotapes and through leadership training conferences.  Much of what I know concerning the scriptures I owe to her method of teaching: in-depth, inductive Bible study.

The following is taken from her book, Our Covenant God: Learning to Trust Him.  The book came about from years of teaching Covenant – a much-loved course of study. 

 

The animals had been slain — cut in half down the spine.  Their bright blood stained the stones, the dirt, the grass, vying with sprinklets of wildflowers in their display of color.   A covenant was being cut.

The two men stood opposite one another.  Each removed his own robes and handed them to the other, then clothed himself in his covenant brother’s garment.

I am putting on you…and you me.  We are one.

Picking up their weapons from the ground, each handed the other his sword, his bow.  By this action they understood…

Your enemies are now mine…and mine yours.

Then they handed each other their belts.

When you are weak, my strength will be there for you.

In a figure-eight path, both walked through the pieces of flesh lying opposite one another.  It was a walk into death.

I am dying to my independent living…and to my rights.

They swore by an oath as they pointed first to heaven —

God, do so to me…

and then to the slain animals.

if I break this covenant!

Then each made a cut on his wrist, and with a handclasp the two men mingled their blood.

It is agreed: We — once two — have now become one.

In turn each recited what he owned and what he owed; from this day forward they would share all their resources.

What is mine is yours…what is yours is mine.

Each reached down and scooped up dirt mingled with small stones and rubbed this abrasive into the cut in his wrist.

Wherever I am, when I lift my hand and see the scar, I will remember I have a covenant partner.

They exchanged new names.

Because of covenant I have a new identity.

They sat to partake of a covenant meal.  One broke bread and placed it in his covenant partner’s mouth; then the other did the same.

You are eating me, and I you.

Finally, a memorial was set up — a pile of stones, a planted tree, a written contract — as testimony of the covenant they had made.

Now I call you Friend — my Friend who sticks closer than a brother.

When God promised Abraham a land and a seed, a seed that Galatians 3:16 tells us was Christ, God cut a covenant with Abraham, and He alone walked through the pieces.  It was an unconditional covenant promising Messiah, the Christ.

And the Seed came, just as God promised.

But when do we reap the promise of that covenant?

When in faith we walk through the pieces of the Lamb of God slain for the sins of the world!

When by faith we come to God through the rent veil of that Lamb — the rent veil of His flesh.

When we come to God the only way we can,

through Jesus.

who is Himself the Covenant;

Jesus who is the Way, the Truth, the Life…

There is no other way,

for no one comes to the Father

but through Him.

Listen to the inspired writer of Hebrews — watch the blood, the veil, the believer — as in the context of his teaching on the New Covenant he tells us,

Therefore, brethren…we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh!

By tearing the veil, God was showing us that the way to enter His presence, to walk into the Holy of Holies, was through the Lord Jesus Christ.  It was a picture of entering into covenant with Him; He was inviting us to walk through the pieces…

The New Covenant was cut almost two thousand years ago when the Lamb of God hung on Calvary’s tree.  It was cut for you.  It was cut for me.

But we must walk through the pieces — it is the only way to God.  A walk into death that results in life.

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32 responses »

  1. “But we must walk through the pieces — it is the only way to God. A walk into death that results in life.”

    And when my life is in pieces and I need to walk through them to stay with God, instead of running away, I am walking into the death of my former self. Not once. Not twice. But hundreds of times I have died and been reborn as God reshapes me. With each new understanding, and every door of SERVICE that He opens for me, I am renewed. And just as no two snowflakes are alike and no two days are exactly the same on a single planet called Earth, I change into something newer and better every single day with His guidance.

    GREAT POST, MICHELLE!!! (Now do you know why I just think you’re so totally cool…? 😉 )

  2. Glad to see my first commenter back in place!!! 😀

    Great words, Nor… sounds almost like Thor… 😆

    Death to self, taking up our crosses daily, bearing His reproach…changing from glory to glory to glory… 😎

    Sounds like you got some good restorative sleep. 😉

  3. I love love LOVE you Michelle. In short of a week you have sharpened me in so many ways. THANK YOU!

    I think about taking up my cross every single day and I have to make a conscious decision not to put it down. I am tempted to at times as much as I hate to admit it.

    There’s this comic strip that my husband emailed me that illustrates this so well. A few hundred individuals are carrying long, heavy crosses. The focus is on one guy. He constantly stops and says “Lord couldn’t I just maybe cut down the cross a little bit so that it would be easier to carry?” And he cuts the cross shorter and shorter as his journey becomes long and longer. Suddenly he comes to a huge gap between two pieces of land. Everyone else use their cross to cross over but his ends up being too short and he is the only one left on the other side.

    WOW. Did that put things into perspective for me? Like you said, we have to take up our cross and that too exactly as it was given to us in order for God to take us from glory to glory to glory. And we cannot pick and choose the cross as much as we like to think we can at times.

    Praise God for the new convenant. Praise God that He loves us so much that He gave up His only begotten Son. Praise God. Praise God. Praise God!

    PS Yall, I need help with these smileys. I only know the shock face and the actual smile face. Nothing else!

  4. “Great words, Nor… sounds almost like Thor… 😆 ”

    Well, it is THORsday! 😉

    “Sounds like you got some good restorative sleep”

    Six hours. But it was a good, hard sleep. Although right now I feel like a teenager who has just stayed up all night for the first time in his life.

    Gosh, I must be getting old, eh? 😕 😆 😉

  5. This is one of my favorite books! I have used to teach many times to get across what God means by covenant…and to get into our heads what is “covenant God”….

    I always admired Job, in all HIS torture and heartache…HE said..Even though YOU slay me, yet will I trust YOU. Love you have a good day….

    LOL its THORsday!

  6. Good morning, Gchyayles! I love love LOVE you too…I’m just returning the sharpening.

    The dying to self is constant. I love the picture of putting on the identity of our Lord. He takes our filthy rags and exchanges them for His robe of righteousness…AMAZING!

    Hey, Thor…I mean Nor! You know, even though he was thought to be a great pagan god of German mythology, mighty, strong, with a red-beard, I prefer Nor…a man after God’s own heart.

    Morning, Darla! I had a feeling you had done some study in covenant, we seem to say much of the same things. It was a life-changing study for me…you might like to get the workbook, it’s full of wonderful topical studies.

    Hope you all are having a good day and bringing glory to our Lord in all you do. 😉

  7. Oh, Gchyayles, didn’t mean to ignore your PS.

    😉 ….. ; )

    😆 ….. : lol :

    😕 ….. : ??? :

    👿 ….. : evil :

    😀 ….. : D

    😮 ….. : eek :

    😐 ….. : neutral :

    😎 ….. : cool :

    That’s all I can think of at the moment…maybe it will be enough to give you more versatility. Here’s lookin’ at you, kid. 😎

  8. Morning Michelle…you forgot my favorite!!! 😯 lol
    I had forgotten about Kay, she was someone I read so much of back in the early 90’s. Have no idea why i haven’t kept up with her!

    Isaiah 42:6 says: “I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles.” He then repeats in Isaiah 49:8 “I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people”

    It’s hard in our modern day minds to grasp, but in the books of Moses, sprinkling with blood was a traditional sign of being cleansed, sanctified and there is the case of the whold people being sprinkled, a sign of the covenant with the Lord.

    In Matthew 26:28 Jesus talked about the new covenant the very night He was betrayd. His binding agreement that with HIs blood He would keep His word…it’s so freeing! Thank you for this…I needed this today! 🙂

  9. Hey, Debs! It is hard in the modern day to grasp the significance and yet, if we don’t try, we haven’t truly understood the Word. Everything God does is based on covenant…when I finally started studying the customs of covenant, the scriptures opened up more fully.

    Why are we to put off our old self and put on the new?
    Why are we called friends of God?
    Why do we have the assurance He will protect us?
    What does it mean to go to God through the Son?
    How can we know we will live with Him eternally?

    It’s ALL about covenant…It’s a binding agreement based upon shed blood and for His Name’s Sake He will NOT break His covenant. Amazing stuff!

    Along with Kay’s study, The Blood Covenant by H. Clay Trumbull is also helpful.

    ♥ U

  10. I totally know what you mean about a “mentor not in the flesh”…my “not in the flesh mentor” is C. S. Lewis…I have an intellectual/spiritual crush on that man! I can read his stuff all day and all night and learn new things about our Creator in every single word!

  11. AWWW thank you for the smilies Michelle! I looked at the evil one and chuckled at the idea of using that everytime I wanted to talk about evil in the Word; I don’t think anyone would take me seriously?!?!? 😛

    My favorite visual is the lamb, white as snow, and how we can be the same way. Washed by blood which is a very contrasting red but white as snow as we come out on the other side. Just gives me the chills thinking about it. God is good!

  12. Welcome, Cathi! It’s good to see your smiling face here…I love your avatar, it’s one of my favorites!

    C.S. Lewis is one of mine as well. I love Surprised by Joy the most, just to have a chance to better understand his life. Have you seen Shadowlands with Anthony Hopkins?

  13. Well, look there, Gchyayles, you used one I didn’t even show you…someone else must be helping you too…we’re such a giving community!!!

    When my son was little, he had listened to many conversations and was trying to put it all together. One night he asked me, “So Mommy, I think I have it figured out. God has a washing machine up in heaven, and when we ask Him He takes our black hearts, puts them in the machine and adds some of the blood, it’s like the soap, and then He’s washed our hearts clean so it comes out white…Is that it, Mommy?”

