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“Behold, The Lamb of God!” John 1:36

How the Sacrificial System Prepared for the Atonement of Jesus


The OT Sacrificial System • a response to a living relationship with the living God, • not the source of a relationship. Ex. 19:4-6. Ex.24:1-8. – I bore you on eagles' wings, and brought you to Myself -- Ex.19:4 • But God is in charge – you shall worship at a distance. -- Ex.24:1 – God not manipulated by a religious system


The OT Sacrificial System • This is in contrast to the ANE • ANE = Ancient Near East


The Environment of the ANE • ANE peoples – Cosmic forces of nature • personified with gross images. • The people seek to appease them for: – survival, – rain for harvests, – fertility of humans and animals, etc. • Impersonal gods. • Controlled by rituals

– No personal relationship


• Peoples of the ANE – Pagans prayed • Repeated magic formulas • sacrifices – to “feed” the gods – keep them happy – keep the gods doing their jobs • Goal: –to manipulate –Appease –keep them secure in an insecure world.


Pagan Worship • • • •

not about sin not about personal responsibility, not about seeking forgiveness from true guilt not about relationship w/God or love for God


Two Contrasting Worldviews Peoples of the ANE

•Reflecting on the Atonement •The sacrificial system •“mechanistic” or relational?

People Of YHWH


Direction of “Flow” in Religious Ritual “pagan gods” Purpose of ritual: To appease To manipulate ANE people People reaching up

YHWH Purpose of ritual: Relationship Reconciliation Israel God reaching down


Why is this flow so important? • For understanding what God did in the cross • God is making the provision • the person offering the sacrifice must accept that provision with – repentance, – confession & – a right attitude of heart.


Why is this flow so important? • It calls for a human response to God’s initiative and in the context of relationship. • “The fundamental idea of Atonement is, above all, a movement of God to man, not in the first place a movement of man to God.” –Christus Victor, by Gustaf Aulen


God’s Developing Relationship with His people • • • • •

Delivered them from bondage Won their hearts and devotion. Showed His power over all other gods. Sealed this new relationship in “covenant.” Revealed in the law how to live in love with Him and with one another. • What next?


Historical Plan of Redemption • The sacrificial system • What was God teaching through it? – 1. The moral defilement of sin. – 2. That God is NOT sinful – 3. not like the pagan gods – 4. Sinners responsible for their sin.


Historical Plan of Redemption • The sacrificial system • What was God teaching through it? – 5. Reveals His own desire to show mercy – 6. Reveals how each person • Must admit personal responsibility for sin • Must meet the conditions for forgiveness.


Historical Plan of Redemption • Sacrificial System – A practical intermediate solution – Pointed toward the final solution in the cross. – Ro. 3:25


How Did He Do This? • Physical picture to make truths experientially real. – Uses comparisons. – Links the ideas of “holiness” in physical things to the idea of holiness in moral things. Lev. 20:3 – Ties this together with Himself and with the idea of relationships. Lev. 11:44-45


The Sacrificial System (Lev. 1-7) • A. Two general categories of sacrifices: – 1. those for sin and – 2. those for expressions of spontaneous worship. • B. All sin sacrifices are blood, except for the very poor • C. Spontaneous worship sacrifices can be either animal or grain. Not all blood sacrifices are for sin (Lv.9:18 – peace offering) • D. Teach essential truths = strictly enforced (Nadab & Abihu, Lv. 10) or truth compromised.


The Sacrificial System (Lev. 1-7) • E. Fellowship and communion with God and one another was an aspect as seen in the eating of the sacrifices.


The Day of Atonement - Lev. 16 • “the Good Friday of the OT.” The Jews still do it. • A solemn day of – fasting, – prayer – Contrition (deep sorrow for sin; grief of heart for having offended an infinitely holy and benevolent God – Webster Dictionary) – humility, – repentance and faith in God.


The Day of Atonement - Lev. 16 • • • •

Purpose: provision for the people Priests completely cleansed. (Lev. 16:33) All sacrifices pointed to this day. Pointed to a final day of atonement – the cross.


• Lev.16: The focus is on the high priest. – Only High Priest in the holy of holies • Two goats – One sacrificed – One a scapegoat.


• Two goats – One sacrificed – One a scapegoat. • The scapegoat – “bears away the sins of the people” Jn.1:29 – The Day plays a significant role in the book of Hebrews with reference to Jesus.


Basic Pattern-Atonement Offerings Lev 1:1-9 • in person. • Special animals w/o blemish and healthy. • hands on the head of the animal = personal identification with the sacrifice. Not a transferring of guilt or punishment… • The worshiper slaughtered the animal himself. • In some, perhaps all cases, confession is made.


