It was never God’s intention for humankind to offer sacrifices. In fact, I really don’t think he cared much for the practice, but established the elaborate system because of the hardness of the people’s hearts. He would rather have us obey Him than to put on the fatted calf,
“Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.” (I Samuel 15:22)
but when obedience ran short, what choice did He have?
Reading in Numbers 28 during morning devotions the extensiveness of the rituals left me exhausted:
13 Present as an aroma pleasing to the LORD a food offering consisting of a burnt offering of thirteen young bulls, two rams and fourteen male lambs a year old, all without defect. 14 With each of the thirteen bulls offer a grain offering of three-tenths of an ephah of the finest flour mixed with oil; with each of the two rams, two-tenths; 15 and with each of the fourteen lambs, one-tenth. 16 Include one male goat as a sin offering, in addition to the regular burnt offering with its grain offering and drink offering.
This was just ONE day’s offering of a week of special offerings with only one less bull each day of that week. This was in addition to the regular offering which was two lambs every day, one in the morning and one in the evening, plus grain, plus drink. The sheer MAGNITUDE of the system was beyond my comprehension and this went on for thousands of years. I would have thought that the sacrifice of Christ on the cross would have been an easy way out of all this for the Levitical priests! They just didn’t get it! Ironically, though, the whole animal sacrifice system seemed to disappear after Jesus rose from the dead. The strange twist here is that the Jews didn’t believe Jesus was the Son of God. They didn’t believe He was the sacrifice for their sin, but the animal sacrifices stopped anyway and NOTHING took their place. There remains to this day this inexplicable void for the Jewish believer. The God hole in their hearts that was never filled.
Tomorrow I will post what Jews say about all this and where their worldview intersects with Christians and with some Christians’ view of the end times. Meanwhile, I want to make clear that I love and have a deep respect for my Jewish friends. They know so much about what Jesus did for them through their Old Testament rituals. Some even study Hebrew and can read the original texts, but somehow Jesus is not the clear fulfillment of Messianic prophecy to them. I pray that whatever is keeping them away from the loving arms of Jesus disappears and they soon can feel the joy a full heart gives.
In Christ alone,