Christ in the Sacrificial System

Christ in the Sacrificial System*The sin of our first parents brought guilt and sorrow upon the world, and had it not been for the goodness and mercy of God, would have plunged the race into hopeless despair.1CIHS 19.1The fall of man filled all heaven with sorrow. The world that God had made was blighted with the curse of sin and inhabited by beings doomed to misery and death. There appeared no escape for those who had transgressed the law…. CIHS 19.2But divine love had conceived a plan whereby man might be redeemed. The broken law of God demanded the life of the sinner. In all the universe there was but one who could, in behalf of man, satisfy its claims. Since the divine law is as sacred as God Himself, only one equal with God could make atonement for its transgression.2CIHS 19.3To man the first intimation of redemption was communicated in the sentence pronounced upon Satan in the garden. The Lord declared, “I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” Genesis 3:15. This sentence, uttered in the hearing of our first parents, was to them a promise. While it foretold war between man and Satan, it declared that the power of the great adversary would finally be broken…. Though they must suffer from the power of their mighty foe, they could look forward to final victory.3CIHS 19.4Heavenly angels more fully opened to our first parents the plan that had been devised for their salvation. Adam and his companion were assured that notwithstanding their great sin, they were not to be abandoned to the control of Satan. The Son of God had offered to atone, with His own life, for their transgression. A period of probation would be granted them, and through repentance, and faith in Christ, they might again become the children of God. CIHS 20.1The Sacred Character of God’s LawThe sacrifice demanded by their transgression, revealed to Adam and Eve the sacred character of the law of God; and they saw, as they had never seen before, the guilt of sin, and its dire results.4CIHS 20.2The law of God existed before man was created. The angels were governed by it. Satan fell because he transgressed the principles of God’s government. After Adam and Eve were created, God made known to them His law. It was not then written, but was rehearsed to them by Jehovah…. CIHS 20.3After Adam’s sin and fall, nothing was taken from the law of God. The principles of the Ten Commandments existed before the fall, and were of a character suited to the condition of a holy order of beings.5CIHS 20.4The principles were more explicitly stated to man after the fall, and worded to meet the case of fallen intelligences. This was necessary in consequence of the minds of men being blinded by transgression.6CIHS 20.5A system was then established requiring the sacrificing of beasts, to keep before fallen man that which the serpent made Eve disbelieve, that the penalty of disobedience is death. The transgression of God’s law made it necessary for Christ to die a sacrifice, and thus make a way possible for man to escape the penalty, and yet the honor of God’s law be preserved. The system of sacrifices was to teach man humility, in view of his fallen condition, and lead him to repentance, and to trust in God alone, through the promised Redeemer, for pardon for past transgression of His law.7CIHS 20.6The very system of sacrifices was devised by Christ, and given to Adam as typifying a Saviour to come.8CIHS 21.1Man Offers His First SacrificeTo Adam, the offering of the first sacrifice was a most painful ceremony. His hand must be raised to take life, which only God could give. It was the first time he had ever witnessed death, and he knew that had he been obedient to God, there would have been no death of man or beast. As he slew the innocent victim, he trembled at the thought that his sin must shed the blood of the spotless Lamb of God. This scene gave him a deeper and more vivid sense of the greatness of his transgression, which nothing but the death of God’s dear Son could expiate. And he marveled at the infinite goodness that would give such a ransom to save the guilty. A star of hope illumined the dark and terrible future and relieved it of its utter desolation.9CIHS 21.2Adam was commanded to teach his descendants the fear of the Lord, and, by his example and humble obedience, teach them to highly regard the offerings which typified a Saviour to come. Adam carefully treasured what God had revealed to him, and handed it down by word of mouth to his children and children’s children.10CIHS 21.3At the cherubim-guarded gate of Paradise the glory of God was revealed, and hither came the first worshipers. Here their altars were reared, and their offerings presented.11CIHS 21.4In the sacrificial offering on every altar was seen a Redeemer. With the cloud of incense arose from every contrite heart the prayer that God would accept their offerings as showing faith in the coming Saviour.12CIHS 21.5The sacrificial system, committed to Adam, was…perverted by his descendants. Superstition, idolatry, cruelty, and licentiousness corrupted the simple and significant service that God had appointed. Through long intercourse with idolaters, the people of Israel had mingled many heathen customs with their worship; therefore the Lord gave them at Sinai definite instruction concerning the sacrificial service. 13CIHS 21.6Study Questions1. Why could only one equal with God make atonement for transgression of divine law? (19)2. What meaning did the declaration of Genesis 3:15 have for Satan? For Adam and Eve? (19)3. Why was a period of probation granted? (20)4. What were the purposes of the system of sacrifices? (20, 21)5. For what reasons was the first sacrifice by Adam a “painful ceremony”? (21)6. Where did Adam and Eve set up their first altars? Is this significant? (21)

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