In previous parts of this series on the Blood of Jesus we have looked at a sampling of Scriptures from Genesis to the Book of Revelation. It was not an exhaustive sample but gave us an idea of the importance of blood in the storyline God gives us from the creation of Adam through the return of Jesus as KING of Kings and LORD of Lords. We have found that everything taught in the Scriptures about the importance of blood and points to the blood of most importance, the unmatchable BLOOD of Jesus the Messiah. We will now look into greater depth into the meaning and representation of this most precious and unique BLOOD.
Here is a question that has a simple and obvious answer: What happens when the blood of an animal or human is drained? It of course dies. Its death is very quick and definite. Many people have “died” because their heart stopped–which in effect stops the flow of blood through their veins–but if reached quickly enough, can be resuscitated by getting the heart pumping once again. This can never happen once the blood has been drained from the body of any mammal, including humans. The life is in the blood. Blood is the vehicle God designed to transport most everything that needs to be moved from one part of the body to another. Nutrients and minerals are absorbed from the intestine and distributed to all of the cells of the body by the blood. The same blood also delivers oxygen from the lungs to the cells. One of the things that has amazed me the most about all of the many things the blood does is that it also transports all waste and impurities to the liver and kidneys so that they can be removed from the body. The same blood does all these things and so much more. It never gets confused in its function–unless something goes wrong in the system. The point again is that life is in the blood. Leviticus 17: verses 11-14 and Deuteronomy 12:23 tell us:
For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul. Therefore I said to the children of Israel, ‘No one among you shall eat blood, nor shall any stranger who dwells among you eat blood. Whatever man of the children of Israel, or of the strangers who dwell among you, who hunts and catches any animal or bird that may be eaten, he shall pour out its blood and cover it with dust; for it is the life of all flesh. Its blood sustains its life. Therefore I said to the children of Israel, ‘You shall not eat the blood of any flesh, for the life of all flesh is its blood. Whoever eats it shall be cut off.’
Only be sure that you do not eat the blood, for the blood is the life; you may not eat the life with the meat.
In addition to these passages, let’s look at Genesis 9:1-6. Here Noah and his family have just left the ark. As they start a new life on the cleansed earth, God gives them instructions to live by.
So God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them: “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth. And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be on every beast of the earth, on every bird of the air, on all that move on the earth, and on all the fish of the sea. They are given into your hand. Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. I have given you all things, even as the green herbs. But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood. Surely for your lifeblood I will demand a reckoning; from the hand of every beast I will require it, and from the hand of man. From the hand of every man’s brother I will require the life of man.
It becomes quite obvious from reading these and many other Scriptures that God makes a connection between the life and the blood. Seeing that God makes such a strong point should give us pause to ask, why.
Here is another question: What was the reason for so many types of animals being sacrificed? We find that at times enormous numbers of animals were sacrificed. Why such a blood letting? And was there any significance to the different types of animals sacrificed? I believe there was.
The animals sacrificed included sheep, rams, goats, bulls, heifers, birds (like pigeons or doves), and a few other animals. Many over the centuries have accused God of instigating a religion of slaughter. Although sacrifices like this are done in isolated regions of the world today, I can’t imagine how much of our world would react to such a religious system of animal sacrifices being set up again. Yet, the Bible tells us that once the Jewish nation rebuilds their temple this same sacrificial system will be set up once again–at least temporarily. (As a sidenote, it seems in our world to be a much greater “sin” to kill innocent animals than it is to kill over 1 billion innocent babies in their mothers’ womb.)
Back to our question. Why the different animals? I believe they all have a different disposition. The blood of an animal is not only synonymous with its spirit / life, but also refers to its disposition. “Disposition” is defined this way mainly for humans, but can also describe the differences in animal traits and their natures as we will see later in our study.
- Temperament: the normal or prevailing aspect of one’s nature, which are the balance of traits that are manifested in one’s behavior or thinking
- Inclination: the tendency and frame of mind, how one thinks, acts, bias
- Temper: refers to one’s basic emotional nature
- Character: in a person is applied to the sum of moral qualities associated with a distinctive individual
- Personality: the sum of physical and emotional qualities that distinguish one as a person
Basically, these descriptions of disposition, as well as others not listed above constitute “who” a person really is. Whenever God uses the word “blood” in the Scriptures referring to a specific person…or animal (any living being), the blood symbolizes their disposition.
