THE BLOOD COVENANT
BY: ELAINE COOK – YEARS 2003 – 2005
NO. 195 AUG/SEPT 2003
There is something in the scriptures that have been almost overlooked, yet it is a powerful truth and is one of the pillars of our faith that we need to keep our spiritual building strong. I’ve always desired to know more about what the Blood Covenant really means and recently some tapes from Malcolm Smith, an Englishman, were put into my hands. I’d give his address if I had it, but I will share some of the insights the Lord has given him. I know he wants this word to be spread to every member of the Body of Christ.
Brother Malcolm was praying and asking the Lord what to teach a new convert. It puzzled him that there were so many churches he went into that had new converts but they didn’t seem to stay around too long. He prayed much about this issue until there began to emerge something in the scriptures that he had seen before but had never fully appreciated. He found that when Paul spent five or six weeks with new converts, he taught them something that, from then on, they were enabled to take any kind of persecution. He taught them about the covenants!
The fact that the Bible is divided into two testaments is very meaningful. “Testament” means “covenant”, so the Bible is divided into two covenants. So often we view the Old Testament as “the history of the Jews before Christ,” and the New Testament as “the history of the church after Christ” and many pastors don’t feel the Old Testament is relative to our lives today. The whole Bible stands on the covenant. If you understand that, you can understand the Old Testament and see how it fits into the New Testament and understand more fully what was accomplished when Jesus died.
Psalm 81;10 has a unique message for us: “I am the Lord thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt: open thy mouth wide , and I will fill it.” Notice that He didn’t just say, “I am the Lord God.” He said, “I am the Lord your God….” He is talking about delivering Israel from Egypt He talks as though He were walking through the land hearing the strange tongues of Egypt, hearing the cry of His people as they were burdened under the baskets for carrying straw to make bricks. He reminds them of how He answered them “in the secret place of thunder” when He came down upon Mount Sinai to speak to them.
These people had a special hold upon God. He tells them: “I am your God!” All the other people in the world could say, “He is God,” but only Israel could say, “He is my God!” In a unique way, God “belonged” to this people. Because of this, He can say, “Open your mouth wide and I will fill it.”
This illustration is taken from a nest of baby birds. When you peek into the nest, you won’t see the baby birds—you’ll just see a nest full of open beaks! It’s a picture of absolute weakness! A baby bird has an enormous beak with a scraggly bit of flesh hanging on the end of it (which is its body). It is the picture of absolute frailty. Its immense beak is always open for the mother bird who is ceaselessly stuffing it. All the birdie has to do is to open its beak as wide as it can and get it stuffed with food.
Because of the unique claim His ancient people had on Him, all they had to do was, as the Lord showed them, to open their mouths wide. He told them to learn to be as helpless as a baby bird and open their mouths wide and He would fill them! On what authority did Israel say to God, “You are my God!” And why did God agree with them and say, “I am your God!” This is a bold statement of positive assurance. How could they claim this? They had the expectancy that, if they opened their mouths, He would fill it with whatever they needed. If you understand this, you’ll know what real faith is and you’ll understand the miracles of the Old Testament.
The clue to this goes back to Genesis, Chapter 15, which is the foundation of the Old Testament. “Covenant” means “to cut the covenant; the act of cutting in promise or pledge.” Any part of the body would do, so long as the blood flowed. A modern-day covenant is a marriage—when one person gives herself (or himself) away to another person. And the other person gives himself away to the first person and the two people have become absolutely one. One in fortune, one in prosperity, one in debt, and one in responsibility. I spent some time in Africa and found that the Africans still understood the Blood Covenant as it was performed in Bible days. Also, the North American Indians still observe it, as they covenant to be blood brothers. This covenant goes right back to the dawn of history, even to the gates of the Garden of Eden. It is the most solemn covenant that can be entered into by two parties.
Among the ancient people and the tribes today it is almost an unbreakable covenant. It is a solemn giving myself away to another and receiving that other to be mine! In the ancient world, they did that by blood. The parties would come together. One would take off his coat and give it to the other. All that I am is symbolized by this coat. This coat is me! Then I would take off my sword belt and give it away with all my weapons. My sword speaks of my strength, my weaponry.
I am giving to you all that I am, and all the strength that I have, from hereon out. All the strength that I have is yours! He, in turn, would give me his garment and his belt and weapons and say the same thing to me:
“This is the symbolism of the covenant.” We would then exchange our names (natures) so that I would take a portion of his name and put it into my name. He would take something of my name and put it into His name. From then on, whenever he signed his name, he would be showing that he was in covenant with his brother. It would be understood by all those who read his name. To “cut a covenant” the Hebrews would cut themselves (often in the wrist). The two bloods would flow together and the two parties would be sealed in one flesh. They also took an animal and cut it right down the middle and it would lie on the ground in two parts. The two people entering into the covenant would walk between the pieces in a figure 8. As they walked, they made their oath of covenant.
The wound in your flesh was sealed so it left a mark in your flesh. From then on, whenever I reached out my hand, anyone could see a mark that would tell them that I have a blood brother somewhere. They would think twice before they hit me because they don’t know how big my blood brother is. We have become one person. The mark also reminds me that I have a big brother (the Lord!) who has given me his weapons, thus swearing to be my defense!
Then the blessings and the cursings would be set up. The other party would tell me what he has in the bank and what property he owns and assure me that it is all mine if I need it. (These are the blessings). Then, he would lay upon my head all the curses that would come upon me if I broke this covenant. I, too, would tell him of all that I owned and we would understand the blessings that had become ours because of this covenant. Finally, we would set up a memorial, which might be a large stone, upon which the conditions of the covenant were engraved, or perhaps we would exchange a couple of sheep. Every time we’d look at the offspring of these sheep, we’d remember it was a “covenant flock”. Sometimes we would plant a tree to be a reminder. After making a memorial, we would sit down and eat a simple covenant meal. I would give you a piece of bread that was symbolic of what I am is coming into you. You would feed me a piece of bread and then we would drink wine together.
This was a symbol that my blood had flowed into your blood, and now my life is your life. The blood covenant began in the Garden and is still with us today. God Almighty entered into covenant with man!
N0.196 0CT0BER 2003
The scriptures tell us that God entered into a Blood Covenant with the human race. He came to Abram and said, “Do not fear, Abram. I am a shield to you. I am your reward, and it shall be very great.” (NAS) It is an exchange of weapons.
He is our shield. “I am giving myself to you as a weapon. I, Myself, am your reward. I’m giving to you all that I am. That is your reward.” It was the coat, the belt, and the sword that conveyed, in language only God could use, that He was coming to Abram and initiating a Blood Covenant with him. He tells Abram, “Get me an animal” and Abram did as God commanded and split it down the middle. Then God did a strange thing: He put Abram to sleep. It’s a good thing He did, for how could fallen, sinful man ever hope to enter into unity with God through a covenant?
God knew this and said, “You are not worthy in yourself to do this, so I’m going to do it for you.” While he was asleep, a great fire like a glowing lamp came and moved in a figure 8 among those pieces. God took His own part and Abram’s as well as He moved in a figure 8. As He did so, He gave Abram the covenant, telling him he was now in covenant with God Almighty. That was sealed in the flesh of Abraham by circumcision. That was the seal of the covenant which he bore in his body.
Just as in every covenant, God exchanged names with Abram. God breathed into Abram‘s name the “he” sound from His own name making it Abraham. And his wife received the same name change from Sarai to Sarah. From that day on, God was referred to as “the God of Abraham.”
