The Jewish Law is not a full and faithful model of the real things; it is only a faint outline of the good things to come. The same sacrifices are offered for ever, year after year. How can the Law, then, by means of these sacrifices make perfect the people who come to God? If the people worshipping God had really been purified from their sins, they would not feel guilty of sin anymore, and all sacrifices would stop. As it is, however, the sacrifices serve year after year to remind people of their sins. For the blood of bulls and goats can never take away sins. (verses 1-4)
Read Hebrews 10:1-10
With the benefit of hindsight we can appreciate the signposts to the future which God gave his Old Testament people. Commentators have pointed out how the Passover pointed to the Lord’s supper, passing through the Red Sea to baptism, and the separation of languages at the tower of Babel to the special language gifts experienced at Pentecost. The things God did in the past were inklings to what he would do in the future.
So it was with his law which commanded the Jews to sacrifice animals to God on a regular basis to atone for their wrongs. It was a ritual they repeated again and again. It was also an indication of how God would handle the age-old problem of sin in his final solution. He himself, in the person of Jesus, would come into the world and make a single ultimate sacrifice to make people acceptable to God.
In this way the animal sacrifices of the Jews provided an inkling in regard to the slaying of the Lamb of God.
Dear God, I thank you that, working through history, you sent Jesus to be the ultimate Saviour, who gave his life as a sacrifice for my sins. Amen.
by Richard Hauser, in ‘New Strength for each Day’ (LCA, Openbook, 1998)
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