THE BLOOD COVENANT
(Based on a tape by Malcolm Smith)
1 Samuel 18:1 (NASB) Now it came about when he had finished speaking to Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as himself.
2 And Saul took him that day and did not let him return to his father's house.
3 Then Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself.
4 And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was on him and gave it to David, with his armor, including his sword and his bow and his belt.
This is describing the cutting of a covenant between David and Jonathan. The Bible is divided into two parts. The King James calls them Testaments - like a last will and testament. A better description would be Old and New Covenants.
The New Covenant will illustrated using David and Jonathan. This is not a type, but a historical happening which will be used to illustrate what the covenant is like and what it is like to be part of this covenant.
A covenant is when two parties come together as one. Each person gives all that he is to the other. The people who join in covenant are representative people. All of their unborn children who are "in them" are also automatically in covenant until they become of "age" to choose for themselves.
The Bible just says that they were joined in covenant, but they assume that you know it is a blood covenant. The Living Bible has the exact, correct translation and says that Jonathan made a blood covenant with David. The Easterner's understood this.
1 Samuel 18:1 (TLB) After King Saul had finished his conversation with David, David met Jonathan, the king's son, and there was an immediate bond of love between them. Jonathan swore to be his blood brother,
The first step was to give your coat to the other. You also gave your belt, sword, bow, and arrows. What you gave symbolized what you were giving to the other, usually a symbol of your strength.
There was always a cut to the body. The location of the cut varies from culture to culture. Handshaking is a direct result of covenant cutting. In olden days, each cut his had across the palm and then they clasped hands and let their blood mix. You would then swear that all you had was given to the other. Many times the wrists were cut. The wounds were sealed in such a way as to make an obvious scar. One's trouble, debt, etc. became the other one's trouble, debt, etc.
It is sad that today we are afraid to touch the blood of another in fear of losing our lives. This shows how far our society has deteriorated.
The blessings and curses are always described. There is always a memorial, usually a meal where each gives food and drink to the other. We still see this done at weddings. Weddings are a form of covenant where two are pledged to each other and become one. The woman even takes the name of the husband and both wear rings instead of scars. Matrimony is not a blood covenant, but it is a covenant and the description of Christ coming for His Bride, the Church, is the same as when the Jews get married.
You can only enter into covenant with someone who is "like" you. David could never have entered into covenant with Saul. David was man after God's own heart. Saul disobeyed God. In David, Saul saw God and it is no wonder that he tried to kill David on more than one occasion.
You must agree with the person that you are entering into covenant with because you lose your right to independent living. You must be joined to the other person's life.
Jonathan was of the family of Saul, but he was different from Saul. He loved God. He wanted the will of God.
Our story begins with David and Jonathan cutting covenant. Jonathan had a son named Mephibosheth who was dropped by his nurse while fleeing from David after Saul and Jonathan were killed in battle. As a result of the fall, Mephibosheth was crippled in both legs. Mephibosheth grew up in Lo-debar, thinking that David was corrupt and that he would kill him if he knew that a descendant of Saul still lived. Of course, this was not true. On at least two occasions, while Saul was hunting David to kill him, David could have easily killed Saul - but didn't.
Since Mephibosheth was a son of Jonathan and the only living descendant of Saul, he was next in line for the throne. God had picked David. While Mephibosheth was growing up, you can be sure he was constantly reminded that David had stolen his throne and David would surely kill him if he knew he was alive. If he could have killed David, he probably would have.
He did not know that he was in covenant with David. Mephibosheth was "in" Jonathan when Jonathan made the covenant with David, so he also was in covenant with David. Jonathan was the covenant head and Mephibosheth was "in" Jonathan.
The sad thing was that he lived in a hut in the desert because he didn't know about the covenant. The people around him didn't tell him. Instead, they lead him to hate David.
David looks at the mark on his wrist and remembers that he is in covenant with the family of Jonathan and asks if any descendants of Jonathan are living. In 2 Samuel 9:1 - 13, we read how Ziba, one of Saul's servants told David of Mephibosheth.
2 Samuel 9:1 (NASB) Then David said, "Is there yet anyone left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan's sake?"
2 Now there was a servant of the house of Saul whose name was Ziba, and they called him to David; and the king said to him, "Are you Ziba?" And he said, "I am your servant."
3 And the king said, "Is there not yet anyone of the house of Saul to whom I may show the kindness of God?" And Ziba said to the king, "There is still a son of Jonathan who is crippled in both feet."
4 So the king said to him, "Where is he?" And Ziba said to the king, "Behold, he is in the house of Machir the son of Ammiel in Lo-debar."
5 Then King David sent and brought him from the house of Machir the son of Ammiel, from Lo-debar.
6 And Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan the son of Saul, came to David and fell on his face and prostrated himself. And David said, "Mephibosheth." And he said, "Here is your servant!"
