(Matt. 26:28, 1Cor. 11:23-32, 2Cor. 3:14 & Heb. 7:22 & 9:14-20 keyword: testament) The Greek definition of testament (diathe'ke') is covenant, a contract. The OT Hebrew word covenant (berith) is defined a compact, a confederacy. (Heb. 9:14-28) Ultimately they both mean the same thing; a covenant between God and man sealed by the shedding of blood.
The Jewish Library contains ancient Jewish documents called Midrash and they contain specific information concerning the steps of the ancient Hebrew Blood Covenant process. As I researched and wrote about God’s Old Testament Blood Covenant with Abram/Abraham (Part 21) I was astonished by its similarity to the New Testament Grace Covenant and how perfectly both COVENANTS addressed my salvation event and afterward. But only the Grace Covenant applied to me.
I hope you realize, as I have, how earnestly and seriously God regarded the impressive ceremony as He invoked the full force of all He had to give me (Heb. 8:6 thru 9:28 esp. 8:8 keywords: new covenant and 9:23 keyword: patterns <-- note this word) when He established His new Grace Covenant with me. It has made me a better, stronger, more thankful and more assured Christian. It has also made me ashamed I had taken my Christian experience so lightly. I sincerely hope and pray it has the same effect upon you.
SPECIAL NOTE: THE PATTERNS
The covenant between God and Abraham was the first covenant by cutting with the shedding of blood. Here is how it was done; (Gen. 15:9 comparing the physical blood covenant with spiritual grace covenant) 5 animals are laid out, 5 is the Biblical number of grace, 3 animals are laid out to be cut, 3 is the Biblical number of completion. The heifer (young female cow), the she goat and the ram are the physical cut sacrifice- 3 for 1. The Abraham covenant sacrifice is physically cut so its shed blood will consecrate God’s physical blood covenant of physical circumcision with physical Israel- 3 for 1.
(Luke 1:28-35 & 2:7) Jesus was spiritually conceived by God and was born into the physical world with a gush of blood and water from His physical mother. (John 19:34) The church was physically born into the spiritual world with a gush of blood and water from Jesus’ side. Jesus was physically cut with the Roman spear and His shed blood consecrated the spiritual grace covenant of spiritual cleansing of sin, (spiritual circumcision of the heart), (2Cor. 5:18-21) spiritual reconciliation with God (Rom. 8:13-17) and God’s spiritual acceptance of the individual into God’s personal family- 3 for 1 and 3 for 1.
Also (1John 5:7 3 for 1) The Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are one and you get all 3 (Heb. 10:14-21 & 1Pet. 1:19) through the shed blood (cut) of Jesus that consecrated the grace covenant- 3 for 1.
The 2 birds laid aside undivided are the turtledove which represents the Holy Spirit and He cannot be divided. The young pigeon is just born and represents God and Abraham’s new covenant. The young pigeon also represents (John 3:3-7 & 1Pet 1:23) the future spiritual born again, just born, event that sanctifies an individual to be a member of the grace covenant church and that born again covenant (Heb. 13:5) will not be divided (broke) by God. (Rom. 1:31 then 28 & Heb. 6:4-6 then Rev. 3:5 and 16-17) But man can and does break covenant!
To avoid bogging you down with a journey through the Hebrew language, various locations of scripture in the KJV Bible and a bunch of Hebrew word definitions I will give you the name of a website in which is given proof the KJV Holy Bible does contain God’s presentation of His Shekinah Glory.--> YEHOVAH’s Shekinah Glory – Hope of Israel Website.
(Ex. 33:20) No man can see the face of God in His spiritual, majestic, overwhelming Shekinah Glory and live. The most important thing to understand is (Gen. 15:17-18 esp. V.17) God walked the path of blood between the cut sacrifices alone because God in His perfect holiness and purity was the only one qualified to make a covenant with fallen, sinful man.
A SPIRITUAL WALKING TO ESTABLISH A PHYSICAL COVENANT
(Gen. 15:9-16) Abram was in a spiritual state of communication with God but only God in His perfect holiness and purity had the power and will to walk the path of blood. Abram could not physically walk the path of blood but through the communication with God and by the power of God Abram spiritually walked the path of blood with God.
The above was one of the steps God performed in the covenant process with Abram and it was also a prophesy (Acts 4:8-12) that no other human on earth except Jesus Christ could have ever walked the path of blood that would usher in the N T grace covenant. (Rom. 13:1-2) God has all power. God made it His business to approach fallen, sinful man by covenant exactly as He desired. It is man’s business to either accept or reject God’s covenant (Rom. 13:2 keyword: damnation) and those who reject God’s covenant will “receive to themselves damnation”.
A PHYSICAL WALKING TO ESTABLISH A SPIRITUAL COVENANT
(2Cor. 5:17-21 esp. V.21 keywords: who knew no sin) Jesus was perfect in holiness and purity (Heb. 4:15 and 1Pet. 1:18-20 & 2:21-22) and only Jesus in His perfect holiness and purity had the power and will to walk the physical path of blood on Calvary. And, like Abram, every person (John 6:44 & 12:32 keyword: draw) who is in communication with God will spiritually walk Jesus’ path of blood with Jesus before they can accept God’s salvation and redemption to become a Christian.
O. T. (Gen. 17:11 keywords: circumcise the flesh of your foreskin) Definition: cut off, destroy, one cut. This is a single physical act.
N. T. (Rom. 2:29 keywords: circumcision is that of the heart (soul) which is spiritual not physical) Definition: Greek word: peritome; #1) a condition AND the Greek base word of peritome is temno which is defined as; #2) a single stroke and repeated blows like hacking. This is a condition of the heart (soul) brought about by one act and then by repeated acts to improve the condition of the heart; think #1) salvation which circumcises past sins and #2) spiritual growth that eliminates carnal characteristics (John 15:1-6) and produces spiritual fruit (Jesus Characteristics) in a Christian’s soul (Part 33).
NOTE: The four lettered steps below are a comparison between the four steps leading up to the Old Testament Blood Covenant process and the four steps leading up to the New Testament Grace Covenant process. It is a time of preparing a person for COVENANT TALK. PATTERNS.
SO: ** and a number or letter denotes the physical covenant and a highlighted letter or number denotes the spiritual covenant.
Preparation for the Old Testament BLOOD COVENANT
**A) (Gen. 6:13 thru 9:17 esp. V. 15-17) The first time a covenant was made was when God told Noah He was making a general nature covenant with all flesh, signified by a rainbow, which promised He would never again destroy the Earth with water. It was not a part of the later BLOOD COVENANT but it draws people’s attention to the God of nature who made all things. Abram intimately knew about the “Rainbow Covenant” because he had lived with Noah almost 50 years (Part 15). Nothing was required of man during that covenant process. (Gen. 8:20-21) But Noah did praise and worship God.
Preparation for the New Testament GRACE COVENANT
A) I was born, reared and still live in the country. It was, and still is, so wonderfully easy to see God’s creative work in nature and that drew my attention to the God of nature who made all things. There had to be a God. The lightning that flashed on ahead of the rumble of its wheels said so. A hat full of seed, hard as gravel, with no moisture of life within them, that grew into a winter’s food in our garden said so. The dew laden still of the pale crescent of the dawning seen in the forest from the top of a mountain said so. The first golden fingers of the early morning sun said so. There was a “said so” every place I looked.
**B) (Gen. 9:18 thru 11:9) The genesis (beginning) of mankind is explained through Nimrod’s progress toward attempting to form a one world religion and a one world government. God’s reaction to that progress is also recorded, he confounded their language and scattered them. (Gen.11:10-32) God follows the generations of Noah’s son Shem until the birth of Abram and God carefully defines Abrams’s genetic and racial origins. God was drawing Abram.
B) (John 6:44 & 12:32) We were not a church going family. As I grew up in the country I did not recognize the beginning (genesis) of God’s drawing through nature. Church was a big part of my society and lots of times something about Church, be it humor, criticism, serious, or sarcastic, came up when I was around people. I didn’t realize God was using my society to define my way of thinking and was exposing me to Church things even though my family didn’t go to Church.
**C) (Gen.12:1 thru 14:24) When the time came God carefully tested Abram’s faith, obedience, integrity, courage, respect, and generosity by telling him where to go and what to do. Abram took his family (wife and nephew) with him and he was an “outsider” in Egypt. His nephew was taken “captive” and Abram had to go to war to rescue him. Abram gave tithes to the priest of the most high God.
