The Superior Blood of the New Covenant
“Therefore even the first covenant was not inaugurated without blood. For when every commandment had been spoken by Moses to all the people according to the Law, he took the blood of the calves and the goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, saying, “THIS IS THE BLOOD OF THE COVENANT WHICH GOD COMMANDED YOU.” And in the same way he sprinkled both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry with the blood. And according to the Law, one may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” – Hebrews 9:18-22
The next Old Testament quote we run across as we’re working our way through the blood of Hebrews, is in chapter nine. The original passage which the writer of Hebrews cites is found in Exodus 24:8. Here is that passage as found in the NAS translation: “So Moses took the blood and sprinkled it on the people, and said, ‘‘Behold the blood of the covenant, which the LORD has made with your in accordance with all these words.’ ” You’ll notice it reads slightly different since the writer of Hebrews is quoting from the Septuagint (Greek) translation of the Old Testaments, which is then translated into English. Although slightly different, the principle of the blood of the covenant is conveyed successfully.
Initiation and Institution of the First Covenant
Let’s consider some key points and events in the ceremony conducted by MOses in instituting the covenant between the LORD and the physical nation of Israel at Sinai designed for our edification. The events are recorded in Exodus 24:1-18.
Moses is called up to the LORD to come near and to receive the law and the ordinances (Ex. 24:2, 12). After receiving the Law and ordinances, an altar was built by Moses upon which the sacrifices were to be offered. He then sent young men to get the animals needed for burnt offerings, and young bulls for the peace offerings to the LORD. The blood of these sacrifices is what was used to consecrate the altar first, denoting it had been set aside for service to Him to be used in inaugurating the first covenant made with the nation of Israel (Ex. 24-4-6).
The Israelites are told of “all the words of the LORD” (Ex. 24:3) which contained the Law and ordinances by MOses. Those commandments spoken by God were “read in the hearing of the people” by Moses, to which the people then responded, “All that the LORD has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient.” (Ex. 24:7)
Moses then sprinkles the blood of the covenant upon the people (and the book, together with the water per the revelation given the writer of Hebrews) by means of scarlet wool and hyssop, announcing, “Behold the blood of the covenant, which the LORD has made with you in accordance with all these words.” (Ex. 24:8) Once sprinkled by the blood and water, the people are now recognized as consecrated, set apart to the LORD as His special covenant people, and the book containing God’s words are now what governs the participants in this covenant with the LORD God. After the covenant is inaugurated, Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, (Aaron’s sons) and the seventy elders of Israel went up with Moses, and they ate and drank in the presence of God, albeit at some distance. It’s worth noting that God’s hand was not stretched out to strike them. (Ex. 24:9-11)
The Inaugurated New Covenant
Remember that the Hebrews were well acquainted with the Old Testament typology and connections are being made as the writer logically lays them out.
First, the writer of Hebrews follows a similar sequence in that he speaks of the need for the heavenly things to be cleansed as the copies on earth were, and notes it takes a better sacrifice. Christ, having previously been well established as superior to the angels (who mediated the Old Covenant), Moses (who inaugurated the Old Covenant), and recognized as the Son of God, our High Priest, “who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin” (Heb. 4:15), is proven in the offering of Himself andHis blood, as a superior, or better sacrifice.
In the previous context of Hebrews chapter nine, the writer has laid out that Jesus not only offers HIs blood as the superior sacrifice of the New Covenant, but is the mediator (Heb. 9:15) and as our text infers, the executor (inaugurator) of the New Covenant as well. In so doing He has “obtained eternal redemption” (Heb. 9:12) for all who have had their “hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water” (Heb. 10:22), an obvious allusion to our immersion into Christ. Notice that the blood of Christ is contacted in the waters of immersion which brings not only forgiveness of sins, but consecrates us in service to Him as His special covenant people. This is the blood of the New Covenant!
After ascending to heaven and making propitiation for our sins, the words of the New Covenant were then made know, spoken in the hearing of the people (the Jews) on the day of Pentecost, and approximately 10 years later through Peter once more, to the Gentiles, beginning with the household of Cornelius. We are all governed by faith in the words of the Lord Jesus Christ.
What is one of the most important pillars of the faith that is immediately established among the Lords consecrated people after inaugurating the New Covenant? That’s right, the Lord’s Supper, the breaking of bread. Each Lords’ Day, when we eat and drink the emblems, they remind us of the superior blood sacrifice of the New Covenant that brought peace between us and God and has evermore placed us continually in His presence by faith. The blood is the reminder that the Lord’s hand is no longer stretched out to strike us. Amen!!!