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16 For [gar] where [hopou] a testament [diatheke] is, there must also of necessity [anagke] be [phero] the death [thanatos] of the testator [diatithemai].
17 For [gar] a testament [diatheke] is of force [bebaios] after [epi] men are dead [nekros]: otherwise [epei] it is of [ischuo] no [mepote] strength [ischuo] at all [mepote] while [hote] the testator [diatithemai] liveth [zao]. KJV-Interlinear
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. NASB
The word used in the Bible for 'covenant' is 'diatheke' which is a Greek word that means ones will, or ones testament, or ones last testament.
In the Old Testament the word for covenant is 'beriyth,' This term is used for a pact or an agreement. Like breaking bread over an agreement or in the case of a sacrifice, the cutting into pieces the meat and, walking between them. The case with Abraham in Gen. 15, and with Noah in Gen. 9 are two examples of the covenant agreement God gave to them by means of the sacrifice.
These acts occurred long before the Levitical code came into existence.
God is the one giving the testament and man is the heir. When a will is written it is nothing more than a promise for a redistribution of property or gifts to those mentioned in the will. Those transfers of ownership or rights do not occur until the testator actually dies. Only then does the will become an active document whose terms (the wishes of the testator) are carried out.
Blood represents the death of the one who issued the will, or as we have been using the term in our study, the covenant.
So by design and by law, one has to die before the will is executed.
God gave a legacy, an eternal inheritance, to Israel (in particular) and to mankind (in general) in the form of that first covenant, or will. What they had was nothing more than a promise which was future. The provider of the will had to die first before that covenant came into force.
This new covenant may be viewed as a testament sealed by the death of Him that made it - Christ. In Old Testament times the blood of animal sacrifice sealed a covenant to its participants. The death of Christ seals the new covenant.
Here is an added argument to strengthen the facts of Christ's better covenant which we have been studying. The emphasis is upon testament 'diatheke' ('beriyth') sealed by death and by shedding of blood. This is the only way in which a covenant can be in force.
So, now not only is the information available to confirm that the Messiah had to die in order for the covenant to come into force, it has been always known even by those who had the Old Testament scriptures.
Or at least it should have been known.
Again, Abraham knew of and understood the covenant. Moses who wrote the first five books of the Old Testament, knew of and understood this concept. Moses even consecrated the first covenant with a sacrifice as he read each of the commandments and sprinkled blood on them while reading each commandment. We will see this in verse 19 in tomorrow's study.
Now is the time to post a prayer.
End Of Lesson
Study to show thyself approved (mature) unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing (studying/discerning), the Word of truth.