Our study continued last Tuesday with a look at the significance of the grain offerings covered with oil, and we saw that whatever it is we are giving as our offering to the Lord, we need to acknowledge our total dependency upon Him. We need to receive the anointing of His Spirit over our offering, and we need to submit it totally to Him.
Blood holds a lot of significance in the Bible and is often mentioned in the book of Leviticus. Therefore, any series on what the rules and regulations of the Old Covenant sacrificial system can tell us about modern-day sacrifices would be incomplete without looking at the blood.
In the Bible, blood was consider to be the lifeforce of any living creature: “…for the life of every body is in its blood…The life of every creature is in its blood.” (Leviticus 17:11b,13b NLT). We see an example of this in the death of Abel: “The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground.” (Gen. 4:10b ESV).
Because the blood is our lifeforce, it becomes easier to understand why the Bible teaches us that it is through the blood that sin can be atoned for: “Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.” (Heb. 9:22 ESV).
We also see that blood had a protective quality: “But the blood on your doorposts will serve as a sign, marking the houses where you are staying. When I see the blood, I will pass over you. This plague of death will not touch you when I strike the land of Egypt.” (Ex. 12:13 NLT). Thus the blood, the lifeforce of animals, was to represent the blood, the lifeforce of Jesus that was poured out for our salvation and remains our protection against the enemy.
Because of its importance, the books of Moses go into great detail to indicate what should happen to the blood of a sacrifice. “The priest will then put some of the blood on the horns of the altar for fragrant incense that stands in the LORD’s presence inside the Tabernacle…” (Leviticus 4:7 NLT; see also Leviticus 4:25, 4:30, 4:34, 9:9, etc.) We know that horns in the Bible represent power, dominion, glory, and fierceness (see Daniel 8:5 Daniel 8:9 ; 1 Samuel 2:1 ; 1 Samuel 16:1 1 Samuel 16:13 ; 1 Kings 1:39 ; 22:11 ; Joshua 6:4 Joshua 6:5 ; Psalms 75:5 Psalms 75:10 ; 132:17 ; Luke 1:69). This would help us to understand that there is no true power unless it is submitted to the blood of Jesus!
Leviticus goes on to tell us, “He will pour out the rest of the bull’s blood at the base of the altar for burnt offerings at the entrance of the Tabernacle.” (Leviticus 4:7 NLT; see also Leviticus 4:25, 4:30, 4:34, 9:9, etc.). This is considered a foreshadow of Jesus, whose blood would be spilled out at the foot of the cross: “[Jesus] 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, thus obtaining eternal redemption.” (Heb. 9:12 NIV); “so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.” (Heb. 9:28 NIV)
Another interesting blood-related command is to never eat meat containing blood: “…he must drain its blood and cover it with earth. The life of every creature is in its blood.” (Lev. 17:14 NLT See also Lev. 17:10-11). Basically, it was prohibited to eat or drink blood because blood was consider to be the life of a creature. This command would serve to teach respect for the sacredness of life. However, because blood was for the atonement of sin (See 2 Chronicles 29:24; Hebrews 9:22), it was seen as very sacred. God put these commands in place to ensure that the blood was always considered precious and to preserve the people’s appreciation of the sacrifices.
Finally, we also see that in their ordination ceremonies, priests were to have blood smeared on their ear, their thumb and their big toe. According to Jewish tradition, the ear, thumb and big toe was an abbreviated code for the entire body. Thus, the smearing of these three body parts would emphasize that the priest’s service to God must be total.*
What does all of this instruction about blood mean for us today?
Just this: When we sacrifice to the Lord, we must do so with our hearts totally and completely devoted to the Lord. We need to ensure that God is our lifeforce, that we are covered by Jesus’ blood. When we give Him our sacrifices of praise, talent, resources and time, we need to do so with an understanding that our Lord is holy. It is only because of Jesus’ blood that we have the privilege of sacrificing at all and without it, we are nothing. We need to approach the Lord in all humility, recognizing that only in Him do we find protection, strength, wisdom and grace. He is our everything.
Although there are many other potential lessons we can learn from the books of Moses involving the regulations for the Old Covenant sacrificial system, this study will focus on just one more. Please join us on Saturday for “Are You Serious? What Is in YOUR Sacrifice, Part 8”.
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two adult boys, Author — “Aboard God’s Train — A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer”, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, The Illustrator, a four-times-a-week internet newsletter, and the Sermon Illustrator website, all with Answers2Prayer Ministries.
(To access the entire “What’s in YOUR Sacrifice?” miniseries, please click here!)