    I told him he was on the right track…he let me know that’s what he had asked God to do for him. It was definitely a step toward truth, I think. 😉

  14. Hey Sis – i do not meanto denigrate or diminish in any way what you have said.

    I need to make that clear because i’m going to mention the problem i see with people and The Covenant. (old or new) and i don’t want any thinking i’m being negative to the Author ( of the Covenant or this post) as that is not my intent.

    God is the Author of This Covenant – not us.

    HE makes the rules. Not us. yet we are the ones who make up our own minds about what we are prepared to keep and not to keep. How strongl is our commitment to the Covenant.

    Few people would ‘strain’ at sharing our clothing ( some OCD might! 😉 👿 )

    Many would think twice before cuting their wrists and spilling and mingling their own blood literally.

    Our problem is we choose what to do when we ‘obey’ God’s Law and live ‘in’ His Spirit.

    Many times we don’t choose wisley or make a very cnvincing ‘commitment’. WE are far too willing to put other factors such as Jobs, Family, Church, personal taste, personal ego, etc, etc in the ‘way’ of our holding up our ‘end’ of God’s Covenant.

    We tend to make it more about Us than about our partnership with Him. We almost never read the ‘fine print’ so as to FULLY understand our obligations.

    We make every excuse under the sun to cut our crosses short ( nice one GC).

    If we cut our end short – would we have God do the same from His end?

    Do we expect God to honour it all for us if we from within our own ego choose what we will and will not honour for us?

    How ‘Fair are you being to His Covenant?

    How Jesus like are we being?

    Have we made him so perfect as to be impossible to follow ourselves? for that was most suredly NOT why he came down here to be with and as us.

    As our example in all things.

    That we might be IN Him.

    <B

  15. Thanks for the kind welcome, michelle! I’m happy to join the conversation…but I’m a little intimidated by the length of the comments…I’m used to a few quick quips…I”m gonna brush up on my intellectual responses and get back to you

  16. Beautiful! Christ is Abraham’s seed…and because we are in Him, this covenant is forever ours. God’s love is eternal. Not even the words to describe my thankfulness…..who can describe freedom? Freedom.

  17. Good morning, Love, I don’t disagree with what you’ve said, if I understand you correctly. Many don’t understand covenant. We are so far removed from this ancient ritual that much of it doesn’t make sense to us. Many don’t know the covenant terminology that is used throughout the Word and think this is some “invented” ritual…Let me share a response I gave to a question concerning communion on another site:

    “When we come together for the Lord’s Supper (which was a Passover meal), we are to remember all that YHWH did for us in bringing us out of Egypt to a land of freedom flowing with milk and honey. Now, while you remember this, know that this is the blood of the New Covenant (the old has passed away, behold He makes all things new) poured out for you. Eat the bread of My life and be filled. Walk through the pieces of My flesh (the veil rent in two from top to bottom) that was broken for you and know I have entered into the Holy of Holies and have given My blood (as the Passover Lamb) as a propitiation for all your sins. My Father is completely satisfied, no more sacrifice is needed, it has been accomplished once for all. When you come together for this Passover meal remember I have completed the work for you, I give you Covenant promises, I will never leave you nor forsake you. Now go…and live life in the power I give through My Spirit…whenever you need, moment by moment, come to the throne room and let’s talk.”

    That response meant nothing to the commenters in the thread, they did not appear to “get it”, and yet it is the biblical meaning behind communion, our covenant meal. When we partake of communion we are to do so examining ourselves, as Laz mentioned in the last comment thread. Paul stated in 1 Cor. 11:27-30:

    For this reason, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. A person should examine himself first, and in this way let him eat the bread and drink of the cup. For the one who eats and drinks without careful regard for the body eats and drinks judgment against himself. That is why many of you are weak and sick, and quite a few are dead. But if we examined ourselves, we would not be judged. But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned with the world.

    It’s a teaching the Church doesn’t discuss because we don’t understand the implications of being IN covenant with God – the covenant meal was terribly corrupted when the Church walked away from it’s original meaning (purposefully, because it was too Jewish, so it was romanized and given a different meaning).

    This is turning into another post…am I making sense to you, Love?

  18. Hey, Cathi, you are always welcome and no need for long comments…some of us are more “wordy” than others. I enjoy your quick quips, they contain nuggets of wisdom. 😉

    Good morning, Kelly, speaking of short comments, that’s quite short for you. I’m used to getting a few more illustrations to work into future teaching when you show up. Good words, though, full of Truth!! 😀

  19. Michelle, sometimes the things of God taste so good, they don’t even need frosting! Just the need to say “that tasted good!”.

    You commented to love about the church walking away from it’s original meaning. I would love to hear your thoughts on the church’s original meaning. A new post perhaps? Or maybe you have one hidden in here somewhere?

