Episode

Exodus: The Tabernacle - Why Would God Require Blood?

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August 22, 2021

I want you to imagine you were given a time machine And you went back in time, 3,300 years to the nation of Israel, wandering in the wilderness. You’ve read about this. You studied, you have sat through a life-changing sermon series on this very subject. You cannot wait today. You have the joy of visiting the tabernacle. You’ve seen it in the distance, but today you are getting close because you have the spirit of God in dwelling, you, you have unrestricted access and you plan on taking full advantage of it from a distance. You see a massive cloud hovering above the presence of God himself. You are immediately nervous. Your heart races. You’ve heard the stories people die. If they get too close, about a half mile away, You start to hear noises. At first, you hear the sound of what sounds like shopping. As you get closer,You hear the sound of animals and periodically the sound is pierced by an uncomfortable squeal. It begins to smell the closer you get like a barn and a bonfire. All at the same time.

You’re now getting a little uneasy. As you begin to put it all together, you knew animals were killed, but somehow it’s different. Seeing it in person. You’re now a few football fields away, the sounds and the sights and folding before you activate your gag reflux, and then you freeze animals are being bled out ropes and pulleys, elevate, large oxygen. They’re being meticulously, drained. Everything is messy. You look down, you see the footprints of blood tracking in various directions and fading away in dirt. You see strong young men, quietly and forcefully preparing these animals. They are intentional and clearly exhausted. It appears they’re using all of their energy butchering and cutting and dragging and separating. But amidst, what feels like chaos appears to be a fine tuned production.

Everyone has a role, a place, a purpose. This orchestra resulted cooking And eating and worship And everything in its proper place, you were still frozen and you keep watching. Time just slows down and it just doesn’t stop. And all of these men they’re they’re unfazed. This is their every day. This is their normal. This is their ministry. This is their worship songs begin to go through your head. Precious is the flow that makes me white as snow. Nothing but the blood of Jesus. When you sing these words, this was not what you imagined after all. We sing songs of life. Don’t we? The juxtaposition between what you had in your mind and reality has never been so stark. This, this is ugly. This is horrendous. This is death. This is sadness. And these men, there are a combination of pastors, butchers, pit masters, and somehow worship leaders. As you leave this tabernacle for the night images, swirl in your head, and you come to them, this realization, every single piece of this organized chaos designed and commanded by Yahweh on purpose that his people might never forget the true cost of their sin. Blood Seville church intuitively you know, this principle Blood is Sacred.

There is no greater gift than to shed your own blood. There’s no greater costs than to shed your own blood. You get to Genesis chapter nine, verse four and Noah and his sons are trying to figure out how to be carnivores in a post-flood world. And here’s the instructions God gives to them. You shall not eat flesh with its life. That is its blood, but even this, this isn’t new. You go back, you go back to Genesis where Adam and Eve, they sinned and they immediately learned a few things. Number one, sin, corrupts everything. Number two sin separates us from God. Number three, sin always brings death, but number four, God accepts substitute sacrifice. After the curses, God goes and he gets an animal. He kills the animal and somehow he covers them with it. But the death of this animal, the shedding of this blood, it doesn’t necessarily forgive their sins, but it postpones what is going to be inevitable, which is there, which is their death. So Satan also knows the power of blood and of substitute sacrifice, which is why He loves murder Child sacrifice, ongoing animal sacrifices, bloodletting, cutting, any time a human being sheds their own blood or someone else’s somehow under the delusion that this blood is going to make God. And I okay. He rejoices because every time you, it you’re believing the lie that somehow there is another source of blood, other than Jesus, that can somehow make things right with you and God or this life. And there’s not.

So in that spirit, I want you to open up to Exodus chapter 24, verse four, the text will be on the screen, but you cannot understand the tabernacle unless you understand the <inaudible> of blood and sacrifice in this institution. Now they’re going to be points probably where you were like, I don’t feel okay. And if you need to go out and get a glass of water or something, if you need to plug your ears and go LA LA LA, we won’t judge you today. But blood is central in Christian worship. If you listen to almost any song that comes out, that focuses on Jesus, you’re going to find some very interesting phrases about blood and we seen them, but there is this chasm between the reality and the weight of what we’re singing. And then actually the reality, the weight of the actual real circumstances that these things point to it’s powerful. So Exodus chapter 24, verse four, and this is going to be an example of a peace offering. It’s a very important part of the tabernacle process. This is actually where God and Israel are going to covenant with each other under the law. Here’s what happens in Exodus 24 For Moses.

