Theme: Covenant (Part 4)
(Key verses: Gen 9:2-9; Gen 17:7; Lev 17:11, 14)
The foundational theme of covenants which we find in the book of Genesis helps us to understand important spiritual aspects which forms an integral part of the one “everlasting covenant” of God with all mankind through Christ (Rom 1:20; 1Co 15:22-28; Heb 8:6-7; Heb 13:20-21). The Hebrew and Greek words for covenant which are “berı̂yth” (meaning: to cut) and “diathēkē” (meaning: to set out or making arrangements for possessions after death) respectively are very significant to further deepen our understanding relating to some of the aspects we briefly covered already, which included:
- the cutting of flesh (typified by the killing of animals during covenant making as it points to a separation from our own flesh and carnal thinking);
- the cataclysmic changes or metamorphosis covenants bring about (bringing about the new spirit life through fiery judgements in us);
- the promise of blessing in the covenants within the spiritual restitution of all in Adam to be in Christ;
- the commandments connected to covenants which can only be obeyed with the indwelling Christ – the hope of glory.
(ref. 2Co 3:18; Rom 12:2; Gen 9:1; Gen 17:5-8; Mat 6:31-34; Act 3:19-21; 2Co 2:14; Heb 8:6; Heb 10:34; Heb 11:16; Heb 11:40; Heb 12:24; Gal 5:22).
In the covenant God made with Noah we see that this covenant applies to all in the first Adam via Noah’s generations, no matter the “bounds of their habitation” (Act 17:26):
Gen 9:9 And I, behold, I establish my covenant with you [Noah], and with your seed after you.
In the covenant God made with Abraham we see that God made it clear that this promise to save all in Adam will take a pre-designated route which is through God’s elect, even Jesus Christ and His “vessels of mercy” – His church (Joh 14:6; Oba 1:21; Rom 9:23; Eph 6:19):
Gen 17:7 And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.
Gal 3:16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.
Gal 3:29 And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
Eph 3:9 And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:
Eph 3:10 To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church, the manifold wisdom of God,
Eph 3:11 According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
The role of the church as the few that were chosen by God before the foundation of the world to do this specific task (as per God’s decision), is for many a truth they cannot receive at this stage. It hurts them even more when they are told that judgment will be given to God’s elect, not only during the thousand year reign on earth, but also as them being the very lake of fire at the white throne judgment (1Co 6:2-3; Rev 20:4; Rev 20:11-15). These elected ones will indeed bring the fear of God on every beast of the earth (mankind), and even the fowls of the air (judge angels) and all nations of the earth – the dead in the sea of mankind in general (Ecc 3:18; Rev 13; Rev 20;8; Rev 20:13; Rev 21:1):
Gen 9:2 And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth [Hebrew: “râmaś” = creeping and moving animals] upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered.
Gen 9:3 Every moving thing [Hebrew: “remeś” (from “râmaś”) = creeping and moving animals] that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things.
For those who can see only carnal things, this is merely referring to animals on the physical earth. But hidden within these words of the covenant God made with Noah are so many spiritual indicators which only the elect can appreciate and be grateful for at this time. We know that all creatures on the earth, including the first man Adam, ate only plants until the global flood (Gen 1:29-30). This typifies a spiritual milk diet which all in Adam are given by God before they can eat of the meat of the Word (Rom 14:1-2; Joh 6:48-58). All in the first Adam living from their natural or carnal mind-set is still indeed “unskilled in the word of righteousness” as flesh can never be spiritually perfected in this physical age (1Co 1:29; 1Co 2:14):
Heb 5:13 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.
Heb 5:14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
It was only after the global flood when all life on the dry earth outside the ark was destroyed, that meat was introduced to the diet of Noah and his family and all the animals of the earth. But the green plants will always have regrowth and are in need of pruning all the time (Mat 13:30; Exo 9:32; Rev 8:7; Gen 15:16). Even the beasts coming out of the ark will need attention and constant monitoring and control (Deu 7:22). This constant pruning of the green vegetation and vigilance over the beasts were given as an earthly type of ourselves and the things in our lives we need to take heed of all the time (Joh 15:1-2; 1Ti 4:16; Heb 3:12). There are no holidays or breaks when we realise what is involved in the spiritual maturing process which includes spiritual warfare:
1Co 10:12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.
