Blood was very important for the ceremonies that Israelís priests carried out. It was essential on great occasions, for example the Day of Atonement (Hebrews 9:7). That was the day when God dealt with his peopleís sins (wrong and evil deeds).
The blood was essential on many other occasions too. Blood was necessary even for some ceremonies that the Old Testament (the first part of the Bible) does not actually mention (see Hebrews 9:21).
When we read about the religion of ancient Israel, we soon realise the importance of the blood. It was by means of the blood that God saved Israelís people (Exodus 12:13). On that occasion, it was the blood that separated them from other people. It was the blood that separated Aaronís family for their work as Israelís priests (Leviticus 8:23-24). And, unlike the people from other nations, Israelís people never ate food that contained blood (Leviticus 17:10).
All the blood for the ceremonies came from animals that Israelís people gave as sacrifices to God. A sacrifice is a gift that God considers valuable. Leviticus 17:11 tells us the reason why the blood of those sacrifices was important. It is because of the blood that God can forgive.
Perhaps we do not consider it pleasant to read about blood. We may not like the fact that very many animals died for these ceremonies. And we might imagine that God does not care about animals. But in fact, God does care very much about animals (Genesis 1:24-25; Proverbs 12:10; Jonah 4:11). A sacrifice has to be something that God considers valuable. So we can see that the lives of those animals were precious to God.
However, God cares even more about people (Matthew 10:29-31). He sees how, by their evil deeds, they have ruined their relationship with him. He knows that they deserve to die because of those evil deeds (Romans 6:23). But he wants to forgive them (Exodus 34:6-7).
So those animals did not die without purpose. They died so that the people could live. And those animals died so that people could have a relationship with God. Because of their deaths, God forgave his peopleís wrong deeds.
But now, there has been a sacrifice that is even more valuable than the deaths of those animals. Christ, Godís Son, died so that God can forgive all his peopleís evil deeds. Christ offered his own blood to God the Father, and God accepted it.
We can now see that the sacrifice of animals was just a temporary arrangement (Hebrews 10:1). The reality is the death of Christ. It is Christís death that saves people. His death frees them from the evil forces that controlled their lives. His death is the reason why God can forgive people. The result of Christís death is that people can have a right relationship with God.
Next part: Heaven is a real place (Hebrews 9:23)
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© 2014, Keith Simons.