C) (John 12:32) When the time came that I was searching for answers I did not realize God had already told me where to go and what to do when I was growing up. God intensified His drawing. I was dimly aware my sons were “captives” by their life in our society and I worried my sons would not know how to get saved when their time came. I was hard-headed, hard-hearted, hard–drinking hillbilly but I loved my boys. AND I didn’t know how to tell them how to get saved. But I knew where the answers were and when I was 31 years old I started attending Church; of course I took my family, my wife and sons, with me.
I didn’t really realize I was in a war to rescue my family. I bought a Bible and started reading it. I was hearing preaching, my faith was growing, I put my idea of what tithes were in the collection plate when it was passed around. I was becoming an “outsider” to the life I had been living.
**D) Unlike the nature covenant with all flesh (Gen. 15:1-21 esp. V.9-10 & 17-18) the blood covenant was between God and one man, Abram. This one was different and would become the basis of the standard Hebrew covenant, it was a blood covenant between 2 individuals. Everyone knew blood was life because if a person lost enough blood they would die. SO: Blood covenant was as serious as life and death. The blood covenant was not to be entered into lightly by either person because each person pledged all they were and all they possessed even if they had to die to fulfill their part of the covenant.
It was not required that the covenant partners possess equal strength or financial resources therefore the sacred blood covenant was very advantageous to the weaker and poorer of the two because he could draw on the power, wealth and resources of his covenant partner in times of need. (Prov. 18:24) It was a friendship relationship that was closer than a natural brother relationship. BUT: All the weaker one possessed, including his life, was pledged to the stronger covenant partner! Abram didn’t know it but he was READY FOR COVENANT TALK.
D) In his sermons the Pastor often mentioned the Grace Covenant being between God and each individual Christian, just one man, and it was different from anything mankind had ever known. My wife, parents, friends and all the Marines in the world couldn’t help me with this. This time I was on my own, just one man, in this strange war and now I was facing the deadly serious reality I would definitely die lost and there wasn’t a thing I could do about it, it was as serious as life and death.
I realized I would go to hell where I would forever die in the fire. Right on supernatural cue I started having a recurring nightmare about catching on fire. The fire was real, it hurt, I couldn’t extinguish the fire and I was terrified! Then I’d wake up drenched in clammy sweat, straining, shaking, my eyes popping out and I’d be breathless as if I had run a long distance. It was hard to go back to sleep because I was afraid the nightmare fire would return.
There at the end of it I quit cursing. I quit drinking. I quit cheating people while swapping things. I quit being mean to people. Deep inside me I was strangely fragile and somehow broken. I got as tender and helpless as a tiny child and I would sometimes cry right there in church! It didn’t help. I was used to working out our living and paying our own way. BUT:
I didn’t have a thing God wanted, nothing! I wanted saved so bad I could taste it but only God could do that. I couldn’t be good enough to deserve salvation. I didn’t have anything valuable enough to purchase salvation. I couldn’t generate enough faith on my own to just take salvation. I didn’t know it but, just like Abram, I was READY FOR COVENANT TALK.
NOTE #1: The seven numbered steps below are a comparison between the 7 steps of the Old Testament Physical Blood Covenant and the 7 steps of the New Testament Spiritual Grace Covenant. PATTERNS.
NOTE #2: The ancient, traditional Hebrew blood covenant was in 7 steps. The full 7 steps are not given in this part of scripture (Gen. 15:1 thru 18:33) but they are easily discerned after you read the listed steps below. The steps of the covenant are scattered here and there throughout the OT. At the end of each step is given a scripture marked refer--> so you can identify the scriptural steps.
**1) The 2 persons would exchange their coats and/or robes. To a Hebrew the robe represents the person’s identity, wealth and authority and it is a symbol that each is saying to the other; “I give you all of me and I accept all of you.” (Refer --> Ex. 29:1-8 esp. V.5 & 8 and 1Sam. 18:1-4 keyword: coats).
1) Every once in a while the Pastor would say in his sermons; “Take of the old coat and put on the new coat.” I didn’t know what that meant and I didn’t care. I needed help! I was lost and on my way to hell BUT I was too ashamed, cringing and somehow I was too dirty and unworthy to approach too close to God. I didn't have anything worth anything to God.
**2) Then they would exchange girdles (belts). The girdle served as a belt to hold their breastplate and loins armor together and it carried their weapons, their sword, shield, sometimes their helmet and whatever else they carried when they were on the march to wage war. Each is saying to the other; “I pledge my strength, my ability to fight and my protection to you. When you are attacked it is an attack upon me, your battles are mine. I will fight for you and defend you even if it costs me my life.” (Refer --> 1Sam. 18: 1-4 keyword girdle & Eph. 6:11-17 keyword: whole armour of God).
2) Sometimes the Pastor would mention David and Jonathan, what it meant when they exchanged their girdles, how that established their brotherhood and that’s how Christians should act toward each other. I was a tough, ex-Marine, hillbilly coal miner. I was supposed to be too tough to cry but I couldn’t help it. I would silently sob, shake and shiver. I thought I was going to die because of some burden I couldn’t express.
I usually sat with my head down so nobody could see but once in a while anger would come up in me and I’d look around to see if anyone was looking, they’d better not be! Back then I didn’t know those old, white haired Christians would look into each other’s loving, tender, delighted eyes while they smiled their sweet smiles and whispered to each other through their age and work gnarled fingers. They’d whisper feathery whispers with delicate, gentle, sentimental delight; “Look at ‘em. He’s shore under conviction real bad.”
Then they’d pray for me. (Matt. 8:18) I’m sure beautiful, invisible angels hovered close, looking with awe and wonder at those fragile yet sturdy of soul Children of God, those Christian soldiers who’d held the line, sacrificed their lives and did their part to keep the church house door open for me. (Rev. 8:3-4) I’m sure beautiful angels gathered those precious prayers that were bathed in the incense of the sanctity of Jesus.
When they took those prayers to heaven they cast them from golden censers upon the golden altar before the throne of God. (Rev. 4:5) And surely, from God’s throne the quiet thunder of pleasure rumbled and the muted lightning of God’s unsearchable, unending, immeasurable love flickered among the host of heaven.
**3) (Refer --> Gen. 15:9-10) Each of the 3 covenant sacrifice animals is cut into 2 pieces by splitting the sacrifice down the backbone and separating the 2 halves with the blood draining down and making a path of blood between all the halves. The 2 persons would join hands and walk the path of blood together to the other end. There they would separate and each would walk down the outside of their side of the covenant sacrifice and meet back at the end in the path of blood where they had started. Their walk had made an 8 laying on its side which is the infinity symbol, thus stating their sacred blood covenant is forever.
(Refer--> Deut. 30:1-20 esp. V.1) Spoken blessings and curses: (<-- refer Gen. 30:25 thru 31:55 refers to all of it, read carefully-->) At that point, when they had both come back together, they joined hands again and were once more standing in the blood of the sacrifice where they had started walking the path of blood together at the beginning, they both spoke and pledged the BLESSINGS of their covenant that had been symbolized by the first and second steps of the covenant process; “I give you all of me and I accept all of you. Your battles are mine. I will fight for you and defend you even if it costs me my life.”
AND: “Just as surely as this sacrifice is dead my old life is dead and this covenant is the beginning of my new life walking as one with you. We are one life! THEN: They both pointed down to the bloody sacrifice and they both spoke the CURSES of their covenant; “If I break this sacred covenant, cut me right down the middle just like this sacrifice is cut and kill me as dead as this covenant sacrifice.”
(Refer--> Gen. 15:8-15) (V.8 keywords: Lord God) Abram actually spoke a prophesy when he called God “Lord God” because it was fulfilled in (John 20:24-28 keywords: my Lord and my God) and Thomas was the first one to recognize (1Tim. 3:16) that Jesus was God manifested in the flesh (John 14:8-9, 18, 23 and 15:1-6 esp. V.4) which means a Christian is one with Jesus through the Holy Spirit. It is a COVENANT!
Unlike God’s general “to all flesh” covenant, this time, in this most sacred; “we are one life and one blood” covenant, Abram also had to give up something as a token of their covenant. (Gen. 17:9-14 esp. V.11 & 14) (V.11) Abram and all male Hebrews after him would be required to circumcise (cut off) the flesh of their foreskins (a useless part). (V.14) If a Hebrew was not circumcised he was cut off from his people. It was a serious covenant with serious consequences. (Refer--> Gen. 45:1-4) The only way Joseph could prove his identity to his brothers was to go to a private place and show them his circumcision!
