The Sacrifice

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Still 'fine-tuning' our process. You can get to the original article HERE

NOTE: THIS ARTICLE is a reprint from the blog of reverend Kevin Rogers of New Song Church in Windsor, Ontario and is reproduced here for your convenience. You can visit the his blog called "The Orphan Age" HERE.

 

 

It may seem like a strange place to start an understanding
of the laying on of hands but consider the role of animals in the ancient
world. The practice of blood sacrifice is as old as humanity and considered by
all who practised it to be an essential, sacred act to appease the gods.

 

Because most of us are not herdsmen or cowboys, the biblical
concept of animal sacrifice is an abstraction. Those who raise herds and flocks
know that there is a cost and commitment to raising animals for slaughter.
Animals are graded, inspected, and nurtured for fetching a good price.

 

Animals had value to their owners and buyers. To sacrifice
an animal would always cost you something. You did not sacrifice any old
animal. Specifically, it had to meet certain criteria to be sacrificed. It
needed to be without flaw. There is an underlying message that you must pay the
gods for your sins by sacrificing the best you have.

 

The smoke of an altar’s fire would ascend to the gods and
determine whether you would be accepted. In some religions, an animal might not
be enough of a sacrifice. In the case of other religions, you might need to
sacrifice a child or a virgin to the gods.

 

While this concept is a grotesque abstraction to many
people, it was a commonly understood practice for ancient people. What we need
to grasp here is the idea that you pay for your mistakes. You answer to God and
need to make things right with him.


The laying on of hands is part of the sacrifice system.
There are many examples in the Old Testament of animals being used as
substitutes for the shedding of blood instead of God asking for human
sacrifice, as other religious systems might call for. The priests who bore the
responsibility of carrying out the sacrifices would receive an instruction like
this.

 

Leviticus 4:

10 “You
Shall Also Have The Bull Brought Before The Tabernacle Of Meeting, And Aaron And
His Sons Shall Put Their Hands On The Head Of The Bull. 11 Then
You Shall Kill The Bull Before The Lord, By The Door Of The Tabernacle
Of Meeting.

 

Semicha in sacrifices was the placing/leaning [of the
hands] before the offering of a korban (“animal sacrifice”) in the
Temple in Jerusalem. This involved pressing firmly on the head of the
sacrificial animal, thereby symbolically “transmitting” sins onto the
animal or, in other interpretations, to transform the sacrifice into an
offering acceptable to Hashem (Hebrew term for God ‘the Name’.)
[1]

 

See also....
Language Matters: Why Meta Should Not End Ban on Arabic Word ‘Shaheed’

The sacrifice system of the Old Testament mostly ended when
the Temple was destroyed in AD 70. This was the sacred place where sacrifice
was to take place in Jerusalem. For the Christian, Jesus became the sacrifice
lamb that was slain for the sins of the whole earth. He was the final blood
sacrifice and in a strange twist, he was the Great High Priest that offered the
sacrifice.

 

What can we learn from the Old Testament practice of laying
hands on an animal for sacrifice? First, we are reminded that a sacrifice sends
a message to God that the humans want to make peace and be reconciled to God
and his ways. Second, sacrifice is always personal and costly. Someone pays and
someone gets their hands dirty to restore relationship.

 

As a priest put his hands upon a living animal, there was a
reminder that God had placed mankind with a responsibility to the Creation. Sin
not only brought a price to the sinner, but also an effect to the Creation.

 

Third, it was the impression on the heart that God was most
interested in. Did His people bring worship and sacrifice out of a desire to
draw near to Him, or as a way to excuse their conscience? Did the cost of
obedience get budgeted for, so you didn’t have to experience the inward effect
of worship and sacrifice?

 

Once Jesus became the final sacrifice, there is a call for
all of us to become priests unto God. We follow the example of Jesus and
present our bodies as living sacrifices to God. Instead of the shedding of
blood with substitutes, we live our lives with sacrifice blood flowing through
us. We follow Jesus and present ourselves to God in a meaningful way.

 

Romans 12:

Brothers And Sisters,
God Has Shown You His Mercy. So, I Am Asking You To Offer Up Your Bodies To Him
While You Are Still Alive. Your Bodies Are A Holy Sacrifice That Is Pleasing To
God. When You Offer Your Bodies To God, You Are Worshiping Him In The Right
Way. Don’t Live The Way This World Lives. Let Your Way Of
Thinking Be Completely Changed. Then You Will Be Able To Test What God Wants
For You. And You Will Agree That What He Wants Is Right. His Plan Is Good And
Pleasing And Perfect.

 


See also....
Understand The 'S' Word

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