He rose early in the morning. He built an altar at the foot of the mountain and 12 pillars, according to the 12 tribes of Israel. And he sent young man young men, because this is not a job for somebody who is struggling physically. And he sent young men of the people of Israel who offered burnt offerings and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen to the Lord. And then verse six says, Moses took half of the blood and he put it in basins. And if you’re thoughtful reader, you should be asking half of what. So an average oxygen is going to have roughly 10 gallons of blood. We’re talking multiple oxygen. So at this point, these priests are navigating hundreds of gallons of blood. Now this was Passover. This would be a whole different scenario because now we’d be dealing with thousands of gallons of blood. Did you feel a little bit weird about this right now? You should, because it’s strange. So The biggest chapter three, I want to just, I want to show you this. I’m going to read it for you. I want you to hear these verses because what happens is the normal process of a peace offering.

And so here’s what it says. So offering is a sacrifice of peace offering. He shall lay his hand on the head of his offering and kill it at the entrance of the tent of meeting. It’s interesting too, that he even designates how to kill the animal. And this is the most quick and humane way to go about this. I appreciate that God wants everything done in order and peacefully, as much as it can in light of sin. And Aaron’s sons, the priests. I just think about this. She’ll take this blood. They’ll throw the blood against the sides of the alter. So when you, when you think about different aspects of the temple or the tabernacle in your brain are there like shiny objects everywhere. And it’s like pristine, clean, just process. They’re throwing blood against the different aspects of this thing. Verse three, from the sacrifice of the peace offering is a food offering to the Lord. He shall offer the fact covering the end trails and all the fat that is on the entrails and the two kidneys with the fat that is on them and at the loins and the lobe of the liver that he shall remove with the kidneys. Then Aaron’s sons. Here’s what you do with all of these very specific things. They shall burn it on the altar. On top of the burnt offering, which is on the wood of the fire. It is a food offering with a pleasing aroma to the Lord. I want to take a moment and just highlight a couple facts for you. The priests who did this, they ate almost all the food. So case you’re thinking, this is just massive waste. This is actually the way they ate.

This was their job. And then they were fed by many of the sacrifices and the offerings of the temple. One of the things I love about the way God structured, this is most of the food had to be eaten that day. Some of the food could be eaten on day two, but none of the food could be eaten on day three, because guess what happens too? Meet in a hot environment on day three, it gets pretty disgusting. So I love that even God is considering the safety. If you will, of the people in this entire process and he is meticulous in detailed. Here’s the third thing I want to draw your attention to go with a random number that I feel like is pretty accurate. 98.7% of you. I see one exception and there might be another one here. You do this all the time. The only difference between you and them is they have the guts to kill what they eat. So when you step back and you’re like, how could he, every time you go to a supermarket and you pick all these choices of meat, I want you to remember actually like, God, this isn’t new animals or here for eating the side of a fallen world, and it should be done humanely, et cetera.

I’m not advocating any sort of diet. I’m just saying before everybody gets all up in arms emotionally, or non-Christian say, look, that’s brutality. It’s literally all around us. And so I hope there’s at least a little bit of empathy here that this isn’t crazy, but this is the way they live and the way they survive and what God does is he brings order to this entire process. Now let’s go back to Exodus 24. We left off and we have hundreds of gallons of oxen. Blood. Half of it are in basins. Are you curious what happened to the other half? Some of you were like, Nope, I’m fine. I didn’t go right out this door and never know. Well, I’m going to tell you, chapter 20, verse six and the other half the blood, he threw it against the alter. Do you remember? We just read Leviticus about the process. So that’s what they do at that, but then they’re not done yet. Verse seven says, then he took the book of the covenant. This is the 10 commandments and a whole bunch of laws that God had already given to Moses.

Somehow they put into some form that this is the words written that God Yahweh wants for us. He took the book of the covenant and he read it in the hearing of the people. And they said all that the Lord has spoken, we will do. And we will be obedient. Do you think they’re going to keep that promise? By the way, probably that verse eight Moses took the blood and he threw it on the amen and said the whole, the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these worlds words, covenants were always inaugurated through blood, but I want to tell you why a covenant is life or death in this culture. It’s life or death because you literally your life, everything about you. When you went into partnership with someone else, if they didn’t keep their word, it would have devastating impact on you and your family. So covenants were sacred and it was the way families and tribes actually learned to survive together. If you do your part, I can do my part. We can work together. I mean, think about even just America, right? The trucking industry goes down what? Ceases to function, everything. And in their world, you have two different families and tribes, right? One of you doesn’t do your job. Nobody else can do their job. And so you enter into these covenants and blood covenants were always inaugurated by blood. Let me tell you why, because what you’re saying in this process is if I violate the terms of this covenant, what was done to this animal, let it be done to me. That’s how severe the consequences of entering into a covenant were in Genesis 15, Abraham and God entered into a covenant in a very dark weird thing happened.