3) The preacher preached about Jesus that particular Sunday and I didn’t hear a word he was saying, I was living it. I didn’t understand then that God had supernaturally “taken me by the hand” and led me to where the Sacrifice was being slaughtered. I had lost contact with my surroundings and had entered the reality of the sacred world of COVENANT. The Roman soldiers were torturing Jesus to death. I saw Him struck with their fists and spit on; they yanked out his beard and called Him filthy names. He didn’t fight back; He didn’t ever hurt anybody.
I hated them for humiliating and hurting Jesus. He was so alone. They laughed coarse laughter and made crude comments while they humiliated and battered Jesus. They jammed a crown of cruel, razor sharp thorns on His head then they tied Him to a post and whipped Him until His flesh was shredded to the bone and His blood was splattered on the flagstones where the Roman whipping post was set.
I was outraged. Jesus hadn’t done anything but good, He loved, He cared. I watched Jesus carry His cross and I saw the rough wood scrape and peel the whip mangled flesh on His shoulders and back. I saw the flies drawn to the blood, they always are, and the ants always scurry to the drops of crimson bounty. I was watching the slaughter of the COVENANT Sacrifice.
I was horrified and I didn’t realize a rage was rising within me. (John 10:15-18 esp. V.17-18 keywords: I lay down my life) I saw Jesus in fist beaten, whip slashed, bloody, naked, humiliation lay down upon the cross on the ground. Jesus did not resist. I heard the hammer’s thumping, muted ring on the nails and I saw Jesus’ pain twisted face while they spiked His hands and feet to the rough, hard wood. They grunted and strained when they lifted Him up and dropped the cross into its place. When Jesus’ full weight hit the nails I saw His fist beaten, swollen, bloody, discolored face twist in a hideous grimace of shattering agony.
I was on my feet, there in the church, hot tears and sweat were pouring, my hands hurt because my fists were so clenched and I shouted in fury; “I would have taken Him down!” I could almost feel the M-60 machine gun bucking and slashing lethal finality into them. I would have killed them all that mistreated Jesus so, every last one! I remember the Christians’ shocked eyes meeting mine then quickly looking away as I glared around me there in the church. There was a shocked, dead still silence and I realized what I’d done; I had interrupted the preacher.
I realized later that, in my ignorance, I had completely missed the spiritual purpose and reason for Jesus’ treatment. I understand now that was when I fell in love with Jesus but the Vietnam rage was the only way I could express it at the time. I sat in angry, embarrassed, sweating silence until church was finally over. I stomped out of the church house and flung myself into the car. When my family caught up and got in I spun out of the parking lot and roared down the road. I didn’t realize the beautiful, longsuffering God of all glory, the God of all gods was exchanging the robe and belt with me.
All that afternoon and into the late summer evening I struggled. I saw the Roman soldier’s baleful glare as he peered up at Jesus’ face there on the cruel, bloody cross. The well trained soldier held his spear at the ready as he stared intently then his burly, soldier’s arms flashed out in a well-practiced thrust. The spear blade entered Jesus’ side and up into His heart and in one continuous motion the soldier jerked the blade back out and brought his arms back to the ready position as blood and water gushed out of Jesus. Prophesy!
The covenant had been cut. God’s spiritual Son had been born into the physical world from his Mother’s womb with a gush of blood and water. With that gush of blood and water from Jesus’ side the spiritual church had been born into the physical world (John 3:16 and 1John 4:8 & 16) from the womb of God's love. I didn’t understand it then.
Some bittersweet sorrow was tearing me apart. I could not be still. I sat in the house, in the yard and down by the creek. I walked the yard, the creek bank and back to the house. As I walked I didn’t realize God was holding hands with me and we were walking the path of blood together and I was spiritually getting the sacrificial blood on me. (John 3:14-18) Jesus, the physical son of man, was on my physical side of the COVENANT path of blood. (John 5:25-27) Jesus, the spiritual Son of God, was on God’s spiritual side of the COVENANT path of blood.
