[Calvary Chapel] 1998-01-31 - The Atonement in the Old Testament

The Comprehensive Study Series, Part 23

As we continue on with the subject of the Atonement in our devotional I'd like to say as I read about this that I find it more fascinating then ever. It is so true that the Bible always holds something fresh when we look into it to behold wondrous things from its truth. I pray that this study helps you to understand your Bible that much better as you journey through it. If you have not embarked on a journey through it yet, I urge you to start what will be a life-changing experience for you. Last week I forgot to remind you if you have prayer requests or would like to join us in a concert of prayer across the world please make sure you visit our prayer page at http://members.aol.com/richr89011/cfpraypg.htm. Now onward to our devotional

Moses was sent by God to deliver the Jewish people from Egyptian servitude. He gave instructions to the Hebrews to slay a lamb on the 14th day of the 1st month of their religious year. Each family was to have its own lamb. The blood was to be sprinkled upon the door posts and lintels of the house. Being screened behind this blood, the Hebrews were to partake of this Passover lamb which had been prepared according to God's instructions. The reasons for the sprinkling of the blood can be found from this passage of Scripture:

Exodus 12:13 And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.

Note - the full account of the passover can be found in Exodus chapters 12 and 13.

The Jewish people have annually kept the passover from Moses' day right to the present time. Being dispersed amongst the nations throughout the world, it has been impossible for Israel to observe it as God commanded. They still observe it as best they can, but they have had no temple service since the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.

Various Offerings of the Mosaic Code

The Lord delivered His law to Israel at Mount Sinai. It was perfect. No higher law could have been devised. The pattern for the Tabernacle which was to be built for the worship of God was given to Moses by the Almighty on Mt. Horeb. This sanctuary was constructed according to that plan. The glory of the Lord descended and filled this "tent of meeting." Only one month lies in between the writing of the books of Exodus and Numbers. During that time the message contained in the book of Leviticus was spoken to Moses at the door of the tent of meeting. The first instructions given by the Lord contained five kinds of offerings the Lord required of Israel:

  1. The Burnt offering
  2. The Meal offering
  3. The Peace offering
  4. The Sin offering
  5. The Trespass offering

These "typical" offerings are described in Leviticus chapter 1:1 to chapter 6: 7. The laws concerning these sacrifices especially specified for the priesthood are found in Leviticus 6:8 - 7:38. Four of these offerings required animal sacrifices. One was a meal offering.

  1. The animal sacrifices were conducted according to certain specifications:
  2. The presentation of the proper animal - without blemish - at a place God designated.
  3. The worshipper laying hands on the head of the animal.
  4. The worshipper killing the animal
  5. The priest cutting the sacrifice and preparing it to be offered
  6. The burning of the offering either upon the altar or at a place without the camp according to instructions
  7. The eating of the offering (at the sanctuary, only in the case of the peace offering).

The one general purpose that underlies all these animal sacrifices is described in this verse:

Leviticus 17:11-12 For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul. Therefore I said unto the children of Israel, No soul of you shall eat blood, neither shall any stranger that sojourneth among you eat blood.

Deuteronomy 12:23 explains: Only be sure that thou eat not the blood: for the blood is the life; and thou mayest not eat the life with the flesh.

From these statements we see the real purpose of the sacrifice:

To Make Atonement for the Soul

The fundamental principle of all law is set forth in these verses:

Leviticus 24:14-23 Bring forth him that hath cursed without the camp; and let all that heard him lay their hands upon his head, and let all the congregation stone him. 15 And thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel, saying, Whosoever curseth his God shall bear his sin. 16 And he that blasphemeth the name of the LORD, he shall surely be put to death, and all the congregation shall certainly stone him: as well the stranger, as he that is born in the land, when he blasphemeth the name of the LORD, shall be put to death. 17 And he that killeth any man shall surely be put to death. 18 And he that killeth a beast shall make it good; beast for beast. 19 And if a man cause a blemish in his neighbour; as he hath done, so shall it be done to him; 20 Breach for breach, eye for eye, tooth for tooth: as he hath caused a blemish in a man, so shall it be done to him again. 21 And he that killeth a beast, he shall restore it: and he that killeth a man, he shall be put to death. 22 Ye shall have one manner of law, as well for the stranger, as for one of your own country: for I am the LORD your God. 23 And Moses spake to the children of Israel, that they should bring forth him that had cursed out of the camp, and stone him with stones. And the children of Israel did as the LORD commanded Moses.

From such phrases as - "breach for breach" - "tooth for tooth" - "life for life" - "eye for eye" - it is true that a just and righteous law requires an "eye for an eye", "a tooth for a tooth", a life for a life". The reason for the animal sacrifices -demanded by law was to give a life for a life -- in slaying the animals their lives were given as a substitute for those of the offerers. All the sacrifices illustrated this fundamental lesson: Atonement by Substitution. Each offering emphasized a special feature used by God to teach certain doctrines.

In our next devotional we will look at some of these points. These principles are something which point in the direction of God's Holy provision that would be perfectly satisfying for the need of mankind. That law has always and will always point directly to the Hebrew Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth, whose substitutionary death satisfies the needs of both Jew and Gentile. Until next week may the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob bless you and keep you. Amen.

In His Service,