The Blood of Jesus foreshadowed in the Old Testament from the first animals killed in Eden to the blood of Abel to the animal sacrifices of Leviticus to the final blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ elucidated in the Book of Hebrews.
Also answering the question: Why is a blood sacrifice necessary to atone for sins?
Leviticus 17:11: “For the life of the flesh is in the BLOOD: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the BLOOD that maketh an atonement for the soul.”
Hebrews 9:22: “And almost all things are by the law purged with BLOOD; and without shedding of BLOOD is no remission.”
Today’s sermon is about the BLOOD of Jesus Christ and the atonement.
And there are several reasons why I want to preach about the BLOOD OF JESUS:
(1) It’s not preached about a lot today. We hear sermons about faith, about the cross, about the resurrection, but not specifically as much about the blood.
(2) I want to preach this, because there are heresies out there preached by false teachers like John MacArthur of Grace Community Church in CA, who sees the blood as only symbolic of Jesus’ death, whereas the Bible teaches that it’s the LITERAL BLOOD OF JESUS that saves.
MacArthur in his own words: “Blood is a metaphor for sacrifice. It is his death for sin that saves us … the blood is the symbol for the sacrifice of Christ … The blood was sprinkled, but it was the death that was the atonement. The blood was a symbol of the violence of it.”
MacArthur then goes on to say that the ONLY REASON the New Testament talks about the blood of Jesus is to symbolically connect the death of Christ to the OT sacrifices.
But it’s not symbolism … Jesus’ blood is not metaphor, and His blood has POWER to redeem us, heal us, and cleanse us from sin!
(3) I want to preach about the BLOOD OF JESUS because you often hear saved Christians say, “I’m saved by the BLOOD!”
It’s like the song we sang today, “Nothing but the BLOOD!”
And I wonder sometimes, if we really understand what that means: why is a BLOOD sacrifice necessary in order to atone for sin?
And as you begin to approach this topic, it can appear somewhat overwhelming …
I had to re-read most of the Book of Leviticus in preparation for this sermon, just to get a deeper understanding of the various BLOOD sacrifices, such as the:
VOLUNTARY SACRIFICE, MEAT OFFERINGS, PEACE, SIN OFFERINGS, TRESPASS OFFERINGS and so on …
But understanding the BLOOD sacrifices comes down to this:
In very simple terms … we know the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23) & Hell (Rev. 21:8).
… And so if we are to bypass the just punishment for our sins, there must be an innocent, substitutionary BLOOD sacrifice in order to satisfy God’s perfect sense of justice & holiness.
Perfect Justice demands that when life be given for life.
We see this in Genesis 9:6: “Whoso sheddeth man’s BLOOD, by man shall his BLOOD be shed: for in the image of God made he man.”
• But to really understand the BLOOD Sacrifice, we really have to go back to the OT types & figures of animal sacrifices.
The first animals that are sacrificed are recorded in the first book of the Bible, the Book of Genesis.
So we see this right from the start.
In Genesis, mankind was given the responsibility to rule over the animal kingdom, but instead, we became harbingers of death.
Adam & Eve disobeyed God & became aware of their nakedness & sin & the bible says in:
• GENESIS 3:21.
And so God took the animals that mankind was to tend to & slayed them & their BLOOD was shed in order to CLOTHE Adam & Eve whose sins were exposed.
• So we see the first animal sacrifice, as a direct result of the sin of mankind.
So the first time that man sins, the BLOOD of an animal was shed in order TO CLOTHE or TO COVER man’s sins.
• But this was a temporary sacrifice.
All it could do was cover over man’s sins.
It was a temporary atonement, which was repeated from year to year until the time of the Messiah would come, who would not only cover sin but deal w/ sin once & for all permanently.
Hebrews 7:19: “For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.”
And so the first animal sacrifice, foreshadows the animal sacrificial system which was to follow …
& ultimately, foreshadowed Christ Himself, whose BLOOD would be shed to blot out our transgressions once & for all.
THE NEXT TIME we see the BLOOD is in: Genesis 4:1-5.
But why was Cain’s offering rejected and Abel’s offering was accepted?
And how did Abel know to offer a BLOOD sacrifice?
God must have revealed it to Abel directly.
And so by faith, Abel offered an acceptable sacrifice.
But Cain brought a BLOODless sacrifice.
And it was done without faith.
Hebrews 11:4 says: “BY FAITH Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.”
Cain’s offering was a picture of dead works brought without faith.
& It was an insufficient sacrifice, because it was BLOODless and wrought w/out faith, and God did not accept that sacrifice.
And so Cain rejects God and in his anger, slays Abel, his brother.
Yet the Bible says that Abel’s BLOOD cries out to God from the ground:
• GENESIS 4:8-10
& that’s the next time that we see the BLOOD of the Lamb foreshadowed in Scripture.
