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The blood of the Covenant

by Jean-Louis Coraboeuf

"Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read in the hearing of the people. And they said, 'All that the Lord has said we will do, and be obedient.' And Moses took the blood, sprinkled it on the people, and said, 'This is the blood of the covenant which the Lord has made with you according to all these words'" (Exodus 24:7-8).

After going up to the Lord on Mount Sinai, Moses wrote all His words in the Book of the Covenant (Exodus 20 to 23). Then he built an altar and set up 12 stones to symbolize the 12 tribes of Israel. Then he offered burnt offerings and sacrifices of thanksgiving to the Lord and read the Book of the Covenant before the people who answered, "Everything that the Lord has spoken, we will do and obey". Then he sprinkled blood on the altar, on the Book of the Covenant and on all the people saying, "This is the blood of the covenant which the Lord has made with you".

This is the intention of the Covenant, "Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation" (Exodus 19:5-6).

Then the Lord asked Moses to build for Him a sanctuary along the lines that he received on Mount Sinai (Exodus 25:40). So he built the Tabernacle with the offerings made by those whose hearts were willing (Exodus 35:5). In this House of God, the priests were to make offerings, sin offerings and guilt offerings to the Lord for the people.

Then God promised a renewal of this Covenant, "Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a renewed covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah... I will put My Torah in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people... For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more" (Jeremiah 31:31-34).

The renewed Covenant

"When the hour had come, He sat down, and the twelve apostles with Him... And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, 'This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance [anamnesis] of Me.' Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, 'This cup is the renewed [kainos] covenant in My blood, which is shed for you'" (Luke 22:14-20 Interlinear).

To define the term 'new' in Greek there are two words: kainos whose idea of novelty is linked to the quality, to what is fresh, not worn, and neos which refers to the time, what is young, recent. This difference is highlighted in Luke 5:37-38, "New wine must be put into freshly prepared [kainos] wineskins", that is to say refurbished wineskins to improve quality so that they resist the pressure of the new wine.

When his time came, at the last supper with His 12 disciples, Jesus gave thanks, shared the bread and gave it to them. Then He took a cup of wine and gave them to drink, saying, "This cup is the renewed [kainos] covenant in my blood".

This is the intention of the Covenant renewed in Jesus Christ, "To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father" (Revelation 1:5-6).

So Jesus came to build the House of God ("a dwelling place of God in Spirit" Ephesians 2:22) with those whose hearts were willing ("No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God" Luke 9:62). Then after his death and resurrection, he ascended to the father where he became High Priest in the House of God (Hebrew 10:21).

Jesus also announced the completion of the Covenant, "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" (Matthew 26:29). The House of God will then be established in a new form (Revelation 21).

Sin offerings

"then He said, 'Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God.' He takes away the first (sin offerings) that He may establish the second (God's will)" (Hebrew 10:9).

The ordinances for offerings in the Tabernacle and the Temple of Jerusalem were to exist until the time kairos of the reformation (Hebrews 9:10). So Jesus came in a body to abolish animal sacrifices for sin offerings so that He becomes the unique sacrifice intended by God for this Covenant renewed in this way (Hebrew 10:5-9). In addition, by the offering of the body of Jesus Christ we are sanctified once and for all when we accept His sacrifice on the cross (Hebrew 10:10).

The consciousness of sins

"For then would they not have ceased to be offered? For the worshippers, once purified, would have had no more consciousness of sins" (Hebrew 10:2).

"Without shedding of blood there is no remission" (Hebrew 9:22), this is true for the first Covenant and for the renewed Covenant too. In the first Covenant, the memory [anamnesis] of sin is renewed each year by the sacrifices (Hebrews 10:3) because it is impossible for the blood of animals to take away the sins from human conscience (Hebrews 9:9 and 10:4).

In the renewed Covenant, by the one offering of Christ on the cross we are brought to perfection – we are saints – (Hebrew 10:14), our sins are forgiven (Hebrew 10:18) and God remembers them no more (Hebrew 10:17). That is why, through the blood of Jesus, our hearts are purified of all evil conscience, so we can approach the sanctuary of God knowing that Jesus Christ is established as High Priest (Hebrew 10:19-22).

Thus, for those who are in Christ, there is no more condemnation (which is the fruit of sin). That is why Jesus asked His disciples to take the 'Lord's supper' to remember [anamnesis] this Covenant renewed by the offering of His own blood (Luke 22:19).

The blood of the Covenant

"Therefore not even the first covenant was dedicated without blood... Moses took the blood of calves and goats... and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, saying, 'This is the blood of the covenant which God has commanded you.' Then likewise he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry. And according to the Torah almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission" (Hebrews 9:18-22).

To inaugurate the first Covenant, Moses sprinkled blood on the Book of the Covenant, on the people, on the Tabernacle and the utensils to make them pure. It was an earthly image of the heavenly things. Then it needed a more excellent sacrifice to purify the heavenly things. That is why Jesus came to offer His own blood to abolish sin by only one offering (Hebrew 9:23-28). To inaugurate the renewed Covenant, Jesus took the cup of wine and said, "This cup is the renewed [kainos] covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance [anamnesis] of Me" (1 Corinthians 11:25).

Thus, the objective of the 'Lord's supper' is to remind us (to avoid amnesia) of the death of Jesus on the cross. When we drink the wine, it is our whole being that is affected because we are the tabernacle of His Spirit, and because we have His Torah engraved in our hearts we are also the altar with the utensils of worship for the offering of sacrifices to Him. This is why the apostle Paul asked each participant to examine oneself in order to consider the power of the blood of the Covenant (1 Corinthians 11:17-34).

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