Ezekiel 40:38-43 NIV
“A room with a doorway was by the portico in each of the inner gateways, where the burnt offerings were washed. In the portico of the gateway were two tables on each side, on which the burnt offerings, sin offerings and guilt offerings were slaughtered. By the outside wall of the portico of the gateway, near the steps at the entrance of the north gateway were two tables, and on the other side of the steps were two tables. So there were four tables on one side of the gateway and four on the other—eight tables in all—on which the sacrifices were slaughtered. There were also four tables of dressed stone for the burnt offerings, each a cubit and a half long, a cubit and a half wide and a cubit high. On them were placed the utensils for slaughtering the burnt offerings and the other sacrifices. And double-pronged hooks, each a handbreadth long, were attached to the wall all around. The tables were for the flesh of the offerings…”
This is a clear description of a particular type of room in the temple of God. God gave instructions of how to carry out sacrifice for sin and how to prepare the offerings for His altar. We may question why there had to be an animal sacrifice at all, with the attending killing, blood and gory mess. It seems overly visual and terrible violent to our idea of things. The volume of blood would have caused a dreadful sight and smell in the hot day and would leave a deep impression on the memory of the worshipper.
The killing was by the person who was making the atonement for their sin, It was done at the North gate at the north side of the altar of God. The victim was killed by the perpetrator in the presence of the Priests and the parts to be offered were washed and set out as God stipulated. It would be a harrowing experience and impresses upon the minds of the sinner, the serous nature of disobeying God or ignoring His laws.
We need to see the awful cost for the wrongs we have done in this scene before us. Why did it have to be this way? Because we are sinful by nature, we do not regard our wrongs as that serious. We do not see the effects of our sinful behaviours on the world, or society or even our families. It is easy to forget about our failures and view the day to day failings as not that serious.
This picture we are given of this room in the temple where the sacrifices are prepared, is to shock us and pull us up at the hideous nature of what we do. This room has furniture devoted to killing, cutting up dead animals and hanging bits and limbs on hooks on the wall. The sight and smell of this room, would have been shocking. You would only go here if you really needed to. You were required to prepare the sacrifice, and by being in this room, you would be confronted with the cost of your personal sin.
As we also recognise the number of these sacrifices, we are again forced to think about our responsibility for our sin. The sheer number of sacrifices that had to be made for sin was huge. It was a daily experience for priests to have to come before God with blood offerings.
“The wages of sin is death…”Romans 6:23… the animal you brought would have suffered this consequence. You would be reminded of a coming Saviour who would lay down His life and would shed His blood for you. You could not escape the sight of the shed blood. It is because of your sins that the blood is shed. Romans 6:23 …“but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” this is our only hope. The shed blood from the sacrificial lamb is the atonement for our sin. “Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.”Hebrews 9:22 ESV
“He died that we might be forgiven, He died to make us good, that we might go at last to heaven saved by His precious blood.” Cecil,Alexander 1848
So the bloody gore becomes something else, it opens the door of heaven to us. As we see ourselves as we really are, so we see the beauty of the Lord Jesus who gave Himself on the tree of Calvary for His people. Our hideousness is hidden by the love poured out as blood, on that cross. It purges away all our sin and makes us clean.
But never let us forget the price paid. The price of death to buy life for human wretches who don’t deserve it. This is love poured out. This is the river of life from the wounded side of the Pascal Lamb. When we come to remember that blood spilt for us personally, around the Lord’s communion table, let us think deeply about the sacrifice of our Saviour. His love took Him all the way to death and hell, for our sake. He suffered the physical death of His body, and the penalty of death in an eternity of suffering to rescue us from the clutches of sin.
“Guilty vile and helpless we
Spotless Lamb of God was He
Full atonement can it be
Hallelujah, what a Saviour..!” Phillip Bliss 1838
Even in heaven, the Lamb is slain – slain before the foundation of the world. Blood ran from Him to us to be the propitiation for our sin and guilt. The fault is ours, but the blame was what He took upon Himself, that we might be redeemed and never have to be the victim. Yet the perpetrator was the one who took the life of the sacrifice, because it was their fault entirely. It is bitter to think that we have been responsible for the death of our Saviour, but one we should think about to understand what we have been saved from. He took the blame because of the magnitude of His love for His people. He took it gladly.
O the great gulf between the holy love of Christ and the hatred of human kind. And yet He bridged the gap…! He alone was able and worthy to redeem us from the curse of the law. Only by is death are we resurrected to life. Souls once sworn enemies of God are now part of the family. There is no love like this love. We are lost without this love. The folly of rejecting this love will bring every ungodly soul to perdition.
“how shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation?”Hebrews 2:3 NIV
This is the reality of life and death. We reject life and suffer our own death. Or we put our trust in the death of Christ and gain eternal life.
Let the horror of sin drive us to our God. Let us meditate on our failure in every regard, and bring it all to our loving Saviour, Jesus. Let us find rest and peace in what He did for us.
“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”Acts 4:12 NIV
Jesus has offered the sacrifice of Himself to God, for our sake, and when we come to Him in repentance and faith, He lifts us up and makes us His children.
“Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, and since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool. For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.” Hebrews 10:11-14 NIV
The work of salvation is complete. There is nothing more to add. The way to God is open, because of the shed blood, and all who enter in are washed and the power of sin has no more dominion.
We must consider Him.
“Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12:3 NIV
When the way gets difficult, we think on Him, who we love. We love Him because He loved us first and opened the door to heaven. We think of His sufferings and know that nothing we feel or go through will ever be like His pains. So, let the river of blood from Calvary’s cross be our cleansing, our power, our motivation, and our eternal glory as we sing the praises of the Lamb that was once slain….
“We sing the praise of Him who died,
Of Him who died upon the Cross;
The sinner’s hope let men deride,
For this we count the world but loss.
Inscribed upon the Cross we see
In shining letters, God is love!
He bears our sins upon the tree,
He brings us mercy from above.” Thomas Kelly 1793