Why did the Biblical God order sacrifices?

To most people living today the idea of sacrificing to a God is a primitive religious practice of underdeveloped people of the past. The Bible reveals God started this practice, but why did He? What was He hoping to accomplish by it?

From the moment Adam and Eve rebelled against God’s authority they received the death penalty. They had been warned that the penalty for violating the symbol of God’s authority on earth was death. When Eve when tempted she even voiced both the law and the consequence of breaking it showing she knew very well the risk she was taking. She said to the serpent tempting her: «God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.» Yet moments later she decided to eat fully aware of the penalty yet hoping God would not, or be able to, fulfill it. So she let the serpent trick her into thinking God would not complete the sentencing or that if she ate of it He would not be able to as she would be as God herself. So they were warned and well aware that the penalty for breaking the law was death. Yet she chose to believe the lie because the lie was appealing to her. And that is usually how we all fall into disobedience.

So when they were confronted by God He showed them that the penalty would be just what He had said it would be. And Eve had not become as a God, she was even more vulnerable than ever. 

 God told Adam who had partaken in the rebellion: «In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.» (Gen.3,19)

If God had not stood by His law it would invite anarchy in the universe that might even consist of other planets. If a child sees that the consequences are empty threats it will quickly change the power dynamic in a family. Or in a society as we know it, if no one was arrested or jailed for breaking the laws of the land no one would feel the need to keep them. And if you pardon one lawbreaker you would be unfair if you do not pardon the next and so on. Not committing to the penalty for breaking God’s laws would in the end effect all beings that existed and would lead to a universe out of control. 

 God knew for everyone’s safety the consequence for breaking His law had to be what He said it was. Death. And so the first humans were sentenced to death.

However God loved the world, as we read in John 3,16, and so He came up with a plan where He could keep the validity of His law and the seriousness of violating it at the same time as presenting a way out for humans who had fallen under the death penalty. The penalty had to be so high it would not cause for law and order to spin out of control, so high that sin would not be considered worth it for other beings in other places. Yet at the same time, God could get the opportunity to pardon the transgressor. And the plan of salvation is God balancing the two, justice and mercy. “Justice and judgment are the habitation of thy throne: mercy and truth shall go before thy face» (Psa_89:14).

So although law and order were important God wanted to show that mercy did not have to lead to anarchic if given in the right way. Balancing law and mercy correctly, to not harm one when helping another, is an extremely difficult task as humans have struggled with over decades. But God came up with a perfect blend. 

However, God did not reveal the full plan in the beginning. God was under constant critic and attack from His enemy and so God did not share all the details of His plan straight away. In this way, He could prevent as much sabotage as possible until the plan had been carried out. God did share with man that there was hope and to keep a lookout for a deliverer (Gen.3:15). And He shared with them the cost of their future deliverance.

 After Adam and Eve had broken the law God took the first life, an animal, and he took its skin and clothed Adam and Eve with it (Gen 3:21) . In this symbolism, and others, God showed that their crime could be put on a substitute and the substitute would die, its blood would be shed in their place.

Every sacrifice that was sacrificed was in reality an execution of God’s law’s principle, that following the breaking of His law there was a death penalty. This was to create great respect for God’s law, hopefully teaching man not to continue break it and give the hope that man could be saved by a substitute taking their place in the execution of their sentencing.

The rules of the first sacrifices were simple, the animal were to be without spot or blemish. And it had to be a clean animal, an innocent animal. Meaning the animal itself did not kill pray to eat, it did not eat the blood of others. The diets of the sheep, lamb, ox or goats were mostly grass. The chosen sacrificial animals were peaceful and easily domesticated. Them not having a blemish was to symbolize their innocence. The symbolism was that if the substitute was not innocent it could not serve as a substitute as it was guilty and would thereby have to die for it’s own sin.

Now obviously as we all know, animals do not know the difference between right and wrong the same way as humans do. Neither could they consciously agree to take a humans penalty. This revealed that the whole idea of them as a substitute was in reality an illustration of God’s plan of salvation and not the salvation in its self. It was to point forward to a deliverer.

