Hebrews 9:22, 10:4
One way to describe worship in Old Testament times is “bloody.”
God required animal sacrifice from his people day in and day out. Bulls, goats, lambs, and other animals were to be sacrificed for the sins of the people.
Why did God require these things? Well the first thing he was teaching his people was the seriousness of sin, that sin was no small matter. In fact the only way that sin could be atoned for is that a life be given for the sake of those sins. Blood be spilled.
But the other thing that God was making clear was that sin could be forgiven in this way: through that blood being spilt. The writer to the Hebrews says in Chapter 9 verse 22:
Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. –Hebrews 9:22b
This was the way the only way that sin could be atoned for. Yet it’s interesting in the very next chapter that that same writer records these words as he says in chapter 10 verse 4:
It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. –Hebrews 10:4
So what gives? Why did God require sacrifice of his people, of the blood of bulls and goats, of lambs, of other animals if they could never truly take away sin? Well all of those things were pointing them forward to the once and for all sacrifice that could. The sacrifice of the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
In Old Testament times God pointed the children of Israel to sacrifice to reassure them that their sins were dealt with. Today, in our day, since the coming of Christ, he points us back to his sacrifice once for all on the cross of Calvary that we also can be reassured that our sins are atone for it and that we are right with God. Amen.