SBS Sermon Notes

SBS     Sermon Notes     Note 07/05

Sacrificial Laws (Part 1)

Reading: Hebrews 9

1. Types and Shadows

Broadly speaking, divine laws concerning sacrifices fall into two categories.

Vegetable Offerings

"These offerings, sometimes called 'meat offerings' in the AV ... consisted of white flour, or of unleavened bread, cakes, wafers, or of ears of grain roasted, always with salt, and, except in the sin offerings, with olive oil (Leviticus 2:1, 4, 13, 14; 5:11)" (Westminster Dictionary of the Bible)

Animal Sacrifices

Animal sacrifices of cattle, sheep and goats of both sexes. The animal was to be without blemish. Sacrifices were of three kinds:

2. The Penalty for Sin

In this sermon I will concentrate on the sin offering. The Apostle Paul writes in Romans 6:23:

For the wages of sin is death;
but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

This death penalty cannot be set aside. It must be paid, either by the sinner or by a substitute. The foundations of the entire universe would crumble to dust if GOD Almighty were to set aside the penalty for transgression. It must be paid - by someone! I am delighted to report this morning that the Most High has provided a substitute for man. That substitute is His only begotten Son Yeshua the Messiah - Jesus Christ. He is the divine substitute. He is the one who paid the price for man's sin. The whole sacrificial system was instituted to illustrate these two awesome facts:
            a) that the wages of sin is death; and
            b) that if a repentant sinner wanted forgiveness
                he/she was to bring a substitute to die in his/her place.

In ancient Israel this process was carried out in the very presence of the sinner. It was a bloody, brutal and expensive burden. It was meant to be: because the two lessons the Almighty wanted to teach His people - and through them all mankind - were, I repeat:

Every commandment in the sacrificial law demonstrates, amongst other things, those two vital facts.
  1. That the wages of sin is death.
  2. That without shedding of blood there is no remission. (Hebrews 9:22)

3. The Lamb of God

To recap, then, we have learned that under the first covenant, sacrifice for sin consisted in offering literal farm animals. (lambs, rams, goats and bulls. etc.) Countless thousands of cattle were slaughtered in this way by ancient Israel. It was a gruesome drama with enormous impact; a sickening, sobering reminder of what a terrible thing sin is. It was enacted again and again for centuries to demonstrate the vital lesson that the wages of sin is death. However, the slaughter of farm animals was not designed to continue forever. Yahweh had a more effective sacrifice in mind. The object lesson of farm animals dying for the sins of man was a temporary arrangement. It would last only till the reality came. And that reality is God's own Son - the Messiah of Israel - Jesus Christ. He was the divine sacrifice. Pointing to Jesus, John the Baptist said these words:
John 1:29 Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.

4. What is Jesus doing Today?

The story of the Saviour's death on Calvary is well known; it has been preached millions of times through the ages by true ministers of the Gospel. But what is Jesus doing today and are animal sacrifices still required? Here are the answers according to Scripture:

Jesus Christ our High Priest

At this very moment in time Jesus Christ, Yeshua the Messiah, is officiating as High Priest in the Melchisedec Order in the Temple above.
Hebrews 5:6 As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.
Hebrews 6:20 Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.
Hebrews 7:24 But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood.
25: Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.
26: For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens.

He offers no sacrifice other than his own blood

Many ancient religions demanded a continual stream of animal sacrifices as atonement for sin and impurity. Most of them borrowed the original idea from the pre-flood patriarchs (Abel, Enoch, Methuselah and Noah) who were directly instructed by God Himself. But only the Bible reveals that each animal sacrifice prefigured the Messiah of Israel. The Bible also teaches that Jesus Christ, the High Priest of the Melchisedec Order, not only offered himself - once and for all - for mankind's sin, but that he is, at this very moment, officiating on behalf of sinners in the presence of his Father, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob,
Hebrews 7:27 Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's: for this he did once, when he offered up himself.
Hebrews 9:12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.

Animal sacrifices cannot perfect the conscience: only the Saviour can do that

However effective animal sacrifices were in teaching spiritual truths, they were unable to purge the sinner's conscience or remove his sin. They were merely dramatic object lessons, types and shadows of things to come: and they ended when the reality (Jesus Christ) died for the sins of the world.
Hebrews 9:9 Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience;...
14: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

Messiah's sacrifice is not to be repeated

Hebrews 9:26 For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.
27: And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:
28: So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.

Hebrews 10:14 For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.

The Almighty no longer wants animal sacrifices

Hebrews 10:5 Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me:
6: In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure.
7: Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.
8: Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law;
9: Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.
10: By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

5. Present-Day Sacrifices

The kind of sacrifices the Eternal wants in this age are symbolised by the praise, incense and meat offerings.

Praise, Thanksgiving, Good Communications

Hebrews 13:15 By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.
16: But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.

17: Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.

1 Peter 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.

Holy Lives

Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
2: And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

6. What About You?

Spiritual information, essential as it may be, is of no value whatsoever if it is not personally applied. And so I invite you to join with me in quietly answering these questions: What has all this information got to do with me? Is it important? Does it really matter? Will I suffer loss if I just ignore it all? Who cares anyway?

My Answers Are:

Ezekiel 33:11 Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?

My prayer is that all of us; and all who read or preach this Sermon Note - will accept the Almighty's offer and live! Amen.

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Elder: David B Loughran
Stewarton Bible School, Stewarton, Scotland
August 1997 ... Updated September 1999