Saturday, April 20, 2013

THRESHOLD COVENANT


THRESHOLD COVENANT


In the following teaching I will briefly explain what the Threshold Covenant is and why it is important for us to understand it. Hopefully by understanding its significance we will see what it means to us in the sense of obedience in our relationship with the Holy One of Israel. It will give us a better understanding of what the term "under the blood" really means. Understanding this covenant will help us see great thematic connections to various scriptures, especially those regarding the Feast of Passover. With this insight we will receive greater revelation of why the Word of Yah is called the Living Word. When we grasp the little intricacies hidden in-between the lines of our Hebrew bible, it is like seeing a diamond from a different angle and the skek'hinah (glory) is most beautiful.

In ancient times it was common practice to use a door threshold to make a covenant between two people or families. The people would take an animal and cut it in half. They would place the two halves on either side of the doorway with the blood flowing across the threshold. The threshold (bottom front step area) of the home, would actually have a little groove all the way across and a small basin area on one side were the blood of a sacrifice could be poured. The blood of a sacrifice was normally poured in the basin and it drained across the door threshold.

By crossing over this threshold the guest would understand that he was in agreement with whatever the covenant with that family was. They were in agreement with each other. The home owner was essentially creating a covenant with his guest.

The two individuals, or groups, would state whatever their covenantal agreement was to each other and then both walk through the threshold, completing the action. Then they would speak out loud that if they broke the covenant they would be like the two halves of the sacrifice, dead, broken, and torn apart because of their actions. "May we be like the animals we just killed" if we break this covenant.

It was also common practice for those who were not in agreement with the covenantal practices of others, to trample down the sacrifice on the threshold of the door of the home.

When someone invited another person into their home, they would sometimes make and display a sacrifice at the threshold of their home in order to designate the god or goddess their tribe was in covenant with. These pagans worshipped their gods in the entranceway of their homes. So, if for example you were invited over for a meal, they may sacrifice an animal to a specific pagan deity on the threshold of the door, so the blood of the animal ran across the threshold of the door. Upon entering (crossing over) the door threshold one would be acknowledging their god and be in agreement with the covenant of this belief. In this manner the home owners thought that their god would protect them and the one entering. They would sacrifice according to the priority they gave your company. It could be a small sacrifice or a very expensive sacrifice.

THE THRESHOLD

We see in Genesis an example of the threshold covenant as it appears in scripture. Lot had two visitors come to talk to him. He invited them into his home and the moment they stepped across the threshold of his home they were under the protection of Lot. 

Gen. 19:2-3 "And he said, “Now behold, my lords, please turn aside into your servant’s house, and spend the night, and wash your feet; then you may rise early and go on your way.” They said however, “No, but we shall spend the night in the square.” Yet he urged them strongly, so they turned aside to him and entered his house; and he prepared a feast for them, and baked unleavened bread, and they ate."

Gen. 19:8 "Now behold, I have two daughters who have not [d]had relations with man; please let me bring them out to you, and do to them [e]whatever you like; only do nothing to these men, inasmuch as they have come under the [f]shelter of my roof.”

That is why the scriptures say that Lot was so concerned about protecting these two men (angels) that he offered up his two daughters to the mob so his covenant would not be broken. A man's word, covenant, in those days, was a very serious thing. These men were in agreement with Lot when they entered his home so the oneness was on Lot to protect them at all costs. This threshold covenant was so binding that Lot offered a very shocking alternative to satisfy the evil people outside his home.

PASSOVER CONNECTION
What happened at Passover, as far as the blood on the threshold was concerned, was nothing new to people at that time. It was a common practice. 

Now let's have a look at the Passover connection. We may get a better understanding of the Passover threshold covenant the people made with Yah at that time. Exod. 12:7-13 "Moreover, they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel [l]of the houses in which they eat it. They shall eat the flesh that same night, roasted with fire, and they shall eat it with unleavened bread [m]and bitter herbs. Do not eat any of it raw or boiled at all with water, but rather roasted with fire, both its head and its legs along with its entrails. 10 And you shall not leave any of it over until morning, but whatever is left of it until morning, you shall burn with fire. 11 Now you shall eat it in this manner: with your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it in haste—it is the Lord’s Passover. 12 For I will go through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments—I am the Lord. 13 The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you [n]live; and when I see the blood I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you [o]to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.

