Muslims, Jews, and Christians respect the Torah, or Old Testament, as Holy Scriptures, the Word of God. Yet most do not understand the basic principle that should be absolutely clear and is woven throughout the Book, from beginning to end—the “thread of red.”
THE BLOOD ATONEMENT
‘. . . I [the LORD] will set My face against that person who eats blood and will cut him off from among his people. For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood by reason of the life that makes atonement.’
THE ETERNAL PRINCIPLE OF FORGIVENESS
In the Torah, the first five books of the Old Testament Bible, it is recorded that even in the very beginning GOD, the Creator of all that exists, revealed an eternal principle for all mankind, beginning with Adam and Eve. The principle is that the eternal penalty for human sinfulness--disobeying God--must be paid, either by the sinner himself, or by an innocent substitute.
COMING MESSIAH PREDICTED
Genesis 3:14-15 The LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you more than all cattle, and more than every beast of the field; On your belly you will go, And dust you will eat all the days of your life; And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He [Messiah] shall bruise you on the head, and you [Satan] shall bruise Him on the heel.”
When God was explaining to Adam and Eve the future earthly effects of their sins, He also cursed the serpent that Satan used. In cursing the serpent, God gave a veiled prophesy of Messiah mortally wounding Satan “on the head” while Satan would bruise “Him on the heal.” Messiah would come from “her [the woman’s] seed.” He would be born of a “virgin.” God was also showing Adam and Eve that they--and everyone who has sinned against God and lost their right to go to heaven--needed a Savior from eternal punishment. The Savior would have to be someone who was innocent--without sin--and who would willingly suffer in the sinner’s place. Man was to give evidence of the understanding of his sinfulness by offering the blood of innocent animals, as a symbol, until Messiah came.
ADAM AND EVE
Genesis 3:17-21 Then to Adam He [the LORD] said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat from it’; cursed is the ground because of you; In toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; And you will eat the plants of the field; By the sweat of your face You will eat bread, Till you return to the ground, Because from it you were taken; for you are dust, And to dust you shall return.” Now the man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all the living. The LORD God made garments of skin [blood] for Adam and his wife, and clothed them.
CAIN AND ABEL
Although Cain and Abel were taught this “blood offering” principle by their parents, Cain decided to initiate the ungodly practice of “self-styled” religion, that is, still worshipping God, but on Cain’s own terms. People are still making this error today with numerous ungodly forms of self-styled worship.
Genesis 4:1-7 Now the man had relations with his wife Eve, and she conceived and gave birth to Cain, and she said, “I have gotten a manchild with the help of the LORD.” Again, she gave birth to his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of flocks, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. So it came about in the course of time that Cain brought an offering to the LORD of the fruit [no blood] of the ground. Abel, on his part also brought of the firstlings of his flock [blood] and of their fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and for his [blood] offering; but for Cain and for his [bloodless] offering He had no regard. So Cain became very angry and his countenance fell. Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well [offer blood], will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.”
God would not accept Cain’s bloodless offering, and since Cain knew the proper thing to, God questioned Cain’s anger and graciously encouraged Cain to do the right thing, or “do well.” God also warned Cain that “sin” was trying to control him, and that Cain, like all of us, must “master” his sinful tendencies.
As people became more wicked, God decided to give them one hundred twenty years to change their minds about their sinful attitudes. They refused to listen to Noah, so God created the flood to destroy all that breathed, except Noah and his family. After the flood Noah worshipped with blood.
Genesis 8:18-20 So Noah went out, and his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives with him. Every beast, every creeping thing, and every bird, everything that moves on the earth, went out by their families from the ark. Then Noah built an altar to the LORD, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird [blood] and offered burnt offerings on the altar.
DIETARY BAN ON BLOOD
Genesis 9:1-4 And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth. The fear of you and the terror of you will be on every beast of the earth and on every bird of the sky; with everything that creeps on the ground, and all the fish of the sea, into your hand they are given. Every moving thing that is alive shall be food for you; I give all to you, as I gave the green plant. Only you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood.
When God informed Noah that all the above creatures were good for human consumption, He made it very clear that the blood was not to be eaten because of its representation of life. Along with Muslims and Jews, Christians are also under command not to eat blood. In the letter from the apostles and elders of the Jerusalem church to the Gentile Christians at Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia was written this command:
Acts 15:29 …that you abstain from things sacrificed to idols and from blood and from things strangled and from fornication; if you keep yourselves free from such things, you will do well. Farewell.”
As time went on, and God revealed Himself to Abraham, Abraham already knew that he should be worshipping the Lord with blood.
Genesis 12:7-8 The LORD appeared to Abram and said, “To your descendants I will give this land.” So he built an altar[blood] there to the LORD who had appeared to him. Then he proceeded from there to the mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east; and there he built an altar [blood] to the LORD and called upon the name of the LORD.
Even Abraham’s young son Isaac knew that there needed to be a “lamb” to provide blood for the offering as we see when God “tested” Abraham.
Genesis 22:1-2,6-13 Now it came about after these things, that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” He said, “Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you.” . . . Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son, and he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So the two of them walked on together. Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” And he said, “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb [blood] for the burnt offering?” Abraham said, “God will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” So the two of them walked on together.
Then they came to the place of which God had told him; and Abraham built the altar there and arranged the wood, and bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of the LORD called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” He said, “Do not stretch out your hand against the lad, and do nothing to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.” Then Abraham raised his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him a ram caught in the thicket by his horns; and Abraham went and took the ram and offered him up [blood] for a burnt offering in the place of his son.
In the following verses from the Torah we see that Abraham’s offspring continued to obey God in offering innocent blood for the forgiveness of their sins:
Genesis 26:24-25 The LORD appeared to him [Isaac] the same night and said,“ I am the God of your father Abraham; Do not fear, for I am with you. I will bless you, and multiply your descendants For the sake of My servant Abraham.” So he built an altar there [offered blood] and called upon the name of the LORD, and pitched his tent there; and there Isaac’s servants dug a well.
Genesis 33:19-20 He [Jacob] bought the piece of land where he had pitched his tent from the hand of the sons of Hamor, Shechem’s father, for one hundred pieces of money. Then he erected there an altar [offered blood] and called it El-Elohe-Israel.
PASSOVER, “WHEN I SEE THE BLOOD”
Exodus 12:1-13 Now the LORD said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, “This month shall be the beginning of months for you; it is to be the first month of the year to you. Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying, ‘On the tenth of this month they are each one to take a lamb [blood] for themselves, according to their fathers’ households, a lamb for each household. Now if the household is too small for a lamb, then he and his neighbor nearest to his house are to take one according to the number of persons in them; according to what each man should eat, you are to divide the lamb. Your lamb shall be an unblemished male a year old; you may take it from the sheep or from the goats. You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month, then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel is to kill it at twilight. Moreover, they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses in which they eat it. They shall eat the flesh that same night, roasted with fire, and they shall eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. Do not eat any of it raw or boiled at all with water, but rather roasted with fire, both its head and its legs along with its entrails. And you shall not leave any of it over until morning, but whatever is left of it until morning, you shall burn with fire. Now you shall eat it in this manner: with your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it in haste—it is the LORD’S Passover. For I will go through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments—I am the LORD. The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live; and when I see the blood I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.’”
Exodus 17:14-15 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Write this in a book as a memorial and recite it to Joshua, that I will utterly blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven.” Moses built an altar [offered blood] and named it The LORD is My Banner.
THE LAW OF GOD FOR PERSONAL SINS
Leviticus 5:5-10 So it shall be when he becomes guilty in one of these, that he shall confess that in which he has sinned. He shall also bring his guilt offering to the LORD for his sin which he has committed, a female from the flock, a lamb or a goat as a sin offering. So the priest shall make atonement on his behalf for his sin. But if he cannot afford a lamb, then he shall bring to the LORD his guilt offering for that in which he has sinned, two turtledoves or two young pigeons, one for a sin offering and the other for a burnt offering. He shall bring them to the priest, who shall offer first that which is for the sin offering and shall nip its head at the front of its neck, but he shall not sever it. ‘He shall also sprinkle some of the blood of the sin offering on the side of the altar, while the rest of the blood shall be drained out at the base of the altar: it is a sin offering. The second he shall then prepare as a burnt offering according to the ordinance. So the priest shall make atonement on his behalf for his sin which he has committed, and it will be forgiven him.
