vs. 6 “ But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises.
vs. 7 “For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second.”
In the teaching of the message of faith, a great deal has been taught about the name of Jesus, but there has been little teaching on His blood. However, the blood of Jesus is significant in the New Testament. The blood of the Lamb which was spilled and which even appears in Heaven is mentioned frequently in the book of Revelation. Therefore, we need to examine its importance.
Because of a lack of knowledge about the blood, some people have carried the blood toofar. For example, they “plead the blood” over everything, ignorant of the fact that there is no precedent in the Word of God for doing this. Remember, Jesus left us the power of His name, not His blood.
In order to fully understand the significance of the blood, look again at the verses from Hebrews 8, which are quoted above. We must find out just what is meant by “the first covenant,” and why ours is called a better covenant. For that matter, we need to understand what is meant by the word covenant.
A Better Covenant
The reason we have a better covenant is because of Jesus. The old covenant consisted of pictures, (types and shadows) painted through the blood of animals. But, the New Testament tells us that we no longer need the blood of animals. It tells us that the blood of Jesus shed once and for all, will never, be shed again, and that it purchased the full redemption price for us.
Another thing we need to consider is that the Bible was written by Eastern people, and for those of us with Western minds to understand many of the illustrations in it, we should learn about the customs of the time and the way the people thought.
Now let’s take the word “testament” or “covenant.” The same word is translated either way. Actually, the word covenant comes from the Old Testament “berith.” The word “berith” will help us to understand what the word covenant means. Berith means “to cut.” More precisely, it means, “to cut until bleeding occurs.” This refers to a cut so deep that the blood flows. In America, we don’t like the sight of blood. We flee from it. We do everything to keep from shedding our blood. When we do, we don’t want to look at it. And we want to stop the flow as soon as possible.
However, the Eastern mind looked at blood differently. The blood meant much more. Blood was used whenever covenants were made. To the Eastern mind, a covenant was not actually ratified until blood was shed. For example, when Eastern businessmen would draw up a contract, once that contract was drawn up, they would “cut a covenant.” This would ensure that neither would back out.
There are four ways to enter into a blood covenant:
1. The first way is to cut the palms of the hands to the point that blood begins to flow into the palms, then the hands are put together. This is where the twentieth-century handshake originated. It's really too bad that the handshake doesn't mean more than it does today. In the early days of this country, a person's handshake was his bond. That meant he didn't back out. When he shook hands, he guaranteed the promise with his life. Today a handshake is nothing more than a greeting.
2. The next type of covenant is the cutting of the wrists. After doing this, the two people involved would mingle their blood by rubbing their wrists together. Notice that in both cases there is a mingling of blood. The blood of both parties goes together as one blood.
3. The third method was the same cut would be made either in the hand or in the wrist or in some part of the body, maybe the finger. But then the blood of each person was put into wine. The blood was mingled together with the wine and both people drank it. Although this was a tradition in the ancient world, it is forbidden to drink blood in the Word of God. We will find out why later.
4. The final way to enter a blood covenant is the way the New Testament does it, and that is an animal could shed its blood in substitution for the two that were going into covenant. This is God's way. God always used the blood of an animal and placed it there to be substituted when men drew up an agreement.
Again, the four ways entering a covenant include:
1. The cutting of the palms and shaking of hands.
2. The cutting of wrists and the rubbing of those wrists together.
3. The mingling of blood in the wine.
4. The substitution of animal blood in the place of the blood of the two individuals.
The Importance of the Blood
Turn to Genesis 9:3-4 to see what God said about blood and why the shedding of blood was so important.
vs. 3 “Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. I have given you all things, even as the green herbs.”
vs. 4 “But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood.”
These verses are not saying that they could eat the flesh of the animal. Rather, they could not eat the flesh of the animal if they did not drain its blood first. They could not eat “the life thereof which is the blood.” The blood is the life of the animal. You can eat the animal, but don’t eat its life.
Leviticus 17:10,11 repeats this idea.
vs. 10 “And whatever man of the house of Israel, or of the strangers who dwell among you, who eats any blood, I will set My face against that person who eats blood, and will cut him off from among his people.”
vs. 11 “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.”
Notice that life had to be spilled to make atonement but we are warned not to eat the life. “The life of the flesh is in the blood.” This shows us the importance of two men shaking hands and rubbing and mingling that blood together. To the Eastern man, his blood is his very life. When I give you my blood, I give you my life.
Thus, the blood covenant is the exchange and the co-mingling of two lives so that the two lives have become one. I now stand accountable for the one with whom I make a covenant and he now stands accountable for me. My life is his life. His life is my life. We blended the two together. If someone comes against him, they come against me. If someone comes against me, they come against him. I have to protect him. He has to protect me because he is me; I am him.
Think about this for just a minute. What is your life? What are some of the first things that would come to your mind? Time? Family? Are you beginning to see something? When you look at that drop of blood on your finger, your family is involved, your time is involved, your job is involved. In fact, everything you’ve ever worked for is involved. This even includes your finances and your possessions. If you lose all your blood, you lose all your possessions.
Therefore, it is logical that when I shake hands with someone and I mingle my blood with his, my time belongs to him, my family belongs to him, my finances belong to him. That blood represents my car, my food, my children, my wife. Those children within me that are yet to be born are still part of me at that moment, I carry their seed. My children fall under that covenant that I’m drawing up with him. Can you see how important a drop of blood is to that Eastern mind? To mingle blood was to mingle life.
Even my covenant partner’s name now belongs to me. Likewise, my name now belongs to him. You say, “What does your name do?” My name unlocks all my money in the bank. He now has right of attorney to all my money. On top of that, he has right of attorney to all my credit cards and the money that I have yet to get. My credit belongs to him. His credit belongs to me. If I need something and don’t have the money for it, I have the right to go use his credit card. I have the power of attorney. His life is my life. My life is his life.
It is important to realize that I not only gain all of his possessions, but I also get all of his debts! Likewise, he not only gets all my assets, he also gets all my debts. My bills are all his. All these things are involved in the co-mingling of two lives together. Our lives drastically change from the moment that we enter into a covenant.
Our Covenant With God
The good news about covenants is that believers have a covenant with God! We have a better covenant (shedding of blood) than they had in the Old Testament or under the old covenant because the blood that was shed for us is the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. You and I, as believers, haven’t entered into a covenant with men, we have entered into a covenant with the Father God. On the day that Jesus shed His substitutionary blood for us, the blood from our hands mingled with His. In other words, we shook hands with God. At that time, God gained all our assets and our liabilities and we gained all of God’s assets, liabilities, debts, everything. Actually, we didn’t have any assets. God owns everything anyway.
When God found you, you were so deep in debt, you owed everything you had to the devil. You were spiritually dead, lost and dead in your trespasses and sins. You didn’t own a thing. You were mortgaged up to the hilt and didn’t have a penny to pay your way out. You couldn’t, by your own self-effort, pay our way out!
God gained our debts and we gained His. How many debts does God have? None. So we gained only assets. Furthermore, we even have the right to His Name. We even have the right to His time. To the natural mind, God is not getting a good bargain. Yet God accepted it. What would make Him do something like that?
Let’s look at a similar example in the natural. If you have even allowed another person to live in your home, you know that this causes your lifestyle to change dramatically. You must watch the way you dress. The meals you prepare aren’t the same as they used to be. The whole atmosphere of the home changes. What is it that causes you to set aside your home, your time, all those things and bring another person into your home? What causes you to suffer through all that? The answer is the same as God’s reason for entering into a covenant with us. Love!
John 15:13 tells us, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” Notice that “friends” is plural. One day I gained a greater understanding when I read it this way, “Greater love hath no man, that he lay down his blood for his friends.”
Jesus went to the cross and shed His blood in order to reconcile the world to Himself. He now calls the world His friend. All He asks the people of the world to do is to join hands with Him, to give Him their spiritual death in exchange for His eternal life, to give Him their nothing, but to receive His riches in glory. He asks that they give Him their curse and He will give them His blessing. He’ll exchange their position in Adam for His position in Christ. He promises to provide all their needs and to protect them.
When we enter into a covenant, we must trust the other person to do what he promises. The same is true of our covenant with God. All we need to do is believe Jesus and trust that He will perform what He promises.
Furthermore, once we enter into a covenant with God and the provisions have been made, we need to know what they are so that we can take advantage of them. For a long time after I was born again and had been provided with all God’s benefits, I couldn’t appropriate them because I didn’t even know what they were!
I heard the story of a man who had scraped together just enough money to buy a ticket on an ocean liner. He was coming to America. He took a bag of food on board with him and stayed in his room and ate from his bag the whole voyage. When the ship docked in the U.S., the captain saw the man disembarking and mentioned to him that he had not seen him in the dining room for meals. The man replied, “Well Sir, all I could do was scrape together enough for the ticket and I didn’t have enough to buy my meals.” The captain said, “Didn’t you know they were included in the ticket price?”
There are a lot of people who have been born again, yet they are still trying to dig up the purchase price for healing, or are trying to buy their prosperity. They think, “If I can just work hard enough for Jesus and do enough good works he might heal me. He might prosper me.”
When I sign a covenant with someone and shake hands with him, at that moment all his assets belong to me. All I have to do is ask him for them and he has to release them! The Bible says, “You have not because you ask not.” Know the atonement grounds on which you stand. The shed blood of Jesus purchased everything, and you don’t need to work for anything.