Recently, I had an opportunity to share a message at our Friday night Messianic Shabbat Service. I was speaking of the Jewish Feast of Ingathering. It is also called the Feast of Weeks, or Shavuot. According to Jewish tradition, the Torah was given to Moses on Shavuot; there is no Biblical reference that supports this supposition.
All of the seven Feasts of Israel point to the Messiah. Passover is a no brainer of course; we see all manner of Messianic signs within the Passover Seder today. This is also true of Shavuot as well. All of the fests, save one, have already been fulfilled in Messiah. The one as yet unfulfilled may be fulfilled in our life time. That is the Feasts of Trumpets, in Hebrew Yom Teruah.
Shavuot was fulfilled on the day of the Messiah’s resurrection from the dead. In Revelation 1:5 Messiah is referred to as, “…the first born of the dead…” In I Corinthians 15:20 Reb Shaul (the Apostle Paul) refers to Messiah as, “…the first fruit of the dead.” Since another name for the feast is Feast of First Fruits, that makes sense.
I give the above background because while I was sharing this message, another popped into my head; it was related in a much unexpected way. For some reason during a pause in my delivery to allow a point to set in, I thought about the day the Temple in Jerusalem was first dedicated to the Lord. In I Kings 8:5, we read that the number of animals presented to be sacrificed could not be numbered there were so many. II Chronicles 5:6 also speaks of this uncountable number of bulls, rams, goats and, sheep.
I was staggered by the thought of the amount of blood that was spilled on that day alone! I dare say, it would probably would have filled hundreds of Olympic sized swimming pools. Of course, I am making a rough estimate based on the amount of blood carried by each animal. To give you a sense of the amount of blood consider the following:
The average sheep weighs about 200 pounds and it contains just over a gallon of blood. The goat too, has about a gallon of blood. The average blood volume of a bull is approximately sixteen gallons, and the average ox is ten gallons. (I achieved these numbers by simple math. The average blood volume of most mammals, including the ones mentioned is 49 ml per kg of weight. I then converted from metric to US measurements.
Since they were unnumbered not because of so few but because of so many, that’s a lot of blood. In addition, think about the daily blood that flowed in that place until the Babylonians sacked Jerusalem. From the time of the giving of the Law on Mount Sinai until the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians, animals were sacrificed by the thousands and hundreds of thousands and even more hundreds of thousands.
Now think of the Temple sacrificial system being restored until the sacking of Jerusalem a second time by the Romans in 70 AD. How many millions of animals were sacrificed in that time period? How many millions of gallons of blood were shed over that nearly 500 year period?
Yet, with all that blood spilled, it was not enough. In fact, it would never be enough. Before the Lord said, “Let there be…” He already knew what was going to be; He knows all of human history before it even passes. He knew He alone would have to right things. Moreover, the only way to right the wrong was to blot it out. After all, the Lord Himself established the means of blood covering all the way back in the Garden of Eden.
There was only one source of the necessary blood to once and for all rectify the situation. God Himself was going to have to take care of it; His blood was going to have to be shed. His plan was so simple it was brilliant. He decided to come in the form of a human. He would retain His place of glory and power and it would remain under His complete control while at the very same time, live in time in the form of a human. It was His blood that would take care of the problem: the question is how much blood would be enough?
It is my opinion and I am of the firm belief that one drop would have been sufficient. Just one drop; but there was more that had to be dealt with than just our sin issue. Death, hell, and the grave had to be dealt with as well. They were as much a part of the problem. Moreover, let us not forget about Satan. He too, had to be dealt with in a definitive manner.
Thus, even though one drop would have been enough, He spent it all, every last drop. Moreover, He did it in a most brutal example of pain and punishment imaginable. The Romans were well known for their methods of torture as well as their methods of execution. Secular writers during the time of Rome, specifically, writers such as Flavius Josephus, Tacitus, and others who wrote of their times, wrote about the barbarity of the crucifixion in detail. Even today, cable channels such as History Channel and Discovery have looked at the science behind this method of death.
Add to the crucifixion itself is the scourging. This was done with a device called the flagellum. A handle made of wood, wrapped in leather with anywhere from nine to twelve long strips of leather of varying lengths. These leather thongs were dipped in goats blood and then dragged through broken crockery. The goat’s blood acted like glue; as the leather was dragged through the broken pottery, pieces stuck to the leather and blood. This helped rip the flesh. At the end of each strip was a lead ball. According to Scripture, He received thirty nine lashes.
The Romans had a very specific way of scourging; whenever possible. A pole was erected in a courtyard with an iron ring at the top. Looped through that ring was a rope; the rope was wrapped tightly around the prisoner’s wrists and then pulled until the prisoner’s chest was pressed against the pole and the balls of his feet barely touched the ground, then the rope was tied off. He was then fully stripped of all clothing.
Think about this, let’ us suppose that the flagellum had twelve individual thongs. If we multiply that by the number of strokes, we get four hundred and sixty-eight total cuts across His back; from his shoulders down past His buttocks; His flesh was opened up. I think it is quite possible that even some of His flesh was torn away.
Now, think about this; even before the scourging, He was buffeted, slapped, punched, had his beard ripped from his face and had a “crown of thorns” viciously jammed on His head. The Jerusalem thorn bush produces a very ugly spike about four to six inches in length. They are very thick and very sharp. Scripture tells us He never uttered a word. On top of all of this is the total humiliation and degradation of Him.
After the scourging, He had a piece of purple cloth laid across his ripped and bleeding flesh, and then after being on him for a while, it was ripped from His flesh. Even as the drying wounds were viciously ripped open once more, His original cloak was laid across His back before He was presented to Pilate once more.
The walk to the site of the execution was no picnic either. Having the cross piece of the instrument of His death laid across His shoulders and lashed to His arms, He began the slow arduous walk out of the city and up to the hill to Golgotha. A fall to the ground released Him from the weight of His death device, but the walk continued.
At the site of the execution, He was stripped completely naked once more; once more, His wounds on His back were ripped open before He was laid upon the rough hewn upright of the cross. This was the ultimate humiliation He endured. The weapon of his death was assembled, He was laid upon it, and then a Roman soldier took a spike from a bucket, placed one squarely between his ulna and radius and then drove it into the wood. This process was repeated for the other arm, and then the feet, one placed across the instep of the other and driven together into the upright of the Cross.
The whole time this was going on, His blood ran everywhere; it soaked into the wood, it dropped on the ground, it ran out of His body until there was no more.
God who decreed what it would take to restore a relationship with His most prized creation; willingly He paid the price Himself for the sins of His children, all of them. The reason He willingly did this? There is but one, He loves us with such a great love that He even told us how great it was. We find this great love expressed in the Gospel of John, Chapter 3 verse 16.
It wasn’t the hundreds of thousands of gallons of spilled animal blood that did it; it was the last drop of blood from the Lord that did it. Think about it.