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Part 5: Changes - Blood Sacrifices

We understand that God required blood sacrifices in the Old Testament for sin offerings but they were also used to establish covenants:  as with Noah, Genesis 8:20-22. But, when God made promise to Abraham in Genesis chapters 12 and 15, it’s not stated Abraham offered a blood sacrifice to God. But by reading the account in Genesis 22:1-18, we understand that both Abraham and his son Isaac understood the necessity of burnt offerings. Moses was instructed of God to teach the children of Israel to offer blood sacrifices both to establish a covenant and for sin: Exodus 20:24, 24:4-8. The point is that as a result of sin, whenever men approached unto God they had to offer blood sacrifices. 

   Hebrews 9:18-22  18 Whereupon neither the first testament was dedicated without blood. 19 For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people, 20 Saying, This is the blood of the testament which God hath enjoined unto you. 21 Moreover he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry. 22 And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.

But these blood sacrifices were only symbolic, reminding people that because of their sin, they had need of redemption:

Hebrews 10:3-4  3 But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. 4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.

The blood sacrifice was a requirement under the Law because of our transgressions; 


    Galatians 3:19  Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.

   Hebrews 9:7-10  7 But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people: 8 The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing: 9 Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience; 10 Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation.

The “the time of reformation” is not when Jesus returns in the sky and every eye beholds Him (Revelation 1:7), but it’s that point in time when the “Seed”, Messiah, arrived and declared a change from what the Law required (“ye have heard that it was said by them of old time”), to now following His sayings (“but I say unto you”). The “reformation” was necessary because the Law could not impart righteousness (this was discussed in the paper titled “Keeping the Law”). It could not make the believer perfect because it could not purge the conscience of sin. The Law was designed to make men aware of their sin (conviction) and through its temporary demands of blood sacrifice (that could not cleanse the conscience) pointed to the need for a reformation in the person of Christ Jesus. Christ alone through the offering up of His own blood could cleanse men’s consciences.

Here’s the Greek word for reformation:

   1357 (Strong’s) diorthosis -  from a compound of 1223 and a derivative of 3717, meaning to straighten thoroughly; rectification, i.e. (specially) the Messianic restauration:--reformation.

The need for reformation or rectification is understandable because the Law was limited in is capability and could not make us perfect:

   Hebrews 7:19  For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.

The “better hope” is in the person of Christ Jesus. This is why Galatians 3:19 says the Law was in place “til the Seed should come”:

   Galatians 3:19  Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.

Because the Law and the required blood sacrifices it demanded could not take away sin (Hebrews 10:4) and consequently could not cleanse our conscience, we needed a reformation. We needed someone to provide “rectification” for the inability of the Law. Once Messiah came and shed His own blood, we were no longer required to offer up blood sacrifices, because His blood sacrifice alone is sufficient to cleanse our conscience of sin:

   Hebrews 7:26-27  26 For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; 27 Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's: for this he did once, when he offered up himself.

   Hebrews 9:25-28  25 Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; 26 For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: 28 So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.

    Hebrews 10:10  By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

It would be ludicrous to argue that God would still require blood sacrifices when we understand that it is only the “one time” offering of Christ’s blood that can take away sins:

Hebrews 10:14-18  14 For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. 15 Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, 16 This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will     put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; 17 And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. 18 Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.

He has given His own Son as the ultimate and eternal sacrifice and there is no other sacrifice required nor will there be any other sacrifice accepted. So, under the Law we were required to offer up sacrifices that could not make us perfect:

   Hebrews 10:1-2  For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. 2 For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins.

And because our transgressions could not be cleansed by the blood of bulls and goats, our conscience could not be cleansed. But now we are no longer under the Law’s requirement for blood sacrifices because the “Seed” has come and provided the only acceptable sacrifice that can cleanse our conscience:

Hebrews 10:11-12  11 And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: 12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;

Some HRM teachers are claiming that the reason we are not required to perform blood sacrifices now, is because there is no temple, altar of sacrifice or an active Levitical priesthood. This teaching implies that if there were a temple, an altar and a Levitical priesthood present in the “land” (Israel) then blood sacrifices would have to be performed. But why would God require observance of these sacrifices that were only a shadow of heavenly things (Hebrews 8:5)? Why require sacrifices that cannot take away sins when now by the coming of the “Seed”, He has already provided the perfect sacrifice for sins by His Son?:

    Isaiah 53:  Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? 2 For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. 3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. 8 He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. 9 And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. 10 Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt 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. 11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

Therefore, some HRM teachers have put forth that the reason for future offerings of blood sacrifices by a “renewed” Levitical priesthood would be for the purpose of “remembering” or reminding people of the sacrifice Messiah has made for us. But Jesus has already declared unto believers the acceptable way to remember His sacrifice:

Luke 22:19-20  19 And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. 20 Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.

   1 Corinthians 11:23-26  23 For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: 24 And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. 25 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, this cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. 26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come.

If the Son of God has instructed us in the proper way to remember or remind ourselves of His sacrifice, then we should take heed to “His sayings” and not the supplanting of HRM teaching. Having had discussions with some HRM teachers regarding this point, they have responded by saying that it would not be for “remembrance” (that blood sacrifices by a Levitical priesthood in a future temple will be required) but as a means to “instruct” future believers concerning what Messiah has accomplished for us by His sacrifice. But clearly, the Holy Ghost has been able to “instruct” (John 14:26, 1 John 2:27) multitudes of believers throughout almost two thousand years, revealing the reason for and consequence of the precious sacrifice Christ has made for us. Throughout this last two thousand year period we have not had a temple or a Levitical priesthood or blood sacrifices and believers have understood perfectly what Christ has done for us. Therefore why should people in the future need the instruction of those blood sacrifices which are ineffectual and no longer required? Therefore, if the requirement for blood sacrifices which the Law of Moses demanded is no longer in effect because they are no longer needed, it is obvious that a change has occurred in the Law.  How does this change not qualify as “one jot or one tittle” passing from the Law?

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