The Fourth Covenant
By Kelly Salbato
A little History:
Abraham has Isaac and Isaac grows up and marries Rebecah. Rebecah gives Isaac twin sons named Esau and Jacob, born in that order. God tells Isaac and Rebecah that "The elder shall serve the younger", so they know that God already plans on making Jacob the heir.
As Isaac gets older, he loses his sight and begins to favor the elder because he can cook up wonderful meals for him. Isaac begins to want to give Esau the blessing. Rebekah knows this and connives with Jacob to trick Isaac.† Jacob dresses in animal skins (because Esau is very hairy) and Isaac gives Jacob the blessing. Jacob has to flee from Esau and goes to Haran.
Jacob meets Rachel there and agrees with Rachels father (Uncle Laban) to work for him for seven years as a kind of dowry so that he can marry Rachel. On the wedding night, Uncle Laban sends in Leah, Rachels older sister and Jacob consummates the marriage with Leah. Now he has to work seven more years to marry Rachel, which he does. In the meantime, Leah gives birth to six sons: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah Issachar and Zabulon. He finally marries Rachel and soon discovers that she is
barren. Rachael tells her maidservant, Bilhah to have children for her. Bilhah has Dan and Naphtai. Another maidservant, Zilpha has Gad and Asher.
Jacob finally leaves Haran with his family, bringing treasures for Esau. They make up and Jacob submits to Esauís power.
Jacobs name is changed to Israel.
Rachael finally has a son named Joseph and later a son named Benjamin.
When Joseph is 17, Jacob gives him a colorful coat and the half brothers are very jealous. They know who is going to be the heir and who is Jacobís favorite son. They try to kill Joseph and are unable to do so, so they sell him into slavery in Egypt.
Joseph works for a prominent man and his wife tries to seduce him. He refuses her and she cries "Rape!". Joseph is thrown into prison. In prison, he begins to interpret dreams. One night the Pharaoh has a nightmare and tries to get everyone to interpret his dream. No one can, and word comes that there is a man in prison who can interpret dreams. Joseph is summoned and proceeds to explain that there will be 7 seven years of feast and 7 years of famine. Joseph is made Prime Minister and immediately begins to harvest crops and store them for the seven lean years.
When the famine hit, neighboring communities had to come to Egypt to buy food. Well, guess who came. Josephs brothers. After some initial game playing, Joseph finally revealed himself and all of his brothers and his father came to Egypt to live. They were given prominent positions and a great deal of the land. The twelve tribes of Israel are now in Egypt.
The Pharaoh puts all of Josephís family in Goshen. This is a very nice area in Egypt. Egyptians are also starving and must come to Joseph for bread. Joseph says to them "you give me your land and Iíll give you bread. The twelve tribes of Egypt wind up owning Israel.
Now weíre in Exodus. Joseph and all of that generation died. Egypt was filled with Israelites. A new king who did not recognize (the Bible say he "knew not Joseph", this means that there were no intimate family relations between them). Joseph or his power, succeeded in overthrowing the pharaoh and began a new dynasty. He also devised a plan to get rid of the Israelites. He begins to kill all of the Hebrew male children at birth. This way the Israelite women will be forced to marry Egyptians and the land would go back to them.
The Hebrew midwives did not cooperate with the Pharaoh and attempted to hide the children. Some were killed, but one was successfully hidden. Moses.
Moses is found by Pharaohs daughter. She adopts him and raises him as her own son.† Moses grows up and becomes an adult. He witnesses an Egyptian taskmaster beating a Hebrew slaves. Moses kills the taskmaster. He tries to go to the Hebrews and is rejected by them. The Egyptians were searching for him and he was forced to flee. Moses ends up in Midian and lives with the Midianites for some years. He meets and marries his wife Zipporah.
The Israelites have been in Egypt for many years. They have adopted the culture of Egypt and have begun to worship their gods. God is offended by this and wants Moses to take them to the desert to worship to Him. He wants them to sacrifice Cows, goats and sheep. Why? Because the Israelites have forgotten the God of Abraham and worship idols. God wants them to leave Egypt and offer the idols to Him as a sacrifice.
When Moses tries to leave Egypt with the Israelites, he is met with resistance from the Pharaoh. This prompts the first of the ten plagues. The ten plagues were very interesting. Each plague was an attack on one of the gods of Egypt.
1. The Nile river was turned to blood. (The Nile river was worshipped as a god by the Egyptians)
2. Frogs (The goddess Hecht who was worshipped in the form of frogs)
9. Darkness (The Egyptians worshipped the sun)
10. Death of the First born (Egyptians worshipped first born sons.)
God stated that none of the plagues would enter Goshen. Prior to the plague of the first born sons, God instructed Moses to tell the Hebrews to slay an unblemished lamb with no broken bones. The blood of the lamb was to be sprinkled on the doorposts of the Hebrews and that night they were to eat the lamb. This would save their first born sons.† After this plague, Pharaoh relents and lets them go. Then he changes his mind and tries to capture them again. This is where we get the crossing of the red sea. They finally escape from Pharaoh and begin to follow Moses. The Holy Spirit leads them as a pillar of fire by night and a pillar of smoke by day. The Israelites complain and grumble and Moses finally appointed 70 elders in Exodus 18.
