Studies in the Scriptures
Zion's Watch Tower
BLOOD ATONEMENT WAS NECESSARY
"Without the shedding of blood, there is no remission
When God called Israel as a nation out of Egypt, it was under the provision that He would make a covenant with them through Moses. That covenant was that if they would keep the Divine Law they should be released from all condemnation and have everlasting life. The alternative, failure, meant punishment with death. If they would obey the Law they should not only live everlastingly, but be qualified to be Abraham’s specially promised Seed, through whom all nations would be inducted into the keeping of the Law and into the attainment of everlasting life.
But God foreknew that they could not keep His Law because they, like the remainder of the race, were imperfect through the fall and His Law is the measure of a perfect man’s ability: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy strength, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind; and thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." Surely none but a perfect man could fully live up to this requirement! Hence the Israelites continued to die the same as other people, notwithstanding their Law Covenant.—
But foreknowing their inability to keep this Law, God arranged for their continuance in His favor under that covenant by reviving it every year on the tenth day of the seventh month, the Day of Atonement. On that day the year of their relationship to God terminated.
Before looking for the antitype, let us understand the type. The sacrifice for sins occurred on the Day of Atonement, and consisted of two parts: first, a bullock was slain and its blood sprinkled in the Most Holy, and through it Atonement offered for the sins of the priestly
tribe only; then the high priest took his secondary offering, a consecrated goat, and treated it as he had treated the bullock. And its blood subsequently was sprinkled in the Most Holy, "on behalf of all the people," all the remaining tribes of Israel.—
Why were these animals killed? What is the thought which lies behind this death of an animal? What lesson did God wish to teach in type? The condemnation on the Israelites for the violation of the Mosaic Law was not a sentence to eternal torment, nor to Purgatory, but a death sentence. This is clearly stated. By Divine commandment the people were called up between Mt. Ebal and Mt. Gerizim and God’s Law was read in their hearing.
Certain blessings were read, which were to be the rewards of obedience. Contrariwise, curses were read, which were to be the penalty for violation of that Law.
The curses related to death, sickness and disease.
These condemnations on Israel for failure to keep God’s Law given at Sinai agree perfectly with the condemnation imposed upon Adam and, through him, upon his race, for failure to obey the Divine Law originally given, which was written in his heart, his character, when he was a perfect man in the image of God. Hence Israel under the Law Covenant was merely condemned afresh to death—not to eternal torment, nor to Purgatory.
Then, as Israel typified the world, the Atonement Day was arranged for them as it will be on a larger, grander scale applicable eventually to all of Adam’s race. The death of the two animals, the bullock and the goat, specially consecrated by the priest, effected a covering for the sins of the people for another year, while they tried afresh to demonstrate their loyalty to God and His righteousness by obedience to the Law; but only failure could and did result: "By the deeds of the Law shall no man be justified in God’s sight"; for all flesh is imperfect, weak, degenerate.—
Thus year by year continuously for over sixteen hundred
years the Israelites kept up their attempt to gain Divine favor by obedience to the terms of their Law Covenant. And year by year they failed afresh, until Jesus came to be the antitypical Priest, in order that He might eventually become the antitypical King of Israel and the world. His priestly office was necessary to lay the foundation for His kingly office. As a King he could not uplift to perfection Adam and his multitudinous race contrary to the Divine sentence of death which rested upon all, because all are sinners. It was necessary, therefore, that, in order to become the Messianic King, Jesus must first be the Redeemer of men. He must first provide the sacrifice for sins. Then, applying it to the satisfaction of Justice, afterward, by virtue of the right and authority thus secured, He could undertake the uplifting and blessing of all mankind.
THE ANTITYPICAL BLOOD ATONEMENT
The great lessons taught by Israel’s experiences of more than sixteen centuries were:
(1) That all are sinners;
(2) That no sinner can justify himself;
(3) That an Atonement for Sin is necessary before Divine favor can be fully obtained for all mankind;
(4) That since the penalty is
only by a sacrificial death can sinners be released from the death penalty.
