What is a Blood Covenant?

Dec 3, 2021Mystery of the Blood Covenants, Theology0 comments

The modern English word covenant derives from the Latin “convenier.” It means “to come together, unite, and come into agreement.” A blood covenant is a type of agreement. But exactly how and why does a blood covenant differ from other agreements?

Signing an agreement

A home mortgage is an example of making a Covenant agreement. I agree to make the required timely payments on the loan. The mortgage company agrees to allow me to occupy the dwelling as if I owned it. If I break my covenant agreement by not making the payments, they have the right to evict me from the premises. There are limits to the timeframe of the agreement and level of commitment. The obligation could have a few thousand dollars or a few million dollars at stake. Still, what puts it in force is just a signature by the hand of the representatives and witnesses. For that reason is not a blood covenant. 

Cutting a blood covenant

As the word implies blood is spilled in the making of a blood covenant. Why, and what are the implications? The Hebrew word used in the Old Testament is בְּרִית, Beriyth. Beriyth ties together the act of making a physical cut with the act of making a sacred agreement. Its meaning is literally “to cut a covenant.” The cut made in the human flesh will not be life-threatening. It is made so that a small amount of blood from the cut can be mixed in one way or another with the other covenant maker.

Often a cut is made in the flesh of an animal. This cut will ensure that enough of the blood of the animal is shed so that for the animal death will occur. For this reason we understand the life of the sacrifice animal represents and stands in place of the lives of the covenant makers. The shed blood signifies that they will be willing to give their life’s blood for one another.

The Bible tells us, “For the life of the flesh is in the blood.”[1] This is proven in practice and instilled in the heart of man from the beginning. Having our blood still in us sustains life and spilling our blood equates to death. It is hardly a stretch to see how the blood of man and beast can easily come to represent their life, their very being is at stake in this type of agreement.

Why cut a blood covenant?

Making a blood covenant agreement implies you are not just giving your time or possessions to each other. It means you are pledging to honor a life-long agreement. The benefits of keeping the agreement are for the parties making the agreement. They are also part of the inheritance of the families of those making the agreements. Severe penalties for breaking the covenant promises will also be the responsibility of the heirs. For this reason they are outlined during the covenant making ceremony. Most blood covenants will have the oaths, the blessing of keeping them, and the curse that comes upon those who break them.

Many and varied blood covenant agreements are the foundation and cornerstone of the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. In fact, the word Testament is a blood covenant term that means to give testimony regarding the covenants. Yet today we are not well versed in what seems to be an archaic topic. Yet the truth is, this is one of the most important topics in the Bible. To better understand the full significance and hidden benefits of blood covenants, I encourage you to read my book, The Mystery of the Blood Covenants.


[1] Leviticus 17:11 (KJV) Cover Photo from Pastor Thomas Taylor

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