“Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins” says the epistle to the Hebrews (9:22). Most of that epistle is taken up with showing how Christ fulfilled the hopes and aspirations of the Old Testament, especially in regard to the sacrificial system of ancient Israel. But for modern readers who have never seen a sacrifice and do not think in Old Testament categories, this is all double dutch: What has the killing of animals to do with the forgiveness of sins? It is explained at length in the book of Leviticus, which begins with a long …
Dr. Gordon Wenham is senior professor of Old Testament at the University of Gloucestershire, England, and he served on the translation oversight committee for the English Standard Version Bible.