By asking for these sacrifices in the Old Testament God would preach to them and constantly remind them of the seriousness of sin and hopefully get man to think more about his own action and the consequences of them. No one’s sin is only their business, it will always affect someone or something else.
Many are willing to take chances if they know they are the only ones to get hurt. But the stakes are higher when you realize that others will suffer the consequence of your sin. That is if you are a little caring.

For instance when shedding the blood of something that represented innocence it was in part to give that cruel awakening. That our salvation cost blood, that our sins harm others and has an utter consequence.

Cain and Abel 

When Cain and Abel made sacrifices, Abel made a blood sacrifice of an animal, but Cain made an offering of vegetables.

In reality, Cain by action took away what the sacrifice was witnessing. The authority of God, the consequence of breaking the law, and the great cost to be made to save man from His crime.

Image result for cain and abel sacrifice

Cain might have worked hard to bring forth these vegetables but they took away the seriousness of sin and the consequence of them. Cain by it did not confess to have sinned and deserve the penalty for sin which is why he did not see the need for a substitute to die in his place.

So God did not receive Cain’s sacrifice. Here was revealed the first great principle that man cannot atone past wrongs by doing a good deed or buying God’s approval with our material things.

If God would accept such a gift in return for getting us out of our sentencing He would be what we today know as a corrupt judge. For what judge would receive payment from the one sentenced to get them out of jail without being corrupt? And what about the witness to angels and other beings other places, that you can sin and use your wealth to buy yourself out of trouble? What would this signalize? This is what Cain’s sacrifice witnessed, while Abel who was following God’s instruction showed respect and knowledge of the importance of the law and the painful truth of what the consequences are. And with it an admission of his own guilt. 

In reality, Cain represented corruption and Abel represented God’s justice system.

In Cains sacrifice laid the idea that man was under a curse, not because of their own actions but because God was upset with them. And so in this way of thinking God had to be satisfied or pleased in order to let them get off the hook. This mentality was the foundation of all ancient pagan religions. They saw the problem in God’s reaction to their sin and not in their sin.

We know this form of apology in inter-human relations is highly criticized. That is when someone is confronted with something wrong they did and they apologize by saying something like: «I am sorry you feel hurt» rather than saying «I am sorry for what I did». 

It is about putting the responsibility on the accusers hurt rather than your own action. The problem is the responder and not the action committed. This behavior is very common among narcissists who rarely admit fault and always blame the emotions and reactions of the other rather than their own actions. Often such people will even blame those they hurt for being emotionally unstable for having a reaction to wrongs.

And so this false apology, the not really acknowledging you are in the wrong yet you are forced to apologize by circumstances, was used against God and His juridical system. God or the gods were seen as unstable beings. 

Those who would not truly admit to being in the wrong yet saw they were in a bad position with God or the “gods” would create a false sacrificial system where the problem was God’s temper and not their actions.

And so they played the victim and God the moody transgressor and started sacrificing to «please the gods» to help them in those things that they could not control. Like the weather, rain, death, and so on.

Basically, they created a victim/abuser relationship with God.

This placed God in a terrible light and human sins in an innocent light. God repeatedly said He hated the religion of the heathen.

It was a distortion of both God, God’s character, and His justice system.

The false sacrificial system then and now
It went so far that many started sacrificing babies and humans to the gods to gain favor. This was a terrible abuse of the sacrificial system God had created. It placed God in a deceptive light.
This pagan religious view even became great under the reign of the Catholic Church during the Middle Ages. The protests of Martin Luther which kick-started the reformation was a protest against this very mentality.
In those days you could pay either with money or by abusing yourself or making pilgrimages to get out of their debts towards God. Meaning if you sinned and you had money or were prepared to work for it, God would acquit you of your sins. St. Peters church in Rome where the Pope is crowned was even built up by money given by people as an atonement for sin. The church represents therefore corruption, quittance from crimes by bribing God to get out of the penalty. The ideas went so far that it was said you could even buy family members out of purgatory with money. For many therefore this church and its king became a corrupt institution and abusive imagery of God’s juridical system. Christ’s blood atoned some sins and others you had to work for.
It was the same principle Cain practiced which God rejected. And so Martin Luther made an open protest against the whole corrupt system and re-introduced the original principle, that sin cannot be paid for by wealth or good deeds, and that the only way was through the substitute’s blood as represented by Jesus. God did not accept bribes or favors. What could humans give Him but love? All that existed was created by Him and He creates for Himself whatever He wanted if He wanted. Man had nothing to offer Him of value except their loyalty and love. And that was all God was asking for.

