THE NEW COVENANT
The New Covenant is a prophetic fulfillment of the first. The New is prophesied in Jeremiah 31. Therefore, the New is a part of the terms of the first. In the first, the contractual parties are God and the children of Israel. Who are the contracting parties in the New? It is Israel, also. However, to avoid the same ‘weakness’ of contract in the first, namely the children of Israel, God desired to contract with One who was able to keep and fulfill the terms of the New Covenant. He needed a completely righteous Israelite, who would walk totally and completely upright before Him. An Israelite, who could succeed where the others had failed. The writer of Hebrews says this,
For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second. For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah.
What was the fault of the first covenant? Was it the Law itself? No, for Paul says, “Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good” (Rom. 7:12). The fault was with ‘them’, the recipients of the Law. The children of Israel were the problem, in that their flesh was unable to perform the righteousness contained in the Law. But the Law must still be fulfilled and satisfied. So the Holy One of Israel must find an Israelite to fulfill and walk in the righteousness of the Law. But has there ever been one who could? NO. He must find a Righteous Israelite with whom He may make covenant. According to Paul in Galatians, the Law was added to the Abrahamic promise, until the Seed should come. This Seed would fulfill and satisfy the Law and inaugurate the New Covenant. He says the first covenant was,
. . .ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator. Now a mediator is not a mediator of one. But God is One.
What Paul is pointing out here is that where there are two distinct contracting parties, there is the need of a mediator. But if you have only one contracting party, a mediator is not needed. God is One, that is, God is the One and only contracting party in the New Covenant. God entered into covenant with himself, to assure the conditions of the covenant would be satisfied. You say, how can this be? God contracted with Himself in the person of Jesus of Nazareth, the Word of God, the Righteous Israelite, the Messiah of Israel. You say, how? We will see it in the section, Jesus, Apostle and High Priest.
THE BLOOD OF THE COVENANT
As stated earlier, the blood of the covenant plays an important role in understanding our security in covenant. In the ratification of the first covenant, the blood of the sacrifice was sprinkled upon the Altar and the people. The same blood bound God and His people together in covenant. And so it is in the New Covenant. The same blood ties God and His people together in an eternal covenant. This blood is not the blood of bulls or goats, but the precious blood of the Lamb, Jesus the Messiah.
The blood of Jesus is at once, the blood of God and the blood of Man.
It is the blood of man in that, Jesus took upon himself the seed of Avraham, the seed of David. He entered into the history of mankind, as a man, the Last Adam. But it also the blood of God. In Acts 20, Paul is on his way back to Jerusalem for Shavuot, the Feast of Weeks. He meets with the Ephesian elders at the coastal town of Miletus. In his exhortation to them, he says this,
Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Spirit hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.
He exhorts them to ‘feed’ (lit. shepherd) the church of God, which He, God, hath purchased with his own blood. It was the blood of God that has purchased the church of God. It was the blood of Jesus, God in flesh, who has purchased, redeemed the church of God for himself. It is this reason that the incarnation is of great significance. God Almighty became man, to redeem man as our Kinsman Redeemer, from the curse brought on us by the first man.
The first covenant was ratified with blood. The blood of an offering was poured into a basin, and half of it was sprinkled upon the Altar, representing God and the other half was sprinkled on the people. It was the same blood from the same sacrifice that linked God and the people in covenant. After sprinkling the people with the blood of the covenant, Moses said to the people, “ Behold the blood of the covenant, which the LORD hath made with you concerning all these words.” So also, in the New Covenant, it is the same blood of the offering of Jesus, that links God with man. Jesus is the link. Jesus is the Covenant. His blood is the bond between God and man. His is the only blood acceptable, because his blood is the blood of the righteous innocent.
On the last night of his life in this age, at the Passover table, he took the Cup of Blessing, raised it, blessed it and said, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is shed for you.” The blood of the New Covenant is the blood of Jesus, which was shed for you and for me. It is the blood of Jesus that is the guarantee of Righteousness in the New Covenant. How so? Because he is the surety and mediator of the New Covenant. Read the previous chapter if you forgot what this means.