Yah promised His people that the Death angel would cross over the homes of His people who were in agreement (covenant) with Him. As it says in Exod. 12:23 "For the Lord will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when He sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the Lord will pass over the door and will not allow the destroyer to come in to your houses to smite you." If the household was not protected by the father, the first born of man and beast would die. The blood around the doorway was a threshold covenant Yahveh used for His people. When the Death angel went over the homes he would say; "this house is in agreement," "this house is not". This was an agreement between Yah and His people who would OBEY Him. People today claim to love Him, but as per His agreement (Torah), they do not keep His commandments (John 14:15). Those who do not obey are simply NOT covered by the blood of the threshold agreement Yeshua represented as the sacrificed "lamb of God". 

THEMATIC CONNECTIONS
Let's have a look at some of the thematic connections in our Good Book regarding blood, sacrifices, and covenants. 

Remember when Yah made a covenant with Abraham. Gen. 15:17-18 " It came about when the sun had set, that it was very dark, and behold, there appeared a smoking oven and a flaming torch which passed between these pieces. 18 On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying,“To your [t]descendants I have given this land, From the river of Egypt as far as the great river, the river Euphrates" With that in mind it is easy to understand the context of what was spoken in Zech. 12:2-3  “Behold, I am going to make Jerusalem a cup [b]that causes reeling (trembling) to all the peoples around; and when the siege is against Jerusalem, it will also be against Judah. It will come about in that day that I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples; all who lift it will be severely [c]injured. And all the nations of the earth will be gathered against it."  Jerusalem was made a threshold of trembling. Jerusalem was designated as Yah's anointed place where Yeshua would reign and where Yah would place His name. Jerusalem is the threshold of His house. Those who would dare to cross over it with bad intentions in their heart show that they despise His covenant. They would become as the cut up pieces of the animals sacrificed for the covenant.

If Jerusalem was the center of Yah's covenant then who's blood was shed at the threshold of His home, Jerusalem?  Yeshua was sent as the Lamb Of Yah, who's blood was shed over the threshold of Jerusalem so that we could be renewed in His covenant and become His people again. Yeshua was sent because we have all transgressed, trampled on His law.

Now let's look at the book of Samuel where we see the Philistines carry the ark of the covenant into the temple of Dagon. Do you remember what happened next? Let's have a look. 1Sam. 5:1-5 "Now the Philistines took the ark of God and brought it from Ebenezer to Ashdod. Then the Philistines took the ark of God and brought it to the house of Dagon and set it by Dagon. When the Ashdodites arose early the next morning, behold, Dagon had fallen on his face to the ground before the ark of the Lord. So they took Dagon and set him in his place again. But when they arose early the next morning, behold, Dagon had fallen on his face to the ground before the ark of the Lord. And the head of Dagon and both the palms of his hands were cut off on the threshold; [a]only the trunk of Dagon was left to him. 5 Therefore neither the priests of Dagon nor all who enter Dagon’s house tread on the threshold of Dagon in Ashdod to this day." 

Why does it say even to this day the priests of Dagon will not ever enter into Dagon's house?
It says this because even the priest's of Dagon acknowledge that that place is now holy ground for the Holy One of Israel. That place dedicated to Dagon was overcome by Yah's glory and He reclaimed it.  He demonstrated that He alone was the Almighty of the Universe and that He alone has the right to anything in it. In the following examples you can see that priests were commonly identified as threshold covenant door keepers. 

2Kgs. 22:4 "Go up to Hilkiah the high priest that he may [a]count the money brought in to the house of the Lord which the doorkeepers have gathered from the people."

Jer. 35:4 " and I brought them into the house of the Lord, into the chamber of the sons of Hanan the son of Igdaliah, the man of God, which was near the chamber of the officials, which was above the chamber of Maaseiah the son of Shallum, the doorkeeper"

2Kgs. 12:9 "But Jehoiada the priest took a chest and bored a hole in its lid and put it beside the altar, on the right side as one comes into the house of the Lord; and the priests who guarded the threshold put in it all the money which was brought into the house of the Lord"

WORSE THAN A CURSE
The way a person in those days would show that he was not at all in agreement with someones covenant offering was by trampling and stomping on the sacrifice at the doorway. This practice was considered even worse than cursing at ones neighbor in those days. Now with that in mind, prayerfully consider the following verses. Hebr. 10:26-29 " For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a terrifying expectation of judgment and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries. 28 Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses" 29 How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace? Isn't it interesting how the language of the covenant was used in these verses? Then we see the outcome of those who break covenant as stated in Hebr. 10:30 "For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge His people."31 It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God" The reality of what is spoken here is that some day Yah is coming back and He is going to clean house. He is personally going to deal with those who trampled on His covenants. He is going to dish out His vengeance. 

