By Issa Haddad
Why do both the Old Testament scripture and the New Testament scripture agree of the need of sacrifices?
Why shedding blood of perfect sacrifices is essential to atone for sins?
Let us read what God says concerning the need of sacrifices:
I. The Old Testament Teaching:
Exodus 12:1-13 “1The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in Egypt, 2 “This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year. 3 Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household. 4 If any household is too small for a whole lamb, they must share one with their nearest neighbor, having taken into account the number of people there are. You are to determine the amount of lamb needed in accordance with what each person will eat. 5 The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or the goats. 6 Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the people of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight. 7 Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the lambs. 8 That same night they are to eat the meat roasted over the fire, along with bitter herbs, and bread made without yeast. 9 Do not eat the meat raw or cooked in water, but roast it over the fire—head, legs and inner parts. 10 Do not leave any of it till morning; if some is left till morning, you must burn it. 11 This is how you are to eat it: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste; it is the LORD’s Passover. 12 “On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn—both men and animals—and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the LORD. 13 The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.”
Exodus 29:36 “Sacrifice a bull each day as a sin offering to make atonement. Purify the altar by making atonement for it, and anoint it to consecrate it.”
Leviticus 17:11 “For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life.”
Leviticus 19:22 “With the ram of the guilt offering the priest is to make atonement for him before the LORD for the sin he has committed, and his sin will be forgiven.”
Numbers 29:1, 5 “On the first day of the seventh month hold a sacred assembly and do no regular work. It is a day for you to sound the trumpets…. Include one male goat as a sin offering to make atonement for you.”
Zechariah 9:11 “As for you, because of the blood of my covenant with you, I will free your prisoners from the waterless pit.
Hebrews 9:22 In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.”
Where the Old Testament sacrifices of sufficient value to the offerer? According to the teaching of the New Testament the answer is no. The reason for that is simple. The value of a human being is of much greater value than animals. In order for a sacrifice to atone for a human another human must die. However, this is not the only condition in order to atone for the sins of humanity. The second condition is the person must be sinless. The third condition is in order to atone for the sins of all humanity the sacrifice must be of infinite value.
These three conditions are only met in Christ Jesus.
1. Christ Jesus is the perfect human. For he is fully human (Matthew 2:1; Luke 2:4-21; 3:23; 8:40; Galatians 4:4; 1 Timothy 2:5).
2. Christ Jesus is the sinless human (Matthew 27:3-4; John 7:16-18; 8:29, 46, 50; Romans 15:3; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 1:9; 2:10; 4:15; 7:26-28; 1 Peter 1:19; 2:22, 23; 1 John 3:5). Even the Qur’an testifies of the sinlessness of Christ Jesus. For in sura 19:19 it reads: “He said: “Nay, I am only a messenger from thy Lord, (to announce) to thee the gift of a holy son [Jesus].”
3. Lastly, Christ Jesus is the God-man thus his sacrifice is of an infinite value (Hebrews 9:12, 14, 22; 13:20; see also John 1:1, 14, 18; 1 Corinthians 1:3; 12:4-6; Ephesians 6:23).
II. The New Testament Teaching:
The Old Testament sacrifices were symbolic of the perfect sacrifice in Christ Jesus. See below for the significant of the Old Testament sacrifices.
Matthew 26:28 Christ’s speaking: “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”
Acts 20:28 “Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.”
Romans 3:24, 25 “And are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished….
Romans 5:8, 9 “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!”
Hebrews 9:12, 14, and 22 “He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption… How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!… In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.”
Hebrews 10:19, 20 “Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body…” (see also Hebrews 12:24; 13:12)
Hebrews 13:20 “May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep…”
1 Peter 1:2 “Who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood: Grace and peace be yours in abundance.” (see also 1 Peter 1:18, 19; 1 John 1:7; 5:6; Revelation 1:5; 5:9; 7:14; 12:11; 13:8)
III. The sacrifices of the Old Testament
Burnt Offering (Leviticus 1:1-17; 6:8-13)
The purpose: of this sacrifice is to make payment for sin in general, enabling an unholy people to approach a holy God
The Offering: Atoning sacrifice of an unblemished bull; male sheep or goat; male or female dove/pigeon (based on wealth).
Significance: Showed a person’s devotion to God
How does it symbolize Christ? Christ’s death was the Perfect Offering.
Scriptural References: (Genesis 8:20-22; Exodus 29:42-46; Numbers 28-29; 1 Samuel 7:9-10; 1 Chronicles 21:18-22:1; Isaiah 1:11-20; Mark 12:33; Romans 3:25; 8:3; Hebrews 10:1-18 The cost of Salvation (1 Samuel 24:24).
Grain Offering (Leviticus 2:1-16; 6:14-23)
The purpose: To show honor and respect to God in worship
The offering: Flour or grain
Significance: Acknowledged that all we have belongs to God
Symbolic to: Christ was the perfect man, who gave all of himself to God and others
Scriptural References: (Exodus 30:9; 40:29; Numbers 16:15; 28-29; Nehemiah 10:33, 37; cp. 2 Corinthians 9:1-15; 1 Timothy 5:17-18)
Fellowship (peace) Offering (Leviticus 3:1-17; 7:11-38)
Purpose: An expression of gratitude and desire for fellowship with God
Offering: Unblemished bull/male or female sheep/goat
Significance: Symbolized peace and fellowship with God
Symbolic to: Christ is the only way to fellowship with God
Scriptural Reference: (Exodus 18:12; 24:9-11; 1 Samuel 9:15-25; Acts 2:42; 10:32; Romans 5:1; 1 Corinthians 10:16; 11:17-34; 2 Corinthians 5:18-21)
Sin Offering (Leviticus 4:1-5:13; 6:24-30)
Purpose: Atonement for unintentional sins of weakness or carelessness
Offering: Unblemished bull/male or female sheep/goat
Significance: Restored the sinner to fellowship with God; showed seriousness of sin
Symbolic of: Christ’s death restores our fellowship with God
Scriptural References: (Numbers 15:22-31; Galatians 6:1; Hebrews 10:26-31; 1 John 1:8-9)
Guilt (Trespass) Offering (Leviticus 5:14-6:7; 7:1-10)
Purpose: Atonement for specific sins; injured persons compensated for their losses
Offering: Unblemished ram
Significance: Provided compensation (repayment) for injured parties
Symbolic of: Christ’s death takes away the deadly consequences of sin
Scriptural References: (Matthew 5:23-24; Romans 6:12-23; 7:21-8:4)
Why Christ died? Let me give you some reasons why Christ must die.
1. Jesus died to Destroy the enemy’s power:
a. Christ’s death destroyed the power of death (Romans 6:9; 2 Corinthians 7:10; 1 Timothy 1:10)
b. Christ’s death destroyed the power of Satan (Hebrews 2:14; 1 John 3:8)
2. Jesus died to do away with evil
a. Christ’s death did away with guilt (Isaiah 53:10).
b. Christ’s death did away with impurity (Zechariah 13:1)
c. Christ’s death did away with Iniquity (Isaiah 53:5-11)
d. Christ’s death did away with sin (Isaiah 53:12; Matthew 1:21; John 1:29; Romans 6:9, 10; 8:3; 1 Peter 3:18)
3. Jesus died to free us from God’s wrath (Romans 5:9; 1 Thessalonians 1:10; 5:9)
4. Jesus died to satisfy God’s Justice (Romans 3:23-26; Galatians 3:11-13)
5. Jesus died to save mankind (John 3:14-16; 5:24-25)
In conclusion, there is a reason why Christian insists on the death of Christ. I urge you to study this information and may God give you understanding of His way of salvation.