Dear Partners in Covenant,
A covenant is a solemn, binding agreement entered into by two parties. The Hebrew word for covenant is b’rit (b’reet) which literally means “cutting,” and implies making an incision until blood flows. A covenant is the most sacred of all binding contracts. Marriage is an example of a covenant. When a man and woman enter into the covenant of marriage, they are promising to give their life, their love, and their possessions to one another, until death parts them. In ancient times, the sign of the marriage covenant was a cut made around a finger into which ashes were rubbed. The scar that resulted was a permanent sign of the covenant. The only way to break the covenant was to chop off one’s finger. (Marriages lasted much longer in those days!)
Covenants and Blood
Blood covenants are found throughout the Holy Scriptures. Blood was shed when God clothed Adam and Eve in animal skins right after the fall of man ([biblegateway passage=”Genesis3:21″ display=”Genesis3:21″]). It was also central to Noah’s worship when he and his family left the ark ([biblegateway passage=”Genesis 8:20″ display=”Genesis 8:20″]). The sign of the covenant that God made with Noah at that time was the rainbow.
Blood covenant is explicitly mentioned in relation to Abraham. God told him to offer Him a heifer, goat, and a ram, each of which was cut down the middle, with the halves placed opposite each other.
“Now when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram… God said to him ‘Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them four hundred years. And also the nation whom they serve I will judge; afterward they shall come out with great possessions. Now as for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried at a good old age… And it came to pass, when the sun went down, and it was dark, that
behold, there was smoking oven and a burning torch that passed between those pieces. On the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying: To your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates…’”([biblegateway passage=”Genesis 15:12-18″ display=”Genesis 15:12-18″])
The God of Israel cut a covenant with Abraham that day. Normally, both parties walked through the pieces when a covenant was cut. In doing so, each party reckoned himself dead to a life apart from his covenant partner (symbolized by the dead pieces). Each party, pointing to the bloody animals split in two would say: “God do so to me and more if I ever try to break this covenant.” In this case, God made a covenant with Himself. This covenant was unilateral. Abraham was asleep! God assumed full responsibility for the covenant. There was no way that sinful man could be an equal covenant partner with a Holy God.
[Covenant is why the ushers at a wedding seat family and friends of the bride and groom on opposite sides of the sanctuary. The two sides symbolize the sacrifices made so that the bride and groom can enter into covenant. They literally walk down
the aisle “passing between the pieces.”]
God’s Covenant With Abraham
Covenants require “signs” to bear witness to the covenant. The sign that God required of Abraham for this covenant was circumcision ([biblegateway passage=”Genesis 17:10″ display=”Genesis 17:10″]), and all of Abraham’s natural descendants confirm their acceptance of the covenant by being circumcised.
What about God? What was His covenant sign? “I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.” ([biblegateway passage=”Genesis 17:8″ display=”Genesis 17:8″]) “Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his descendants after him.” ([biblegateway passage=”Genesis 17:19″ display=”Genesis 17:19″])
The land of Canaan belonged to God. He chose to give it to Abraham and his seed. God made a special, unique commitment to one human family descended from Abraham. In his book Prophetic Destinies, Derek Prince points out that most of the events recorded in the Bible as history, or predicted as prophesy, center around a tiny strip of land at the east end of the
Mediterranean Sea, originally known as the land of Canaan. Here is how the Psalmist refers to God, His covenant, and this piece of land:
“He is the Lord our God; His judgments are in all the earth. He has remembered His covenant forever, the word which He commanded for a thousand generations, the covenant which He made with Abraham, and His oath to Isaac, and confirmed it to Jacob for a statute, to Israel for an everlasting covenant, saying, to you I will give the land of Canaan as the
allotment of your inheritance.” ([biblegateway passage=”Psalm 105:7-11″ display=”Psalm 105:7-11″])
Unfortunately, the land that God gave to the Jewish people through covenant has been divided up by other nations over the centuries. (See God’s warning about this in [biblegateway passage=”Joel 3:2″ display=”Joel 3:2″].) In 1917, the Balfour Declaration promised a homeland to the Jewish people in the Middle East. In 1922, the British, under the leadership of Winston Churchill, broke this promise and gave 78% of the promised land to the Arabs. This includes all of what is today called Jordan.
The Jews have never said that Arabs can’t live in their land. They just want the land that is theirs by covenant and by promise. The Palestinians today don’t want a portion of the land. They want all of it. This is against the will of God. He will have the last word.
God is the initiator and faithful keeper of His Covenant with Israel. God chose Israel to be a special treasure for Himself above all the peoples of the earth because He loved her and would keep the oath that He swore to her fathers. (See [biblegateway passage=”Deuteronomy 7:6-8″ display=”Deuteronomy 7:6-8″]) This love is eternal and unconditional. It does not depend on Israel’s love for God. It is based on God’s own love and faithfulness.
