January 17, 2014
Once again, I'd like to take a different direction in this study to show you that healing -- and specifically, aphiémi healing -- is a product of and integral to a covenant made by Father God with us through the Lord Jesus Christ.
We’ve discussed the concept of Covenant several times throughout the past few years in these Coffee Breaks, but in light of our recent view of the Blood of Jesus where the Table of the Lord is concerned, we need to take another look.
Genesis 15:7-21: And he said unto him, I am the LORD that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it. And he said, Lord GOD, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it?And he said unto him, Take me an heifer of three years old, and a she goat of three years old, and a ram of three years old, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon. And he took unto him all these, and divided them in the midst, and laid each piece one against another: but the birds divided he not. And when the fowls came down upon the carcasses, Abram drove them away.
And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him. And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance. And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age. But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.
And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces. In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates: The Kenites, and the Kenizzites, and the Kadmonites, And the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Rephaims, And the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Girgashites, and the Jebusites.
Although this is not the first instance of Covenant within the Word this is the first time we see the establishing of a Covenant with the specific shedding of blood.
Genesis 4:4 actually provides a picture of Abel keeping Covenant with the Lord with the shedding of blood. You may ask what Covenant Abel was keeping; and we can refer back to Genesis 3:21 where God kills a lamb (or a sheep) and sheds its blood in order to provide clothing for Adam and Eve following His promise to Eve that her seed would bring forth a Redeemer Who would crush the serpent’s head.
The references, however, in Genesis 3 & 4 do not specifically denote a Covenant between agreeing parties – God being the originator of that Covenant. We’ll skip ahead in Scripture momentarily to the Table of the Lord once again to see the Covenant that Jesus made with us:
Matthew 26:26-29 (NASB): While they were eating, Jesus took some bread, and after blessing (eulogeo: to command to prosper) it, He broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.”
And when He had taken a cup and given Thanks (eucharisteo: to express gratitude within the context of keeping covenant), He gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you; 28for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness [aphiémi: remission, eradication] of sins. But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.”
Jesus was re-emphasizing the point that the old Covenant – also a blood Covenant – was being replaced with a New Covenant; that the New Covenant also required blood to be shed (poured out).
Let’s re-draw this spiritual portrait of God’s Covenant in a way we can all relate to.
First, Covenant is something much more than a binding contract, and the use of the word in today's legal profession completely loses the intent and purpose of Covenant within its historical and Scriptural context. Let me illustrate by first giving you the current definition of Covenant as most people in the legal profession see it.
Covenant, in law, is a promise, usually under seal, that a certain act shall be performed or shall not be performed, or a solemn declaration under seal that certain facts are true. Covenants are used most often in deeds. An express covenant is an express declaration of intention by the parties to the deed. An implied covenant is inferred by the law from certain words in a deed; for example, the law holds that implied in a lease is a covenant that the lessee shall quietly enjoy possession of the demised premises as long as the terms of the lease are honored. A similar covenant is implied in absolute transfer of property.
A covenant may be collateral, that is, purely personal to the original parties; or it may run with the land, so that it can be enforced at the instance of the subsequent owners of the property, although they were not parties to the original covenant or agreement. Covenants also fall into many other classifications. In the United States covenants affecting title to real estate are usually expressed in the form of warranties.
One of the common misconceptions about Covenant (we’re talking about the way God first established it) is that it is an agreement between equals in which they combine their strengths. Wrong. It IS a commitment between equals, but Covenant takes the weaknesses of both parties and places them under the protection of the combined strength of the parties to the covenant. The lives of the parties to the covenant are at stake. The bloodshed of the animals -- in Abraham's case -- was both prophetic of things to come and symbolic of the lives of the two parties to the Covenant: in this case, the Lord God and Abraham.
Bear with me while I show you how this unfolds.
Abraham grew up in a world where an understanding of covenant -- real covenant -- was embodied in all of society. It had been embodied and incorporated into every man and woman since the Lord killed the animal(s) and made clothing of sheep skins for Adam and Eve.
