God’s Old Testament Blood Covenant
“For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the Law, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water, scarlet wool and hyssop and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people. Saying, this is the blood of the Covenant which God has commanded you. Then likewise he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry.” (Hebrews 9 v 22)
In the blood covenant God entered into with Abraham, the covenant between them was sealed and made effective only after it was sealed by the blood. God told Abraham to take three animals, cut them down the spine and lay each half opposite one another, creating a walkway of blood. After the sun had gone down, God manifested Himself in the form of a smoking furnace and a burning lamp, and passed through the walkway of blood.
“So He said to him; Bring Me a three-year-old heifer, a three-year-old female goat, a three-year-old ram, a turtledove and a young pigeon. Then he brought all these to Him and cut them in two, down the middle, and placed each piece opposite the other, but he did not cut the birds in two.” (Genesis 15 v 9-10)
“And it cam e to pass, when the sun went down and it was dark, that behold, there appeared a smoking oven and a burning torch that passed between those pieces. On the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram...” (Genesis 15 v 17-18)
As a sign of their blood covenant relationship, God required Abraham and his seed to be circumcised. Abraham gave of his own blood and bore the sign of his covenant relationship with God in his own flesh.
In the blood covenant entered into with Israel, the covenant between them was sealed and made effective by the blood. After offering up burnt offerings and peace offerings upon the altar, Moses took half of the blood and put it upon the altar. This was done as an atonement...a cleansing of the people’s sins. It was because of God’s faithfulness to His covenant with Abraham, and His great love for them that they entered into this covenant.
“Now He said to Moses, come up to the Lord, you and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and Seventy of the elders of Israel, and worship from afar. And Moses alone shall come near the Lord, but they shall not come near; nor shall the people go up with him.
“So Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord and all the judgments. And all the people answered with one voice and said; All the words which the Lord has said we will do. And Moses wrote all the words of the Lord. And he rose early in the morning and built an altar at the foot of the mountain and twelve pillars according to the twelve tribes of Israel. Then he sent young men of the children of Israel, who offered burnt offerings and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen to the Lord.
“And Moses took half the blood and put it in basins, and half the blood he sprinkled on the altar. Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read in the hearing of the people. And they said; All that the Lord has said we will do and be obedient. And Moses took the blood sprinkled it on the people, and said; This is the blood of the Covenant which the Lord has made with you according to all these words.
“Then Moses went up, also Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, and they saw the God of Israel. And there was under His feet as it were a paved work of sapphire stone, and it was like the very heavens in its clarity.” (Exodus 24 v 1-10)
After reading the ‘Book Of The Covenant’ containing the terms and promises of the covenant, Moses sprinkled both the ‘Book of the Covenant’ and the people. It was the sprinkling of the blood upon the Book of the Covenant that made it effective and legally binding.
The blood first had to be presented and accepted at the altar. The same blood that was sprinkled upon the altar was sprinkled upon the Book of the Covenant and upon the people. The sprinkling of the blood upon the people signified the cleansing of their sins and their consecration and separation to God as a holy people. The Israelites and God were bound together by the blood of the sacrifice.
God in His Mercy required the sacrifice and sprinkling of the blood upon the altar, because He had already planned a better sacrifice for man’s sin which would replace it! All of the blood sacrifices under the Old Covenant were necessary to show the children of Israel that it was a foreshadow of the ONE PERFECT SACRIFICE...their MESSIAH....their LORD ....their KING...their SAVIOUR and REDEEMER that was to come!