A SEARCH FOR ATONING BLOOD
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. Leviticus 17:11
One spring evening many years ago, an old Jewish gentleman gave the following personal account to a meeting of fellow Hebrews: "This is Passover week among you, my Jewish brethren, and as I sit here I was thinking how you will be observing it. You will have to put away all leaven from your houses; you will eat the matzoth (unleavened bread) and the roasted lamb. You will attend the synagogue and carry out the ritual and direction of theTalmud; but you forget, my brethren, that you have done everything but that which Jehovah required first of all.
He did not say, 'When I see the leaven put away,' or 'When I see you eat the matzoth, or the lamb, or go to the synagogue,' but his word was, 'When I see the blood, I will pass over you.' Ah! My brethren, you cannot substitute anything for this. You must have blood - blood - blood!"
As he reiterated this word with ever increasing emphasis, his black eyes flashed warningly, and his Jewish hearers trembled before him. Blood! It is an awful word for one who reveres the ancient oracles and yet has no sacrifice. Turn where he will in the Book, the blood meets him; but let him seek where he may, he cannot find it in the Judaism of the present.
After a moment's pause, the old man went on somewhat as follows: "I was born in Israel, nearly seventy years ago. As a child I was taught to read the law, the Psalms, and the prophets. I attended the synagogue and learned what I was told, that ours was the true and only religion. As I grew older and studied the law more intently, I was struck by the place the blood had in all the ceremonies outlined there, and I was equally struck by its utter absence in the ritual in which I was brought up. Again and again I read Exodus 12 and Leviticus 16 and 17. The latter chapters especially made me tremble as I thought of the great day of atonement and the place the blood had there. Day and night, one verse would ring in my ears: 'It is the blood that maketh atonement for the soul.' I knew I had broken the law. I needed atonement. Year after year, on that day, I beat my breast as I confessed my need of it; but it was to be made by blood, and there was no blood!
In my distress, I at last opened my heart to a learned and venerable rabbi. He told me that God in accordance with Deuteronomy 12 and Leviticus 17, was desecrated when our nation was scattered. That was why there was no blood. God himself had closed the way to carry out the solemn service of the great day of atonement. According to the rabbi, we must turn to the Talmud, rest on its instructions, and trust in the mercy of God and the merits of our fathers.
I tried to be satisfied, but could not. Something seemed to say that the law was unaltered, even though our temple was destroyed. Nothing else but the blood could atone for the soul. We dare not shed blood for atonement elsewhere than in the place the Lord had chosen. This meant we were left without an atonement at all. The thought filled me with horror. In my distress I consulted many other rabbis. I had but one great question--Where can I find the blood of atonement? I was over thirty years of age when I left Israel and came to Constantinople with my still unanswered question ever before my mind, and my soul exceedingly troubled about my sins.
One night I was walking down one of the narrow streets of that city, when I saw a sign telling of a meeting for Jews. Curiosity led me to open the door and go in. Just as I took a seat I heard a man say, 'The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.' It was my first introduction to Christianity, but I listened breathlessly as the speaker told how God had declared that 'Without shedding of blood is no remission.' However, he had given his only begotten Son, the Lamb of God, to die for our sins, and those who trusted in his blood were forgiven of all their iniquities. This was the Messiah of Isaiah 53, and this was the sufferer of Psalm 22.
Ah, my brethren, I had found the blood atonement at last. I trusted it, and now I love to read the New Testament and see how all the shadows of the law are fulfilled in Jesus. His blood has been shed for sinners - once for all. It has satisfied God, and it is the only means of salvation for either Jew or Gentile."
Dear reader, have you yet found the blood of atonement? Are you trusting in God's smitten Lamb? God's word says: . . .when I see the blood, I will pass over you. . ." (Exodus 12:13) "for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul." (Leviticus 17:11) ". . .the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin." (1 John 1:7) "In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:" (Colossians 1:14) "But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;" (Hebrews 10:12) "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." (Romans 10:9)
[From tract entitled, "A Search for Atoning Blood" published by Fellowship Tract League. Emphases theirs.]
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