Keith Hunt - Two Covenants - Part Two #1 - Page Five   Restitution of All Things

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Two Covenants - Part Two #1

Sacrifices and THE sacrifice


                A study(1985) by the Biblical 
                        Church of God 



MAINTAINING A
RIGHT-STANDING WITH GOD

Mankind was created as a being with the ability to reason and
weigh alternate courses of physical and mental action: in other
words he was created with the ability to choose to do as he
pleased, whether good or evil. Before God created humanity He
knew that they might choose evil over good. He also knew that man
might, after choosing evil and seeing the results of such
behaviour, want to change and obey Him. If man did want to repent
and get in tune with His Creator and His laws, there must be a
method by which this could be done. So before man's creation, God
formulated the SACRIFICIAL SYSTEM in order to give mankind a way
to place himself back into contact and right-standing with his
Creator (Well....animal sacrificing that would REMIND mankind
that they were sinners and the blood would have to be shed to
blot out their sins. And to point them TOWARDS the ONE who would
come to shed His blood for the sins of the world, the Messiah
God, a member of the Godhead - Keith Hunt).

Maintaining this right-standing with God was a major part of the
terms and conditions of Old Covenant. Remember, God said to the
Israelites that if they would obey Him, He would bless them. But
if they disobeyed Him, He would curse them (Deuteronomy 28). (And
remember that NO eternal life was ever promised to the MAJORITY
in Israel under the Old Covenant - see Romans 10; 11; where we
are clearly told that it was only the ELECTION of grace that
saved some, the REST were BLINDED, and God had given them that
blindness, even to this day. Also Deut.5:29 and 29:4; Num.11;
prove that it was not God's intention to save but a few in Israel
under the Old Covenant - Keith Hunt) 

It is very important for those under the New Covenant to
understand how the Israelites maintained a good relationship with
their Creator, and how we as Christians can use their examples,
good or bad, to help us maintain a good relationship with God the
Father and Jesus Christ (True, on the moral side of the question
as the apostle Paul would verify in 1 Cor.10:1-13, but on animal
sacrificing there is no equation because those physical rites of
the Old Covenant would not be a part of the New Covenant, as
planned by God, for He determined that all physical Priest/Temple
rites would come to a stop in 70 A.D. when the Jerusalem Temple
would be destroyed by the Roman armies of Titus - Keith Hunt). It
is this good relationship or right-standing with God that assures
the Christian of salvation under the terms and conditions of the
New Covenant......

THE SUPREME SACRIFICE
Let's take a look at Romans 3:25 (King James Version) which
reads: "Whom God has set forth to be a propitiation through faith
in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of
sins that are past, through the forbearance of God."
Notice here the statement: "for the remission of sins that are
past." My marginal reference says "passing over of sins done
aforetime - that is, since the time of Adam."

Quoting from William Barclay: 

"It is through him (Christ) that there emerges a new covenant
between God and man; and the purpose behind this new covenant is
that those who have been called might receive the eternal
inheritance which has been promised to them; but this could
happen only after a death had taken place, the purpose of which
was to rescue them from the consequence of the transgressions
which had been committed under the conditions of the old
covenant. For where there is a will, it is necessary that there
should be evidence of the death of the testator before the will
is valid. It is in the case of dead people that a will is
confirmed, since surely it cannot be operative when the testator
is still alive.

As we have seen, the idea of the covenant is basic to the thought
of the writer, by which he meant a relationship between God and
man. The first covenant was dependent on man's keeping of the
law; as soon as he broke the law (as a way of life, as a chosen
path, as a mindset, which is different from a weakness of the
flesh, but still wanting to live the way of the Lord's
commandments - Keith hunt) the covenant became ineffective.
Let us remember that to our writer religion means access to God.
Therefore, the basic meaning of the new covenant, which Jesus
inaugurated, is that without the shedding of blood there is no
forgiveness.
That is why even the first covenant was not inaugurated without
blood. For, after every commandment which the law lays down had
been announced by Moses to all the people, he took the blood of
calves and goats, together with water and scarlet and hyssop, and
sprinkled the book itself and all the people. And as he did so,
he said: 'This is the blood of the covenant whose conditions God
commanded you to observe.' In like manner he sprinkled with blood
the tabernacle also and all the instruments used in its worship.
Under the conditions which the law lays down, it is true to say
that almost everything is cleansed by blood. Men should have
access to God or, to put it another way, have fellowship with
Him. But here is the difficulty. Men come to the new covenant
already stained with the sins committed under the old covenant,
for which the old sacrificial system was powerless to atone (take
away). So the writer to the Hebrews has a tremendous thought and
says that the sacrifice of Jesus Christ is retroactive. That is
to say, it is effective to wipe out the sins of men committed
under the old covenant and to inaugurate the fellowship promised
under the new" (End of quote, William Barclay's commentary on
Hebrews).

