26 October, 2010

The Blood Covenant (part 2)

I want to continue on with the thought of yesterday's post on the blood covenant by going back to the beginning of the Abrahamic covenant. Abraham knew the power and significance of a blood covenant, so when God promised him all the land from the river of Egypt to the Euphrates, Abraham asked God, “O Sovereign LORD, how can I know that I will gain possession of it?” (Genesis 15:8) Abraham knew God was sovereign and was free to whatever He wished with Abraham, so he was looking for additional assurance from God that he would gain possession of the land. In effect, he was asking God to make a covenant with him, and that is what God did. The LORD made a covenant with Abram and said, "To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates” (Genesis 15:18).

In the book of Hebrews, the writer references this passage and says, “God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath. God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged” (Hebrews 6:17-18). There are two things God cannot do: He cannot lie and He cannot break a covenant. Abraham had both God’s promise and the covenant to confirm the promise.

We today have the same assurances as a foundation for our faith... God’s promises and the covenant He made with us. Let's be real. We often act all timid and humble in our prayer and we will say, "do what you want to do Lord." And we think we are praying a prayer of faith. But I submit that this is not praying in faith at all. Praying in faith requires you to know what God has promised and to stand on that promise and believe it is yours because of the blood of Jesus.

I mentioned in yesterdays post that in our culture we really do not understand the blood covenant because we don't see it practiced in Western society. There is, however, one area where we somewhat see the principle and practice of the blood covenant in action... and that is in marriage. Granted, it is a watered down version and can easily be broken, but it is still the norm that most people in our society see marriage as a covenant, not a contract. In most marriages, there is an exchange of rings. The rings serve as a constant reminder to ourselves and to others of a covenant that has been made. In like manner, with the blood covenant of Jesus, we must remind ourselves (and Satan) daily that we are in covenant with God, or Satan will take occasion to bring doubt and discouragement to our mind.

In a marriage, at the reception, the couple will feed each other cake. While admittedly most don't realize this any longer, the practice of feeding the cake to one another is symbolic of our bodies. When they feed the cake to their new mate, the symbolic gesture is saying, "take my body, it is yours. You are free to do whatever you like with my body." Then in a traditional wedding reception, they take the glasses and interlock their arms together and drink from the cups together. Again, this was (and is) a symbolic gesture where they declare that their lives belong to each other. They are declaring, "We are not our own. We are owned by one another. We are not free to depart and go elsewhere." There is a very strong resemblance to what took place in in what we call the Lord’s Supper.

Also, we often see the best man toast the newlyweds. Traditionally, this was where the best man spoke and declared blessings and curses... blessings if the couple keeps their word of covenant and curses if the covenant is broken. Now days, we only hear an upbeat and sometimes joking speech, but there is usually still a blessing... but we seldom hear any mention of consequences for breaking the covenant. (Perhaps we need to go back to affirming the curse of a broken covenant?) It is also very significant that in a wedding, the groom gives his last name to the bride. This means that the wife will be treated with the same respect as the groom. She can sign for any withdrawal from the bank. She is Mrs. Groom and has the use of Mr. Groom’s name and authority. His name is her name and thus she has instantly becomes as rich as her husband.

There are many New Testament passages that we may be very familiar with but we may fail to recognize that these scriptures were based on the blood covenant.
Here are some examples:
In the covenant, God has pronounced blessings upon us. It is not only that God has saved us; He continues to bless us, all because of the covenant. Take for example where the Bible says for us to put on the full armor of God. This is significant because God has given us a promise to fight our battles and He has given us His armor so we can be assured of victory.
The Bible also says that we are heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ. Everything God has belongs to us, because we have a blood covenant through Jesus Christ. If we need wisdom, then God promises to give it to us. If we are weak, then He will be our strength. If we lack anything, then God promises to be our provider... and He does all this because of the covenant we have with Him.
Jesus gave us the right to use his name. “In my name you shall drive out demons and heal the sick. Whatever you ask the Father in my name, He will give it to you.” Where do you think Jesus got the concept of giving us His name? It has to do with the covenant we have with Him.
As our groom, He gives us His name, his authority and power and resources!

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