The Sacrificial System of Israel
by Ernest L. Martin, Ph.D., 1995
There is hardly a subject more misunderstood than that concerning the sacrificial services that were conducted, first in the tabernacle in the wilderness, and at Shiloh, and then at the Temple in Jerusalem. In our modem Western World, the very idea of offering animal sacrifices is considered unnecessary, and even barbaric. But for the first 4,000 years of human history, such activities were performed by the most sophisticated and intelligent societies. Among them was the society of Israel. Such activities continued until the destruction of the Temple at Jerusalem by the Romans in AD 70.
Since that time there have been no animal sacrifices conducted, in an official way, for the whole nation of Israel, though there were three attempts to rebuild the Temple and they wanted to reestablish the sacrificial services, that is true. But that has never been able to put into operation.
Now with Christians, the matter of sacrificing animals has been redundant since the New Testament teachings made it quite clear that the sacrifice of animals was not the type of propitiating relief that God would have for giving the type of redemption to the human race, and for Christians and all of us in particular. With Christians, the matter of sacrificing animals has become redundant. We have something far better to forgive us of sins, and to bring us into a right relationship with God. That new way is shown in the New Testament, and it involves the person of Jesus Christ ó who He was, what He came here on Earth to perform, what He did for us, where He is now, Him coming again, and all of that. These things are found in the Bible, in prophecy in the Old Testament, in detail in the New Testament. And we find that Jesus Christ is the one who fulfilled really the Old Testament teachings.
This new way is Christ Jesus, and the Bible makes it clear that His sacrificial death, for us and the world, is the one that really counts as far as the world today is concerned.
The sacrifices of the Temple have gone into, shall we say, a type of limbo at the present time. For example, there is really no Temple at Jerusalem in the first place. And only at the Temple at Jerusalem, or in a portable Temple like a Tabernacle, in only one place could the sacrifices ordained by Moses [be performed], thatís the only place that they could be fulfilled.
Now the apostle Paul says in no uncertain terms that the blood of bulls and goats cannot actually take away sins. Though in the Old Testament you would read about certain sacrifices, sin offerings for example that would take the place of sin, and that Israel could be forgiven of sin; but they were to be, according to the New Testament, just types and examples that you would look forward to, the time when God would in actual fact bring someone who could actually forgive sins.
Now the reason that the blood of bulls and goats cannot take away sins is quite obvious. It is because bulls and goats are not human beings. They are not equal to human beings. Goats and bulls are animals, and they have no capability of sinning. Now we might consider that goats are quite cantankerous, and they are. Typically they are characterized in that fashion. But it makes no difference how cantankerous goats may be, or an angry bull for that matter. In no way can they themselves commit sins, because they have no laws governing them, written laws, which can show what sin is.
Sin, you see, is the transgression of laws. And thatís the primary definition of what sin is. There are others, but basically, thatís what it is. Bulls and goats cannot read laws. Laws are not given to them. They are animals that perform according to the physiological and psychological principles that God installed within them. But they have no capability of reasoning in the sense of what is the law and what is not, and to make judgments on that. So they are incapable of sinning.
We read in the Old Testament that sins could be placed upon the head of a bull or a goat, whatever, thatís true. But that was only typical (and thatís what the New Testament is telling us), typical of something that Christ Himself would do for us, in an actual fact, at a much later time. And not only for us today, who live since the time of Christ, but for all of those all of the way from the time of Adam, up to the time of Christ, as well. We read in the New Testament that Jesus Christ has become a sacrifice for all human beings in the world, no matter what time period they live.
But the blood of bulls and goats cannot in any way forgive us of sin. The only legitimate being who can take away sins of humans is another human being of some kind, and especially if that human can be shown to be a member of the family of God. And who is this human that does all of that, according to the New Testament? And it makes perfectly good sense when we analyze it thoroughly? That person is Christ Jesus. Thatís where He fits into all of this.
We find that the animal sacrifices of the Old Testament prefigured what Jesus Himself would do for the human race when He came to the earth. And this is what the teaching of the New Testament is all about. We find that someone, Who was in heaven, came down to this earth, who was equal with God, but at the same time He was equal with humanity. He was considered, and was, legally a son of Abraham. He looked like you, acted like you, performed like you. He was a human being in every way like you and I are. Yet at one time He was a member of the very family of God. And I shouldnít say "was," He still is, and always was. But at the same time, [His] being in human flesh, being in human form, seems to distinguish Him in some ways from how God is in heaven at the present time. So different do some people consider God and humans to be, that they feel that there can be no comparison. But Iím afraid thatís not true. There is a definite comparison. We are just like God the Father and just like Christ Jesus Himself, at the present time, albeit we are in human flesh, and they are in a spiritual form. Thatís the only difference.
But they do have form and substance, and the substance that makes up the bodies of Christ and the Father happens to be spiritual ó spiritual substance, not spiritual essence ó spiritual substance.
But Jesus, you see, came to this earth for a reason. And that is what the apostle Paul taught abundantly in his epistles, and also followed by Peter and John. We read in Philippians, for example, chapter 2, just who Jesus Christ was. And you know, it is important that we understand this, because the whole theology of the New Testament depends upon who Christ Jesus was, and that He came into this world to perform a particular deed for us, for human beings.
And not only one [deed], but many. Everything of the Old Testament in one way or another, concerning the rituals, the ceremonies, whatever, both in the tabernacle and the Temple, and in other areas, they are all fulfilled in Christ Jesus Himself. And that is what the apostle Paul said "The end of the law ..." That means all the law. That means everything dealing with law, not only the sacrificial system, but everything else connected with the law. The kingship and the covenants, and things of that nature, are all found in Christ Jesus. He is the end of the law, says the apostle Paul, and Iíll give you that Scripture a little bit later on.
Now who is this Jesus Christ according to the apostle Paul and the other apostles? Well, He was none other than the firstborn Son of the Living God. And He had a very powerful role in which to conduct Himself in this world. It says in Philippians 2:7 speaking of Christ ó now let me go back to verse 6 here or 5 even is better: "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus ..." Now that is the apostle Paul writing to the Philippians telling them that. These Philippians were Greeks. They were Northern Greeks. They lived in the area of Philippi, and thatís the reason for their name, which was up in the Macedonian area, the region from which Alexander the Great had his origin; not in the central part of Greece, down in Achaia, or in the Peloponnesus area of Corinth and Athens but farther north, up in the area of Thessalonica, and Philippi, the Macedonian region, the northern area of Greece.
Here is what Paul said to these Philippians, that they ought to have the same mind in them that Christ Jesus had, and has, in Him. That means the same kind of attitude. Verse 6, starting out with this pronoun: "Who (that "Who" is Christ Jesus) being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God."
Not only was He in the form of God, He thought that it was perfectly proper, and without robbery, if you use that kind of figure of speech, to be equal with God. You see, God is a family. Iíve tried to explain this time and again to people, and I do so in my new Essentials of New Testament Doctrine (which every one of you should get). 1 It explains the basic teachings of what Christianity is all about. It is a very important book, probably the best research that I have done on the subject for years. This is one that pertains particularly to the doctrines of the New Testament. And you will find that in Essentials I have garnered together all the Scriptures from the first part of Genesis to the last part of Revelation, bringing together in an easy to understand way, just what the doctrines of the New Testament are all about. And they are very important for us to understand.