(Yes, the way of salvation even under the Old Covenant, was
always by grace through faith in the atoning blood of the
Messiah, and animals sacrifices only reminded them that they were
sinners and the shedding of the Messiah's blood was the only away
to wipe away sins in the ultimate view to salvation. There was a
type of reconciliation with God in these physical rites, but only
as pertaining to the continuing of the agreement Israel and God
had made together under the treaty of the Covenant made in Moses'
time - Israel would serve God, obey Him, have a mindset to obey
Him, and He would physically bless them, and use them to show
other nations the way of the true God was the way people should
live - Deut.4 - Keith Hunt).

All this seems very complicated but at the back of it there are
two great eternal truths. FIRST, the sacrifice of Jesus gains
forgiveness for past sins. We ought to be punished for what we
have done and shut out from God; but because of what Jesus did,
the debt is wiped out, the breach is forgiven and the barrier is
taken away. SECOND, the sacrifice of Jesus opens a new life for
the future. It opens the way to fellowship with God.

THE PRICE OF FORGIVENESS

William Barclay:

The life of the flesh is in the blood; and I have given it for
you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is
the blood that makes atonement" (Leviticus 17:11). Let us further
understand this scripture. "Without the shedding of blood there
can be no atonement for sin" was actually a well known Hebrew
principle.
The writer to the Hebrews goes back to the inauguration of the
first covenant under Moses, the occasion when the people accepted
the law as the condition of their special relationship with God.
We are told how sacrifice was made and how Moses took half of the
blood and put it in basins; and half of the blood he threw
against the altar. After the book of the law had been read and
the people had signified their acceptance of it Moses took the
blood and threw it upon the people, and said: "Behold the blood
of the covenant which the Lord has made with you in accordance
with all these words" (Exodus 24:3-8).
His basic idea is that there can be no cleansing and no
ratification of any covenant without the shedding of blood. Why
this should be so, he does not need to know. Scripture says it is
so and that is enough for him. The probable reason is that blood
is life, as the Hebrew saw it. Life is the most precious thing in
the world, and man must offer his most precious possession to
God.
Forgiveness is a costly thing. Human forgiveness is costly. A son
or a daughter may go wrong and a father or a mother may forgive;
but that forgiveness brings tears, whiteness to the hair, lines
to the face, a cutting anguish and then a long dull ache to the
heart. It doesn't cost 'nothing.' Divine forgiveness is costly.
God is love but he is also holiness. He, least of all, can break
the great moral laws on which the universe is built. Sin must
have its punishment or the very structure of life disintegrates.
And God alone can pay the terrible price that is necessary before
men can be forgiven. 
Forgiveness is never a case of saying: 'It's all right; it
doesn't matter.' Without the shedding of heart's blood, there can
be no forgiveness of sins. Nothing brings a man to his senses
with such arresting violence as to see the effect of his sin on
someone in this world who loves him, or on the God who loves him
for ever, and to say to himself: 'It cost that to forgive my
sin.' 
Where there is forgiveness, someone must be crucified" (William
Barclay's commentary on Hebrews 9:15-22,pp 105-106).

THE SACRIFICE FOR
FORGIVENESS OF SIN

Christ's sacrifice will also take away the sins that God had
passed over (covered) from Adam to Christ.

