blood use in covenants, feast, glassy sea, Jesus, Last Supper, law, Moses, Mt. Sinai, sprinkling blood, Wolfgang Simson
The revelation received on Mount Sinai and its centuries of outworking that culminated in the temple worship system all pointed to the work which Jesus Christ accomplished for us on the cross. Among New Testament books and epistles, the book of Hebrews stands out as the most explicit exposition of Jesus Christ as the full antitype of the types expounded in the Law. Through a continual juxtaposing of the Law with the life, death, and resurrection of our Lord, this book lifts the veil on truths that were formally obscured in darkness.
22 But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,
23 To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,
24 And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.
We read in 1 Peter 1:2 that we were elected for (denoting purpose) the obedience and sprinkling of the blood. And here the writer of Hebrews informs us that we have come unto—arrived within the sphere of—Jesus the mediator of the New Covenant and to the blood of sprinkling. Have you ever wondered what this “blood of sprinkling” means? We saw in the last chapter how the Israelites sprinkled their doorposts with blood on the day of Passover. But this reference to “the blood of sprinkling” has a much wider field of application.
If you have been exposed to a Roman Catholic or Orthodox tradition, you are probably familiar with the sprinkling of holy water. In the course of certain ceremonies, the priest will use a special scepter to lightly shower the congregants with blessed water in a symbolic act of cleansing. This ceremony has its roots in Old Testament practices. Perhaps you have never seen yourself as a priest with definite liturgical sacraments to perform. But as New Testament saints, we are all to be priests unto our God. And since we have come “to the blood of sprinkling,” we need to understand what this means, because it is a large aspect of our Christian walk and life. The Old Testament priests used to sprinkle the blood of sacrifice in covenant for cleansing and consecration. As we shall see, the case is no different for us.
The Sprinkling of Blood in Covenant
The establishment of both the Old and New Covenants had a similar pattern: 1) the covenant was declared, 2) it was then sealed with blood, and, finally, 3) the parties of the covenant celebrated its ratification with a fellowship meal.
1) The Declaration of the Covenants
Exodus 24:3, 7
3 And 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 hath said will we do.
7 And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the Lord hath said will we do, and be obedient.
Moses declared the covenant of Jehovah to the children of Israel. They heard all the words of the Lord (the commandments) and all the judgments (the consequences). And they agreed with one voice, saying, “All that the Lord requires we will do.” Then Moses wrote the words down. We all know the value of a written contract. A verbal agreement can easily be misconstrued over time. God didn’t leave His covenants to such a fate. He had them written down. Thus, the declaration of the covenant had two stages or aspects: it was spoken and then it was written.
Jesus was anointed and sent “to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” From the time He began to preach “Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand,” until He said, “It is finished,” His entire earthly ministry was a declaration of the New Covenant. As in the Old Covenant, it was first spoken and later written down. The foundational exposition of this covenant was laid out in the Sermon on the Mount. Instead of “Thou shalt not murder,” Jesus said, “If you are angry with your brother without cause, you are in danger of judgment.” Instead of “Thou shalt not commit adultery,” He said, “Don’t look at a woman lustfully.” Instead of “Hate your enemy,” He said, “Love your enemy and bless those that persecute you.” The requirements of the New Covenant are much more stringent than those of the Old Covenant because they deal with the heart.
2) The Shedding of Blood
And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the Lord hath made with you concerning all these words.
The young men of Israel offered up oxen in sacrifice. Even if only twelve oxen were sacrificed, gallons of blood would have been collected in the basins. Half of the blood went on the altar to bring sanctifying power to it all. The remainder was sprinkled on the people as Moses declared, “Behold the blood of the covenant.” I don’t know about you, but when I read the word “sprinkled” I think of a sporadic and light rain shower. Flicking water at someone in fun while doing the dishes also comes to mind. And, generally speaking, this mental image of sprinkling would hold true to the Biblical text, but not here in Exodus 24:8.
When people or things are sprinkled in the Old Testament with water, oil, or blood, the word usually employed is nazah. This is the light sprinkling done with either the fingers or a sprinkler. It is the sprinkling spoken about in Leviticus 4:17 when the priest would sprinkle the blood of the sin offering on the veil seven times. The officiating priest would dip his finger in the blood and then flick it onto the veil with a whiplike motion. But the word used in Exodus 24:8 is zaraq, which is such a copious “sprinkling” that it could be translated “to pour.” Think of nazah as a spritzing and zaraq as a splashing. Moses didn’t simply put a few flecks of blood on the people. He scattered copious quantities over the crowd. They were covered in the blood.
