Atonement Foreshadowed: The Old Testament Sacrifices
1. When you read a novel, typically the author foreshadows certain elements of the story. In the story of Israel, what is God foreshadowing?
2. If you were writing Israel’s story, would you foreshadow Messiah through the sacrificial system? If not, how would you foreshadow a yet-to-come Redeemer?
3. If you were present at an animal sacrifice in Jerusalem in the days of King David, what would you see? Is it an idyllic scene?
4. Did an animal sacrifice wholly, completely and eternally redeem a sinner, even one who had faith in it for what it purported to do?
5. If God originated the sacrificial system, which requires a substitutionary death, then does His institution of such a system provide any indication of what God thinks of sin? What does it say? Why is it such a serious matter with God?
1. If the law of God is holy and perfect, why would a good, faithful Hebrew, such as the writer of the book of Hebrews, tell us, under the influence of the Holy Spirit, that the law is merely a “copy” or a “shadow?”
2. Is a copy or shadow of something perfect, any less perfect than that which it copies or shadows?
3. Have you ever felt a shadow? Is it real? Can you walk through it as a vapor? We can see a shadow and feel its effects, such as respite from the heat of the day, but the shadow isn’t that which casts it. If you were to examine Christ and the old covenant, which is the shadow and which is the “shadowcaster?”
4. Is the sacrifice of an “innocent” an absolute in order to atone for sin? Could a “non-innocent” or an ordinary messiah die for the sins of others?
5. What purpose does the symbolic transfer of one’s sins to the sacrificial lamb serve?
6. No other high priest offered himself as a sacrifice in the Old Testament sacrificial system. How is it that Jesus is, not only the sacrificial lamb, but also the high priest offering the sacrificial lamb and his own blood as atonement? Are the apostles pushing the analogy too far by portraying Christ as sacrificer and the sacrificed? Or is there something entirely unique about Jesus?
1. If the law is “perfect and holy,” how could it leave a shadow that is inadequate? Is it completely inadequate? Of what value are the law and the old covenant?
2. Christ took on the role of a priest. What did He do that set Him apart from all other priests? List as many as you can.
3. If the completion of the sacrifice restored an ancient Hebrew’s relationship with God, for what purpose is the sacrifice of Christ? Is it superlative?
4. If the old covenant required annual sacrifices and Christ’s sacrifice was “once for all,” then does God’s math ring true in that one sacrifice is greater than so many? What are the elements of this singular, superior sacrifice?