The purpose behind the sacrificial system as written in the Bible in the Old Testament was for the atonement of the sins of the people and by which they can approach God. This was ordained by God and was meant for every man to have a “paying back” to the God he offended by his sins. The greatness of the sin required blood sacrifice. “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.” Leviticus 17:11

A blood sacrifice is an offering to satisfy an offense committed and to be set free from the consequences of sin. The animal sacrifices confirmed the partial atonement and for a short time. These sacrifices eventually point to the eternal sacrifice that God’s Son would fulfill.

The sacrifices were to demonstrate love for God and entailed the dreaded act of killing an animal. This act was designed for man to keep God’s commandments and keep him from sinning. The sinner would kill and dismember the animal and the priest would take the parts to perform the ceremony. Sacrifices were not all animals but unleavened bread made of fine flour, and oil and, as such, did not require shedding of blood.

There were different ritual sacrifices: burnt offering, grain offering, peace offering, sin offering and guilt offering. The burnt offering is a voluntary offering to atone for general sin. The grain offering is also called meal or tribute offering, which is voluntary and required in certain cases. This was to seek God’s favor and a thanksgiving. The peace offering is voluntary and of three types, signifying peace between God and worshipper: 1) thanksgiving offering for unexpected blessing or deliverance; 2) votive offering, to express gratitude for a blessing or deliverance; and, 3) general thanksgiving. The sin offering is for the atonement for sins committed unknowingly or unintentionally. The guilt offering requires restitution. For an offense against God, an unblemished ram was the sin offering and the priest would estimate the value and add 20% as the restitution amount, which he would take. For an offense against a person, the restitution amount would be for the person that suffered the loss due to deceit, fraud, robbery, extortion or any unfaithfulness. The manner of sacrifice is explained in the Book of Leviticus.

“For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that their bodies are clean, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself unblemished to God, purify our consciences from works of death, so that we may serve the living God!” John 9:13-14

The sprinkling of the blood on the people seals the covenant of God with his people. The Blood of Jesus Christ is the seal of the new covenant extended to all who believe.

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