A Sacrifice for Atonement
“And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission” (Hebrews 9:22).
The Bible teaches that everything in the sanctuary or connected with its service was a symbol of something Jesus would do in saving us. The sacrificing of animals and the shedding of their blood was a symbol of the blood of Jesus that was going to be shed to save humans. The punishment for sin is eternal death (Romans 6:23). And since all have sinned, all were sentenced to death.
When Adam and Eve sinned, they would have died at once but Jesus offered to give His perfect life as a sacrifice to pay the death penalty for all people (Revelation 13:8). After sin, God required the sinner to bring an animal sacrifice (Genesis 4:3-7). The sinner was to kill the animal with his own hand (Leviticus 1:4, 5). This action revealed to the sinner the awful consequences of sin – shedding of innocent blood – and the need for a Savior and a substitute.
The sacrificial system taught, through the symbol of the slain animal, that God would give His Son to die for men’s sins (1 Corinthians 15:3). The Son of God would become not only their Savior, but also their substitute. “Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many” (Hebrews 9:28). What infinite love that the innocent would die for the guilty! The Creator for His created beings! “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).
When John the Baptist met Jesus, he declared, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). In the Old Testament, people looked forward to the cross for salvation. Today, we look backward to Calvary for salvation. “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
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In His service,