So what does this have to do with all the many animals sacrificed in the Old Testament? The first and most obvious answer of course, is that it all looked forward to the future sacrifice of the Messiah Jesus on the cross, but there is more to see here.
If we take a close look at the animals used for sacrifice, there are some remarkable differences in the “disposition” of these animals. Each animal contains symbolic significance in a spiritual sense. Each animal has certain characteristics and attributes that show both its nature and ultimately its disposition. Here are a few quick examples:
The wolf in the Bible is a type of Satan, a sheep killer, predator, false ministers of the gospel.
- The lion represents royalty, power, Christ Himself, but the lion is also a destroyer, i.e. the the devil as a roaring lion
- The horse in the Bible speaks of swiftness, strength, warfare, triumph, grandness.
- The eagle in the Bible is the king of birds, flies high, speaks of heavenly concepts.
- A dog in the Bible is an unclean and dirty animal, and represents the unredeemed.
- Flies in the Bible are symbolic of evil spirits, filth.
- Frogs in the Bible are unclean and symbolic of demonic activity.
There are of course many other animals and birds that could have been used as examples, all with Scriptural references for support but this is enough for now. We will now take a look at the animals that were actually used for blood sacrifices in the Old Testament and what they represented.
The lamb: In Scripture the lamb represents helplessness, purity, innocence, and utter humility. It is often used as a representation of Jesus.
- The sheep: Sheep represents someone who is meek and humble, does not resist, feeds on green pastures furnished by the shepherd, and can be led. The sheep represents Christians.
- Goats: In Scripture goats are symbolic of sinners and man’s sinful nature. They are self-willed, have willful ignorance, climb on rocks seeking prominence, feed on refuse. They are much smarter and more crafty than sheep. They are much harder to contain within boundaries than sheep are.
- Ram: In the Bible a ram is symbolic of belligerence and impulsiveness and rebellion–one who charges ahead and uses its horns as power to get its way, runs over others in the process.
- Calf: Symbolic of youthful immaturity and impulsiveness.
- Cow: In Scripture it is symbolic of stupidity, a dumb beast, and idolatry
- Bull: Symbolic in the Bible of belligerence, stubbornness, and false religious leaders
- Pigeon or turtle dove in Scripture is symbolic of the Holy Spirit.
Now let’s find what this means for us today. The Book of Hebrews gives us a key in chapter 10:1-6:
For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? For the worshippers, once purified, would have had no more consciousness of sins. 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. Therefore, when he came into the world, He said: ‘Sacrifice and offering You did not desire. But a body You have prepared for Me. In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You had no pleasure.’
Here we find one of the many Scriptures that makes it abundantly clear that animal sacrifices can never take away sins. God took no pleasure in them at all. So why did God include these sacrifices in the fulfilling of the law of Moses? I believe we find the answer by remembering that of all the animals that were sacrificed, the lamb was the only one that was a “type” or picture of the sacrifice of Jesus as The Lamb of God. What bad connotation is there about a lamb–or even a sheep, for that matter. The lamb does not have the characteristic flaws that all of the other animals have. This speaks much to us of the sin nature in mankind. Maybe this will now help us understand animal sacrifices.
The blood of the animal sacrificed carried within itself all the personality characteristics and essence of what that specific animal represents. The statement made in Scripture that the blood of bulls and goats could not take away sins, just means that the person that sacrificed the bull or goat, those very negative qualities, flaws (and sins) inherent in the animal’s nature itself, represented the very same sins (from a human standpoint) that the animal was atoning for. A sacrificial goat carried within its blood the nature of a goat. It was symbolic of the sin of the human sinner. Each animal gave up its life so that there could be reconciliation for the sin. These sacrifices however were not able to remove the sin or guilt. It could only cover the sin–and only for a very limited time. Only the blood of the incarnate God-man could remove or eradicate sin completely…so complete in fact, that it is eternally non-existent! This is why God the Father had to turn His face away from the Son of God when on the cross. It was because of the Great Substitution. Let’s look at 2 Corinthians 5:21:
For He (the Father) made Him who knew no sin (the Son) to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
As the bull or goat was killed as a substitute for the sinning human being in the Old Testament, so Messiah Jesus has done this for us, and permanently!
