Setting the Basis for the New Covenant: Hebrews 9:16-22
“16) For where a covenant is, there must of necessity be the death of the one who made it. 17) For a covenant is valid only when men are dead, for it is never in force while the one who made it lives. 18) Therefore even the first covenant was not inaugurated without blood. 19) For when every commandment had been spoken by Moses to all the people according to the Law, he took the blood of the calves and the goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, 20) saying, “This is the blood of the covenant which God commanded you.” 21) And in the same way he sprinkled both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry with the blood. 22) And according to the Law, one may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” Hebrews‬ ‭9:16-22‬
We now have a description of the blood covenant. The whole Old Testament system was based on sacrifices. The first thing Moses did after giving the Law was to present a sacrifice and sprinkle the tabernacle, the vessels and the people with blood. Bulls, calves, goats, sheep and doves were constantly being sacrificed by the priests to cover the sins of the people. There were so many sacrifices under the old covenant that it almost became morbid.
But there was a problem. The blood of bulls, goats and sheep didn’t change the people. They were still sinful and lost. 2 Corinthians 3:7 goes so far as to call the old covenant “the ministry of death.”
But as Hebrews 9:22 says, the old covenant laid down the principle that “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” The Old Testament sacrificial system set the basis of a substitutionary offering and paved the way for the work of Jesus Christ and the gospel. It opened the door for ministry of the Spirit and life. (See 2 Corinthians 3:1-11)
It as this point that the Bible student is stretched to fathom the significance of the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. (See John 1:29) Jesus Christ was the one time sacrifice that not only fulfilled the old covenant, but He also inaugurated the new covenant. He shed His blood once and for all for the sins of all mankind. Those who put faith in Him are sealed with His Spirit and changed from the inside.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global