At a recent “Bibles and Bagels” meeting held at the Jewish Jewels gift shop, a precious senior citizen asked us: “Did God choose the Jews to suffer?” This question, voiced and unvoiced pervades the collective Jewish soul, especially in this hour in history! Why do they want to blow us up? Why do they want our tiny piece of land? Where is God in all of this?
God is there, waiting for His people to call on Him. He longs to be both father and husband to His people Israel. The prophets of the Old Covenant Scriptures repeatedly emphasize God’s covenant love for His people. This love does not depend on Israel’s obedience or loyalty. Just as the prophet Hosea did not abandon his unfaithful wife, God will not forsake Israel. He is trying even at this very moment, to woo Israel back to Himself. (That is where we come into the picture; “Father, help us to be your hand extended!”) Much of Israeli society today is secular. They perish for lack of knowledge. In our country as well, Jewish people know nothing of the intense, passionate love that God has for them. They don’t know that they are engraved on the palms of His hands ([biblegateway passage=”Is. 49:16″ display=”Is. 49:16″]) or that He has said to them, “I will betroth you to me forever.” ([biblegateway passage=”Hosea 2:19″ display=”Hosea 2:19″])
God is a jealous lover. He does not tolerate idolatry and finds ways of extricating His people from abominable practices. (i.e. the Babylonian exile) His greatest desire is to pour out blessings ([biblegateway passage=”Deuteronomy 28:1-4″ display=”Deuteronomy 28:1-4″]), but He also acknowledges that when His people break covenant with Him, they walk out of His blessings and bring curses upon themselves ([biblegateway passage=”Deuteronomy 28:15-46″ display=”Deuteronomy 28:15-46″]).
In His covenant love, God promises to be the protector of His people. One day, “The Lord also will roar from Zion, and utter His voice from Jerusalem; the heavens and earth will shake; but the Lord will be a shelter for His people, and the strength of the children of Israel!” ([biblegateway passage=”Joel 3:16″ display=”Joel 3:16″])
The Lord brought to our mind today that when His people cried out to Him in Egypt, He heard their groaning and remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. “And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God acknowledged them.” ([biblegateway passage=”Exodus 2:25″ display=”Exodus 2:25″]) Neither Pharaoh, nor Haman, nor Hitler nor Saddam Hussein will be able to destroy the Jews. They are a covenant people! The Lord Himself says it: “For I am the Lord, I do not change; therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob.” ([biblegateway passage=”Malachi 3:6″ display=”Malachi 3:6″])
Let us pray that Israelis all over the country begin to cry out to God for help. May their groaning be heard on high, and may the Lord rescue them from their enemies. May He use us to make their Heavenly Father real to them. Please remember to pray for us from May 7-15,2002!!!
The New Covenant
God, through the Prophet Jeremiah, promised a new or “renewed” covenant to the house of Israel and the house of Judah ([biblegateway passage=”Jeremiah 31:30-33″ display=”Jeremiah 31:30-33″]). The mediator of this New Covenant was the
Messiah Yeshua. The blood that ratified the covenant was His own blood, shed for the forgiveness of sin ([biblegateway passage=”Luke 22:20″ display=”Luke 22:20″]). The sign of this covenant is the Ruach HaKodesh or Holy Spirit,
given to all who enter into this covenant by faith. “…Having believed, you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit.” ([biblegateway passage=”Ephesians 1:13″ display=”Ephesians 1:13″])
The terms of this covenant, which was sealed by the Messiah Yeshua, are detailed in the New Covenant Scriptures. Even Gentiles who were aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world, have been made near by the blood of the New Covenant ([biblegateway passage=”Ephesians 2:11-13″ display=”Ephesians 2:11-13″]).
In coming to earth to atone for the sin of mankind, the Son of God became the Son of Man. When He cut covenant with all mankind, Yeshua who was without sin, took on our nature. All our sins were placed on Him. When we give Him our unrighteousness we are able to put on His righteousness. His house becomes our house. We become a part of Him and He comes to live in our heart.
To enter the New Covenant we must humble ourselves, repent of our sin, receive Yeshua as God’s solution to the sin problem, and make a quality decision to follow Him in ‘newness of life’ through the power of His Spirit. Are you ready?
“Now may the God of peace who brought up our Messiah Yeshua 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 Yeshua
Ha Mashiach, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.” Hebrews 13:20-21
Want to Learn More?
Derek Prince’s Prophetic Destinies is a classic on covenant that is really worth reading. We also think you will enjoy The Miracle of the Scarlet Thread by Richard Booker. This book explains how the scarlet thread is woven through every book of the Bible. It presents a clear understanding of God’s blood covenant. We know you will be very blessed by a CD titled The
Covenant. It is an excellent musical presenting the story of Israel from the calling of Abraham to modern times.