Jehovah’s Protest Against The Altar Service -- By: Motier A. Bullock

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 059:235 (Jul 1902)
Article: Jehovah’s Protest Against The Altar Service
Author: Motier A. Bullock


Jehovah’s Protest Against The Altar Service

Rev. Motier A. Bullock

When the altar service in the Jewish Church became more formal than vital, Jehovah protested against it in the strong language of Isa. 1:11–15, and Jer. 6:20 and 7:21–23. In the protest is pointed out the true and acceptable service, the service of obedience. In this article we would consider: (1) The Import of the Altar Service; (2) The Use and Meaning of Blood in Sacrificial Offering; (3) The New Testament Use of these Old Testament Symbols.

The Import Of The Altar Service

It will serve our purpose to take the one which typifies the office and mission of the Messiah. In the sin-offering, the priest took the life of the ox, the lamb, or whatever animal was chosen, the best and most precious of the flock, without spot or blemish, and confessing, for or with the persons bringing the offering, their sins, and, sprinkling the altar with some of the blood which had been shed, burned the flesh upon the altar as an offering to Jehovah, while the penitent sinner received the blessing of pardon and the joy of reconciliation.

We observe: (1) that this offering cost something—it was the choicest of the flock, perhaps the pet of the household; (2) that its life was surrendered for another life; (3) that only as the one bringing the offering looked upon that life as given for himself, in penitence of heart accepted

it as for his own life, did he receive the pardon of the Lord and the assurance of forgiveness.

The whole altar service was a great moral object-lesson, teaching (i) that sin meant the loss of life and the destruction of the soul; (2) that God could not smile on a sinning and unforgiven people; (3) that salvation from sin could not be without such an expression of divine disapproval of all transgression, yoked with divine mercy, that the transgressor of the law would feel the heinousness of sin and the loving-kindness of forgiveness, and thus be led into a life of obedience. The whole service had this end in view; for, said Jehovah, “Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people; and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you.”

It is easy for any stated service to degenerate into a mere formality, a mechanical action in which there is no heart, no real penitence, no realization of the fact that a life is being surrendered in place of that of the transgressor, and that the gracious acceptance of that surrendered life is the condition of taking away t...

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