26 And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.
27 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it;
28 For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
The declaration of our Lord during the Last Supper resonated with the prophetic utterance of Moses at the foot of the mountain. “This is my blood of the covenant.” His disciples were God-fearing Jewish men and women; they could not have missed the meaning of His statement. The covenant was being instituted and He was offering His own blood to seal it. The fact that this covenant was greater than the covenant declared by Moses can be seen in the blood which was used and how it was to be applied. Moses sprinkled the blood of animals on the people. Jesus asked His disciples to drink His. The old was external—the substitutional sacrifice a life of a lower order. The new is internal—the substitutional sacrifice a life of the highest order, indeed the Life!
3) The Covenant Meal
9 Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel:
10 And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness.
11 And upon the nobles of the children of Israel he laid not his hand: also they saw God, and did eat and drink.
After they were covered in the blood of the covenant, the prophet, priests, and elders of Israel were called up to the mountaintop to feast with God. This event foreshadowed the wedding supper of the Lamb. But one can’t help noticing how somber it is! They are eating in the presence of God, but the glassy sea stood between them. And—mercy of all mercies—God didn’t lay His hands on them! After the meal, the Lord called Moses to a private conference to further confirm His words.
And the Lord said unto Moses, Come up to me into the mount, and be there: and I will give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written; that thou mayest teach them.
The Lord confirmed the covenant with Moses by giving him a tangible evidence of the Law—the tables of stone inscribed by the finger of God. These were given to Moses so that he could teach them to the people. The revelation God gives to us is not intended to stop there; He means for us to teach others also.
We have already seen how the Lord Jesus declared the New Covenant in the context of a meal. He enjoys eating with His people. His first miracle was done at a wedding feast. In subsequent miracles, He multiplied the supply of food in order to feast with His followers. These patterns of feeding others persisted even after the resurrection. The Emmaus disciples recognized Him in the breaking of bread. He even had a fish fry with Peter and the boys at the beach! His love of fellowship was transmitted to the apostles, who then taught it to the believers.
And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart…
Breaking bread together from house to house was the order of the day in the first century church. When we read of “breaking bread” in a church context, we are to understand that they were observing the Lord’s Supper. But this supper was a real meal—a love feast—during which they remembered the Lord’s sacrifice. As Wolfgang Simson has so aptly put it, “the Lord’s Supper was a substantial meal with a symbolic meaning, not a symbolic meal with a substantial meaning.” These gatherings were joyful occasions where they celebrated salvation and being accepted in the beloved, not solemn and fearful ordeals where they kept a sidelong glance at God waiting to see if He was going to smite them!
Moses was given tables of stone from which to teach and confirm the covenant. We are given the Holy Spirit, Who inscribed on our hearts the words of Christ. This Spirit of truth teaches us all things and brings to our remembrance the teachings of our Lord. Because the blood of our covenant has much greater worth than the blood of bulls and goats, the benefits of our covenant are far superior to those of the letter that kills.
 In the New Testament there is no separation of clergy and laity as we typically experience it in most churches of modern times. This practice in the church is referred to as the deeds and doctrine of the Nicolaitans in Scripture (see Rev 2:6, 15) and the Lord says He hates it. This separation was never to have been brought into the church. Under the Old Covenant there was a priestly caste that ministered to the people. But in the New Covenant, all the people of the covenant are priests. If one must have clergy and laity, the clergy would be all the saved and the laity would be all the unsaved.
 Luke 4:19 NKJV
 Matt 4:17
 John 19:30
 Ex 24:4-5
 Ex 24:6
 From the Yoma tractate of the second division of the Mishnah as quoted by Graham Hancock in The Sign and the Seal, © 1992 by Graham Hancock, Simon & Schuster, Inc, New York, p. 217-218. This reference indicates that the blood was sprinkled by the priest with a whipping motion. For centuries, the priests would apply blood to the veil in a way that imitated whipping a man. See Heb 10:19-20.
 The word “new” is not in the Greek text. Thus, His statement is almost a direct quotation from Ex 24:8.
 John 14:6
 Ex 31:18
 2 Tim 2:2
 Luke 24:30-31
 John 21:9-13
 Wolfgang Simson, Houses that Change the World, © 1999, C & P Publishing, Emmelsbull, Germany, p. 82.
 2 Cor 3:2-3 in particular, but the whole chapter applies.
 John 14:26