Now here we find that Jesus is equal to God. God is a family, a family of beings, headed by a Father, and by a firstborn Son. But you and I are also considered, right now at this very moment, members of that very family, though we are in human form. First John 1:1Ė2, says that we are presently children of God, right now. Now we do not have the substantial form of God, that is, the spiritual form, yet. We have the physical, but the physical will soon become spiritual. And we will have a form and substance, just like we have now, though it will be made ó that body, that new body of ours ó will be made out of spiritual substance.
Now we find that before Jesus came to this earth, He was in the form of God. Thatís what it says in Philippians 6:2. And this happens to be inspired Scripture. This comes directly from the pen of the apostle Paul who claimed himself to be inspired of Almighty God. Now if you accept the Scripture as being the word of God, then you will have to accede to this teaching as being true. And in fact it is true. Whether we accept it or not, it still is true, because this is Godís word to us.
Christianity is a literate teaching, philosophy. I hate to call it a religion, though it is a religion the way the world looks on it. But it is one which requires literacy to be able to comprehend it, and to understand it. Thatís why we have a written Word of God, the Bible, the Holy Scriptures which we have in front of us to read from. That is why we have that to show us in a literary sense just who God is, who we are, and that we are members of the very family of God.
Now of course, the Bible needs to be put back into its original order, and Iíve written many many times on that subject. But that is being done by top university professors at the present time, a complete Old and New Testaments back into the original order of the manuscripts. And when you see just how those books of the Old and the New Testaments really are when you can witness them in their original manuscript order ó why my, a whole new type of teaching ó and a wonderful teaching, a beautiful teaching, a teaching that is most comprehensive as well as being constructive and understandable, is there for everyone to see.
And it shows without doubt, even from the order of the books, that Jesus was a member of the very family of God before He came to this earth. In fact, He was the firstborn of that family, under the Father. Thatís why He was in the form of God. Thatís what it says in Philippians 2:6 there. But He "did not think it was robbery to be equal with God," because you see, a member of the same family would happen to be that way. Now my family is Martin, and I have children that are named Martin, and they are all the same as I am. Weíre all different, but at the same time the Martin family is the Martin family. Now thereís the Jones family out there, and thereís the Smith family, and thereís the Anderson family, and there are all the other families. But you know, weíre all human beings, arenít we? Well, itís the same type of family that God has. His family name is Elohim and there are various individuals in that family, and we find that God the Father is there as the head of it all. And then the firstborn Son, and we are a part of that same family because we are "in Christ," we are in that firstborn Son.
But God, you see, looked upon Christ as being equal with Himself. And they are. They are equal in substance. They are equal really in the position of being members of the family of God. Now look at that verse 6 again. "[He], being in the form of God thought it not robber; to be equal with God. But made himself of no reputation ..." Now this is Jesus Christ when He was equal with God, formerly. He was in the form of God, formally, spiritually and all of that. "... But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also has highly exalted him."
Because after His death, three days later He was up out of that grave, and that very Sunday morning He was back with the Father in heaven. And then He came back that afternoon and met with various people. We have it all recorded in the Holy Scripture. "Wherefore God also has highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."
Now I could go on with the rest of Philippians, which is very important, but I just want to introduce this subject on the sacrificial system by indicating who it is that the sacrifices, the animal sacrifices of the Old Testament in all of the chronological phases of the Old Testament, who or what those animal sacrifices were depicting. They were depicting this individual here that Paul is discussing, being introduced into this world at a particular time in human history. And this individual being introduced was someone who was a member of the family of God to begin with, and He lowered Himself into the position of being a human being, to the extent that He lived for some 30 plus years here on this earth, and was capable of dying. He did die, as a matter of fact. He died on a tree of crucifixion. A stauros, a type of a cross-beam was placed in front of Him, and then His hands were nailed to it, and that cross-beam was then nailed to a tree. And this all happened on the Mount of Olives just east of the Temple mount in Jerusalem.
And He died. And for three days He was as dead as any other person is dead. As dead as an animal would be dead. But three days later, God resurrected Him from the dead, and He went back to heaven. He is now in heaven, back in the same position He had before. He is now equal with God because He is a member of the very family of God. And He now has a name which is exalted above everything. He fulfilled, so the Scripture tells us, all of the Scriptures in the Old Testament that were given typically to look forward to Him, and to what He would do.
Now these typical teachings of the sacrifices are very important because they have information for us who are mature Christians, who understand the basic teachings of the New Testament, how we can learn even more about the principles of God by looking at the typical examples given in the earlier period. But Iíll tell you this, you are not going to be able to understand the sacrifices and the nuances connected with them, and what they actually mean in a symbolic sense, unless you take into account the role of Jesus Christ in human affairs. Thatís why we have looked here at Philippians. I thought I would give you an introduction to show that Jesus Christ was really God, a member of the God family, who came to Earth to do a particular job ó to fulfill the law of Israel. Part of that law happened to be the sacrificial rituals and ceremonies you find mentioned in the Book of Leviticus, principally Exodus, also Numbers and various other places of the Old Testament.
Now this Jesus Christ who was in the form of God and equal to God, letís give a little bit more definition of who he was. Turn over a couple of pages here in the Bible to the Book of Colossians right after Philippians, and we find the apostle Paul giving greater definition of who Christ was. Itís most important that we realize just who our savior is, and was, and who He always will be.
Here it is in Colossians, chapter 1, speaking about the firstborn that is Jesus Christ, it says (Verse 15): "Who [Jesus Christ] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature [that means "creation"]." Of all creation He was the first. He was the first that God ever created. And then after He was created, here He was: "For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers ..."
Now these are angelic stations that are being mentioned here, the angels in heavens. All those thrones, dominions, principalities, powers, and all of these things, He was the head of all of them because He created them all, "... all things were created by him and for him."
Verse 17, "And he is before all things." Now notice that, "before," means chronologically, in time, He was before all things, all these things that have been mentioned here, including the heavens and the earth.
"And by him all things consist Ö" That means they cohere together, and they exist themselves by divine laws, and which many of them were physical laws, and things like that, that hold the universe together. Like the very fabric of the universe some people have said is the force of gravitation which keeps the universe in a happy and a harmonious and a systematic synchronous relationship with one another.
Well, thatís who put that into operation, it was none other than Jesus Christ. He is before all things, and by Him all things consist. So you see, He is the origin of the universe. He is the one that causes the universe to exist. He is the one that sustains it.
"And He is the head of the body ..." It says "church" here, but it means "ekklesia," the group of people that are "in Christ."
And, "Who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead ..." Heís the firstborn of any individual thatís ever been resurrected back to life, like the Father has.
Now there been, in the Old Testament, people resurrected back to physical life, and there are examples in the New Testament of individuals being resurrected back to physical life, like you and I have here. But the firstborn, from the dead to be resurrected to spiritual life is none other than Christ Jesus. So who are we dealing with here? Weíre dealing with a very powerful individual, and the sacrifices themselves in the Old Testament were pre-figuring this individual who was to come on the earth, who was to be like a second Moses, who was to give greater laws, who was to introduce the basic teaching of Christianity to the world.
Verse 19: "[And] it pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell [that means in Christ]; And, having made peace through the blood of his cross [that is, by His death], by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven."