We all know the arguments used by those who oppose the Bible doctrine of Blood Atonement for Sin. They claim that it is unnecessary, that God could just as easily as not cancel all sin without requiring the death of either a bullock or a goat, or of Jesus or anybody else.
But are not such arguments illogical? Is it not illogical to suppose that the great Supreme Judge of the Universe would make a law and a penalty for it, inflict the penalty justly, and afterwards set aside the penalty without a reason? Surely no earthly judge would do so, and surely a Heavenly Judge could not do so without infracting the principles of His own Government; for if it is
right to impose a death sentence as a penalty for sin, and to allow that sentence to be in effect for four thousand years before Christ, and to allow our entire race to suffer under it for that time, would it not be unjust to afterwards institute a change, set aside the Law, the Curse, the penalty for sin? Surely we all agree to this!
Some, however, will say, Surely God never made such a penalty. Why should He make a penalty which would cause the death of His Son, or the death of anybody, to eradicate it, to set it aside? We answer that God did make such a penalty; for it is manifest that our entire race is a dying one, which has been under the Reign of Sin and Death for Six Great Days of a thousand years each. Moreover, the Bible declares that God pronounced the penalty—inflicted the death penalty as we have it—for the very purpose and object of the death of His Son, that thus He might
both to angels and to men, that
His Law is inviolable,
but that His
is fully equaled by His
"CHRIST’S BETTER SACRIFICES"
If the Jewish Law gave a hint that a sacrificial death would be necessary for the cancellation of human sin, it also gave a hint that the death of bulls and of goats was not sufficient for the cancellation of human sin; because the sacrifices of the Jewish Atonement Day merely covered sin for one year, and did not actually cancel it at all.
The sacrifice was of a proper kind—a life—but the life was not of sufficient value. Why? Because the Law of Justice would not be satisfied to accept the death of a bullock and of a goat as the equivalent for the forfeited life of Father Adam. If an angel had sinned and been condemned to death, only the death of an angel of the same grade and state would have constituted a full offset or Ransom for his life; for the very meaning of the word
antilutron—a corresponding price.
So neither could an angel’s death redeem a man, because it would not be the giving of a price to correspond.
Neither could our Redeemer, in His pre-human condition, as the Logos, the Word, have given His life for Father Adam and the race, because that would not have been a corresponding price—a Ransom-price (Greek—
To redeem Father Adam the death of a man was required; nothing more, nothing less, would do. Therefore it was that the Son of God left the glory which He had with the Father as the Logos and was made flesh, and became the Man Christ Jesus, "that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for every man."
In harmony with this, St. Paul writes to Timothy (
) that the Man Christ Jesus gave Himself a Ransom for all. Thus the Apostle again declares, "As by a man [Adam] came death [not eternal torment], by a man also [Christ] comes the resurrection of the dead; for as all in Adam die, even so all in Christ shall be made alive."—
In this last text notice carefully (and also everywhere else in the Scriptures) that the contrasts are not Heaven and hell, not joy and suffering, but
—resurrection life through Christ, death by Adam. Notice also that the penalty paid for Adam’s sin by the Man Christ Jesus is not an eternal torment penalty, nor a purgatorial penalty, but a death penalty. "Christ
for our sins, according to the Scriptures."—
We notice again that it was only the one man Adam who was tried, who sinned and who was sentenced to death; that all of our race suffered death and its degradation by heredity and not by virtue of a death sentence; hence it was possible that the death of the Man Christ Jesus should constitute a full offset to the demands of Justice against Father Adam, and would incidentally include all of Adam s race.
God arranged Israel’s typical Atonement Day as a type of the real Atonement Day, which began at Jesus’ baptism and has continued ever since, and will continue for another thousand years in the future. The killing
of the bullock on behalf of the priestly family found its antitype in the death of Jesus, which began with His consecration at Jordan and was completed at Calvary, three and a half years later. As a man, Jesus offered up sacrificially His human nature, the body which He had taken for the special purpose of sacrifice. That sacrifice was satisfactory to God, as was indicated by His raising up Jesus from the dead.