God and I came to the end of the covenant path of blood, separated, and I started walking down my physical side of the cut Sacrifice and God started walking down His spiritual side of the cut Sacrifice. I was hurting and angry; sometimes crying, in the house, out of the house, in the yard, out of the yard, pacing, stomping and kicking at the grass and twigs; over and over on into the twilighting darkness as the storm raged within me.
Then it hit me like a diamond hard, white hot bolt of thunder storm lightning that almost shattered my skull and did blast my heart to bits. I had misunderstood! It wasn’t the Roman soldiers! Jesus had died because of my sins! I was the one! I killed Jesus! That was the exact moment God and I came together and stood in the blood at the beginning of the path of blood we had walked together.
“Oh God No! I killed Jesus with my sins! I did it! I was the lost man! I was the sinner! I deserved to die like He did! It should have been me! But he took it for me! He loved me that much! He did it so I could get saved! I was the guilty man; not Him! The Innocent traded His life for the guilty so I could live!” The essence of me, my soul, shattered into a million bright pieces of regret, shame and sorrow and I was broken beyond measure. I didn’t realize our COVENANT TALK was about to start.
Somehow I made it to my bedside and sweating, shrinking, shaking, crying, on my knees, I apologized and begged forgiveness for the awful sins I had done and I promised I’d do anything if God would just save me. That was the exact moment we spoke the blessings and curses of COVENANT. God had everything to give and I had nothing worth giving. Due to my scriptural ignorance I didn’t realize what my few words in 3 SHORT STATEMENTS, SPOKEN BY ME ONLY ONE TIME EACH, meant but God did. Due to my scriptural ignorance I’d have to learn what God had said (Bible study).
“Oh God, I’m sorry, I’m so sorry I’ve sinned.” (Matt. 28:18) “All power is given unto me in heaven and earth.”
“Oh God, I’m sorry, I’m so sorry I’ve sinned.” (Heb. 13:5) “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.”
“Oh God, I’m sorry, I’m so sorry I’ve sinned.” (John 15:14) “You’ll be my friend if you do whatsoever I command you.”
“Oh God, I’m sorry, I’m so sorry I’ve sinned.” (John 14:23) “My Father and I will come unto thee and make our abode with thee.”
“Oh God, please forgive me of my sins.” (Mark 8:34) “Take up thy cross and follow me.”
I changed the order of it with my next sobbing cry.
“Oh God, I’ll do anything if You’ll just save me.” (Matt. 10:38) “If you don’t take up your cross and follow me you will not be worthy of me.”
“Oh God, I’ll do anything if You’ll just save me.” (Rom. 1:21-32 esp. V.23, 28 & 32) “If you persist in choosing false gods (idolatry) over Me or persist in becoming involved in Biblically unsanctioned sex I will count you a covenantbreaker and I will turn you over to a reprobate mind (rejected, castaway soul).”
“Oh God, I’ll do anything if You’ll just save me.” (Rev. 3:1-6 esp. V.4-5) “If you defile your garments like those Christians in the church at Sardis I will blot out your name out of the My book of life.”
“Oh God, I’ll do anything if You’ll just save me.” (Rev. 3:15-21 esp. V.16 keyword: spue and V.21 keyword: overcometh) “If you don’t study, pray, go to church and do Christian works you will become lukewarm and I will spue you out of My mouth.”
“Oh God, I’ll do anything if You’ll just save me.” (Heb. 6:4-6) “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost (Holy Spirit), And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.”
I have looked back on it hundreds, maybe even thousands, of times and it was a strangely timeless time. I couldn’t see the lights in my house even though they were on in the adjoining room, I could only see grey. I couldn’t feel my knees on the floor and I heard no sound even though there was a regularly traveled road less than a hundred feet from my house. It was a timelessness that could have been a few seconds or several minutes and, though I didn’t realize it right then, (Jer. 29:13 & Mark 12:30) those words; “Oh God, I’ll do anything if You’ll just save me.”; was the exact moment I gave God my whole heart.
I had entered the presence of the timelessness of God’s boundless, endless, loving soul, then God saved me and I have never felt so loved in my life. (Rom. 2:29) My sin guilt was gone, my being lost was gone. They had been circumcised out of my soul when they were washed away by the blood of Jesus, the Sacrifice, who made the GRACE COVENANT possible. (John 3:3 & 1Pet. 1:23 keywords: born again) I was born again with no sins against me. It was Sunday night Sept. 19, 1976.
