Death and Covenant

In keeping with that death is a negative concept and just does not belong within the “and it was very good” assessment Jehovah makes in Genesis 1:31, and continuing the thought from the last post, this blog identifies death as brokenness with God especially in regard to Covenant.  Previously it was shown how synonymous are the concepts of Blood and of “life” or “soul” in the Bible [Deuteronomy 12:23; Leviticus 17:11; Genesis 9:4].  What is fascinating is just how much the concept of Blood-life-soul shows up in regard to the creation of Adam.

When the man is formed from the dust [Genesis 2:7], the word for dust is actually a derivative of Blood, and even “Adam” (man or mankind) is likewise derived from Blood.  So the “man of Blood” (or “red man” since the concept of “red” is also derived from “Blood”) is made from the “Bloody” (or “red”) ground.  What is startling is that when Jehovah says, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness” [Genesis 1:26], “likeness” also is derived from word for “Blood” (which, remember, also equals “life” or “soul”).

So Jehovah is saying, “We will make the man of Blood in our Blood-likeness,” so God formed the man of Blood from the Blood(dust) of the ground, breathed the breath of life into his nostrils, and the man of Blood became a living soul (all the italicized words revolve around the connection between Blood and life-soul).  This “flow” of Blood throughout these passages lays the foundation for Blood-Covenant, the powerful joining of the Blood-life-soul of two individuals into this remarkable relationship.

Once the Bloods of two individuals are joined, or mixed, or intermingled, there is only one Blood now, and one Life-Soul flows between them.  Breaking Covenant therefore brings death.  This is best described by the ceremony which was followed in Genesis 15:

  [Abram] said, “My Lord Jehovah, by what shall I know that I shall possess it?”

[Jehovah] said to him, “Bring Me a heifer three years old, a she-goat three years old, a ram three years old, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.”
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He brought Him all these, divided them in the middle, and laid each half over against the other; but he did not divide the birds in two. … As the sun was setting, a deep sleep fell on Abram; and lo, a dread and great darkness fell upon him. … When the sun had gone down and it was dark, behold, a smoking furnace and torch of fire passed between these pieces.  On that day Jehovah cut Covenant with Abram… [vv 8-18]

The ceremony is also referenced in Jeremiah

I will give the men who transgressed My Covenant, who did not fulfill the words of the Covenant which they cut before Me, the calf which they cut in two and passed between its parts – the princes of Judah and of Jerusalem, the eunuchs, the priests, and all the people of the land who passed between the parts of the calf – I will give them into the hands of their enemies … Their dead bodies shall be food for the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth.  [34:18-20]

What this ceremony graphically portrays is that Covenant could be thought of as the whole animal, which once was alive, kicking, playing, and what-not else – it was a complete and vibrant animal.  But then it is “broken” – split into two pieces.  Its life, its soul, its Blood drains away, and what is left is death – two dead pieces, two “dead” persons.

In a sense, the concept is so powerful, that even though Jehovah cannot die, yet He vows in that ceremony in Genesis 15 that if He breaks Covenant, He will die; and on the first Christmas He comes to earth in order to do just that.  Although God can bring a blessing even out of the worst of situations – and does, as we contemplate the cross –, the agony and abandonment of Jesus’ death is seen as a corrective measure against sin, not as a beautiful tool by which God brings about evolutionary “progress.”  It is more in the sense that God had to return mankind back to what had been lost, so that now He could bring about His original goal for this small but significant biped creature on this earth.

When the Covenant with Jehovah, established with mankind by its creation “in” Blood, is broken, the result is graphically portrayed by the ceremony of the broken animal.  The point is that, as described in previous posts, death is the absence of life – here of soul or Blood; death is the description of brokenness, not of Jehovah’s “good,” “merciful,” “gracious,” “steadfast loving” tool by which He brings about the “good” variety of creatures we see in this world.

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