An extremely profound and revealing Bible verse is contained in the Book of Leviticus. This verse has priceless and timeless implications.
“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.” Leviticus 17:11
The shedding of blood confirms the loss of life. The loss of life is the required payment for sin. This great truth was first revealed when God clothed Adam and Eve in animal skins as they were driven from the Garden of Eden.
Shortly thereafter their righteous son Abel offered the firstborn of his flock to God. Abel’s offering was respected and accepted.
Approximately 3,500 years after the time of Abel, at the end of Israel’s bondage in Egypt, God reaffirmed the great truth that the shedding of innocent blood was the price of atonement and redemption.
Just prior to the Exodus God announced the final plague to Pharaoh that if the children of Israel were not released from bondage, his firstborn and the firstborn of all Egyptian families would be killed.
“…and all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sits on his throne, even to the firstborn of the female servant who is behind the handmill…” Exodus 11:5
Moses and Aaron, however, were provided a detailed remedy by which to escape this plague.
“Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying: ‘On the tenth of this month every man shall take for himself a lamb…Your lamb shall be without blemish…Now you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month. Then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it at twilight. And they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses…’” Exodus 12:3, 5-7
Then Moses explained that the lamb to be slain would henceforth be called the Passover lamb because the LORD would pass through the land to strike the Egyptians, but wherever He saw the blood on the lintel and doorposts, He would pass over and not allow the destroyer to enter the house to kill the firstborn of the family.
Moses was then told the Passover ordinance was to be observed forever, and when the children of succeeding generation inquired of the significance of the observance, they would be told:
“It is the Passover sacrifice of the LORD, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt when He struck the Egyptians and delivered our households…” Exodus 12:27
Approximately seven centuries later the Prophet Isaiah revealed that Israel’s future Messiah would fulfill the purpose of the Passover Lamb once for all.
“He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth.” Isaiah 53:7
The coming Passover Lamb of God would humbly and obediently be offered so as to protect God’s people from the destroyer.
The Hebrew word for ‘Passover’ is Pesach which has several synonyms including ‘spare,’ ‘exempt,’ and ‘immunity from penalty.’
As mentioned, the Lamb of God has timeless implications.
Recall John the Baptist’s proclamation when he first saw Jesus.
“Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29
And the Apostle Paul expounded on John’s proclamation.
“…For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.” 1 Corinthians 5:7
Therefore, in the Old Testament the Passover lamb was sacrificed to spare the children of Israel who obediently sprinkled the blood of the slain lamb on the doorposts and lintel of the door of their houses.
The annual Old Testament sacrifice of a Passover lamb was but a foreshadow of the true Passover Lamb who would ultimately pay for the sins of God’s people. Atonement was for a season, but all sin must ultimately be paid for according to the Holiness attribute of God.
See next week’s conclusion entitled: ‘…who takes away the sin of the world.’
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