The Blood of the Testament
Published on Thursday, March 14th, 1912,
C. H. SPURGEON,
At the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.
"For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all his people, saying, This is the blood of the testament which God hath enjoined unto you."Hebrews 9:19, 20.1
LOOD IS ALWAYS a terrible thing. It makes a sensitive mind shudder even to pronounce the word; but, to look upon the thing itself causes a thrill of horror. Although by familiarity men shake this off, for the seeing of the eye and the hearing of the ear can harden the heart, the instinct of a little child may teach you what is natural to us in referer to blood. How it will worry if its finger bleeds ever so little, shocked as the sight, actually there be no smart. I envy not the man whose pity would not stir to see a sparrow bleed or a lamb wantonly put to pain; and as for the cruel man, I shudder at the thought of his depravity. What exquisite pain it must be caused our first parent how keely it must have touched the fine sensibilities of their nature to have had to offer sacrifice! Probably they had never seen death until they brought their first victim to the altar of God. Blood! Ah! how they must have shuddered as they saw the warm life-fluid flowing forth from the innocent victim. It must have seemed to them to be a very horrible thing, and very properly so, for God inteded them to feel their feelings outraged. He meant them to take to heart the anguish of the victim, and learn, with many a shudder, what a destructive and killing thing sin was. He meant them to see before their eyes a commentary upon his threatening, "In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt insurely die." He meant Adam and Eve to witness the harrowing appearance, as the sentence upon sin was excecuted, stabbing at the very heart of life, convulsing all the frame, sealing up the senses, and leaving behind but a wreck of the beautiful creature, and not a relic of happiness for it in the world. How dreadful must have been the spectacle, when the first pair gathered around the corpse of their second son, slain by his find this brother! There were the clots of blood on the murderous club, or the sharp stone, or whatever other instrument Cain may have used in smiting his brother to the grave. How they must have mourned and sighed as they saw the precious crimson of human life wantonly poured out upon the ground, and crying to God against the murderer!
His favourites from his breast;
In the dear bosom of his love
They must for ever rest."
The name of the blood, as we find it in our own translation, is "the blood of the testament." This teaches a similar truth, though it puts it under another figure. Salvation comes to us as a matter of will. Jesus Christ has left eternal life to his people as a legacy. Here are the words:"Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory." Now, a will, as the apostle rightly tells us, has no power whatever unless the man who made it is dead. Hence the blood of Jesus Christ, the token of his death, gives validity to all the promises which he has made. That spear-thrust by the Roman soldier was a precious proof to us that our Lord was really dead. And now, beloved, whenever you read a precious promise in the Bible, you may say, "This is a clause in the Redeemer's will." When you come to a choice word, you may say, "This is another codicil to the will." Recollect that these things are yours, not because you are this or that, but because the blood makes them yours. The next time Satan says to you, "You do not believe as you ought, and therefore the promise is not sure," tell him that the sureness of the promise lies in the blood, and not in what you are or in what you are not. There is a will proved in heaven's Court of Probate, whose validity depends upon its signatures, and upon its witnesses, and upon its being drawn up in proper style. The person to whom the property is left may be very poor, but that does not overthrow the will; he may be very ragged, but that does not upset the will; he may have disgraced himself in some way or other, but that does not make the will void; he who made the will, and put his name to the will, makes the will valid, and not the legatee to whom the legacy was left. And so with you this covenant stands secure, this will of Christ stands firm. In all your ups and downs, in all your successes and your failures, you, poor needy sinner, have nothing to do but to come and take Christ to be your All-in-all, and put your trust in him, and the blood of the covenant shall make the promises sure to you.
This is a sweet topic. I have not time, however, to enlarge upon it; but I heartily commend it to your private meditations, and trust you may find consolation in it.
II. The blood which Moses called "the blood of the covenant" or "of the testament "was of the utmost importance in the ministry of the tabernacle, for IT WAS SPRINKLED BY HIM EVERYWHERE.
First, we are told that he sprinkled it upon the book. Oh, how delightful this Bible looks to me when I see the blood of Christ sprinkled upon it! Every leaf would have flashed with Sinai's lightnings, and every verse would have rolled with the thunders of Horeb, if it had not been for Calvary's cross; but now, as you look, you see on every page your Saviour's precious blood. He loved you, and gave himself for you, and now you who are sprinkled with that blood, and have by faith rested in him, can take that precious Book, and find it to be green pastures and still waters to your souls.