The ideas of Cain ended up becoming many people’s misunderstanding. And often as a result of refusing to knowledge one’s own sin and instead put the blame on the law that accused them or the God behind the law. All the early pagan religions practiced different types of the sacrificial system, yet often with blood, they still did it with the wrong understanding of it all. They thought they were satisfying a bloodthirsty God or bribing the God for a favor. The sacrificing of unclean animals, even human sinners, also showed a complete lack of understanding of what the original sacrifices symbolized. It had also gotten completely out of hand thanks to the efforts of Satan and it had created a blood bath, a disrespect for life, and everything good. And it did not inspire people to change their behavior. God’s original institution had been twisted to the unrecognizable and it was time for God to act.

The Sanctuary service
Because of the great abuse and ignorance of the sacrificial system God had to put the principles behind it all into greater symbolic imagery than the first given. This to give the sacrificial system back its original meaning and testimony. In order to do that He needed faithful people to showcase it correctly. He chose Israel.

When God called Israel out of Egypt He asked them to make Him a sanctuary where from now on, the sacrifices, were to be put into a greater setting that would illustrate the whole point of it.

They were told to make two rooms inside the sanctuary, a holy and the holiest place surrounded by a courtyard. Inside and outside this tabernacle, there were several symbols of God’s justice system. In the holiest was placed God’s law to mankind, it was to define what sin is (1Jn_3:4) The law was placed inside a gold-covered chest with a seat with cherubim on to represent God’s throne (Exo 25:22, Exo 25:22). 

In a kingdom, you have a king and you have a law. And this law is the foundation of the kingdom and the rule of the King. In fact, the law is what gives the King authority. You are not a ruler unless you can rule.

So God was trying to illustrate as simple as possible the principles of His plan of salvation. Although not able to disclose all the facts to mankind, enough would be revealed to understand it involved a substitute who would atone for man’s sin.

God said about Himself that He is righteous, that His law is fair and it was there for everyone’s common good. The sanctuary system was a way to bring people back to the original understanding that it wasn’t God or His law or His sentencing that was the problem it was our sins. And so our apology had to contain an understanding of that fact, that the sacrificial system was our admittance and not some attempt to make God appear unreasonable or moody.

So God asked them to bring the sacrifices without blemish to the entrance of the tabernacle in front of God’s seat of authority and it was to be slain there so that there could be an admission of why there was a death penalty. By putting the sacrifice in front of the sanctuary God revealed what sin was, the breaking of God’s law and it being a rebellion against God’s authority. He revealed what law was broken and that the breaking of it had the death penalty.

In the same way, as Eve was very well aware and could repeat the consequence of breaking God’s law when Satan asked her about it, through this tabernacle man would not remain in ignorance as to what God’s law was and what the punishment for breaking it was. 

Right and wrong did not change leaving man innocent by ignorance. God did not change and His justice did not change.

The brutal truth was to be revealed, the consequence of breaking God’s ten commandments was the death penalty.

The secret of the substitute.

Yet there was some great mysticism in it all. Why would God be OK with transferring the death penalty to an innocent creature and how could this do His law justice?

The explanation of these things was given in the tabernacle service.

First, the sinner had to acknowledge they had sinned and was deserving of their sentencing, then they had to transfer their sin to the innocent animal substitute, and then the animal was executed in their place. 

The blood of some of the sacrifices was brought into the holy place where there was a seven-branched candlestick, a table of shew-bread, and an altar of incense. Once a year the blood of the sacrifice was brought into the throne room with the law and sprinkled in front of it and upon it. In this way, the law could witness that the penalty was paid for and that the law and the lawgiver had been respected.

All the symbols inside were related to God’s connection to His people. How God could purify the sinner and bring Him back into good standing with God. It revealed that the condition for using a substitute was that we had to be authentically sorry, not blaming the law of God but taking the blame ourselves and show a willingness to start over and use the chance given us to turn from our ways.