THE NATIONAL DAY OF ATONEMENT
Leviticus 16:11-22 “Then Aaron shall offer the bull of the sin offering which is for himself and make atonement for himself and for his household, and he shall slaughter the bull of the sin offering which is for himself. He shall take a firepan full of coals of fire from upon the altar before the LORD and two handfuls of finely ground sweet incense, and bring it inside the veil. He shall put the incense on the fire before the LORD, that the cloud of incense may cover the mercy seat that is on the ark of the testimony, otherwise he will die. Moreover, he shall take some of the blood of the bull and sprinkle it with his finger on the mercy seat on the east side; also in front of the mercy seat he shall sprinkle some of the blood with his finger seven times. Then he shall slaughter the goat of the sin offering which is for the people, and bring its blood inside the veil and do with its blood as he did with the blood of the bull, and sprinkle it on the mercy seat and in front of the mercy seat. He shall make atonement for the holy place, because of the impurities of the sons of Israel and because of their transgressions in regard to all their sins; and thus he shall do for the tent of meeting which abides with them in the midst of their impurities. When he goes in to make atonement in the holy place, no one shall be in the tent of meeting until he comes out, that he may make atonement for himself and for his household and for all the assembly of Israel. Then he shall go out to the altar that is before the LORD and make atonement for it, and shall take some of the blood of the bull and of the blood of the goat and put it on the horns of the altar on all sides. With his finger he shall sprinkle some of the blood on it seven times and cleanse it, and from the impurities of the sons of Israel consecrate it. When he finishes atoning for the holy place and the tent of meeting and the altar, he shall offer the live goat. Then Aaron shall lay both of his hands on the head of the live goat, and confess over it all the iniquities of the sons of Israel and all their transgressions in regard to all their sins; and he shall lay them on the head of the goat and send it away into the wilderness by the hand of a man who stands in readiness. The goat shall bear on itself all their i to a solitary land; and he shall release the goat in the wilderness.”
BLOOD ATONEMENT—A PERMANENT STATUTE
Leviticus 16:29-30, 34 “This shall be a permanent statute for you: in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall humble your souls and not do any work, whether the native, or the alien who sojourns among you; for it is on this day that atonementshall be made for you to cleanse you; you will be clean from all your sins before the LORD . . . . “Now you shall have this as a permanent statute, to make atonement for the sons of Israel for all their sins once every year.” And just as the LORD had commanded Moses, so he did.
God reminds the people that these blood offerings for their sins were not to be made just anywhere, but where the Levitical priests and the Ark of the Covenant were. This is where God’s name would dwell.
Deuteronomy 12:10-11 “When you cross the Jordan and live in the land which the LORD your God is giving you to inherit, and He gives you rest from all your enemies around you so that you live in security, then it shall come about that the place in which the LORD your God will choose for His name to dwell, there you shall bring all that I command you: your burnt offerings and your sacrifices, And you shall rejoice before the LORD your God, you and your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, and the Levite who is within your gates, since he has no portion or inheritance with you. Be careful that you do not offer your burnt offerings in every cultic place you see, your tithes and the contribution of your hand, and all your choice votive offerings which you will vow to the LORD.
DID THE PERMANENT STATUTE END IN A.D. 70?
Daniel 9:24-26 “Seventy weeks [490 years] have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy place. So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem [455 B.C.] until Messiah the Prince there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks [483 years]; it will be built again, with plaza and moat, even in times of distress. Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary [A.D. 70]. And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined.
The prophecy above was received by Daniel in 538 B.C. from the angel Gabriel. It predicted that the city of Jerusalem and the sanctuary where God had established His name would be destroyed. History records that this happened in A.D. 70, at the hands of the Romans. Did this event mean that God, who has always required blood as a symbol of forgiveness of sins, beginning with Adam and Eve, no longer required the blood? Or did God establish His name somewhere else before Jerusalem was destroyed? In the above prophecy, Daniel was told that before the city would be destroyed Messiah would be “cut off.” Who is this “Messiah” that was “cut off” before A.D. 70?
In the garden of Eden, when God was explaining to Adam and Eve the future earthly effects of their sins, God gave a veiled prophesy of Messiah mortally wounding Satan “on the head” while Satan would bruise “Him on the heal.” Messiah would come from “her [the woman’s] seed.” He would be born of a “virgin.” The prophet Isaiah gives us further information regarding the “virgin-born” Messiah:
Isaiah 7:13-14 Then he said, “Listen now, O house of David! Is it too slight a thing for you to try the patience of men, that you will try the patience of my God as well? Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel [God is with us].
In the previous verses, the prophet Isaiah predicts that the Lord will give a special sign to the people of “David.” A virgin (from the lineage of David) will give birth to a son who will be referred to as “God is with us,” or “God will be among His people.” In the following verses, Isaiah also predicts that this child will be referred to by other titles, such as “Mighty God, Eternal Father.”
Isaiah 9:6-7 For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, on the throne of David and over His kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this.
