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The Blood of the Covenant

Exodus 24 talks about when Moses has been given the 10 Commandments and the rest of the Law and God tells him to take Aaron, his two sons, and 70 of the most important men from Israel (the elders) to worship Him on the mountain. They go, but only Moses can come close. Everyone else has to worship from a distance.

Remember, before God warned that anyone other than His mediator who came too close would die. He’s just too holy and righteous and we’re too sinful.

So this group goes to worship God with Moses going close to God and the rest worshiping Him from a distance.

Then they come back down, and Moses gives the Law to the nation of Israel. He reads out this covenant, this contract with a promise and the Israelites sign on the dotted line, saying, “All that the Lord has said we will do, and be obedient.”

"All the the Lord has said we will do, and be obedient."

Moses then builds an altar and some sacrifices are made. He pours some of the blood on the altar and keeps half in a basin. Then he reads the Book of the Covenant to all the Israelites again and again they say “All that the Lord has said we will do, and be obedient.”

With that, Moses sprinkles the rest of the blood on the people and says,  “Behold the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words.” 

The Blood of the Covenant

We know that phrase, right?

When Jesus is in the upper room with his disciples, Matthew 26 tells us:

“And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.” (Matthew 26:26–29)

Covenants require blood, and when we commit to obedience in Jesus Christ, we are sealed with blood just as these people were sealed there at the base of Mt. Sinai. We have been brought into relationship with God, belonging to him as his people and as his children.

In Exodus, when the people were sealed with blood, we read:

“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. But on the nobles of the children of Israel He did not lay His hand. So they saw God, and they ate and drank.”

Something has changed! Just at the beginning of this chapter, God warned everybody other than Moses that they shouldn’t come near. Earlier in Exodus, God told them they should build fences around the mountain to keep people from coming too close because if they did they would die. They were too sinful and God was too holy, so they had to keep their distance.

But now what changed?

The blood of the covenant has been sprinkled on the people and they have entered into a relationship with God with the Lord, now the seventy are allowed to touch the mountain and see God. What should have been fatal has now become a blessing!

God should have destroyed them with divine judgment when they saw the Lord, but the blood of the covenant made this moment possible. More than that, Exodus 24:11 says, "But on the nobles of the children of Israel He did not lay His hand. So they saw God, and they ate and drank."

The blood made fellowship possible.

Through the blood of the covenant, they could commune and eat in the presence of God God.

For the Israelites, for a moment, the Law made that possible.

Of course, they weren’t going to keep the Law. They were going to break the covenant. We know that in hindsight. And when they broke the Law and sinned, they broke off that table fellowship.

But the work of blood was not done.

With His disciples that night in the upper room, when Jesus completes the bread, he takes the cup and calls it, “My blood of the covenant.”

That night Jesus invited His disciples to come close to the mountain again, to draw near to the Lord by His blood.

The Lord’s Supper is our communion meal with the Lord.

The Lord’s Supper is picturing the fellowship we are able to have with God.

The Lord’s Supper shows that we are in covenant with God.

And every week when we participate in the Lord’s Supper we are eating in the presence of God to declare our allegiance to His covenant. Remember what this represented for the Israelites. They had just said “All that the Lord has said we will do, and be obedient.” That’s what we are doing today; we are affirming a contract!

Paul wrote to the Corinthians:

The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? (1 Corinthians 10:16)

In the Lord’s Supper, we are not just remembering the Lord’s death.  We are not just remembering the Lord’s resurrection.  We are not just remembering that forgiveness of sins cannot come without the shedding of blood.  And we are not just remembering the new covenant that established through Christ’s blood.

We are also remembering that we are sealed in this covenant.

This is the blood of the covenant, joining us to the Lord to be faithful to him and he will be in relationship with us.

We should not be on this mountain. God is holy and we are sinful.

But God provided the blood of the covenant to keep us as his people. And because of that we can have fellowship with Him.

Every week, we enjoy the Lord’s Supper as a covenant meal with the Lord who has saved us from our sins.


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