 It is similar to our juridical systems today. You have a courtroom where the law is present and the one witnessing against the transgressor. And you have the sentencing based on those laws. However there is no substitute to take our penalty, such an idea would have been absurd in a courtroom today. What would it serve to punish someone innocent instead of the guilty and would we then not put others at risk if the guilty went free? If the rapist asked for his innocent mother to go to prison in his stead? What would happen to society if everyone guilty of a crime grabbed a law abiding citizen and had them do the time for them. In the end, you would get a lawless society where all the good guys were in prison. God is no fool, He did not create a system to acquit the guilty so that he could continue his law-breaking spree without facing consequences. That is why God claims to be a God of justice as well as a God of mercy. 

And so in God’s substitute system repentance that resulted in a change of behavior was important. The sinner was not completely off the hook by the substitute death, they had to go into a relationship with God and show a willingness to change. The rebellion against God’s kingship had to end. So God offered along with the substitute a rehabilitation-program. If you drop out of it you lose the right of the blood of the substitute. A type of parole as we know it today. The criminal is set free but expected to follow the rules of society or they will lose their pardon and go back into prison. In God’s rehabilitation program the one who had prayed and asked for salvation through the substitute had to show that they wanted to learn God’s laws and adjust to them, that they were willing to ask God for strength and help to change and be in constant communication with Him to achieve this goal. The candlestick symbolized how God would strengthen and protect them through His spirit and care, the table of showbread symbolized learning, and the altar of incense prayer. If we committed to change God would provide mercy and power to work for and with us.

And so through God’s sanctuary system, God showed that it was not enough to just sacrifice something to please God but that there was a larger picture they were missing. To be part of God’s restored kingdom they could be acquitted of their sins and go free but they had to commit to change. 

Sanctuary system abused

However, after a while, God’s sanctuary system was abused as well. The idea that God had to be satisfied and was difficult and unreasonable came back and affected the way the sanctuary system was viewed. Sometimes they would show up with sick and less valued animals to sacrifice, failing to see the point(Mal 1:7-8). Sometimes the Israelites showed pride in sacrificing many animals thinking that would make God happy to see the blood flowing. Animal killing became a common everyday thing and it stopped impressing them of the terrible price for their sins. And the richer you got the more you had to sacrifice and the finer the animal. The idea that you would be clean from all your wrongs with God simply by sacrificing, making the sacrificial system a way of purchasing from God the right to sin or continue sinning, was profane.

But in the sanctuary system, it was revealed that the sin pardoned was brought in by the blood and that once a year on the Great Day of Atonement God did an investigation to see if those who had shed the blood had done it in arrogance and with the spirit of Cain with no interest in rehabilitation or if they had been sincere.

God said: «For whatsoever soul it be that shall not be afflicted in that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people» (Lev 23:29) 

God would not be fooled. The sacrifice did not make Him blind to their motives, attitudes, and what they did with the freedom they thought they had bought themselves.

However, God was pained over and over again by the misrepresentation they continued doing on Him and the whole point of the symbolism in His juridical system. The thing was that God in theory had the right to just sentence all for breaking the law, take the life He had given away from us again, and be done with it. While this sacrificial system represented God’s attempt to save man and restore him instead. It represented man’s only way to live when they should have died. Having it misrepresented took away people’s ability to get that only chance. And God’s motive was wanting to save and avoid our death yet the whole system was used against Him. He’s wanting to help was seen as Him wanting to abuse. His love for them was seen as hostility. His stretched-out hand was seen as a striking hand. The sacrificial system, whether practiced outside the sanctuary system or within it, then lost all-purpose. And if there was no rehabilitation the substitute blood was abused as a justification to continue sinning without consequence.

He once said upset by the meaningless offerings: «Offer sacrifice no more in vain: incense is an abomination to me» (Isaiah 1,13) 

And: «For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings» (Hos.6,6)

Some would say God asked for these sacrifices and then He seems to not want them. But that is caused by their misunderstanding of why God was asking for it in the first place.

«Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them; and the peace offerings of your fattened animals, I will not look upon them. Take away from me the noise of your songs; to the melody of your harps I will not listen. But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream» (Amos 5,21-22)

One of the reasons God appreciated King David despite his horrific sins was that he at least did not misrepresent the witness in God’s sacrificial system. David said: «For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise» (Psalm 51:16-17)

David understood that he could not buy himself out of trouble and that what God really needed to see was an admission of guilt and a willingness to change. David’s son Solomon said: «To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice» (Pro.21,3) He too understood that the sacrificial system lost its meaning without repentance and rehabilitation. See also Micah 6:6-8, 1.Sam.15,22, Psalm 40,6-8.

In Jeremiah God goes as far as to say He did not firstly command them to sacrifice, He commanded them to keep His law and love Him. If they did that, the many sacrifices would not be needed as they were actually a witness of their transgression and rebellion. God did not command them to transgress His laws, so that He could be glorified by a sacrifice. “Do they provoke me to anger? saith the LORD: do they not provoke themselves to the confusion of their own faces? …Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Put your burnt offerings unto your sacrifices, and eat flesh. For I spake not unto your fathers, nor commanded them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices: But this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you. But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear, but walked in the counsels and in the imagination of their evil heart, and went backward, and not forward.» (Jeremiah 7:19 & 21-24) 

 Because sin was becoming so common people thought less and less over the reality of what sin was. But sin against God’s law is eating from the tree that Eve ate from over and over again. It was meant to be a big thing and the sacrifice to be a harsh reminder of the reality and consequence of sin. But instead, they created a society where sin was no big deal because they now had this way out. All they had to do was to please the gods with some offerings.

God critics them: “Will ye steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely, and burn incense unto Baal, and walk after other gods whom ye know not;  And come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, We are delivered to do all these abominations? Is this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, even I have seen it, saith the LORD” (Jer 7:9-11). 

God tries to repeat this to each generation: «What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices? says the Lord; I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of well-fed beasts; I do not delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs, or of goats. “When you come to appear before me, who has required of you this trampling of my courts?» (Isaiah, 1:11-17)

They thought God would be happy with them coming with all their sacrifices. But it was a grievous thing because of what it symbolized, all their filthy deeds. 

 «Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. To draw near to listen is better than to offer the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they are doing evil» (Ecc. 5:1)

There was supposed to be shame in their actions. And in the first century, the sacrifices had even become a competition and status of wealth. Money dealers even sold overpriced animals and took advantage of those coming to the temple.

Jesus who was at one with God and the prophets before had seen enough. 

Twice He enters the temple courts and it is the only time we see Him using physical force: «And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, 

And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves. 

And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them.» (Mat 21:12-14)

Jesus also said: «But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless.» (Mat 12:7)

 Jesus was not just some anybody making His frustration over how God’s witness of salvation was being abused. Jesus was that person it all had pointed to, He was the substitute promised. He was the lamb of God. He was the one whose death and blood was being abused and used. He was the one the sins would be put upon and who would die in man’s place. The sacrificial feast, the blood bath from all those thinking sins was not a big deal and could easily be atoned for, was now facing the one who was going to pay the price and carry the heavy burden as a sin-bearer. Every sin was a deadly strike on Christ.

As it turned out the sacrificial system was just symbols. That «it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.» (Heb 10:4) Gods sacrificial system had been a revelation of the coming savior and substitute. The secret rescue plan of God is now made known. “Now to him that is of power to establish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith» (Rom 16:25-26)

The symbolic system to go before Christ was to help people understand what sin is and the penalty for it, but also that a way out for the repentant had been made possible. That God had a plan where He could give man mercy while still respecting the validity of His law.

Jesus was the only acceptable substitute. The blood of an animal did not confirm the law. How can you commit a grievous sin and do away with it with the blood of a lamb without the law being partly disrespected? But if the son of God who took part in the Creation Himself came as a man, representing the human family and the human transgression, innocent Himself, He would be the only acceptable substitute. For He was their King. He was the lawgiver in flesh. The law is equal to the one who gave it, for the law is value are tied to the position of the lawgiver and the lawgivers authority is His law.