The blood was then sprinkled upon the mercy-seat itself. Whenever you cannot pray as you would, remember that Jesus Christ's blood has gone before you, and is pleading for you before the eternal throne; like the good Methodist, who, when a brother could not pray, cried cub, "Plead the blood, brother!" Ay, and when you feel so unworthy that you dare not look up, when the big tear stand in your eye because you have been such a backslider, and have been so cold in heart, plead the blood, my sister, you may always come where the blood is. There you see that this sin of yours has been already atoned for. Before you committed it, Jesus carried it. Long before it fell from your heart the weight of is had pressed upon the Redeemer's heart, and he put it away in that tremndous day when he took all the load of his people's guilt, and hurled it into the sepulchre, to be buried there for ever.
Then the blood was sprinkled upon every vessel of the sanctuary. I like that thought. I like to come up to God's house, and say, "Well, I shall worship God today in the power and through the merit of the precious blood; my praises will be poor, feeble things, but then the sweet perfume will go up out of the golden censer, and my praises will be accepted through Jesus Christ, my preaching, oh! how full of faults; how covered over with sins! but then the blood is on it, and because of that, God will not see sin in my ministry, but will accept it because of the sweetness of his Son's blood."
You will come to the communion table to-night, most of you; but, oh! do not come without the precious blood, for the best place of all upon which it was sprinkled was upon all the people. The drops fell upon them all. As Moses took the basin, and scattered the blood over the whole crowd, it fell upon all who were assembled at the door of the Tabernacle. Have you had sprinkling with the precious blood, my hearer If you have, you shall live for ever; but if you have not, the wrath of God abideth on you. Do you ask how you can have the blood of Christ sprinkled upon you It cannot be done literally, but faith does it. Faith is the bunch of hyssop which we dip into the basin, and it sprinkles man's conscience from bad works. You say you have been christened, confirmed, baptized; but, all these things together would not have one soul, much less all the multitudes who trust in them. They are not sufficient for the taking away of a single sin. But you always say your prayers, and you have family prayers, and you are we honest, and so on. I know all this; but all these things you ought to have done, and they will not make amends for what you have not done. All the debt that you have paid will not discharge those that are still due. Know you not that saying of the Scriptures, "by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin" You may work your fingers to the bone, but you can never weave a righteousness that shall cover your nakedness before God. The only hope of the sinner is to come and cast himself upon what Jesus Christ has done for him, depending upon the groans, and agonies, and death of the martyred Saviour, who stood for us and suffered in our stead, that we might escape the wrath of God.
I hope that there is never a Sunday but what I teach this one doctrine; and, until this tongue is silent in the grave, I shall know no other gospel than just this,Trust Christ, and you shall live. The bloody sacrifice of Calvary is the only hope of sinners. Look there, and you shall find the Star of peace guiding you to everlasting day; but turn your backs upon Christ, and you have turned your back upon heaven, you have courted destruction, you have sealed your doom. It is by the sprinkling of the blood, then, that we are saved. We must have the blood of Christ upon us in one way or the other. If we do not have it upon us to save us, we shall have it upon us to destroy us. "His blood be on us and on our children," said the Jews to Pilate in their madness, and the siege of Jerusalem was the answer to the cry. Worse than was the siege of Jerusalem to the Jews shall be the death of those who do despite to the Spirit of grace, and despise the blood of Jesus; but happy shall they be who, giving up every other confidence, come to the blood of the covenant, and put their trust there, for it shall not deceive them.
III. THE EFFECT OF THE BLOOD OF CHRIST claims our earnest heed; yet the minutes are few in which I can enlarge upon it.
Whenever Jesus Christ's blood comes upon a man, the instantaneous effect is something more than miraculous. Before the application of Christ's blood, the man was distracted. His guilt, and its consequent punishment, weighed heavily upon him. "Alas!" said he, "I shall soon die, and then hell will be my lot!" Oh! some of us will never forget when we were in that miserable, burdened state I protest before you all that, when I felt the weight of my sin, I wished that I had never been born; and I envied frogs, and toads, and the most Ioathsome creatures, and thought that they were so much better off than I, because they had never broken the law of God, which I had so wickedly and so wilfully done. If I went to my bed, I started with the fear that I should wake up in hell; and by day the same dread thought distracted me, that I was cast off by God, and must perish. But the moment that I looked to Christ,do not mistake me,the very self-same moment that I put my trust in Christ, I rose from the depths of despair to the utmost heights of joy. It was not a process of reasoning; it was not a matter which took hours and days; it was all done in an instant. I understood that God had punished Christ instead of me, and I saw that, therefore, I could not be punished any more; that I never could be, if Christ died for me,-and I was assured that he did if I did but trust him. So I did trust him; with my whole weight I threw myself into his arms, and thought at the time that he had never had such a load to carry before. But I found that he was able to save, even to the uttermost, them that came unto him; and what joy and peace I had in that moment it is impossible for me to describe, and I thank God that I have never Iost it. There have been time of depression; there have been seasons when the light of God's countenance has been withdrawn; but one thing I know,Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. I am a sinner, and my soul rests alone on him; and how can he cast me away, since his own promise is, "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved" I have believed; I have been baptized as an avowal of my faith; and he is not true if he does not save me. But he must be true, he cannot break his word. O dear friends, these are hundreds here who have passed through the same blessed experience, and they can tell you that the blood of Jesus in an instant speaks peace to the soul.
And this precious blood has this property about it, that, if the peace which it first causes should become a little dim, you have only to go to the precious blood to have that pace once more restored to you.
I would recommend any of my doubting brethren to come to Christ over again as they came to him at first. Never mind about your experience; never care about your marks and evidences. Never get piling up your experiences. If you go to the top of some mountains such as Snowdon or the Righi, you will find it all solid and firm enough; but there are some people who want to get a little higher than the mountain, so the people there build a rickety old stage, and charge you fourpence: or sixpence to go to the top of it; and when you get up there, you find it is all shaky, and ready to tumble down, and you are alarmed. Well, but what need is there to go up there at all If you would stand on the mountain, that would not shake. So, sometimes, we are not content with resting upon Christ as poor sinners, and depending on him. We get building a rickety stage of our own experience, or sanctification, or emotions, and I know not what besides, and then it begins to shake under our feet. Better far if we were like the negro, who said he "fell flat down on de promise, and when he had done that, he couldn't fall no lower." Oh, to keep close to a promise! Job says that the naked embrace the rock for want of a shelter, and there is no shelter like the Rock of ages.
Can do helpless sinners good."
But I have not told you all the power of this blood, nor could I tell you to-night. That blood gives the pardoned sinner access with boldness to God himself. That blood, having taken away the guilt of sin, operates in a sanctifying manner, and takes away the power of sin, and the pardoned man does not live as he lived before he was pardoned. He loves God, who has forgiven him so much, and that love makes him enquire, "What shall I do for God, who has done so much for me" Then he begins to purge himself of his old habits. He finds that the pleasures that once were sweet to him are sweet no more. "Away ye go," he says to his old campanions; "but I cannot go with you to hell." Having a new heart, a new love, a new desire, he begins to mix with God's people. He searches God's Word. He makes haste to keep God's commandments. His desires are holy and heavenly, and he pants for the time when he shall get rid of all sin, shall be quite like Christ, and shall be taken away to dwell for ever where Jesus is. Oh! the blood of Christ is a blessed sin-killer. They say that St. Patrick drove all the snakes out of Ireland. Ah! but Christ drives all the serpents out of the human heart when he once gets in. If he does but sprinkle his blood upon our hearts, we become new men,such new men as all the rules of morality could not have made us, such new men as they are who, robed in white, day without night sing Jehovah's praise before his throne.
Sinner, would you be saved to-night Trust Jesus, and you shall be. Sinner, would you be saved upon a dying bed Trust Jesus now, and you shall be. Sinner, would you be saved when the heavens are in a blaze, and the stars fall like withered figleaves from the firmament Look to Jesus now, and you shall be saved then. Oh! I would to God that some of you would look to him not for the eyes of your body to do it, but for the eyes of your mind to do it. Think of what Christ is; God, and yet man. Think of such a Being suffering instead of you. What must be the merit of such suffering, and what an honour to God's justice that such an One should suffer instead of you! Then, depend upon Christ; and if you do so, your sins are forgiven you. Believe that they are. Then will you feel springing up within your heart great love to him who has forgiven you, and that will become the mainspring of your new life. You will start afresh like one that is born tonight. You will, indeed, be born again, for this is regneneration. Not sprinkling your face with drops of water, but making a new man of you,generating you over again, not by natural generation, but by the eternal Father begetting you again unto a lively hope, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,the true and only spiritual generation; and then, as new creatures in Christ Jesus, you shall go your way through this life up to the life eternal, God's blessing shieding you and crowning you for ever.
The Lord grant you his blessing, for Christ's sake! Amen.
Hebrews 9 and Exodus 24:1-10.
Hebrews 9:1. Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary.
