Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Blood Of The Covenant: Part 2

"The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, 'Look, the Lamb of God, Who takes away the sin of the world!'" John 1:29

God required a sacrifice of blood. From Abel to the descendants of Abraham, He commanded that atonement for His peoples' sins be made by the sacrifice of a spotless lamb. It must be innocent and perfect, without blemish, and its blood sprinkled over the altar and the people. Without this sacrifice there would be no forgiveness.

For generations God's people performed this ritual; day in and day out, desperate for God's favor to be upon them. But Yehovah grew tired of their continued sin against Him, their empty and meaningless ordinances and the blood coursing down the altar (Psalm 40:6; 51:16; Proverbs 15:8). He would provide the final sacrifice. God Almighty would step down from His heavenly throne, remove His crown of righteousness and become a man. He would become the perfect, spotless and blameless Lamb that would bring salvation to all mankind.

But let us turn back a few thousand years to Abraham and look at the amazing parallel between his obedience to God and God's response. God tested Abraham (Genesis 22:1). He asked him to sacrifice the most precious possession he had, the dearest thing to his heart - his son, Isaac. Verse 8 in the New International Version does not begin to describe God's response to the question Isaac posed to his father, "...but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?" The New American Standard version comes closer to the original interpretation: "God will provide Himself the Lamb for the burnt offering, my son." But the most profound and revealing interpretation is from the Torah, which is the first three sections of the Tanakh, or the Hebrew Bible which covers Genesis through Deuterotomy:

"Elohim, He will provide Himself...Elohim, He will provide Himself...the Lamb for the burnt offering...Son of Me."

Elohim, God Almighty, fulfilled this promise to Abraham through His only Son, Jesus Christ. As Abraham was obedient to God and "...did not with[hold] from [God his] son, [his] only son" (v12), neither would God withhold His only Son from the world.
He would "provide Himself" as the Lamb of God Who would atone for the sins of all mankind.

No longer would there be a need to shed the blood of innocent animals, to fulfill rituals to gain God's favor and blessings. He would replace the endless sacrifices with a final one. And on the same hill that Abraham was prepared to give his only son, Isaac, God would give us a Lamb Who would pour out His precious blood upon a sinful world needing a Savior.

I pray this greatly blesses you as you recall God's faithful promise to deliver mankind from sin and death. I hope you will return as we move forward to a day of promise and hope, a day of deliverance for all who would choose to believe.