7 And David said to him, "Do not fear, for I will surely show kindness to you for the sake of your father Jonathan, and will restore to you all the land of your grandfather Saul; and you shall eat at my table regularly."
8 Again he prostrated himself and said, "What is your servant, that you should regard a dead dog like me?"
9 Then the king called Saul's servant Ziba, and said to him, "All that belonged to Saul and to all his house I have given to your master's grandson.
10 "And you and your sons and your servants shall cultivate the land for him, and you shall bring in the produce so that your master's grandson may have food; nevertheless Mephibosheth your master's grandson shall eat at my table regularly." Now Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants.
11 Then Ziba said to the king, "According to all that my lord the king commands his servant so your servant will do." So Mephibosheth ate at David's table as one of the king's sons.
12 And Mephibosheth had a young son whose name was Mica. And all who lived in the house of Ziba were servants to Mephibosheth.
13 So Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem, for he ate at the king's table regularly. Now he was lame in both feet.
Image what Mephibosheth must have felt when the soldiers from David came to take him to David. He must have thought that he would surely die.
In 2 Samuel 9:9, David tells Mephibosheth that he will return all the land that belonged to Saul and he would eat at David's table. From this point he would be treated as though he were Jonathan, in fact like a son of David.
Mephibosheth calls himself "a dead dog" because he knows what he has thought about David. He is saying that he doesn't deserve this treatment, but the opposite. David says, Mephibosheth, I'm doing this for the sake of Jonathan. I'm not looking at what you have done, if you deserve it or not. I'm looking at this mark on my wrists - a covenant sealed in blood before you were ever born. All Mephibosheth had to do was to say thank you and accept it.
Almost all - to accept David's gift, he would have to die to all he had been to that point and be born again in agreement with David. All the hate and resentment had to go and he must agree with David. He would have to enter into the understanding of the blood covenant. His blood would never be shed. Only covenant heads shed their blood. Jonathan's blood was enough. Mephibosheth had to die to Lo-debar, and his old ways and friends and all that David had became his because of the covenant. To reach out and take the free gift "killed him dead."
It probably took some getting used to - the servants, palace, etc. He had to think, I don't deserve this, but then, it didn't depend on him, but on the covenant, on the blood of Jonathan which had been shed before he was born. It also was sad that he could always have lived like this had he known of the covenant.
Anyone who had known Mephibosheth in Lo-debar and saw him eating at David's table would certainly say - you've got a lot of nerve. Only last week you wanted to kill the man and today you eat at his table. He couldn't argue with them, but they didn't know about the covenant.
This what the bible is all about. That's why it is called the covenants. Mephibosheth could look at David and say - I am blood brother to the king. I am in his family - I belong at his table. I have a right to speak familiarly to him as though he were my brother, to be treated as though I were Jonathan.
The message of the bible is that God All Mighty has entered into covenant with the human race, even as David entered into a blood covenant with Jonathan.
The human race is like unto the house of Saul. Search through the house of Saul and you will not find one person who desires to do the will of God. Roman's 3:23 - All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. It is absurd to think that any human being could enter into a blood covenant with God. In a manner of speaking, God has a problem. He wishes to enter into a covenant with man yet no man can ever be worthy to enter into covenant with Him.
God, the Son, comes into the human race through the virgin. His 100% man, but He is different from other men because he says - I do only things which please My Father. He is as different from the world as Jonathan is different from the house of Saul. When the Father looked at Him, He said, "This is My Son in Whom I am well pleased. "He is 100% man and 100% God.
Because of this He can stand as The Representative Covenant Head for every person that ever would be. Jesus can take your place.
It might be explained with this illustration. How many dogs is a person worth? Five? Five hundred? No matter how many dogs you have, one human being is worth more than them because man was created in the image of God. Now take the Son of God. How many persons is the Son of God worth? Five hundred? Five thousand? You can add human to human and Christ is worth more than all of them put together. The creation can never be worth more than the Creator. That is why He can stand as the representative head for the human race. When He died, I died. When He rose, I rose.
As Mephibosheth was in Jonathan, so are you in Jesus Christ, by faith. Our representative took the bread on the night before He died and broke it and said, take and eat, this is My body which is broken for you and the Disciples didn't question it because they understood covenant. In Luke 22:20, Christ said "This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood. It was a covenant meal and they understood . From there, He went to the cross. For Jonathan, it took only a little slash in the wrist.
We naturally are opposed to the will of God and so it is absurd to think that God would enter into covenant with man. Any covenant which will be any good must first kill that part of me that wants its own way and bring to an end in me the guilt of sin.