God commanded them, that they take an animal. They cut it literally in half and they let the blood flow into a ravine between the two pieces. Then what would happen in this culture is that you would walk through the blood and you would recite the terms of the covenant saying, if I basically violate the terms of this covenant, let it be done unto me. What God did with Abraham though, Abraham at the time was a little bit different. God put him into a deep sleep. And in the dream, God actually walked through thereby telling Abraham, if you break the terms of this covenant, I will take it in your place. And if I break the terms of the covenant, let it be done to me as well. It was that gracious. Other God in all of the world made up whatever, do anything Like that. And I wanna introduce you to a Bible word. It’s very important. Many of you know it, many of you don’t and the word is going to be essential to kind of understand theologically, what is actually happening here. And the word is atonement. Generally speaking, let’s hover above scripture for a moment, the atonement is an offering to make right or wrong. So there’s been a wrong done. If I want to atone for this thing, I’m going to usually give something or sacrifice something for it to be made, right? Every system of government has some judicial avenue by which atonement for different things can be made and in God’s economy.

Um, what we find here is that sin is a violation of our relationship with God and he has his own judicial economy. And here’s the basic rule in principle of God’s economy. That the only way that sin can be paid for is by blood period. And so here’s what we find. There’s an atonement structure. And when the Christians and Jews talk about a tone, but we’re not just speaking to the concept, generally, we’re talking about the reality that sin requires blood atonement. And so what God is doing is he has built an entire worship sacrificial system, mandated it by law so that he could sear this eternal principle into the minds of every child and adolescent and adult in the entire nation. Sin must be toned for By blood. Now let’s jump to the new Testament. We go to Hebrews chapter nine, because what Hebrews chapter nine does, is it actually retails Exodus 24, but tells it in light of Jesus. And so Hebrews chapter nine, verse 18, here’s what he says. He says, therefore not even the first covenant was inaugurated without blood. Again, you cannot enter into a covenant unless there’s the shedding of blood to remind you of the weight of the promises. Covenants are not like Willy nilly, flipping things that you walk into. They’re very serious. Lifelong contracts. That’s the major purpose of a covenant. First 19. He says this when every commandment of the law had been declared by Moses to all the people. It’s the book of the covenant Exodus 24 mentioned he took the blood of calves and goats with water and Scarlet wool and hyssop, and he sprinkled both the book itself.

And all the people saying this is the blood of the covenant, God commanded for you. And in the same way, he sprinkled with the blood, but the tent and all the vessels used in worship is this kind of like reshaping your notion of the tamp tabernacle a little bit like in your brain. Isn’t it neat, nice tidy and cozy. And everything is just really clean and simple. And, and in fact, the more you just read into this, you’re like, wow, this is a very complicated, messy, really just process. And then verse 22, here’s what he says, indeed. Under the law, almost everything is purified with blood. The reason he says almost is because you could also purify it with fire or with water, but most things are purified or set apart or a toned by blood. And then he says, this, this is the principle. This is the big, so what of, all of this? He says, without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sins. Without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sins. The reason this feels like nonsense to Western American Christians is because we have no category for the severity of sin in the sight of a holy God. The reason it feels nuts is because sin should not cost the death penalty. Sin is not that big of a deal in our mind. Now, if you grew up daily realizing the weight of sin, that sin required blood by watching animal sacrifices, or even just being near it or having your father take your lovely lamb that you grew up with in you named fluffy, and then you sent it off, right? You’re feeling the weight of this. Are you not like this is ingrained into the very rhythm of how you have grown up and you’ve seen life. You know, that sin is a huge, huge deal. It’s a huge deal. Come back to this principle.

