The Blood Covenant (Part 2)
(Genesis 17:1-7) “When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless. And I will make My covenant between Me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly.” Then Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying: “As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations. No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you a father of many nations. I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you. And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you.”
Abraham had been justified by faith and God had cut the blood covenant with him. God had promised Abraham three things. Firstly, that he and Sarah would have a son of their own flesh even though they were both unable to have children. Secondly, God had promised Abraham that his descendants would be as numerous as the stars in the sky. Thirdly, God had promised him and his descendants the land of Canaan (Israel) forever. Added to this Abraham’s faith had become rooted and grounded in God’s Word because of the blood covenant God had made with him. He must have been so elated and excited that he could not stop testifying all about having a son of his own flesh and blood and that through Sarah his wife.
A huge mistake
Now Sarah had received no such revelation at this point in time and most probably after listening to Abraham day after day walking and talking faith she decided to help God out. After being pressured by his wife Abraham yielded to her demands and slept with Hagar Sarah’s Egyptian maid servant as Sarah had requested. Now Hagar conceived Ishmael resulting in a falling out between the two women. God told Abraham that he would have a son through Sarah and yet Abraham pleaded with God that Ishmael might be the heir but God told him that the heir would come through Sarah. Abraham had made a huge mistake in fathering Ishmael with Hagar and even though we are told he kept on believing God for a son through Sarah, that God was not pleased with this whole scenario. The problem we have today between the Arabs and the Jews goes all the way back to what Abraham did when he acted in the flesh and not according to God’s plan. When Hagar gave birth to Ishmael Abraham was eighty-six years old.
Not giving up!
For thirteen long years God did not speak to Abraham until he was ninety nine years old. However, we are told in the New Testament that Abraham continued to walk by faith and “did not stagger at the promises of God through unbelief but was strong in faith giving all of the glory to God.” He could do this because of the binding agreement God had made with him in the blood covenant years before. Abraham knew that God would not let Him down even though it seems that God was not on speaking terms with His friend and covenant partner. When thirteen years had passed the LORD spoke to Abraham again and re-affirmed the promises He had made to him before he left Ur of the Chaldeans. God had given Abraham his friend time to consider what he had done and how he had dishonoured the covenant.by acting in the flesh
On the basis of faith
However, God was dealing with the man on the basis of his faith not his personal righteousness. Added to this God could see that His friend Abraham was still walking by faith and desiring to be obedient to His covenant partner. Abraham may have failed due to his human weakness and from the pressure of Sarah but God had not failed him because He remembered that all humans are like dust and that a smoking flax He does not extinguish nor a bruised reed does He break. (Isaiah 42:3) Abraham was broken to a degree and had to live with the consequences of his actions but He continued to believe the promises of God and always remembered the blood covenant God had cut with him years before. In those long thirteen years he had plenty of time to consider his actions. Possibly he spent many nights outside counting stars and by this pondering the promises of God and keeping them before his eyes. When God spoke to him again He was still treating Abraham as an equal partner in the blood covenant that had been cut. Even when we have failed God and repented we must keep our eyes fixed on God’ promises and in His time He will work everything out for our good including the mistakes we have made in the past for what is impossible with man is possible with God. (Romans 8:28) (Luke 18:27)
I will be with you
When God renewed His covenant promises to his friend Abraham he was literally saying to him in the Hebrew language, “I am the nurse”, “I am the breasty one”, “Come and suck the life out of me!” Added to this, God once again commanded Abraham to walk before Him and to be blameless. In other words God was commanding him to walk by faith and have credited to his account the very same righteousness of God he had received years before by faith. God re-affirmed everything He had promised Abraham. God was saying to His covenant partner; “You can stand once again in My presence without any feeling of inferiority or sense of guilt and expect Me to bless you and all that you have. I will empower you to prosper and excel in every area of your life according to what I have promised you. God was saying to him what He had said to Moses “I AM.” “I will be to you all that I have promised to be and to do for you. I will be your provider, protector, healer, guide and your financier. I will be your mother and father and your brother and your closest and dearest friend. I will never leave you nor forsake you or your descendants after you. I will never break My promises I have sworn as an oath in blood. As the author of Hebrews writes; “For when God made a promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself.” (Hebrews 6:13)
Anchored in hope
Once more the reality of that night years before when God cut the blood covenant with him came into sharp focus and his faith was renewed and his confidence in God cemented. Because of the permanency of the blood covenant his soul became anchored in hope. At this point Abraham became fully persuaded that God would do all that He said He would do. Also God changed his name. Up until this time he was known as Abram the Hebrew. When God called him Abraham phonetically in the Hebrew language his name was joined to God’s name. They were family!
