God is life. Separation from God is death, nothingness, emptiness, horrible horrors and worse.
Their purpose was to portray
the need for a savior, the need for the penalty of sin to be paid, the dramatic
and exorbitant price demanded by sin, and the process by which that price could
be paid thus resolving mans dilemma of being separated from God forever.
With each sacrifice, an
animal, typically a bull, was strapped to an alter of
sorts, and its throat cut. The blood of
the animal spilled out and the animal died.
More details of each
sacrifice have been covered in our studies of the first seven chapters of
Leviticus. But suffice to say, the need
for a perfect bull, without blemish, the death, required, and the resultant
examination, burning, and eating of the bull, portrayed many of the aspects of
the work of Christ on the Cross in obtaining the work of salvation for us.
If the spilling of
blood was all that was necessary for resolving mans problem and for paying the
price for sin and death, then the very first sacrifice performed by Adam and
Eve would have been sufficient. However, that is not the case.
Sacrifices resulted in the death of millions of animals over the centuries,
and not one of them, nor the collective result of them all, was sufficient to
In the New Testament,
the phrase Blood of Christ is used often in portraying His work of salvation,
on the Cross. Unfortunately too many
folks seem to think that it was the blood spilling out of His body that was the
solution to mans sins, but such is not the case.
The blood phrase is
used in several passages in the New
Testament to describe the redemptive work of Christ, Eph. 1:7, Col. 1:14, 1
Justification or justice is also described in these
passages, describing the reasons why God cannot vindicate man from sin until
the sin problem was solved, thus allowing God to then impute His own righteousness
and eternal life to mankind, Rom. 5:9.
The blood also
teaches the principle of sanctification and propitiation, which frees God to
place man into union with Christ, Heb. 13:12.
One of the best starting
points in the study of the Blood of Christ is Rom. 3:23.
23 For all have sinned,
and come short of the glory of God;
24 Being justified
freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
25 Whom God hath set
forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his
righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance
From the time of Adam,
to the end of the Millennium, man has and will be,
separated from God were it not for the work of salvation, which Christ
From Adam to the time
of the Cross, God looked down through that tunnel of time and saw the Cross and
thus passed over all of the history of human sinning, knowing that the Cross
would resolve the problem. Thus the
Passover Feast was established in order to describe and teach the principles of
salvation to those folks, as well the future salvation work of the Messiah.
The text of Rom. 3:25
presents the concept that God had set forth the plan for propitiation (the work
of satisfying Gods demands) future tense, as the plan which would resolve mans
Heb. 10:1, explains
that the animal sacrifices could not, nor can ever, satisfy the work of
salvation, because the animal sacrifices was only a shadow, a portrayal of the
work of the Cross.
For the law having a
shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never
with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the
comers thereunto perfect.
And finally the actual
work of the cross. In Isa 53:9, the
death of the savior is portrayed in the plural.
There will be two deaths. The
first will be His spiritual death and the second will be His physical death.
In Col. 1:22, the word
for death, thanatos refers to a single death, a
spiritual death, which is the death which Christ suffered in obtaining our
salvation. It does not ever refer to
The Lord was on the
Cross from 9 am until after 3 o clock pm.
From nine in the morning until noon He hung on the Cross and then at
noon, the skies went dark, into a supernatural darkness, in which nothing could
Jesus was still alive
during that time. He cried out, My God,
my God , signifying the time of judgment had arrived. He screamed out these words for three hours
until 3 o clock. Then the time of
judgment was over. Jesus was still
The skies cleared up
and Jesus stated, tetelestai, or it is finished. The work of salvation was then completed, and
Jesus was still alive at this point.
Then and only then did He exhale for the last time and died physically.
During the Old Testament
sacrifices, the animals were tied to an alter, not
hung on a cross. Christ was not tied to
an alter, but was hung on a cross. The
physical death of the animal, portrayed the spiritual
death of Christ, not His physical death.
Once the work of
salvation was completed, then the work of the first advent was over. Jesus then died physically, Matt. 27:50, Mk.
15:37, which both state that Jesus sent His own breath away. He Himself exhaled and died from His own
command. Man has no room to boast that
man caused His death, or that man had any part in the work of salvation. The word for exhale, ekpeneo
means a controlled and coordinated exhale.
Jesus Himself brought on His physical death through the act of His own
He brought Himself into
the world and He took Himself out of it.
Thus Christ has total control over everything that occurs in life and in
death, Psa. 31:5.
The physical death of
Christ set the stage for His resurrection.
And while physical death is the result of spiritual death (physical
death is not the penalty of sin), then once the penalty for sin has been paid, then resurrection is now available.
Once sin has been paid
for, then that is not the end of the story.
Life has to resume in order for man to live in heaven with God. Thus resurrection is an essential part of
After the physical
death of Christ, then His soul went into the underworld (Hades), Psa. 16:10, Lk. 23:43, Acts 2:27, Eph. 4:9. His human spirit went to heaven in the
presence of the Father, Lk. 23:46, Psa. 31:5. His body went into the grave, Lk. 23:53. This was
in fact the result of His physical death.
Note one more
thing. After He died physically, the spear stab to his body, Jn. 19:34, resulted in the shedding
of blood. He did not bleed to death, and
therefore salvation was not a result of His bleeding.
The phrase, Blood of
Christ, brings together two unlike things, the physical death of the animal
sacrifices, which portrayed the spiritual death of Christ on the Cross. The phrase blood, or blood of Christ,
refer to the saving work of Christ, and express the fact that Jesus Christ is
the fulfillment of the lessons described in all of the animal sacrifices from
all of those past centuries.
The animal sacrifices
were teaching aids, shadows of the reality.
Jesus Christ on the Cross is the reality, the actual fulfilling event
which solved and secured salvation for humanity.