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Bible verses about Animal Sacrifices
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Genesis 15:10

Genesis 15:10 and 17 show us a small portion of the ancient practice of making serious covenants. Those making the covenant prepared a sacrifice by dividing animals or fowl in two, then both parties passed between the divided carcasses. This symbolized the seriousness of their intentions in that the divided carcasses represented what would happen to them if they did not keep their oath! They placed their lives at risk. The carcasses were then burned, symbolizing their acceptance.

The smoking oven and burning torch symbolize God. In many instances in the Bible, God represents Himself through the image of fire (i.e., the burning bush and the pillar of fire). The sacrifice in Genesis 15 is interesting in that only God passes between the divided carcasses because, in reality, this is an oath of only one party, God, to keep His promise. In this specific case, Abraham has agreed to nothing, but God has bound Himself with utmost seriousness to meet the requirements of His promise in full. This promise will be fulfilled only because of God's character and grace.

The 14th thus signifies the ratification of the promise by sacrifice, and the 15th, what it accomplishes by providing visible evidence of God's faithfulness (e.g., the Israelites go free).

John W. Ritenbaugh
Countdown to Pentecost 2001


 

Exodus 13:11-13

The word redeem means "buy back." If a family's firstborn donkey was critical to their livelihood, they could buy it back from God by offering a lamb in its place. Of course, God did not demand that His people offer their firstborn children as literal human sacrifices. They, too, were to be bought back by means of a lamb sacrifice.

Staff
The Law of the Firstborn


 

Exodus 23:25-31

In part, these passages frame the establishment of the Old Covenant. Moses inscribed the words God uttered in a book, the Book of the Covenant, and read them to all the people. Three times (apparently twice before they even heard the words of God) the people asserted that they would do "all the words which the LORD has said" (Exodus 19:8; Exodus 24:3 and 7). Moses confirmed the covenant by an animal sacrifice, sprinkling blood on the people (Exodus 24:5-8).

Charles Whitaker
Searching for Israel (Part Three): The Old Covenant


 

Exodus 29:10

The Aaronic priests were purified for service to God through the transferal of their sins to a bull. Similarly, when an Israelite presented a peace or a sin offering, he laid his hands upon the animal being offered, identifying himself with it and transferring his guilt to the animal. Thus, the animal was set apart by God through the laying on of hands.

Martin G. Collins
Basic Doctrines: The Laying On of Hands


 

Leviticus 1:5

A life is offered. This distinction is quite significant once we understand that this offering typifies devotion and that this offering does not picture sin or the death of the offerer. In the offerings of Leviticus, a sacrifice is primarily perceived as a gift to God. Jesus uses the word "corban" in Mark 7:11. Corban itself means "gift" or "dedicated to God," and its root means "to bring near." Recall that the offerer is to lay his hand on the animal before it is killed to signify that the animal represents the offerer giving himself. Therefore, the killing of the animal represents the offerer bringing himself near, making a gift of himself, devoting his entire life to God. It indicates he holds nothing back.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Offerings of Leviticus (Part Two): The Burnt Offering


 

Leviticus 1:5-17

A comparison of the operations of the offerer and the priest on the offerings reveals distinctions in the varieties of the burnt offering. In Leviticus 1:5-17, we see that the bullock, sheep, and goat were cut up and washed with water, but the turtledove was not. It was split but not cut into pieces. This focuses mostly on the work of priest who assists in the offering because, even for those who would be quite capable of performing this function, the priest is still required to do it for them.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Offerings of Leviticus (Part Two): The Burnt Offering


 

Leviticus 1:9

During the preparations for the burning, the entrails and legs—representing our innermost being: the heart from which conduct springs; the viscera, our emotions; and the legs, our walk—must be cleansed with water before all is burned on the fire. The burnt offering is cleaned on the inside and then completely consumed.

Here is pictured the standard of devotion to God; this is what God is aiming His children toward due to our access to Him through Christ. We are to be a cleansed, total sacrifice. We are to withhold nothing; we are to give our all. This is the hardest of all the offerings God calls upon us to perform because, like the rich young ruler, we want to reserve things for ourselves. Whatever it is, it is like a child's security blanket, and we love it and do not want to let it go.

David understood sacrificing, which II Samuel 24:24 reveals:

Then the king said to Araunah. "No, but I will surely buy it from you for a price; nor will I offer burnt offerings to the LORD my God with that which costs me nothing." So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver.

