There is Power in the Blood - 2
June 17, 2019
As I mentioned before, the book of Leviticus is actually a book of worship. It shows that, describes the relationship that God desires, and that is possible between man and God. It deals with life, deals with death. It shows that the way to life is through death. It is showing us that it is by the shedding of blood, the giving a life that sins are forgiven, that we can be made right with God, that sinners can be forgiven, and have eternal life, as well as spiritual life, and life to the full.
All of that is revealed to us in Leviticus because it's so important to recognize that God has made a way. There is a way for sinners to have a relationship to the Holy God. There is a way. God has made away. That's man's greatest problem. Isn't it? That man is sinful, and God is Holy. God has made a provision. God gave Israel these provisions not only for the offerings of worship but also sacrifices for sin for guilt to make atonement, that their sins might be forgiven. They might have a relationship to the living God. That's for us.
It's interesting because all of Leviticus, it contains sermon after sermon, pointing the way to Jesus. As we've been looking through it, you will find Jesus in the burnt offering, the peace offering, the grain offering, the thanksgiving offering, the sin offering, the guilt offering. He's in all of that. It's like His blood is that scarlet thread that is throughout the entire Word of God from Genesis to Revelation. It's the thread that flows through all of that.
Last week in Chapter 16, we saw Jesus in the greatest day on the Jewish calendar. If you were to ask a Jew, “What is the greatest, most holiest, grandness day on the calendar?” they would say, “It's Yom Kippur. It's a day of atonement.” That is all about Jesus Christ. It is so amazing when you see, because on this day, and this day alone, the high priests could enter into the holiest of holy places and the tabernacle of the temple.
That was the place where the mercy seat, which was covered with golden cherubim sat on the Ark of the Covenant, which you are familiar with that. It was an image of the very throne room of God in heaven. That's the place where the priest would go once a year. In that holiest of holy places in the temple, that was where the presence of God dwells. It was visible, the Shekinah glory was visible.
The high priests would come once a year. He would bring up fire pan of coals and would put sweet incense on it, and it was filled with smoke. The prayers of the saints are seen in that. Then, he would come with the blood of a bull as a sin offering for himself. Then, he would come with the blood of a goat for the sin offering for the people. That's all the picture. You see, all of that, it's all a picture of the fact that the blood of Jesus was offered in the very throne room of God in heaven itself, so that we, now, with our sins forgiven, can draw near with confidence. That's why we can have a relationship to the Lord and have it with confidence.
To me, that's an amazing thing, that sinners, because we're all sinners, can have a relationship to the Holy, Righteous Living God with confidence. That's an amazing thing; you can be confident. See, the reason that you can be confident is you're not confident in yourself, you're confident in the blood that was shed in your behalf. You're confident in His love for you. You're confident in His provision. For that reason, you enter in with joy. It's like you're confident.
I remember when my daughter had been gone on a mission’s trip or something. When she came back, we were really looking forward to seeing her. When she came back, I remember very clearly because she came running down the hallway. She just came running down the hallway and just jumped into my arms and just like, "Daddy." She just held onto me. What a beautiful picture of that confidence in that relationship. It's a beautiful thing to have that relationship that sinners can have confidence.
What's interesting is that there's even more to this day on Yom Kippur, day of atonement. I mentioned the blood of a goat. Well, there was another goat, a second goat. On this goat, the high priest would lay his hands. Then, he would confess the sins of all the people. All the sins would be confessed. By laying on his hands, he's transferring the sins onto this goat. Then, someone will be standing by to take this goat out into the wilderness burying their sins, their iniquities, to be released out into the wilderness, never to return.
This second goat is mysterious. I want us to connect it up to what we're looking at tonight. It's interesting, because the meaning of this is not obvious in Hebrew, and even some Jewish scholars have been confused as to its meaning. I tell you; this is where the light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ brings the light into the Old Testament because when you see Leviticus from the light of the Gospel, it reveals itself gloriously and beautifully.