It would not be someone random paying the price for someone else, it would not be a being unable to make that decision. God would Himself make the sacrifice and the sacrifice was great.

From the book of Hebrews, we learn that the sanctuary system was really just an illustration of a sanctuary in heaven. Man had through the earthly system been permitted to see, in part, God’s legal system that had been put in motion to save them. However, there were no animal sacrifices in heaven.

The principles were the same though. God’s law had been broken, through Christ’s blood the sinner would acknowledge guilt, transfer their sin to Him and take part in God’s rehabilitation program. Jesus called the rehabilitation «the new birth». You are to give your old sinful life to die with Christ on the cross and you then resurrect with Christ out of the tomb as a new person now a child of God. 

The conditions were the same, the Old covenant had just revealed the truth of the real salvation plan but not been the solution itself. Jesus said: «Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God» (Joh 3:3)

He also revealed the reason behind the substitute plan: «For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life» (Joh 3:16) 

The plan had never been the toxic relationship with the gods the pagans and sometimes Israel had shown. No random innocent creature was to be the substitute, it had only been a symbol of God sending His innocent son to die in our place. The sacrificial laws had been given beforehand to help people understand the consequence of sin: “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith» (Gal 3:24) 

Had God chosen a random person to atone He would be unjust to the innocent person. But Jesus, with God’s blessing, giving Himself up voluntarily out of love for mankind could not be questioned. A volunteer sacrifice showed that God was willing to Himself make the sacrifice needed. He was our provider as He was our life-giver. 

It had never been about God being bloodthirsty who had to be bribed to forgive us. God had been lied about, and His plan of salvation was misunderstood and misrepresented. Although the sanctuary service had played as an illustration of God’s plan of salvation it would no longer serve its purpose when Christ had come, died, and entered the tabernacle in heaven. Being so misunderstood, even by the Jews, the best way to show man the path to salvation was to show it to them plainly and as it is. There was no need for symbols to guide the way, they now had their fulfillment. The path went through Christ’s blood and His ministry for us. The truth was now in the open. 

Christ’s sacrifice being abused by Christians.

Although God’s intentions and demands were clear, Christ’s blood was now to suffer the same treatment as the animal sacrifices before the sanctuary had been. The mixing of the pagan and the Christian understanding lead to the same problematic relationship with Christ as pagans and Jews once had with the animal sacrifices. Although the Bible informed that Christ had taken His blood to the sanctuary in heaven, the knowledge of the sanctuary service in the New Covenant was forgotten or ignored by Christians. This leads the blood of the substitute, Jesus, to be taken out of the context of God’s juridical system. God’s law was done away with by some or was changed by others. They repented for whatever they thought the truth to be in the age they lived. God and His requirements were ever changing by whoever claimed to represent Him at the time. The rehabilitation program was dismissed or not understood. 

The torture of Jesus became less serious and many saw the opportunity to give Jesus their sin as an easy way to atone for sin and so many started using Christ’s sacrifice as an excuse to continue in sin. The Bible warned against this (Heb.10:26; 1Jn 1:8-10).

Removing the sanctuary from the sacrifice has lead many Christians to not understand the purpose of the sacrifice of Christ. They don’t understand what law has been broken which demands our blood, they don’t repent or take part in the rehabilitation program. Instead, Christ’s blood has become a machine you put a sorry into and which hands out an acquitted card in return. Some claim the freedom to sin is found in Christ in the way they practice their religion.

The pagans did not understand the purpose of the sacrifice and many Christians do not understand the purpose and meaning of Christ’s sacrifice. Instead, they just see it as a way to be saved while continuing to riot against God’s law. 

The idea that the law is abolished at the cross has removed the point of the cross. It was because God would not remove His law that someone had to pay the penalty for it being broken. 

