The concept of the sacrificial shedding of blood as an atonement for sin has existed among humanity from the beginning.
While Scripture says nothing of Adam or Eve offering up sacrifice, it talks about their son, Abel, and how he sacrificed the best of his flock to God. Noah offered up animal sacrifices to God after he and his family survived the great flood that killed the children of Cain.
God tested Abraham when he demanded human sacrifice. At the time, pagans had been offering human sacrifices to their bloodthirsty demons. Abraham was an old man and desperately wanted a son. Finally, after the divine promise that he would be a father of nations, his wife miraculously bore him Isaac.
Then God commanded Abraham to take his dearest son to a mountain and sacrifice him. Few can understand and sympathize with what Abraham must have endured in saying "yes" to God.
On the way there, Isaac, with the wood for the holocaust on his shoulders asked, "My father, behold fire and wood. Where is the victim for the holocaust?"
Abraham, knowing what God was requesting, responded, "God himself will provide the victim for the holocaust, my son."
When they got to the top of the mountain, Abraham tied up his son and put him on the pyre, ready to shed the blood of his long-awaited son. Scripture doesn't record any objections by Isaac. It could be that Isaac finally understood what was happening and freely offered himself as an oblation to God.
The angel, however, stayed Abraham's hand and communicated God's magnanimous promise to him for his obedience, even to the point of sacrificing his own son.
Abraham unknowingly prophesied when he earlier said, "God himself will provide the victim for the holocaust." God the Father, in the supreme act of love for sinful mankind, sacrificed his own innocent and divine Son.
Like Isaac, Our Lord bore the wood of his own holocaust on his shoulders and ascended Calvary. No angels came to stop the hands of the executioners from doing their cruel work. The salvation of man is the very reason the second Person of the Most Holy Trinity assumed a human nature and died a vicious and bloody death.
The great St. Augustine admonishes, "Don't hold yourselves cheap, seeing that the Creator of all things and of you estimates your value so high, so dear, that He pours out for you every day the most precious Blood of his only begotten Son."
July is the month dedicated to the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ. It's the perfect time to pray, study and meditate on how Christ shed his blood for the salvation of sinners.
Learn more by watching The Download—Precious Blood.