Many Jewish scholars missed it. They misunderstood what this was about, this second goat. The name of this is Azazel. The interpretation is not a goat. You might say, “Well, I thought it was the scapegoat.” Well, that's the King James put that on that. The name “azaz” means strength, and “el” means God. The priest would cast lots. One lot would fall on the one goat for Jehovah. The other lot would fall for Azazel.
They didn't know what that meant. What is Azazel? What does that mean? Is this another name for-- What is this? They wrongly interpreted it, many of the Jewish scholars wrongly interpreted it. They thought it meant the goat demon of the desert. They thought, "Oh, then this second one is going to be given to the goat demon of the desert." Our sins are going to be sacrificed and given to the goat demon of the desert?
To show that they had misinterpreted, they took this goat out to the wilderness and threw him off a cliff. I'm thinking that's not the message of the Gospel. Anybody with me? That's not the message of the Gospel. That's where the Gospel brings light. The reason they thought that is because of the verses that we're going to study today.
I want to bring the light of the Gospel to it and reveal the truth of what it actually means. That's Leviticus 17, where God makes it very clear here in these verses to the children of Israel that they must not bring sacrifices to the Lord. Excuse me, they must not bring sacrifices into the desert to be given to the goat demon. They must bring their sacrifices to the Lord at the tabernacle, there and there alone.
It makes it clear. They are no longer to bring sacrifices out to the wilderness for the goat demon. He calls it out. To me, this is pretty clear to me. This is clear? He says, "No," to which I say thank God for the clarification because Satan has nothing to do with our salvation. Amen.
Important to recognize that you're in the Kingdom of God now. You're in the Kingdom of God now, and everything we live and move and have our being in the Kingdom of God now. What does that mean to our lives? Let's read it. Leviticus 17. We begin in verse five.
"The reason is so that the sons of Israel may bring their sacrifices which they were sacrificing." That they were sacrificing the open field? No. That they may bring them to the Lord at the doorway of the tent of meeting. That's the tabernacle, to the priests and they sacrifice them as sacrifices of peace offerings. Peace, it's a signification of the peace we have with God now.
Then it says that “the priest will sprinkle the blood on the altar.” There is where the blood is shed, on the altar, “at the doorway of the Tent of Meeting, and then offer up the fat and smoke as a soothing aroma to the Lord.” Verse seven, “And they shall no longer sacrifice their sacrifices to the goat demons with which they played the harlot.” That's very clear.
This is a permanent statute throughout their generations. “You shall say to them, any man from the house of Israel or even the aliens who sojourn among them.” Remember that when they left Egypt, that many Egyptians and others went out also. “We want to be part of this Exodus. We want to follow this God who has demonstrated such power. We want to go also,” so they also.
“Whoever offers a burnt offering or a sacrifice and does not bring into the doorway on the Tent of Meeting to offer it to the Lord, that man shall be cut off from the people, any man from the house of the Lord or aliens who sojourn among them, who eats blood.”
It brings the significance. It's all about this blood. “Must not eat blood. If he does, I will set my face against that person who eats that blood and will cut off the people. For the life of the flesh is in the blood. I've given it to you on the altar,” don't miss that. “to make atonement for your souls.” It is the blood by reason of the life. There's life in the blood. There's power in the blood and that's the reason it makes atonement.
“Therefore, that's why I said to the sons of Israel, no person may eat blood nor any alien who sojourns may eat blood. When any men from the sons of Israel or aliens who sojourn among them in hunting,” let's say, “and catches a beast or a bird, which they want to eat, then he shall pour out it's blood and then cover it with earth,” it's sacred, totally, “for it, as for the life of all flesh, its blood is identified with its life. Therefore, I said to the sons of Israel, you are not to eat the blood of any flesh, for the life of all flesh is in its blood. Whoever eats it will be cut off.”