Moreover, we are assured that our Lord was not only raised up out of death, but raised up as a New Creature, to a still higher nature than that which He had before He undertook the Father’s commission to be the world’s Redeemer, Prophet, Priest and King. His resurrection was (
) to glory, honor and immortality, far above human nature, angelic nature, principalities and powers and every name that is named.—
The risen Son of God remained forty days with His disciples, and when He had ascended on High He appeared in the presence of God, and according to the type made application of the merit of His sacrifice for the Household of faith—the antitypical Levites. The acceptance of His Atonement Sacrifice, and incidentally the acceptance of His waiting followers, was manifested by the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.
ADDING MEMBERS TO HIS BODY
As Aaron in the type, by Divine direction, accepted his sons to be members with him in the priesthood, under his headship, so in the antitype Christ Jesus during this Gospel Age has been accepting members to the Royal Priesthood, of which He is the Head. And these are taken from the Levites, for which class the Atonement was made by Aaron in type and by Jesus in antitype.
Aaron in the type, after sprinkling the blood of the bullock and making Atonement for the House of Levi, came forth and slew the goat. So Christ, having finished making Atonement for the sins of the antitypical Levites,
came forth at Pentecost to bless them and to accept them as joint-sacrificers and as joint-heirs. The goat, which Aaron slew as the second portion of his sin-offering, represented all the faithful footstep followers of Jesus in the nearly nineteen centuries that have elapsed since Pentecost. Respecting these Jesus prayed, saying, "I pray not for the world, but for those whom Thou hast given Me; ... neither pray I for these alone, but for all those who shall believe on Me through their word, that they all may be one, as Thou, Father, and I are one."—"I in them and Thou in Me."—
Incidentally, Jesus as the High Priest in glory began at Pentecost the sacrificing of the goat class, His faithful followers. The work has continued ever since. The sufferings of Jesus have thus been prolonged for centuries.
As St. Peter declares, the Prophets spake of the sufferings of Christ and of the glory that should follow.
.) The sufferings have not yet been completed, and hence the glory has not come. When the full number foreordained of God shall have faithfully finished their course in death the sacrifices of the antitypical Day of Atonement will be at an end. The great High Priest with His Body will pass beyond the second veil into the Heavenly glories, the First Resurrection completing the transfer. The blessing of the people will follow.
"I AM JESUS, WHOM THOU PERSECUTEST"
That Jesus thus recognizes His followers as His members is clearly attested by the Apostle. In their flesh they are counted as members of Jesus; as New Creatures spirit-begotten, they are counted as members of The Christ. Thus Jesus said to Saul of Tarsus, speaking of His followers, "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me?"
"I am Jesus whom thou persecutest." (
.) The same thing is true of any truly consecrated follower of the Lord Jesus Christ.
While such are in the world and suffer, the sufferings of Jesus are not completed. And the glory of Christ can be fully attained only in proportion as the sufferings of Jesus are completed. In the type, all this was pictured in the things which happened to the Lord’s goat, which typified the faithful, sacrificing members, the flesh of Jesus. As the goat passed through all the experiences of the bullock, so the footstep followers of Jesus are to have similar trials, difficulties, oppositions, persecutions, to those which came to the Master.
With the completion of the Priest of Glory at the end of the sufferings of the flesh will come the effusion of the blood on behalf of Israel and all of Adam’s race of every nation. In the type Aaron took the blood of the goat, his secondary sacrifice, and sprinkled it on the Mercy Seat on behalf of all the people of Israel, representing all who will become the people of God of every nation. Forthwith Divine acceptance of these sacrifices spoke the forgiveness of the sins of all.
So in the antitype. When our Lord the second time sprinkles the blood in the Most Holy, the sins of all the people—the whole world—will be canceled. At the same instant the Redeemer will take them over as a purchased possession and, under the Divine arrangement, He will establish over them His Kingly power. He will reign for their blessing and uplifting. As the great Prince of Glory He will bind the Prince of Darkness, Satan, and destroy all his works, of evil and lift poor humanity back into harmony with God—all the willing and obedient.
Oh, how this should thrill our hearts and cause us to appreciate the Wisdom as well as the Justice of God and His great Love manifested in the Plan which has required Ages for development, but which was in the Divine Purpose from before the foundation of the world!