1Pe 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.
With this in mind it is important to take note of the strict conditions God has also introduced concerning the new diet of Noah and his family. Even when we are given to eat the spiritual meat of God’s Word, it is clear that “to whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more” (Luk 12:48). This highlights another important aspect of covenant making for us:
Gen 9:4 But flesh with the life [Hebrew: “nephesh”; Greek: “psuchē”] thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat.
How meat and blood were handled impacted greatly on covenant making and the vigilance in covenant keeping. The treatment of physical meat and blood within the covenant of Noah is a very early indication in the Scriptures typifying how we are to handle the spiritual meat and blood of the everlasting or new spiritual covenant of Christ. Naturally no one in the generation of the first Adam can bear the spiritual meat and blood of Jesus:
Joh 16:12 I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.
But to receive spirit life and then to mature gracefully, we need to learn how to handle the blood and the flesh of Jesus because His blood is “drink indeed” and His flesh is “meat indeed”:
Joh 6:53 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.
Joh 6:54 Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.
Joh 6:55 For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.
Joh 6:56 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.
Eating the flesh of Jesus and drinking His blood has nothing to do with the false doctrine of “transubstantiation” which proclaims that the physical bread and physical wine can mysteriously change into the literal physical flesh and blood of Jesus. This subtle false doctrine comes to us in various ways when we materialise spiritual things (Rom 1:23; Exo 20:4-5; Exo 32:4-6). We do not know Christ after the flesh when we can see beyond the veil of physical applications:
2Co 5:16 Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more.
Jesus explains this eating and drinking as the way He Himself eats and drinks the Father and this is how we should apply this very important aspect within the spiritual covenant:
Joh 6:57 As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.
Jesus lived “by the Father” and this is how that was done setting us the example to follow:
Joh 12:49 For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.
Joh 12:50 And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.
How wonderful it is when we can see that the commandments of the spiritual covenant are contained in “the sum” of His whole Word, and that is indeed what the spirit life is about by which everyone will live and grow by (Joh 6:63; 1Jn 5:1-3):
Psa 119:160 (ASV) The sum of thy word is truth; And every one of thy righteous ordinances endureth for ever.
Mat 4:4 (ASV) But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
Joh 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
As with all covenants in Scripture, all flesh was to be sacrificed by fire after all blood was drained. All sacrifices were to be burned with fire because flesh with its carnal life in it is not in any way part of God’s spiritual kingdom:
1Co 15:50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.
1Co 1:29 That no flesh should glory in his presence.
Physical life is a dark shadow of what spiritual light or Godly life is. The carnal eon first comes to introduce us to the opposite of what spirit life is all about – that is how God ordained that we should learn about Him (1Co 15:45-46). Access to spirit life is therefore the draining of all life (the pride of life and all the lusts) of the old man (1Jn 2:16). In a general sense, blood is seen in the Scriptures as the symbol of what life is all about, whether it is physical life or spiritual life:
Lev 17:11 For the life [Hebrew: “nephesh”; Greek: “psuchē”] 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.
Lev 17:14 For it is the life [Hebrew: “nephesh”; Greek: “psuchē”] of all flesh; the blood of it is for the life [Hebrew: “nephesh”; Greek: “psuchē”] thereof: therefore I said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall eat the blood of no manner of flesh: for the life [Hebrew: “nephesh”; Greek: “psuchē”] of all flesh is the blood thereof: whosoever eateth it shall be cut off.
The command not to eat the blood of an animal is given to show us that everyone in flesh and blood has no spirit or eternal life through natural means. But that is what we experience first – we first “eat” of this earthy life in that sense (1Cor 15:46-49; 2Cor 5:1-4).
Gen 3:17 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life.
That is what Adam ate from his creation – earth, not spirit. Clinging to anything pertaining to the physical or earthy life of the first man Adam is to be “cut off” from spirit life in Christ (1Co 15:50; Joh 3:6). The English word “soul” is translated in 432 verses in the King James Version of the Bible from the Hebrew word “nephesh”. Mankind, and all earthly creatures have an earthly life (Hebrew: “nephesh”/Greek: “psuchē”) which is our first understanding of the concept of “soul” from the earthly point of view. Soul is not the immortal part of a breathing earthly creature as many who see mankind as a triune creature (that is spirit, body and soul) want to justify their triune concept of the Godhead (1Th 5:23). Soulish life is firstly earthy and devilish as it can only display earthly or carnal wisdom as from the Potter’s hand (Gen 1:24; Gen 2:7; Jer 18:4):
Jas 3:15 (CLV) This is not the wisdom coming down from above, but terrestrial, soulish [Greek: “psuchikos” from “psuchē”], demoniacal.