I. Choose You This Day Whom You Will Serve
These are the verses I want to look at. Of course, I'll look at the other verses on Wednesday. I wanted to look at this because there's a tremendous challenge. I'm reminded of the words of Joshua at the end of his life when he drew all of Israel together and he issued forth a challenge because that challenge is found in these verses. It's this, “Choose you this day whom you will serve.” That's the point. He's calling them to make a choice.
Israel had lived in Egypt 400 years and they had become accustomed to having numerous gods. No more. God is saying, no more. Serve God and God alone. He's calling them to single-hearted devotion, and He calls us to the same. “No longer should they sacrifice to the goat demons with which they played the harlot.” That's an interesting phrase. Israel wanted both. They wanted Jehovah, but they didn't want to let go of the other gods; the gods that represented things from the world.
I tell you the same is true today. There are many people who very much want God. There are many people who want God, but they want God on their terms. What are their terms? Their terms are this; they want God and-- See? They want both. That's their terms. “Here's my terms. Here's my conditions, Lord. I want you and I want everything else that the world has to offer.”
Here's the thing we have to recognize. God does not do terms. Amen. God does not do terms because he recognizes the spiritual truth. The problem is those things will choke out the spiritual life you have. I want to see your spiritual life flourish. I want you to have strength spiritually. Those things will choke the Word.
That's what Jesus said in Mark 4:12 when he used the parable of the sower sowing the seed, which is the picture of the Word of God being sewn unto our hearts. He said in chapter four, verse 19, the worries of the world, the deceitfulness of riches, the desires for other things, they come in and they choke the Word and it becomes unfruitful.
A. Give nothing to the goat of this world
God wants the word to abide in you and to abound in life for you. Don't let anything come in and choke the Word. He wants you to have spiritual life and have it abundantly. He's making them to see the distinction between one or the other. That's what He's showing them. He's saying, give nothing-- let's put it this way-- I've to the goat of this world, making it very clear. It's sad that Israel misunderstood it. Give nothing to the goat of this world.
The goat demon was a picture of all the world had to offer. It's interesting because many cultures have such a goat god, goat demon, many cultures. In the Greek culture, there was the goat man named Pan. It was the god of the wild, often affiliated with sex. The god, Pan, was connected to virility. Then, there was the ancient Roman half-goat, half-man, Faunus, also a symbol of fertility.
You might know this already, but satanic depictions of Satan are often a form of a goat. Interesting. The ancient Egyptians, they had their half-goat, half-man god of sex and fertility and virility. The Knights of Templar had baffled that. Israel had a goat demon, and they call him Azazel. What? That's not right.
That second goat is a picture of Jesus Christ. Satan is the great counterfeiter, don't you know? He's the great mocker of spiritual things. He's calling them to make a distinction. He says, by these goat demons, Israel played the harlot. He's making a very clear distinction, so God redeemed them. He says, “I redeemed you from slavery. I gave you the land that I promised.” He says, “I took them by the hand and I led them out. I was a husband to them, he says, but they were unfaithful. He uses the picture of a husband and wife. They were unfaithful. They played the harlot.
This is important because they wanted Jehovah and they wanted the goat demons and all that they represented, the virility. It's very interesting because the goal of the enemy must be understood. There's a specific clear reason that God is calling them and thus He calls us to make a decision, to follow after the Lord with all our heart. There's a reason.
It's for your good, he says because the goal of the enemy is to, number one, draw you away from your relationship to God, to draw you away. If he can draw you away, he's won a great victory, wouldn't you say? He uses the things of the world, the temptations of the flesh to draw you away. That's one.
Number two, if he can divert your course, if he can get you away from God's purpose and God's mission for your life, he will have accomplished a great thing. Let me give you an illustration. When the devil tempted Jesus in the desert, he took Him, it says, to a very high mountain. He showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and all of their glory.
Notice Matthew 4:9. “The tempter said to Jesus,” to Him, he said, “all these things, see all these kingdoms and see all their glory? I offer them to you,” which is interesting because it suggests, obviously, that he had them to give. “All these things I will give you if you fall down and worship me.” Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan. For it is written, you shall worship the Lord your God and serve Him only.” Notice because it's a key. Jesus was offered the kingdoms of the world if he would abandon his mission.
