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What did the sprinkling of bulls blood in the tabernacle symbolize?

This question touches on the most important day of the year in ancient Israel, the Day of Atonement. On that day a bull was sacrificed. God gave meticulous instructions for carrying out every detail. After the bull was killed, it’s blood was taken into the Most Holy compartment, which contained the Ark of the Covenant. It was then sprinkled on the “Mercy Seat.”

Leviticus 16 describes the blood as an offering for sin. Israel’s ongoing relationship with God was based on the Atonement Day sacrifices.

The Apostle Paul reveals that these sacrifices were designed by God to depict greater future events. He called them “a shadow of good things to come.” (Hebrews 10:1) He goes on to say that those sacrifices, offered each year, could not actually make them perfect. By repeating them every year they served as a reminder of their sinful condition and provided a measure of sanctification to Israel and was the basis for their covenant relationship with God. (Please read Hebrews 10 for Paul’s  full explanation of this.)

The apostle then makes the point that in contrast to Israel’s sacrifices, the sacrifice of Jesus provides real atonement, and did not need to be offered each year.

The blood of the bull represents the blood of Jesus. Sprinkling it on the Mercy Seat shows that his blood satisfies God’s justice and the believer now is justified in the eyes of God.

A Christian’s relationship with God is based on an atoning sacrifice that has real merit, not on symbolic animal sacrifices.

One interesting side point that suggests a direct connection to the death of Jesus, is how the blood was sprinkled on the Mercy Seat. “And he shall take of the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it with his finger upon the mercy seat eastward; and before the mercy seat shall he sprinkle of the blood with his finger seven times.” (Lev 16:14)

The specific direction “eastward and before the Mercy Seat” may suggest that the blood was sprinkled in the shape of a cross. What an amazing connection to the cross of Christ, Savior of the world.

To learn more about the tabernacle and the significance it has on the life of the Christian listen to, “Should Christians Care About the Jewish Tabernacle?”