Before this covenant, the people knew Him as Elohim (God). After the covenant, where He gave a portion of His name to Abraham, He received Abraham’s name in exchange and was thereafter known as “the God of Abraham.”
Leviticus and Deuteronomy give the details of the blessings and the curses that would follow the keeping or the breaking of the covenant. As a memorial, he gave them a box. On top of it was the Mercy Seat. It was called the Ark of the Covenant. Wherever they carried that Ark, it reminded them that they were an unusual people who were one with God Almighty; people who could look at God and say, “You are my God.” And, He could look at them and say, “I am your God and you are My people! You are My Bride and I am your Bridegroom!”
When an individual enters into covenant with another, they do so as representative heads of that covenant. As they stand, in them are all the generations yet unborn that shall come from them. These also are partakers of that covenant. Even so, when God made covenant with Abram, his sons Isaac and Jacob were there, and his 12 sons, and the whole nation of Israel, though yet unborn.
Thus the whole nation entered into a covenant relationship with God. Because of this, God told them, “All you have to do now is to open your mouth wide, and I’ll fill it. I’ve given Myself to you. We’re in Blood-Covenant relationship. I’m yours. All you have to do is dare to believe it!
Open your beaks wide and I will fill them.” He had covenanted and He would do it. From that moment on, if anyone touched Israel, they were touching God. They could now walk with God and know Him because He was no longer someone distant. He had drawn nigh and given Himself to them.
But, this works two ways. Everything they were belonged to God. All that God is, was theirs, but all that they were, was God’s. The Song of Solomon says, ”I am my beloved’s, and He is mine.” That was a Blood-Covenant statement. Now you can understand Genesis 22 – where God asked Abram to sacrifice his only son Isaac and he obeyed the Lord immediately, without question. He knew that all he had belonged to God. When he put Isaac on the altar and raised the knife, God stopped him. He said, “I don’t want your son. I just wanted to make sure you understood the covenant. Now I know you understand.”
He renews the covenant with him there. Abram knew that all he had belonged to God – everything! And all God had and was, belonged to him.
No. 197 – NOVEMBER 2003
It seems that the Israelites didn’t understand this covenant because they found themselves enslaved in Egypt. The 12 sons of Israel went down to Egypt in Joseph’s time and later on were put into slavery there. The people began to call on their Blood Covenant partner and “The sons of Israel cried because of their bondage and they cried out… God heard their groanings and remembered His covenant with Abraham.” He said, “I’m coming. When they touch you, they touch Me.”
When Moses came before Pharoah, he was to say, “Let My people go.” These were a people in covenant relationship with God. By the time God finished with Egypt, they had nothing left. Even though His people were feeble, they had but to call on the God with whom they were in covenant and to open their mouths and let Him fill them! It didn’t matter how weak Israel was, they needn’t struggle or try to initiate some program of escape for themselves. They just needed to cry, “God, here I am. I’m calling upon the covenant. Come and do what You promised to Abraham.”
God said, “I’m on My way. Here I come, even if I have to smash the land of Egypt to do it. Just open your mouth wide and I will fill it.” But, they still had a big problem. There were two million people to remove from Egypt. These people had worked for 430 years without wages.
Where are you going to get money in the wilderness? And, by the way, Moses, where are we going? Do you have plans and a tour guide and a list of the motels along the way?
Moses, it’s very hot in the desert. We could die of the heat or perish from the cold at night. What are you going to do, Moses?
And, we’ll need water. Can you imagine water for two million people in a desert where there was no water? And where will the food come from to feed this multitude? Three meals a day for two million people! And, look at that desert sand – what about our shoes and our clothes? How shall we renew them when they wear out?
Moses, you’re going to make the biggest fool of yourself! Think of all the rebel bands that could fall upon us and steal our women and children. Moses’ heart did not faint for all of this. He knew he was in covenant relationship with the God of Abraham, so he just opened his mouth, believing God to fill it. God had guaranteed that whatever need His people had, He would be the answer to that need. So, Moses must have prayed, “God, there are over two million baby birds here and we are all in desperate need. Please come and fill our mouths.”
When it came time to leave, God knew they would need some money, so He told them to lean over the fence and say to their Egyptian neighbor:
“I’ll take all your gold, please.” The people threw their gold and jewelry at them, saying, “Take it! Take it!” So, they got paid for 430 years of free labor all in one morning. The Lord filled their birdie mouths with gold.
They began to march out of Egypt with their mouths wide open and God supplied every physical need that they had. When they reached the edge of the desert, a cloud came down and began to lead them. From that point on, Moses never had to decide whether to turn right or left. The cloud led them through the desert as He had promised to do. Not only did the cloud lead them, but it became like an enormous mushroom covering the whole camp, protecting them from the sun by day and the cold by night. God became their shade by day. At night, the cloud became a pillar of fire to keep them warm. They had an air-conditioned camp!
When their food ran out, they turned to Moses, reviling him, “Why did you bring us out here to starve to death?” Moses looked unto God for those two million baby birds who were hungry. God said, “Tell them that their need is My need and My supply is their supply. Tomorrow morning, go out to the edge of the cloud and you will find everything you will ever need. They did so, and saw something growing, as hoar frost, on the ground.
Some said,” What is it?” They called it “manna” which is “what is it?” The Lord had sent them bread from heaven. They baked it, boiled it, barbecued it and lived on manna for 40 years. No one ever went hungry. There was always enough for everyone. When they needed water, God told Moses to strike the rock, and out came water, enough for all their needs.
No. 198 – DEC./JAN. 2004
The Lord was also faithful to protect and defend them. The Amalekites, the Arabs of the desert, came upon them. The Israelites were an easy prey for them. Moses said to God, “We don’t know how to fight. We’ve just come out of slavery. What shall we do?” He goes up on top of a mountain, and in helplessness, raises his hands to God (with God’s rod in his hand). After a while, he notices the Amalekites are starting to fall back and can’t fight. It’s not too long before his arms start getting weak and he lets them fall. When he does, he sees the Arabs beginning to win again.
So, Joshua and Hur help hold up his arms while he confesses their helplessness to God as they put their trust in Him to deliver them. When they were attacked, He was being attacked. He proved Himself to be both their supply and their victory.
When they drank from a pool of bitter water, the people were afraid they had been poisoned. God comforted them, reassuring them that “I am your Health. I am the Lord that healeth you. I will take sickness out of the midst of you.”
At the end of 40 years, they realized that they still had the same pair of shoes on and the same clothes and none of them had worn out with constant wear. But, probably the greatest thing in the covenant relationship was that they could walk with God. When He had them kill and eat the Passover lamb, He said, “I will provide Myself a sacrifice” as He had said to Abram, “The lamb’s dying is your dying. I’m covering your sin. I will give you a High Priest who will represent you in My presence. When the Priest sprinkles the blood of the lamb, know that your sins are covered over and we can walk together.” Thus was God able to walk among them.
They had only one law to learn and that was weakness and helplessness. The only trouble they had was when they would take things into their own hands and try to do things by self-effort, independently of God. Their enemies were never their problem. The only problem they had was to acknowledge they were weak and helpless and be willing to lean upon their Beloved. As Adam had fallen when he decided to be like God – independently of God, by self-effort, so in coming back into intimacy with God, we must acknowledge our great need of Him and confess that we can do nothing without Him!
