Many sacrifices of the Mosaic Law were not fully understood by the Old Testament saints who practiced them. We have the advantage of the New Testament which helps decipher aspects of them that were unknown to ancient believers. We have knowledge of the resurrected living Christ who is the antitype of the symbols.
It is not knowledge of symbols so obscure and deeply hidden that only a few can discover them through uncommon intellect. These truths are discovered to any Bible student who will do the work of digging through the texts, praying for guidance, and carefully thinking them through. The key is that we can put Old and New Testaments together to uncover the fascinating picture of Christ that emerges from them. The picture is multifaceted and is only seen as the depths of scripture are mined. I am confident if you study and apply, you will see patterns emerge, and you will find yourself with many “aha” moments in which you say, “Why didn’t I think of that before?”
One of the most mind-boggling aspects of the sacrifices is the sheer volume of animals required to make them all. Sacrifices were made every morning and evening of every day—a lamb in the morning and a lamb in the evening. On the first day of each month, the number increased to two bulls, one ram, one goat, and seven lambs. On high feast days, such as the Day of Atonement, more animals were needed. But perhaps nothing is as stunning as the dedication of the temple by Solomon. Over a fourteen-day period, 142,000 animals were offered. There were so many the altar constructed for the purpose could not handle them. Solomon had to sanctify the middle court to give more space for more altars. This caused a lasting impression to be indelibly stamped on the people. The shedding of blood is required to satisfy God as atonement for sin. Hebrews says if no blood is shed there is no forgiveness of sin.
I would like to emphasize this because modern theologians desperately rewrite biblical history to get rid of the blood connection to the salvation of souls. They do not want the blood of the cross because they believe it is barbaric. At least they do not want God to have anything to do with it. They say if God sacrificed His Son, He is a cosmic child abuser. Rather, it was man’s idea there should be a cross and Christ was crucified on man’s initiative not God’s. This denies the plain statements of the Bible such as found in Acts 2 and divorces Old Testament worship in sacrifices from anything to do with the plan of redemption.
This rewrite of biblical theology is devastating to the salvation of the fallen race. Embracing this error is fatal in its consequences, for man can never be reconciled to God without the blood. We cannot entertain any doctrine that devalues the blood atonement. Therefore, rather than lessen the impact by running away from the sacrifices in order to sooth spiritually squeamish weaklings, we accentuate them as much as possible by learning the sacrificial system in all its glorious difficult implications.
We are thankful blood sacrifices need not be made today, but this is only because the value of Christ’s blood is infinite. His death did what 142,000 animal sacrifices and millions more could not do. Thank God for the cross. The Son of God is the last sacrifice forever.
Pastor V. Mark Smith