76 Sermons On The Old Testament Given By Jesus
Sermon 6 - Misunderstanding the blood sacrifice.
October 22nd, 1957
Received by Dr Samuels
I am here, Jesus.
Tonight I wish to write on why it is that no blood, be it of man or beast, has the efficacy of redeeming mankind of sin, as taught in some of the churches.
This thought is at the apex of what is called the mass, as practiced in the Catholic church, and is the basis for what is known as the communion in other churches. This rite has no foundation in Judaism and it is written, falsely, that it was I who instituted the ceremony at the Last Supper, but the church likes to point to some unimportant incidents in the old Scriptures as indicative of the future rite, which I shall explain as having no relationship to the mass and simply a severe distortion of the facts to accord with the church’s views.
The church also states that the efficacy of the blood sacrifice is plainly written in the Old Testament, and since that book is sacred and the word of God, then it is factual, and beyond any doubt, that such a rite does cleanse of sin. The statement referred to, of course, is that “the life is in the blood,” taken from the sacrificial code in Leviticus. This statement, and what it really means, demands that mankind should obtain the explanation its importance requires.
Worship of Deity through a blood sacrifice, dating from an era prior to the dawn of our civilization, was quite widespread. It meant the placating of angry gods and the letting loose of certain virtues which the blood, especially of human beings, was supposed to possess. The barbarous peoples of those days, living daily close to death by violent means, either through warfare or in struggle with wild animals, were quick to observe the relationship of shed blood and loss of life, and it was therefore not strange that in time blood and life were thought of as being synonymous. Of course, there were other ideas pertaining to the source of life, for it was also noticed that there was no breathing in death, and some cultures entertained the nation that life was in the breath. The important thing to remember is that neither of these barbarian conceptions is sacred, but that they were merely primitive attempts to understand the source of life.
The Hebrew people subscribed to the idea of the efficacy of blood simply because it was widely accepted at the time and not because it was true or sacred. And so practices based on this concept developed as a sociological growth, divorced and separated completely from religion. Hence the Hebrews spilled blood of animals on the ground, and made sure that meat for consumption contained no blood, as prescribed in their daily laws.
The great contribution which the Hebrews made to the practice of the blood sacrifice was the rejection of human sacrifice, as found in the story of Abraham. This was a great humane advance, but the fact that animal sacrifice was offered, as written in the Old Testament, did not make that sacrifice sacred, nor did it make it in any way true that the shedding of animal blood cleansed from sin. Then, as always, sin could only be cleansed by a penitent soul seeking forgiveness in prayer to the Father.
The priestly class among the Hebrews was naturally in favor of retaining these primitive views, not because they were true, because they were not, but because it was in the perpetuation of these rites that priests made their livelihood, for certain parts of the sacrificed animals were reserved for the priests. Such a class, devoted to the religious instruction, purity and ethical conduct of the people to whom they ministered, was to be encouraged, of course, but it is not hard to see that in time this priestly class, or many among that class, began to lose sight of the moral and ethical standard of living in which they were supposed to guide the people, in favor of those ritualistic activities to which they were the sole heirs and which gave them in their own eyes a unique importance; and it is for this reason, when the national life was destroyed by the Babylonian captivity, that the religion, or, better said, the rituals connected with their religion became dominant and all important. And it was thus that these priests invested many of the old primitive Hebrew customs with the aura of religion and sacredness. And after the return to Judea from Babylonia, the priests and scribes rewrote many of the old stories to suit the fancy of the priestly class, and thus it was that the brutal primitive concept of the blood sacrifice of animals for sin was retained with such vigor by the priests, as being vitally connected with their food, activities and importance.
The entire concept of the remission of sin through the shedding of blood is therefore based on a crude primitive custom and is in no way sacred or holy or the word of God as accepted blindly by the Catholic church, whose mass is simply a continuation of this primitive concept.
The prophets of Israel and Judah, aware of the falsity of the sacrificial system, attempted repeatedly to teach the people the religion of ethical and moral conduct. For Micah, in the days of Israel, declared that these things alone were necessary to righteousness: to do justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with God. And the psalmist said: “Sacrifice and offering Thou wouldest not.” Then said I: “Lo, I come. I delight to do Thy Will.” And other prophets, with sayings coming from God’s messengers, wrote in a similar way. I will stop now, but I shall continue with this subject in my next sermon.
Jesus of the Bible
Master of the Celestial Heavens