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Blood or Water Covering

The book of Leviticus speaks extensively of the covering of sin with blood. As followers of YHWH, the Israelites were instructed to offer a variety of sacrifices to atone for their sins. Many times, an unblemished animal would be sacrificed and its blood sprinkled on the altar to satisfy God’s requirement of payment for sin… thus an atoning sacrifice.

And he shall lay his hand on the head of his offering and kill it at the entrance of the tent of meeting, and Aaron’s sons the priests shall throw the blood against the sides of the altar.

Leviticus 3:2

The taking of the life of a blameless or unblemished animal didn’t specifically remove the sin of the offender. More accurately, it’s the life in the blood that is transferred to the altar and into God’s presence that is the life substitute in place of the offending sinner. Leviticus 17:11 says:

For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life.

Leviticus 17:11

That is powerful and full of meaning. It’s the life that is transferred from the animal in place of the offender to God. And God is then satisfied with the down payment made for the eventual permanent removal of sin from believers through Messiah Jesus. Romans 5 speaks to this:

And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.

Romans 5:11

Water is also used in the Bible to deal with sin. But in this case, water essentially and affectingly removes sin by removing the offending sinner, bodily. Consider the Flood. God used water to cleanse the land of “corruption and violence” (Genesis 6:11) and was satisfied with the version of payment for sin. Here, the sinner pays with their own life, and water is the element used for the process.

And behold, I Myself am bringing floodwaters on the earth, to destroy from under heaven all flesh in which is the breath of life; everything that is on the earth shall die.

Genesis 6:17

And again in Genesis:

And all flesh died that moved on the earth: birds and cattle and beasts and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, and every man.

Genesis 7:21

When you consider baptism, it is basically a process wherein a believer is symbolically lifted out of the watery grave and into eternal life through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus (Romans 6:4, Colossians 2:12). Through His bloody sacrifice we live, and through baptism we express this belief, that His perfect and blameless and unblemished life was used as the atonement for all believing sinners… past, present and future. His life blood was transferred to God on our behalf as a worthy replacement, since ours is unworthy to be considered in any similar fashion. This is why God rails in Malachi 1 and 2 when individuals and priests were offering lame sacrifices. Really, what’s the point? You, sinner, are already in that position, there’s no difference. And obviously God knows better.

The two points of blood and water in their own cleansing processes are interesting enough to consider. But what really stands out about this is when Jesus was hanging on the cross and the Roman soldier thrusts a spear into His side. What comes out? Blood and water.

But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out.

John 19:34

Why blood and water?

Physically, it makes sense that blood and even water came out of Jesus… it was a flesh wound that produced the blood and the water sac around the heart that produced the water. But there’s a lot more to it than that.

The blood and water that flowed out of Jesus is a picture type that fits perfectly with the Old Testament themes of a covering sacrifice (blood) and the judgment of sin (water).

His flowing blood will cover those who believe in Him at His Second Coming (Revelation 9:4). They will have the once, forever and perfect God sacrifice remove their sins and find themselves purified through His loving atonement for them. Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament sacrificial system once and for all with his work on the cross and subsequent resurrection (Hebrews 10:10, 12).

On the other hand, those that don’t believe in Jesus will not be covered by the blood of Christ, and their own blood is not up to the task. They will have to make the payment for their sins by themselves. This is represented in the Old Testament by giving their lives in the Flood as the example given earlier. The water flowing from the side of Jesus testifies to this and should have been a clear picture for those Old Testament leaders who knew their Hebrew Bible, the Tanakh. However at the Second Coming, the unbeliever will not be washed by another Flood, as the Bible states in Genesis 9:11. This time, the unrepentant sinner and corrupt land will be washed in fire:

But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.

2 Peter 3:7

At that time, unbelievers are dead, encapsulated in death, and death is cast into the Lake of Fire. It’s a lake, but of fire… eternal judgment of one making payment for one’s own sin. It’s eternal since no one can ever finish making that payment.

Won’t you agree that it is best to accept the offer Jesus makes to satisfy God’s wrath against sin?