An unconditional commitment
At this time Abraham made an unqualified and unconditional commitment to his covenant partner and never looked back after that. He shed his own blood through circumcision showing God that he fully intended to walk by the obedience of faith required of Him by God his covenant partner. Physical circumcision in the Bible points the spiritual circumcision of the heart through faith which produces the new birth. (Romans 2:28-29) From that moment on for the rest of his life Abraham never considered his own circumstances whether good or not so good but only considered what God had said and chose to live “not by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4)
Seeing that which is invisible
Years later when God asked Abraham to offer up his son on a sacrificial altar he obeyed without question. He did say to his servant at the time he was to go up to Mount Moriah with Isaac that he and the boy would return. By faith he saw God resurrecting that boy again from the ashes on the altar. (Hebrews 11:19) There was no doubt he was going to use the knife on his son Isaac. God’s Word had become so real that it had painted a picture deep down on the inside of Abraham so that he saw in the Spirit the resurrection of Isaac. What he saw in the spiritual realm was a greater reality to him than what he was seeing in the natural. This is the power of God’s Word! By faith his eyes were fixed, not on what is seen but what was unseen, because what was unseen is eternal and more real to him than what was seen with the physical eyes. (2 Corinthians 4:18) (Hebrews 11:10)
Bound by the covenant
Because God’s covenant partner Abraham was willing to offer up his son on the altar of sacrifice then centuries later at the right time God was bound by covenant to offer up His Son on the sacrificial altar of the cross. Abraham’s physical descendent the Lord Jesus would defeat Satan at the cross. He would take back from Satan the authority he had stolen from Adam. Now that the Lord Jesus has died and been resurrected and ascended into heaven the devil cannot stop anyone from being born again and reconciled to God. If a person really wants to be saved there is nothing Satan can do about it. He may frustrate and hinder the process but not prevent it from happening. Why? Because he has been stripped of his power to keep men enslaved to sin and gripped by the fear of death. (Colossians 2:13-15) (Hebrews 2:14-15) As it is written; “The reason the Son of God was revealed that He might destroy the works of the devil.” (1 John 3:8) All sin is of the devil and the Son of God came to destroy its power in people’s lives but in order to do this God had to become a man in order to save men and this is precisely who the Lord Jesus was and still is today. God had to have an earth suit to live down here. The only way for this to happen was for God to enter into a blood covenant with a man of faith through whose descendants the Messiah would come into the world at the right time according to God’s calendar. God’s covenant promises in the Bible include deliverance from sin, sickness, poverty, demons and death and guarantee the resurrection from the dead. Some are healed and others are not. Some escape prison and survive persecution but others do not. Some of God’s choicest saints have been sick and died yet they have gone home full of faith and hope. (Hebrews 11: 32-40) (2 Kings 13:14) Many that have been martyred were not particularly happy to die but they died happy!
The New Testament
In the New Testament the emphasis is placed more on spiritual blessing and healing rather than focused on the physical ones. Physical healings in the Bible always pointed to spiritual healing. Having said this at the rapture and resurrection of the saints there will be perfect healing and immortality for every dear saint of God. As for demons they must be expelled in the name of the Lord Jesus and sinners must be saved and delivered out of the devil’s clutches and all of these things are to be done in the name of the Lord Jesus because all power and authority has been placed in His name. (Philippians 2:9-11) Ultimately demons, sickness, poverty and the power of sin are subject to the name of the Lord Jesus.