We are given a picture of Righteous Abel’s BLOOD crying out from the ground to God.
& Abel himself is a figure or type of Christ in the OT.
• Why is Abel considered a type of Christ?
He was the first martyr.
Abel’s BLOOD was the first innocent BLOOD spilled.
34 Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and [some] of them ye shall kill and crucify; and [some] of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute [them] from city to city:
35 That upon you may come all the righteous BLOOD shed upon the earth, from the BLOOD of righteous Abel unto the BLOOD of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar.
• All the slain martyrs & prophets of the OT foreshadow the death of Jesus Christ.
Hebrews 12:24: “And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the BLOOD of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.”
Abel’s BLOOD foreshadowed Christ’s BLOOD, & was what every sacrifice in the OT pointed towards.
1 John 5:6-8:
6 This is he that came by water and BLOOD, [even] Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and BLOOD. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth.
7 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.
8 And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the BLOOD: and these three agree in one.
The BLOOD in 1 John 5 is the BLOOD of Jesus that was poured out on the cross, from age to age for the pardon of sin.
• AFTER THIS, we turn to GENESIS 8.
God has sent the Flood upon the earth and preserved only the life of Noah & his family.
& God tells Noah to replenish the earth.
And Noah – upon existing the ark – makes a great sacrifice unto the LORD.
GENESIS 8:20: “And Noah builded an altar unto the LORD; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar.”
And so, the new world is initiated with BLOOD, signifying that not even Noah was without sin.
And in Chapter 9, God gives man His blessing to kill the beasts of the earth as meat.
• GENESIS 9:1-4
AND IN VERSE 5 & 6, capital punishment is ordained as a Godly commandment, because the death penalty is Just.
And so all of the OT figures and types – from the first animals killed in the Garden of Eden to Abel’s BLOOD sacrifice to Noah’s sacrifice after the flood – all anticipate the death of Christ.
In Revelation also, we see Jesus described as “clothed with a vesture dipped in blood”.
• NEXT, EXODUS 12 & THE PASSOVER LAMB.
The children of Israel are enslaved in Egypt and God is about execute judgment against the Egyptians & make a nation out of His people.
So He tells them to take an unblemished Lamb and “strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post” of their houses.
And in Exodus 12:13, it says: “And the BLOOD shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the BLOOD, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.”
V. 23: “For the LORD will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when he seeth the BLOOD upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, the LORD will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you.”
• So the Passover is, again, a temporary sacrifice until the perfect could come: the Passover BLOOD represents the shed BLOOD of Jesus.
• In 1 Corinthians 5:7 says: “…For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:”
• John the Baptist also says of Jesus in hi famous line: “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” in John 1:29.
AND SO WE GET TO LEVITICUS.
Leviticus is where it all begins to really come together.
After God leads the children on Israel out of Egypt, He instructs Moses to build a tabernacle in the wilderness, and in the Book of Leviticus, God gives Moses the specific laws and ordinances governing the various BLOOD sacrifices.
This is where the animal BLOOD sacrifices get formalized in the Book of the Law. It now becomes official.
• And the Book of Leviticus is generally broken up into various segments:
1. 1-10: Outline of the various sacrifices and offerings: the burnt offerings, peace offerings, sin offerings, etc. Different chapters deal w/ different types of sacrifices.
2. 11: Dietary laws & 12-15: Health & Cleanliness Laws.
3. 16-17 gets back into the atonement by BLOOD, mainly focusing on the all-important, once-a-year BLOOD atonement for the whole nation of Israel serviced by the High Priest.
4. Moral Laws (18-20)
5. Instructions for the priests (21-22)
6. Sabbaths, festivals, & holy days, & the jubilee (23-24)
7. Blessings & Cursings (25-26)
8. Vows & Redemption (27).
And people get really bogged down in Leviticus, but it becomes much easier to understand once you see the various sub-divisions of the book.
And so there were very specific ordinances governing the various sacrifices and BLOOD atonement.
We’re not going to look at each one, but for example:
LEVITICUS 4:1-4 deals with unintentional sin
LEVITICIS 4:15-16 deals with willful sin.
LEVITICUS 16:1-6 = the big one, the all-important once-a-year Day of Atonement performed by the High Priest both for himself and for each individual believer within the nation.
• Since the High Priest was himself a sinner, he had to make atonement for himself first, before he could make atonement for everyone else.
& Think about this:
There’s the ARK OF THE COVENANT with the cherubims on each side with their outstretched wings covering the Mercy Seat and the tables of the LAW are inside the ARK …
And the MERCY SEAT rests above the tablets of the LAW, as a covering. It acts as a covering …
which symbolizes covering the penalty of the LAW.
That’s why it’s called the MERCY SEAT, it’s positioned to cover the Law.
