Friday, June 10, 2011

Beginning to end: Blood is required

In the old testament, an animal's blood was required for a sin offering.  Today, we have the blood of Jesus for the forgiveness of sins.  But, what about when Jesus was on earth and those saints who believed upon him?  No blood was shed for their salvation.  Didn't blood need to be shed for them to be saved, too?

I assume that when you say "...when Jesus was on earth..." that you mean while he was still alive/before the Cross. If that is what you meant, then yes, blood was still shed because they still went to the temple to offer sacrifices. They never stopped that during His earthly ministry.

Look at the sermon on the Mount:

Matthew 5:23
Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.

Matthew 8:1
When he was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him. And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. And Jesus saith unto him, See thou tell no man; but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.

The gifts that they were bringing to the altars were animal blood sacrifices.

Leviticus 14:1-2; 10-11
And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, This shall be the law of the leper in the day of his cleansing: He shall be brought unto the priest:

And on the eighth day he shall take two he lambs without blemish, and one ewe lamb of the first year without blemish, and three tenth deals of fine flour for a meat offering, mingled with oil, and one log of oil. And the priest that maketh him clean shall present the man that is to be made clean, and those things, before the LORD, at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation:

Exodus 29:38-46
Now this is that which thou shalt offer upon the altar; two lambs of the first year day by day continually. The one lamb thou shalt offer in the morning; and the other lamb thou shalt offer at even: And with the one lamb a tenth deal of flour mingled with the fourth part of an hin of beaten oil; and the fourth part of an hin of wine for a drink offering. And the other lamb thou shalt offer at even, and shalt do thereto according to the meat offering of the morning, and according to the drink offering thereof, for a sweet savour, an offering made by fire unto the LORD. This shall be a continual burnt offering throughout your generations at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the LORD: where I will meet you, to speak there unto thee. And there I will meet with the children of Israel, and the tabernacle shall be sanctified by my glory. And I will sanctify the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar: I will sanctify also both Aaron and his sons, to minister to me in the priest's office. And I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will be their God. And they shall know that I am the LORD their God, that brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, that I may dwell among them: I am the LORD their God.

The Lord told Israel, including his disciples, to do the religious ordinances laid out by the religious leaders.

Matthew 23:1-3
Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.

Matthew 23:18
And, Whosoever shall swear by the altar, it is nothing; but whosoever sweareth by the gift that is upon it, he is guilty. Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gift, or the altar that sanctifieth the gift? Whoso therefore shall swear by the altar, sweareth by it, and by all things thereon.

So before the Lord died as the true "Lamb of God" his followers were still under the Mosaic Law of animal sacrifices.

They pointed to Christ's upcoming death:

Hebrews 13:10-16
We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle. For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp. Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate. Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach. For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come. By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.

So, it was not until after his crosswork that they began to understand that all those things involved in the law of the animal blood sacrifices were only types and shadows. 

Luke 22:12-20
And he shall shew you a large upper room furnished: there make ready. And they went, and found as he had said unto them: and they made ready the passover. And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him. And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer: For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves: For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come. And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.

So yes, while he ministered on earth, the Lord's disciples still offered the Mosaic Law animal sacrifices, but after his death, burial and resurrection, the reason they went to the temple was to fellowship and preach/teach Jesus Christ to the rest of Israel going there to worship.

In the book of Acts, Stephen rebukes Israel for continuing on in the blood of lambs, while rejecting the blood of the true Lamb of God!  Their focus was only on those blood sacrifices and not on the Lord Jesus Christ. Stephen went back into their history and showed them how Moses and others were types and shadows of the Lord Jesus Christ and he told them that the blood sacrifice is also a type and shadow of the true Messiah.

The book of Hebrews explains how the Lord Jesus Christ superseded Moses, the Law, the sacrifices and temple worship - all the things that Israel looked to in order to worship God. All these pointed to Christ who became their new High Priest, not after the order of Aaron and the Levitical priesthood, but after the order of Melchizedek's everlasting priesthood promised to him by God the Father.

The Lord's disciples rightly continued offering animal sacrifices and the focus was to be less on the animals and more on who they pointed to - the Lord Jesus Christ.

They continued because ‘not one jot or tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled’ (Matt. 5:18).  But after the cross, the point of offering those sacrifices when they believed on the Lord Jesus Christ was more of a memorial than a requirement.  The works were still required, but those works without Jesus were vain.

(By the way, you know why not much is said about the animal blood sacrifices during the Lord's earthly ministry in Matthew/Mark/Luke/John, even though it is spelled out in detail in the O.T.?  It's because the Holy Ghost is minimizing the animal blood, and magnifying Israel's Messiah, and his blood being shed for their sins—proof that the Law points to our Lord Jesus Christ!)

Hopefully this helps! 

Do you have a question for Pastor Ron?

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