Tag: once a year

The shadow of Reality!

Scripture reading for November 8th: Hebrews 9:1-10

The first covenant had an earthly tabernacle designed according to the pattern that Moses had received from God on the mountain.  This tabernacle had two rooms.  The outer room had a lamp stand, a table with twelve loaves of bread.  This room was called the Holy Place and the priests would go in there regularly to keep the lamps burning, change the loaves of bread.  The second room, the Most Holy Place, was behind the curtain and it contained the Ark of the Covenant made of pure gold overlay and guarded by two golden cherubim with wings outstretched.  The ark contained the tablets of stone with the ten commandments on them, a jar of manna from the Israelites wilderness journey, and Aaron’s rod that budded and produced fruit.  In front of this Ark was a small golden altar of incense.  (Hebrews 9:1-5)

The writer of Hebrews did not want to discuss the articles he had just listed.  As we think about the Ark and its contents, we are reminded of Jesus Christ.  The lid of the Ark was called the ‘mercy seat’ where the glory of God dwelt.  This ark was made of common Acacia wood, overlain with gold.  Jesus had the appearance of a normal human, but was really the royal Son of God who was King of Kings.  He was the One who came to fulfill the law written on the tablets of stone, perfectly obeying the Father.  He was going to give His own body as the true ‘bread from heaven’ as an offering for sin.  His body would be dead and in a grave but God the Father would resurrect Him as His chosen authority to be ruler and High Priest forever!  Jesus would offer His sinless blood on the real Mercy Seat in heaven once, for all!

The priests of Israel could enter the first room to minister daily, but only the High Priest could enter the Most Holy Place once a year on the Day of Atonement.  He must bring sacrifices for his sins and for those committed in ignorance by the people.  As Jesus breathed His last breath, the curtain blocking the Most Holy Place to ripped apart!  Now reality is ours in the new covenant!  We have access to the Most Holy Place through the torn body and blood of Jesus !

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The Day of Atonement

Scripture reading for February 6th: Leviticus 16-17

Sin has devastating consequences for human beings.  Sin permeates all humans from birth because of Adam’s original sin.  (Romans 5:12)  Sin separates man from God and God cannot look on the sinners or hear them. (Isaiah 59:2)  Sin holds men in its power and they cannot escape from its grip with any human effort or good works. (Isaiah 64:6)  Sin ultimately ends in eternal separation from God in the lake of fire, which is called the “second” death.  (Revelation 20:14-15)

Right after the death of two of Aaron’s sons because of failure to approach the Lord in a proper way, God gave instructions for the Day of Atonement.  This was to be one day each year when the high priest went into the presence of the Lord behind the veil and offered blood sacrifice for himself and then for the nation.  First, a young bull was to be offered as a sin offering for Aaron’s sins.  Then two goats were also brought before the Lord. One of them was chosen to be sacrificed for the sins of the nation. That goat was slaughtered and Aaron was to take the blood into the Holy of Holies and sprinkle the blood on behalf of the people.

The second major sacrifice that day was the scapegoat.  This goat was selected by lot and presented alive before the Lord.  (Leviticus 16:10, 20-22) Aaron was to lay both hands on its head and confess all the sins, wickedness and rebellion of the Israelites over this live goat, symbolically putting them on the goat’s head.  This goat was then led away in the presence of all the people and taken into the wilderness.  The people would watch it disappear from view.  This goat symbolized God removing their sins away from them, as far as the East is from the West! (Psalm 103:12)

God used these object lessons to help the Israelites visualize what was necessary to remove sin from their lives.  These sacrifices are a picture of what Jesus Christ did for us on the cross of Calvary.  There He became sin for us.  God the Father laid on Him the iniquity of us all.  (2nd Corinthians 5:21)  He shed His own blood as the “sin offering for us”.  He did not need a sacrifice for Himself!  He was crucified outside the camp and His death took sin away.  As we look to Him as our scapegoat, our sins are atoned for!  What a plan!

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