Friday, November 13, 2009

Why the shedding of blood?

Building on Chris' post directly below this one, consider this verse:
Hebrews 9:22 - Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.

I have no disagreement with what this verse seems to state in such an obvious manner. But I have often wondered; why? Why does there need to be the shedding of blood for the remission of sins. Why not the picking of flowers or the climbing of mountains? Why can't something much simpler, and let's be honest, less bloody, be sufficient to remove our sins? And more specifically, why did Jesus have to shed His blood for the remission of my sins?

The path I used to take when considering this went along the lines of attributing the reasons for Jesus' shedding of His blood to the following of a pre-set pattern. Since the Levitical rites had been implemented by God via Moses, Jesus was obligated to follow the pattern and sacrifice Himself for the forgiveness of our sins. But consider Hebrews 9:23:
Thus it was necessary for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these rites, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.

This seems to clearly suggest that it was the Levitical rites that were following a pattern; and so the idea of sacrifice precedes Moses as the prototypical method as opposed to following Moses as a copy.

John Murray puts it like this:
Hence the necessity for the blood offerings of the Levitical economy arose from the fact that the exemplar after which they were fashioned was a blood offering, the transcendent blood offering by which the heavenly things were purified. The necessity of blood-shedding on the Levitical ordinance is simply a necessity arising from the necessity of blood-shedding in the higher realm of the heavenly. (Murray, John. Redemption Accomplished and applied. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing. 1955. p15)

So, whatever the reason there must be shedding of blood, it is independent of the Levitical rites for the Levitical economy is contingent on the heavenly economy.

1 comment:

  1. Tough question to tackle! ..."the necessity of blood-shedding in the higher realm of the heavenly" appears to be a sophisticated way of saying ... because God said so ... or it could be no other way based solely on God's character. After all, anything that is a necessity in the heavenly realm is only that way because God demands it or it flows inevitably from the character of God. I think a lot of people get themselves into trouble drawing conclusions about the character of God based on this requirement He makes. They erroneously degrade his character because of the apparent severity of this exacting demand.