This begins a study about the work Jesus finished at the cross. We will start with the foreshadowing found in the Old Testament and then see its fulfillment in the New. Let us start by beginning at the beginning.
The first people were deceived by the enemy. This deception resulted in them deciding to trust the word of the enemy rather than relying upon the love, trustworthiness, and sufficiency of their Creator. After Eve and Adam had eaten from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and had thus separated themselves from relationship with God, they became aware of their nakedness. They judged that this was not good, but evil, so they tried to cover their nakedness (sin) using leaves. This was their attempt to appear righteous, but it was not an acceptable solution. In Genesis 3:21 we read, “And the LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them.” (NASB 2020)
This is significant. According to Hebrews 9:22 “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” (NASB 2020) To make coats of skins, animals had to die. Blood had to be shed. We know from Romans 6:23 that “the wages of sin is death.” Where there is sin, life must be forfeit.
There is a connection between life and blood. We see this laid out in The Law, for example, Deuteronomy 12:23 says this: “be sure not to eat the blood, for the blood is the life, and you shall not eat the life with the flesh.” (NASB 2020) Leviticus 17:10-14 elaborates on the concept. You can read the entire passage for context. I will provide an excerpt of the most pertinent sections: “11 For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood by reason of the life that makes atonement.’ 12 Therefore I said to the sons of Israel, ‘No person among you may eat blood, nor may any stranger who resides among you eat blood.’” (NASB 2020) and “For as for the life of all flesh, its blood is identified with its life. Therefore I said to the sons of Israel, ‘You are not to eat the blood of any flesh, for the life of all flesh is its blood;” (NASB 2020) Blood and life are linked. Only blood can atone for sin.
Blood is what secures a covenant as well. When God made a covenant with Abraham, He walked between the halves of a carcass. This indicated that if He violated the covenant, He would forfeit His life. Since God is the source of life and His life cannot end, neither could His covenant with Abraham end.
It is the same for us today. We live under the New Covenant with God. Like God’s covenant with Abraham, it is a unilateral covenant. It is a one-sided covenant under the terms of which only God is bound and held responsible. That is good news for us because we are completely unable to keep our end of covenants that require perfection.
So, blood (life) is the required payment for sin as we see typified in Leviticus 5:9 where we read, “He shall also sprinkle some of the blood of the sin offering on the side of the altar, while the rest of the blood shall be drained out at the base of the altar: it is a sin offering.” (NASB 2020)
Scripture points to Jesus, and God paints the picture of what Jesus will do even more clearly in Exodus 29:32-33 where He says, “32 Then Aaron and his sons shall eat the flesh of the ram and the bread that is in the basket, at the doorway of the tent of meeting. 33 So they shall eat those things by which atonement was made at their ordination and consecration; but a layman shall not eat them, because they are holy.” (NASB 2020)
The flesh of the sacrifice is to be eaten, as is the consecrated bread. The priest is to take it into himself. Verse 33 tells us that this is done to consecrate and to sanctify the priests, and it tells us that the flesh and the bread are holy.
Under the old covenant there were many laws about not touching unclean things and if you did touch them, you became unclean. Yet we know that Jesus touched lepers, and He was not made unclean. Jesus even taught, in Matthew 15:11, “11 It is not what enters the mouth that defiles the person, but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles the person.” (NASB 2020)
This made the Pharisees angry because the Law prohibited eating certain foods, and Jesus was essentially saying that what food a person ate did not matter.
The point I am making is this. Under the Law, touching unclean things made a person unclean, but under the new covenant touching what is holy, makes one holy. That might be something you need to consider for a while but hang in there with me and as we continue, I think you will see it.
Grace and peace to you.