Is blood sacrifice mandatory for Atonement?
What I’m about to say here is going to shock many Christians. But hear me out! Remember, Proverbs says that if you answer a matter before you hear the entire matter, it is FOOLISHNESS (Proverbs 18:13).
Proverbs 18:13 “He that answereth a matter before he heareth [it], it [is] folly and shame unto him.”
You need to hear, HEAR this entire message.
I’m going to dig deep into True, Biblical Atonement. I’m going to tell you what your pastor never told you. In fact, I’m going to tell you what your pastor never learned. The true message of Atonement according to the Law of God.
Without the Shedding of Blood?
Hebrews 9:21-22 – “21 Moreover he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry. 22 And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.”
This is a favorite passage among many Christians.
Blood Sacrifices are Not What?
Contrary to popular modern-day Christian doctrine, blood sacrifices are not the only way to make atonement.
According to the “Old Testament” there are several ways to make atonement for your souls.
Addressing Leviticus 17:11
Leviticus 17:11 is a favorite verse in many Christian circles to prove that blood is the only means of atonement. Let’s read it:
Leviticus 17:10 And whatsoever man there be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among you, that eateth any manner of blood; I will even set my face against that soul that eateth blood, and will cut him off from among his people.
11 For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.
12 Therefore I said unto the children of Israel, No soul of you shall eat blood, neither shall any stranger that sojourneth among you eat blood. 13 And whatsoever man there be of the children of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among you, which hunteth and catcheth any beast or fowl that may be eaten; he shall even pour out the blood thereof, and cover it with dust.
14For it is the life of all flesh; the blood of it is for the life thereof: therefore I said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall eat the blood of no manner of flesh: for the life of all flesh is the blood thereof: whosoever eateth it shall be cut off. 15And every soul that eateth that which died of itself, or that which was torn with beasts, whether it be one of your own country, or a stranger, he shall both wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even: then shall he be clean. 16But if he wash them not, nor bathe his flesh; then he shall bear his iniquity.
Notice two things:
- In context Leviticus 17:11 is about diet, NOT about atonement.
- This passage is about “a” way to make atonement for your soul. It does not specify “the only way”. In fact in the KJV it explicitly says “AN atonement”, not “THE only atonement”. It is a great injustice to isolate this verse from the rest of scripture, such as…
Other Methods of Atonement
2 Chronicles 7:14
2 Chronicles 7:14 if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14)
In this passage we see that a person can obtain forgiveness (under the OT) by
- humbling themselves
- seeking God’s face
- turning from their wicked ways.
We know that because it says that IF a person would do these things God would:
- hear form heaven
- forgive their sin
In a nutshell, 1 Chronicles 7:14 says, if you pray, and repent, God will forgive you. Where’s the blood there?
1 Kings 8
1 Kings 8:46-50 is very similar. King Solomon said,
“46“When they sin against You (for there is no one who does not sin), and You become angry with them and deliver them to the enemy, and they take them captive to the land of the enemy, far or near; 47yet when they [i]come to themselves in the land where they were carried captive, and repent, and make supplication to You in the land of those who took them captive, saying, ‘We have sinned and done wrong, we have committed wickedness’; 48and when they return to You with all their heart and with all their soul in the land of their enemies who led them away captive, and pray to You toward their land which You gave to their fathers, the city which You have chosen and the temple which I have built for Your name: 49then hear in heaven Your dwelling place their prayer and their supplication, and maintain their [j]cause, 50and forgive Your people who have sinned against You, and all their transgressions which they have transgressed against You; and grant them compassion before those who took them captive, that they may have compassion on them” (1 Kings 8:26-50)
Once again, we see forgiveness of sin without blood.
Alternate Ways of Atonement
Did you know that in the “Law of God” it says that GIVING money can make atonement for your souls?
“15The rich shall not give more and the poor shall not give less than half a shekel, when you give an offering to the Lord, to make atonement for yourselves. 16And you shall take the atonement money of the children of Israel, and shall [e]appoint it for the service of the tabernacle of meeting, that it may be a memorial for the children of Israel before the Lord, to make atonement for yourselves.” – Exodus 30:15,16
This “memorial” is spoken of in the book of Acts, when Cornelius’ met the angel. It says,
Cornelius stared at him in fear. “What is it, Lord?” he asked. The angel answered, “Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God.” Acts 10:4
Yes, the principle of Exodus 30:15-16 is still applicable in the New Testament church! Cornelius’ prayers and gifts paved the way for favor with God as it says it came up as a memorial before God. (see also Numbers 31:48-54 regarding gifts as a “memorial” before God)
Can’t Afford an Animal?
So it says in Leviticus 5:5-10 that a person should bring a lamb or a goat as a sin offering. But animals are very expensive. And if you can’t afford a lamb or a goat, you should bring two turtledoves or two young pigeons. Mary, the mother of Jesus did this (Luke 2:24). Apparently, she couldn’t afford to buy a lamb or a goat.
But what if you can’t afford to buy two turtledoves or two pigeons? Then what?
Leviticus 5:11‘But if he is not able to bring two turtledoves or two young pigeons, then he who sinned shall bring for his offering one-tenth of an ephah of fine flour as a sin offering. He shall put no oil on it, nor shall he put frankincense on it, for it is a sin offering.
Yes, that’s right. If you can’t afford the birds, the presciption is to bring flour. Note what it says in the following verses:
Leviticus 5:12Then he shall bring it to the priest, and the priest shall take his handful of it as a memorial portion, and burn it on the altar according to the offerings made by fire to the Lord. It is a sin offering. 13The priest shall make atonement for him, [d]for his sin that he has committed in any of these matters; and it shall be forgiven him. The rest shall be the priest’s as a grain offering.’ ”
The offering of flour will make atonement, and he shall be forgiven! Where’s the blood?
That is hard evidence that blood is NOT NEEDED to make atonement. In other words, an animal sacrifice is NOT the only way a person can obtain forgiveness, and atonement for sins.
Atonement made by Prayers (incense)
So far we’ve seen that atonement can come by blood, by grain, by repentance, or simply by prayer. Note: atonement can come by prayer. Ironically, evangelical Christians believe that, as many put all their faith in “the sinner’s prayer”.
But there is yet another passage of scripture from the Torah that tells us that prayer alone can make atonement. Remember that according to Revelation incense stands for prayer.
Incense=Prayer in Revelation
Revelation 5:8 Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.
Revelation 8:3 Then another angel, having a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. 4And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, ascended before God from the angel’s hand.
Incense and Prayer in Luke
Notice that prayers and incense are mentioned together in
Luke 1:9 according to the custom of the priesthood, [c]his lot fell to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord. 10And the whole multitude of the people was praying outside at the hour of incense.
Atonement by Incense (Prayer)
And once again in the Torah we see atonement without blood again in this passage:
Numbers 16:46 So Moses said to Aaron, “Take a censer and put fire in it from the altar, put incense on it, and take it quickly to the congregation and make [g]atonement for them; for wrath has gone out from the Lord. The plague has begun.” 47Then Aaron took it as Moses commanded, and ran into the midst of the assembly; and already the plague had begun among the people. So he put in the incense and made atonement for the people. 48And he stood between the dead and the living; so the plague was stopped.
Incense, or prayer made atonement for the people. Where is the blood there?
Yet More Blood-less Atonement
Numbers 31:50 Therefore we have brought an offering for the Lord, what every man found of ornaments of gold: armlets and bracelets and signet rings and earrings and necklaces, to make [f]atonement for ourselves before the Lord.”
Here again we see that gifts without blood provided atoenment.
So then, we conclude that a blood sacrifice is NOT the ONLY means of atonement.