As God’s covenant partners and children of Abraham “the father of faith and of all who believe” we can use the name of Jesus to see people saved, healed and delivered from demonic power and sickness and disease as well. The Lord Jesus “is the same yesterday, today and forever!” (Hebrews 13:8) While there is a mystery why some are not healed it does not mean that we should not pray for ourselves to be healed nor for others to be healed physically, we most certainly should pray for healing and healing is one of the blessings attached to the New Covenant ratified in the blood of the Messiah. Whatever we need for life and godliness is available to us in the Messiah our Lord Jesus. (2 Peter 1:3) Whatever we need whether healing or financial provision or deliverance from demonic powers and oppression and the power of sin there is power in the name of Jesus as His name is above all names that can be named including sickness, disease, sin, poverty, demons and the fear of death and whatever else Satan throws our way. We can defeat him at every turn using the name of Jesus against him and his minions from hell. (Ephesians 1:20-22) Now let’s look at the third way God deals with us…
3. The LORD deals with us through the blood of the Lord Jesus:
The Lord Jesus had been involved with Abraham’s covenant from the beginning as He has always existed from all eternity. When God cut the blood covenant with Abraham God was binding Himself to the Lord Jesus in heaven as much as He was binding himself to Abraham on earth. We read about this in Paul’s letter to the Galatians; “Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as referring to many, but rather to one, “And to your seed,” that is, Christ (The Messiah).” (Galatians 3:16) God could make this blood covenant with Abraham because He knew that His One and Only begotten Son the Lord Jesus would walk the walkway of blood centuries later on behalf of Abraham, his descendants and for the whole world. God was making a covenant with a man to come that would never break the covenant. The Lord Jesus would be the representative for the family of man and at the cross walk the walkway of blood on our behalf sealing the new covenant by His own shed blood. This is what He was conveying at the last supper and his disciples would have known about blood covenants because they are all the way through the Old Testament which his disciples were familiar with having previously been disciples of John the Baptist. (Acts 1:22)
The walkway of blood
The Lord Jesus, being fully man and fully God, would walk the walkway of blood. In the Lord Jesus both God and man were reconciled. As it is written; “God was in the Messiah Jesus reconciling the world to Himself.” (2 Corinthians 5:19) At the cross the Lord Jesus, being God manifest in a human flesh and blood body, walked through the blood to ratify the blood covenant God had made with Abraham. The blood of the animals shed in the blood covenant God made with Abraham were a foreshadowing of the blood of the Messiah being pure and untainted blood that would seal the new covenant. (Luke 22:20) (Matthew. 26:27) (1 Cor. 11:26) (Mark 14:23) Once He had been sacrificed for sin no more sacrifices would be needed to atone for sin. (Hebrews 1:3; 9:11-14; 24-28; 10:10-18)
At the cross the Lord Jesus exchanged places with us. As Paul writes; “For He (God) has made Him to be sin (a sacrifice for sin) for us that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21) The Lord Jesus gave us His righteousness and took upon Himself our sin. He gave us His health and took upon himself our sicknesses. He gave us His riches and took upon Himself our poverty. He gave us His strength and power and took upon Himself our weakness and frailty. He was separated from fellowship with God at the cross so that we might be reconciled and restored into fellowship with God. Once the Lord Jesus had paid the price for our sin at the cross God accepted His sacrifice on our behalf. The Messiah redeemed us from the curse attached to the covenant by becoming a curse Himself in our place. As Paul also writes; “Christ (The Messiah) redeemed us (rescued, saved, delivered) us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us.” (Galatians 3:13)
Sons and daughters
At the cross God treated the Lord Jesus as a sinner even though He was without sin so that He might treat us as His sons and daughters who by nature are sinners and great rebels in His sight. (Psalm 51:5) (Ephesians 2:3-5) Everything that can come against us to destroy our life of faith as believers has been rendered powerless by what Jesus did at the cross. These things include sickness, fear, poverty, demons, sin and the fear of death itself. Even if we physically die we will not be dead but very much alive! At the rapture and resurrection our healing and deliverance will be fully completed.