(Here the Biblical Church of God study gets rather confusing as
they try to explain the physical animal sacrificing in some kind
of relation to the New Covenant. The truth is really very simple,
animal sacrificing never really played a direct part in saving
people to eternal life, that those animals sacrifices never took
away sins for eternal life, at BEST they REMINDED those shedding
the blood of animals, that the ONE God member would come, in the
future for them, and need to shed His blood, to forgive sins.
Those BEFORE Jesus' coming to die on the cross, people called and
chosen of God for salvation, were justified and saved EXACTLY as
we, who have come AFTER Christ's death. We are all saved by GRACE
through FAITH. 
Those before the cross looked FORWARD IN faith, we who have come
after the cross look BACK IN FAITH. Only those who were CALLED
and CHOSEN, given God's Spirit, from Adam to Jesus' return to
earth in power and glory, will be saved and be in that FIRST
RESURRECTION to GLORY (as outlined in 1 Cor.15) and those are
relatively few, the small group, the little flock, the salt of
the earth people - Keith Hunt).
 

THE ATONEMENT FOR SINS 
There is one other point that must be made very clear. Under the
sacrificial system there were some sins that could be atoned for,
and there were some that could not be atoned for (For Eternal
life there were no sins that could be atoned for, but only
through faith in the shed blood of Christ, the Messiah. The
atoning for sins was under the Old Covenant, only in this
physical life - to live or to die, to give restitution to people
effected by your sins, to pay a physical penalty of some kind -
Keith Hunt).

Here are a few of the sins for which there was no sacrifice that
could be offered for atonement. The penalty under the Old
Covenant was death! No atoning sacrifice covered these sins:

Kidnapping     Death Penalty  Deut 24:7; Ex 21:6
Adultery       Death Penalty  Lev 20:10
Rape           Death Penalty  Deut 23:25-27
Murder         Death Penalty  Num 35:17-21
Sodomy         Death Penalty  Lev 20:13
Witchcraft     Death Penalty  Ex 22:18
Blasphemy      Death Penalty  Lev. 24:15-18

(These were sins that IF NOT "repented of" carried the death
sentence. If they were repented of, then forgiveness from the
physical penalty in this physical life could be extended to the
sinner, it was a judgement call by God and the judges of Israel.
The classic example is that of king David, who was forgiven by
God the physical death penalty, but punished in other ways, for
adultery and murder - Keith Hunt).

Sins that could be covered by offering an atoning sacrifice,
thereby bringing a restitution are:

Stealing - Ex 22:1; 22:4.7
Self-confessed crimes - Lev 5:2-7
Sins done in ignorance - Lev 4:2,27

It is important to understand that there were certain sins that
if committed under the Old Covenant resulted in the penalty of
death. There was no way one could be pardoned for a capital crime
against God or man. The death penalty was mandatory for these
crimes.
(Very wrong indeed. The example of DAVID being FORGIVEN, UPON
REPENTANCE, for adultery and murder, should blast this false idea
into the next solar-system - Keith Hunt).

HEBREWS 10:26-31
There is one vast difference between the New Covenant and the Old
Covenant. Under the Old Covenant, there was no atoning sacrifice
for certain sins (very wrong if the person repented, it was then
a judgement call - David's judgement call was to spare his life
but punish him in other ways, but true, there was no sacrifice
David could do in any physical way - Keith Hunt). Under the New
Covenant, Christ's perfect sacrifice will take away all sins, no
matter how terrible, as long as one is truly repentant of that
sin (This was also the way it was from the time of Adam, this was
the way it was for David, this is the way it was for being saved
to eternal life ALWAYS, from the day of Adam. One way to
salvation for all people from the very beginning, for those
called and chosen - Keith Hunt).


There is a note of caution however in the New Testament. Hebrews
10:26-31 (Good News Bible) reads: "Anyone who disobeys the Law of
Moses is put to death without any mercy when judged guilty from
the evidence of two or more witnesses (a GENERAL statement
only....see the study called "A Key to Bible Understanding -
General Statements" - Keith Hunt). What, then, of the person who
despises the Son of God? Who treats as an unholy thing the blood
of God's covenant which purified him from sin? Who insults the
Spirit of grace? Just think how much worse is the punishment he
will deserve! For we know who said, 'I will take revenge. I will
repay,' and who also said, 'The Lord will judge his people.' It
is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God."

