Identity – Revealed in the Old
- Have you ever cut a deal with someone?
- This is fairly common phraseology.
- Where did this idea of cutting a deal come from?
- Does anyone know?
- While the source of this expression is somewhat uncertain, there is considerable evidence that it comes from the Old Testament practice of making a covenant or agreement on a matter.
- Specifically it likely comes from the account in Genesis 15.
- Today we want to look at this account to learn one thing about our relationship to the Lord today.
In the past a contract was confirmed with a handshake. Today a contract is usually written out and signed by both parties. At times in the past in certain native culture agreements to become blood brothers was made with cutting the wrist or thumb and allowing the blood to mingle. The making of contracts or covenants goes back to the beginning of recorded history. Today we will look at the making of a blood covenant in ancient Israel.
“Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord,” Hebrews 13:20
- We have been focusing on our identity in Christ
- Contrary to what you may think, the Old Testament historical and geographical events reveal much about our identity in Christ
- Today I want to look at two Old Testament and one New Testament Covenants to see this.
- A Biblical Covenant is like a contract between parties or like a last will and testament.
- This was a feature of the way God dealt with man mainly in the Old Testament. [~300 re the Old, and 6 in the New]
“the Old Testament is the New Testament concealed and the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed.”
I. ABRAHAM: EXPERIENCING GOD’S PROMISE
- The Promise was made to Abraham several times over – Genesis 12, 13, 14
- The Promise was confirmed by God through a covenant in blood – Genesis 15
Why a Covenant:
- Was God’s promise not enough?
- He had made and reiterated His promise to Abraham 3 times
- Yet Abraham needed some physical sign of what God promised (vs. 8)
- He needed to experience God’s promise – see something tangible
- I think it was also in some cases to show us aspects of His nature
Cutting the Covenant:
- An ancient practice of cutting a blood covenant
- They cut one or several animals in two (vs. 10; Jer. 34:18-19)
- The 2 parties walked barefoot between the pieces in the blood
- This signified that if I, the covenanter, failed to keep the terms of the covenant, I would be like these animals who were killed and whose blood was spilt on the ground.
- Native American Indians mingling their blood – blood brothers
- Maybe like up our way eating the heart of a deer newly killed to gain the deer’s characteristics
Only one party to the Covenant:
- Notice only one party passed through the pieces of the animals
- God in the appearance of the burning torch that passed through
- The Lord God was binding Himself to His promise to Abraham
- It was not dependent upon Abraham keeping his end of the bargain
- It was only dependent upon the Lord.
- Maybe like a last will and testament
- Not dependent upon the recipient of the blessing
- In this case a very visible sign to Abraham
The positional revelation:
- How does this relate to the new?
- The new is made by God alone
- The terms are dependent only upon God – not upon us keeping our part
- We have entered into this solely by faith
- Like an inheritance
- Some unknown relative leaves you an inheritance
- You could refuse or accept it.
- Normally, there is no condition placed upon you.
- You do not have to perform some feat to get it.
- You only have to accept it.
Like this Canadian one dollar gold coin. Would anyone like it? There you go – it’s yours! Never to be returned. It’s given unconditionally.
II. MOSES: ENJOYING GOD’S PRESENCE
- This was a conditional covenant (Exodus 19)
- The people promised to do their part and God would do His.
- Israel signed their name to the contract. (Ex.19:8)
- But as we know eventually they failed miserably.
But there is an interesting thing we see about this agreement
Their sin separated them from God’s Presence:
- Even though they had signed the deal
- Even though they had consecrated themselves to God
(made holy) they could not approach God – there was
- Just like when God told Moses at the burning bush – don’t come near
- The mountain was aflame with fire and smoke and it trembled (19:16,18)
- Bounds were set (19:12,13)
- The penalty was instant death if they went near.
- Do you know what was missing?
The Missing Ingredient:
- The young men sacrificed young bulls to the Lord (24:5)
- Moses sprinkled the blood on the altar, the book, and the people
- Before they could not approach God (24:1)
- Now they entered God’s very presence (10)
- They saw God (11); ate and drank with Him (11)
- The blood of Jesus allows us to enter into the very presence of God
- We can now enjoy His presence – fellowship and communion with God
- Once afar off but now made near
“But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” (Ephesians 2:13)
III. JESUS: ENTERING GOD’S PURPOSE
The Eternal Covenant:
- Between God the Father and God the Son (Heb.13:20)
- Established in eternity past (Rev.13:8)
- The eternal purpose was fulfilled by Jesus 2000 years ago (Col.1:20)
- Who are the beneficiaries of this last will and testament?
- The born again believer in Jesus Christ
This diagram shows some of the various covenants made by God.
God’s unconditional covenant with Abraham, made in Genesis 15, continued for ~2000 years until it was fulfilled by Jesus Christ at His crucifixion.
God’s conditional covenant with Israel through Moses was in force for ~1500 years until the crucifixion.
God has promised His new covenant with Israel which will be in effect for 1000 years during the Millennium.
The everlasting blood covenant between God the Father and God the Son continued from eternity past to eternity future. The literal translation of Revelation 13:8 states that Christ was slain from the foundation of the world. This covenant was in a sense ratified at the cross ~2000 years ago. The born again believer has been made a beneficiary of this covenant.
This is like the fact that you were crucified with Christ 2000 years ago and this became effective when you were born again.
This could be illustrated like a type of living trust. When a person dies and leaves an inheritance to an underage child, often the funds are placed in trust until the child comes of age at 21. He owns the funds as a child but only takes possession when he becomes an adult.
- Just think of the great position and privilege you have
- The death and shed blood of Christ
- Not only paid the penalty for your sins and assured you of Heaven
- Not only broke the power of your old sin nature enabling God to live His life in you now on earth,
- But you have been made a beneficiary of this eternal covenant between God the Father and God the Son. You have riches untold in this great transaction that took place on Calvary. You have been made an integral part of God’s plan of the ages