Leviticus 1:5 [When anyone brings an offering to the LORD], he is to slaughter the young bull before the LORD, and then Aaron’s sons the priests shall bring the blood and sprinkle it against the altar on all sides at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting.
There is a clear message running right through the book of Leviticus, and it is summed up in Hebrews 9:22: “WITHOUT THE SHEDDING OF BLOOD THERE IS NO FORGIVENESS.”. As we read through Leviticus, there is shed blood EVERYWHERE – it is an ABSOLUTE NECESSITY if sinful man is to approach the holy God who is his Creator and Judge!
Two important things flow from this. Firstly, it explains why it was so necessary, in the providence of God, in the outworking of his Plan of Salvation, for the Jewish leaders to arrange to have Jesus CRUCIFIED by the Roman authorities rather than simply to have stoned him to death (which they could have done – as they later quite happily did to Stephen (Acts 7:56-60) – on the charge of blasphemy. Although the Jewish authorities were not aware of the REAL reason they were going to such extraordinary lengths in the case of Jesus, they WERE actually fulfilling God’s Plan. As the Apostle Peter would later remind them: “Now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did your leaders. But this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, saying that his Christ would suffer.” (Acts 3:17-18).
As the perfect, once-for-all sacrifice for Man’s sin, in order to provide the ONLY effectual basis for receiving God’s forgiveness, and the one which the whole book of Leviticus foreshadows as the TRUE reality, Jesus’ BLOOD had to be SHED on a cruel cross.
Secondly, although everything required to be done in order to be forgiven and reconciled to God is spelt out in fine detail throughout Leviticus, it has NOT BEEN POSSIBLE for any of it to BE carried out for the last 2.000 years, because the TEMPLE, which is at the very HEART of the whole ritual, was DESTROYED in 70 AD and has never been rebuilt. It has therefore been necessary for Judaism to re-interpret the whole message of Leviticus! This in itself should be clear enough proof for the Jewish race that the Mosaic Law has been completely fulfilled by Jesus’ sacrificial death on the Cross. Everything God revealed to Moses which is recorded in great repetitive detail in Leviticus is now fulfilled and entirely superseded by Jesus’ substitutionary death.
There is now no other way for sinful Man to have eternal fellowship with God who is perfect in holiness. As Jesus himself rightly claimed: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No-one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6). “Not all the blood of beasts, on Jewish altars slain, could give the guilty conscience peace or wash away the stain. But Christ, the heavenly Lamb, takes all our sins away; a sacrifice of nobler name and richer blood than they.” (Isaac Watts).