Are there a lot of spiritual principles in the offerings and sacrifices of the Old Testament?
First of all, consider that the Law of Moses contained God’s highest standards for the people of Israel. Because his presence physically dwelt among them in the glory cloud in the Tabernacle and tent of meeting, the people had to be holy before the Lord.
Every law that we look at is either a moral, civic, or ceremonial law. The moral laws show us what God expects of our behavior and character. These carry through to the New Testament and apply to Christians.
The civic laws showed Israel how to act differently than the nations around them. We can gather from these laws principles for daily living. Some of them show us that God expects us to be pure, to not mix our own Christian worldview with the world. He expects a higher standard from us.
The ritual laws show us what God expected of all of his sacrifices. If it was an animal, it must be without any blemishes. A perfect specimen to offer to the Lord resembles Christ and his perfect sacrifice, sinless and innocent, before the Lord.
Jesus was the perfect sacrifice that all of the sacrifices of the Old Testament look forward to. We call this foreshadowing or typology. The sacrifices, although spotless and without blemish, only resembled Christ in a small way. That’s why they must be continually offered.
But Christ was the perfect sacrifice to look forward to. He alone could offer himself once for all because of his sinless and innocent nature. All of these sacrifices teach us more and more about God’s high standards for the perfect sacrifice, his own son Jesus.
We can gather direct teaching from the moral Commandments God gave to the people of Israel in the Old Testament. And we can apply principles from the civic laws. Finally, we can understand the ceremonial laws as applying to Christ and worship. The Old Testament contains approximately two thirds of our Bible.
The reason the Old Testament is still attached to our Bibles is because it lays the foundation for understanding Christ and his work for us on the cross. It also explains the principles that God expects for us to adhere to as his children. His high standard show what he expects of us and how we can please and glorify him.