Does God have a purpose and calling on your life? This is important to make personal. Does God have purpose in your life? I suggest to you that God has great purpose in every person’s life that’s sitting in this room tonight, that God is not finished with you, that God has purpose, God has calling, God has that which he wants to accomplish in you and through you to his glory and for your good. Do you believe it? The enemy would very much like to divert your course, to distract you from that mission, that purpose, that calling.
I ask you this question. What would Satan offer you to abandon your mission, to get off course? Whatever the enemy offers, I suggest is a mere pittance compared to the glory of God's purpose and calling on your life. God's purpose and God's calling on your life is the greatest value in compared to the pittance that the enemy offers.
I remember when I was a young man. I was challenged to memorize Roman 6, which I did. To memorize a verse, you have to repeat it over and over and over. As I began to repeat verse 21 over and over and over, it started to hit me in a powerful way.
Roman 6:21 says, “What benefit did you gain from the things of which you are now ashamed?” That's a good verse, don't you think? That just hit me like a ton of bricks. What benefit did you gain? See, I started asking myself the question. That's a good question. What benefit did I gain from the things that which I am ashamed? The outcome of those things is death.
Here's another biblical illustration. You remember the twins, Esau and Jacob, sons of Isaac. Esau was an outdoors man, ready and hairy. It says, actually, his name means hairy also. He was a hairy fellow, and outdoors man, and rugged. Jacob, he was more of a mama's boy and hung out in the tent.
One day Esau had been out in the field all day hunting, and came back famished, just famished. Meanwhile, Jacob was making some red stew. Esau comes back, he smells, delicious. He says, "Give me a pot of that red stew there." Jacob says to him, "Give me your birthright for it." Your birthright? Firstborn. Esau is the firstborn. You know what the birthright means? Double the inheritance, automatically you're the patriarch.
Do you recognize the birthright that you have in the Lord? I tell you books could be written of what it means. The birthright that you have in the Lord. Jacob says, "Give me your birthright." Esau says, "What good is my birthright if I die from hunger?" Jacob says, "Swear it."
Now, if this scene was playing out in front of an audience, hopefully, the audience would all start yelling, "Don't do it. It's not worth it." Swear it, and he did. That's a picture. Whatever the enemy offers is a bowl of stew in comparison to that which God has for you. Do you believe it? It's a mere pittance. Well, it's something. It's a mere pittance. It tastes good. It's a mere pittance. Don't sacrifice much to gain little. Don't sacrifice much to gain little. Amen.
B. As for me and my house we will serve the Lord
That's why I love that challenge from Joshua where he then continues where he says, "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." He says, "Make a decision." God was calling them to be faithful to His call and His purpose in their lives.
See, God is the answer to what you're seeking for, what you're searching for. Many people, they have a deep, deep searching in their lives. It's a deep place. They're searching, they're wanting, they're looking. I say to you today, God is the answer to what the heart is seeking for, God is the answer to what you are searching for. He and He alone can satisfy these all, because He and He alone made these all, and your soul was made to be satisfied in the Lord.
When Joshua made that declaration, wat he started with is this, he said, "If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the Lord, then choose for yourselves whom you'll serve." If you find it disagreeable, to which I would say is there something wrong with the Gospel? Is there something wrong with the offer that God makes through his son Jesus Christ, because when you step back and look at it, it's an amazing offer. I will pay for the sins that you have committed in their entirety; in full. It's free. I will give to you, in exchange, the very righteousness that is found in Jesus Christ our Lord.
The result of it is that you will be adopted, so that you will be called a son or a daughter of the Lord for eternity. The birthright that he gives you through it is nothing short of amazing. Is there something wrong with the Gospel? He says, "If it's disagreeable, then choose who you will serve."
To quote the famous American philosopher, Bob Dylan-- Some of you remember him. How many people remember Bob Dylan? You have to be old to remember Bob Dylan. He wrote a song and the words of it stuck out to me, "You're going to have to serve somebody." Maybe the devil, Maybe the Lord, but you got to serve somebody.
In other words, what is God saying in Chapter 17? Don't be double-minded. God wants you to be single-hearted toward him because what He offers is greater. He says in Scripture, "A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways."
That's why He then immediately moves into a discussion of the blood; the power of the blood. Bring that blood to this altar here for I've made a prevision for the atonement of your sins here. All of it is part of that scarlet thread that points to Jesus Christ.
II. His Blood Speaks a Better Word
My point that I want to bring out is that His blood speaks a better word. That comes right out of Scripture. His blood speaks a better word. Verse 11 begins with the straightforward truth. Chapter 17:11, that the life of the flesh is found in His blood.
A. His blood speaks the word of grace
One encyclopedia said, blood is the life stream of the body. In other words, he says, it is because of the life that is in the blood, that blood makes atonement for sin. It's because of the life that's in the blood that blood makes atonement for sin. Life is sacred, and therefore blood is sacred. They must not eat of it. It all points to the blood of the son of God because his blood speaks a better word. What is that better word? His blood speaks the word grace.
That comes from the story out of the book of Genesis where Cain killed his brother, Abel. It's a tragic story. God said to Cain, "What have you done? Where is your brother?" Cain responds famously, "Am I my brother's keeper? Is it my day to watch him?" “What have you done?” the Lord says. "Your brother's blood calls out to me."
It's interesting, because it's brought back to us in Hebrews 12:24. It says, "And to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, to the sprinkled blood which speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.” The blood of Abel spoke the words revenge, retribution, justice. The blood of Jesus, it says, speaks a better word. That word is grace, and that word is mercy. God has mercy, God offers grace. That's the Gospel. There's nothing wrong with the Gospel. It's the glorious truth. That's the best and greatest news that man has ever had.
1st Peter 1:18-19, "You were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life." Don't you love the way that’s so plainly said? "You are not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life, inherited from your forefathers, but you were redeemed with precious blood as of a lamb unblemished and spotless." The blood of Christ.
B. Blood is truly amazing
I want to say for that, blood is truly an amazing thing. Our hearts beat an average of 72 beats per minute, although that does depend on who's driving the car. When I'm driving the car, there is perfect peace. Moving on. Did you know our bodies contain an average of 1.3 gallons of blood that is pumped through our bodies--? I did some calculations actually.
Did you know that our bodies pump 2,000 gallons of blood a day? You're supposed to be amazed right now. "Wow. 2,000 gallons." Every heartbeat is about one-third of a cup. You take one-third of a cup, times the average of 72, times 60, times 6o for an hour, times 24, and you get 2,000 gallons. It's real math.
The body as an amazing-- I know you'd be impressed. The body can respond to any crisis with the blood. Sends more white cells, sending more platelets. When our oldest daughter, Nicole-- she's passed away now-- but when she was nine, she had some mysterious, they did not know what it was, some mysterious thing that was happening. The palms of her hands were red, the souls of her feet were red. Every joint was in pain. She had a fever of 106.5. They didn't know what it was. They did all these tests and they could not determine for sure what it was.
He said, "You know what the best we can do is to take gamma globulin, which is the antibodies from many people's donated blood, and just give her gamma globulin." That's what they did. They decided later that she had Kawasaki syndrome, which is tragic, life-threatening, but that gamma globulin from that blood of people just bought life. Speaking of Nicole, she had that when she was nine. She had non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma when she was 19, and she was killed when she was 29. I just found that very interesting.
The blood, what a testimony of God's creation. The idea of irreducible complexity, it's irreducibly complex, speaks to the power of the Creator in giving life. Evolutionists suggest that the worm was the first creature to have blood. I suggest to you that unless that blood was perfectly formed with the proper amount of blood platelets, that worm would have bled to death at the first scratch, or the first hook. Okay, that was bad. Irreducible complex is the power.