The reconciliation, you see, of the whole of the universe, both things in heaven which includes the angelic hosts, and things on earth including all humanity, all of us together, intelligent personalities and all of that, are brought to a reconciled state through the efforts of the one who created us in the first place, under the Father. His name is Jesus Christ.
That means that the sacrificial services mentioned in the Old Testament, in the Tabernacle and also in the Temple, which were the same, basically pre-figured this individual who was to come. And if you want to know more about the efficacy of His mission here on earth, then you can garner more, and understand more, truth ó a little here, and a little there ó by trying to understand what these sacrifices are all about. Now thatís what weíre going to look at here.
We find that the introduction to the Book of Hebrews is on this same theme here by the apostle Paul, who wrote the Book of Hebrews. Thereís hardly any doubt about that. And he is also introducing Christ Jesus to his readers because he is going to discuss these sacrificial systems, the sacrifices, the rituals and ceremonies of the Old Testament in detail. Before he does that, he has to let people know about whom he is talking. And that of course is Christ Jesus. So, in Hebrews 2, beginning in verse 6, he speaks here about a certain place in the Old Testament that said, "What is man that you are mindful of him? or the Son of man that you visit him"? [that is God]. "You made him [that is man, mankind] a little lower than the angels. You crowned him with glory and honor, and did set him over the works of your hands."
And you know that is exactly what God did in the Book of Genesis after Christ had made the heavens and the earth, and then He made man, and He handed everything over to Adam. He said seven points there. He gave to them, that Adam and all mankind (which includes you and me), are to rule over all things in the visible heavens, on this earth and under the earth, that is, in the oceans. We are to subdue the earth entirely, That means to conquer it, and use it and everything of that nature. And then we are to increase and so forth to be like God in essence, in other words, to rule. And it says here that Heís placed the earth in manís hands. Thy works of thy hands. Verse 8, "You have put all things in subjection under his feet ..."
Under mankindís feet. Through our ingenuity, we have been able to capture many of the scientific bits of information, and put them together so that we can utilize them for our benefit. The very fact that youíre hearing me now on a cassette tape, through an electronic device there in front of you, is something that is a miracle in itself to us. Over 200 years ago people would have stood back in awe at what we are able to use in common day affairs. We all know that. So, He has put all things in subjection under his feet.
And by the way, we havenít even begun to see what mankind can do in a technological point of view. Weíre on the threshold of some major developments in electronics, and things of that nature, that are going to stagger the world in the next few years in advance of us. We are beginning to be more like God all the time, arenít we? The only thing is, if we just had the character of God, then weíd be a lot better off. Well, thatís what the Bible is trying to show us.
Verse 8, "... For in that he put all in subjection under him [that is, under mankind], he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all thing put under him." We donít see everything that God has really put under man. And you know what God has put under the thumb of man? Heís put the whole universe. Heís put everything. But we havenít seen it yet.
Weíre only going see that when we assume the same position that Jesus Christ is in now by the resurrection from the dead. When we become members of that divine family in an actual sense, then youíre going to see that all things in the universe that God has created are going to be put under our subjection unto us, under our thumb. But thatís when, at that time, we will be able to appreciate these powers, utilize them correctly, and for the benefit of the universe and of everything in it.
But thereís one thing we do see right now, says verse 9: "But we see Jesus ..." Now we come back to Jesus. You see, this whole matter in the Book of Hebrews is speaking about the ceremonies and rituals of the Temple. That is, the sacrificial system of Israel is all dependent upon Jesus, that is, upon Christ, because every one of those sacrifices ó every one of them, no matter at what time it or they were given, or were to be performed ó have some relevance to, and some symbolism for, the person, or the message, or the role of Jesus Christ in human affairs. That is a fact. They are all found within Him.
Now that is why Paul is introducing Him, and showing who Jesus is. He is showing the power that He has. And it goes on to say: "[For] we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor: [Now He is, you see] that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man."
Every one. It doesnít mean "man" there in the gender, that is human male, it means "men." It means "all humans." Do you realize that Jesus Christ has died for ALL humans? All humans. All humans are now dead in the eyes of the God and they are all in Christ. One of these days they are going to realize that. They ought to take these Scriptures and properly understand them because they are powerful. Going on to verse 10: "For it became him [that's Jesus Christ], for whom are all things, and by whom are all things [that is, created], in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain [that is, Christ] of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both he that sanctifies and they who are sanctified [like ourselves] are all of one [weíre just one, you see]: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren."
Do you realize He calls you brethren? And it makes no difference whether you are a man or a woman. That is who you are. You are a brother of Jesus Christ, and you know who He is? He is your elder brother. We are all members of the family of God. And Jesus was the one for whom are all things, and whom are all things. He created all things. That's what it said in Colossians.
Do you know there are actually people who dispute with the apostle Paul on those statements here in Colossians? And itís ridiculous. Now he made the statements, why donít we believe them? Some people say, "Oh well, I donít believe that Jesus Christ could have, would have, even lived before the foundation of the earth." Some actually say that. Well, they ought to have their heads examined. They canít even read. You know, honestly, itís most ridiculous when you think about it.
But never mind, you and I are literate. And not only that, we can see what the apostle Paul says, and he is introducing an individual who is all powerful. That all-powerful person is none other than Jesus Christ. He is not a little someone in a manger that you worship at Christmas time. He is not like a picture in some churches that you see, who doesnít look like He is capable of doing anything. He is powerful. He is the creator of the heavens and the earth, and He is the One that sustains them under the authority of the Father. That is who the Jesus of the New Testament is, a far different Jesus than many people believe Him to be.
Paul is introducing Him now. Why is he introducing Jesus here in this capacity in Hebrews, chapters 1 & 2? Simply because in chapters 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 ó all through chapter 13 of Hebrews, heís going to explain about the sacrificial system and ceremonies of Israel. You have to know who the sacrifices happen to be depicting. Itís this Jesus, in one form or another. And that is most important for us to understand.
Jesus came to do a job for us. And typically for the first 4,000 years of human history, He allowed certain sacrifices, even animal sacrifices, to come along to give a type of shadow teaching, a typical teaching, a symbolic type of teaching of what the true Messiah, the Christ, would do, who would come from heaven, come from God to perform for mankind at a given time in human history. That took place 2,000 years ago.
By the way, the story isnít ended yet, because Heís coming again, and soon. We donít know the exact time yet, do we? No, we donít. But Heís coming soon. And the thing is, Heís coming back this time in power and authority, and Heís going to show the world, and the world will accept Him, as a very powerful individual, and indeed the very personality that the apostle Paul has been describing here in the Books of Colossians, Philippians, and Hebrews.
Letís look at 2 Corinthians 5:14, and here we find something that Jesus did. Itís most important that we realize what He did for us. (The animal sacrifices are going to come into this in a moment.) The reason Iím pointing out these Scriptures is because animal sacrifices ó thereís one thing associated with them you know, when you talk about sacrifice, when you talk about animals ó you have death coming into it. Now the fact of death is important. Now, why were animals killed? Why did they have sins, for example, confessed upon them. Not all the animal sacrifices were sin offerings. Some of them were burnt offerings. Some were peace offerings. Some were just general offerings that you would offer. But on the other hand, some were sin offerings and trespass offerings.
But you know, ever time you think of an animal that is being killed, sacrificed, death enters into the picture. Now, what is the primary thing that Jesus came into this world to do? Not only to teach a wonderful message that has been recorded for us, but it says that He came to die for us and that we can live while He died in place of us.