The burnt offering is painful because it is costly. It is so costly because it costs us our life. This is what we give in exchange for the forgiveness of our sins! Jesus Himself says this in Luke 14:26: "If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple."

Hebrews 5:7-8 informs us that Jesus Christ felt His sacrifices—not just His sacrifice on the stake, but also the multitude of sacrifices He made after emptying Himself of His godly prerogatives to live as a burnt offering for 33½ years.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Offerings of Leviticus (Part Nine): Conclusion (Part Two)


 

Leviticus 1:14-17

Notice also the especially wide cost difference between a turtledove and the other animals. This suggests some have more required of them than others, which is confirmed in Luke 12:48: "For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more."

This distinction is drawn even finer when we understand that with the bullock, sheep, and goat, the offerer slays the animal. However, the priest kills the dove. In fact, the priest does everything regarding the dove except bring it for sacrificing. John 10:11, 15, 17-18 explains this more fully, showing that the priest voluntarily sacrifices Himself. We can understand in the offering of the turtledove that its death is seen as the work of the High Priest and Mediator, thus it emphasizes Christ's intercessory work for those who are weak. The weak require more help and not as much is required of them. God does not expect more of us than we can deliver.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Offerings of Leviticus (Part Two): The Burnt Offering


 

Leviticus 4:20

The English word atonement appears in Leviticus 4:20, 26, 31, 35 in reference to these sin offerings, as it does in Leviticus 1:4 in reference to the burnt offering: "Then he shall put his hand on the head of the burnt offering, and it will be accepted on his behalf to make atonement for him." This is the last time "atonement" appears in reference to the sweet-savor offerings in Leviticus 1-3.

"Atonement" may mislead some because we almost automatically think of a covering for sin. Atonement for sin normally makes one acceptable before God, but sin is not present in the sweet-savor offerings. Nonetheless, the word indeed conveys the sense of acceptance but on a different basis than in the sin and trespass offerings. The basis for acceptance in the sweet-savor offerings is the offerer's perfect devotion, picturing the devoted, sinless Christ worshipping God.

Concerning the sin and trespass offerings, "atonement" is used in the way we normally understand it: as a covering, payment, expiation, or propitiation made for sin. It is as though the offerer is charged just as the police charge a person with a crime. In this case, though, the offerer is charged with sin, and something must expiate it. The sin and trespass offerings, then, indicate the payment of a legal obligation to an authority, one that meets the legal requirement of that authority. To expiate sin, the payment must be in blood; a life must be given. The Authority is God, as His law has been broken.

The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). Whenever a person sins, the law has the power to take that person's life. It has such power over us that, for our debt to be paid, a life is required. Nothing less is suitable to expiate sin. In the symbolism of the sin and trespass offerings, the life of an animal is given, covering the indebtedness and breaking the power the law has over us.

In actual practice, the ritual proceeded like this: The offerer brought his animal before the priest and then laid his hand upon the head of his offering. Symbolically, a transfer took place so that the animal is understood as portraying the sinner making the offering. The animal then died, and the penalty was considered paid.

In Romans 6:2, Paul writes that we are "dead to sin," and in Romans 7:4, that we are "dead to the law." The ritual portrays these truths. The sin and trespass offerings picture a convicted sinner coming before God to receive the judgment of death. However, the animal's death portrays Christ's vicarious death in our stead, for in reality, since He is the offering, our sins have been transferred to Him. In this way, we are atoned for and redeemed.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Offerings of Leviticus (Part Six): The Sin Offering


 

Numbers 29:12-13

That is typical of what God requires on every one of the festivals except for one thing—the number of sacrifices required. The Feast of Tabernacles is a type, a symbol, of the Millennium, of the rule of God on earth. What we see here is a requirement to give offerings during the Feast of Tabernacles. What is so interesting is that the Feast of Tabernacles requires more sacrifices than all the other holy days combined! Far more! There were 172 animals sacrificed during those seven days.

Since the Feast of Tabernacles represents the Millennium, and the priest stands for us, and his major responsibility is to make offerings on behalf of the people before God, does that not picture how big our responsibility will be during the Millennium? There will be more sacrifices, more priestly work for us during that time than at any other period in God's plan.

Physically, the Levitical priests offered animals. In the Millennium, we will not be sacrificing animals. We need to understand what a priest does so that we understand sacrificing. A priest does a lot of it, and during the Millennium, there will be a need for a great deal of spiritual sacrificing.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Preparing to Be a Priest


 

Deuteronomy 16:2

This cannot be speaking of Passover because the Passover sacrifice is not selected "from the flock and the herd." It had to be a kid of the goats or a sheep—it could not come from the herd, meaning from cows. Instead, Moses is writing about a sacrifice on the first day of Unleavened Bread.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Night to be Much Observed


 

Psalm 51:16-17

As a converted man, David understood that animal sacrifices were really not doing anything except setting a pattern. Certainly, they were tutors to those who understood. The Israelites could sacrifice thousands of animals and not get a thing out of it, but David understood. He writes, "For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart."

That costs a man something! A person sacrifices of himself when wild human nature is being cut away, when he, by the exercise of his will due to his faith in God, determines to do or not to do something, even as Jesus later did. By the force of His will, buttressed by His faith, He would make himself do something, or keep Himself from doing something, that every fiber of His passionate being yearned to do the opposite. "These, O God, You will not despise."

John W. Ritenbaugh
Preparing to Be a Priest


 

Psalm 51:18-19

Essentially, David is saying that the offering of an animal does not meet the price of forgiveness, but an acceptable sacrifice before God is a broken and contrite heart. An acceptable sacrifice is repentance, as it is giving up human nature, its own will, and obstinacy and pride. They have been suppressed and then replaced by humility. This is personally costly because it motivates one to submit his life to God.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Preparing to Be a Priest


 

Jeremiah 31:31-34

This passage is repeated almost verbatim in Hebrews 8:8-12. Jeremiah lived in the sixth and seventh centuries before Christ, some six hundred years before the New Covenant became a reality. The covenant that God commands forever in Psalm 111:9 is the covenant prophesied here in Jeremiah 31:31. It will endure forever, and it is the one associated with the law (the commandments of God).

In this prophecy, God shows that the New Covenant will be made with political entities—nations (Israel and Judah). In addition, it is obviously different from the one that Jeremiah's contemporaries were living under, otherwise there would be no need for a New Covenant. Hebrews 8 informs us that the reason for the New Covenant is to address the fault in it.

Please understand the major differences in the New Covenant that Jeremiah 31 brings out. God's laws will be written in the hearts of those who make the New Covenant. It is clear that the law was not written in the hearts of the ancient Israelites. Second, under it, there will be access to God and a personal relationship with Him.

Further, it strongly implies that there will be no privileged class who alone are set apart to teach. There will be no class distinction due to age or rank in the community. This is all encompassed within "every man shall know Me," meaning that everybody will have access to Him. It does not mean that there will be no ministry, as it is obvious from the New Testament that God gave—as a gift to the church—the ministry as a teaching vehicle. And finally, He mentions right at the end that sins will be forgiven.

Each of these elements is a promise of something not included in the Old Covenant. The average Israelite did not have access to God. They could not go into the place where God symbolically lived. They could not approach any closer than the court of the priests, who were intermediaries, a "privileged" class of men who went into God's presence for them. Nor could the blood of bulls and goats forgive sin (Hebrews 10:4). However, the New Covenant addresses these matters.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Covenants, Grace, and Law (Part 10)


 

Ezekiel 40:41-42

Many—myself included—have asked why Jesus Christ will reinstitute animal sacrifices after His return. One reason may be to help the resurrected members of the Old Testament congregation of Israel to learn to pay better attention to the deeper spiritual meanings of the physical sacrifices. A second reason might be to introduce the resurrected and glorified members of the New Testament church to the rich symbolism and significance of the sacrifices.

Staff
Death of a Lamb


 

Daniel 9:24-27

Daniel the prophet receives an intriguing prophecy from the archangel Gabriel in this passage, known as the Seventy Weeks Prophecy, for Gabriel gives a seventy-week time frame for the coming of the Messiah. He divides the first sixty-nine weeks into two periods, the first of seven weeks and the second of sixty-two weeks.

The prophecy shows that the Messiah would die, "but not for Himself." That is in perfect agreement with the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ! He gave Himself to redeem us from our bondage to sin and death (Galatians 1:3-5; Ephesians 2:1).

