The Blood of Atonement
An old Jew gave the following public testimony to his fellow Jews of his conversion:
"This is Passover week, my Jewish brethren, and I have been thinking how you will be observing it. You will remove all leaven from you homes, and you will eat the roasted Passover lamb. You will attend the synagogue services and carry out the directions and ritual of the Talmud (Jewish writings); but you forget that you have everything but that which God required first of all. He did not say “When I see the leaven put away, or when I see you eat the lamb, or go to the synagogue”, but His word was, “When I see the blood, I will pass over you”. Ah, my brethren, you can substitute nothing for this. You must have blood, blood, BLOOD!"
“Blood! That is an awful word for one who reveres the ancient oracle, and yet is without a sacrifice! Turn where he will in the Scriptures, the blood meets him, but let him seek as he will, he cannot find it in the Judaism of today”.
After a moment’s pause, the patriarchal man went on to tell his story: “I was born in Israel, almost seventy years ago. As a boy I was taught to read the Law, the Psalms and the Prophets. I attended the synagogue and learned Hebrew from the rabbis. Initially I believed what I was told, that Judaism was the only true religion, but as I grew older and studied the Law more closely, I was struck by the place the blood had in all the ceremonies detailed there, and equally struck by its complete absence in the ritual to which I was brought up”.
“Again I read Exodus 12, and Leviticus 16–17,—the latter chapters especially making me tremble, as I thought of the great Day of Atonement and the place the blood had in it. Day and night one verse would ring in my ears: “IT IS THE BLOOD THAT MAKES AN ATONEMENT FOR THE SOUL!” I knew I had broken the law. I needed atonement. Year after year, on that day, and in agony of soul I confessed my need of it; but it was to be made by blood, and there was not blood!”
“At last in my distress I opened my heart to a learned and venerable rabbi. He told me that God was angry with His people. Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed, and an Islamic mosque was erected in its place. The only spot on earth where we dare shed the blood of sacrifice in accordance with Deuteronomy 12 and Leviticus 17 was desecrated. That was why there was no blood. God had Himself closed the way to carry out the solemn service on the great Day of Atonement. The rabbi said that now we must turn to the Talmud and rest on its instruction, and trust in the mercy of God and the merits of the fathers”.
“I tried to be satisfied with this but I could not. Something seemed to tell me that the law was unaltered, even though our temples was destroyed. Nothing else but blood could atone for the soul. We dare not shed blood for atonement elsewhere than in the place that God had chosen. So we were left without an atonement at all!”
“This thought filled me with horror. In my distress I consulted many rabbis. I had but one momentous question—where could I find the blood of atonement?”
“When I was in my thirties I left Israel and came to Istanbul with the question still unanswered, and my soul still troubled about my sins”.
“One night I was walking down one of the narrow streets of that city when I saw a sign telling of a meeting for Jews. Curiosity led me to go in. Just as I took a seat, I heard a man say, “The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanses us from all sin”. It was my first introduction to Christianity, but I listened breathlessly as the speaker told how God had declared that “without shedding of blood is no remission”, but that He had given His only begotten Son, the lamb of God, to die, and that all who trusted in His blood were forgiven all their sins. This was the Messiah of Isaiah 53; this was the Sufferer of the Psalms. Ah, my brethren, I had found the blood of atonement at last! I trusted it, and now I love to read the New Testament and see how all the shadows of the law are fulfilled in Jesus. His blood has been shed for sinners. It has satisfied God, and is the only means of salvation for either Jew of Gentile”.
But what about you dear reader? Have you found the blood of atonement?