These prophesies from Isaiah indicate that God would become a man, and be born of a virgin. God is all-powerful, and since He is all-powerful, couldn’t He set aside His power and become a man if He desired to? What if He did that to show His great love toward mankind-- shedding His own precious innocent blood in order to provide the eternal blood atonement and forgiveness? The fact is that He did this for all who would realize that they need salvation from the penalty of eternal flames because of their sins. He even spent three days and nights in the flames of lower Sheol, suffering for the sins of those who would put their faith in Him as Savior.
Deuteronomy 32:22 For a fire is kindled in My anger, and burns to the lowest part of Sheol, and consumes the earth with its yield, and sets on fire the foundations of the mountains.
LORD AND SAVIOR
In the following verses, Isaiah records our Lord’s words that declare that there is no God or Savior besides Him. Every human being needs a Savior. Those who have no Savior will pay for their sins in the flames of lower Sheol, with no water, or in the lake of fire, for eternity.
Isaiah 43:3a, 10-11 “For I am the LORD your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior . . . . “You [Israel] are My witnesses,” declares the LORD, “And My servant whom I have chosen, So that you may know and believe Me and understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, and there will be none after Me. I, even I, am the LORD, and there is no savior besides Me.
Isaiah 45:21 “Declare and set forth your case; indeed, let them consult together. Who has announced this from of old? Who has long since declared it? Is it not I, the LORD? And there is no other God besides Me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none except Me.”
THE SUFFERING SAVIOR
In the following verses, Isaiah prophetically reveals the future sufferings of Messiah:
Isaiah 53:1, 4-11 Who has believed our message? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?… Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried; yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushedfor our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed. All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; but the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him. He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth; like a lamb that is led to slaughter, and like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, so He did not open His mouth. By oppression and judgment He was taken away; and as for His generation, who considered that He was cut off out of the land of the living for the transgression of My people, to whom the stroke was due? His grave was assigned with wicked men, yet He was with a rich man in His death, because He had done no violence, nor was there any deceit in His mouth. But the LORD was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief; if He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, and the good pleasure of the LORD will prosper in His hand. As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied; by His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, as He will bear their iniquities.
ARMAGEDDON—ALL NATIONS AGAINST ISRAEL
The prophet Zechariah records the Lord’s words concerning a future battle in which all nations come against Israel in Jerusalem, and in the “plain of Megiddo.” The Lord, Messiah, whom “they have pierced” will rescue them.
Zechariah 12:8-11 In that day the LORD will defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and the one who is feeble among them in that day will be like David, and the house of David will be like God, like the angel of the LORD before them. And in that day I [the Lord] will set about to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.I[the Lord] will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me [the Lord] whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, [the Lord] as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him [the Lord] like the bitter weeping over a firstborn. In that day there will be great mourning in Jerusalem, like the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the plain of Megiddo.
GOD’S NAME IS YHWH
Exodus 3:14-15 God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM”; and He said, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ ” God, furthermore, said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘The [I AM], the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is My name forever, and this is My memorial-name to all generations.”
God has revealed His name to man in the Torah. It is YHWH, pronounced Yahweh or Yahvah in English. It literally means “I AM.” A shortened form of God’s name is “Ye” or “Yah” when used with other words. Some examples are; Jonathan (Ye-honathen), which means “YHWH has given,” and Elijah (Eliy-yah), which means “God is YHWH.” The name Jesus is actually Ye-shua in Hebrew, and literally means “YHWH is salvation.” God has established His name in YESHUA HA MASHIACH (Jesus the Messiah). The innocent blood necessary for your salvation has been supplied by the very Creator Himself.
THOSE WHO HAVE “PIERCED” THE LORD
Ecclesiastes 7:20 Indeed, there is not a righteous man on earth who continually does good and who never sins.
The above statement by Solomon, along with the rest of the Bible, condemns all of mankind as having sinned and broken God’s laws. From Adam and Eve, Abel and Noah, to Abraham, Jacob, Moses and David, all true, obedient believers faithfully offered the innocent blood of animals as God demanded. This blood was a symbol, showing that they understood their sinfulness, and also a symbol of the coming Messiah, God in flesh. His substitutionary suffering and death would accomplish forgiveness for their sins and for the sins of anyone who would realize his need of a Savior. One can accept the innocent blood of God the Savior to be forgiven of his sins, or pay the penalty for his sins himself in flames forever. The penalty for sin cannot be “worked off” by participating in sacraments, acts of sacrificial kindness, keeping the commandments, repentant sorrow, or any other human effort. Innocent blood is what God demands, and it must be “where” God establishes His name. There is absolutely no other option for those wanting forgiveness. Allow the one we have all pierced--Jesus, the Messiah--to save you.