Next, the prophecy says He would "confirm a covenant with many." Is this not what He did? Did He not become the Mediator of a new and better covenant (Hebrews 9:15)? When He instituted the new symbols for the Passover, Jesus says about the wine, "For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins" (Matthew 26:28; see Mark 14:24).

Then Gabriel prophesies that the Messiah would bring to an end to the need for ritual animal sacrifices and offerings. The writer of Hebrews plainly states, "For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins" (Hebrews 10:4). Christ's sacrifice was much more effective: "Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption" (Hebrews 9:12).

The angel says the Messiah would accomplish this "in the middle [midst, KJV] of the week." Obviously, its primary meaning refers to the middle of the seventieth week, or literally, three and a half years, the exact length of Christ's ministry. However, as we have seen, God fulfills His prophecies perfectly. Not only did Jesus' ministry last for three and a half years, but He also died on a Wednesday, the exact middle day of a week!

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
'After Three Days'


 

Hebrews 4:12-13

The Word of God is always an issue in our lives. The greatest gift a human being can be given is to hear this message, the Gospel Message, because around it our belief system is to be conformed. The Word of God becomes an issue because it tests a person's life and sets the standards of acceptable behavior and attitudes.

Verse 13 contains a very vivid picture in "all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account." In Greek literature, this illustration alludes to two things. First, it pictures a priest prepared to sacrifice an animal, so he has turned the head of the animal to put it into a position to cut its throat. In other words, the animal had to look into the eyes of its executioner, and he in turn had to look into the eyes of the animal.

The second, in some ways, is even more vivid. It is drawn from the Olympic games, in which wrestling played a significant part. In this picture, one of the competitors is about to be pinned. His opponent has a grip on him that has placed the loser's shoulders on the mat, and his face has been turned up so that he has to look directly into the eyes of his conqueror.

Everybody has to face God's Word directly. We can think of the Word of God as being the living Jesus Christ, since judgment of us has been committed to Him. We all must pass before the judgment seat of Christ (Romans 14:10). We are under it right now because judgment is on the house of God (I Peter 4:17).

What are we doing with the message? How is it affecting our lives? Is the world having such an impact on us that it is creating its fruit in us, perhaps apathy toward the things of God and great interest in the things of this world? As Revelation 3:17 suggests, the Laodicean is not lazy. He is rich in the wrong things, expending his energy on the wrong things. He even tells God, "I have need of nothing." Are we allowing the Word of God to transform us into His image?

John W. Ritenbaugh
Hebrews: A Message for Today


 

Hebrews 10:1-4

Hebrews 10:1 reflects upon the place the Old Testament offerings have in giving understanding of Jesus Christ. The sacrificial laws only portrayed reality; they were enacted to depict something greater to come. What Leviticus 1-5 describes is the shadow of the good things; Christ is the reality.

Why could they not make a person perfect who believed in them and offered them? Why did One so great have to die so that we might live? An illustration from a dollars-and-cents perspective may help us understand. Can something of lesser value, an animal, equal the cost of something of greater value, a man? Is a bull, lamb, goat, or turtledove worth as much as a human being?

What if a person went into a store to purchase - redeem, compensate for, propitiate, expiate - an item costing a hundred dollars, but he offered to pay only fifty dollars? What would the owner say? Would he not say, "You don't have enough here to pay for this, so you cannot have it." So, he leaves and returns with a twenty-dollar bill. The owner says, "That still is not enough." Leaving again, he returns with a ten-dollar bill. It is still not enough. In the analogy, he must repeat this process continually, always attempting to use something of lesser value to receive something of greater value.

Consider, however, what God did. We are the item being purchased, and our redemption price - our cost to Him - is the expiation of our sins. God laid down a multi-trillion dollar note to redeem us: Christ. God gave the life of the Creator to pay the penalty for sin. He did not offer a lesser being for us - an animal is not sufficient to redeem even one human. God came through with a payment that is not merely adequate to meet the cost of one person's redemption, but is so great it satisfies the cost for all the sins of the whole of mankind for all time! God met the total indebtedness of all mankind with one payment.

The last phrase of Hebrews 10:1 says that the animal sacrifices did not make those who followed them perfect. In verse 2, the writer follows this with the question, "For then would they not have ceased to be offered?" He is providing evidence that no animal, no matter how unblemished, can pay the price of a man's sins because a human is worth too much. In verse 3, he proclaims that the sacrifices only reminded the people of how sinful they were and that their sins had yet to be paid for. In verse 4, he concludes that it is just not possible for any animal to pay for the sins of any man.