What can we learn from this passage? Verse 26: if we continue to
sin AFTER we KNOW the truth, the sacrifice of Christ will not
take away that sin. An example of this would be if a person had
the knowledge of the Sabbath and the Holy Days and knew what God
expected of him, then said in his heart: 'I don't care what God
says, I will not keep His Sabbath holy,' this person then is in
danger of the judgment.

This principle will hold true with any truth of God. The more we
know, the more God is going to hold us responsible for.
Verse 28: note here, as we have already stated, that certain
crimes demanded the death penalty under the Old Covenant (but
could be commuted to a lesser penalty as in David's case - Keith
Hunt).
Verse 29 states that if one has no faith in the blood of Christ
to take away sins and consider it an unholy thing, then that
person is in grave danger of the judgment. Note also his
punishment will be worse. Under the Old Covenant the penalty was
a physical death. But to him who KNOWS the truth of God and the
truth about the atoning power of the blood of Christ, and
does NOT obey, his penalty will be the second death, which is the
lake of fire (verse 27). The second death is the final death; it
is eternal. From it no one can return to life, because he will be
erased from the book of life which God keeps of all humanity
(Deuteronomy 29:20; Psalm 69:28; Revelation 3:5). (There is no
"commuting" this judgement - it is sure and it is FINAL, no
lesser sentence can be given but eternal death, for tramping on
and disregarding the blood of Christ - Keith Hunt).

Verse 31: so it is indeed a terrifying thing to fall into the
hands of the living God.

FORGIVENESS AND REPENTANCE 
Now let us look at the Book of the Law and see where a sin was
forgiven AFTER REPENTANCE, and the corresponding proper sacrifice
that was to be used.
"Sin offerings are required in the following cases: If someone is
officially summoned to give evidence in court and does not give
information about something he has seen or heard, he must suffer
the consequences. When a person is guilty, he must confess the
sin. In this way the priest shall offer the sacrifice for the
man's sin, and he will be forgiven ..." (Leviticus 5:1,5,13, Good
News Bible).
Notice that sin offerings were required for specific offenses
which are then listed. Verse 5: when a person is guilty, he must
confess and bring the proper sacrifice. Then note in verse 13;
the priest shall offer the sacrifice and the man's sins shall be
forgiven. This is also mentioned in verse 18 and in Leviticus
6:1-7.
So we see that if confession is made, along with the proper
sacrifice, one's sins are forgiven ... The people of Israel were
put back in contact or right-standing with God through the proper
sacrifices and repentance.
So we see that the children of Israel could go before God as
individuals for certain sins they had committed and by a
sacrifice get back in right-standing with God.

(Again, this right-standing with God, under this sacrificial
system of the Old Covenant was merely for this physical life
under the conditions of the Old Covenant....God saying, "you do
my commandments and I will bless you in this material life, you
disobey and not follow my ways, then curses will come upon you."
It was all to do with keeping the Covenant of Israel in good
standing with God, the animal sacrifices had no bearing in any
direct way with eternal life that was offered to those called and
chosen by God under the Old Covenant. It was not God's original
intent to have a strict, somewhat complicated, animal sacrifice
system - Jer.7:22,23; Ps.51:16-17; 1 Sam.15:22.

The sacrificial system per se, had nothing to do towards being
saved under the Old Covenant. The SACRIFICE of the Messiah, being
saved by GRACE through FAITH, in HIS shed blood for justification
and forgiveness of sins, was ALWAYS THE ONLY WAY to be saved,
whoever you were and whenever you lived. It is THROUGH Christ we
can have and remain in right-standing with God the Father.

There was no animal sacrifice that David could have done after
his adultery with Bathsheba and the killing of her husband, that
could have forgiven him, but he was spared the penalty of
physical death BECAUSE of his DEEP REPENTANCE. Read all of Psalm
51.

Remaining under the Grace of God is, as outlined by John the
apostle in 1 John chapters 1 and 2. This I have covered in some
detail in my studies called "Saved by Grace." There are
interesting types and analogies within those animal sacrifices
under the Old Covenant, which will be looked at in the second
part of this part two of the Covenants study - Keith Hunt).

                     ....................

TO BE CONTINUED

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