Blood is sacred and this is atonement. And what we also learned as we get to the new Testament is that the blood of bulls and goats, they cannot take away sin. They were metaphors, there were arrows. They were cultural preparations that it is only through the blood of Jesus that our sin could ever actually be paid for. I want to move to our so bots and from the book of Hebrews, the author of Hebrews takes this concept. And then he tells us, here’s what this means. Like, if you’re wondering, how do I apply this passage? Well, the author of Hebrews did some work for us and he actually teaches us this principle of atonement. Here’s how he wants us to apply it. Uh, number one, therefore draw near to God through Jesus. In verse 19, he says this therefore brothers, he starts off with therefore basically saying in light of everything, we just said in light of a tone, mental light of blood, a light of sacrifices and light of priests night of this whole tabernacle temple structure and lack of all of this. Here’s the, so what brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, meaning if you have trusted in Christ, are we going to hear me? You have full access to God, anytime you want by the blood of Jesus Christ. Christians, listen to me for a moment. There are false religions all over the world, proclaiming to give you access to God.

And they don’t. They’re. They’re telling people that if you do these rights and these rituals and you accrue enough, good works. And you do this mantra that the, maybe the ear and the heart of God will bend closer to you and village church. Let me just tell you this. You have full access right now, open up your Bibles, pray ads. Like you have access to the throne room of God, through the blood of Jesus, because you do people all over the world are groping to get near to God. They’re throwing up empty prayers, hoping it lands on ears that are going to listen. And you have full access. Every word as a follower of Jesus that you uttered a God he hears. And he cares about, he responds to everything. You have full access Act like it. People Would give anything to know with certainty that God loves them and cares for them. Let alone calls them sons, let alone gives them his spirit. Let alone gives him his word. Let alone serves us a minister to us, let alone gives us the angelic realm who supports us and fights wars on our behalf. I mean, our God loves us and we have access to him through the blood of Jesus Christ. Now, how many of you are super grateful? You don’t live in our old covenant system. Holy moly. Right?

All of that. And no bacon drives me nuts. Oh my goodness. And the blood of Christ once for all the sacrifice to end, the sacrificial SIS system has opened up full access for anybody, no matter how wicked or evil you are for redemption and access to God through faith in Jesus. So believer you have access act like it. If you have yet to trust in Christ. And you’re like, I don’t know. I’m telling you this day, if you believe that Jesus died on the cross, your sins and was raised from the dead. I have awesome news for you. No amount of good works will get you access to God. The shedding of your blood. Won’t your sacrifices. Go into church, giving more money, serving more. None of it gives you more access to God. Access to God only ever has been granted through faith in the shed, blood of Jesus Christ. And I’ve got awesome news for you. You know, that feeling that people have where they’re like, will I make it? Will I won’t? I don’t know. I hope my good works outweigh their bad works. Christians don’t think that way. We don’t worry about that kind of stuff because God teaches that that’s not how salvation ever has occurred. Salvation is through faith in Jesus Christ. Awesome news for you today. If you want to know that you have a relationship with God, that you are forgiven, that your destiny is secure, that you and God are reconciled, that you are forgiven. It is through faith in Jesus, and we would love to come alongside of you and help you take a next step. All right. So number two, here’s his logic. His logic is okay. If the blood of Christ has saved you, number one, you have access number two, here’s his logic. Don’t give up hope why the logic goes like this. And from Hebrews 20 or 10 23, let us hold fast.

The confession of our hope without wavering. Why? Because he who promises is faithful. The logic goes like this. If yaay over millennia, put this entire system into action, planned it out, meticulously oversaw it, put it into law. If he put this much planning effort, intentionality, and then not only that, but like shows kind of the ultimate investment in his plan by giving you his son, Jesus, who’s going to die on the cross for your sins, right? So not only is he planned and orchestrated and overseen, but as also personally vested in it, if the blood of Christ was shed for you the first time, according to the entire plan, can we not have confidence that the rest of the plan is going to actually be fulfilled? That he’s going to come back again and he’s going to judge the living and the dead. He’s going to bring redemption to this earth and create a new earth where we have resurrected bodies. Like if he is invested this far, will he not finish this? And here’s what’s happening for the Hebrews in the first century, their life is hard. They are being persecuted. They are being oppressed.