THE DAY OF THE LORD
How does "the Day Of The Lord" fit in? When we keep in mind the context of what is said in the following Hebrews passage, it all makes sense. Hebr. 10:25 "not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near" The day spoken of here is "The Day Of The Lord". This is the judgement that will take place for believers at the beginning of the thousand year reign we know as the millenial reign. This is the one day of the Lord. Unbelievers will be judged after the thousand year period. After the thousand year reign is over, Yeshua hands His reign back over to the Father. This is the end of the seven days of man on earth as we know it. In order to appreciate this, we must keep in mind what is spoken of in scripture.

 What is spoken of in Hebrews chapter three to four is our thousand year sabbath rest. It is the rest that we are waiting to enter into after our judgement. Keep in mind that Yeshua said He was Lord of the Sabbath. The weekly sabbath is a prophetic foreshadow of the last thousand years, the Day of the Lord that we are still waiting to enter. The promise remains of us being able to enter into His rest. 
Hebr. 4:1-3 "Therefore, let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you may seem to have come short of it" For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also; but the word [a]they heard did not profit them, because [b]it was not united by faith in those who heard. 3 For we who have believed enter that rest, just as He has said, “As I swore in My wrath, They shall not enter My rest,” although His works were finished from the foundation of the world." He goes on to explain it further in Hebr. 4:4-10. We will be rewarded for our labor. 

All of this is mentioned so that we can remember what the Israelites did to Yah's covenant in the wilderness. They trampled all over His covenant and they did not enter into His rest. They continued to willfully sin just as spoken of in Hebrews chapter ten. They received the same gospel as us but did not walk it out in their faith. Hebr. 4:10-13" For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His. 11 Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience. 12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do." There are many reasons why we should never trample on the blood of the covenant once we know the truth. The key is to know this truth and depend on Yah's promises made in His Living Word, sharper than a two edged sword. Life is in the blood.

TODAY'S TRADITION
Now you can see where the wedding tradition of a groom carrying his bride over the threshold of their home comes from. It simply meant that the bride and groom were in a covenant relationship with each other. They were in agreement with each other about the things in their lives.

SUMMARY
How does all of this relate to today's world? Well, once we understand the origin of this custom we realize that when you invite someone over to your house, for supper for example, you are in reality forming a temporary covenant. Those you have invited over, for whatever reason, are agreeing with the God you are in covenant with. When they come through the door and passover the threshold they are symbolically in agreement with you.

Almost everyone recognizes the biblical idea of the threshold once it has been explained. We are all familiar with door ways and the idea of what happened at Passover. Those who were in agreement with Yahveh had the blood of their sacrifice to Him protect their homes and their firstborn. Those who never painted the blood over the threshold of the home were simply saying that the God of Israel was not welcome in their home. In doing so, they invited the death of the firstborn into their homes. Those who were not obedient to what Yah said, were spiritual rebels. Their lack of obedience was essentially a message of disobedience and defiance, or rebellion towards the Holy one of Israel. 
We see this exact same attitude in the so-called Sunday worshipping Christian church today. Their lack of obedience, following the word of Yah, is rebellion. Spiritual rebellion as such is witchcraft. Those christians say they are obedient but by their lack of obedience they clearly proclaim they are not children of the Most High God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. They do this because they don't understand covenant life. They have no idea what being in covenant with Yahveh is. Being obedient means being blessed by Yah. Being disobedient means experiencing the curses and wrath of Yah. It's everyone choice to make. Do we want to be blessed or cursed?

Do we come to the threshold and not step through, or do we gladly step over the blood of the lamb and enter into the blood covering of His love? Col. 1:20 "and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His stake; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in [ac]heaven." Our doorway to the Father is through Yeshua His Son and the blood of that lamb on the threshold of our home. 

Do you make decisions in a covenantal way? Are we basing our decisions on a material need or in a spiritual sense? Do we take the bible literally or just figuratively? Do we, like the pagans, run after things of the world, or are we running after things of Yah? WE know the things of the world can be enticing, but we must be strong enough to turn from Satan's lustful desires? Satan has a way of slowly rocking us to sleep when we constantly fall for the desires of the world around us. The world offers us a covenant of water. The world offers us a covenant that means nothing whatsoever. Yah offers us a covenant of blood and love. Coming under the protection of His blood means everything. It gives us not only peace in Yah, but the perfect peace of Yah. Are you washed in the blood? Have you stepped through the blood of the lamb? 

One more thought. Could the mezuzah be considered representative of the threshold covenant? It can indeed be the outside sign of our belief on the front of our homes.
Many people say the word BIBLE means Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth, but this is not true. The BIBLE is our Binding Instructions Before Leaving Earth.

Jerry Hennig