The Prophesied Blood Sacrifice
It seems to me that one of the most dramatic events in the history of the world took place in the life of Jesus Christ. In Matthew 21, we have the story of how Christ instructed His disciples as to how they should find a donkey and bring that animal to Him. If the keeper of the donkey objected, they were to simply say that the king needs him.
They brought the donkey; Christ climbed astride that donkey, and rode into the city of Jerusalem. The Bible says that a great company of people shouted “Hosanna in the highest.” They took palm leaves, and laid them before Him as He came into the city (Matt. 21:1-9). Even to this day, we celebrate that event as Palm Sunday.
But you will recall that upon arriving in the city, Jesus quickly presented Himself as the Son of God. He threw the money changers out of the temple. In a very short time, that tide of acceptance turned and became a reverse tide. Stunningly, the city of Jerusalem rejected Him. They rejected Him to the place where they cried, “Crucify Him!” (Mark, 15:13-14). The Bible says He was taken out to a place called Calvary. There, He was nailed to a cross. There, that body hung between the earth and the sky. There, He died.
Atonement by Blood
Now, Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And when we realize the awful thing that took place, that Christ gave His life on that cross, we must ask, “Why? What was the cause so great, what was the motivation so strong, what was the need that made it essential for Christ, the God of the universe, to die on the cross?”
The answer to that question, when understood, should produce a profound change in every one of our lives. To discover why Jesus died, we must go back through the arches of the years, back to the very first man and woman who lived in this world, whose names, as you know, were Adam and Eve.
God created Adam and Eve “in His own image” (Gen. 1:27). He gave them instructions about life, and one of the things that He told them was that all that they needed to do to experience success and prosperity and wonderful things in life was to obey Him. That, of course, becomes the touchstone that makes our story understandable. Adam and Eve were told that they could partake of every one of the trees of the garden except one, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” (Gen. 2:16-17).
Keep those verses in mind. It was a very hard, but very simple prohibition that was placed upon Adam and Eve, and they fully understood the rules. You can do anything, except eat of the forbidden fruit. That one act will open the door to death!
Well, the time came when a being called the Serpent, the Devil, entered the garden. He tempted Eve, and he got her to eat of that forbidden fruit. That dramatic moment came when she reached out a hand, trembling with heinous anticipation. Then,
. . . she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. (Gen. 3:6)
And so the Bible teaches:
Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned. (Rom. 5:12)
Every person born in this world, from that event until now, inherited what we call original sin. From his very first breath of life until the last moment he lives, he is a sinner. The Bible says:
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Rom. 3:23)
What then can we do about this matter of sin? Well, the Old Testament once again gives us the answer, when it says:
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. (Lev. 17:11)
God came to visit Adam in the garden after he had sinned again Him. God listened to Adam’s confession of how he had disobeyed Him. There was a lot of rationalization there, but Adam and Eve confessed to the fact that they knew better, and they disobeyed God.
Do you know better: Have you disobeyed God? Look what happened with reference to Adam and Eve! God went and got an innocent animal out of the field nearby where He talked to Adam and Eve. God took that innocent animal and killed it, and when He did, its blood was shed. Out of the death of that innocent animal, God also “made tunics of skin, and clothed them” (Gen. 3:21). He made them for Adam and Eve, because they knew they were naked.
So, the answer to sin in the life of Adam and Eve was the shedding of blood: “Without shedding of blood there is no remission” (Heb. 9:22). No one can be saved unless blood is applied to his account, and the awful scourge of death done away with. That blood was first shed by God Himself on behalf of Adam and Eve.
Get the picture? An innocent animal from the field was put to death because of the sin of man. What God has ordained, that is the way it must be! The blood of an innocent party must be shed, or you can never do away with your sin—not by high-purposing, not by promising to be better. It takes the cleansing of the blood of an innocent animal. That is the way it was, back in the early chapters of Genesis.
In another chapter early in Genesis, we have the picture of Adam and Eve’s two sons, Cain and Abel. They knew that they had to bring the blood of a lamb, the blood of an innocent animal, to be a sacrifice for sin. They knew that, but one obeyed, and one did not. Cain and Abel made their altars of sacrifice before God. Abel’s sacrifice was a spotless lamb, while the sacrifice of Cain was the firstfruits of the field—corn and beans and squash and other things that he had grown. It probably was beautiful, but God rejected Cain’s sacrifice, and He accepted Abel’s, because it takes the blood of an innocent to cleanse us of sin.
We can bring that paradigm down to the very present moment. God will forgive you of your sin, and me of my sin, if we categorically accept the blood of Jesus Christ as the price, the payment, for our sin. However, if we do not do that, it does not matter if you or I do all kinds of good works, and make all kinds of new promises before God. I can promise to straighten out my life, but it will be of no avail. The righteous deeds of an unrighteous man are an abomination to God!
(Read Part 2)
Dr. Dave Breese (1926-2002) was an internationally known speaker, teacher and author. He founded the ministry of Christian Destiny in 1963, and through it proclaimed the gospel on weekly radio and television programs and in numerous books and booklets. In 1987, he also became the president and Bible teacher on The King Is Coming telecast, a role that he filled until his death in 2002. Other organizations that Dr. Breese served during his distinguished ministry career included Youth For Christ, Awana, Back to the Bible, National Religious Broadcasters and National Association of Evangelicals. A frequent conference speaker and a master at explaining the relevance of Bible prophecy, he was also known for his wisdom and wit. It is a great honor to include him as part of the inaugural class of Revived Classics authors for Dispensational Publishing House.
This article originally appeared in the April 2011 issue of Destiny Bulletin.
Copyright © 2011 Christian Destiny, Inc. All rights reserved.
The article is reprinted here by permission of Christian Destiny.
For more information regarding Christian Destiny, go to www.ChristianDestiny.org.
Other material copyright © 2017 Dispensational Publishing House, Inc.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®.
Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.