This issue looks at the biblical reason for a blood sacrifice in the Bible.
SINCE YOU ASKED
Many people wonder at the whole idea of shedding blood as part of some religious sacrifice. What’s that all about anyway? Surely there must be another way to make wrongs right, or more accurately, to atone for sins. It can be seen in many different cultures, and to be honest, it does seem like a strange custom. So, what is this practice based on, and where did it begin? The Bible verse that sheds the most light on this is Leviticus 17:11:
For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood by reason of the life that makes atonement.
This verse reminds us that life is bound up in our blood. Lose the blood and life goes, too. The practice of a blood sacrifice to cover sins, however, began long before the time of Moses and the giving of the Law. God initiated it in the Garden of Eden when He killed an unidentified animal (or more than one) to make “garments of skin” (Gen. 3:21) to cover their nakedness. Their sin of disobeying God had made them embarrassed and ashamed. According to the Bible, this was the first time blood had ever been shed, and, therefore, the first example of the death of anything. Check out Romans 5:12 and 1 Corinthians 15:21 for yourself. They reinforce the idea that death was the result of sin, and sin first showed up in the Garden of Eden. The age of the dinosaurs had not come and gone. There were no fossils recording previous death of any kind. This idea is reinforced by the fact that at the end of the sixth day, God looked at all He had made and declared that it was “very good.” Think about it. If He had seen death in any form, he could never have said things were very good. Through the death of the animal(s), God provided a “covering for sin.”
AS I SEE IT
Since the Bible makes it clear that no one is justified (declared not guilty when, in fact we are) (See Galatians 2:16) by keeping the Law, including the sacrifices, what was the purpose of it all? This is where the message of the New Testament (New Covenant) comes alive. Suddenly, the episode in the Garden and the whole Old Testament sacrificial system can be seen as a preview of a coming attraction, which is a real blockbuster. Both events pointed to Jesus Christ, who would become the “once for all” sacrifice that would truly atone for the sins of the world. Why was His shed blood effective when the blood of all those animals wasn’t? Being fully man, He could serve as our substitute, paying the penalty for our sin. Being fully God, He was sinless, meeting the requirement of an “unblemished male lamb” (See 1 Peter 1:19).
God was also showing us how we, as sinners, are to approach a holy God-only through the blood of Christ. We can come into His presence only because Jesus has “paved the way,” removing our sin, which is what has been separating us from Him (See Isaiah 59:2).
Think about what that means for you. Jesus Christ went to the cross in your place so God could shower you with His mercy. He did all that He could to make heaven available to anyone willing to receive Him as his Lord and Savior. No one is too bad or too good to be saved. After all, it’s not about what we have done, but all about what Christ has already done for us.
How will you respond? Will you make this the most memorable Christmas ever by receiving Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and having your sins washed away, forever?
To learn more about what the Bible says regarding our relationship with Israel, check out The Israeli Connection. To make sure you are benefiting from Christ’s costly sacrifice, check out HOW TO KNOW YOU”RE HEAVEN BOUND.