  20. Michelle,
    Some people might find the literal covenenant imagery a little hard to take – bathing in blood.
    “What can wash away my sin?”
    Washed in blood. Ewwwww. Drink blood. Eeewwww.
    It does take a lot of explanation – especially to kids. Mine became a bit upset when given descriptions of Christ’s crucifiction to the point I began to think I’d become blase about it. It WAS a truly horrible way to die.
    Last time I was really moved about it was watching Mel Gibson’s “The Passion.” Didn’t want my children watching that as it had a few scenes and dialogue I disagreed with. But not the crucifiction imagery.
    We thank God for the blood-soaked new covenant and eat and drink to it often where my children and I gather with other believers.
    Personally, though, it’s easier to accept the imagery of the vinekeeper and vineyard in John or the good shepherd.
    -Sam

  21. I’m hearing the desire for more teaching…here is one of my favorite teachers to help explain the symbolism from the Jewish perspective. Two thousand years later, with much corruption in the Church, and the meaning of our Jewish roots erased, it’s not easy to get to the original meaning. Zola Levitt is a great teacher. He is a Messianic Jewish Believer, but calls himself Christian, since that is the name given to Christ followers from the first century.

    The films are poor quality for youTube, but the teaching is worth the old analog film. Each part is 10 minutes, so put on your yarmulke and LEARN:

    Passover Part One

    Passover Part Two

    Passover Part Three

    Passover Part Four

    Passover Part Five

  22. Kelly, the best way to understand what the first century understood to be the Lord’s Supper is to go to the Jewish custom of Passover. Four cups of wine are served…the third cup being the Cup of Redemption eaten with the piece of Unleavened Bread…but to get there in the story is so much more symbolism. The whole story from the beginning of the Old Covenant to the Returning of the Bridegroom for His Bride is told within the Passover service. I gave the videos above for further understanding.

    Sam, it is difficult when our kids are small. We used cartoon videos and Children’s Bibles to help when they were little. We do tend to sterilize everything for our children and yet I think they can handle the truth of God’s Word…each parent needs to decide for their own family. We chose to share what Jesus endured in the crucifixion when they were young.

  23. Sis, you ALWAYS make sense to me, here and even when we disagree (seemingly) 😉 Even when i am not altogether certain of what it is you are saying – i know YOU make sense 🙂

    The point Sam raises concerns me somewhat – our parents ‘sanitise’ the word of God for us? Are we better able to judge what our children can bear than God can?

    Since Jesus was Jewsih, i guess it is necessary for all of us to understand where He came from – what was important to Him. – if we are to become as Him – In Him.

    The only problem i see is…. there were a number of Jewish ‘sects’ just as today there are many Christian factions – and all did not agree – then nor today on ‘important’ matters, or their understandings of God.

    Jesus did not set aside Jewish Law – he did however give us all a new ‘starting point’.

    We still today though insist upon doing it mostly ‘our own way’ and only following bits of what He did. Both in body (mind) and in Spirit.

    Am i speaking correctly on this would you say ‘Chelle’?

    <B

  24. I think I’m hearing you, Love. First of all, you flatter, hoping it will get you somewhere…and knowing me as you do…it will get you everywhere… 😯 😆

    I believe we need to understand as much of the Word as possible. I have been a student of the Word since ’88 and have BARELY scratched the surface. Of course, I don’t have a degree, just years of Precept studies. But there is so much MORE to know, to dig into, to see the beauty of our redemption.

    Yes, there were Jewish sects during the time of Christ, but really only five major sects: Pharisees, Sadducees, Zealots, Essenes, and Christians. Nothing quite as fractured as the Church today, although the number can’t be determined exactly, since not all denominations register, there must be thousands of Christian denominations in the world today.

    I love learning more and more about Judaism because I want to understand all that Jesus fulfilled. When I went through those videos in comment 21, even more opened up I never realized. That’s so cool to me. It’s what floats my boat and gives me a high – everytime!!

    Do I still make sense to you, or am I beginning to sound a bit radical? 😉

  25. i know! 😉

    The answer still stands – Ric Booth is not the only one who can write! 🙂
    but for peace of mind – there is nothing inherently wrong in being or sounding a bit ‘radical’ – that was something He did quite a bit!

    I would caution any who do so to make sure their radicalism is of a Godly, Spiritual Kind and not one of our own or someone else’s ‘ego’ however. 🙂

    How ‘Rad’ is that, Red? 🙂

    <B

  26. I am so thankful the veil has born. He made a different way. I am incapable of keeping the law…going through the rituals.

    I know for many it is a high priority for them. And I respect that. I am just so grateful I have direct access to the Father now….

  27. oops. sorry.

    i typed ‘born’ and it should have read ‘been torn’.

    looks like i married the two words and ‘born’ came out.

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