Many Christians just see the cross as something eliminating everything, both law and sin and then a new spiritual world starts where there is neither. And so they fail to see the cross in God’s juridical system and therefore are unacquainted with how the plan of salvation actually works. Jesus tells us several places that many will think they will be saved, clinging to His name, yet they will not be saved (Mat 7:21-23; Mat 24:48-51; Matt.25,1-13; Mat 22:12-14; Mat 25:32). They abuse His sacrifice just as Israel once abused the animal sacrifices. God said that they were not granted atonement and Jesus will say the same on the day of judgment to those abusing His sacrifice. All because they did not respect God and because they misrepresented what the sacrifice system was about. This cost them to lose the opportunity they had been given to be saved by Christ’s sacrifice. And that is Satan’s plan with distorting the gospel. Thinking we are saved when we are not.

While other Christians have taken the pagan path more clearly such as the Catholic Church wherein many instances you still are trying to be saved by bribes and good deeds as if this could atone sin. The belief that sins are weighed up with your good deeds remains. Yet God’s law is not respected and even changed to suit their ways and sins and still they claim the blood for the breaking of their own rules. And so they take the sacrifice from God’s tabernacle and they do not spiritually bring the blood before the throne and the tabernacle of heaven.

When Israel took their sacrifice away from the tabernacle that contained the law, the blood was said to not save them: «What man soever there be of the house of Israel, that killeth an ox, or lamb, or goat, in the camp, or that killeth it out of the camp, And bringeth it not unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, to offer an offering unto the LORD before the tabernacle of the LORD; blood shall be imputed unto that man; he hath shed blood; and that man shall be cut off from among his people» (Lev 17:3-4)

In the tabernacle was illustrated many of God’s principles. The book of Hebrews shows that Jesus is a High Priest in the tabernacle in heaven but also tells us that everything that happens in the covenant ministry was illustrated in the role play in the old testament: 

«For if he were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law: Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount» (Heb 8:4-5)

Saved by works or by faith?

Some Christians do both, they lean on the blood of Christ but also they still think that their own good deeds can work to atone sin. The discussion of salvation by works or by faith has been very misunderstood. And that is because the one who first started confusing matters to Cain, to the heathen nations, to Israel and Judah is still active today. He turns things upside down as he always did.

Satan makes it seem like God’s rehabilitation plan is the same as trying to be saved by works. So he presents it as a bad thing to respect God’s law and order. And he makes “to be saved by faith” appear as the same as treating Christ’s sacrifice as the others who abused the animal sacrifices. And most evangelical churches are built on this shaky ground that Judah once fell for in their day. But the truth is in the imagery that God set up. 

“Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary: who is so great a God as our God?» (Psa_77:13) 

 «Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end» (Psa 73:17) 

Believing we can be saved by works is not the same as to rehabilitate or respect God’s law. What it really is, is when you think that you can erase a sin by doing a good deed. You can not. Only blood, Christ’s blood, can atone for your sin. Even if you go on a pilgrimage for days, recite the Lord’s prayer a hundred times, or if you are a pastor giving your life to preach. If you are a missionary or a good person adopting less fortunate children or if you give your fortune to feed the hungry. Nothing of that can remove your sin. A good deed does not remove a bad deed. That is corruption or bribery if your good deed is used as an argument for atonement. It will not stand in any earthly courthouse and it will not acquit you in God’s court. Would an earthly court set a man free who has sexually abused a child if he can prove he has improved the lives of 10 children? Of course not. Neither will God accept this argumentation.

This is the true meaning of not being saved by works. Only Christ’s blood can atone, only the sacrifice of God can save you. Your sacrifice is not good enough to get you access to heaven.

Atonement is a free gift from God, if you take part in His rehabilitation program.

So you can do good deeds, you can keep God’s law, it is only a sign that God’s rehabilitation program is working on you. That you have repented and want another chance. But these same things can not be used to get you off the hook for sin until death. God’s juridical system demands to be respected. You cannot take a life and then think that saving someone’s life will have acquitted you from the life you took. This again was pagan belief. They had gods holding weights and at death, a man’s sins were weighed up against his good deeds. 

This is not how God’s juridical system works as shown through the imagery He has given to explain it in the Sanctuary system. You can not steal from a store and then later give gifts to the poor thinking this has outweighed the balance of your wrongs and you have now atoned for it. No logical court would accept that reasoning. So we can not be saved by works.

God’s law remains and still stands and because it is still at force there is only one way for man to be saved from having broken it, Christ taking our place. This is why there is only one way to be acquitted and that is by Christ’s blood. If the law was done away with we would not need Christ atoning sacrifice to save us.

But if you come with your sacrifices without repentance, without respect for the law and the lawgiver with a desire to change, your sacrifice is not accepted. 

Jesus left no room for doubt: «Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven» (Mat.7:21).

God has given us one way, one way only, to escape our death penalty. It is seen in the sacrificial system and in Christ’s sacrifice. And just like the pagans continued their false sacrificial system alongside the sanctuary service, in the same way, many Christians continue a false use of Christ’s blood and name while there is a true representation to be found. There are false representatives of Christ and there are true representatives of Christ. And this is the way it has always been since the rebellion started.

Every abuse of the sacrificial system in the old testament which God critiques can also be fitted on the abuse of Christ as our sacrifice. Because the old was always a symbol of Christ.

Paul wanted his student to understand just how important it was to put the context of the cross with the witness in the Old Testament scriptures. He said: «And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.» (2Ti 3:15-17) 

Placing the cross in the right context is of vital importance. Placing Christ our sacrifice in the imagery of the heavenly sanctuary as we are told in Hebrews is the only way to see it in fullness.

But Satan has always and will always distort God’s intention with the plan of salvation. And He will continue to cause Christ’s sacrifice to be misunderstood. 

Paul warns us that many «would pervert the gospel of Christ» (Gal.1:7)

Although God is glorified by His son’s sacrifice He desires us to do as little sin as possible. If He had to choose, as He says, He would have chosen man to not have sinned at all. And instead of Eve breaking His law He would have wanted her to be faithful. She would never have needed Jesus to die for her as a substitute, and a lot of pain and suffering would never have taken place. And if we continue to sin willfully not considering that each sin is a strike on our innocent Savior we should consider changing our ways. Jesus is still our helper and the one to whom we turn. He would rather we go to Him for strength to not sin than for us to come afterward asking for forgiveness. For if we think God wanted sin to come so He could sacrifice Himself to save us we have misunderstood everything. Although God gains glory from His kindness and mercy to the sinner, the sacrifice was painful and cost more for God than we will ever know in full. If we think we have to continue to sin to glorify God we have misunderstood even more. He does not want us to fail. 

 His first desire was for us to love and respect Him. Now that we have all sinned His new wish is for us to receive His gift of salvation and restoration. But never did God want sin to happen, never does He want us to sin. Never did He give anyone an excuse to sin. 

«Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin» (Rom 4:7-8).

«What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin.» (Rom 6:1-7) 

Therefore we are saved by Christ’s sacrifice but God is only glorified if we let Him change our hearts. “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them» (Eze 36:26-27)

“Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be? Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things? …. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.» Joh 3:5-10 & 14-15) 

Christ’s sacrifice back within the sanctuary system.

After many centuries where Christ’s sacrifice was taken out of its sanctuary context, after seeing the sanctuary in both the book of Hebrew and in the book of Revelation, a movement started to put the two back together. It did not happen until the 19th century. In a way, we can see how history was then repeated. The first sacrifice system was given and then abused. in order to restore the meaning, God chose a people to put it back together with the sanctuary and in the right context. Then Christians removed the cross from the sanctuary and God did the same again. He rose up a people to tie the two back together. God’s law was again elevated as the standard. 

The majority of Christians saw this as false light and chose to keep Christ’s sacrifice separated from the sanctuary. But they will have another chance to receive Christ’s sacrifice in the right way.

In our age, the last days of the earth’s history, there are multitudes of

religious teachers and spiritual guides. Many are making a trade of God’s gift to the world. Thousands of groups claim Christ’s blood but teach different truths. All this happens because Christ’s sacrifice was removed from the sanctuary. Through the discovery of Christ’s blood on the mercy seat God will again place the blood of our substitute in the right context, the cross is shown together with the sanctuary-items and the law. Showing clearly what sin is, what we need to repent, and the only acceptable atonement. Showing the truth of both why and how as one last call to man to take part in His plan to restore them before it is too late. He will then also be exposing the lies of those offering Christ blood on their own doctrinal terms.

How will the Christian world respond?

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