But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins. (Hebrews 10:3-4)
Only The Blood Of Jesus
Animal sacrifice and sin have been perpetually connected since the fall of man in the Garden of Eden. When God clothed Adam and Eve, He covered them with the skin of animals. Abel was a keeper of sheep, and in the process of time, following the Lord’s command to make an offering in worship, he brought of the firstborn of his flock and their fat. Following the great flood, Noah built an altar to the Lord and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. Abraham is a man whose travels were marked by the smoke of his offerings to the Lord God. The covenant with Abraham was confirmed when an offering of a three-year-old heifer, a three-year-old female goat, a three-year-old ram, a turtledove, and a young pigeon. When the Hebrews faced the final plague against the nation of Egypt, their salvation came from the sacrifice of a lamb without blemish, a male of the first year which was taken from among the sheep or goats. The lamb’s blood was put on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses so that when God saw the blood, He would pass over the house and not bring the death of the firstborn.
Under the Law of Moses, there were thousands of sacrifices offered each year for the atonement of the people. At the coronation of King Solomon, 1,000 bulls, 1,000 rams, 1,000 lambs were sacrificed. When Solomon dedicated the temple, 22,000 bulls and 120,000 sheep were offered to the Lord. Asa offered to the Lord 700 bulls and 7,000 sheep from the spoil they had brought. Hezekiah restored temple worship and sacrificed 70 bulls, 100 rams, 200 lambs along with 600 bulls and 3,000 sheep consecrated to the Lord. He would also give the assembly 1,000 bulls, 7,000 sheep, and the leaders gave the assembly 1,000 bulls and 10,0000 sheep for sacrifice. Josiah gave the people lambs and young goats from the flock to the number of 30,000 plus 3,000 cattle. More than 7,600 from the flock and 800 cattle were offered at the Passover. Untold thousands of animals were sacrificed throughout the generations of Hebrews who kept the law.
When Jesus was born, and Joseph and Mary took their infant son to the temple, they offered a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons as they were unable to afford the offering of a lamb. One bird was for the burnt offering and the other for a sin offering. Throughout the life of Jesus, the Son of God would witness the sacrifice of thousands of animals. Jesus would keep the Law during His lifetime following the sacrificial laws. All the millions of animals offered as a sacrifice since the beginning of time could not atone for the sins of one man. This would require the blood of the Son of God.
Animals could not take away sins because they were not created in the image of God. David McClister writes, “Why could animal blood not take away sins? The first answer is: because the animals had not done the sinning. How could the death of a dumb animal (bulls and goats) suffice to atone for the guilt of a rational human being? Technically, it could not. There was no connection, no fellowship, between the sinner and the sacrifice. God’s penalty for sin is death, and the sinner, not some animal put in his place, must die to pay for his sins (Ezek 18:4). Human blood was required to atone for human sin.” With all the blood of bulls and goats sacrificed through the centuries, only the blood Jesus can save. God’s Son’s death was required to redeem man because that was the severity of the condition between God and man. No animal could take away sin. Jesus knew as He went yearly to the temple and witnessed the multitudes of sacrifices that His blood would be required to redeem humanity. He faithfully kept His Father’s command and suffered on the cross so that all men could taste the fruit of redemption in His blood. There are no other means of salvation. What can wash away my sins? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.