Now the animal sacrifices were the same way. If a person sinned in the Old Testament, they would take an animal, a type of a sin offering. They would have to take a particular type of animal, at a particular time, to a particular place (once the Tabernacle and Temple were established), and there they could sacrifice an animal for sin.
Now Paul tells us that the blood of bulls and goats canít actually take away sin, but they were commanded to practice these things as an example, as a type, as a symbol, so that they could recognize that sin brings death. That is what sin brings, Romans 6:23, sin. The wages of sin is death, happens to be death. The soul that sinneth the Book of Ezekiel tells us, chapter 18, verse 4, the soul that sins, sinneth, dies, will die. Death and sin are equated together. And we find that the animal sacrifices, they died. The animal died in the place of a human being. And the human being got off "Scott-free" so to speak. The human being did the sin, the animal takes the blame. See the point? And the interesting thing about the animal is, all the animals, whether they are goats, or sheep, or bullocks, or whatever they might be, as long as they are clean sacrificial animals, all of those animals were sin free. No matter how cantankerous they might be, you know, they were still sin-free. And yet they bore the sins of the Israelite.
Do you see the typical teaching that is being given here? Itís looking forward to someone in the future who would, in actual fact, take those literal sins of humans on to his back. But it would not be an animal this time. It would be a human being. And not only a human being, it would be God Himself. That would be the firstborn Son of the Living God.
So, we have 2 Corinthians 5:14: "For the love of God constrains us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all [thatís Jesus], then were all dead." And heís talking about the whole world, by the way, because down in verse 19, he mentions the whole world right there. If one died for all ó and "all" means all ó then weíre all dead, that is, reckoned as dead by the Father.
Verse 15, "And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth knew we him no more. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature [it means "creation"]: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God [they come from God], who has reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ." [Not by any animal. That was only typical, you see. But by Jesus Christ, the personality], "... and hath given to us the ministry [Paul says] of reconciliation [that means to bring peace and harmony amongst both groups ó God on the one hand, humanity on the other]; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself." [The whole cosmos, the whole system, everything that we see here on this earth has now been reconciled to God by the death of Christ on the tree of crucifixion, thatís what heís saying], "... not imposing their trespasses unto them."
That word "trespasses" means "sins,íí it means "wrongs." The word "trespass" itself; it means "harm," it means "calamities," it means all transgressions of laws. Do not think for a minute because the word "trespasses" is used here in English that itís a diminutive of something. It means all types of sins and trespasses, all wrongs, everything, everything that is contrary to the harmony established by God in any way, both physical or spiritual. All of these things have now been dealt with completely. And we have been reconciled, the human race. All of the cosmos, the world, have been taken care of, because Heís not imputing these trespasses any more, unto us ó unto "them" it says in the King James. Well that means unto you and me, and all of us. "... and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation." Thatís what youíre hearing here in the New Testament. This word of reconciliation. How that God now, through Christ, has reconciled Himself to the world. "Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Godís stead, be you reconciled to God."
Since God has reconciled Himself to you, and to the world, through the death of Christ on the tree, then you ought to be reconciled to God through that same death of Christ on the tree. But this look at this important verse 21, which concludes this section here. "For he [that is God the Father] has made him [Jesus Christ] to be sin for us who knew no sin ..." He didnít know any sin of any kind because of who He was. Not what He did, or what He didnít do, but who He was who knew no sin. "... that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." Not in any animal not in any bull, not in any goat, not in any sheep, not in any turtle-doves, or anything like that, which were proper. Legitimate, sacrificial animals mentioned in the Old Testament were typical of what Jesus would do. But we, you see, are made righteous in Him, in Christ, because Christ was Himself made to be sin ó sin incarnate. That means that every fabric of Jesusí existence, whether it be body, soul, or spirit, whether every bit of Him was filled to the brim and to the top with what Paul calls "sin." He was the incarnate sin. He was sin, PERIOD.
When He was hanging on the tree of crucifixion, it was Jesus Christ hanging there all right, and you know He hadnít sinned once, actually, but He was the very essence of, the exponent of, sin itself embodied within Him. And that means all of the sins that have ever been created or done on this earth including those of Satan the Devil.
Now Martin Luther, the great Protestant reformer as we all know of him, weíve studied our histories and all of that, he understood this verse perfectly well. He said that you know when Jesus was actually there on that tree of crucifixion, He was the embodiment of sin, all sin that was ever conducted on this earth. And this means that He would have been reckoned by God the Father and anybody else as the most despicable individual at the time.
Now this is a theological question, I hope you understand that. He wasnít despicable. He wasnít, in actual fact of himself, a sinner. No, He was the Son of the Living God, but He was bearing your sins.
He was bearing my sins. He was bearing the sins of the world, the whole cosmos. He was bearing all of it, including the sins of the principalities and powers in the heavens and the angels, and so forth and so on. All of the sins of the universe were, in a sense, cohering together and coming in to the person of Jesus Christ while He was there on that tree of crucifixion. Now you donít hear very much of this in the prophets of this world, I know you donít. But this is exactly what the New Testament is teaching.
Now by that very fact that He became the embodiment of sin for us, all of those Old Testament types of animals that you confess your sins over, you know, put your sins on the head, like the high priest would confess the sins of Israel on one goat, and then on another goat, one of them would be killed, the other would be alive, of the two, one was a scapegoat, and one was the Azazel-goat. And other sin offerings and things like that. You take these little innocent animals, like Christ was innocent, an innocent sheep, a lamb. The lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world, that bears the sins of the world.
What it means is that these animals were sin-free, and were typical of Jesus. Male or female, it makes no difference. And the sins that were confessed by the high priest, and by other priests, upon those animals back in the Old Testament, were typical of the actual sins of you, and of Israel, and me, and the angels, and so forth that would be put upon the back of Jesus Christ, in a literal sense, when He died on the tree of crucifixion. This is why it is important that all of us understand the sacrificial system of Israel.
On the "B" section of this tape, I am going to explain a little bit about those sacrihcia1 animals, and Iíll tell you something, youíre going to get some interesting teaching from it. Because it will show you certain aspects of Jesus Christ you had not realized before. Certain things that Jesus did for us here on the earth, and in the manner that He did them, that will make more sense to you. You will begin to realize that all of the sacrifices that were for sin, and the other types of sacrifices, that find their symbolism, and their completion in Jesus Christ, were conducted at various times of the day, of the week, of the month, and at certain specific times during the year, which were holy festival seasons, that Moses gave to the Israelites. And all of them together, when you surmise what they were trying to show in symbol form to the Israelites, they all point directly to this individual who was to come into the world at a specific time, ordained of God in order to do what those animals typically were doing, but then could not actually, in a practical sense, do them.
The animals were typical in the sense that they were sin-free. But they died. And they died with human sins on them. And it were the human sins that caused them to die. Now thatís a very unjust thing when you think about it? Why should those animals, just looking at them there, innocent as they are, why should they have to bear the sins of humans, when the humans were the ones that did the sins. You see, itís impractical, completely impractical, and in fact, thatís exactly the way that God wanted it to be.
It meant though that a person would have to come in the future, who would be a human being, at the same time with the rank of God on Him, who could effectively in a legal sense take the sins of the world on his back. That is what Jesus Christ did. On the "B" side of this tape, weíre going to look at some of those animal sacrifices, and I think youíre going to find that theyíre very interesting teaching right there in a symbolic form leading right up to the time of Jesus Christ, and pointing directly to Him.
[End Side A, begin Side B]
The sacrifices of Israel are found in the Old Testament. They are given their interpretation, however, in the New Testament. And the New Testament shows that all of the sacrifices, the rituals, and the ceremonies, actually culminate in the message of Christ, in the role of Christ, in the earth, in His person. And that they find their fulfillment there.
In fact, in Romans 10:4 the apostle Paul said Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believes. He is the end. He is the consummate end. Everything in the law leads up to Him, and He is at the end of the road, so to speak. So any type of a subject that you will find in the Old Testament, it doesnít make a difference whether itís in the field of doctrine, if itís in the field of prophecy, whether itís in the field of ritual and ceremony, they all finally and ultimately lead to Jesus Christ. He is the end of the law. And though weíre not talking about the Sabbath today, and the annual Sabbaths, and things like that. There were animal sacrifices that were offered in particular on those special days. But even those things lead to Christ. Everything leads to Christ. He is the end of the law. In Romans 10:4, is an important Scripture to show that.
All the symbols of the law find their fulfillment in Christ. And when we come to the sacrificial system of Israel, you will find that it goes back, in actual fact, long before Israel came into existence at the Exodus from Egypt. Because the first sacrifice is actually found in the Book of Genesis, chapter 4. Cain and Abel offered a sacrifice. And one was right, and the other was wrong. One was an animal sacrifice, which was considered proper, and the other was a vegetable sacrifice, which at the time was considered not proper. However, let me tell you this, that vegetable sacrifices, cereal sacrifices were certainly accepted later on in the time of Moses. But with Cain and Abel God undoubtedly told them what type of sacrifices to offer at the time, and Cain did not do it and Abel did.
We find, however, in the fourth chapter that God would provide a sin offering for Cain. Though he himself did not provide a proper sin offering, a sin offering that couches at the gate would be offered to him. Thatís a symbolic type of a thing, but it really foreshadowed Jesus Christ, who would be killed outside the gate, because Cain, you see was sent east of Eden, outside of the Garden of Eden, out of Paradise and he had to go into the land of wandering. And out there he was to be given, in the land of wandering outside of Eden, he was to be given a sacrifice, and it was to be a sin offering. And that sin offering leads directly to Jesus Christ. And you know where Jesus Christ was crucified? He \vas crucified outside the gate. He was crucified east of Eden.
Let me tell you this. Iíve explained this at length, and in my book Restoring the Original Bible and in other books, Iíve shown that the Temple at Jerusalem, first of all the Tabernacle in the wilderness, and then finally when the Temple was built by Solomon in Jerusalem, and then later on by Ezra, and then finally by Herod the Great just before the time of Jesus, we find that the Tabernacle and the Temple actually represented the Garden of Eden. It represented the inner part of the garden, the exterior part of the garden and then outside of the garden itself, outside of Eden. There were three compartments there in the Temple and that Temple was nothing more than a symbolic Garden of Eden mentioned back there in the third and fourth chapters of the Book of Genesis. And when it says that Cain was expelled eastward, east of Eden and that a sacrifice for sin would be offered for Cain at the gate, at the door to Eden, that was on the east side, east of Eden, you see. East of where the Tabernacle and the Temple were.
And you know where Jesus was crucified? We now know without the shadow of a doubt ó and Iíve explained this in my book Secrets of Golgotha. He was actually crucified on the Mount of Olives just east of the Temple, just outside the gate of Israel, just exactly where Cain was to be given a sin offering, couching at the gate, couching under a heavy weight, a heavy weight of sin.
So we find that Jesus Christ and the place of His crucifixion, east of the Temple, east of Eden, was well known even in the 4th chapter of Genesis. So you see, by the symbolism there, hidden though it be at first, (and itís hard to see Jesus in there until after His crucifixion), but once we see what actually happened, we can understand how God from the very beginning was planning all of the roles that Jesus was to undergo long before it ever took place.
The first sacrifice then was that of Cain and Abel, and secondly, the prophesied sacrifice of the sin offering which was to be offered outside the gate, outside the land of Eden, outside of the Temple region which was a symbol of Eden ó and that exactly happened in the time of Jesus. He was taken eastward of the Temple, outside the gate, and where that symbolic sin offering for Cain was mentioned, is exactly where Jesus was crucified, and three days later resurrected from the dead.
But going on, we find that even Noah offered sacrifices, a limited amount of them. And then Abraham did the same thing. But we donít come to any systematic type of sacrificial system being established, with certain symbolic consequences associated with it, and relative to sin in particular, and to thanksgiving, and things like that, until the time of Moses. We find these sacrifices mentioned primarily in the Book of Leviticus. We find, first of all, burnt offerings that were to be offered on the altar, which were totally consumed on the altar. Then there were meal offerings, which were cereal offerings, not animal in this particular case. And then come peace offerings, which were animal, mainly animal.
And they could be offered in the Temple at Jerusalem. And by the way, all of the sacrifices had to be offered in the Temple at Jerusalem. They could not be offered anywhere else. Deuteronomy 16:1Ė6, makes that abundantly clear. Let me point that out right now, because itís most important to understand it.
There are so many people who are uneducated in biblical matters, who believe that the ancient Israelites just simply raised up altars in their backyards, that every time they sinned, they would go out and get a sheep or a goat, or something like that, or a pair of turtle-doves, and then they would sacrifice those animals for sins. That is not the way that it was done at all. In fact, that was completely illegal. In no way, was that to be done. The sacrifices for sin, even the burnt offerings, and the peace offerings, had to be done inside the Temple at Jerusalem ó first of all, the Tabernacle in the wilderness and Shiloh, and then later in the Temple at Jerusalem.
Iím going to give you the exact number, officially, of animal sacrifices that were to be offered in the Temple at Jerusalem for the whole of the nation by the priests. You will be surprised how many there were. On any given year it varies a little bit because the year in the Old Testament ó Godís year, so to speak ó is a lunar-solar year whereas our year today is precisely solar, 365 and almost a quarter days, you know. And that has to be adjusted occasionally, and has been done in the past.
But Godís calendar in the Old and New Testament has to be a lunar-solar one. So it doesnít quite jibe exactly with our solar calendar we have today. But to get real close to it, we are capable of doing. Youíll find out that weíre really ideally 1,260 animals that were killed in the Tabernacle, and then later on the Temple, every year officially for Israel and the world, 1,260.
I guarantee you, in any major city here in the United States, you shall find the slaughter houses killing that many animals a day, in one place, to eat. And by the way, many of these animals that were killed, sacrificed in the Temple, were eaten by the priests. The peace offerings, all of them, were eaten by the priests, or by the offerer. Lots of people have not understood this sacrificial system. Theyíve got the idea that the Israelites, every time they sinned, they would simply just offer a sin offering in their backyard, and all of that. That would be the end of it. Well, let me tell you, there wouldnít be any animals left before long, if thatís the way it was.
In actual fact they had ordained sacrifices in the Temple that were performed at specific times, that Israelites in the land of Israel would know when those priests were offering those animal sacrifices in the Temple, and then at the very time of prayer, or the very time when the animal was being sacrificed for sin, the Israelite may be a hundred miles away, would be on his knees, so to speak, identifying himself with the priest who was doing that in Jerusalem, you see. And in that way, the animal sacrifice that was offered in Jerusalem was accounted, symbolically speaking, to the person who was asking for forgiveness of sin. And thatís the way it was done. It was a substitution for the person. And the priest, you see, in the Temple acted like God. He was like God, and the animal was like ó later on we know, Christ ó and it was all done in the city of Jerusalem once the Temple was established there.
Now why always Jerusalem? Because from the time of Solomon onward, once the Temple was established, it was the Jerusalem area that was to be the region from which sin would be forgiven, and where Christ Jesus was crucified for the sins of the world. In the Jerusalem area.
Now the first sacrifice that we find of importance in the Scripture, in the time of Moses, where we have a systematic type of teaching on it, that is that the whole nation of Israel had to do, and in fact, they couldnít even be considered Israelites unless they did this one particular sacrifice. It happened to be the most important in one way of looking at it, because the offering of this one sacrifice here made them feel ó the Israelites ó for the rest of the year, and it was done in the springtime of the year, and in the Tabernacle and Temple chronology, the spring began the ecclesiastical year.
The civil year began in the autumn time each year, with the month of Tishri. But with all of the Tabernacle and Temple services, all of the festival ceremonies and things like that, all of the sacrificial system and the sacrifices themselves, and the times in which they were to be conducted, were all done in accordance with the ecclesiastical calendar. The beginning of the ecclesiastical calendar was not our January 1st. That is a sun calendar which comes from the Romans. It began with the month of Nisan. The earlier name for Nisan was Abib.
Abib is a Hebrew word, you have the word Ab in there meaning father, and they have the ib at the end. It just means a kind of the springing forth, the one who gives the source. The source month. The father month. The springing up month.
And you know what we call this time of the yearí? We call it spring, donít we? You know, springing up, the springing up of crops and things like that. And thatís what Abib means. In fact, thereís a city in Israel today, the biggest city there, called Tel Aviv. And itís named after the first month of the year, and it means the new city, the springing up city, a brand new city. So, the month of Nisan means the ecclesiastical year has its beginning.
And the very first sacrifice of that year that introduced the nation of Israel to God, and made them to be the people of God, was that called the Passover. That was first given to them in Egypt when they were outside the land of Israel. They were in captivity in Egypt. But you know, a series of plagues came along that God showed His great power and authority amongst the Egyptians, and the Israelites then knew who He was. And then God told them that they were to have a Passover, to take a lamb or, believe it or not, a goat.
It was both a lamb and a goat traditionally, however, it was always a lamb by the time of Christ. But, technically speaking, if youíll read the 12th chapter of the Book of Exodus, a goat was also allowed. But a goat, a sheep, mainly a sheep though would be taken, and then it would be killed. It would be roasted and eaten before midnight. And it would be over a fire. In actual fact, you were to leave inside all the purtenances, as it says in the King James Version. That means all the entrails. It was not to be cleaned out. And it was to be eaten hurriedly and that very night, for the next day after they ate that Passover lamb is when they left Egypt. It was a time of freedom. A time of identifying them with a God who was redeeming them from this abject slavery that they had been in, in Egypt. This is the sacrifice that commences, shall we say, the Israelites being Israelites.
Before anyone could take the Passover, however, be it a sheep or a lamb, the men had to be circumcised. And that was another identifying sign of Israel going back to the time of Abraham. Now if you were circumcised, and you were an Israelite, you could take of the Passover lamb. You would kill the lamb, and once the lamb was killed ó and this time you did not have to kill the lamb in Jerusalem, at that time there was no Jerusalem then, there was not even any Tabernacle at the first Passover, they did it in Egypt ó not only did they do it there, but it was a sign of their redemption that they were to have from that country. Now once they got established in the land, Deuteronomy 16 says it always had to be done at the place where Godís Tabernacle was, or where Godís Temple was, later on in Jerusalem. But the first one was actually done in Egypt. Now this is a most interesting thing, because the Jews have always recognized that this is a sacrifice, this initial one, that identified the nation of Israel with God. It was a type of a sacrifice in which no priests were necessary.
All other sacrifices had to have priests available, priests of the family of Aaron and associated with the Levites, who were their assistants. And later on, in fact, it always had to be in the Tabernacle or Jerusalem. But not the Passover, it did not have to have priests. Though it had to be in the Jerusalem area, each individual Israelite, be he an adult male, and there be as many as ten people there, they could offer and have the sacrifice of the Passover, and it was recognized that all Israelites at that time became priests. The whole nation was a priesthood. Not just the Aaronics, but from that very time and only at that evening, the whole nation became a priesthood, and they were then a priesthood between the rest of mankind and God. There was where the nation of Israel became very very important at this very time called the Passover.
And that is what Peter was referring to, by the way, when he talked about the New Covenant ekklesia of his time. He was bringing out some illustrations here which the Jews well recognized, pointed directly to Passover. By the way, let me tell you this, that in Josephus who lived in the first century A.D., and also Philo Judaeas, who also lived in the first century A.D., they have quite long treatises explaining how the Passover was actually a time when the whole nation became priests to God. It only lasted one day though, only lasted on the Passover, and that to last for the following year. And one more year later they would do the same thing, and the same thing, and the same thing.
Look at these verses here in 1 Peter 9. We find that Christ is the chief cornerstone. Peter says in 1 Peter 9:1: "Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings. As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that you may grow thereby ..." Now notice the emphasis is on "newborn," new beginning. The Passover, by the way, is a new beginning. A new beginning for Israel, and all of that. A start of the nation. "... If so be you have tasted that the Lord is gracious. To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, You also [heís telling to those early Christians back there], are lively [or living] stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood [see it there?] to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable by God by Jesus Christ."
Heís talking about the early ekklesia, that is, the early Christians united to Christ are like newborn babes, a newborn nation. And you are a holy priesthood. This is Passover language that is being used here, that any Jew at the time would say "well, we do that at the time of the Passover." But you know, the time of the Passover was the time when Israel was a nation, became a newborn nation. And they did it in Egypt. Just like you can in Egypt too, or in Babylon, or wherever.
"Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold. I lay in Sion a chief cornerstone, elect, precious; and he that believes on him shall not be confounded." Then it goes on down, verse 9, "But you are a chosen generation" (or a race, is what it means, a chosen race of people just like the ancient Israelites, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people that) "you should show forth the praises of him who has called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God ..."
Now thatís what God was trying to show, through Moses, that the nation of Israel was to be back there in Egypt. Thatís the first of the major sacrifices that are mentioned. A lamb, a sheep, with the blood on the doorposts, to protect them from the death angel. And that the death angel, when he sees the blood upon the doorposts, would pass over Israel and bring them through with protection. Itís the sacrifice that introduced the nation of Israel to God, where they became altogether as a nation, a holy priesthood.
Now Peter is taking that illustration of the Old Testament in Egypt, the first Passover; heís bringing it up here, and as newborn babes you are becoming and are now a chosen race. You are a holy nation. You are a royal priesthood. It means that you should be like the Israelites at the Passover season, because the Passover season identifies all Israelites as being priests. Now it lasted for one day, at the beginning of the nation.
And then another set of sacrifices would begin to come along. And over a year period there could be one thousand two hundred and sixty. Now one year might vary a little from another because of the lunar-solar connection, you see? Godís years are based really upon His ideal years, upon 360 days to a year, His prophetic years. You know in the Book of Daniel and also the Book of Revelation, you will find that it speaks about a time, times, and a half a time? Or it speaks about seven times. Or it speaks about 1260 days? Or it speaks about 42 months? Forty-two months, thirty days to a month. Not 29, or 31, but 30. Itís ideal, so you get 12 months of 30 days, you get 360 days to a year Now thatís how God usually works His symbolic teachings of the Old Testament, and the New. And He then merges that on to the regular type of solar or lunar calendar, or solar-lunar calendar that we have today. And so you will not get, in every circumstance, the 1260 days. I hope you understand that.
Ideally though, youíre so close to it, that is what it really means. Now weíre going to turn to Numbers 28. And this happens to be the number of sacrifices, and the types of sacrifices, that Israel was to offer in the Tabernacle and then in the Temple at Jerusalem. Now once they were established as the nation, they were circumcised, and now they took Passover where they were all the priesthood of God, and they understood that, now they were given certain sacrifices. Youíre going to be amazed to see about these sacrifices. They are described systematically in Numbers 28 and 29. Now Iím going to give you a synopsis of these sacrifices, and Iím going to point out here some of the features connected with them. It says in Numbers 28:1, "And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Command the children of Israel, and say unto them. My offering, and my bread for my sacrifices made by fire, for a sweet savor unto me, shall you observe to offer unto me in their due season."
He says that every morning and every evening you are to start offering animal sacrifices. It says you shall offer unto the Lord two lambs of the first year without spot day by day, for a continual burnt offering. That means, if you offer two lambs every single day, and the ideal number of days in the year is 360 (that is the prophetic year, the symbolic year), then two lambs, 360 days, gives you 720 lambs. Thatís what you have. Put that down. If you have a piece of paper just jot it down ó 720 lambs. Now thatís every day of the year. It makes no difference if it rains or shines. Every day, in the evening and in the morning, these lambs would be offered.
In verse 9, however, he says on the Sabbath day ó now every week comes the Sabbath day. Friday sundown to Saturday sundown ó on that day some extra offerings had to be given. Youíll find that if you add them up, for the whole of the year, you get 24 bulls, 12 rams, 84 lambs, 12 goats. All of the Sabbath offerings for a complete year would be 132 animals. So, you have to add those 132 to the 720, and you add them up. Now thatís for the Sabbath days.
Then you go down to verse 16, and it says on the 14th day of the first month thereís the Passover. And beside the Passover lamb that you would offer, you know, it says 14 bulls, 7 rams, 49 lambs, and 7 goats. Notice the 7ís there: 14 bulls (2 x 7), 7 rams, 49 lambs (7 x 7), and then 7 goats. And you add them all together, you get 77 animals. Now this is beside the Passover lamb that everyone offered as a priest.
Then thatís the first of the holy days. Then you go to the day of Pentecost, verse 26, which is called the day of firstfruits, and you add those animals up, and you get exactly 11 animals. Now later on, there were four more animals that were given in the special sense. But the ones that Moses mentions here are eleven. And then you go to chapter 29, and you see the seventh month of the year introduces the first day of the month is Tishri. That is the Day of Trumpets, Rosh Hashanah the Jews call it today. On that day one extra bull was offered, and a ram, seven lambs, and one goat. That means 10 animals. Now this was on the seventh month. Now this is besides the daily offerings. Daily offerings, they went on anyway. This is besides, so you get 10 more animals there for the Day of Trumpets.
You go down to verse 7, and it comes to the Day of Atonement. This is the time when the great sin offerings were offered for Israel, and for the world, really. And here you number them up. It says one bull, one lamb, one goat, seven lambs, 10 animals. Now there were two other special animals that were mentioned. I should say three, one bull, and one ram, a goat, and then you had these two goats, one was killed and one was left aliveócalled the scapegoat. But the general ones meant ten animals, besides these others. Now thatís for the Day of Atonement. Thatís a fast day. That is Yom Kipper.
Then you go to verse 12, and you come to the 15th day of the seventh month of Tishri. And this introduces the Feast of Tabernacles, seven days. Now this is a most important feast. And you know itís most interesting here because on the first day, of these seven days, starting in the middle of the month, with a full moon when it comes up over the eastern horizon, at the very time that the sun goes down in the west, youíre seeing this beautiful autumn environment. And then at the Temple in Jerusalem, or Tabernacle as it was at first, on the first day of that seven day festival, you were to offer 13 bullocks; and then on the second day 12 bullocks; and then on the third day 11 bullocks; 4th day 10 bullocks. Keep on going down until you get to the seventh day, and I think itís 7 bullocks. You add all of these up, 13 to 7, and you get 70, seventy bullocks.
Now thatís most interesting because this is in the autumn time. This is at the conclusion of the year, of the ecclesiastical year. This is when the summing up of the sacrificial system is coming to an end, so to speak. Each one of these animals here had great significance, because after the Day of Atonement, when sin was taken care of, that is typically a time when Satan the Devil was got rid of. Then we have here the Tabernacles period being introduced, and we have these 70 bullocks. And notice they start out with 13 first, and go to 7. But altogether 70. The Jews have long recognized that these 70 bullocks represent the 70 nations mentioned in the 10th chapter of the Book of Genesis.
You see, after the flood, we find Noah had three sons, and from those three sons and their wives, all the world that we have today came along. All the races that we have in the world today, all of them, all together. Black, yellow, green, polka-dot, striped, whatever. All of us have come from Noahís family. And Noahís family is given 70 different divisions in the 10th chapter of the Book of Genesis. And these 70 bullocks here represent the 70 nations.
And the Jews recognized that during the end of the age. Starting with springtime when Israel, with the Passover started, and then at Pentecost it meant more were added because thatís when the law was supposedly given at Mount Sinai. And isnít it interesting that on Pentecost is when the New Testament ekklesia first began, mentioned in the second chapter of the Book of Acts? And as I showed in a Communicator, that the apostle Paul first went to Europe on the Day of Pentecost and began to teach there? And not only that, but Christ Himself began to teach ó He didnít even start to teach about miracles and things like that until He went to Galilee into His own synagogue at Nazareth. And it says on the day of the weeks, on the day of the firstfruits, really the day of the weeks, He began to teach. Pentecost, you see, is a time of beginnings, too. But these are spring-time festivals.
But then you get to the autumn festivals, and you get that Day of Trumpets coming in. Thatís an autumn festival, thatís Rosh Hashanah. Thatís the one that introduces the autumn festivals. And that is when the last trump is sounded, representative of the last trump mentioned in the Book of Thessalonians by Paul, when Jesus Christ comes again. And the resurrection of the dead takes place at the last trump. You see, these feast days actually have prophetic significance, and though they do not have to be kept today by Christians because their complete fulfillment has been made in Christ. They donít have to be kept today. Yet, their symbolic teaching is very efficacious and beautiful for us to understand, because you see, when you really look at the Feast of Trumpets, for example, that at the beginning of the seventh month, the trumpet blows. Thatís the last of the trumpets that are sounded on the festival year of the Israelites.
And that is when Christ Jesus is supposed to come again, and the resurrection of the dead takes place. Thatís what Rosh Hashanah is all about. Thatís what the blowing of trumpets is all about. And you know the creation of the world was typically on that day.