God simply will not accept the blood of an animal for the life of a man. The sacrificial law was a schoolmaster (Galatians 3:24), intended by God to instruct by putting people through the exercise of making the sacrifice. How much those making the actual offerings learned is unknown, but they are very effective teachers for those of us under the New Covenant, if we incline our minds to them and seek God's help in understanding. Above all, they teach us the value of Christ's sacrifice.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Offerings of Leviticus (Part Six): The Sin Offering


 

Hebrews 10:1-4

Perhaps one might think of this as being a rather minor affair, but God shows that He had—and so we must have—respect for the life of an animal. God, in the instructions regarding the regular sacrifices, says not to eat the blood! He says this out of respect for the animal because its life was in its blood. The blood had to be drained on the ground, not imbibed by a human being.

Animals have at least a low level of feeling. They experience fear; situations can frighten them. What animal owner does not think that his pet, his dog or cat, has a special relationship or special feeling for him? Can we extend that out—that a bullock, a goat, a sheep, a kid of the goats, or a lamb might have feelings too? Not human feelings, certainly, but they have life and they symbolize—every single one of them—the life of Jesus Christ. How many animals had to give their lives to make a witness, an example of that? We will never know, but just to help us understand, Josephus records that one year during his lifetime, the Romans took a census of all of the lambs that were killed in Jerusalem, and 256,000 lambs were killed on Passover alone—256,000 lambs on one Passover just to teach a lesson to Israel and to us.

Perhaps it would help us to understand why God told the Israelites in Exodus 12 that keeping Passover was to be a family affair. It was not done at the Temple or the Tabernacle. God commanded that everybody killed his own lamb—every family. He wanted to make the point to all that each person is responsible for the death of the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ!

Consider that Israelite families were not rich. Most of them had small herds and flocks—just a few sheep and lambs. They lived, in most cases, with their animals, and when they put a lamb to death on Passover, it was very likely the family pet! They killed and ate something that was very close to them—something that they had treated like part of the family. This was an object lesson, and God allowed millions of them to occur!

As far as God is concerned, nothing is too great a price to pay for us.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Awesome Cost of Salvation


 

Hebrews 10:1-4

Perhaps we think of this as a rather minor affair, but God shows that He has, and we must have, respect for the life of an animal. In His instructions on the subject of the regular sacrifices, God commands us not to eat the blood! The blood must be drained on the ground and not imbibed by a human being. He does this out of respect for the animal, for its life is in the blood even as ours is.

Animals have at least a low level of feeling. They experience fear; situations can frighten them. And who will say that one's pet, a dog or a cat, does not have a special relationship or feeling for him or her? Certainly, it does.

Can we extend that to include a bullock, goat, sheep, kid of the goats, or a lamb as having feelings too? To be sure, they do not have human feelings. Nevertheless, they have life, and in the sacrifices, they symbolize—every single one of them—the life of Jesus Christ. How many animals had to give their lives to make a witness and an example of His sinlessness, His approach to life, or His payment for our sins? We will never know; but just to give an approximate idea, Josephus records that, when he lived in the middle of the first century, the Romans took a census of all of the lambs that were killed in Jerusalem for Passover one year. They tallied 256,000 lambs killed for just one Passover observance—more than a quarter million lambs died to illustrate a lesson!

Perhaps it would help us to understand why God tells the Israelites in Exodus 12 that keeping Passover should be a family affair. It was not to be done at the Temple or Tabernacle. In His instructions, God specifies that nearly every family should kill its own lamb (Exodus 12:3-4). He desires to make the point to every individual that he is responsible for the death of the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ!

