Not the Solution

For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? For the worshipers, once purified, would have had no more consciousness of sins. But in those sacrifices, there is a reminder of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins” (Hebrews 10:1-4).

In God’s eternally purposed plan of salvation for all humanity, animal sacrifices were never the final and ultimate solution to human sin. Their divinely assigned role was to point toward the Lamb of God and foreshadow His universal sacrifice.

In this passage, four facts about the Old Testament’s inferior sacrifices are given. They provide conclusive proof that the blood of bulls and goats are not the solution to human trespasses and transgressions.

Fact # 1: The Law contained a shadow of a future reality. Just as the shadow of a ham sandwich does not contain any of the nutritional value the sandwich itself has, so the shadow of Calvary’s cross (i.e., the Old Testament’s sacrificial system) has none of the redemptive power found at Golgotha’s offering of God’s Lamb.

Fact # 2: The annual repetition of animal sacrifices indicates their inability. The Old Testament’s Day of Atonement occurred every year because of the inadequacies of its sacrifices. If they had been able to purify as Christ’s atoning sacrifice, they would have only happened one time (like Christ’s). Their year-in, year-out occurrence is a tacit admission of their besetting inability.

Fact # 3: The functional power which the Old Testament’s Day of Atonement’s sacrifices had was in in reminding—not removing—God’s people of their sins and guilt. On the Day of Atonement, a faithful Jew remembered His sins. During the weekly observance of the Lord’s Supper, a faithful Christian remembers his Savior who has blotted out his sins, so they are remembered no more.

Fact # 4: An animal’s death is innately incapable of atoning for the spiritual crime of human sin. Just as no helper comparable to Adam could be found among the creatures God made prior to Eve (Genesis 2:20), no savior sufficient to the crime committed by humans can be found among those same creatures.

Even though the Law of Moses was a tremendous spiritual blessing to the nation of Israel, it had several serious limitations. From the beginning, the Law’s animal sacrifices were never God’s permanent solution to the problem of human sin.

   Send article as PDF   

Author: jchowning

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *