Our Bloody Religion (HC 14) Pt 1

14. Can any mere creature make satisfaction for us? 

None, for first, God will not punish any other creature for the sin which man committed;1 and further, no mere creature can sustain the burden of God’s eternal wrath against sin 2 and redeem others from it.

1 Heb 2:14-18. 2 Ps 130:3.

Much of the history of Israel is a history of blood. Moses shed Egyptian blood to save the life of an Israelite slave. Yahweh delivered Israel out of the house of slavery through bloodshed. Joshua and the Judges shed Canaanite blood as they conquered the promised land. David was a man of blood as he assumed and defended his throne. The entire Old Testament (Mosaic) cultic (religiious) system was bloody. Indeed, the quantity of animal blood shed by priests in the service of Yahweh was so great that it has become a scandal to modern sensibilities.

Understanding something of that bloody history of redemption is essential for understanding the death of our Lord Jesus the Messiah. The reason there was so much bloodshed under the Old Covenant is not because, as the gnostics alleged, there was a venal and cruel OT god from whom we have been delivered in the New Covenant. After all, the Old Covenant prophets themselves reminded us that God does not “eat the flesh of bulls” or “drink the blood of goats” (Ps 50:13; Isa 1:11). For this reason Hebrews 10:4 reminds us that “it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.”

No, the reason for all the Old Covenant bloodshed was to make a two-sided point and the first side of that point was and is that the Creator God, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God who is, the God who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is absolutely righteous and that his justice must be satisfied. The second side of the point is that the sacrifice of animals is, of itself, futile toward that end.

To be continued.

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