We have previously talked about the fact that Adam and Eve -- and by virtue of descending from them, the whole human race -- were created in the image of God, imbued with his character and makeup, and given the same creative power of speech. This is absolutely critical in understanding the makeup of covenant.
One of the most important aspects of true covenant is the promise made between the parties. The promise embodies both irrevocable commitment and creative power which implements the conditions of the covenant. The speaking forth of the promise creates and sets in motion the circumstances which empower the covenant.
But there's a whole lot more to this. Watch!
We’ve already noted that the Lord instructed Abraham to bring Him "an heifer of three years old, a she-goat of three years old, a ram of three years old, and a turtledove and a young pigeon."
The animals were slaughtered, their carcasses divided in two parts and laid out with each half facing the other. One bird was placed on one side, and the other bird the other side. The halved carcasses were placed far enough apart that Abraham could stand between them and the Lord could pass between them.
The significance of this IS relevant since the parties to this covenant would be standing and/or walking in blood as the covenant was struck. Why?
The Lord spoke to Moses and said (Leviticus 17:11), "For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul."
History and archaeology show us the following. Whenever a covenant was cut between two parties, the first thing to happen was that the initiating party took his cloak or outer garment off and gave it to the other party. The second party likewise removed his cloak and gave it to the first party. The cloak represented covering. Each party was saying to the other by this act that all that they were, all that they had, all their abilities would cover each other. They would lack for nothing so far as it was in the power of each party to fulfill.
The second act of covenant was for the first party to remove his girdle and give it to the second party, who then reciprocated with his girdle. A girdle was not what we commonly think of in today's understanding, but rather a weapons belt. It was the mainstay of one's sword, and any other weapons they might choose to carry.
Along with the girdles, the parties gave each other their best sword, their best bow and arrow or their best spear -- whatever their primary weapons were. The transfer of weapons symbolized the fact that each party was saying to the other, I give you the best of my defenses, and I will defend you against all enemies to the death.
The third act of covenant was the shedding of blood. Prior to God's command to Abraham, and the enactment of what we have come to call the "Abrahamic Covenant," parties to a covenant would draw a knife across their hand to draw blood, then let that blood drip into a goblet or drinking vessel of some kind and mingle it with wine. Both parties would drink from the goblet until it was consumed.
In so doing, each party thereby had the blood of each other, thus making them "of one blood" in a somewhat literal and yet metaphorical sense, yet considering themselves and their descendants and kin from that day forward to all be of the same family.
The consequence of this final act meant that each party put their lives on the line to the agreement struck between each other. If either party to that covenant violated or breached the covenant, death was the consequence, and if the offending party avoided death at the hands of the aggrieved party, the descendants of the aggrieved party could hunt down and kill the descendants of the offending party to the fourth generation. THAT's how strong the enforcement was of a covenant!
In Abraham's case (and for that matter in every case of covenant since where God is concerned) one did not drink blood. God's command to Moses (see Leviticus 3:17) was that, "It shall be a perpetual statute for your generations throughout all your dwellings that ye eat neither fat nor blood."
God established His covenant with Abraham by substituting the blood of animals for human blood, and instead of drinking it, they walked or passed through it. Covenant was founded upon some very basic principles.
1. Because God’s Word was absolutely unbreakable and because man was created in the image of God, his word would therefore also be unbreakable. For a man to break his word meant death, since a promise of life was predicated upon God’s Word. (See Genesis 6:3)
2. If, therefore, a man – who was created in the image of God – broke his word with another when a Covenant had been made with that individual (and his word likewise hung upon his being in the image of God) the life of the covenant-breaker was forfeit.
3. In order to secure a Covenant, since life and death hung on the keeping of that Covenant by both parties, the life-and-death part of the Covenant was memorialized by the shedding of the innocent blood of animals.
4. Because “the life of the flesh is in the blood” the literal shedding of the blood of animals, combined with the drinking of the Cup of red wine (to symbolize the exchange of that life between the two parties) sealed the Covenant.
