Besides the civil laws in ancient Israel, there was also what is often called the
ceremonial law. This law centered around the sanctuary and its services, all of which, of course, were designed to teach the children of Israel the plan of salvation and point them to the coming Messiah. In the texts for today, twice it is mentioned that through these services
atonement would be made. In their own way, these laws were what has been deemed
miniprophecies of Christ and His work of atonement for the sins of His people.
The ceremonial law was given by Christ. Even after it was no longer to be observed, Paul presented it before the Jews in its true position and value, showing its place in the plan of redemption and its relation to the work of Christ; and the great apostle pronounces this law glorious, worthy of its divine Originator. The solemn service of the sanctuary typified the grand truths that were to be revealed through successive generations. . . . Thus through age after age of darkness and apostasy faith was kept alive in the hearts of men until the time came for the advent of the promised Messiah.-Ellen G. White, Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 367.
Though instituted by Jesus, the ceremonial system was meant to function only as a type, a symbol of a future reality-the coming of Jesus and His death and High Priestly ministry. Once He completed His work on earth, this old system-along with its sacrifices and rituals and feasts-no longer was needed (see Heb. 9:9-12). Though we no longer keep the ceremonial law today, by studying it we can garner insights into the plan of salvation.
Central to the sanctuary service was the sacrifice of the animals, which pointed to the death of Jesus. Think what it means that our salvation could come only through His death in our behalf. What should this tell us about just how costly sin is?