Jesus Christ Himself was born on that very Day of Trumpets. That is found in the 12th chapter of the Book of Revelation. Remember when He was born, when the virgin was big with child, just about ready to give birth? And where was this virgin found? In the heavens, and the sun and the moon traversing her body. The sun in the mid-portion of her body, and the moon under her feet, that is clearly a simple astronomical sign for a new moon day in the autumn of the year, when the sun is near Virgo, or in Virgo the virgin, you know, as anybody living in the Roman Empire at the time would have understood. That is talking about the time when Jesus Christ was born into this world.
It also typifies the time of the new earth that will come on the earth when Jesus comes back the second time, and that is also typical of the Day of Trumpets, the last trump sounds, Christ comes, the resurrection of the dead takes place.
Then the next festival is the tenth of Tishri, the Day of Atonement, you see, the Yom Kipper as I mentioned, when Satan is dealt with and taken of. And then comes the Feast of Tabernacles. But thereís one more feast after that. Itís called the Octave, one day attached to the Feast of Tabernacles, but really is a separate feast altogether. But we have animals that are given for that particular feast, in Numbers 29:35. One bull, one ram, one goat, seven lambs, 10 animals altogether You add all those up, and you come to a nice round figure of twelve hundred and sixty animals. Now it will vary a little here and there depending upon the number of days in the year, and so forth, and to adjust to the lunar-solar disparities. I hope you understand that.
But the ideal number is 1260. Twelve hundred and sixty is a most interesting number because in the Book of Revelation you remember that 1260 days the ekklesia ó sometimes translated as "church" ó flees into the wilderness for protection? And these 1260 animals have to do with that. That is called in chronological time, "a time, times, and half a time." One time is a year ó 360 days. Times two, thatís 720. 2 x 360. And then a half a time. A half a time is half a year, 180. You add 180 to 720, and then to 360 and you get 1260, or chronological times.
Satan the devil will have his antichrist and the false prophet for 42 months. The reason 42 months is given there is because months, moons at night, can be seen at night. And normally in splendor at night. It is the light of the night forty-two months. Forty-two x 30 gives you 1260. So you see, what we find here are these sacrificial animals being 1260, having even to do with chronological time periods relative to prophecy, in which Godís people will be protected by these animal sacrifices, so to speak.
But listen, Paul said itís not the blood of bulls and goats that takes away sin Theyíre just typical of what Christ was to do. Do you see the point?
Now, let me tell you something here, and this is most important for us to understand. We need to know just where we stand on this matter, because in the Book of Hebrews, I want you to notice that when you read through all of that, you will find that Christ is introduced as the prime subject, and as being the Son of the Living God, the firstborn son. And that He is called a member of the family of God. He was sent to bring many members into that family, brothers, you and me. And thatís what His job is to do. And He will do that.
Now all of the sacrifices and ritual ceremonies, and things like that, and the liturgies even of the psalms and various other sections of the law, were all devised to pinpoint this role that Jesus would be doing when He came into the world. Now that is what Paul is saying in the Book of Hebrews.
But you know, when you get into reading Hebrews, you will find that Paul dwells on a few of the significances of the various holy days that we have been mentioning here. But the one he picks on the most is the Day of Atonement. In the chapters which he goes into the greatest detail about what Jesus is going to do, and what He did do for us, he more or less concentrates on that Day of Atonement, which you will find in his writings in the Book of Hebrews.
He starts in chapter 9, speaking here about the Tabernacle that was in existence back in the time of Moses, and he is going to mention its symbolic significances. Verse 1, "Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary." That means a type of physical sanctuary. That was the Tabernacle, and later on the Temple.
"And there was a tabernacle made; the first, wherein was the candlestick [that means the menorah, the seven lights, the seven lamps], there was the table [that means the table], and the shewbread [on the table], which is called the sanctuary [or the holy place, or the Holies] And after the second veil, the tabernacle [was there] which is called the Holiest of all: Which had [that means associated with it] the golden censer [the altar of golden incense that was right outside of the holy of Holies, but it was associated with the holy of Holies ó thatís what Paul is saying. Then there was inside this holy of Holies], "the ark of the covenant, overlaid with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had the manna, and Aaronís rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant. And over it the cherubims of glory shadowing the mercyseat ..." Now the mercy seat is the typical area where God reigned in the holy of Holies, "of which we cannot now speak particularly."
My, how many people have frustrated over those words that the apostle Paul mentioned right there. I wish he would have gone on and would have spoken a little bit more, but he did not. He had other things in mind. He is giving here some symbols now of the Tabernacle and the ritualistic services dealing with Christ. So he passes over talking about the cherubim, and he goes into verse 6, "Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle (the first tent), accomplishing the service of God. But into the second [that means the holy of holies], "went the high priest alone once every year." Now you know what day that was. It was the Day of Atonement. On the tenth day of Tishri.
And thatís the one in which the goats were offered, the most holy of goats for the sins of all Israel during the whole year. And Paul is singling out this particular ritual right here to show what Christ did on the tree of crucifixion, but notice this ó Christ did it at Passover time, not at the time of the Day of Atonement, which is in the autumn time. Iím going to bring out why in just one moment. Verse 7, "But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people. The Holy Spirit this signifying, that the way into the holiest or all was not yet made manifest, while the first tabernacle was yet standing." You have a physical ceremony there and a physical tabernacle. "For 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: Which stood only in meats and drinks [that means foods and drinks on the altar in the temple, thatís what it meant, not foods or drink that you eat at your own home, but in the temple], and divers washings [of things in the temple], and carnal [fleshly] ordinances, imposed on them [Israel] until the time of reformation. But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building [that is, a physical building]; Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place [he means in heaven], having obtained eternal [or age-lasting] redemption for us. For is the blood of bulls and goats, and the ashes of an heifer [the red heifer offered on the Mount of Olives] sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: 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?"
What it means is that the temple that was here on earth, not only was a pattern of the Garden of Eden, and things like that, it was also a pattern of Godís palace in heaven. And what Jesus did by His death on the tree of crucifixion at the place where the red heifer was offered, and for purification purposes after He died there and was resurrected from the dead, He went back to heaven. It goes on to say in verses 21, 22, and 23, He took some of His own blood ó His own literal blood that He had ó and took it into the Father in heaven, and presented it to Him, and sprinkled the heavenly holy of Holies.
Once that was done, the Father then accepted Jesus as having cleansed the entire world of their sins. All of this was done in response to the Day of Atonement. But Christ did this at Passover. Hereís the key to the whole thing. God looks upon each year that these festivals occur as referring to all the things of the year. They are one big package, a single package, not put into sections, but all together into one group. Itís just like when you are born into the world, in the Old Testament times the whole year is given to you. Do you realize if youíre born in the springtime that your birth date legally goes back to the previous autumn. The whole year is given to you.
Thatís why all of these festivals, all of the sacrifices of bulls and goats, and things like that, done at various times of the year, still cohere into one thing, one year. So whatever Christ did in that year that He died, all of the rituals of the festivals, and of the animal sacrifices, cohere together to blend into one. Jesus Christ went into the heaven of the heavens, cleansed it, and cleansed all on earth, and has presented you and I, all of us, to the Father.
When you look at it, those animal sacrifices were typical of what Jesus was to do. When we see the relationship, we can see that God has given us a marvelous and wonderful plan from the very beginning of what Christ was to do for the redemption of the world to God the Father.
Ernest L. Martin
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