C. Come to the altar, the place the blood was offered
In chapter 17, He makes this emphasis, "Come to the altar," he says. "Come to the altar," the place where the blood was offered. "Come to the altar." That's what this altar is for, as the song says, "Come to the altar." That's the place where the blood was offered.
Verse 11, "The life of the flesh is in the blood. I've given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls." There's one place where blood is effective; on the altar. if they were to bring a sacrifice any other place, would have no power, would not forgive, would not redeem. It's important because that altar points to the cross of Calvary, and only by that blood of the Son of the Living God offered there on that place, can man be saved.
What is that Scripture I love to quote? Acts 4:12, "There is no other name under heaven that is given amongst men by which we must be saved.” There is no other name. There is no other blood. There is no other place. The amazing thing is not that there's only one way for men to have forgiveness. The amazing thing is that there's any way. God has made a way for sinners to have their sin paid for in full.
Hebrews 9:22. "And according to the law, when may almost say, 'All things are cleansed with blood, for without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness.'" I want to give you a fascinating factoid. Did you know that it was only by the blood of Christ, which made the Old Testament saints accepted by God because the blood of bulls and goats cannot take away sin?
Well, if the blood and bulls and goats cannot take away sin, then how would the Old Testament say it's accepted by God? I'm glad you asked because the answer is found in Hebrews 9:15. "For this reason, he's the mediator of a new covenant so that since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive that promise of eternal inheritance." That's amazing. Christ demonstrated his love for us, and that Christ shed his blood, even while we were his enemies.
See, you are justified by the blood. You are redeemed by his blood, you are washed by his blood. You've been sanctified by his blood. You're brought near to God by his blood. You have peace with God through Christ’s blood. You have gained victory through his blood. You had been reconciled to God because of His blood. Can we give God praise for what he has done? Amen.
D. You must partake of His blood
Lastly, we'll close with this, but you got a partake. See, this is the thing, you got a partake. It's not enough to just simply recognize, "That's powerful blood." No, you have to participate. When the Passover lambs’ blood was shed, it must be applied. They must have taken the blood with the hyssop and applied it to the doorway, the doorpost and the lintel, and then go through that blood, and then they're safe. It must be applied.
The cup of communion is a picture of that very thing, of taking the cup of the blood of Christ, and bringing it to lips, and drinking it. It's a picture of the fact that you are partaking, that His blood is become part of you; you are partaking in it. It's that blood on that altar that's giving you eternal life. You are partaking in it. We need God at the cross of Calvary. That's where God gives us life. You come to him, and he gives you that blood, but you've got to take it. You got to partake of it. You've got to bring it in.
Let's pray. "Father, I want to just pray tonight for everyone in this room that we would recognize the power of this blood that was shed at that place. Church, tonight I want to give you an invitation to partake of that blood tonight. It's a spiritual thing. When you ask the blood of Christ to forgive your sin, it becomes very personal to you. You're asking for that blood to be applied to your life. It's got to be personal.
Would you, tonight, say to the Lord, “I'm asking for that blood to be applied to my life for the forgiveness of sin, for the eternal life, for the adoption of sons and daughters, for the promises that you give to us. I'm asking, would you apply that blood to my life tonight?” Would you?
I'm going to ask that if you would say that the Lord if you would say to the Lord tonight, for me, I'm asking for me, “Apply that blood to my life," would you just raise your hands to the Lord? Just raise your hand to the Lord and you're saying to the Lord, "I'm asking, I want that blood applied to my life for the forgiveness of sin, for adoption of sins, for every promise you give. Thank you, Father."
Anyone else? Anyone else? Father, thank you for every hand raised, every heart touched, every soul filled. We give you thanks for the life that you've given to us. We give you thanks for the life you've given to us. We give you praise. We give you honor. In Jesus' name. Everyone said?