Tag: blood sacrifice

Steadfast Love and Mercy!

Scripture reading for October 24th:  Jeremiah 9-12, Hebrews 9

Key Scriptures:  Hebrews 9:24, 27-28  “For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. . . “And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for Him.”

Jesus Christ, our great High Priest, entered the actual Holy of Holies in heaven.  He took the ultimate sacrifice, His own blood to atone for our sins.  He is coming back to earth again a second time, not to deal with sin again, but to save completely those who are trusting in Him!  What wisdom God and Christ have revealed to all who will hear!

Jeremiah 9:23-24 “Thus says the Lord:  “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth.  For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.”  

Prayer:  Lord, thank You for Your mercy to me to personally pay for my sins with Your own blood.  Thank You for revealing Your mercy to me!  Amen.

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The Cost of a Soul

ForScripture reading for February 19th:  Numbers 7-10, Mark 8

Key Scriptures: Mark 8:36-38  “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?  For what can a man give in return for his soul?  For whoever is ashamed of Me and of My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.”

Jesus was teaching His disciples about the worth of a single soul.  All the money in the world could not purchase a soul.  There wasn’t any price in earthly things that could buy a person freedom for his soul.  That is because all had sinned and were under the sentence of death.  When the final judgment comes and Jesus returns, each person will either confess Jesus as Lord or forfeit their souls to eternal punishment.  Even the Levites had to offer blood sacrifice for their atonement.

Numbers 8:12  “Then the Levites shall lay their hands on the heads of the bulls, and you shall offer the one for the sin offering and the other for a burnt offering to the Lord to make atonement for the Levites.”  

Prayer:  Lord, Thank You for the sacrifice of Your Son as atonement for our sins.  It is hard for me to understand how you could place that value on me and all people of the world.  Amen.

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Approaching a Holy God

Scripture reading for February 1st: Leviticus 1-3

Yuk!  Leviticus!  Why all the blood and death?  Why all the rules for priests and people concerning how they are to bring these sacrifices?  How can we worship a God who would demand this from His people?

This might be your reaction to this book of Scripture.  But after careful and prayerful reflection, it starts to add up.  Sin caused death.  (Genesis 2:16-17)  Death spread to all men because of Adam’s sin. (Romans 5:12-14)  God provided the first blood sacrifice for Adam and Eve after they sinned.  They had used fig leaves, but God clothed them with bloody skins of animals.  (Genesis 3:21)

Through the laws in Leviticus, God helped His people to see that sin brought death to an innocent sacrifice.  The Law was given to make us aware of the cost of sin.  (Romans 3:19-20) God was providing a way for sinful man to meet with God.  When offered according to God’s instructions, God would accept the blood sacrifice and cover over the sins confessed so man could meet with God and not die. (Leviticus 1:9,17; 2:9)

Today we enjoy the final sacrifice for sin that was made for us 2000 years ago.  Jesus Christ shed his precious blood on the cross of Calvary and declared: “It is finished!” (John 19:30)  When we approach this same Holy God, we can come boldly before His throne any time day or night for prayer, fellowship, or forgiveness. (Hebrews 4:14-16)  We do it by faith in the sacrifice of the body and blood of our Savior! (Hebrews 9:24-26)  What a blessing to be free from the laws and sacrifices of Leviticus!  We will not die or face judgment but enter eternal life when Jesus appears for His church!

“But now He (Christ) has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself.  Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and He will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him.” Hebrews 9:26-28

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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 Holy Garments

Scripture reading for January 29th: Exodus 28-31

One of the main duties of a priest is to represent men before God.  A priest must care for people and their needs and be able to help them connect with God.  Without help, we as humans are in a difficult position with our Creator.  We are born in sin and darkness, caring only about ourselves.  Our sins separate us from God and we have no way in ourselves to approach God.  (Isaiah 59:2)  But a priest who understands and knows God and is trained and equipped to contact God for us can bridge the gap!  God provided such a Priest in Jesus Christ!

The Levitical priesthood was to have special clothes made of fine linen.  These clothes were designed to give them dignity and honor before God and man.  (Exodus 28:2)  They must be properly dressed and their clothes were designed to help them with their work.  The first piece of clothing was the ephod made of gold, blue, purple and scarlet yarn.  This ephod was to be made by a skilled craftsman and fashioned to fit the priests.  Two black onyx stones engraved with the names of the twelve sons of Israel were to be fastened on the shoulder pieces of the ephod.  Aaron, the high priest, was to bear these as a memorial before the Lord. (Exodus 28: 12)

In addition to the ephod, a breastpiece was also part of the clothing.  This breastpiece was to be made like the ephod of the same kind of colored yarn.  It was to have twelve precious stones mounted on it in four rows of three stones each.  These stones each represented one of the sons of Israel and their offspring.  The priest was to bear these stones on his chest, symbolically carrying them on his heart before the Lord.  (Exodus 28:29)

Jesus Christ is now our High Priest.  He knows how we feel and represents our needs before God, His Father.  (Hebrews 4:14-16)  He carried our black sins on His shoulders to the altar of the cross. He carries each person as a precious jewel on his heart before the Father.   He is now dressed in robes of perfect righteousness because of perfect obedience.  He enables all who trust in Him to become priests as well!  He dresses us in His holy garments!  We become the righteousness of God in Him! (2nd Corinthians 5:21)

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New Covenant Realities

Scripture reading for December 14th: Hebrews 8-10

I love new things!  Sometimes old things are nice to collect, but new things are nicer to use because they have all the latest technology and all the parts are new.  Everything we were used to with the old has to be relearned with the new things.  Sometimes this shift is difficult for us because we are set in our ways.  This is what happened to many Jewish believers in the time of the letter to the Hebrews.  The author spent some time and effort explaining the new covenant and how it was so much better than the old covenant.

The old covenant had laws and regulations for those who broke those laws.  The old covenant had promises for those who obeyed and warning for those who didn’t.  Moses was the mediator of the old covenant and Aaron and the Levites were the high priest and priesthood.  These were men who had failings themselves and eventually died.  The old covenant had a mobile tabernacle carried by the Levites, and God could only be visited at prescribed times by a certain few people.  In fact, only Aaron the high priest could go into where God’s dwelling place was in the Holy of Holies.

Under the new covenant, things were much easier and better.  Jesus Christ is the mediator of this new covenant.  He revealed it to us by His life, teaching, and sacrificial death on a cross.  He was God’s Son, not just a servant.  He was perfectly obedient to the old covenant while here on earth and then became the sacrifice for laws broken under the old covenant.

His sacrifice was better because His body and blood were without sin.  He offered it once for all to put away sin.  (Hebrews 9:14)  His blood was offered in heaven on the heavenly mercy seat when He rose from the dead.  He lives forever and is able to be a perfect high priest of a different order, that of Melchizedek.  (Hebrews 6:20)  He can identify with us because He is a man and has lived here on earth, experiencing our temptations. (Hebrews 4:15-16)

When we trust in Christ and His sacrifice for us, God gives us a new heart and sends His Spirit to live in us.  (Hebrews 8:10-12)  We become priests of the new covenant here on earth–a kingdom of priests!  Our sins are forgiven and erased from God’s memory.  We become the new dwelling place of God, living stones in His new body the church.  We become children of our Father and can approach Him boldly without fear to find help in times of need or just to worship and have fellowship.

New covenant people love to gather together and encourage each other.  We know Jesus Christ is coming soon!  We want to be ready and reach as many as possible before the full reality is unveiled when He appears!  (Hebrews 10:19-25)

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