New Journey Fellowship
|Posted on February 19, 2017 at 9:20 AM|
One of the complaints that you sometimes hear about Christianity is that it is a “Bloody Religion”. There is, of course, some truth to what they are saying. After all, beginning in the Old Testament and leading all the way into the New Testament there is a trail of Blood. In the Old Testament, the Bible tells us that God required animal sacrifices. In fact, throughout all of what we would refer to as the “Old Testament Time Period” thousands upon thousands of innocent animals were killed. Their blood drained from their bodies and then their bodies were burned upon an altar. On the holiest of all Holy Days, the Day of Atonement, the High Priest would take the blood of one of those animals into the “Most Holy Place”, the Holy of Holies, and there apply the blood to the top of the Ark of the Covenant - the Mercy Seat.This was done every year to “atone for”, that is ‘to cover’, the sins of the people for another year.
One thing that I am afraid that many people do not understand is that animal sacrifices were not unique to Israel. The simple truth is that animal sacrifices were very common across cultures in the ancient world, in fact, archaeology has proven that even human sacrifices were not uncommon. Many times, enemies would be used for this, or even people within the nation were selected. We have all heard about the beautiful maiden being cast into the volcano to appease the gods. Now I’m not certain how true those stores are, but I have heard of people feeding their children to crocodiles in hopes of appeasing the gods. The sad reality is that the sacrificing of children was not an uncommon practice within these cultures. But, of course, if a person or nation desperately needed something from their god, then what greater sacrifice could they make than their own children. Here you see a huge difference of the God of the Bible and the gods of the pagan religions, God NEVER required human sacrifices.
In the New Testament the sacrifice changed. No longer was the blood of animals required, but rather the blood of one perfect sacrifice: God’s only begotten Son. Yes, the New Testament teaches us that Jesus willingly submitted Himself to the will of the Father and became that one eternal sacrifice for sin. (Hebrews 5:8) He willing laid down His life so that He could make an atonement for our sins. (Isaiah 53:5, John 10:18, Philippians 2:8) Here is the truly remarkable part, unlike the pagan world where the gods required those who would seek to appease them to give their own children, God sought to restore our relationship, once and for all, through the sacrifice of His own Son! (Hebrew 10:10) Yes, Blood sacrifice is very much a part of the Christian Religion, but the greatest sacrifice was the one that Our God made for us, the sacrifice of His own Son to take away our sins and restore us to Himself! (John 3:16) - Pastor Tim