17 And thou shalt make a mercy seat of pure gold: two cubits and a half shall be the length thereof, and a cubit and a half the breadth thereof.
18 And thou shalt make two cherubims of gold, of beaten work shalt thou make them, in the two ends of the mercy seat.
19 And make one cherub on the one end, and the other cherub on the other end: even of the mercy seat shall ye make the cherubims on the two ends thereof.
20 And the cherubims shall stretch forth their wings on high, covering the mercy seat with their wings, and their faces shall look one to another; toward the mercy seat shall the faces of the cherubims be.
21 And thou shalt put the mercy seat above upon the ark; and in the ark thou shalt put the testimony that I shall give thee.
22 And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubims which are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel.
And the HIGH PRIEST takes the BLOOD of the sacrificial animal and sprinkles it on the mercy seat.
It’s the BLOOD that makes atonement.
It’s a picture of the BLOOD covering the LAW and producing MERCY in the sight of God.
And this was to be done once per year – every year – to make continual atonement for God’s people.
LEVITICUS 16:34: “And this shall be an everlasting statute unto you, to make an atonement for the children of Israel for all their sins once a year. And he did as the LORD commanded Moses.”
* Now, all of this was temporary & imperfect until the permanent & perfect could come …
That’s why it had to be done repeatedly, from year to year.
It was not the real thing, but only pointed by faith in anctipication of Christ’s BLOOD.
• Hebrews 10:1-14
THE DAY OF ATONEMENT pointed forward to the final, permanent, complete Sacrifice and the pouring out of the BLOOD of Jesus Christ on the Cross for the remission of sins.
Everything from Genesis to Leviticus pointed forward to Christ. All the slain martyrs pointed forward to Christ, “From the BLOOD of Abel unto the BLOOD of Zacharias, which perished between the altar and the temple”.
• Hebrews 9:1-15, 22-28
• Hebrews 12:24
1 Peter 1:18-20:
18 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, [as] silver and gold, from your vain conversation [received] by tradition from your fathers;
19 But with the precious BLOOD of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:
20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you
Jesus said in John 6:
53 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his BLOOD, ye have no life in you.
54 Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my BLOOD, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.
55 For my flesh is meat indeed, and my BLOOD is drink indeed.
56 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my BLOOD, dwelleth in me, and I in him.
There is even the “peace offering” described in Leviticus 3, where an unblemished Lamb was sacrificed and a communal meal was shared between the priests and the worshippers.
Paul said 1 Corinthians 11:23-25:
23 For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the [same] night in which he was betrayed took bread:
24 And when he had given thanks, he brake [it], and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.
25 After the same manner also [he took] the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my BLOOD: this do ye, as oft as ye drink [it], in remembrance of me.
So here is the turning point: The BLOOD of Jesus initiates the New Covenant.
Hebrews 9:16-17: ”For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.”
This is saying that when you have a will & testament, that the testament doesn’t go into effect while you’re still alive … it becomes effective only after your death …
For example, when you’re passing on your worldly goods to your children as an inheritance … the testament only comes into effect at after death.
Likewise, the New Covenant came into effect at the shedding of the BLOOD of Jesus.
And you get some debate among Christians as to when the New Testament era really began, some say it began with John the Baptist, others with Jesus’ ministry.
But it’s very clear: The New Covenant undoubtedly began at the shedding of the BLOOD of Jesus.
Because it’s all about the BLOOD!
Again Hebrews 9 says: “For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.”
That’s why the vail of the temple was torn asunder!
A thick vail separated the outer sanctuary from the inner sanctuary where the ARK OF THE COVENANT, the LAW, and the MERCY SEAT was.
50 Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.
51 And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;
This signified that the OLD COVENANT had ended and the NEW COVENANT had begun, with the shed BLOOD of Jesus.
8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
9 Much more then, being now justified by his BLOOD, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.
11 And not only [so], but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.
Once you’re washed in the BLOOD, it’s a one-time deal, it’s a permanent cleansing.
Christ lives to make constant intercession for us as our new High Priest.
That’s why you can’t lose your salvation, once you’re washed in the pure BLOOD of the Lamb.
You are forever cleansed!
And if you’re not washed by the BLOOD of Jesus, you’re not saved!
You need the cleansing and the atonement of BLOOD of Jesus!
That IS why we sing, NOTHING BUT THE BLOOD OF JESUS!
22 By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament.
23 And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death:
24 But this [man], because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood.
25 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.
26 For such an high priest became us, [who is] holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;
27 Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once, when he offered up himself.
28 For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, [maketh] the Son, who is consecrated for evermore.
Psalm 32:1: “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.
Zechariah 9:11: “As for thee also, by the blood of thy covenant I have sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit wherein is no water.”
And, having made peace through the BLOOD of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.