However, consider this: The overwhelming majority of those Israelite families were not rich. Most of them had only small flocks and herds, so they had just a few sheep and very few lambs. In most cases, they lived with their animals, and whenever they put a lamb to death on Passover, it was quite likely the family pet! They killed something very close to them, a living thing to which they had emotional attachments. Millions of beloved pets died over centuries! Perhaps this can provide us more insight to see that nothing is too great a price for God to pay for us.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Awesome Cost of Love


 

Hebrews 10:4

This is why the animal sacrifices had to be done over and over and over again. Not one sin has ever been forgiven in the history of mankind—from Adam and Eve on—because a sacrificed animal shed its blood. All the sacrifices did was to make people aware that they were breaking the Ten Commandments or the statutes and judgments.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Covenants, Grace, and Law (Part 17)


 

Hebrews 10:5-10

Here, Jesus is recognizing His body as a gift given so that the Father's will may be done. Animal sacrifices could not accomplish God's will, but the sacrifice of the sinless God-man, Jesus of Nazareth, could. It has the power to cleanse from sin so that a New Covenant, a whole new religious order, may be established based on a personal relationship—unparalleled in its intimacy—with our Creator.

A major weakness of animal sacrifices is their failure to produce a desire in the offerer to obey God. No animal life is equal in value to a human life. Though we may grieve at the loss of a pet, an animal's sacrificial death cannot have a real impact because it will not motivate us to do anything. But when a human dies for us, we feel it! We feel we owe something in return; indebtedness arises from our gratitude for what the sacrifice accomplished.

In our case, the most valuable Life ever lived was given. Gratitude, worship, and obedience are the only appropriate responses to such a sacrificial gift as the body of Jesus Christ. There is no other acceptable sacrifice for sin that will allow us to continue living.

The theme of Passover is the awesome cost of salvation, which is manifested in the sinless sacrifice of Jesus Christ. His was not a mechanical sinlessness, but He was sinless, innocent, even while encumbered with the frailties of human nature just as we are. His was sinlessness with sympathy, empathy, compassion, kindness, and concern for the helpless slaves of sin. Understanding this, we should feel revulsion that our sins caused such an injustice as His death to occur. At the same time, we should also express appreciation, indebtedness, and thanksgiving by departing from sin.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Christ, Our Passover


 

1 Peter 1:17-19

Redemption involves buying back something that has been taken away. Herbert Armstrong spoke metaphorically of our being kidnapped by Satan. Because the Devil has forcibly held us from the liberty God wants us to experience, we must be redeemed. We are in this humanly inescapable predicament because we have sinned in following the same manner of living as everybody else. We are released from this by means of the payment of the sinless life of Jesus Christ in a vicarious death in our place and by our repentance. Because He was sinless, our sinful imperfections can be overcome and paid for.

Would imperfection in an animal disqualify it from being offered on the altar? Yes, very much so, even if the imperfection was internal and invisible to the eye. If it had a lame leg, or if its hide was marred by scarring or was ragged and mangy in appearance, it was not acceptable. If one of its eyes had been gouged out or was infected, or if its ear had been torn by a predator, it was disqualified. If it had a disease, even an internal cancer or tumor, it was unfit, even though it might have looked reasonably healthy to casual, external observation so that only the owner knew of its imperfection.

Each of these physical flaws represents spiritual imperfections that could have been in Christ except that He was perfect in all His ways. For 33 ½ years, He never once had even a single, tiny, solitary moral or spiritual imperfection. He never did anything unethical, immoral, or unspiritual. Not one instance of any kind of carnality marred His life. Even if the thought of sin arose in Him, He quickly put it out of His mind. Always, in every instance, He used the mind of God.

Thus, sin never desecrated or blemished Him in any way, internally or externally. He did not carry around any envy, bitterness, or gall—there was nothing in Him that would disqualify Him in any way from being a fit sacrifice to pay the penalty for our sins. It is astounding that anyone could live this way for even a day or two, let alone 33 ½ years!

Christ qualified in every way to be the sacrifice for our sins. Consider, however, that the literal sin offering He made at His crucifixion took only a few hours to unfold. By comparison, His efforts to qualify to be the sin offering by being a perfect burnt, meal, and peace offering required 33½ years of sinless living!

Reflecting upon what Christ accomplished is sobering to anyone of a mature mind who has attempted to duplicate even a small portion of what He did. It should certainly lead us to the deepest gratitude we can offer. Isaiah 53:9-10 gives us an insight into God's attitude toward His Son's sacrifice:

And they made His grave with the wicked—but with the rich at His death, because He had done no violence, nor was any deceit in His mouth. Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand.

Not even one time did Christ's heart rise up in an attempt to deceive or to strike out in violent anger. He was childlike in attitude yet mature in His wisdom, but it pleased God to bruise and put Him to grief as the offering for our sins.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Offerings of Leviticus (Part Six): The Sin Offering


 

 




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