By Henry Mahan
All through the Scriptures we meet with the blood (Exo. 12:13; Lev. 17:11; Heb. 9:22; 1 Peter 1:18-19). If we have any apologies in reference to sermons on the blood of Christ, it is that we do not preach on it as often as we should.
What does the shedding of blood mean in reference to sinofferings and sacrifices in the Scriptures? It means not merely suffering, which could be typified by blood, but it means 'suffering unto death.'
Sin deserves death! The punishment for sin is not discomfort but death. 'In the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die' (Gen.2:17). 'The soul that sinneth, it shall die' (Ezek. 18:4, 20). 'The wages of sin is death' (Rom. 6:23).
Christ, our Redeemer and Substitute, must suffer unto death! The only way that God can honor his holy law, satisfy his perfect justice, fulfill his righteous sentence, and yet forgive and justify guilty sinners was for Christ Jesus, the God-man, to come into this world and 'suffer unto death' for us (Rom. 3:25-26; Gal. 3:13; 2 Cor. 5:21; 1 Peter 2:24, 3:18).
All of these blood sacrifices under the law of Moses were typical of the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus in the place and stead of sinners (Luke 24: 45-47; Isa. 53:4-6).
The animals sacrificed were always of a tame sort, not wild beasts which by force are brought to the slaughter- for Christ shed his blood and laid down his life willingly (Isa. 53:7).
The animals must be young males, signifying the strength and excellence of Christ; and they must be without spot or blemish, which shows the holiness of Christ (1 Peter 1:18-19; Heb. 9:14).
The blood of the sin-offering was to be poured out, showing how the blood of Christ, our true sin-offering, should be poured forth (John 19:34).
1. The blood was shed 'before the Lord.'
Note in these brief verses how many times the blood is said to be 'before the Lord.' Whether any man saw it or not was of small account, for it was before the Lord. When the Passover lamb was slain in Egypt, where was the blood placed? It was on the outside of the door, before the Lord. He said, 'When I see the blood, I will pass over you.'
The suffering and death of Christ on behalf of his people was before the Lord, unto the Lord, to declare his righteousness, to honor his holiness, to satisfy his justice, to fulfill his purpose, to glorify his divine character, to enable God to be both just and justifier (Isa. 45:21).
The atonement does not change the nature and character of God, for God is unchangeable; but rather it honors and magnifies the character of God. The death of Christ is not the cause of God's love but the result of it (John 3:16). God is not merciful to sinners because Christ died; Christ died because God is merciful (Exo. 33:18-19). God is love, God is merciful and gracious; but God is holy, just, and righteous. In order that every attribute might be expressed, glorified, and honored, God gave his Son, Jesus Christ, to be the sacrifice and sin-offering of a chosen people.
2. The blood was brought into the tabernacle and placed on the alter, giving power to the intercession of the priest (v. 5)
The priest laid his hands on the head of the bullock (v. 4), signifying our sins laid on Christ and that we lay the hand of faith upon him.
The shedding of actual blood shows Christ's oneness with us. Has Jesus Christ human blood? Yes, he is truly man; and as a man, he died.
The shedding of his blood shows the full payment of the debt. His blood is no longer in his veins: it is on the altar.
The blood of the bullock was brought into the tabernacle, showing that our Lord Jesus entered into heaven by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption for us (Heb. 9:12).
The priest sprinkled the blood seven times before the Lord, showing the perfection of Christ's sacrifice, the number seven being the number of perfection. Christ's death is effectual and sufficient (Eph. 1:7).
The altar of sweet incense (v. 7) is a type of the intercession of Christ on behalf of his people. The sweet incense is the prayers and intercession of Christ, and the blood on that altar signifies the power of that intercession! He pleads his blood and sacrifice (Rom. 8:34). The cancellation of our debt of sin is because he died (Heb. 9:26-28).
His blood on the altar shows the fulfillment of the covenant (Heb. 13:20). A covenant or testament is 'of no value until the testator is dead' (Heb. 9:16-22). Christ died that the inheritance might be ours, and Christ lives at God's right hand to guarantee that the inheritance shall truly be ours.
3. His blood atonement gives acceptance to our persons and worship. (Eph. 1:6-7)
His blood removes even the sin of our worship, prayers, and works (Isa. 64:6).
His blood enables us to come into the holiest (Heb. 10:19).
Every prayer, act of worship and praise, work of faith, and labor of love will be acceptable to God in proportion as they are done or offered through the blood of Jesus Christ.