The following is one of the stories in Ebenezer and Ninety-Eight Friends
(In case there is a new scripture for the day by the time you read this, the reference is Romans 8:2. )
I sat on my bed Saturday morning, reading a few verses from Hebrews 9, contrasting the old and new covenants. I read how Jesus’ blood did away with the need for animal sacrifices. I said a short prayer, thanking God for His Gift. I then made my bed and walked down the hall. Mother’s door was slightly open. She too was reading her Bible. I waved and smiled and started to go on, letting her finish her quiet time.
“Those bloody goats,” I heard her say—to me or whoever would listen.
“This Leviticus is full of blood and goats and more rules than I could ever keep!”
“You should have been in my room. I read how Jesus took care of all that”
(Goat picture taken from Tony on MySpace)
(Girls on couch: The young beautiful and lots of fun one by the way is my great-niece, Katelynn; then me and Mother, Georgia Lou, who taught me much of what I know about the Scripture and how to apply it to my life.)
Mother and I enjoyed a jovial, short dialog on grace and the law—then began our day.
We know we can’t read just Hebrews. We need to study Leviticus and all the law. But why? Must we raise goats in our back yard? We could buy them from the local farmer. Then we’d need to take the poor animal to the priest and let him kill it—all this to have our sins forgiven—for a whole year.
“ It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.” (Hebrews 10:4.
Paul tells us in Galatians 3:24 (KJV), “the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.”
Unless we look at the law as a pointer to Christ, we will be frustrated.
Leviticus 17:11 tells us, “…the life of the flesh is in the blood… It is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life.” (KJV)
Only blood from a perfect lamb could make us holy. (Hebrews 9:12, KJV)
When Jesus came as high priest, He came, “once for all” (Hebrews 9:12, KJV). He gave us a new covenant (v 15).
The next time you study about those bloody bulls and goats, think immediately of the “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.!” (John 1:29)
This picture is thought to be the empty tomb, taken two years ago when we went to Israel. Whether it is or not, there was an empty tomb and that’s why we don’t have to slaughter goats anymore.
The far right picture is my friend, Shirley’s contribution to my blog.
7 responses to “THOSE BLOODY GOATS”
Atoning blood was always a tough concept for me to grasp. I often thought “why would God make the OT people do such a thing. Couldn’t we just have skipped that part and jumped to the cross? ” However with more study it is clear that animal sacrafice was required as an act of love. God was preparing us/them for Christ’s work. I liked your explanation in this devotion.
Thanks, Michelle, for your comment. I don’t know any of us who haven’t had those thoughts about the OT practices. Aren’t we glad for Christ’s once-for-all sacrifice.
I received a long response from my cousin, Joe Ellis. I have chosen to insert a small part of it, as I want to keep the thoughts short, under 400 words. If anyone wants to correspond with him, he can be reached at
Here is Joe’s excerpt.
“Even if one accepts that Jesus’ death for our sins did away with the need to sacrifice animals, how do we then answer the inevitable question of whether faith alone is enough, or works alone is enough, or are both required. Here is a list – perhaps incomplete – of Bible references on this question. If there are those who have opinions on this, I would be interested in your thoughts.”
My response to Joe:
Thanks, Joe, for your contributing to my blog. I hope you’ll be contacted by someone who would like to discuss this further with you.
I agree with Paul, writing to young Timothy (II Timothy 1:12), “I know whom I have believed and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day.” I also agree with the hymn writer, Lidie H. Edmunds, “My faith has found a resting place.”
Marty, I don’t think your own response to my question really addressed it. Let me rephrase. Do you think the promise in John 3:16 is unconditional? That is, if one truly believes in Jesus, and that he died to pay in advance for our sins, is that belief alone enough to guarantee everlasting life even if one continues to lead a life of the most sinful and despicable actions? Or, is everlasting life contingent not just on the belief in Jesus, but also to some extent on one’s actions in keeping with that belief?
Joe, I’m so glad you asked that. Yes, God’s love is unconditional. If we accept that love, we will not continue in despicable sin.
Marty, let me be sure I understand your reply. If one truly believes, then the promise of everlasting life is unconditional; however, if one says one believes but continues to live a life at odds with Christ’s teaching, then the profession of belief is false. If this is what you meant, then I think we are on the same wave length so far.
But what about the other part of my question? Suppose one does not believe in the divinity of Christ or that he died to save us, yet lives a sinless life fully in keeping with Christs’s basic teaching. Is such a person denied everlasting life? Is good works not enough?
Joe, thanks for writing. Romans 3:23 says, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” There is no such thing as living a sinless life. I John 1:8 says, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” Isaiah 55:9 tells us God’s ways are higher than our ways. We are not going to understand everything. If we insist on understanding everything, we’re putting ourselves on the same level as God.