The Sacrificial Lamb

And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together. And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering? And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.

In none of the types was the individual worshiper brought into so close touch with the sanctuary service as in the sin-offering. There is no part of religious worship that brings the individual worshiper into such close touch with the Lord as when he kneels at the Saviour’s feet, confessing his sins, and knowing the strength of the promise, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” It is then that the repentant sinner touches the hem of the Master’s garment, and receives his healing power in the soul.

Sin is the transgression of the law of God. The one who had “done somewhat against any of the commandments of the Lord“ was guilty of sin; and in order to be free from sin, he must bring an offering, that by seeing the innocent victim die for his sins he might more fully comprehend how the innocent Lamb of God could offer his life for the sins of the world. If the sinner was a priest, filling that holy office where the influence of his wrong course would cause others to stumble, then he was to bring a bullock, an expensive animal, as a sin-offering; but if he was one of the common people, he could bring a kid or a lamb. The value of the animal to be offered was determined by the position held by the transgressor.

The sin offering was brought into the court of the sanctuary, to the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. The sinner, with his hands laid upon the head of the lamb, confessed over it all his sins, and then with his own hand he killed it. Sometimes the blood was taken into the first apartment of the sanctuary by the officiating priest, who dipped his finger in the blood and sprinkled it before the Lord. The horns of the golden altar, the altar of incense, were also touched with the blood. The priest then came out into the court, and poured all the blood at the base of the altar of burnt-offering. The bodies of the animals whose blood was taken into the sanctuary, were burned without the camp. “Wherefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered without the gate.”

Door of the Sanctuary
Door of the Sanctuary
The sinner, by confessing his sins over the lamb, in type and shadow transferred them to the lamb. The life of the lamb was then taken instead of the life of the sinner, typifying the death of the Lamb of God, who would offer his life for the sins of the world. The blood of the animal was powerless to remove sin, but by shedding its blood the penitent revealed his faith in the divine offering of the Son of God. Every sin-offering was to be without blemish, thus typifying the perfect sacrifice of the Saviour.

In some offerings the blood was not taken into the sanctuary, but in every sin-offering all the blood was, poured out at the base of the altar of burnt-offering in the court. When the blood was not taken into the first apartment of the sanctuary, a portion of the flesh of the sin-offering was eaten by the priest in the holy place.

As the priest assimilated the flesh of the sin offering and it thus became a part of his own body; and as he performed the work of the sanctuary, he strikingly typified how “Christ bore our sins in His own body on the tree,” and then entered the heavenly sanctuary with that same body to appear in the presence of God for its.

The priest ate only the flesh of the sin-offering when the blood was not taken within the sanctuary. The command in regard to this was very plain: “No sin-offering, whereof any of the blood is brought into the tabernacle of the congregation to reconcile with in the holy place, shall be eaten: it shall be burnt in the fire.” To violate this command would ignore the significance of the type. The priest entering into the sanctuary to present the blood of the sin-offering before the Lord, was a forcible symbol of Christ who, by His own blood, entered into the heavenly sanctuary, “having obtained eternal redemption for us” By the blood and by the flesh the confessed sins of the sinner were in type transferred to the sanctuary. They were hid from view, for no human eyes, except the eyes of those who officiated as priests, gazed within the sanctuary.

The type was beautiful, but how much more beautiful the antitype! When the sinner lays his sins on Christ, “the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world,” those sins are hidden, covered by the blood of Christ. They are all recorded in the books in heaven; but the blood of the Saviour covers them, and if he who sinned is faithful to God, they will never be revealed, but will finally be destroyed in the fires of the last day. The most wonderful part is that God himself says he will cast them behind His back and will not remember them. Why need any one carry the burden of sins when we have such a merciful Saviour waiting to receive them?

Door of the Sanctuary
The blood of Christ alone can atone for sin
In every sin-offering two things were essential on the part of the sinner: first, to realize his own sinfulness before God, and to prize pardon sufficiently to make a sacrifice to obtain it; second, to see by faith beyond his offering, the Son of God through whom he is to receive his pardon, “for it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.” The blood of Christ alone can atone for sin.