**4) In front of witnesses the 2 persons, still standing in the blood of the covenant, cut their palms, clasp their hands together and mingle their blood. They say; “We are one blood.” Then they would mark their cut by rubbing charcoal powder into the cuts on their palms which would leave a high-lighted scar for all to see they were in BLOOD COVENANT until their death. Then, in front of witnesses, the 2 covenant partners would ceremonially wash in water.
NOTE: This clasping of hands is the origin of the handshake; “Hello, my sacred blood covenant partner, let me touch you with the mark of our COVENANT.” Showing the mark of the covenant partner some distance away was the origin of the wave; “I see you my Brother, here it is, we are still in covenant.”
(Refer--> Acts 7:54-60 esp. V.55-56) Stephen saw the Shekinah Glory of God and Jesus was standing on the right hand of God. Jesus was showing Stephen the sign of their COVENANT. (Heb. 2:9-15 esp. V.11 keyword: they who are sanctified and brethren) “I tasted death for all of My brethren. (Matt. 28:18) I have all power and they can’t hurt you.” (Acts 7:59-60) And Stephen prayed for those who were killing him before he peacefully fell asleep. Think not? Read the two articles, Parts 1 and 2, I Have Experienced Christian Physical Death in the menu of commentary The Holy Spirit and You on this website. You will be amazed.
(Refer -->John 20:25) Thomas wanted to see the scars of Jesus’ covenant to see if it really was Jesus and to see if Jesus had beaten death and Jesus had come back from the dead! (See Parts 24, 25 & 26).
4) (John 14:20) "At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you." I had become one with God through the Holy Spirit. (Matt. 3:11-17 esp. v.13-15) In front of witnesses Jesus had been baptized (ceremonially washed) by John in the Jordan River to fulfill all righteousness. My witnesses had gathered. It was Sunday Oct. 3, 1976 and I was standing thigh deep in the creek beside the church. Several people had come in their cars just before church was over around 1PM and had waited there to watch; my Daddy and my Brother were 2 of them. I guess they had to see it to believe it.
A preacher was on each side of me, a little behind me there in the creek and they were holding me by the arms and shoulders. I looked up and down both sides of the creek bank that was 6 or 8 feet above me because the creek had cut deep in the millennia it had run its course. Mommy was crying, Daddy watched with burning, fascinated eyes, he was tight faced and he seemed to be straining. My wife’s white face was pinched with doubt. My only Brother knew what a Heller I had been, he’d seen me at my worst and his face was a study of shifting emotions.
Friends, relatives, shirttail kin, old people who’d watched me grow up, a few curious semi-strangers, a lot of people I simply knew, maybe a couple of people I’d had problems with in the past; they had all come to see it, some out of love, some out of relief, some because of curiosity, some out of mockery and some out of disbelief. The church was singing; “Shall we gather at the River.
I looked on past the crowd to my friends the mountains; bold shouldered points, dark brooding hollows and proud ridges thrusting into the endless blue sky. God had dressed them like royalty in the scarlet and gold of early autumn and they were beautiful. The people were beautiful and the singing was beautiful. I was filled with gladness I had chosen to accept God’s salvation.
The Preacher’s rich baritone voice with its flat voweled drawl of pure mountain talk boomed out; “We baptize this, our Brother, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost! Amen!” and I went under for my Lord. I came up to shouts of “Amen!” and “Praise the Lord!” and happy laughter, chatter and what seemed like a thousand warm hugs; and me dripping wet too! I was at peace; finally, finally, finally at peace. I didn’t know it at the time but in front of witnesses I had fulfilled my requirement of ceremonial washing required by covenant friends.
According to scripture my baptism to fulfill all righteousness (1Pet. 3:21) was the answer of my good conscience toward God because (John 3:3-8) during my born again salvation event, all my past sins had been washed away by Jesus' blood (2Cor. 5:17 keyword: creature: defined: creation) and I knew I was a brand new man in God's eyes with a brand new start in life without any of my past sins held against me. (Eph. 1:13-14 keywords: sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise then Rom. 8:9-16<-please read it) I knew because God's Holy Spirit had come to live within my soul (psyche, self, person, me).
