Re: Why did God require blood sacrifices?
I agree with Gypsy, your understanding is good. There have been volumes written on this subject and there are numerous ways to understand this.
Originally Posted by gurl
It isn't so much that God required blood for sin, but rather that He provided it:
Leviticus 17:1 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
7 And they shall no more offer their sacrifices unto devils, after whom they have gone a whoring. This shall be a statute for ever unto them throughout their generations.
10 And whatsoever man there be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among you, that eateth any manner of blood; I will even set my face against that soul that eateth blood, and will cut him off from among his people.
11 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.
As you point out, it isn't only the substance of blood that made atonement, but the life that was given. A vein couldn't be opened and some blood obtained to make atonement. Instead, the life of the animal was sacrificed and the blood of that sacrifice, when done in accordance to God's commands, God would accept to make atonement for sin for a time. The blood of animals is guiltless, having no transgression, so that being blameless God would accept to show man his blame before God. Man could not atone for himself because of his sin.
Psalms 89:48 What man is he that liveth, and shall not see death? shall he deliver his soul from the hand of the grave? Selah.
Israel was commanded to have respect unto the life (blood) of animals and to view the blood as having precious potential value to make atonement for their souls with God. Sacrifices were therefore not be be made to things which could provide no atonement. If one knew about the value of the blood but did not have regard to the respect, conservation, and use of it unto the purpose God provided, then that person was guilty of the blood of the animals he killed.
This system of sacrifice resulted in the proper respect of blood and brought Israel to the continual remembrance of sin and the death it brings (the wages of sin).
So what was different with Jesus Christ? What is special about His blood?
Jesus Christ was both man and God. Jesus was God incarnate. It isn't that God took over a body as we sometimes understand an avatar, but rather God became man, was born of a woman, but with having a divine mission as a man.
Hebrews 2:9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.
14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;
15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
In Jesus, man has a candidate for someone who could make atonement for man by offering Himself as the sacrifice. Jesus was to suffer death voluntarily on our behalf. But what would make His death any more special than all those who have had their blood shed over the time of history? Jesus lived His life here as a man in perfect harmony with God. Jesus Christ was man reconciled to God in one body.
II Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
Therefore Jesus suffered death while being blameless, like the animal sacrifices, but as a man while yet having no sin and for the purpose of sin. Unlike the animal sacrifices that were offered by and on behalf of those who were guilty, Jesus was both the offerer and the offered without any guilt. Jesus shed His blood and endured "the wages of sin" (death) while not having sinned. Jesus' blood (life) therefore could stand on behalf of all mankind as having the power over sin and death. Since Jesus owed no "wages of sin", He destroyed death as a man by being resurrected the third day.
As I said before, there are numerous ways to understand this, but the thing to understand in all of it is that: Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
In Jesus Christ, His birth, His sinless life, His ministry to God, His obedience to death, and in His resurrection the third day; God performs and gives the entirety of His provision for sin and death to mankind. God made this provision without any participation of sinful man or by animal sacrifice. God's motivation in the gift is love. This is God's grace through Jesus Christ. Our faith in what God has provided is how God's grace is received.
I Samuel 3:10 And the LORD came, and stood, and called as at other times, Samuel, Samuel. Then Samuel answered, Speak; for thy servant heareth.