• Once the offering was made, it is understood that the person is forgiven. (Lev. 4:20, 26, 31, 35; 5:10, 13, 16, 18; 6:7.)


OT Sacrificial System • 1. God is not seeking sacrifice, but relationship. – Sacrifice is the means to that relationsihip. • 2. Holiness is necessary for relationships. Lv.22:31-33 • keep My commandments • I will be sanctified among (you) • 3. God: • absolutely opposed to sin, • but will pardon.


OT Sacrificial System • 4. Sin: – Terrible – Only the giving of life can solve the problems created by sin

• 5. Reconciliation is costly. – God’s law is upheld and honored by the need for atonement.


OT Sacrificial System • 6. God is merciful; – He has defined/made a way • to extend forgiveness through atonement. • Atonement provides for both justice and mercy:


OT Sacrificial System • 6. God is merciful; – “The two essential ideas of God’s justice and mercy – His justice is that the wages of sin is the death of the soul; and His mercy is that God would pardon the sinner if he confessed his sin. The sinner must admit that the life of his soul was lost by his sin, and he offered the life of the sacrifice as his substitute.” Walker, 96.


OT Sacrificial System • 7. Recognition of personal moral responsibility. – The act of offering must have had a decided impact on the one offering it – impressed the conscience. A true sense of guilt and a conscience increasingly aware of the true nature of sin. – Sacrificial experience must lead to true humility.


OT Sacrificial System • 8. When people meet the conditions, it allows God the opportunity to wisely pardon. – Other places in the OT makes clear, a person must recognize their need for a proper condition of heart for forgiveness to be granted (internal, not simply external).


OT Sacrificial System • 8. When people meet the conditions, it allows God the opportunity to wisely pardon. – Is 1:11-13 "What are your multiplied sacrifices to Me?" Says the LORD. "I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams . . . I take no pleasure in the blood of bulls, lambs or goats. . . When you come to appear before Me, Who requires of you this trampling of My courts? Bring your worthless offerings no longer . . .”


OT Sacrificial System • 8. When people meet the conditions, it allows God the opportunity to wisely pardon. – Is 29:13,15 The Lord said, "Because this people draw near with their words And honor Me with their lip service, But they remove their hearts far from Me, And their reverence for Me consists of tradition learned {by rote,} . . . Woe to those who deeply hide their plans from the LORD. . ..


OT Sacrificial System • 8. Human conditions must be real – Ps 51:16-17. David understood that God was after the internal. – You do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it . . . The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.


OT Sacrificial System – Prophets attacked the loss of the moral and relational aspects that stand behind the sacrifice, the “heart” of it all. • Jer 7:21-26. • Amos 5:21-24. • Micah 6:6-8. • Hosea 6:6 (hesed/knowledge of God). • Mal 1:6-8.


OT Sacrificial System Jer.7:21-26 • ". . . to your fathers . . . this is what I commanded them . . . 'Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you will be My people; and you will walk in all the way which I command you, that it may be well with you.' Yet they did not obey . . . but walked in . . . the stubbornness of their evil heart . . . , and went backward and not forward. . . I have sent you all My servants the prophets . . . Yet they did not listen to Me . . . but stiffened their neck; they did more evil than their fathers.�.


OT Sacrificial System Am. 5:21-24 • "I hate, I reject your festivals, nor do I delight in your solemn assemblies. . . Take away from Me the noise of your songs; I will not even listen to the sound of your harps. But let justice roll down like waters And righteousness like an ever-flowing stream..


OT Sacrificial System Micah.6:6-8 • "With what shall I come to the LORD . . . Shall I come to Him with burnt offerings . . . Does the LORD take delight in thousands of rams . . . Shall I present my firstborn {for} my rebellious acts, The fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? • He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God..


OT Sacrificial System Hos. 6:6 • "Hos 6:6 For I delight in loving-kindness, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt-offerings. – Darby • I want your constant love, not your animal sacrifices. I would rather have my people know me than burn offerings to me. – GNB.


OT Sacrificial System Mal.1:6-8 • "A son honors {his} father, and a servant his master. Then if I am a father, where is My honor? . . . when you present the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? And when you present the lame and sick, is it not evil? Why not offer it to your governor? Would he be pleased with you? Or would he receive you kindly?" says the LORD of hosts..


OT Sacrificial System – In later Jewish theology the conditional nature of the Day of Atonement was clearly understood, “He who says ‘I will sin, the Day atones;’ to him the Day will bring no atonement.” (ZPBE, 1-413)


OT Sacrificial System – “...God’s primary desire in the covenant was a certain personal relationship centered in the realm of the spirit. This alone made true and willing obedience possible and the worship acceptable.” (Wright, The Old Testament Against Its Environment, 107.)


OT Sacrificial System • 9. We, not God were in need of reconciliation. Reconciliation: To adjust, to make corrections, to bring into alignment. Our lives need to be adjusted so that we are living according to the conditions of relationship.


OT Sacrificial System • 9. We, not God were in need of reconciliation. Atonement was not something done by us toward God. Instead, God provided something for us. The sin problem is not on the side of God. He is not in need of reconciliation. Rather, we are. Isa.59:1-3. ` 2 Cor. 5:17-21.


OT Sacrificial System Isa 59:1-3 • "Is 59:1-3 Behold, the LORD'S hand is not so short That it cannot save . . . But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God . . . For your hands are defiled with blood And your fingers with iniquity . . . .


OT Sacrificial System 2Co.5:17-21 • "2 Cor 5:17-21 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, {he is} a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. . . from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ . . . namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself . . . Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ . . . we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.. . ..


OT Sacrificial System • 10. Substitutionary atonement was the means to reconciliation. In other words, my cleansing and reconciliation are possible b/c there is a life given which substitutes for my life. – “The fundamental idea of sacrifice in the OT is substitution.” (Edersheim, The Temple, p.107)


• What did the Day of Atonement do? – Taught relationship – Brought experiential revelation of holiness – Emphasized: Sin cannot be overlooked. – God provided a practical intermediate solution so that God can actually forgive the individual while pointing toward a final solution.


Significance of the blood • Leviticus makes the relationship of the blood to the sacrificial system clear. Lev.17:11. – Levi 17:11 (NASU) “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.”


Significance of the blood • Atonement is made by the giving of life – the blood = the life. – “For the death of the sacrifice was only a means toward an end, that end being the shedding and sprinkling of the blood, by which the atonement was really made.” (Edersheim)


Significance of the blood • Further, it is not the shedding of blood (the sacrifice was not slain on the altar.) Rather, the sprinkling of blood brought cleansing. The sinner’s reconciliation is because of the cleansing of the blood, which represented the life given. • The priest did something with the blood. • The Father used the death of Christ to have the righteous way to forgive the person willing to enter into relationship with God. He transformed him, raised a barrier opposing the wickedness of the world


Significance of the blood • The Father used the death of Christ. 1. He created a righteous way to forgive the person willing to enter into relationship with God. 2. He transformed him, 3. He raised a barrier opposing the wickedness of the world 4. He revealed His precious, intelligent, loving character so that we could know Him and have real relationship with Him.


Significance of the blood • Summary: The blood represents the life that is given and is given as a means by which there can be forgiveness, a “provision for mercy.” – Heb 11:28 By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of the blood, so that he who destroyed the firstborn would not touch them. – Matt 23:30, 27:4, 6, Acts 20:26


Significance of the blood – Matt 23:30 -- 'If we had been {living} in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partners with them in {shedding} the blood of the prophets.' – Mt.27:4 -- "I have sinned by betraying innocent blood."


Significance of the blood – Mt.27:6 -- The chief priests took the pieces of silver and said, "It is not lawful to put them into the temple treasury, since it is the price of blood." – Acts 20:26 -- I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men.


Significance of the blood • God’s goal was not to be appeased, so He could be changed into a good mood. (God was not be reconciled; Instead people were being reconciled to God.) Rather, it was a means to cleanse Israel, i.e., a way in which God could wisely show mercy to them, to forgive them and bring them into right relationship with Him.


Significance of the blood • God’s goal was not to be appeased – “…the slaughtering of the sacrificial animal is not a punitive execution within the sacrificial ritual, that is the suffering of death as a punishment, but only the means for securing the atoning blood...the killing of the sacrificial animal is never spoken of as putting to death, but as slaughtering...” Redemption, 68.)

(Delitzsch, OT History of


Significance of the blood • The atonement focuses especially on the blood, but it is not made only by the blood of the sin-offering. It can also be brought forth by the burnt offering, or by the half-shekel tax; indeed, the whole ministry of the priests is a work of atonement for Israel. H. Wheeler Robinson, Inspiration and Revelation in the Old Testament, 218-219.