The power of God
However, in this life some of us will be healed and others not healed. This is the reality of living in this fallen world. We can all pray for the sick to be healed and we should do that. However, if we are going to command someone in the name of Jesus to come out of a wheel chair then the power of God must be present to do the healing otherwise nothing will happen. God must always get the glory in such matters. As we read about the Lord Jesus at one time when the people came to Him to be healed, that “the power of God was present for Him to heal the sick.” (Luke 5:17)
While spiritual healing is in the atonement and will always work in the life of a repentant sinner there is also physical healing available as well. The literal Hebrew translation of Isaiah 53:4-5 reads like this; “Surely our sicknesses He has borne, and our pains He has carried them, and He is pierced for our transgressions, bruised for our sins. The chastisement that brought us peace is upon him. And by His stripes there is healing to us.” Then in Matthew’s gospel chapter 8:16-17 the literal Greek language reads like this; “And evening having come, they brought to Him many demoniacs, and He cast out the spirits with a word, and did heal all who were sick. That it might be fulfilled what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah, saying, “Himself took our infirmities and the sicknesses He did bear.” As Peter also writes; “…and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.” (1 Peter 2:24)
Delivering what He has promised
Salvation, healing and deliverance from demonic power in every way have been provided for us at the cross. Spiritually speaking if you really want to be born again or baptised with the Holy Spirit or receive healing or deliverance there is nothing Satan can do to stop it happening. While there are reasons why not all are healed physically, as far as spiritual healing is concerned Satan cannot stop it from happening if you are as yet unsaved but really want to be saved. Your faith is the key to your freedom! As the author of Hebrews writes; “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen…And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:1, 6) It is not faith in faith itself but faith in God Himself being the object of that faith. If we have a revelation to our spirit of the reality of the blood covenant made with Abraham and his descendants and perfected in the blood of Jesus shed to establish the new covenant, then we can depend on God delivering what He has promised to do in his Word the Bible. God has sealed His Word in blood and it cannot be broken by God ever. We can find a promise that covers the situation we are facing and the need we have and stand on that Word and God is bound by the blood covenant to answer that request. If we are fully committed to God our covenant partner and to His Son the Lord Jesus unreservedly and unconditionally then we can receive whatever we ask for in His name. ((Matthew 18:19; 21:22) (Mark 11:24) (John 14:13; 15:7) Having said this it must be always in line with His will as revealed in His Word the Bible.
Believe it is yours
When we pray in faith we must also believe that we have already received it when we are praying and stand on the promise until it manifests itself in the natural realm. As we read in Mark’s gospel; “And Jesus *answered saying to them, “Have faith in God (the faith that God has). Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it will be granted him. Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you.” (Mark 11:22-24)
According to God’s will
God’s Word is His will and if we ask anything according to His Word then we are asking according to His will and we know He will hear and answer us. As John writes; “This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.” (1 John 5:14-15)
Hindrances and foresight
Whatever it is that you need whether it is in the physical realm or the spiritual realm if it is in line with the will of God as revealed in His Word, then it is yours to claim. The only three things that will hinder your prayers being answered is unbelief, unconfessed sin and an unforgiving heart. (Matthew 13:58) (Psalm 66:18) (Mark 11:25) In the matter of physical healing we must always leave room for the sovereignty of God because sometimes He chooses not to heal and He has His reasons. Another reason the LORD chooses not to heal is because He sees evil ahead for a believer and wants to spare them from it. As Isaiah writes; “The righteous perish, and no one ponders it in his heart; devout men are taken away, and no one understands that the righteous are taken away to be spared from evil. Those who walk uprightly enter into peace; they find rest as they lie in death.” (Isaiah 57:1-3)
The guarantee it will work
The shed blood of the Lord Jesus was the guarantee that the New Covenant would work for us and in us. At the Last Supper with His disciples we read; “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.” (Matthew 26:27-28) The word “remission” literally means; “a dismissal of sin and a release from its bondage.” It also implies “pardon” “deliverance” and “liberty.” In fact it describes a total driving off of sin. In the Bible, a scapegoat was an animal which was ritually burdened with the sins of others, then driven away. This first appears in Leviticus, in which a goat was designated to be cast into the desert to carry away the sins of the community. The blood of the Lord Jesus drives out sin and blows it away. It loosens one from their sins. (Revelation 1:5b)
The power of the blood
The blood of bulls and goats slaughtered to atone for sins in the Temple sacrifices would only temporary cover for sin but not deal with the sin problem itself. The blood of bulls and goats had not power to get down on the inside of a person whereas the blood of the Messiah has that power. As the author of Hebrews writes; “For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that their bodies are clean, how much more will the blood of the Messiah, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself unblemished to God, purify our consciences from works of death, so that we may serve the living God!” (Hebrews 9:13-14)
The way into the covenant
When the Lord Jesus held up the cup and said to his disciples that this represented the new covenant they most probably could hardly believe what He was saying by this gesture. He was talking the blood covenant but not one made with animal’s blood but cut with his own blood. You see the only way you can enter into this new covenant relationship with God as your covenant partner is through trusting the Lord Jesus completely with your life. As your covenant partner He has shed His blood to honour His Word and the response He wants from you is to offer Him your whole life in return to do what He thinks is best to do with it according to what He has planned for you from the foundation of the world before you were born. God’s grace is His unmerited and unearned favour offered to you in the blood covenant. This covenant relationship begins the moment you repent of your sin, seek Gods cleansing and forgiveness through faith in Him and in His atoning blood and then by inviting Him to be your personal saviour and Lord and the master of your whole life and future. (Romans 3:21-26) (John 1:12-13) This is how you become a descendent of Abraham and inherit all that God has promised in His covenant agreement set out in the whole of the Bible.
