Animated Explanation of Sacrifice and Atonement by The Bible Project

Sacrifice and atonement. These aren’t things we talk about much, but they are important concepts in the Bible. For us to understand our salvation in Christ, we must understand the meaning of sacrifice and atonement. So let’s do this the fun way and enjoy this animated short video produced by the guys at The Bible Project.

 

 

 

 

Video Transcript

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we all long for the world to be good for people to live in peace
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act with love and justice but there’s a problem
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something compels us humans to constantly wreak havoc and destruction
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instead and we call this evil and from the Bible’s point of view, evil ruins
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things in at least two ways. There’s a direct effect of our evil like when someone
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steals from another person they’ve created injustice therefore they owe something
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to make it right but there’s another indirect effect of evil because
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they’ve also ruined the environment of the relationship creating a lack of
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trust there’s emotional damage it’s like vandalism and they need to make that
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right too. Now many people believe ‘Hey God is good
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he should be the one to just get rid of all the evil in the world.’ But let’s be honest I mean
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the evil that I see everywhere
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out there it’s the same evil that’s inside of me. We have all contributed and
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we keep doing it. So this kind of puts us in a bind if God’s going to rid the
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world of evil, he’ll have to get rid of us. And this is what’s so remarkable about the story
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of the Bible. This God is so good
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that not only is he going to rid the world of evil he’s going to do it
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without destroying humanity. So how is he going to do that? Well early in the story
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of the Bible we’re introduced to this practice of animal sacrifice which I
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know seems weird to us but for the Israelites it was a very powerful symbol
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of God’s justice and of His grace. So remember I’m a contributor to the evil
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that’s in the world I should be removed. But God is allowing this animal’s life
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to be a substitute. It symbolically dying in my place. And the biblical word for this is atonement,
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which means to cover over someone’s death. But there’s a second part to this ritual
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remember evil also causes this relational vandalism and in the Bible this
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idea is described as polluting or defiling the land and making it unclean
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so the priest would symbolically wash away the vandalism by sprinkling the
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animal’s blood in different parts of the temple. So the animal’s blood is
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cleaning things? Well, remember this is a symbol and it’s a symbol that we’re not
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used to. The blood represents life and the sprinkling of the blood is this
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representation of how God is cleaning away these indirect consequences of
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evil in their community. In the Bible this process is called purification and
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so the temple in the land now become a clean space where God and His people can
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live together in peace
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So this ritual makes things right between Israel and God? And more than
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that! The Israelites experience God’s love and His grace through these symbols and by
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being forgiven ideally this would compel them to become people of love and grace
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that’s the ideal but
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it wasn’t always happening right so the prophet Isaiah for example he talks a
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lot about this he opens his book by saying that the continual sacrifices of
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the Israelites had become meaningless because they were also allowing great
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evil in their midst. Ignoring the poor and the oppressed even the Israelite
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kings were distorting justice. But Isaiah looked forward to a day when a new king from
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the line of David would come and deal with evil but in a surprising way the
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King would become a servant and not just serve but also suffer and die for the
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evil committed by his own people and his life would be offered as a sacrifice
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this is the promise of Jesus believed he was fulfilling he’s the king of Israel
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suffering and dying on the cross. In fact, Jesus himself used Isaiah’s words when he said
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that he came to serve and give his life as a ransom for many. And that word ransom
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refers to the sacrifice of atonement and so all over the New Testament we hear
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about how Jesus’ death was an atoning sacrifice for us. It covered the debt that
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humans owe God for contributing to all of the evil and death in His world but the
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new testament authors also talk about Jesus death as providing purification
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and so we hear about Jesus’ blood as a symbol of his life having this ability
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to wash away the vandalism that evil has caused in and around us so we can
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now live at peace with God so that’s the meaning behind Jesus’ death but there’s
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more to the story. Yeah, the New Testament makes this powerful claim that Jesus’s
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death was not final
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he rose from the dead
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and so he’s the sacrifice who broke the power of death and evil which means that
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he lives on to offer his life to anyone who will accept it he is the perfect sacrifice
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to it which all the previous sacrifices were pointing all along. So because of Jesus
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the early Christians stopped participating in the ritual animal
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sacrifice. But they were given new rituals there are two that Jesus taught his
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followers to perform the first is called baptism. Just as Jesus died so going
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into the water becomes this personal connection you now have to his death and
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in coming out of the water you so to speak
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come back to life with Jesus baptism is the sacred ritual that joins your story
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to Jesus’s death and resurrection the second rituals called the Lord’s Supper
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which is a reenactment of Jesus’ last meal with his disciples and he use bread
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and wine to portray his coming death as a sacrifice and so now followers of
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Jesus they take the bread and the cup regularly to remember and to participate
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in the power of Jesus’ death and in his life so these rituals they remind us of
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God’s love and encourage us to live a life love and grace but they do more
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than that they connect us to a new life source the very power that brought Jesus
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back from the dead is the same power that can deal with the evil in our own
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lives and transform us into people who lead lives of love and peace.
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Hi this is Tim! And this is Jon! And we believe the Bible is telling one overall
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story from beginning to end and so we’re making videos about each individual book
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of the Bible its unique design and message and then how it fits into that
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at www.jointhebibleproject.com