Covenant – The Backbone of the Bible

It’s been a 20 year journey, but it has been well worth the effort.  I’m Jim Lindemann, a pastor from a long line of pastors in the family.  Many concerns and viewpoints in regard to theology and the Bible have been handed down through the generations and I am proud to be the recipient of them.  Covenant was a particularly important theme to my Dad, and he infected me with the interest.  Sadly, it wasn’t until after he died and I attempted to put some of his thoughts into writing that Covenant has become a passion.

In Dad’s library was a reprint of a book published in the late 1800’s by an H Clay Trumbull entitled The Blood Covenant.  What he had done was to trace Blood Covenant throughout the world, identifying culture after culture having basically the same pattern and concept.  He also identified that this relationship is the strongest of all, not based on law but on love.  Although we still have vestiges of this relationship in our western culture, here in North America probably the closest we now come to it is the Native American Blood-Brother bond.

In one congregation I had, a woman with mixed Native background once described how her grandfather had become Blood-Brother to three other men.  She described how proud he was of this relationship, picking at the scab where the cut was made to make the scar as prominent as possible.  When the grandfather died, she mentioned to one of these “uncles” that she no longer had any grandfathers, to which he was very offended, declaring that he was her grandfather.

There is something here that flies in the face of most descriptions of Covenant that I have come across, starting from my seminary days.  Usually Covenant is described as a type of contract, or, as I was taught, a spin-off of a type of ancient treaty.  But Trumbull identified that there was something far greater, primordial and world-wide to be found in this Blood bond.

It was at that point that I got hooked.  Covenant was older than the Bible – the Bible was written in an environment, like the Native American Blood-Brother bond, in which this deeply personal connection already lived within the culture.  It did not have to be taught since it was part of daily life – of personal life.

I began to wonder if the Bible might look different to a person from such a culture, as compared to most modern commentators whose cultures have become so far removed from this unique bond.  Just what might we miss that that person would naturally recognize as “oh, that’s Covenant!”

One of my students who journeyed with me in the early years of my study of Covenant insisted that we start over, because he really wanted to get what it was all about, because, he said, “This is the most important theme in the Bible.”

I think he was right.  In fact,  the Bible is divided based on Covenant: The Old Covenant and the New Covenant.  As I look at Holy Communion and Baptism, I find that these and other great themes of our faith really depend on the background that Covenant gives, if one truly wants to understand what they are about.  Covenant is the backbone of the Bible.

So I have walked through the Bible looking at Covenant and have appreciated the journey.  There have been some changes in the way I have understand what some events were about.   I wrote a book on this pilgrimage of discovery, but intend that some of the insights will be identified in this blog as well.

Interspersed will also be posts on other books I have been working on, at this point Creation’s Ballet for Jesus which deals with a fascinating connection between what I believe were the dance of the stars in connection with the Israel/Jewish religious festivals; as well as some time spans that were to-the-day accurate; and Celebration! Holy Communion – A Love Story which looks at Holy Communion from the point of the Bridegroom’s view of His wife, the Church.

So welcome.  I do hope we will have some interesting times together!

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