The animal sacrifices conveyed both a temporal and an eternal message to the participants. The blood of bulls and goats is the shadow; Yeshua (Jesus) is the type. However, before we become so quick to look down on God’s “temporal shadows,” let’s look at what the sacrificial system of those days could accomplish. In Psalms chapters 32 and 51 we see the heart of man who genuinely experienced the forgiveness of HaShem (God). In Psalm 32:1 he stated that the man whose sin is covered is blessed! (Hebrew for “covered”=kasah) In verse 5 he clearly states that his acknowledgement of his sin brought about true forgiveness from HaShem. Because of unmerited favor, this man could rejoice in the mercies of HaShem (verses 10, 11)!
Psalm 51 was written after Dah-vid (David) had committed the gross sin with Bat-Sheva (Bathsheba), the mother of Melekh Shlomo (King Solomon). In this passage we again see a man who, knowing the true goal of the Torah (Law)—salvation of his eternal soul through the Promised One to come—sought the genuine forgiveness of his Maker.
Verses 16-19 of this Psalm explain to us readers that a heart given to genuine trusting faithfulness—the very same heart required of us today!—is what rendered the sacrifices of the TaNaKH (Old Testament) effective. Simply performing the rituals perfunctorily did not please our Heavenly Abba (verse 16, 17). Rather, it was a heart broken in genuine submission to the Ruach Elohim (Spirit of God) that moved HaShem to forgiveness! This same heart gave the sacrifices validity (verse 19).
Did Dah-vid, as of yet, know the name of his future descendant Yeshua? We have no evidence to support that he explicitly knew the name “Yeshua.” What he did know is that through Moshe (Moses), the Torah promised that one day a “Prophet” would arise and that the people were to obey him (read Deuteronomy 18:15-19)! What he did have was a glimpse of the intended function and nature of the Torah (the “goal”), in that, these antitypes pointed towards that day when the corporate sins of all Isra’el would be forgiven, never again to be brought to HaShem’s mind (read Ps. 103:12). This is the day spoken about in Yirmeyahu (Jeremiah) 31:34,
“…for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more” (KJV)
And just in case you’ve forgotten, this is a “New Testament” feature (read Hebrews 8:12)! According to the book of Hebrews, the sacrifices of Dah-vid’s day could cleanse the flesh and restore ritual purity, but could not cleanse the conscience, that is to say, I understand Hebrews to be teaching that only the eternal blood of a Sinless Sacrifice can regenerate the heart and mind of an individual. By comparison, the blood of bulls and goats focused on the ritual, temporal, and external:
For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? (Hebrews 9:13, 14, KJV)
The “Old Testament” saints were not “saved” by a different system than the one in which we rely on. If they were, then this would suggest that there were really two separate ways unto righteousness—a theory, which we know, cannot be true. Yeshua has now become the means by which all men must satisfy the righteous atoning requirement of the Holy One! This type of atonement is not the kind that is repeated year after year! Our sins are not meted out into animals, only to be repeated the next year at Yom Kippur. This type of atonement is based on better promises with a better sacrifice. What does the Torah say?
“No longer will any of them teach his fellow community member or his brother, ‘Know ADONAI’; for all will know me, from the least of them to the greatest; because I will forgive their wickedness and remember their sins no more.” (Jeremiah 31:34)
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