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But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second. (Heb. 8:6-7)
In the teaching of the message of faith, a great deal has been taught about the name of Jesus, but there has been little teaching on His blood. However, the blood of Jesus is significant in the New Testament. The blood of the Lamb which was spilled and which even appears in Heaven is mentioned frequently in the book of Revelation. Therefore, we need to examine its importance.

Because of a lack of knowledge about the blood, some people have carried the blood too far. For example, they “plead the blood” over everything, ignorant of the fact that there is no precedent in the Word of God for doing this. Remember, Jesus left us the power of His name, not His blood.

In order to fully understand the significance of the blood, look again at the verses from Hebrews 8, which are quoted above. We must find out just what is meant by “the first covenant,” and why ours is called a better covenant. For that matter, we need to understand what is meant by the word covenant.

A Better Covenant
The reason we have a better covenant is because of Jesus. The old covenant consisted of pictures, (types and shadows) painted through the blood of animals. But, the New Testament tells us that we no longer need the blood of animals. It tells us that the blood of Jesus shed once and for all, will never, be shed again, and that it purchased the full redemption price for us.

Another thing we need to consider is that the Bible was written by Eastern people, and for those of us with Western minds to understand many of the illustrations in it, we should learn about the customs of the time and the way the people thought.

Now let’s take the word “testament” or “covenant.” The same word is translated either way. Actually, the word covenant comes from the Old Testament “berith.” The word “berith” will help us to understand what the word covenant means. Berith means “to cut.” More precisely, it means, “to cut until bleeding occurs.” This refers to a cut so deep that the blood flows. In America, we don’t like the sight of blood. We flee from it. We do everything to keep from shedding our blood. When we do, we don’t want to look at it.  And we want to stop the flow as soon as possible.

However, the Eastern mind looked at blood differently. The blood meant much more. Blood was used whenever covenants were made. To the Eastern mind, a covenant was not actually ratified until blood was shed. For example, when Eastern businessmen would draw up a contract, once that contract was drawn up, they would “cut a covenant.” This would ensure that neither would back out.

Four Ways to Enter into a Blood Covenant
The first way is to cut the palms of the hands to the point that blood begins to flow into the palms, then the hands are put together. This is where the twentieth-century handshake originated. It’s really too bad that the handshake doesn’t mean more than it does today. In the early days of this country, a person’s handshake was his bond. That meant he didn’t back out. When he shook hands, he guaranteed the promise with his life. Today a handshake is nothing more than a greeting.

The next type of covenant is the cutting of the wrists. After doing this, the two people involved would mingle their blood by rubbing their wrists together. Notice that in both cases there is a mingling of blood. The blood of both parties goes together as one blood.

The third method was the same cut would be made either in the hand or in the wrist or in some part of the body, maybe the finger. But then the blood of each person was put into wine. The blood was mingled together with the wine and both people drank it. Although this was a tradition in the ancient world, it is forbidden to drink blood in the Word of God. We’ll find out why later.

The final way to enter a blood covenant is the way the New Testament does it, and that is, an animal could shed its blood in substitution for the two that were going into covenant. This is God’s way. God always used the blood of an animal and placed it there to be substituted when men drew up an agreement.

Again, the four ways entering a covenant include:

  •     The cutting of the palms and shaking of hands.
  •     The cutting of wrists and then the rubbing of those wrists together.
  •     The mingling of blood in the wine.
  •     The substitution of animal blood in the place of the blood of the two individuals.
The Importance of the Blood
Turn to Genesis 9:3-4 to see what God said about blood and why the shedding of blood was so important.
Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. I have given you all things, even as the green herbs. But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood.”
(Gen. 9:3-4)
These verses are not saying that they could eat the flesh of the animal. Rather, they could not eat the flesh of the animal if they did not drain its blood first. They could not eat “the life thereof which is the blood.” The blood is the life of the animal. You can eat the animal, but don’t eat its life.

Leviticus 17:10-11 repeats this idea.
vs. 10 “And whatever man of the house of Israel, or of the strangers who dwell among you, who eats any blood, I will set My face against that person who eats blood, and will cut him off from among his people.”

vs. 11 “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.”
Notice that life had to be spilled to make atonement, but we are warned not to eat the life. “The life of the flesh is in the blood.” This shows us the importance of two men shaking hands and rubbing and mingling that blood together. To the Eastern man, his blood is his very life. When I give you my blood, I give you my life.

Thus, the blood covenant is the exchange and the co-mingling of two lives so that the two lives have become one. I now stand accountable for the one with whom I make a covenant and he now stands accountable for me. My life is his life. His life is my life. We blended the two together. If someone comes against him, they come against me. If someone comes against me, they come against him. I have to protect him. He has to protect me because he is me; I am him.

Copyright © Bob Yandian Ministries
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Author Biography

Bob Yandian
Web site: Bob Yandian Ministries
For more than 40 years Bob Yandian has taught the unchanging truth of God’s word. He pastored Grace Fellowship in Tulsa, Oklahoma for 33 years where he raised up and sent out hundreds of ministers to churches and missions organizations around the world through the School of the Local Church, and Grace School of Ministry.

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