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The First Sacrifice
Just as “the law was our tutor (or schoolmaster) to bring us to Christ,” so the Old Testament sacrifices spoke of God’s only acceptable means of salvation.
Yes, each of the sacrifices pointed to the Lord Jesus Christ as the only answer to man’s problem.
And not only that, but these same sacrifices demonstrate a principle that is laid down in Hebrews 9:22.
Namely, “without shedding of blood there is no remission.”
And that rationale is clearly explained in Leviticus 17:11---“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.”
Yes, blood is life, and since “the wages of sin is death,” blood must be shed to make “atonement for the soul.”
It was a lesson that Cain refused to learn, and it is one that multitudes still reject.
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And these same sacrifices demonstrate the principle of substitution.
Yes, in the economy of God, an unblemished sacrifice can take the place of a blemished sinner.
That principle is brought out in Leviticus 1:3-4 “If his offering is a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish; he shall offer it of his own free will at the door of the tabernacle of meeting before the LORD. ‘Then he shall put his hand on the head of the burnt offering, and it will be accepted on his behalf to make atonement for him.”
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However, the very first sacrifice that appears in scripture, demonstrates yet another principle.
We can read about it in Genesis 3:21 “Also for Adam and his wife the LORD God made tunics of skin, and clothed them.”
Certainly this sacrifice required the shedding of blood.
In a world where death had been nonexistent, a life had been taken for the sake of others.
However, even though it possessed all the basic requirements of the Levitical sacrifices, it was different in two ways.
First of all, it was provided by God, not man.
And secondly, it is the only sacrifice in which the skin of the animal ended up on the back of the sinner.
Yes, a life had been taken to cover a condition that had been created by sin.
As Genesis 3:7 tells us “---the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked.”
And their efforts to correct this problem had been a complete failure.
Not only did their bloodless fig leaves not satisfy God, but in the end, they didn’t even satisfy Adam.
Yes, as he stood before God in his homemade attire, he was forced to make this very revealing confession: “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.”
On the other hand, God’s blood sacrifice satisfied everyone.
God could look upon the innocent substitute rather than the guilty sinner, and man needed to hide no more.
And so it is with the Lord Jesus Christ, Who is our substitute and our covering.
“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
2 Corinthians 5: 21
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