In Old Testament times, people had law, but they could never keep it—no matter how hard they tried. As a result, God instituted a system of sacrifices they could make to cover and atone (make up) for their mistakes and failures. They were blood sacrifices.

The shedding of blood had to be involved. This may sound rather gross, but the reason behind it makes it understandable. When God breathed into Adam the breath of life, he became a living soul, and his blood was filled with life. His blood began to flow through his body. The Bible says, "the life of the flesh is in the blood" (Lev. 17:11). You know this is true. No one lives without blood. If you stop the blood flow, you stop the life.

When Satan tempted Adam and Eve and they chose sin, sin eventually brought death (Rom. 5:12) and all that death represents—sickness, disease, poverty, war, anger, greed and jealousy. The only thing strong enough to cover death is life.

When man broke the law and sinned it was a type of death. The only atonement for sin was blood sacrifice because the life is in the blood (Lev. 17:11.)

Another reason why God did this was a certain type of "looking forward" to the good plan He had in mind for them that would be fulfilled in His perfect timing. The prophets were prophesying about the coming of a Messiah, a Savior, a Redeemer, One Who would deliver them. God was getting the message out. Remember, if God says it, He eventually does it.

This Messiah would become their sacrifice, the final sacrifice, a perfect sacrifice. He would be the sacrificial, perfect, flawless lamb of God. No longer would they need to offer lambs without blemish on the altars in the temple as a sacrifice for their sin. Jesus would come and be the last sacrifice, the final sacrifice. His sacrifice would put an end to the system of the law.

Let me quote you just one of these prophecies from Isaiah 53:3-7:
He was despised and rejected and forsaken by men, a Man of sorrows and pains, and acquainted with grief and sickness; and like One from Whom men hide their faces He was despised, and we did not appreciate His worth or have any esteem for Him.

Surely He has borne our griefs (sickness, weaknesses and distress) and carried our sorrows and pains [of punishment], yet we [ignorantly] considered Him stricken, smitten, and afflicted by God [as if with leprosy].

But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our guilt and iniquities, the chastisement [needful to obtain] peace and well-being for us was upon Him, and with the stripes [that wounded] Him we are healed and made whole. All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned every one to his own way, and the Lord has made to light upon Him the guilt and iniquities of us all.

He was oppressed, [yet when] He was afflicted, He was submissive and opened not His mouth, like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He opened not His mouth.
The prophecies were being given. People were waiting for their Messiah, their Savior, and Deliverer. I do not believe they even truly understood what they were waiting for.

They did not understand He would deliver them from the law, from the 'works' involved in trying to please God with perfection when it is impossible to do. The did not understand that He, Jesus, the Messiah , Savior of the world, would shed His own blood on a cross, let His blood flow, pouring out His life to remove all sin from every generation.

They were waiting, but did not really know what they were waiting for.

Jesus Comes
God's time came. The Holy Spirit appeared to a young virgin named Mary. She became pregnant by the miracle-working power of God—pregnant with Jesus, the Son of God. It had to happen this way.

Jesus was already in heaven spiritually and had always been. He was with God from the beginning. But now He was going to take on flesh so He could help the rest of the fleshly humans who were in a mess that they had no way out without a Savior.

John 1: 1, 14 says that Jesus is the Word of God and that the Word of God became flesh and dwelt among men. Hebrews 4:15 says Jesus us a High Priest who understands our weaknesses and failures because He, having a fleshly body and natural soul, was tempted in all points just like we are, yet without sin. Beloved, this is the big difference.

Jesus was alive to God inside, totally connected with the Father. He was one with Him, like Adam was before he sinned. The Bible calls Him the second Adam (See 1 Cor. 15:45,47).

Romans 5: 12-21 says if any man's (Adam) sin caused all men to sin, then how much more can one man's (Jesus) righteousness make all men right with God?

Adam's sin came down on you from generation to generation. Now, if you will believe it, the second Adam, Jesus, is waiting to give you His righteousness. Adam was a man, full of God, full of God's life. Sin came and man was filled with darkness. The light in him went out.

Are you full of darkness or light?

Jesus was also a man, born of a woman, but He is full of God. Adam sinned. Jesus did not ever sin; He was a perfect sacrifice for sin.

The Old Testament believers had to constantly make sacrifices for their sin. But the guilt was always there. 

Do you feel guilty of free? Dirty or clean?

Jesus became the sinless lamb of God that took away the sin of the world. Hebrews 10:11-14 says:
Furthermore, every [human] priest stands [at his alter of service] ministering daily, offering the same sacrifices over and over again which never are able to strip [from every side of us] the sins [that envelop us] and take them away—Whereas this One [Christ}, after He had offered a single sacrifice for our sins [that shall avail] for all time, sat down at the right hand of God, Then to wait until His enemies should be made a stool beneath His feet. For by a single offering He has forever completely cleansed and perfected those who are consecrated and made holy.
The Old Testament priests offered on behalf of the people. They had to do over and over, all the time, always working, trying to be good, always failing, never feeling good about themselves (inwardly), always trying to be good so they could feel good.

But Hebrews shows us that Jesus offered Himself once and for all, a perfect sacrifice. He kept all the law.

His victory is available to all who will simply believe in Him!

Excerpted from the book The Most Important Decision You'll Ever Make by Joyce Meyer
(Tulsa: Harrison House, 1998) All rights reserved. Used by permission.