This earthly life is given to us as a type of spirit life, but like all types, it is just the total opposite (of the antitype). Earthly life in a body of flesh and blood with its carnal mind is what sin and death is described as in Scripture (Rom 6:6: Rom 7:24: Rom 8:6; Rom 5:12; 2Co 5:21). Carnal life, whether in the sea, on the earth or those of the fowls flying in the air, is what death is and on which God’s vials will be poured (Rev 16:1-21):
Eze 18:4 Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.
For a carnal soul to be saved, it should not only get rid of its physical body (evil spirits do not have physical bodies), but the carnal mind in that creature must also be killed with God’s spiritual fire, which is His Word:
Mat 10:28 And fear not them which kill [Greek: “apokteinō” = destroy/abolish/perish] the body, but are not able to kill [Greek: “apokteinō” = destroy/abolish/perish] the soul [Greek: “psuchē”] but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell [Greek: “geena” = valley of Hinnom where physical fire was used to kill humans (2Ki 23:10; 2Ch 28:3; 2Ch 33:6; Jer 7:31)].
No man can kill a soul, meaning man cannot get rid of his carnal nature and thoughts – only God’s spiritual fire can destroy spiritual death in all forms (Heb 12:29; Jer 5:14; Jer 10:23; 1Co 3:13-15; 1Co 15:26). The killing of a carnal soul is actually bringing about its spiritual salvation. That is the blessed“fate” of every soul in the first man Adam. Fleshly blood therefore is just a physical aspect of what that earthly life is all about. That is why blood is also such an important aspect of covenant making as it is to be placed on “almost all things” which is part of the Mosaic covenant (Exo 24:8; Exo 29:12; Exo 29:20; Exo 29:21; Exo 30:10).
Heb 9:18 Whereupon neither the first testament was dedicated without blood.
Heb 9:19 For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people,
Heb 9:20 Saying, This is the blood of the testament [Greek: “diathēkē” = covenant] which God hath enjoined unto you.
Heb 9:21 Moreover he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry.
Heb 9:22 And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.
Heb 12:24 And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant [Greek: “diathēkē” = covenant], and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.
Everything attached to our flesh is marked to be taken away from us, as in one sense the old blood is drained from the sacrifice and poured on the earth before it is burned with fire:
Deu 12:16 Only ye shall not eat the blood; ye shall pour it upon the earth as water.
In another deeper application this pouring out of blood is referring to our inability to drink the spiritual blood of Christ before the ordained time. But when that blood of Christ is applied, it brings remission from the old soul and new spirit life is progressively brought to every part of our being (Joh 3:30; 2Co 3:18). The spirit life of Christ is known as “the blood of the new testament (or the new covenant of Christ), which is shed for many for the remission of sins”:
Mat 26:26 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.
Mat 26:27 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it;
Mat 26:28 For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
The bread and the wine here are all symbols connected to the flesh and blood of Jesus which we first eat and drink unworthily as we all take part in the betrayal and killing of Jesus. This insight is only given when we can judge our own carnal spirit and our works in the flesh (1Co 3:13; 1Jn 4:1):
1Co 11:23 For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread:
1Co 11:24 And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.
1Co 11:25 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.
1Co 11:26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do whew the Lord’s death till he come.
1Co 11:27 Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.
1Co 11:28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.
1Co 11:29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation [Greek: “krima” = judgment]to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.
1Co 11:30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.
Joh 9:39 And Jesus said, For judgment [Greek: “krima” = judgment] I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.
Spirit life is what is known as the blood of Christ of the new spiritual covenant when we can eat the meat of His Word. That life is in “all these words” He has spoken:
Joh 6:63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.
This new blood is given firstly to God’s elect, the general assembly and church of the firstborn:
Heb 12:22 But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,
Heb 12:23 To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,
Heb 12:24 And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.