Let’s imagine for a second that you are an ancient Israelite.
You wake up one morning knowing that you have to take a trip to the Wilderness Tabernacle to pay homage to your God.
Other nations have their gods but you have yours.
Your God’s Name is YAHWEH.
And He was the one who through a mighty display of miraculous working power freed you and your brothers from the backbreaking yoke of slavery when you were in Egypt.
So why are you making a trip to the Tabernacle?
To make a sacrifice per the command of your God.
You steadily make your way to the Holy dwelling place of the Lord bringing with you your innocent sheep (or goat or cattle).
When you arrive at the outer court gate, you are escorted by a priest into the courtyard.
There you take your animal, and with the priest’s help turn it over and have it held down for the gruesome act that is about to take place.
While your animal is being held down, you take a long sharp blade, aim it at the most sensitive part of the animal’s fully exposed neck, and whoosh, slice open its throat.
You stand there in silence as the blood gushes out in globs.
Your animal, now a carcass, is then cut up into separate parts that will be placed on the Brazen Altar to be fully consumed by the flames of a roaring fire.
This scene I just described was a process your average Israelite regularly participated in.
Now what principle or idea do you think was being firmly impressed upon the minds of the Hebrews as they day in and day out witnessed the unceasing sacrifice of animals and the never-ending glow of fire at the Brazen Altar?
No doubt, these sacrifices at the altar must have resulted in the bittersweet understanding that there is NO atonement for sin without a blood sacrifice.
They may not have thought about it in those terms.
But somewhere deep within the recesses of their consciousness, slowly but surely, God was impressing upon the minds of the Israelites the idea that these animals had to die so that their own lives could be spared.
They were being made aware of the great cost and sacrifice needed in order to have an ongoing relationship with a Holy God who also demanded, absolutely required that His People also be holy, if they were to have a relationship with Him.
I suspect that believers today think of Yeshua’s sacrifice in a kind of nonchalant, matter-of-fact way.
However, for your average ancient Israelite, the reality of the blood sacrifices that God demanded in order to maintain a relationship with Him was an ugly reality that was right in their faces.
These sacrifices were noisy, messy, foul-smelling and gut wrenching.
There was no shrinking away or separating oneself away from what God demanded had to be done.
Their sin then and OUR SIN today requires a BLOOD SACRIFICE.
CONNECTING THIS TEACHING TO THE NEW TESTAMENT
“In fact, according to the Torah,
almost everything is purified with blood;
indeed, without the shedding of blood
there is no forgiveness of sins.”