That is, a sanctuary belonging to this world, a visible sanctuary. That first covenant was to a large degree a thing of outward rites and ceremonies, which the new covenant is not; that is a covenant of spiritual and unseen realities.
2-5. For there was a tabernacle made; the first, wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the shewbread; which is called the sanctuary. And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all; which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna and Aaron's rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant; and over it the cherubims of glory shadowing the mercyseat; of which we cannot now speak particularly.
Because it was not his main purpose at that time, and he was writing an important Epistle upon the most vital truths and it would not do to encumber it with too many explanations.
6-9. Now when these things were thus ordained, the priest went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God. But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the error of the people: the Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing: which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience;
All these sacrifices and ceremonies, although full of instruction, were not in themselves able to give peace to the conscience of men. The new and better covenant does give rest to the heart by the real and actual taking away of guilt, but this the first covenant could not do. It is astonishing that there should be any who want to go back to the "beggarly elements" of the old Jewish law, and again to have priests, and an elaborate ritual, and I know not what besides. These things were faulty and fell short of what was needed even when God instituted them, for they were never intended to produce perfection, or to give rest to the troubled conscience; so of what use can those ceremonies be which are of man's own invention, and which are not according to the new covenant at all?
10-12. Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinancs, imposed on them until the time of reformation. But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.2
Christ has entered into the true holy place,not into that which was curtained with a veil, which was but a type, and which was put away when the veil was rent from the top to the bottom as Jesus died; he has entered into the immediate presence of God, and he has entered there once for all, "having obtained eternal redemption for us."
13, 14. For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit of offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?3
Do you all feel the power of that blood now Oh, what blessing it is to know that the conscience is quite at rest because of the purging wrought by Jesu's blood! It is heaven begun below. We cannot serve God aright until we have been thus cleansed; nay, we dare not stand in that awful presence while the consciousness of sin is upon us; but when Jesus Christ saith to us, "Ye are clean," then, "being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." Then have we "access with confidence" unto the Father through him.
15-17. And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the trangression that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritence. For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.
Whether it be a covenant or a testament, death is necessary to make it valid. God's covenants have ever been sanctioned and ratfied with blood and the covenant or the testament of eternal grace is ratfied with the blood of the Surety and Testator.
18-26. Whereupon neither the first testament was dedicated without blood. For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop and sprinkled both the book, and all the people, Saying, This is the blood of the testament which God hath enjoined unto you. Moreover he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vesels of the ministry. And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission. It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us: nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; for then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world; but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.4
What Aaron could not do by entering into the holy place year after year, Christ has done by entering into heaven once; and there is no more need of a sacrfice for sin, and they are grossly guilty who pretend to offer Christ over again. The great work of redemption is finished; sin is put away, and there is no more remembrance of it. In the sight of God, Christ's one sacrifice hath completed the expiation of sin, glory be to a holy name!
27, 28. And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: so Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.
He shall come to complete the salvation of those for whom his precious sacrifice was offered all those hundreds of years ago.
Now let us read the passage to which Paul refers in verses 19 to 21.
Exodus 24:1-2. And he said unto Moses, Come up unto the LORD, thou, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel; and worship ye afar off. And Moses alone shall come near the LORD: but they shall not come nigh; neither shall the people go up with him.
Nearer to God than the people were allowed to come, but still at a distance from him. It was a covenant of distance,bounds were set about the mount lest the people shold come too near. Yet they were near unto God as compared with the heathen, but far off as compared with those who now, by the teaching of the Spirit of God, have been brought near to God through the precious blood of Jesus. Moses alone could come near to Jehovah on mount Sinai, the people could not go up with him,nor even with the man who was their mediator with God, for such Moses was; but you and I, beloved, can go up with him who is far greater than Moses,with him who is the one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ at Jesus, for God "hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus."
3-8. And Moses came and told the people all the words of the LORD, and all the judgments: and all the people anwered with on voice, and said, All the words which the LORD hath said will we do. And Moses wrote all the words of the LORD, and rose up early in the morning, and builded an altar under the hill, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel. And he sent young men of the children of Israel, which offered burnt offerings, and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen unto the LORD. And Moses took half of the blood, and put it in basons; and half of the blood he sprinkled on the altar. And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the LORD hath said will we do, and be obedient. And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the LORD hath made with you concerning all these words.
There is a double power about the blood;towards God an atonement, that is the blood sprinkled on the altar,and towards ourselves a sense of reconciliation, thus must the blood be sprinked upon us that we may prove its cleansing power.
9-10. Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel: and they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness.