The Covenant of Salt

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The Covenant of Salt

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Important since prehistoric times as a seasoning agent and to preserve foods, salt also was commonly used in the religious rites of the Greeks, Romans, Hebrews and Christians. It was an important medium of exchange in the commercial ventures of people across the Mediterranean, Aegean and Adriatic Seas and has been subject to severe taxation in Asian countries from ancient to modern times. In the form of salt cakes, it served as money in both ancient Ethiopia and Tibet. The English term salary was derived from salarium, the Latin term referring to the salt allotment that was issued to soldiers serving in the Roman army.

God’s people

Salt is a lasting symbol, because it protects food from putrefying and preserves it unchanged.

Jesus Christ said in Matthew 5:13 Matthew 5:13You are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his flavor, with which shall it be salted? it is thereafter good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
American King James Version×
during His Sermon on the Mount, “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.” Christ was speaking to His disciples here, including all His people through the ages up until today.

In Luke 14:34-35 Luke 14:34-35 [34] Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his flavor, with which shall it be seasoned? [35] It is neither fit for the land, nor yet for the dunghill; but men cast it out. He that has ears to hear, let him hear.
American King James Version×
the Bible states, “Salt is good; but if the salt has lost its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is neither fit for land nor for the dunghill, but men throw it out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”

Whenever Jesus uses the phrase, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear,” it means, “Pay close attention. This is very important!” He used the phrase eight times in the book of Revelation. Salt is a lasting symbol, because it protects food from putrefying and preserves it unchanged. Most scientists would say the only way salt could lose its savor is to dilute it. The more it is diluted, the less effective it becomes. If we allow ourselves to be diluted by this world, we will certainly become less effective.

Did you know there was a covenant of salt?

Now, salt had a deeper meaning to the people Christ was speaking to, who were mostly of a Jewish background. Salt, along with bread and wine, were staples on the Jewish table. Salt was representative of God’s covenant with them.

Salt is a symbol of purity; we are to become pure.

Numbers 18 tells of God giving the tribe of Levi to the Israelites for their priesthood. Verses 23 and 24 tell us that the Levites have no inheritance, because they were set apart to receive the offerings. Verse 19 explains how the Levites would be supported. “All the heave offerings of the holy things, which the children of Israel offer to the LORD, I have given you and your sons and daughters with you as an ordinance forever; it is a covenant of salt forever before the LORD with you and your descendants with you.”

Leviticus 2:13 Leviticus 2:13And every oblation of your meat offering shall you season with salt; neither shall you suffer the salt of the covenant of your God to be lacking from your meat offering: with all your offerings you shall offer salt.
American King James Version×
shows every offering was required to have salt. “And every offering of your grain offering you shall season with salt; you shall not allow the salt of the covenant of your God to be lacking from your grain offering. With all your offerings you shall offer salt.” Salt was a symbol of an unbreakable covenant. A covenant of salt between God and man was never to be broken.

Can you imagine eating your eggs without salt at breakfast? Few can. Have you ever eaten oatmeal without salt? Or how about a nice juicy steak without salt? Salt adds so much to our lives.

Even ranchers and farmers put out salt for their livestock. Animals need it in their diet.

Matthew, Mark and Luke all cover the subject of salt. “For everyone will be seasoned with fire, and every sacrifice will be seasoned with salt. Salt is good: but if the salt loses its flavor, how will you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace one with another” (Mark 9:49-50 Mark 9:49-50 [49] For every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt. [50] Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his saltiness, with which will you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace one with another.
American King James Version×
).

As Jesus said, “Salt is good,” but too much salt is unhealthy (Mark 9:50 Mark 9:50Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his saltiness, with which will you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace one with another.
American King James Version×
). Today salt is all too plentiful and we need to be aware of the many sources of salt, such as in processed foods and restaurant foods. Because of health problems, some people must be on a low-sodium diet or avoid salt altogether. The message here is not to eat more salt, but to understand the significant spiritual analogies with salt in these biblical messages.

Colossians 4:6 Colossians 4:6 Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer every man.
American King James Version×
says, “Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.” The Jameson, Fausset and Brown commentary notes that “seasoned with salt” means “the savor of fresh and lively spiritual wisdom and earnestness, excluding all corrupt communication.”

Salt is a symbol of purity; we are to become pure. And as salt adds enjoyment to our lives, God wants us to add joy to the world.

Preserving the truth of God

As salt is a preservative, we must preserve the truth of God. As salt is a seasoning, we must have a zest for God’s way of life. Never let it become humdrum. We must not lose our savor. All those animal sacrifices pointed to Jesus Christ and His ultimate sacrifice. The salt pointed to us. As the salt clung to that sacrifice, we must cling to Christ’s sacrifice. Jesus Christ the sacrifice; we the salt.

So, when you pick up your saltshaker each day, and sprinkle a little salt on your food, I hope you will be reminded of the spiritual salt, which you are.

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