They needed to be “poor in spirit.” Jesus said the kingdom belongs to those poor in spirit. This term means “humble or one who acknowledges his need of God.” When the baby bird tried to crawl out of the nest on its own then he had a problem!
God wanted them to learn that He was Lord and they were not! The only thing they had to learn was to open their mouths wide so He could fill it! I, too, need to know that my weakness is the container of His greatness. I need to know that my weakness contains His supply, and know that my need is His need, to know that His supply is my supply. Once I’ve learned that, I’ve learned everything!
That’s the story of the Old Testament. When David, who was a lad of about 15, comes into the camp of Israel to find the men trembling in the trenches, he asks, “What’s going on here? Don’t you understand these Philistines are defying God – they’re not defying you. They’re defying God because you are covenant-brothers with God. Don’t you know that? If they defy you, they are defying God. You and God are one. If they laugh in your faces, they are laughing in God’s face! You need to call upon your Blood-Covenant partner!”
But, they just laughed at David. What does this kid know!
When David got close to Goliath, he said to him, “I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel whom you have taunted!” This is the whole story of David and Goliath – that David came in the name of the Lord who was being reviled. God remembered the covenant and vindicated His name. Remember when Rabshakeh, representing the King of Assyria, sent Hezekiah a nasty letter telling him he was about to be wiped off the face of the earth? (II Kings 18 and 19). When Hezekiah read that, he was afraid, so he went into the temple and laid the letter out before God. His prayer addressed God as, “O Lord God, You who are enthroned on the throne of Israel” (which was the Mercy Seat over the Ark of the Covenant). He said, “God, You have covenanted to read this letter and to do something about it. I am your Blood-Covenant partner. This is not my problem. It is Yours. Will you please look after it right away?”
This is the reason why, when they looked out the next day, the armies had gone, because God had worked His miracle.
Do you remember Jehosephat in II Chronicles 20? That is an amazing account. Again, enemies came and surrounded Jehosephat. He was frightened, which is human, but he knew what to do when he was afraid. He went directly to God and appealed to him and opened his birdie mouth. He said, “Do You not remember what You said to Abraham – Abraham, Your friend?”
“Friend” is a Blood-Covenant expression. If you go to certain nations and say that a person is your friend, they understand that you are in a Blood-Covenant relationship with that person.
That is what the word “friend” means in the Bible. Jehosephat was appealing to God on the basis of the covenant He made with Abraham. He was in Abraham when it was made. He said, “We don’t know what to do. Our eyes are upon You.”
Baby birds again! Mouth wide open! “I am weak. I am helpless, but my eyes are upon You. God, come and do something!” Immediately, God spoke through the prophet and said, “Relax! This battle isn’t your problem. It’s Mine.” And when they went out to face their enemies, they didn’t take an army, but a choir, singing, “The mercy of the Lord endures forever.” They acted like they were just going to watch the outcome and sang as they went. When they arrived at the scene of the battle, they found the enemy had destroyed each other and it was all over before they even got there!
No. 200 – MARCH 2004
The whole Old Testament hangs on the Blood Covenant. Remember Elijah? Ahab was an apostate king who had turned his back on God and had broken the Covenant. Elijah tells him, “There will be no more rain or dew in this land according to my word.” That sounds like arrogance, but it was really faith. Why did he do that? Elijah knew the covenant! He knew not only the blessings of it, but the curses too. In Deut. 28, God says, “If you break this covenant, I will make the heavens brass above you and I will take the dew and the rain until the earth becomes powder.” Elijah knew that God kept the curses as well as the blessings. He did a covenant act.
And, when Elijah called down fire – when in contest with the priests of Baal, he called upon the God of Abraham. He reminded God of the covenant and God answered with fire.
Would you believe that Israel threw that powerful covenant over? They decided they didn’t need it, so they forgot it. They could handle their own lives and do their own thing! The tragic story of the Old Testament is that Israel forgot that covenant and they came into the curses that God had said would come upon them. Did you know, that buried right inside that Old Covenant was a promise of something better? God promised to Abraham that a part of this covenant that he was making would be, in itself, a new covenant. Paul saw this. What was buried there was so fantastic that Abraham probably wouldn’t have understood it even if he were told. What they now had would be as a candle to the sun compared to what was coming!
As this old covenant was crumbling and the people were breaking it, Jeremiah cried, “Remember, God is going to make a new covenant. And in that day He’s really going to deal with you. He’s going to take your sins right out of you and remember them no more! No longer will it be the blood of an animal covering your sin. Sin will be taken out of you, never to be remembered again.”
“He will put inside of you a new heart and a new spirit so you will want to obey Him and you’ll know what to do to please Him. Never again will you need someone to tell you, ‘Know the Lord’ for within, you will know God as a personal friend. You won’t have to go to the tabernacle—He’ll be inside of you and you will become a tabernacle!”
“God will live in you and you will walk in God – in a new covenant.”
When I see how the people in the Old Testament walked with God, I think, “It couldn’t be any better than that.” But, Hebrews tells us of a better covenant, a better sacrifice, and better promises.
Maybe now you understand why Jesus took a cup of wine on the night before He was crucified and said, “This is My Blood of the New Covenant which was shed for you.” We do not have an animal split in two to make this covenant. We have the broken body of Jesus on the cross. We don’t have the blood of humans spilt – we have the blood of the eternal Son of God spilt. We don’t have a covenant that can be broken. We have an unbreakable, everlasting covenant, which is made between God and man through Jesus Christ. We do not have a mark in our flesh that seals us when we believe this covenant. We have the Holy Spirit who seals us into this covenant with God. As in Eph. 1:13, “After that ye believed, ye were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise.”
You don’t have just a few promises that deal with the same things as in the Old Covenant, you have promises that deal with every detail of your past, present and future. The Bible says, “You are a people blessed above all people because you are in this covenant with God.”
And all you have to do is to open your mouth wide and let Him fill it! And He will not fill it just because He feels like it that day. He is legally bound to fill it because of the Blood of Jesus Christ, the Blood of the everlasting covenant! All you have to do is know that you’re weak. Just open your mouth wide.
I wonder why He said, “wide?” When one comes to Christ, he may say, “Just pardon me, Lord. Just give me forgiveness.” But the Lord wants to do more than that. He wants to make you “the righteousness of God in Christ,” justified – as if you had never sinned.
You may say, “Lord, just make me happy.” He will show you that in this new covenant there is “joy unspeakable and full of glory.”
You may come to God and ask, “Lord, just give me some peace. I’m so frustrated and without rest.”
“Wide, son, wide! Receive the peace of God that surpasses all human understanding.”
Or you may ask, “Just help me to get along with folks, Lord. People bug me and I bug them.”
He said, “I’ll give you the love of God that passes understanding.”
Or you ask, “Give me guidance. I put out my fleece, Lord. Give me guidance.” His answer is, “Open your mouth wider that that, son. That belongs to the old covenant! Open wider, son! I’ll give you Christ Himself within you, Who is made unto you the wisdom of God. You’ll have the mind of Christ, so you’ll know what to do and you’ll be led by the peace within.”
A new covenant. He says, “I will be your shield, your strength, your light, your salvation, your Rock. I will be everything to you.” Romans 8 says, “We are heirs of God and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ.” Heirs of God? Heirs receive an inheritance.
You are an heir of God because He has given Himself to you! All that God is has been given to you because of the covenant. A joint heir with Jesus Christ means exactly as Jesus had a claim on the Father, you have a claim on the Father. This is the covenant and our part is to open our mouths wide. That sounds too good to be true – so we try to merit it, work for it, deserve it, struggle for it. We think it’s too much to ask God for. “I’ll ask Him just so much – the rest I can do for myself.” So, I struggle by myself and act as if there is no covenant between us!
No. 201 – APRIL 2004
I want you to see the absoluteness of the covenant. If my friend was just an acquaintance of mine, I could go to him and beg him for a loan of $100 when I needed it. He may or may not give it to me. But, with my covenant brother, I could walk into his house and write out the check for what I needed and walk out again. I’m not asking for mercy. It’s the unbelievable relationship that we have with God through the new covenant.
There was one act of mercy when God included me in the covenant. After that, I just take what is mine through the covenant. Jesus said, “Whatsoever you ask in My name, it’s yours.”
In the Beatitudes of Matthew 5, Jesus says, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” You won’t begin to walk in the kingdom until you learn to be poor in spirit. If you think you’re rich, go on your way. I can’t help a person who thinks they need nothing. I’m not going to ram the four spiritual laws down someone’s throat until they know they need God. The first step in the kingdom of heaven is being poor in spirit.
Some complain that they just can’t live the Christian life no matter how hard they try. When they stop trying and admit their frailty and weakness, the Lord will take over and live His live through them. When they see themselves as a little scrag of flesh on the end of a beak, they can cry, “God help us!”
Jesus told Paul, in 2 Cor. 12:9, “My strength is made perfect in weakness.” The Amplified says, “My strength and power are made perfect – fulfilled and completed and show themselves most effective – in [your] weakness.” Paul’s answer to that was, “I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities, that the strength and power of Christ, the Messiah, may rest – yes, may pitch a tent [over] and dwell – upon me!”
If you can learn you are weak; you are helpless; and you stand there before God, knowing that, calling upon the covenant, the power of the Lord will come upon you like a tent. You will be enveloped in that.
Malcolm Smith had a fellow in his church who was a junkie and a mainline addict, one who puts the needle into the main vein. There was no hope for him. He was hooked for life. He came to Christ after he’d been on every program in New York City. The doctor had said he would be dead of hepatitis in a year’s time, but he was powerless to kick the habit. When he called upon Jesus to save him, he felt like a great cancer had been ripped right out of him and he was completely free.
But, when the pressure comes on a junkie, he feels the temptation to turn back to the needle. On this certain day, he was under many pressures and the old temptation reared its head, “If I only took one shot of heroin, it wouldn’t be so bad.” And that day, of all days, a friend gave him $80 cash to deposit in the bank for him. The temptation to find a pusher and buy some heroin was so strong. By the time he got within two blocks of the bank, he knew he’d never make it.
At this point, he remembered the Blood Covenant. He stood there on the steps of the subway and closed his eyes. He said, “God, I’m a baby bird and I’m in covenant with You. I can’t make it to the bank. This is Your problem. You deposit the money.” As he stood there, the power of the Holy Spirit came upon him and he began to speak in tongues and he just “floated” up the steps. He said, “I floated across Times Square and into the bank, speaking in tongues. Lost in God, I deposited the money.” He proved that, “My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Okay, you’re weak! What a marvelous opportunity for the power of the Lord to come like a tent upon you and for God Himself, your Blood-Covenant partner, to be what you want. A wonderful opportunity to show forth His strength. All of our weakness is but a container for His strength because we’re in Blood-Covenant relationship to Him.
No. 202 – MAY, 2004
FOUNDATIONS OF THE COVENANT
I Samuel 18:1-4 tells us, “And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking unto Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. And Saul took him that day, and would let him go no more home to his father’s house. Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul. And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was upon him, and gave it to David, and his garments, even to his sword and to his bow, and to his girdle.”
We know from this that they had entered into a Blood Covenant with each other. The first step was always the exchange of garments, signifying that they were giving themselves to each other.
Did you know that shaking hands goes back to a Blood Covenant? If each one had cut his hand, they would join hands to mingle the bloods. Then each one would solemnly swear that all that he had was the property of the other person.
From the day David cut the covenant with Jonathan, the mark in his flesh would remind him that he was fully responsible for Jonathan. If he should ever be in debt, David was in debt; if he was pursued, David was pursued. Whatever Jonathan’s trouble was, it was David’s trouble. And he knew that all the blessings of Jonathan were his, too. It was a complete interchange of blessings and responsibility. In Chapter 20 they spoke of the blessings and curses of the covenant. A memorial meal followed where they fed each other bread and wine, signifying that their life had come into each other.
One mystifying question here is: “How could David ever enter into such a covenant with the family of Saul?” Remember, that David was a man after God’s own heart. He wanted to please God in all of his ways. Saul, on the other hand, was opposed to God completely. Everything Saul did, he thought in terms of himself, and not of God!
Whatever Saul was told to do by God, he did the opposite. He was a man whose heart had a bent against God. David is ever a type of Christ in the scriptures, and Saul a type of the natural, carnal, religious man. One is for God, and one is for self.
So, we wonder how Jesus could have joined Himself in covenant with natural, carnal, fallen man. No wonder Saul pursued David – he hated him because he was everything God was. How could David enter into covenant with this family when their ways were opposed to each other? “Can two walk together except they be agreed?” When you enter into covenant with another, you lose your rights to independent living! You die to independent living because you have to think about Jonathan now because you have become joined to another person’s life. It’s absurd to think of two people so absolutely opposed to each other, coming into covenant with each other. They couldn’t do it! It would violate the very idea of covenant.
We need to note that, though Jonathan was of Saul’s house, his nature and attitude was not that of his father. He was different. He loved God and wanted the will of God to be done. Both David and Jonathan knew they could enter into covenant with each other, so they did so, knowing that it would affect the generations yet unborn from each of them.
I Samuel tells us about Jonathan’s little son, Mephibosheth. He was brought up in the family of Saul, surrounded by lies about David in an atmosphere that said, “David hates you, and once he grabs the throne, he’s going to kill all the members of Saul’s family.” That’s what they believed. (That is what kings usually did in those days, to prevent anyone from trying to take the throne away from them!)
Mephibosheth was only five when both Saul and Jonathan were killed in battle. That left, in his mind, only one terrible thing to happen. “David is going to be king and he’s going to kill us all off.”
The remaining members of Saul’s household ran to escape being killed. A family nurse, at the last minute, remembered little Mephibosheth, asleep in his bed. She ran to get him and in her anxious haste, dropped him from her arms. He was so bruised and broken that he was crippled for life.
The family lived in a shack in a small desert town called Lodebar. This name means “not a word” (i.e. nothing). All he ever heard was that David had taken the throne that should have been his, and left him with nothing. Hate and revenge were deep in the hearts of Saul’s family. Mephibosheth grew up in this seething cauldron of hate and drug himself around on a pair of home-made crutches.
One of the most tragic things of Mephibosheth’s life was that he did not know he was in covenant with David! He was in Jonathan when the covenant was made between the covenant heads. When he was born, it was already done, but nobody ever told him! Instead, he was raised in the wilderness, hating David (i.e. Jesus) and ready to kill him if he should ever get his hands on him. (That is the state of humanity in general).
No. 203 – JUNE, 2004
Whenever David looks at that mark on his wrist, he remembers being in covenant with every member of the family of Jonathan. It doesn’t matter what they are like, or what they are doing, he must be faithful to the blood of Jonathan. He began to inquire as to where Jonathan’s family was.