In order for a covenant to be established between man and God in our representative - Jesus, has to go to the cross and it is not just the slashing of His wrists. It is the entering into our spiritual death - taking to Himself all of our sins and He pays the penalty for that sin.
When He died, I died - The I, that wants its' own way died - my Lo-debar. What ever happened to Him, happened to me. When the blood of Jesus was shed, it was enough and He rose again from the dead, overcoming death.
Read Hebrews 8, 9, & 10. He goes into the Fathers presence with His own blood, the Blood of covenant. Instead of a mark in our wrist, we are given the Holy Spirit.
The Blessings of the new covenant in Jesus Christ are outlined in Jeremiah 31:31-34. He will no longer remember our sins and iniquities. This is possible only because they have been paid for. Act like your sins are gone because they are. Everyone in this covenant will know the Lord. His law will be written on our hearts. Just like Mephiboshet was treated like he was Jonathan, when you are in covenant with God, you have the right to be treated like Christ.
Where do we come in? We were born into the family of Saul. We rebelled against God. The picture of God that many people have is that He is waiting to get His hands on them to shred them to pieces. We are afraid of God. We think that if we give Him our life, He will send us to Africa to be miserable. We have a distorted view of Him. Then God the Holy Spirit invades our Lo-debar.
The first thing the Holy Spirit did was to make me realize that I need God. He convicts me of my sin and in God's presence, I am scared. You first reaction is to feel guilty. You don't feel like you belong there. Then you hear the Gospel (good news) in your spirit. You may have heard it audibly before, but this time is different. God says I'm going to make you the righteousness of God in Christ. He says I'm going to treat you like my own child. I'm not only going to return all that was lost in Adam's fall, but I'm going to free you from the powers of darkness.
You become an heir of God and a joint heir with Jesus (Roman's 9:17). My first reaction when I really see this is to feel unworthy. I say, but God, you don't understand, I'm a dead dog. I don't deserve this. God says I know that. My basis of dealing with you is not your worthiness or unworthiness. It is not earning or not earning, meriting or not meriting.
My basis for dealing with you is the blood of My Son whose blood was shed for you before you were even born and you are in Him. You are received into God's presence not on the basis of what you have done, but on the blood of Jesus.
1 John 1:9 If you confess your sin, I'll be faithful and just to forgive your sins. Shouldn't it be merciful instead of faithful? Faithful to what? Faithful to the covenant. If you come to Me to lay claim to the covenant, I will guarantee I'll be faithful to what My Son did and I'll be just.
This is why it is called the New Covenant. I must make a choice to accept it. God must have all of me and in return, I must have all of Him. This is what we call being born again, being converted, making a decision for Christ. When I do this, my spirit is born again from above. If you believed into Jesus and died to the person you once were, you are saved.
Believing isn't just signing a decision card of walking forward in a meeting. The only way to take the benefits of the blood covenant is to die to your old self. You no longer have right to your life. You are not your own, you have been bought with a price. When Jesus died, I died with Him.
Once you do this, the Holy Spirit is given to you. I am sealed with the Holy Spirit of Promise. The Holy Spirit witnesses with our spirit that we are born of God and we know that we know we are saved (Roman's 9:16).
There are no marks in my wrists. Jesus bares the marks. People say I can't keep this up. Drug addicts become saints and say - I don't know how long I can keep this up. You don't have to. God gives you a new heart that wants to. God does it. you only believe.
God will take away you sins, give you a new heart and then reveal himself to you. Quit trying and let God do it.
The Bible says over and over again, believe and be baptized. When I see that when Jesus died on the cross, I also died, my response is please bury me. It's not how you baptize but when. It must be after you enter the covenant.
There is always Satan telling you that you don't deserve it. Tell him that he is right. Tell him that you can approach God, not on the grounds of what you've done, but on the grounds of the covenant in Jesus's blood. Tell the devil that he only knows half of your sins, but that all your sins have been dealt with in the blood of Jesus. The Bible says they overcame the devil by the blood of the Lamb and the Word of their testimony (Rev. 12:11).
Never try to justify yourself because you can't. The basis of your approach is the covenant. You express it in baptism.
If you walk out of the covenant, the Holy Spirit will convict you, but He is specific. He will tell you exactly where you went wrong. General condemnation is from the devil.
You will slowly get used to the new you and begin to confess it. That is where communion comes in. You get together and eat a memorial covenant meal. Jesus said take of the bread and wine in remembrance of Me. This reminds you of the covenant. Many are healed during communion because they know divine health is theirs.
Your response to the covenant is worship. The New Covenant is the reality looked toward by the Old Testament shadow. We can only look to the cross. Of us it is written, we are blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ. Ephesians 1:3
Reference - The Blood Covenant Foundation, Malcolm Smith