Significance of the blood • The use of the term “atonement” (Hebrew: KPR) in Lev.16:29-34 and 17:11.) KPR (kipper) is translated and brought into the NT in reference to the atonement as ilaskomai or katallasso. Both follow on the idea of KPR, i.e., “to reconcile.” (NIDNNT article)


Significance of the blood • Remember the flow, here. – God is doing something for us, not us for Him. • Summary: – The blood represents the life and is given as a means by which there can be forgiveness – Jesus, in shedding His blood, dying for us solved the problems I created by my sin. Jesus made a “provision for mercy.”


Summary: Why a sacrificial system? • 1. Revelation. Of the realities of sin, justice and mercy. • 2. Preparation. Prepare people to receive Jesus as the final atonement. • 3. Practical and intermediary, but incomplete. Provided a way for persons to maintain right relationship with God. • 4. Symbolic. Points to Jesus, the final atonement. Heb. 10:1.


How Sacrificial System prepared for Jesus? 1.

2.

It brought forth a revelation of: • the character of God, • the nature of sin • human responsibility. It taught about the real thing. People saw they needed an atonement and deliverance from sin, for a final sense of reconciliation.

3.

By its very repetition it showed that it could not be the final solution.


How Sacrificial System prepared for Jesus? 4.

Taught salvation was by the grace of God, not on human effort.

5.

Jesus fulfilled it. Heb 9:11-14. • Not through blood of goats and calves • Jesus entered the Holy Place once for all • Cleanses the conscience of the one who responds • Leads him to serve the true God.


Why was the Old Testament Sacrificial System not sufficient? • 1. Could not deal fully with the great issues of reconciliation. We define these as four primary problems: – A. How could God show mercy (His desire) and yet uphold justice at the same time? – B. How could God reveal Himself for Who He really is?


Why was the Old Testament Sacrificial System not sufficient? • 1. Could not deal fully with the issues of reconciliation. Four primary problems: – C. How could God get man to see the truth about himself & willingly deal with the condition of his heart and life? – D. How can God bring about inner transformation and a changed life?


Why was the Old Testament Sacrificial System not sufficient? • 2. These four problems are revealed and intensified in the OT system, but none are fully resolved. They wait for the great atonement of the great high priest, Jesus Himself.


The Sacrificial System and Jesus • NT describes Jesus death in terms of the OT sacrifices. – John announces Jesus: the “Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world.” Jn. 1:29, 36. – While lambs were never used for sin offerings, they were a regular part of the sac sys. They were offered morning and evening on the altar, 7 males on the Day of Atonement as burnt offerings.


The Sacrificial System and Jesus • NT describes Jesus death in terms of the OT sacrifices. – This may be an allusion to the Passover lamb. 1 Cor 5:7. – Also, Isa 53:7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth.


• The Book of Hebrews – Hebrews quotes Leviticus 24 times. – Writer of Hebrews uses the Greek word teleios and cognates (words with the same root origin) 10 times. The idea is one of completion. What was incomplete in the OT sacrificial system is now complete in Jesus.


How did Jesus fulfill the OT system? A few incomplete thoughts: • 1. He Himself is the provision for mercy (propitiation) toward which the whole OT sac sys pointed. Hebrews 9:11-14. 1 Jn. 2:2. Rom 3:21-26. – The life of an animal (of little value) was far short of God’s intention in giving Himself.


How did Jesus fulfill the OT system? A few incomplete thoughts: • 2. Jesus “once for all for all time” sacrifice provided access into the Presence of God. Heb 9:22-28. – The OT sacrifice was not adequate; yet it created a longing for personal intimate connection with God. – Heb. 7:19, 25.


How did Jesus fulfill the OT system? A few incomplete thoughts: • 3. Jesus sacrifice brought the full cleansing toward which the OT pointed. Heb 10:1-4. – As in the OT, this cleansing is forgiveness. – Heb. 9:22, 10:18.


How did Jesus fulfill the OT system? A few incomplete thoughts: • 4. The atonement of Jesus makes personal and internal what was hinted at but never accomplished under the OT system. – Heb 9:9, 14. The cleansing of the conscience.


How did Jesus fulfill the OT system? A few incomplete thoughts: • 4. The atonement of Jesus is personal and internal – This seems to be directly tied to the fact and the ground of forgiveness. While both the sac sys and the atonement are about forgiveness, only the greatness of Jesus’ life and sacrifice is satisfying to a person’s conscience. When God says, “I forgive,” and then we see the cross, we are inspired in our faith to believe it to be true!


• Hebrews 10:19-23. “Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, 21 and since [we have] a great priest over the house of God,


• Hebrews 10:19-23. v. 22 let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled [clean] from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.


• Hebrews 10:19-23. v. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful…”


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