He had a desire to pour out blessings upon them because of his love for Jonathan. Nobody wanted to tell him because they were sure he just wanted to kill them all. Finally, he found an old servant who admitted to him that there was one crippled son left of Jonathan’s lineage. David said, “Go get him!”
In Lodebar, Mephibosheth is startled by the sight of the chariot of David and his troops surrounding the little shack where he lived. After all the lies he’s heard, he concludes, “He’s got me!”
“David, you’ve won! I’ll come and die like a man.” The chariot takes him directly to the palace. He’s trembling with fear, remembering all the evil he had plotted against David. He steeled himself, expecting to hear the words, “Off with his head!”
At the palace, David smiles and speaks gently, “At last I have found you, Mephibosheth! Now let me tell you why I brought you here. I want to give back to you all the land that your father Jonathan had, and all the money that belonged to him, and also all his servants. From hereon, I’m going to treat you as if you were Jonathan. And, to add to that, I want to treat you as one of my own children and you will sit at my family table with us. You will be treated in all ways as my son.”
Now, Mephibosheth is trembling, but for another reason. He sees himself as the wretch that he is. He protests, “David, you’ve got it all wrong.”
“I’m a dead dog!” Those of the East understand this expression to mean that something is fit for the garbage heap. He was telling David he wasn’t fit to be as his son. He had warred in his heart against him ever since he was a child. If he only knew, he wouldn’t want me in his family!
David said, “I’m doing this for the sake of Jonathan (Jesus). I’m not looking at you and asking, “Do you deserve it? Do you merit it? Have you earned it? I am going to treat you on the basis of a covenant sealed in blood, made before you were even born. Now, stand up and start acting like the prince I just made you!”
All Mephibosheth had to do was say, “Thank you!” No, not quite! It may be a technicality, but as he would reach out to David and say, “Thank you for the free gift,” it would kill him dead. He would have to die to everything he’d ever been up till that moment. He would have to enter into the understanding of the Blood Covenant. His blood would never be shed, but everything else had to be true to the covenant. He needed to say, “David, I accept your offer. Here I am. All that I am, all that I have and all that I hope to be is yours now, David.” He understood now that all that David had was his. He had to look back to the “nothingness” of Lodebar and acknowledge, “I die to Lodebar.”
“I’ll never have to go back to my friends who live in constant hatred of David. I’ll live here as a blood-brother to David, sharing his fortunes, his blessings and his responsibilities. As I say, ‘Thank you’, I am dying to old attitudes and allegiances and am joining myself to David.”
The one message of the Bible that fills its every chapter is that God Almighty has entered into a Blood Covenant with the human race. God had the same problem that David had because the human race is the house of Saul. Search through Saul’s house and you’ll not find one person who desires to do the will of God. Isaiah says, “We have turned everyone to his own way.” The Psalms agree, “There is none righteous, no not one.” And, “Can two walk together except they be agreed?”
This is God’s dilemma. God wished to enter into covenant with man, but there was none worthy to enter into covenant with Him. So, what happens?
God, in Christ, comes into the human race and was born of the Virgin Mary. When Jesus was born, he was 100% man. At last, there was one in the human family who was really man. This One is utterly different from any man who had ever come before. He is a Jonathan in the house of Saul! He says, “I do only those things that please My Father.” And when the Father looked upon Him, He said, “This is My Son in whom I am well pleased.” He was not only 100% man; He was 100% God. That means that He could stand as the representative, covenant head who could stand for every person that ever would be.
No. 204 – JULY/AUG 2004
You need to understand how Jesus could take your place. The Bible hangs on this: covenant head, representative head. Malcolm explained it to his students like this: “Brother Walter, how many dogs are you worth? If I took five dogs and Brother Walter, is he worth five dogs? Yes. He’s worth a lot more than five dogs. Shall we say 500 or even 5000 dogs? He’s worth 10,000 dogs. Actually, you can add dog to dog ad infinitum. No matter how many you have, one human being is worth more than all the dogs put together.”
“Now, take the Son of God. How many persons is the Son of God worth? 500? 5000? A generation? You can add human to human to human and the Lord Jesus Christ is worth more than all of them put together. And that is why Jesus could stand as the representative head of the entire human race. He could enter into covenant with the Father and when Jesus stood there, I stood there. I didn’t ask for it – that’s the grace of God. You didn’t have to ask to be put into Christ. You were put in anyway. Father placed you in Christ. Jesus, the Son of man, Son of God, because of who He is stood before the Father, (the only man who could!) and because He was Who He was, He could stand for every person.”
Even as Mephibosheth was in Jonathan, so you were in Jesus Christ. And that representative Person took of the bread on the table the night before He died and He broke it and said, “Take, eat. This is My Body, broken for you.” And, the disciples didn’t ask a question. They understood the covenant.
They understood that it was a covenant meal. They were familiar with this and didn’t need to ask any questions. They were aware of the fact, in taking the bread, that all that Person was, was entering into them. And He took the cup of wine and used covenant words: “This cup is the new covenant in My Blood.” And then He went to the cross.
It took only a little slash on the wrist of Jonathan to take in all his unborn generations and bring them into covenant with David. But, it is absurd to think of any human person being in covenant with God. I am absolutely opposed to the will of God and any covenant that is going to be of any use at all, has first of all, to deal with me and bring to death in me, that me that wants my own way! It’s got to bring to the end in me, the guilt of sin. And, in order for a covenant to be established between man and God, in our representative, Jesus, He has to go to the cross, and it’s not just the slashing of His wrist. It is the shedding of His Blood and the very entering into our spiritual death, taking to Himself all of our sin. As representative man, He takes our sin and sin nature to himself and becomes one with it, though never polluted by it.
He actually, finally, fully pays the penalty of that sin, entering into the death of that sin in the shedding of His Blood. I say this very carefully, “Jesus went to hell for your sin.” I cannot go to hell now, for Jesus has been there for me. My representative was there! When He died, I, that arrogant “I” that wants its own way, died. What happened to Him, happened to me? And when the Blood of Jesus was shed, the Father said, “That’s enough. I accept those.”
Hebrews 13 says, “Now the God of peace that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant…” Hebrews, Ch. 9 to 10, tell us more of this covenant. Jesus goes into His Father’s presence with His own Blood, the Blood of Covenant. The Father accepted that Blood. It was enough. And then He gave to His Son the Holy Spirit for all those He represented.
When Jesus, the representative for all persons, shed His Blood, the Father said, “That is enough. The sins of every person who will believe the good word about You and what You’ve done, their sins are already gone. And when they believe, they come to the end of themselves and come into a covenant relationship with Me. And, to these I will put My seal upon them – not a little mark in their wrist, but the Holy Spirit within them! I am giving to You now the Holy Spirit to give to all those who believe upon You. That’s the New Covenant!”
No. 205 – SEPTEMBER 2004
Jesus spoke of the New Covenant in Acts 1 where He instructed His disciples. Verse 3-5, “To whom also He shewed Himself alive after His passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God: And, being assembled together with them, commanded that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith He, ye have heard of Me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.”
The terms of this covenant are outlined in Jeremiah 31:31-32, “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the House of Israel, and with the House of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the Lord. But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel: After those days, said the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord; for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”
More people die in America of bitterness and envy than they do of cancer. When I was in a New York hospital, one of the leading surgeons told me, 80 per cent of the people in this hospital are not really sick. They are angry; they are full of hate; and they are full of bitterness. They don’t need any of the medicine I’m giving them. They need to repent and to get right with God and they could be out of the hospital tomorrow! They are dying because they are angry at each other and at the world. Some of them started off suing their neighbor for something and landed in the hospital because they were full of the poison of hate. A leading surgeon says that 80% of people are there because of a spiritual cause!
Every time I partake of the covenant meal, I am reminded of the terms of the New Covenant: God guaranteed, by the Blood of Jesus, to remember my sins and iniquities no more! He guaranteed, by the Blood of Jesus, to give me a Teacher who would cause me to personally know God!
He guaranteed, by the Blood of Jesus, that He would give me a new heart, and a new spirit, and that He would write His law on the inside of me so that I would live and walk by a new nature.
God has guaranteed to me, by the Blood of the Covenant that He would be my God and I would be His person.
When I drink of the cup, I say, “Thank you, Jesus. I take it!”
And that happens every time we come together in the Covenant Meal that has taken the place of the Passover meal. Paul said, “As often as you do this you do show (proclaim) the Lord’s death till He come.” (I Cor. 11:26)
Bibles, other than the King James, say “proclaim His death.” By the simple act of eating and drinking, you are proclaiming, preaching, even, the death of Jesus. You’re telling the whole world that, through the death of Jesus, you’re in union with God and with your brother. Jesus is alive in you, and through the Blood that He shed, all this is yours!
I proclaim to the Father in worship, the death of Jesus. I gather around the Throne and in that Throne the Bible says, “Stands a Lamb as it had been slain.” And I worship Jesus Who has now ascended to the right hand of the Father. The more we hold the communion with this understanding, the more healings we have in our midst. At one time there were five healings during the Covenant Meal!
No. 206 – OCT./NOV. 2004
It is interesting to know the events that led up to the sacrifice of the Passover Lamb. On Palm Sunday the little paschal lamb entered the city by the Mount of Olives. A great procession met it, waving palm branches and singing Psalm 118.
The lamb was to be tied in the temple compound for public viewing for four days. It was to be publicly examined to determine if it was without blemish.
The same day, Jesus followed the same route as the Paschal lamb had gone, and was met with the same crowd who waved the branches before Him.
He taught for four days in the temple courtyard, facing the hardest questions of His entire ministry. He also was being examined. Further, He was “examined by scourging” after which Pilate delivered his verdict when he proclaimed three times, “I find no fault in Him.”
On the 14th day, at 9 a.m., Jesus was nailed to the cross. At the same hour, the paschal lamb was bound to the altar. For six hours, both lamb and Jesus awaited death. The priests would slay all the lambs brought by each family, from 12 to 3 p.m. It was at 12 p.m. that “there was darkness over the land until the 9th hour” (3 p.m.) The priests were unable to slay any lambs in the dark and by God’s design, Jesus was to be the first Lamb to be slain on this Passover. As soon as He gave up the ghost at the 9th hour, and said, “It is finished,” the darkness lifted and the High Priest slew the little lamb in the temple saying, “It is finished.”
I Cor. 5:6, 7 tells us: “For even Christ, our Passover, is sacrificed for us.” The feast of Unleavened Bread started at 6 p.m. on the 15th day.
At sunset, the people ate the Paschal lamb with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. During the meal they took a piece of bread and broke it, and wrapped it in linen and buried it. Jesus said, “I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” John 6:51
Like the bread, Jesus’ broken body was also wrapped in linen and placed in the grave by sunset. He kept the time appointed 1500 years before, to the exact minute! Today, in Jewry, since the destruction of the Temple, the unleavened, broken bread has become a substitute for the lamb at the Passover meal.
After the first Passover, the Israelites journeyed three days into the wilderness. Death was imminent at the Red Sea on the 17th day. Israel went down into the sea and climbed its banks on the other side, a resurrected people – on the 17th day! In contrast, Jesus was in the grave three days, and came up alive on the 17th day, at the beginning of barley harvest, at the Feast of Firstfruits! He established the New Covenant in His Blood!
NO. 208 – FEB 2005
Historically, man’s covenants usually last for eight generations, but the love covenant of Jesus Christ endures for a thousand generations! God spoke through many pictures, but since our culture is far removed from the culture of Jesus’ day, we don’t understand them. We need to know the provisions of the covenant we have with Him.
An immigrant to the U.S. had only enough money to pay his fare, so he had to forego the luscious buffet meals that were served on the boat. He lived on what scraps he could find, and often went to bed hungry. Arriving at Ellis Island, a worker asked him how he enjoyed the trip. He said it was fine, except he couldn’t afford to buy any of those lovely meals they served.
The worker was amazed, “Didn’t you know that all your meals were included in your ticket?” The immigrant suffered lack when full provision had been made for him! We often suffer, not knowing the provisions made for us in the Blood Covenant. Jesus is still entreating, like David, when he searched for a remnant of Jonathan’s family. “Is there anybody I can bless? Is there any seed of Jonathan who will receive My love?”
We need to have the image of the covenant on the inside, so we will have the authority to enforce it!
One reason that men have entered into covenant with each other is for protection. Stanley, a newspaper reporter, went to Africa to search for David Livingstone, a missionary who had gone missing, some years ago. Stanley brought with him goods to trade as he made his way throughout the country. He soon found that his goods were constantly being stolen from him. Finally, an African man suggested he should make a Blood Covenant with this certain powerful chief. Stanley asked, “What would be the purpose of that?”
The man answered, “If you do that, you’ll have the authority of the chief and wherever you go, people will honor and respect that because they respect the chief.” When Stanley found out what he would have to do, he decided against it. But, several months later, after continually being robbed of his goods, he felt he had no choice but to “mingle bloods” with the chief.
Stanley kept a goat with him because he had a stomach ulcer and the milk soothed his stomach. He and the chief performed the covenant up to the part of exchanging gifts. The chief said, through the interpreter, “I want the goat!”
That was Stanley‘s most precious possession at the time. He asked, “What do I get in return?”
“Oh, you get the chiefs spear.” It was seven feet tall and was fully wrapped in copper wire.
Stanley acknowledged, “It’s an impressive spear, but what am I going to do when my stomach hurts?” It was too late to back down, so he reluctantly gave up the goat. He had no idea there was power and authority in that spear far beyond what he could imagine. That spear represented the authority of the chief. That spear was the key that unlocked all of Africa to him. He could go anywhere and plant his spear in the ground and the people would know that this chief and all his warriors were behind Stanley, at his beck and call. They would think twice about stealing from him or hindering him in any way. They respected him because of the authority he had.
We have that kind of authority in God because of the Blood Covenant we have with Him. A sister in the Lord told me she had to visit a lawyer whose office was in the seamy side of the city. As she walked along the sidewalk, an evil-looking man approached, tearing at her. Quickly she called upon the Lord for help, and right before her eyes she saw the man pinned to the wall of a store building by unseen hands. He couldn’t move and she easily passed by without being harmed. She had called on her covenant partner for protection and He was right there! I’ve heard of people in desperate situations who have had time to call out just His name, and deliverance came! Glory!
One of the most spectacular records of deliverance through faith in the Lord’s Word happened in World War I. For four long years, in front line warfare, the British regiment commanded by Colonel Whittlesey had not one casualty. They did not lose a single man! There was only one explanation for such an incredible record.
Daily during those dangerous times, every officer and every enlisted man in the regiment affirmed his faith in God’s protection by repeating the Ninety-first Psalm. Each man carried a complete copy of the psalm and either read it or recited it from memory daily. Considering the casualty totals experienced by other regiments, the chances that an entire regiment could go through such front-line battles without a single casualty were astronomical!
