“He is not here; for He is risen, as He said, Come, see the
 place where the Lord lay”

(Matthew 28:6).


Before that glorious blessed-hope-of-all-the-ages
proclamation could be made, Jesus had to die and be buried.
  It all began long ago in a place call “Garden of Eden.” 
The exquisitely beautiful world God had created was
inhabited by more of His creation—Adam and Eve. 
Theirs was a
Paradise perfected for their enjoyment
and God’s pleasure. 


The invasion of evil brought drastic changes.  Satan’s lies
 led to the disobedience of Adam and Eve and their expulsion
from the lovely Garden; but not before God had begun
to reveal His ultimate plan for their redemption
and restoration.


“And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and
between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head and
you shall bruise His heel” (Genesis
3:15).  This was pronounced
 to Satan by God.  A fatal “head” wound was his future.


Move ahead with me to Genesis 15.  Here we find Abram whom
God had called out from among his kindred and homeland to a new
 place of promise.  Many things have taken place since the
expulsion of Adam and Eve from
Paradise, but God has not for
one moment forgotten his redemption plan.  God came to Abram
in a vision with the comforting words, “Do not be afraid, Abram. 
 I am your shield, your exceeding great reward” (Genesis 15:1). 
God, using parabolic imagery which would have been familiar to
Abram, began to unveil His prophetic blood covenant which
would bind Abram and all of us to Himself forever. 


Abram would have been familiar with the custom of his day
of “cutting a covenant,” and he would have recognized this
unfolding scene—

Two men have decided to cut a covenant.  They have chosen
 a meeting place and time.  (Many other symbolisms would have
 been included besides the ones here.  I have chosen a few to
show the parabolic base.)  These are some of the things the
 friends who have decided to bind themselves together in a
blood covenant would have done:


Exchanged weapons – This was saying, “Your battle is mine. 
I will protect you and fight for you.  Your enemies are my enemies. 
 You will never face them alone.”

Exchanged clothing – Each said to the other, “What I have is yours.
  I own nothing that you can’t have.  Whatever you need that I
 have is yours.”   

Innocent animals were slain—The animal or animals would have
been slain and divided, each piece placed on opposite sides.  The covenanters would have walked through and around the animals
in a figure eight while stating blessings for keeping the covenant
they were making and curses if they should break it.

Exchanged parts of their names—each would have taken a
part of the other’s name.

Exchanged bread/covenant meal – Each would have given
the other his piece of bread, thus saying, “I will share with you
what I have for sustenance.  I will never let you go hungry or
 be needy.”  They would have shared a covenant meal.


A look at the incidents in Genesis 15 will indicate that God was
using this pattern, with which Abram was familiar, to cut a covenant
 with him.  In the first verse, God told Abram “I am your shield.” 
He was saying, “You need not fear.  I will protect you with my shield.  You can give Me your inadequate protection and I will give you
Mine which will take care of you.”  Verses 9-10 record the dividing
of the animals, but an awesome thing happened at this point! 
Normally the covenanters would both go through the animals
 indicating that they would receive either blessings or curses and
penalties depending on whether they faithfully kept the covenant.
  These were lifetime covenants and could not be broken.  If broken, curses and penalties would follow the one guilty the rest of his life.   


Look at what God did at this point!  He caused Abram to fall into
 a deep sleep and God Himself went between the cut animals—alone! (Verse 17) as a “smoking oven and a burning torch” thus saying,
“Abram, you may break the covenant but I will hold Myself
responsible for your unfaithfulness.  All the penalties and the curse
 will rest upon Me.  I will pay for your unfaithfulness rather than
place the penalty on you.”  God knew Abram could not keep the
covenant perfectly and would fail as would all his posterity. 
How Gracious!  How Merciful!  God would pay the penalty
for Abram’s failure!


God has always pursued man, desiring intimate relations; and
from the beginning, man has walked away from the covenant. 
Man is the destroying factor in the covenant; God is the faithful, restorative partner in it, always upholding His end, never
wavering nor breaking the covenant.  If maintenance of the
covenant depended on us, it would be hopelessly broken.  But
our faithful God has never, nor will He ever fail on His part.  If
He should fail, then a new covenant would have to be cut; but
He has only one plan for man’s redemption.  It will not fail—ever!


Let’s move on to Genesis 17:2.  God is reminding Abram of
the covenant.  “And I will make My covenant [notice it is God’s covenant] between Me and you…”  God is ready to give Abram
part of His name:  “No longer shall your name be called Abram,
 but your name shall be Abraham…” (Genesis 17:5)  From Jehovah,
 God added “h” and changed Abram to Abraham.  “As for Sarai
your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be
 her name” (Genesis
17:15).  The “h” from God’s name is added
to Sarai’s who will now be known as Sarah.  We are in a name
 exchange with God Who has cut covenant with us through
Jesus Christ.  “…To him who overcomes I will give him a
white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one
 knows except him who receives it” (Revelation 2:17). 
 James alluded to this when he wrote “Do they not blaspheme
that noble name by which you are called” (2:7). 