We have already looked at several Scripture passages instructing the Israelites never to drink blood or eat meat with the blood of the animal still in it. This however is in stark contrast to the fact that Jesus said that in order to have any part in Him, anyone would have to eat of His flesh and drink His Blood. Most people found this quite offensive, but what did Jesus mean? This passage is found in John 6:47-63:
“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life. I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.”
The Jews therefore quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this Man give us His flesh to eat?” Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you,unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me. This is the bread which came down from heaven–not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever.”
These things He said in the synagogue as He taught in Capernaum. Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this, said, “This is a hard saying; who can understand it?” When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples complained about this, He said to them, “does this offend you? What then if you should see the Son of Man ascend where He was before? It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life…”
There is not time in this article to give an adequate explanation of that entire passage, but once again, we find God making it very, very clear that there is only one source for the eternal existence mankind has been created for, and that is through the One who let His own creation murder Him, in the name of religion no less, so that His most unique and powerful blood could wash us clean–totally recreating us into new creatures. All this through this most amazing Blood.
Eating of His flesh, obviously is not speaking of cannibalizing the body of Jesus the Messiah anymore than we literally drink His blood. It means that we partake of Him. We become one with Him. One of the beautiful Scriptures that speaks to this is found in John 17 when Jesus is praying for His disciples and all those who were to come after them. It reads like this:
“…I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent me.”
Now that we understand that the blood represents the spirit life of the being, and the blood has within itself the disposition of the person or being to whom the blood belongs, we can begin to understand the true meaning of the blood of Jesus in the Bible. True salvation by the Almighty God demands blood. Before there is any work of grace with any eternal value in the life of any individual, a person must be willing to sacrifice their life and give it back to God…in a literal “giving up” of one’s very existence as a conscious living being! Why else would Jesus have said:
Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it” (Luke 17:33)
Being willing to lose one’s life cannot have any eternal value unless this life is lost according to God’s standard. No human being can accomplish this. This is where the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Messiah, separates itself from other religions. These deceptive religions began as doctrines of devils and were then propagated by willing slaves to these same devils. The doctrines that have, and continue to deceive the masses, emphasize man made efforts to earn the favor of some god!
I cannot help but express the greatest sadness concerning the multiplied millions of Muslim peoples who have become convinced by a false prophet that jihad is the way of Allah. How many “infidels” have been killed because of “the way of Allah?” How many Muslims have even killed other sects of Muslims over the centuries since the beginning of Islam because they didn’t exactly follow every detail of the understanding of Islam by those doing the killing? Estimates range anywhere from well over a quarter of a billion to nearly half a billion souls! According to the teachings of the Koran and the Hadith, one is commanded to kill, torture, and rape the infidel! This very thing is going on in our day and age. Islam has been responsible for the pouring out of at least 100 million gallons of human blood in the last 1500 years! This is how much human blood has been sacrificed by the religion of Islam since the prophet Muhammad rode his horse Barack on planet Earth!
As Islam has been a source of enormous blood-letting over the centuries, I must add that the Roman Catholic Church has also been responsible for many millions of deaths over the centuries since Jesus ascended back to His throne. They hold the infamous second place among religious entities who have mercilessly murdered those who did not agree with them!
This is being pointed out for one reason alone. Jesus Christ is the representative of a “religion” of love. His blood has paid the way so that the only judgment needed is from the Almighty God Himself, and that will be on a wicked planet that continues to reject Him!
Within the blood of Jesus was the very life of God. The blood of Jesus represents the Divine disposition in its entirety. Everything to do with God’s holy nature, His purity, His holiness, all of His attributes—were contained within the very blood of Jesus. It was the eternal Holy Spirit of the living of God that flowed through the veins of the Son of God as He walked this earth. The Spirit and the blood cannot be separated. The very eternal spirit of God flowed through the Savior’s veins. This perfect sacrifice was given back to the Father in heaven in order that we can be reunited to the Father!
In part 6 I will show why the virgin birth of Jesus Christ is absolutely crucial when it comes to the salvation of the fallen human race and the glorious eternal future of the remnant of true believers that are about to be removed from the planet Earth so that evil can bring the overflow of the cup of iniquity bringing the Apocalypse the Apostle John saw on the Isle of Patmos 1900 years ago.