And in the same way he sprinkled both the tabernacle and all the containers and sacred utensils of worship with the blood. In fact under the Law almost everything is cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness [neither release from sin and its guilt, nor cancellation of the merited punishment].
I’ve been reading through the Old Testament as part of my Bible-in-a-Year plan and have completed most of Numbers. I certainly understand why it is named Numbers. Moses does a second count of all the men in Israel which is over 600,000. He did the same count at the beginning of the journey but this count was done after all those that doubted that they could take the Promised Land had died. Forty years of wandering had worn down the older folks leaving the young ones to conquer the land. But that count was just the men, imagine what the final count would be when women and children were included.
This was no small crowd — it was thousands of people. My childhood picture from Sunday school of crossing the Red Sea lead me to think in such small terms. They spent all those years in the desert, probably going from watering hole to watering hole. They complained a lot, too. I can only imagine Moses wondering on many occasions what he had gotten himself into.
The many instructions for the preparation and execution of the animals for the sacrifices at the Tabernacle include thousands of sheep, goats, and bulls. The logistics for taking care of the animals, alone, is mind-boggling. Where do you find enough food for them? How long does it take to move the herds when all the people pack up their tents to follow the cloud? Where did they get the wood necessary to burn these animals on the altar as God instructed to pay for their sins?
But it was the blood that overwhelms me. So much blood. The animal had to be killed, the blood drained and then sprinkled on the Tabernacle and all its furnishings, the altar, the priests from the tribe of Levi, the people…just to name a few…in obedience to God’s commands for purification. This was done all the time.
As we approach Easter, let’s appreciate even more this ultimate sacrifice. No more repeated sacrifices — Jesus only had to die once, on a wooden cross, with His blood streaming down to the ground in order to satisfy God’s command. And the thick curtain of the temple was ripped in two–from the top to the bottom so that we could enter into The Holy Place as beloved children of God. But just reading the story is not enough.
Kneeling at the foot of the cross, asking Jesus for forgiveness, accepting His death for me so that I can live forever, is God’s plan for my salvation and yours. That blood was shed for all of us.
It is finished.
Thank you, Jesus.