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The Method Of Sacrifice That God Demands   

If God is to be worshiped, there must be some special way of going about it. In Old Testament times, people took this method of worship very seriously. To put it into practice, it was necessary to have people who knew the sacrificial laws. These people were the priests. When Abraham entered the land of Canaan, before Israel was established as a nation, there was a high priest by the name of Melchizedek, the King of Salem. "Salem" translated means "peace." When Abraham's nephew, Lot, had been captured by gentile kings and Abraham went and brought Lot back with all his possessions, Melchizedek went out to meet Abraham and blessed him.

And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and He was the priest of the most high God. And He blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth. (Genesis 14:18-19)

From time to time there arose a priest, like the King of Salem, whose ancestral background did not correspond to the law of the Old Testament. The Bible tells us that the King of Salem in particular was "the priest of the most high God." These days, there are many people who call themselves priests. There are even some preachers who proudly refer to themselves as priests. This kind of self-importance may boost their confidence, but there is a great difference between them and the priests that appear in the Bible.

Let's think about the Old and New Testaments as a whole. In Old Testament times, there were the priests and the high priests. It was the high priest's responsibility to offer a sacrifice once a year for all the people. There was a flaw, however, to this system of priests and high priests. This is because everyone becomes old and dies, so when one high priest died, the next high priest had to take over. Since the duties of the high priest were entrusted to mortal men, many high priests were needed in Old Testament times.

Concerning this flaw, in the epistle to the Hebrews it says, "If that first covenant had been faultless then should no place have been sought for the second (Hebrews 8:7). When it says, "the second," here it means the second covenant. With the establishment of the New Testament, in other words the new covenant, the first covenant, that is to say the method of sacrifice of Old Testament times, loses its power and fades away. The methods of offering sacrifices that were used continually in Old Testament times were merely a shadow intended to herald the new offering of the New Testament.

In that He saith, A new covenant, He hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away. (Hebrews 8:13)

This means the things that pertained to the law vanish. Who do the high priests of Old Testament times symbolize? They symbolize Jesus Christ of New Testament times. Also, the priests of Old Testament times correspond to the people of New Testament times who believe in Jesus Christ. In Old Testament times, the priests represented the people as they prayed to God for the sins of the people, but now believers have the authority of the priests. We have been given this authority free of charge.

To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 2:4-5)
But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people... (1 Peter 2:9)

We have but one High Priest and that is Jesus Christ.

For such an High Priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens ... Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an High Priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; A Minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man. For every high priest is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices: wherefore it is of necessity that this man have somewhat also to offer. For if He were on earth, He should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law. (Hebrews 7:26, 8:1-4)

The Person described in this passage is Jesus. The Old Testament is a shadow of the New Testament. If we want to know precisely what the New Testament is saying, we must first examine the Old Testament. The high priests of Old Testament times offered sacrifices in accordance with the law, but what was the sacrifice that Jesus offered as high priest? He offered His own body as a sacrifice, once for all. This is God's method of sacrifice that the Bible is talking about.

By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all...But this man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God. (Hebrews 10:10, 12)

 

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