Magazines who published the story point out that, as hard as it might be for some people to believe that the bullets and shells aimed at the men of this regiment were supernaturally deflected, it was harder still to believe that coincidence could have sent that many bullets astray!
NO. 209 – MAR/APR 2005
I acknowledge Craig Hill as providing some insightful understanding of The Threshold Covenant. The Blood Covenant is the theme of the Bible. The Bible is not a history book. It is a book of covenants that God has made with people. Blood Covenant is an eastern concept and we in the West scarcely relate to it, though there are some remnants of it in our culture. Even marriage is a blood covenant, though we didn’t realize it when we made it. We’ve also heard of the Indians becoming blood brothers through making a blood covenant but it didn’t mean anything to us.
A Blood Covenant is not breakable, yet everything in our society today is short-term and breakable. You can get out of anything you don’t like. People who can’t get out of covenant really consider if they really want to make it before they bind themselves to it. The concept of a threshold covenant is this: the threshold of the door of a house is a sacred place to Eastern people. When a person crosses the threshold of a door, there is an implied covenant to hospitality. If a person should step over the threshold of the door and ask to be their guest, there is a covenant law that binds the host to receive the man as his guest and to feed and protect him with his life. Your host would never consider violating this covenant because by doing so he would curse his life and would be in big trouble with God! A man would rather die than allow harm to come to his guest. That is how powerful this covenant is!
On the other hand, a man would never step across a person’s threshold with intent to do him harm. The Bible is full of these concepts which we have not understood. A man from Jordan tells how this covenant saved his life. He hit a 14 year-old-boy when his brakes went out on his car. He stopped another motorist and lifted the boy off the street and got him to a hospital nearby. He was badly hurt and was bleeding all over him. The boy’s life was in danger.
After he was in the care of the doctors, the man didn’t know what to do. His mind was in a turmoil. He went to a nearby home to ask if he could just sit down and rest a while and wash the blood off his hands and clothes. While he was in the bathroom, the parents of the young couple came running in with the news of the boy being run over by a lunatic. They needed to join the others to find and kill the man who had done this. The Jordanian stayed in the bathroom as long as he could but finally had to come out and admit he was the man who had hit their son.
Immediately, the father reached for his knife to kill him, but the son-in-law stood between them. He reminded him that he was a guest in his home and, even though he deserved to die, he would protect him with his life as long as he was in his home. He added, “As soon as he walks out, I’ll help you get him!” The father decided to stay and rest there for some time also.
They sat down together, and after some period of time, the man was able to explain what had happened and to seek the forgiveness of the parents and the son-in-law and daughter. They finally forgave him so that he was able to safely leave the building without fear of being killed. The threshold covenant was so strong it saved his life.
The Bible is full of pictures by which the Lord shows us His nature and how He sees things. Jesus continually spoke in pictures, many of which we have not understood. The Blood of Jesus has done so much more for us than we have ever realized, and we find ourselves begging Him to do something He has already done! We need to receive what He has already done!
In Gen. 19 we see two angels come to Sodom, to Lot‘s house, to deliver him from the destruction to come. They came to help him. Likely Lot didn’t know they were angels. It seems that they came to his house just as men and he received them as men. After they stepped across the threshold of Lot’s door, some evil men of Sodom came and demanded that Lot “bring them out unto us that we may know (have relations with) them.” The men of Sodom who were wholly given over to homosexuality, compassed the house round and demanded that Lot send them out.
Lot went out to appeal to the men and shut the door behind him. His appeal was that he had two daughters who had not known a man. He offered to bring them out and let the men do to them whatever they liked, but only do nothing to the men who have “come under the shadow of my roof.” Lot is saying, “I would rather you deal ill with my own family than to touch my guests who have come into my home. I will protect these guests with my life!” The Threshold Covenant is always backed up by the life of the one who made it! “I will honor it, no matter what it costs me!”
Gen. 19:8 says, “…only unto these men do nothing; for therefore came they under the shadow of my roof.” These are Blood Covenant terms. “Shadow” here does not mean that the men were standing out of the sun in the shade of his roof. It is a covenant word that means “They have stepped across the threshold of my dwelling and they have come under the protection of a covenant of hospitality and I will not allow you to violate them. I will back this up with my own life.” That is what “shadow’ means in this verse.
Psalm 91:1, “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” Let this sink down into your heart. It means that when you step across the threshold into covenant with God, God will do for you what Lot did for these two men. God will not allow the enemy to harm you – at the cost of His own life! Jesus backed it up!
NO. 210 – MAY 2005
How does this covenant of hospitality work? The book and movie of “Not Without My Daughter” tells of an American girl who married an Iranian. When they went to Iran, his family killed a goat and poured out the blood and poured it on the threshold of the door. It was their way of welcoming her as their guest. To show that they received and honored her as their guest, they poured out blood upon the threshold of the door.
In ancient times, the threshold was made with a little basin, a little hollow that was to catch the blood that was poured out upon it. In some instances, the world “threshold” is translated “basin” in the Bible because it was made to catch the blood. When a person wanted to honor a guest, he would pick out an animal that would convey the extent of honor that he wished to show his guest. If the guest was very important, he would choose a very valuable animal. If the guest was not very important, they would use a dove or a pigeon, or even wine or salt.
The blood represented the host’s own life and when he poured blood upon the threshold, he was welcoming his guest with his own life. Today, we would say, “Make yourself at home – treat this home as if it were your home.” If you admire anything in the house, it will be given to you. We found the American Christians treated us this way. We hardly dared to admire anything or it would be given to us! Even if they didn’t know about the hospitality covenant, they had hearts that were hospitable!
In the East, no man would enter another man’s door to do that host harm because if he did he’d curse his own life. For this reason, no thief would enter through the front door. He would break in the back door or a hole in the wall. Jesus said, “…He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.” When you enter by the front door, you submit yourself to the hospitality covenant. You cannot do that host harm! If you come in some other way; you are not bound by this covenant, and you can do whatever you want.
There is an interesting custom connected to the Olympic Games. Whoever won the Olympic games was given special treatment. A little breach was cut in the wall of the city, which allowed the winner to enter the city through this breach, signifying to him that he was as a conqueror to them. And, a conqueror would not enter by the city gates but would seek to enter through a breach in the wall. By doing this, he had no need to subject himself to the laws of hospitality. He is saying, in effect, “I shall do as I please with you. I am the conqueror!” Jesus is using this picture here and He says, in Vs. 9-11, “I am the door; by Me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.” These are covenant terms. To what is Jesus the door? “I am the door to covenant with God Almighty. If you want to abide under the shadow of the Almighty, you must go through Me! There is no other way! Anyone who tries to get to the Father by any other way is a thief and a robber and will be thrown out of the house! But, whoever comes in through the Door, I shall receive and bring under the shadow of the Almighty. And all I have and all I am I give to that one – My nature, My possession!”
The most insulting thing you could do to your Host is to step on the threshold. The blood in the threshold basin represents his life, so if you step in the blood you are telling your host that his life has no value. It is like refusing to put out your hand and perhaps spitting in a person’s face when he extends his hand to shake hands with you. This imagery is portrayed in Heb. 10:26, “For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins.” Vs. 28-29: “He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses. Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite (insulted) unto the Spirit of grace?”
