Moses then took the blood, sprinkled it on the people and said, “This is the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words.”
Many people wouldn’t understand the whole idea of the meaning of blood in the Old Testament because they are not accustomed to offering a sacrifice from which they must find an atonement of their wickedness. I have been to a slaughter plant, one of the many benefits of working for the Department of Agriculture. The floor was literally flooded with blood and the warm air was filled with an aroma of newly spilled blood. The cattle would come into the plant on a conveyor belt and humanely rendered unconscious. The workers would then slit the throat and bleed the animal. Imagine, if you will, the sight of hundreds of cattle hanging by their hind legs with their throats slit and the blood being spilled out on the ground.
I assume the tent of meeting which the Levites offered sacrifices in was much of the same experience. A constant flow of blood filled the tent because they had to continually offer sacrifices for their sins. There was not one sacrifice that could absolve them of their sins and take away their guilt. Hebrews tells us that Christ is the mediator of a better covenant, meaning that the covenant of blood-letting for the sake of atonement, is no longer necessary because a better covenant has been established. There has come from heaven one sacrifice by which the entire humanity may be cleared of guilt and no longer stand under the wrath of God. The event which made this new covenant possible was the blood which was spilled upon the cross. Christ has now made a way for us to be exonerated. We no longer stand under the mighty and dreadful wrath of God because of what has been done for us at the cross.
This idea that Christ has taken the penalty of sin for us is most commonly called the doctrine of penal substitution. Plainly said, the doctrine consists of Christ’ active obedience to God in going to the cross and dying in our place, as a substitute, so that we may not have to drink of the cup of Gods wrath. We no longer stand against God but by the cross Christ has abolished the dividing wall and has brought us into relationship with God. How many have missed this and fallen under the condemnation sin has brought about? We no longer have to be considered enemies of God. Christ has brought us near and we are no longer slaves to sin but conquerors in Christ.
We bask in this blood theology. It’s the foundation of everything we should do. While the doctrine of penal substitution is central to the christian faith, it certainly isn’t the only doctrine which we must focus our attention. It is possible the most important doctrine we can send our lives on. To say this doctrine is more important does not mean that it should be studied at the cost of ignoring other doctrine but is more important in the sense that pieces in the middle of a jigsaw puzzle are more crucial to seeing the big picture than the outside pieces are. If you were to remove an edge piece the idea of the puzzle is still attainable as long as the middle pieces remain intact.
Let us be slow to dismiss this blood theology. We must stand firm knowing that Christ’ blood is the only way in which we can enter into the presence of God. We need to be, as the Apostle Peter says, “Sprinkled with his blood”. The precious blood which clears our conscience and removes wrath so that we may stand with Christ, sanctified, justified, and glorified on that day when Christ should be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels.