Follow Jesus, save a goat. Heb. 9

About the time of Abraham, many religions were floating around which we think of as oppressive, archaic, and quite frankly, brutal. In order to appease the gods, humans would go to great lengths of sacrifice. One popular religion, the worship of Molech, required that followers would sacrifice their firstborn son as a sin offering (google “Molech” and be horrified). The cult of Molech comes and goes throughout the Old Testament. In fact, many pagan religions of antiquity required such a sacrifice to appease the gods.

This may be why Abraham was not surprised of God’s demand of him in Gen. 22:2; everyone else’s god required this. God tells Abraham to take his son whom he loves (which is the first time the word “love” appears in the Bible) and sacrifice him as a burnt offering. And of course, we know how the story ends… God provides a ram in place of Abe’s son for the sacrifice. This is an important story in the big picture of the Bible. This is a story about a God who does not require you to sacrifice your firstborn son to appease him but provides a different sacrifice. For people in Abraham’s day, this would be “good news” for obvious reasons.

And God takes it a step further, he sends his son, “whom he loves” (check out the similarity of these phrases when God speaks in Matt. 3:17 and Gen. 22:2) into the world. John the Baptist identifies Jesus as “The Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.” John 1:29.

This is not a story about a god who demands humans to sacrifice their firstborn to appease him. This story is about a God who sacrifices his son for us. This is a story about a God who pursues us. This is a story about a God who initiates our salvation, a God who jumpstarts restoration. This is a story about a God of love. And that is good news.

And that, maybe, is what she is trying to get across in Hebrews 9 and 10. All of the blemished rituals we use to try to get to God are now obsolete because God has come to us through Jesus.

For an amazing explanation of the book of Hebrews and of Christ’s sacrifice, watch Rob Bell’s “The Gods Aren’t Angry”


  1. If you'd like to check out a copy of Rob Bell's 'The God's Aren't Angry' email Jared or me...we both have a copy. But I warn you, it takes 3 or 4 or 25 viewings to get it. :)

  2. Okay, I'm stuck on the topic or the New Testament speaks to it more than I realized.... 10:9 says, "...He cancels the first covenant in order to establish the second." More response to the earlier question about the role of the Old Testament. The note in my Bible says, "Canceling the first covenant in order to establish a far better one meant doing away with the system of sacrifices contained in the ceremonial law. It didn't mean eliminating God's moral law (the Ten Commandments). The ceremonial law prepared people for Christ's coming. With Christ's death and resurrection, that system was no longer needed. And through Christ we can fulfill the moral law as we let Him live in us.