Come with me now to Calvary.  An innocent man is dying; His
life substituted for ours, just as God prophetically took the penalty
 in His covenant-demonstration to Abraham.  Just as God knew
that Abraham could not keep the covenant nor pay the penalty
for breaking it, He knew that we could not be good enough to be
in unbroken covenant relationship with Him and were under penalty
 for breaking it.  Jesus hung there clothed with all of our spotted
 garments of brokenness, failures and sin, paying the penalty for
every time we broke covenant.  In exchange, He gave us His robe
of righteousness and purity not available to us by any other means
or any other source. 


His Word tells us that the battle is His, therefore He will supply
the amour and arsenal we need to fight in His war.  We surrender
our feeble weapons of self-sufficiency and self-righteousness
 in exchange for His protection and victorious means. 


Jesus told the querying Jews, “I am the bread of life.  He who
comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me
shall never thirst” (John
6:35).  At the last Passover Jesus ate
with His disciples, He broke bread and shared it with them,
representing His body soon to be broken for them and us.  He
shared wine with them which represented His blood soon to be
dripping from His body hanging on the cross for their cleansing
and ours.  Remember, Paul said when we kept that sacred meal
we refer to as “The Lord’s Supper” or Sacrament  we were
“proclaiming the Lord’s death” (1 Corinthians 11:26).  This was reminiscent of Jesus’ words to His disciples at their last Seder meal together.  “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me…This cup is the new covenant
[emphasis mine] in My blood, which is shed for you”
(Luke 22:19-20).  His body and His blood.  A covenant meal
to which we could bring nothing worthy to be accepted.  It was
served by Jesus to them and now offered to us.  All we have to
do is accept it and give ours to Him.  “I beseech you therefore,
 brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies
a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service” (Romans 12:1).  It is an uneven exchange in our favor!


Then he added in Revelation 2:7,

“To him who overcomes, I will give to eat from the tree
of life [covenant meal].” 


At Calvary, on the cross, Jesus fulfilled and ratified the
covenant God had initiated and executed symbolically in the blood
covenant cut between Himself and Abraham.  Jesus paid the
penalty for every time we broke covenant with Him, every
time we walked away leaving Him alone to hold up the covenant. 
 God will never break the covenant nor be unfaithful to uphold it. 
It is securely in His care.  He will be there maintaining the
covenant when we come back to Him.  The penalty for
 breaking it has been paid for all time for everyone.


Jesus told his followers that they must “eat My flesh and drink
My blood” (John
6:53-58) in order to have life.  When animal
 sacrifices were made, the blood was not to be eaten, but poured
out on altars.  The life is in the blood so spilled blood of the animal sacrifices represented death (vicariously, the death of the one
 offering the sacrifice).  Jesus is our sacrifice and His blood was
spilled, but it brought life, not death.  So eating His flesh and
drinking His blood represented His life, not His death.   Being
in covenant with Jesus, accepting the blood He shed and the
 life He gave brings us life.  He overcame death, so His
blood represents life—eternal life—for us—with Him.  


The covenant has been instituted, ratified, and secured eternally. 
But it would not have been complete if the verse we began with,
“He is not here; for He is risen, as He said,” were not part of it.
  A dead person can no longer be part of a covenant.  If Jesus
had not risen from the dead, He could not have held and
maintained the covenant.  It would have been irretrievably
 broken and the awful penalty would have fallen upon us
without remedy.  But now we have—not death, but life—
eternal life, living in us through Christ who is our life.


“…As long as we have the slightest idea we can achieve holiness
on our own, we’re still living under the Old Covenant’s ministration
 of death.  God’s whole idea behind implementing this [new]
 covenant is to send us to our death…It has put me on my
face—empty, helpless, wounded, weak—and now it can fade
away.  I’m fully persuaded I cannot by human strength and will
obey or please God.  ..All I can do now is cry, Abba, Father…
God said to his people, ‘I’m going to make a new covenant
 with you—a new agreement.  It won’t be like the old one
that I made with your fathers.  This covenant will be better,
because it will be based on better promises.’
See Hebrews 8:8-9) 

From “The New Covenant Unveiled” by David Wilkerson.


“And this is the testimony; that God has given us eternal life,
and this life is in His Son [emphasis mine)” (1 John

“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live,
but Christ lives in me…” (Galatians 2:20).

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation;
 old things have passed away; behold, all things have
become new” (2 Corinthians

Rejoice!  The covenant is alive and well and its Initiator, Creator
 and Keeper sees us as worthy participants.  The empty tomb
is the star witness to the eternal covenant and the Holy Spirit
 came and confirmed our inclusion.  


“He’s not here”—He’s there – at the right hand of God,
 maintaining the covenant He ratified and keeping us securely in the covenant.  What we received for what we gave is “Heavenly”!

 Delores Adams
Copyrighted. All rights reserved.
March 8, 2004

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