When we refuse to acknowledge the Blood that was shed for us, and refuse to receive that and continue to sin willfully, we are standing in the blood on the threshold.
NO. 211 – JUNE/JULY 2005
“That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.” Blood Covenant is an eastern concept. We were strangers to the covenant of promise. A foreigner is one who is not in covenant, but a stranger is one who is in covenant, but doesn’t know what the covenant is. The power in the Blood of Jesus is the power behind the Covenant. The blood ratifies (confirms, makes valid) the covenant. Who is the covenant maker? Any man can make a covenant with another, but he has to have the ability to fulfill that covenant. And, we know that only Jesus has the power to fulfill the covenant promises He made with man.
In the East, a Blood Covenant is more powerful than a natural-born relationship. They have a phrase, “Blood is thicker than milk.” This means that a covenant entered into by two people is more powerful than any family relationship. A Blood Covenant man is afforded all the rights of a family member. He could see the sister unveiled, whereas no other man except family members may see her like this.
Very seldom would one see a covenant broken in the East. If it happened, the wife and mother of the covenant breaker would turn him over to the destroyers, and they would pursue his family for four generations.
Psalm 84:10 says, “For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.” The meaning of “doorkeeper” means “one that is on the inside of the door that looks after the door on which the blood of the sacrifice is placed. It’s talking about someone in covenant. David is saying, “I would rather be in covenant for one day than to spend a thousand years outside of covenant!”
Amos speaks of the Day of the Lord and since we are entering into that day, we should consider what it means. Amos 5:16-20, “Therefore the Lord, the God of hosts, the Lord, saith thus; Wailing shall be in all streets; and they shall say in all the highways, Alas! Alas! And they shall call the husbandman to mourning, and such as are skilful of lamentation to wailing. And in all vineyards shall be wailing: for I will pass through (abar–to pass by, go in front of) thee, saith the Lord. Woe unto you that desire the day of the Lord! To what end is it for you? The day of the Lord is darkness, and not light. As if a man did flee from a lion, and a bear met him; or went into the house, and leaned his hand on the wall, and a serpent bit him. Shall not the day of the Lord be darkness, and not light? Even very dark; and no brightness in it?”
The Day of the Lord is the Day when the Lord once again passes through the land, being strong on behalf of those who are under the Blood. So, the Day of the Lord is joy for some and sorrow and grief and gnashing of teeth to others. It was very plain to see from the accounts of deliverance that came out of the Tsunami in Asia that the Lord made a difference to those who were under the Blood!
I am quite aware that many of the younger generation who have not beheld any wondrous works of God, attribute the Tsunami solely to natural causes. Their mind searches for natural causes for natural disasters. Yet, the Lord claims that He is the Author and the Doer of it! Saints of all ages have taken comfort from Psa. 46:1-3, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof.” Verse 8 tells us, “Come, behold the works of the Lord, what desolations he hath made in the earth.”
Zephaniah 1:7-9 says, “Hold thy peace at the presence of the Lord God: for the day of the Lord is at hand: for the Lord hath prepared a sacrifice; he hath bid his guests (set apart, consecrated).” The Lord is the host here. He is pouring out the Blood upon the threshold. “And it shall come to pass in the day of the Lord’s sacrifice that I will punish the princes, and the king’s children, and all such as are clothed with strange apparel (adopted the ways of the pagans). In the same day also will I punish all those that leap on the threshold, which fill their masters’ houses with violence and deceit.” These are they who step on the blood of the covenant and esteem it not. “They say in their heart, The Lord will not do good, neither will he do evil.” (He is not concerned – this is what many “king’s kids” are saying!).
When Jesus came, it was not the Day of the Lord. It was the Day of the Lamb when the Sacrifice was poured out. Vs. 9, “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.”
NO. 212 – AUG./SEPT. 2005
2 Peter 3:8-16 speaks powerfully about the Day of the Lord. All the way through the scriptures we see a certain tension between “relating to God on the basis of covenant and relating to Him on the basis of my righteousness (on the basis of whether I deserve this or I don’t deserve that!) We see in scripture, people doing various things to make themselves okay in the sight of the Lord, and there isn’t anything you can do to make yourself okay!
Many people are longing for the power, but the power is in the holiness and the sacredness of this covenant. God is purifying, purging and cleansing and we need to open our hearts to let that happen if we are going to see power in our lives. We need to know the difference between that which is holy and that, which is common. Common is regular, that which we do all the time. Holy is separate, set aside, special. We have taken that which is holy and made it common. The power will be restored once the holiness is restored.
Pastor Henry W. Wright of Pleasant Valley Church in Georgia has some godly insight as to why healing is in the covenant and yet so few of God’s people are healed. Since healing is in the covenant and Jesus paid the price by His stripes, we should always receive healing when we ask – right? This pastor found that only five percent of the people that he prayed for received their healing. He was not satisfied with those results and went to the Lord about it. He wondered why God said that He not only forgives us all of our iniquities but He heals us of all our diseases (Psalm 103:3). Did the two somehow go together in a way we didn’t understand?
We know that we are holy by faith, but we struggle with the things of this life. I Thes. 5:23 tells us – may the God of Peace sanctify you wholly in spirit, in soul, and in body. The Lord showed this pastor that we had to become sanctified in certain areas of our lives before He would heal. Diseases in our lives can be the result of a separation from Him and His Word in specific areas of our lives.
I believe this is a true word because I experienced a healing of leukemia when a wrong attitude of heart was dealt with. This pastor is seeing many healed simply by their coming to a repentance and cleansing of areas that were unsurrendered to the Lord. He learned that disease was an issue to do with the circumcision of the heart.
After explaining this to five ladies who suffered from arthritis, he told them they would have to give up the bitterness they held for people who had abused them or hurt them in any way. They would have to forgive them from their heart if they wanted to be healed. He led them in a prayer of repentance and forgiveness and when he looked up he found that fingers had straightened, pain was gone, and all five ladies were free from the pain of crippling arthritis. And he had never ministered healing to any of them! There was a spiritual root to their disease and when it was removed, the blood covenant immediately came into effect. This is worth considering!
He began to understand that it wasn’t that God could not heal; it was that He could not without denying His own holiness and giving us a leavened gospel that would say we could keep our sin and receive His blessings. The doctrine of Balaam is a reality in the church today. Balaam was the seer and Balak was the heathen king who wanted the children of Israel destroyed. He wanted them out of his country. Balaam found he couldn’t curse them because God had blessed them. They were in covenant and had the law and he could not curse them.
Balaam wanted that reward from the king so he came up with a plan. If he could just get Israel to sin! He got the idea of tempting the young men and women with the young people of Balak’s country. It worked! Before they knew it, they were tempted to worship their pagan idols. This was a sin before God. The curse came and there was no longer any provision for safety and 24,000 Israelites died in the plague that came as the result of their sin!
I think the Church has come to a place where they have overplayed grace and mercy to the point that they say, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus,” and stop there. They don’t say the full truth: “…who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” Some feel that because they are in covenant, they can sin without suffering any consequences. Rather, the Spirit, if we will hear Him, is sanctifying us every day and is ready to heal us every day of our lives. And, if He is not, we may be suffering from some affliction that has spiritual roots. It is no coincidence that the principles you apply to your life that will move the hand of God to heal you in covenant are the same principles that, if you apply them to your life, will prevent disease in your life
BLOOD COVENANT, THE, Parts 1-16 [ELAINE COOK] Years 2003 – 2005 ~ BIBLE STUDY 1