There is another aspect of Covenant that we often overlook: the Blessing.
When a Covenant was struck between parties under the Mosaic Law (and actually in Abraham’s time as well) a command was given and a decree of blessing issued so that the Covenant would produce the intended blessing and prosperous results. The objective of the Covenant, after all, was to ensure that both parties benefitted from this act.
Thus, under the Abrahamic Covenant, God blessed Abraham and his seed in perpetuity. Not only were the natural descendants of Abraham through Isaac caused to prosper and be blessed, those who became the seed of Abraham by faith likewise became recipients of the Abrahamic Covenant AND the Blessing of Abraham.
That’s why the apostle Paul writes this in his letter to the Galatians:
Galatians 3:6-9: Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.
We thus come back to the Table of the Lord and the creating of the New Covenant:
Matthew 26:26-29: And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the New Covenant, which is shed for many for the remission (aphiémi: eradication) of sins. But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.
Do you have a better grasp now of the enormous significance of the Cup at the Table of the Lord? He was sealing the New Covenant He had just spoken and declared with His disciples.
Let’s take one last look at some comparisons.
1. The Old Covenant required the killing of sheep and oxen. Their bodies were divided, the blood flowed, and the carcasses were then offered on an altar of sacrifice.
2. The meat of the sacrifice was eaten by the parties to the Covenant to commemorate the fact that the parties were now one!
3. The New Covenant replaced the bodies of animals with the Body of the Lord Jesus Christ. He was beaten, the blood flowed, and He was then offered up on the Cross as a once-and-for-all sacrifice.
4. Because Jesus was the once-and-for-all sacrifice and His body was offered (given) in our stead, He gave us bread to eat instead. That bread was the Bread of Life. It was The Word. It was The Life. It was the restoration of our relationship with Father – in the same way that Adam and Eve had their walk in the Garden.
5. When Jesus ministry first began, His very first miracle was the changing of the water into wine at the Marriage of Cana in Galilee. He thus marked out for all who would come to believe on Him that His purpose was Marriage: He had come to win back His Bride.
6. The New Covenant was a Covenant of Marriage; and just as all wedding feasts were celebrated with the drinking of wine, Jesus gave us His Cup.
Covenant between the Bridegroom (the Lord Jesus Christ) and His Bride (US)!
In a normal wedding ceremony, both bridegroom and bride exchange their Covenant vows with each other. The bridegroom covenants to provide the bride with his protection and to keep her whole and complete – in him – so long as they “both shall live.” He covenants to make her his counterpart, his other self, his co-equal partner for life.
The bride correspondingly covenants to give herself to the groom without reservation. She becomes his counterpart, his other self, and his mirror image – the completion of his character, his makeup and his personality. She is everything he is not, and he is everything she is not. They become one new, complete being – one new onoma!
To certify and seal this covenant, they eat together of the same bread (in a more modern sense, sweet cake) and drink of a common cup. Once they have both drunk of the same cup, that cup is smashed on the floor (or on the ground) so that it cannot ever be partaken of again by others. That Cup signifies the mingling of their blood together so that they are now of the same blood – the same DNA.
The drinking of the Cup at the Table of the Lord is holy and sacred. We were not required to shed our blood – although we do offer ourselves as “living sacrifices” unto the Lord. Jesus took care of the blood of the Covenant by sacrificing Himself.
Paul finishes this picture in his epistle to the Hebrews (and we will continue with this picture in our next Coffee Break):
Hebrews 10:16-25: This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin. Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; And having an high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
These last two Coffee Breaks have been a bit longer than usual but I wanted to keep the discussion as complete as possible in each of them. We still have more to cover on the subject of our Covenant with the Lord Jesus Christ as His Table.
Healing conference calls have resumed with our normal schedule. If you are in need of healing please join our prayer conference calls on either Monday, Wednesday or Friday of each week at 7:00 PM Eastern. Once again, the number to call is (805) 399-1000. Then enter the access code: 124763#.
Blessings on you!
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