The propitiatory sacrifice wipes out sin (Leviticus 6:17)
“It is something most holy, like the sin offering and like the guilt offering” (Leviticus 6:17)
The propitiatory sacrifice represents death by bloodshed, accompanied by the complete destruction of the body inherited from Adam (symbolized by the sacrificed animal). It is a blotting out of sins by the death of the sinner, according to the Law of Holiness (Romans 5:12; 6:23a). This propitiatory sacrifice may be made for the purpose of God’s forgiveness, based on the atonement value of the blood of Christ, which results in redemption by the application of the ransom value by resurrection (heavenly or earthly) or living, with the exchange of the body (for future members of the Great Crowd) (Hebrews 9:22; Acts 24:15; Revelation 7:9–17).
Under the Law, this sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins was made by the propitiatory sacrifice of an animal on the copper altar, in the courtyard of the temple sanctuary. According to the Bible, the blood represents life and its shedding represents a restitution of that life to God: “For the soul of the flesh is in the blood, and I have laid it for you on the altar, to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement through the soul [which is in it.] That is why I said to the sons of Israel: “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I myself have given it on the altar for you to make atonement for yourselves, because it is the blood that makes atonement by means of the life in it. “That is why I have said to the Israelites: “None of you should eat blood, and no foreigner who is residing in your midst should eat blood” (Leviticus 17:11,12).
In Revelation 6:9, at the opening of the fifth seal, reference is made to the resurrection of the holy ones who, for their part, seek vengeance from God for their innocent blood shed on earth because of the murderous persecutions. It is written, that their soul or blood, representing their life, is at the foot of the altar. Indeed, at the foot of the altar in the courtyard of the temple sanctuary, there were small channels, where the blood of the sacrificed animals flowed. According to Revelation 6:9, this time they were symbolically filled with the innocent blood of the holy ones who died for their faith, and which will be avenged by God at the great tribulation. Thus, the death of human beings is in itself an atonement or a full erasure of the sinful condition of the deceased. In this case, it is the blood of the deceased human that makes atonement for itself: “For the one who has died has been acquitted from his sin” (Romans 6:7).
It is the blood of the deceased that makes atonement (blotting away of sins) for him, not that of Christ (Romans 6:7). The propitiatory value of the blood of Christ applies to sinful humans kept alive. The best biblical example is that of the great crowd of humans in their condition of sinners, who will come out of the great tribulation, thanks to the sacrifice of Christ, in its propitiatory dimension (shedding of blood): “So right away I said to him: “My lord, you are the one who knows.” And he said to me: “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (Revelation 7:14). While the redeeming value of Christ’s sacrifice (That is, his whole human body (blood + flesh (see John 6:48–58)), allows the resurrection through restitution (by exchange) of a living human body (we will examine later, which sacrifice symbolizes the redemption (ransom) or the exchange of body).
The propitiatory sacrifice may represent a blotting out of sins by destruction, again under the Holiness Law. We read, in this case, that the blood of this sinner is on his “own head”, which means destruction without forgiveness and maybe, in some cases, without resurrection (Isaiah 34:6 compare with Revelation 14:18–20; Leviticus 20:13; see Matthew 25:46). The propitiatory animal sacrifices had two major purposes. They demonstrated the sinful condition of all mankind, represented by the nation of Israel. They showed the need for a human sacrifice to redeem Adam’s offspring once and for all, prisoners of their sinful condition and of death (Romans 5:12).
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