5 and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us and released us from our sins by His blood.
Throughout the pages of God’s Word, there is a red thread from Genesis to the cross. In the Old Testament God allows us to see how the use of blood points to Jesus Christ, the spotless Lamb of God. From Genesis to Revelation blood is mentioned about 700 times. The redeemed of all ages will be singing this song (Revelation 1:5).
Christianity hinges on the shed blood of Jesus Christ. We are saved by looking back to the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross. In the Old Testament period, people were saved by looking forward to the cross which is symbolized by the shedding of blood, thus the Red Thread. You discover that this runs through the Old Testament and leads directly to one place—the cross.
There are Six Examples that we will consider in this devotional:
I. After the Fall
Genesis 3:10-12, 3:21
10 And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” 11 He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” 12 The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” (ESV)
21 And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them. (ESV)
After Adam and Eve had sinned, they realized they had believed a lie from Satan by disobeying God and now were hiding from Him. They sewed fig leaves to cover themselves. Their spirits, the capacity to know, love, serve and worship God, had died. They would now die physically. The fig leaves represent man’s earliest attempt to cover up his sin by something he did too make himself fit for the presence of God.
But the fig leaves could never cover their sin. It required the death of something, the shed blood of something to cover their sin and restore their fellowship with God. This had to be initiated by something God did, not something Adam and Eve could do. Only through the shedding of blood could man now approach God. An animal was killed, the blood was shed, the skin of the animal was used as a covering.
II. Abel’s Sacrifice
4 Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, “I have gotten a man with the help of the Lord.” 2 And again, she bore his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain a worker of the ground. 3 In the course of time Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground, 4 and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, 5 but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell. 6 The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? 7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.”
8 Cain spoke to Abel his brother. And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him. 9 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” He said, “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?” 10 And the Lord said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground. 11 And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand (ESV)
4 By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks. (ESV)
Cain and Abel had no doubt been told about the shedding of blood to cover their sins. Abel brought a lamb without blemish or spot to sacrifice to God so he could approach God. However, Cain refused. He did it his way. He wanted to come to God on his own terms. This is the world’s first religion (attempting to do something to gain God’s approval). Only the blood sacrifice was accepted for sin and to restore fellowship with God. Abel had faith in the fact that the blood would allow him to approach a holy God. Cain worked at pleasing God, but only faith and the shedding of blood would suffice.
III. Noah’s Sacrifice after the Flood
20 Then Noah built an altar to the Lord and took some of every clean animal and some of every clean bird and offered burnt offerings on the altar. 21 And when the Lord smelled the pleasing aroma, the Lord said in his heart, “I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth. Neither will I ever again strike down every living creature as I have done. (ESV)
The sacrifice Noah made, the shedding of the blood of representative animals, reminds us again that this is the only way to be accepted by God and gain access to Him.
IV. The Passover
Read Exodus 12 in your Bible
As a result of Pharaoh’s contemptuous disobedience to God’s will that His people be released from Egyptian slavery, the firstborn of all of Egypt would die as the death angel passed by. God would get Pharaoh’s attention since his own son would die. But for those who would kill a perfect lamb and place its blood on the doorpost of the house, the death angel would pass by and pass over. The blood of the lamb brought confidence, security, assurance, and safety from judgment. No doubt many that night did not believe and did not put the blood on their doorposts.
13 The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live; and when I see the blood I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.
Not when I see your good works, when I see your religious activity, or your sincerity, but when I see the blood.
V. The Offerings
Leviticus 17:11, 14
11 For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it for you on the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement by the life. (ESV)
14 For the life of every creature is its blood: its blood is its life. Therefore, I have said to the people of Israel, You shall not eat the blood of any creature, for the life of every creature is its blood. Whoever eats it shall be cut off. (ESV)
Life here is defined as in the blood of the flesh. There is no life without the blood. This is true of all flesh, however we focus on the human blood and particularly in the blood of the Man Jesus Christ because in His perfect blood is life eternal and the best possible life physically.
13 For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, (ESV)
II Chronicles 29:22-124
22 So they slaughtered the bulls, and the priests received the blood and threw it against the altar. And they slaughtered the rams, and their blood was thrown against the altar. And they slaughtered the lambs, and their blood was thrown against the altar. 23 Then the goats for the sin offering were brought to the king and the assembly, and they laid their hands on them, 24 and the priests slaughtered them and made a sin offering with their blood on the altar, to make atonement for all Israel. For the king commanded that the burnt offering and the sin offering should be made for all Israel. (ESV)
25 For seven days you shall provide daily a male goat for a sin offering; also, a bull from the herd and a ram from the flock, without blemish, shall be provided. 26 Seven days shall they make atonement for the altar and cleanse it, and so consecrate it. 27 And when they have completed these days, then from the eighth day onward the priests shall offer on the altar your burnt offerings and your peace offerings, and I will accept you, declares the Lord God.” (ESV)
VI. Rahab’s Scarlet Threat
Joshua 2:15; 18-19
15 Then she let them down by a rope through the window, for her house was built into the city wall, so that she lived in the wall. (ESV)
18 Behold, when we come into the land, you shall tie this scarlet cord in the window through which you let us down, and you shall gather into your house your father and mother, your brothers, and all your father’s household. 19 Then if anyone goes out of the doors of your house into the street, his blood shall be on his own head, and we shall be guiltless. But if a hand is laid on anyone who is with you in the house, his blood shall be on our head. (ESV)
31 By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had given a friendly welcome to the spies. (ESV)
The King of Jericho had been told that two spies from Israel were in the land and specifically in Rahab’s house. They escaped with her help out her window, down by the wall by using a red thread. The symbolism is powerful. Something the color of blood was used to save their lives. In Chapter 6, when Israel came back to destroy Jericho, they had promised Rahab that she and those in her house would be spared. How would they remember the house? What if there was a mistake? She would take the scarlet thread or rope and hang it from her window. When they saw the red-colored rope they would spare that house (2:21-24). This identified her as a believer.
Think about the following Facts about the Blood of Jesus:
1. Jesus’ Blood Was Perfect
I Peter 1:18-19
18 knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. (ESV)
God was Jesus’ Father and Mary His mother. Since the sin nature is passed down from the father to the child, Jesus was born without a sin nature. The blood of the baby in the womb and the mother never mix. Perfect blood shed was the purchase price to buy man back from Satan and to forgive his sin.
2. Jesus’ Blood Brings You Near to God
13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. (ESV)
There is no longer distance between God and man when the blood of Jesus is accepted.
3. Jesus’ Blood Brings You Peace
20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. (ESV)
The blood of Jesus brings you peace with God and peace of mind.
4. Jesus’ Blood Continually Cleanses and Brings You Fellowship With God
I John 1:7
7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. (ESV)
5. Jesus’ Blood Overcomes Satan
11 And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death. (ESV)
I once tried an experiment I had heard about. If you view a red object through a red lens, you see white. It’s true. No wonder Isaiah said, “Come now, and let us reason together” says the Lord. Thought our sins are a scarlet, They will be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be like wool” (Isaiah 1:18). When God looks at your crimson sin through the lens of the blood of Jesus, He sees you as white as snow, pure, cleansed and forgiven.