This is not a term we use today other than speaking of the Old or New Covenant. What is a covenant and how is it made? In today’s vernacular, we would use the terms, contract, let’s strike a deal, or cut me a deal. Where did these terms get their origin?
Genesis 6:11-13,18 The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. 12 And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way upon the earth. 13 And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth. 14 Make you an ark… 18 But with you will I establish my covenant; and you shall come into the ark, you, and your sons, and your wife, and your sons’ wives with you. (NKJ) From the Hebrew word barah (in the sense of cutting); a compact (because made by passing between pieces of flesh) — confederacy, covenant, league.
In the days of old, binding agreements were made by cutting an animal in half, then separating the halves enough so they could be walked between. The person(s) walked through the blood. The underlining thought was may it be done unto me what has been done to this animal if I break this covenant.
In doing so, they would often trade weapons; meaning your enemies are my enemies. I will fight your battles for you and trade coats saying my authority is your authority.
Genesis 15:1,2,4-11,17,18 After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am your shield, and your exceeding great reward. 2 And Abram said, Lord GOD, what will you give me, seeing I go childless, and the heir of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus? 4 And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be your heir; but he that shall come forth out of your own body shall be your heir. 5 And He brought him forth outside, and said, Look now toward heaven, and count the stars, if you be able to number them: and He said unto him, So shall your descendants be. 6 And Abram believed in the LORD; and He counted it to him for righteousness. 7 And He said unto him, I am the LORD that brought you out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give you this land to inherit it. 8 And he said, Lord GOD, how shall I know that I shall inherit it? 9 And He said unto him, Take Me a heifer three years old, and a female goat three years old, and a ram three years old, and a turtle dove, and a young pigeon. 10 And Abram took unto Him all these, and divided them in the midst, and laid each piece one against another: but the birds divided he not. 11 And when the birds of prey came down upon the carcasses, Abram drove them away. 17 And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp passed between those pieces. 18 In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto your descendants have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates: (NKJ)
Hebrews 7:22 By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better covenant. (NKJ)
Hebrews 8: 6-18 But now has He (Jesus) obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also He is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises. 7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second. 12 For I (God) will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more. 13 In that He says, A new covenant, He has made the first old. Now that which decays and grows old is ready to vanish away. (NKJ)
Hebrews 9:13-15 For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies to the purifying of the flesh: 14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? 15 And for this cause, He is the mediator of the new covenant, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first covenant, they who are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. (NKJ)
The marriage covenant: communion, and consummation.
According to Jewish customs, the engagement process involved a cup of wine symbolic of blood. The interested groom would offer the intended bride a cup of wine. If she drank from it, she was accepting the proposal. The groom would pay the bride-price then leave to go prepare a place (bridle chamber) for them at his father’s house. He would return for her without advance notice. She was to make herself ready, be prepared and watching for his return. The friend of the bridegroom would walk just ahead saying, “The bridegroom cometh” accompanied by the blowing of the shofar (trumpet). Then all parties would go to the marriage supper.
Communion: “This is My blood” (Mark 14:24; 1 Cor. 11:23-33)
Bought with a price: (1 Cor 6:20; 7:23)
Gone to prepare a place for us: (John 14:2)
In My Father’s house there are many mansions: (Jn. 14:2)
Jesus’ return with a shout and trumpet: (1 Thess. 4:16; 1 Cor. 15:52)
The marriage supper of the Lamb: (Rev. 19:9)