Spoken to the Glory of God!
Both the blessings attached to the blood covenant made with Abraham, affirmed through Moses in the Old Testament and ratified in the pure, sinless and perfect blood of Jesus, become yours as you receive them by faith. As it is written; “For all the promises of God are “Yes” in the Messiah. And so through Him, our “Amen” is spoken to the glory of God.” (2 Corinthians 1:20) When you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead you will have what you say. (Romans 10:8-13) (Mark 11:24)
Not forgetting His benefits
The word salvation does include physical deliverance as well but the emphasis is on spiritual healing and deliverance from sin and from demonic principalities and powers in high places. When you read Psalm 103:1-4 it literally reads; “Bless the Lord, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits: Who is forgiving all your iniquities, Who is healing all your diseases, Who is redeeming your life from destruction, Who is crowning you with lovingkindness and tender mercies” It is said in the present continuous sense. In other words, God has not changed, neither has the Lord Jesus changed either and what they have always done they are still doing today. It is faith that draws out God’s healing power from the hands of the Lord Jesus. (Luke 7:50)
A descendent of Abraham
So then if you have made Jesus the Lord of your life then you are a descendent of Abraham through your faith and inherit the blessings of both covenants as Abraham did. God honoured the blessings of the blood covenant to Abraham and in perpetuity for the New Covenant to come hundreds of years later. He will do the same for us if we walk in the same faith that Abraham walked being our forefather of faith. (Romans 4:16-24) As it is also written; “If you belong to the Messiah, then you are Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise” (Galatians 3:29) Like Abraham God will call you His friend and treat you as His covenant partner.
Freed from the power of sin
As a believer in the Lord Jesus all of the blessings of Abraham’s covenant are for you today as they have been ratified in the blood of the Messiah in perpetuity forever. The blessings are listed in Deuteronomy chapter 28 and there have been more added to them in the New Covenant. The Messiah has removed the curse of the law by taking that curse upon Himself at the cross. (Galatians 3:13) This is why God does not destroy us if we sin unintentionally because He encourages us to confess it that we might be rid of it. (1 John 1:7-9) One of the blessings of the New Covenant is that we can walk free from sinning so long as we walk under the control of the Holy Spirit moment by moment by faith. (Romans 8:13) As a New Testament believer your relationship with God is far better or superior than the relationship the Old Testament believers had with God because it is based on a better covenant and better promises than even the one Abraham had with God. (Hebrews 7:22; 8:6)
A covenant of sonship
Abraham’s covenant was one of strong friendship and the disciples would have understood this concept when the Lord Jesus called them His friends. It was blood covenant talk! Our covenant as believers in the Lord Jesus is most certainly a covenant of strong friendship but more so a covenant of sonship. As a New Testament believer you are greater in the Kingdom of God than the greatest prophet that ever lived. As the Lord Jesus himself said; “For I say unto you, Among those who are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist; But he that is least in the Kingdom of God is greater than he.”(John 7:28) John was a friend of God and under the covenant of Abraham but in the New Covenant we are sons and daughters of the Living God. We are family!