Friday, August 8, 2008

The Law of Sacrifice Points To The Atonement

Isn’t it amazing how the Lord prepares His people, no matter what time period they live in, to understand and apply the offering that was made by Him through His atoning sacrifice?

This last and great sacrifice that the prophets of long ago spoke of was the sacrifice of Jesus Christ himself, the lamb without blemish, in the meridian of time. It was a culmination of years of instruction and symbolism, replaced today by instruction and symbolism.

The Law of Sacrifice as taught to the children of Israel by Moses was a preparatory law for this great event. Just as the fall brought about the three types of death which was spoken of in the last post, and taught in our modern day scriptures called the Doctrine and Covenants.... these sacrifices and offerings that Moses taught showed this exact principle and how the atonement covered each of these different types of death.

Physical Death- This was represented by the continual burnt offering that was upon the altar of the temple. The offering was done in the morning and in the evening and burned continually. This continual burning illustrated the principle of immortality, a life that was never ending.

The First Spiritual Death- This principle was taught through the example of the Sin Offering. This offering was for all the sins that were done in ignorance, or as a consequence of being a “fallen” man. It is interesting to note the manner in which this offering was offered.

The bullock was brought to the door of the tabernacle and was killed. The blood of the sacrifice however was taken first to the vail of the sanctuary and was sprinkled seven times before the vail. It was then put upon the horns of the altar of incense, which is right before the vail. Next the blood was taken outside to the altar of burnt offering, which is at the door of the tabernacle, and poured on the bottom of the altar. The whole bullock was then carried outside the camp to a clean place and completely burned there.

The progression of the blood goes from the most sacred spot, near the vail to completely outside of the camp. To me it teaches of the condescension of God as he went from His place on high to descending below all things, to supply the demands of the law brought about by the fall. This is the “get out of spiritual death free card” which was talked about in the previous post.

The Second Spiritual Death- This principle was taught through the example of the Trespass Offering. This was an offering that was made when someone knowingly sinned, or chose to sin. This offering was made with requirements. The offending offerer had to repent, confess, forsake, make restitution, and fast upon bringing his offering to the altar. It was an offering that required action beyond the offering itself. Today we term this as the death that is overcome by action, faith, repentance, baptism, and receiving the Holy Ghost.

The Trespass offering taught that the second death is a choice, and to overcome it, it will take action by the offending party.

These three sacrifices taught the children of Israel in a beautiful way the principles of the Fall and the Atonement in a manner that they could always remember how infinite and eternal the last great sacrifice would be. It showed them their part, or what was required of them in applying this wonderful gift in their lives.

It is a beautiful illustration of "saved by grace after all you can do".


Heidi A. said...

Thank you for expounding upon that beautiful symbolism. There is so much to learn if we have 'ears to hear'.

I'm grateful for the understanding that 'all things point to that great and last sacrifice'.

No matter how much we do it is insufficient for salvation. We are all dependent upon the Lord's Atonement for us. It's meant to be that way!

One of my favorite titles of the Lord is 'mediator'. That greatly blessed my understanding of the whole plan.

Thank you much!!!
Heidi A.

Seth and Lacey said...

Sister Dowden! I love your blog! :)