God wants the Israelites to be His people, He tells them (through Moses) to prepare for Him to come down to them in three ways. All He wanted them to do was to abstain from sexual relations. At the end of the three days, they were begging Moses to go up by himself. Why?† Because they didnít abstain. Moses gets the seventy elders and he climbs up the mountain. He sacrifices, just as they had been told - young bulls as fellowship offerings, etc. Then in verse 6: "Moses took half the blood and put it in bowls and the other half he sprinkled on the altar. Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it to the people and they responded, "We will do everything the Lord has said; we'll obey." Then he took the blood, sprinkled it on the people and said, "This is the blood of the covenant which the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words."
Moses was up there fasting for forty days, hearing and receiving the word from God and the Ten Commandments and much else. While they were waiting down in the valley, they tell Aaron, "Come make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don't know what's happening." No longer did God do it, Moses did it.
Aaron says, "Bring all your fine jewelry." They do. He took what they had and made it into an idol cast into the shape of a calf. The Apis cult in Egypt worshipped a calf, a golden calf. When Aaron saw this, he built an altar in front of the calf and announced, "Tomorrow there will be a festival to Yahweh." So the next day the people arose early and sacrificed burnt offerings and presented fellowship offerings. Afterward, they sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry, which is a Hebrew cliche for a fertility cult behavior; it's a sexual orgy, just like the Egyptians after worshiping Apis.
The Lord said to Moses, "Go down, because YOUR people whom YOU brought out of Egypt." You see what he's doing? He's disowning Israel. Don't underestimate the ferocious evil of the golden calf. It was an utter renunciation of true religion and faith to God. It was a total reattachment to the religion of Egypt. God said, "They're your people, Moses. Get down. You brought them out of Egypt. Leave me alone till my anger may burn against them and then I may destroy them and then I will make you into a great nation."
The Lord relented in verse 14 and did not bring on His people the disaster He threatened. Moses goes down, takes the tablets of stone, smashes them to pieces, takes the dust, throws it in the water and makes them drink and then he calls out, "Who's on the Lord's side."
The Levites say to Moses, "We're on the Lord's side." He says, "Then take every man a sword and slay every man his kinsmen." They took their swords, went to and fro throughout the gates of the camp and slew 3,000 Israelite kinsmen!
All twelve tribes were systematically and instantly defrocked and laicized, dispensed from the priesthood. And the tribe of Levi merited the priesthood. Why? In consequence of their burning with zeal for God's glory.
God says, "I wanted to set you free from all this earthly addiction, but you went back." Ezekiel 20:25 says, "So God had to give them laws that weren't good - animal sacrifice. Hundreds of thousands and millions of goats and sheep and cows." Why? Because God loves blood and the smell of animal meat and flesh burning on the altar? No.† Because they had to continually renounce the gods of Egypt and the gods of the greatest power religions and nature religions throughout the ancient Near East.
So Israel's religion became horribly complicated and bureaucratic;† bureaucratic because of the Levites. Now the families have been laicized. They are not priests any more. They are bureaucratic and complicated because all of the ceremonial sacrifices and all of the dietary regulations and so on.
Remember how Moses was born; and he was almost slaughtered? What happened to Jesus when he was born? He was almost slaughtered by a royal decree, wasn't he? His parents had to flee. Where did he go for safety. Coincidentally, he went down into Egypt. After the king died in this case, what happens? Matthew says, " Out of Egypt have I called forth my Son", quoting Hosea's reflection on the Exodus. If Israel is God's first-born son, how much more Jesus Christ! If Israel is enslaved in Egypt, so was Christ. If Israel was brought up out of† Egypt, so was Christ. If Israel was brought through the waters, so was Christ through the Jordan. If Israel had to go for forty years in the wilderness and Moses fasted forty days in the wilderness, what did Jesus do? He fasted for forty days in the wilderness. If Moses had to go up the mountain to give the law to the people to show what the Father wants, what does Jesus do? As soon as He has been out in the wilderness for forty days being tempted by the devil, quoting the laws of Moses to rebuke the devil from Deuteronomy, just as the devil tempted Israel out there for forty years, Jesus goes up and preaches the Sermon on the Mountain, giving the New Covenant law. Just as Moses took the twelve chiefs and the twelve tribes, and then seventy elders to fashion a new church government, what does Jesus do? He takes twelve disciples and says, "You will sit on twelve thrones and rule the twelve tribes of Israel.
Then, Luke 10 tells us that he took seventy other disciples (what a coincidence, right?) Wrong. He saw himself as the new Moses, giving a New Covenant to constitute a new Israel and so did those people recognize it. In John 6, they said, "You are the prophet that Moses promised, 'the prophet like unto Moses'." And what about the Passover? Christ is the first- born son who is slain in Egypt and he is also the lamb, without blemish, without broken bones and is slaughtered; whose blood is sprinkled and whose body must be eaten!
Suppose you didn't like lamb meat back then in Egypt? You killed the lamb, you sprinkled the blood and you had lamb cookies instead and you throw away the lamb. Well, what would happen? You'd wake up, your first-born son would be dead. You had to eat the lamb.† Jesus Christ says in John 6, "Unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me and I in him, and I will raise him up on the last day. My flesh is food indeed; my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me."
All these Jews were horrified, because Leviticus prohibited the drinking of blood. If you drink blood, you're going to have to be cut off from your family. And Jesus said, "Bingo, you got it right. If you drink my blood, you are going to be cut off from the family of Adam, and you are going to become attached to the family of the new Adam, the Son of God, the priest, the prophet, the king, the messiah, the beginning and the end of it all;† who has formed a New Covenant and a new family in his own flesh and blood, which we celebrate in every Mass." You've got to eat the lamb.† You don't just kill the lamb. A sacrifice requires death, but the purpose of sacrifice is to restore family communion. That is symbolized by eating the lamb in a family meal.