Excerpts from the book "MASKED" by R.A. Vukovich
Sign of Covenant
The Lord told Abraham, “This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Everyman child among you shall be circumcised. And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you” (Genesis 17:10–11). Without the shedding of blood, there could be no covenant. This was the blood rite of divine covenant—not the cutting of the wrist or forearm, but the foreskin—that God required.
Why the foreskin? This was a private, sensitive, and personal area, hidden under a man’s own covering. Circumcision was to be a sign of divine relationship—a covenant with God as a personal commitment. It was a private matter between a man and God. It was close to the fruit of a man’s loins and was a permanent sign and seal of God’s promise to his seed from generation to generation. Although circumcision was hidden under temporary garments, God would provide a permanent covering.
Abraham so trusted the Lord that he was ready to commit himself to the Lord in the rite of blood covenant. Abraham expressed his acceptance of the covenant with a silent gesture of submission and agreement by falling down upon his face (Genesis 17:3a).
Abraham was circumcised in his flesh as a sign of covenant. There is no mention of God’s blood being cut with Abraham in covenant. One born of the seed of Abraham would shed His blood. He would be born of a woman and conceived by the Spirit of God. He would be the scapegoat and the Lamb of God, the Son of Man, and the Son of God. He alone would be God’s substitute—and ours.
Because of Covenant
The Abrahamic covenant guaranteed Israel protection from their enemies, pestilence, and diseases. In the wilderness, there were no sick or feeble people among the Israelites. There were no young men or women who died unless they broke the covenant. In battle, as blood covenant people, no soldiers were slain (Psalms 105:37).
As long as the Israelites kept the covenant, there were no armies that could conquer or defeat them. One could order the sun and moon to stand still in battle, and it would obey (Joshua 10:12-13). Another could rend a lion with his bare hands (Judges 14:5-6). A lad could kill a giant with a slingshot (1 Samuel 17:4, 40-50). There were blood covenant warriors who could individually slay three hundred men in a single day (2 Samuel 23:8-12, 18, 20-22). Under covenant, one could chase a thousand in war, and two could put ten thousand to flight.
God preserved the Israelites as a nation because they were His covenant people. They were God’s peculiar people. They were the apple of His eye and the treasure of His heart. He gave them land they did not sow and houses they did not build. The rain of heaven irrigated their fertile valleys and hillsides (Deuteronomy 11:11). Jerusalem became the richest city the world had known. The temple was one of the wonders of the world.
However, the people forsook their God and disobeyed his covenant. They did not destroy the nations, as the Lord commanded them. They mingled among the heathen and learned their ways. They served heathens’ idols, which were a snare unto them. They sacrificed their sons and their daughters unto devils (Psalm 106:34-37).
The heavens became brass, the earth iron; their rain was turned to dust. Diseases afflicted them. The richest city the world had ever known was a heap of ruins. The beautiful temple was destroyed and laid in dust and ashes. He gave them to the hands of the heathen, and they who hated them ruled over them. They had broken their covenant. Then they remembered their God and cried unto Him for deliverance.
“Many times did He deliver them; but they provoked Him with their counsel, and were brought low for their iniquity” (Psalm 106:43). However, when He heard their cry; He regarded their affliction, and He remembered for them His covenant (Psalm 106:44-45).
“And it shall come to pass, that like as I have watched over them, to pluck up, and to break down, and to throw down, and to destroy, and to afflict so will I watch over them, to build, and to plant, saith the Lord” (Jeremiah 31:28).
The day would come that the Lord would make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. “Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was a husband unto them, saith the Lord: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people” (Jeremiah 31:31-33).
The Old and New
The Bible is divided into two testaments, or covenants. The first (old) covenant was between Jehovah and Abraham. It is the Abrahamic Covenant, and the law was given to Moses as a part of the covenant. It is known as the Mosaic Law (Exodus 20). This covenant law consists of sacrifices, ceremonies, offerings, and the priesthood (Hebrews 9:21-24, 10:1-9). Soon after the people received the law, it was broken. So God provided a temporary covering for sin—just like he did in the Garden of Eden. This covering was called the Atonement. The sacrifices of bulls and goats as an atonement for sin would cover—but could not deliver or cleanse one of—sin. The sacrifices of animals could never make people perfect under the old covenant. However, the sacrifice of the Lamb of God—His blood of the new covenant—would cleanse people’s hearts and consciences. It would deliver one from sin.
The old covenant could not give eternal life, but the new covenant could. The old covenant could bring the people into the inner court. It could bring the high priest into the Holy of Holies—the very presence of God—but it could not bring the people into the presence of God. The new covenant would not only bring us into the presence of God, but also our bodies, would become the temple of the Lord—the indwelling of His Spirit.
The old covenant was sealed by the blood of Abraham through circumcision of the foreskin. The new covenant would be sealed by the blood of Jesus and evident by circumcision of the heart. What the law could not do, Jesus came to do under the new covenant. He did not eliminate the old covenant; He fulfilled it and established a new and better covenant that included you and me.