**5) The 2 covenant friends would exchange names. Example: John Smith and Aaron Jones are exchanging names; the 1st would become John Jones Smith and the 2nd would become Aaron Smith Jones.
(Refer--> Gen. 17:5) The Lord gave Abram His name and Abram became known as Abraham. (Refer--> Ex. 6:3) God’s sacred name is JEHOVAH and the addition of the H is the giving of JEHOVAH’S name to Abram; (Gen. 17:15) likewise from Sari to Sarah. (refer->Gen.17:7-8 & 1Ki. 18:36) JEHOVAH became known as the God of Israel. Israel was the name of Abraham’s covenant Grandson and the nation Israel was named after him SO: for effect. God took His covenant partner’s name.
5) (Acts 11:26) I am now known as Christ-ian (Christian), Jesus Christ’s name. Read the first SELF segment in the commentary The Holy Spirit & You for proof of the following. My name is Jim, I am the only me that will ever exist and (Ex.6:3) JEHOVAH is Jim’s Lord and his God so He has my name too.
**6) The two sacred blood covenant partners then ceremoniously wash again and eat a commemorative meal of bread and wine to commemorate the covenant. One loaf is broken and they each place a piece of bread in the other’s mouth signifying a part of each one had entered into the other. They each take a symbolic drink of wine from the same cup signifying their life had gone into each other.
6) (refer->Gen. 18:1-5 keywords: wash your feet) I attend a fundamentalist Church. Sometimes some of the great bobble scholars who don’t believe the whole Bible is true and lots of other people in society mock fundamentalists because we DO believe the whole Bible is true. At special times, after much prayer, we gather at Church, (Luke 22:19-22 & 1Cor. 11:23-28) we partake of the communion bread and wine to commemorate that Jesus’ blessed body was broken and His cleansing blood of the new COVENANT was shed so my sins could be washed away.
AND: (John 14:23 & 15:5) That Jesus lives in me and I live in Him through the Holy Spirit. (John 13:4-17 esp. V. 14 keyword: ought-Greek definition: duty, necessary, proper) Then with humility we wash each other’s feet to commemorate what Jesus did with His disciples just like He instructed us to do. Jesus attends those special meetings and blesses us in a special way for honoring Him for what He has done in our lives.
**7) The 2 are now called friends (Refer--> John 15:14 & James 2:23) The word friend, just like the handshake and wave, has been “watered down” in modern times. In the time of Jesus and of the early church the word friend referred to a blood covenant partner not just someone you knew and hung out with.
Then, in front of witnesses the friends would plant a baby tree to represent their new, growing life as one (<--Refer. Gen. 21:22-33) and they’d build a monument of stones to mark the place of the event. (<-- Refer. Josh. 4:1-9) AND THEN the friends and witnesses would eat a full course, joyous, fellowship oneness of union, love inspired meal with the meat the sacrifice provided as the main course (Refer--> Gen. 31:20-46). The COVENANT ceremony was done and they would go on through their life together.
7) (Heb. 10:19-23 esp. V.20 keywords: a new and living way) Christians have a new, living way with God (2Cor. 5:17-21) because old things have passed away and all things are new through the reconciliation of us to God by Jesus Christ. Anybody who knew me before can witness to the fact I was definitely changed (new) after God saved me. We didn’t plant a tree to represent our new and living way. (John 14:26) God gave me His Holy Spirit so I can grow (Eph. 2:18-22) in my new and living relationship with Jesus (Eph. 1:12-14) who sealed me as His own purchased possession with His gift of the Holy Spirit. WE ARE IN COVENANT.
(Rev. 20:15) The monument to mark the place and time of my salvation is written in Jesus’ Book of Life. It is also written in my soul. The old house where I was saved burned down years ago but I can still put my feet on the ground where He saved me and I can stand in the creek, in the exact spot, where I was baptized.
After our foot washing and sacramental communion service we’ll partake of a loving fellowship, friendship, oneness of union God/Jesus love inspired meal together. We know Satan would starve us and kill us if he could but Jesus, our Sacrifice, said He’d never leave us nor forsake us and He has all power so (Luke 12:21-32) we’ll eat the food He (the Sacrifice) provides in the sanctity and security of His love.
The covenant process is done and our new life together IN COVENANT is still progressing forward in 2015, 39 years later.