After the blood was presented before the Lord, there was yet an important work for the sinner to perform. With his own hands he was to remove all the fat from the different organs of the animal offered as a sin-offering, and give it to the priest, who burned it upon the brazen altar. At first thought this might seem a strange ceremony, but when we remember that the fat represented sin, we see that it is a fitting ceremony.

It was evidently viewing this service in the sanctuary that saved David from backsliding. He had beheld the prosperity of the wicked, and was envious of them, until his “steps had well nigh slipped;” but when he went into the sanctuary, then he understood the end of the wicked. We can imagine him watching the sinner separating the fat and the priest placing it, upon the great altar, and presently nothing remained but ashes. In it he saw ashes only as the final end of all who would not separate from sin; for if the sin was a part of themselves, then when the sin was burned, they wou1d be burned, with it. The only reason God will ever destroy a sinner is because the sinner keeps sin his own character, and will not separate from it.

This was an impressive type, the priest waiting for the sinner to separate the fat from the offering, ready to take it as soon as it was offered to him. So Christ, our great High Priest, is waiting for each sinner to confess his sins and give them to Him, that He in return can clothe the sinner with his own robe of righteousness; and consume his sins in the fires of the last day. Paul evidently refers to this part of the sanctuary service in Hebrews 4:12.

The burning of the fat was “a sweet saver unto the Lord.” There are few odors more disagreeable than that of burning fat and yet it is sweet to the Lord, for it typified the sin consumed and the sinner saved. God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but he delights in the destruction of sin separated from the sinner. When the redeemed of the Lord from within the shelter of the New Jerusalem behold the fires of the last day consuming all the sins they have committed, it will be indeed a sweet savour to them.

An individual who was too poor to offer a lamb for a sin-offering could bring two pigeons; and if he was so poor that he did not possess two pigeons, then he could catch two of the wild turtle doves, and offer them for a sin-offering; but if he was too feeble to capture the wild doves, the Lord made provision that he should be allowed to bring a small portion of fine flour, and the priest would present the crushed grain as a type of the broken body of the Saviour. Of this one it was said, “His sin shall be forgiven him,” just the same as of the one that was able to bring a bullock. The handful of flour burned corresponded to the burning of the fat, in type of the final destruction of sin; and the remainder was eaten by the priest thus typifying Christ’s bearing the sins.

In every sin-offering where animals or birds were offered, the blood was all poured out at the base of the altar of burnt-offering in the court of the sanctuary. When we remember how particular the Lord was that everything about the camp should be kept in a sanitary condition, we can see at a glance that it must have required much labour to keep the court clean. Therefore the Lord would not have directed that all the blood be poured on the ground at the base of the altar if it had not contained a very, important lesson.

The first sin ever committed in the earth affected the earth as well as the sinner. The Lord said to Adam, “Cursed is the ground for thy sake.” When the first murder was committed, the Lord said to Cain, “Now art thou cursed from the earth.” he also said that from that time the earth would not always yield her increase; there would be failure of crops, and barrenness.

The curse of sin rests heavier and heavier upon the earth. There is only one thing in all the universe of God that can remove this curse. “The land can not be cleansed of the blood that is shed therein, but by the blood of him that shed it.” It must be one of humanity, of the same family that shed the blood. For that reason Christ partook of humanity, became our Elder Brother, that He might remove the curse of sin from the earth as well as from the sinner. By His death upon Calvary, Christ purchased the earth, thus redeeming it as well as its inhabitants.

Since it is the sins of mankind that defile the earth, in every sin-offering, after the offering had been made for the sinner, the remainder of the blood was poured out on the ground at the base of the brazen altar in the court, as a type of the precious blood of Christ, which would remove every taint of sin from this earth, and clothe it in Eden beauty.

The Cross and its Shadow, pgs. 123-129, S.N. Haskell