There’d be they’re traveling. They’re having to move away from where they lived. Some of it because of persecution. And then they’re tempted to give up. And here’s the author of Hebrews brain on this. If Jesus shed his blood, then doggone it. Hold on because he’s coming back again. Don’t give up, don’t give up. Don’t give up. And some of us were like, I don’t really want to pray anymore. It’s I’m not very interested or anything out of it. The Bible is boring. I go out church from home, blah, blah, blah. I don’t need to do this. The author of Hebrews would sit down with you. And he would take Christians from Haiti and Afghanistan and all throughout history in North Korea and China. And he would say this, stop it, get in your face and pray, open up the word of God, encourage one another. Do not give up. If Jesus came once and shed his blood, think about all of the process that went into that singular moment. Will he not finish the rest of this? So hold on, don’t give up. You will regret giving up. You will never regret holding on, which brings us to the third. So what keep encouraging one another versus 24 says, let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works. Not neglecting to meet together as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another and all the more as you see the day drawing near and he’s given them clues for how the day is going to look. When it’s drawing near the world, we get darker time. We’ll move forward and it will be harder to be a follower of Jesus. As you see these things, here’s this. So what go to church, literally be with the people of God, don’t be a consumer. Don’t be entitled. Don’t be complaining. You walk and you meet with the people of God because our souls need alignment. They need connection. They need to be ministered to. So we go to church and we actually serve someone. And we pray for someone. Yes, we come in here and we get aligned by God’s word. Our hearts are connected to God by worshiping by prayer, but we’re also made to be with one another. And here’s what he says.

Don’t neglect to meet together. That’s the habit of thumb. When life gets hard, people disconnect from each other, but our souls and our relationships need the rhythms of being with each other and not just being with each other, coming with this intentionality to build one another up. And so this is what we do. And so post COVID it’s like, yeah, it got hard. It got difficult. Now let’s let’s, let’s, let’s rethink some stuff. Our souls need worship. They need teaching. We need one another. We need encouragement from one another and we need to encourage one another. This is the author of Hebrews. So what to The principle, Without the shedding of blood, there’s no forgiveness of sins. Hold on tight, keep worshiping together and encouraging each other. You got, this is going to come back, stay strong. You have the spirit. That’s how he processes his. So isn’t it. I was thinking, how would I give a church is so wide. If the principal was without the shedding of blood, there’s no remission of sins. And that’s his logic. Hold on. Don’t give up. Don’t stop meeting together. Don’t stop worshiping. Don’t stop building each other up. You and I, we,We need each other. I’m gonna come back to this principle. Blood is sacred and there is no greater gift nor costs than the shedding of blood. And I want to just say to you, if you have any doubt today, whether or not God absolutely loves and adores, you look to him providing the greatest costs, ever the shedding of the blood of his own son.

Any parent will tell you this. I would rather shed my own blood than allow the blood of one of my children to be shed. And God gave the greatest cost. And I want you to hear me. Jesus is no victim. He didn’t sit there and go, whoa is me, Jesus willingly, fully. God knew the plan invested in the plan and knew what he was doing. Willingly did all of this. This is not some cosmic child abuse. As people say, this is a loving father and the son that God had come in together, who loves you and providing the only way out of your sin, humanly possible the blood of Jesus Christ shed for you and your behalf. And so again, we’re going to do most services. We’ll celebrate communion together. And if you’re a Christian, can I just take a moment with you and encourage you as you partake of Communion, may you Just today be filled with unbelievable gratitude, just let’s take community today in light of what Jesus has done for you and what he has done for saints all over the world and just be so filled with gratitude. The weather today is your last day on earth, or whether you have 70 or 90 years ahead of you. You have a God. I know some of you’re like, oh Lord, amen. They got us here. And he is good. And take out, take the consumerism and the entitlement, just murder it, be done with it. Let our hearts be filled with gratitude today. As we celebrate communion, you might be here and you might be from a different church. And you’re like, oh, should I partake? What am I allowed to do?

Yes, if you have trusted in Jesus, we welcome you to partake your communion with us. What binds us together is not the village church. We are one of hundreds of thousands or millions of local churches around the globe. What binds us together as the blood of Jesus, faith in him. If you’re here and you’ve never trusted in Christ, we simply ask this that if you’ve never trusted that you not partake because the partaking is a personal declaration, that you have faith in Christ and that you have been covered by his blood atoned for forgiven today may be the day though, where you’re like, you know what? I actually want to trust in Christ. So here’s what I wanna encourage you to do when we partake of the elements, partake with us as your first declaration that you believe in Jesus Christ. So here’s how this works here over this beam on my right and the beam of my left in the middle. There’s a basket with elements. And just a minute, we’re gonna have time of silence and we’re going to sing together. And during the song you were welcome to get up and go grab an element and bring it back to your seat. We’re going to partake together at the end of the song. I’m going to come up and read some scripture and then we’ll partake together. Sound good? Let’s have a time of silence before the Lord.

Sermon Q&A Episodes for This Sermon

On This Episode:

Michael Fuelling
Michael Fuelling

Lead Pastor, Village Church Illinois

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