Sunday, April 17, 2011

Leviticus: Chapter 16

The import of this chapter is greater than I feel equipped to discuss.  The rabbis referred to the Day of Atonement simply as Yoma, "The Day."  Recently I had the privilege of listening to a devout Jewish man explain the his view of the Day of Atonement;  his reverence was humbling. I was saddened, though, as my instructor seemed not to know the joy of daily communing with the Lord and receiving His forgiveness throughout the year.  It is a joy that through Jesus Christ we have continual access to the 'Holy of Holies.' We must never allow our easy access to be taken for granted, though. 

As we contemplate the Old Testament, we are regularly reminded of the holiness of God.  In fact, this chapter opens reminding Aaron (us) to reflect back a few chapters to the death of Aaron's sons.  Nadab and Abihu failed to honor the holiness of God and lost their lives. At the point in history recorded here in Leviticus, a picture-shadow of Christ is being crafted.  We are blessed to live in the age of grace and enjoy individual, direct fellowship with the holy, awesome Christ!

Here are some points in this passage which spoke deeply to my heart.  This 'Day of Atonement' only happened one time per year; the High Priest performed much of the work on His own.  We can rejoice that the work of Christ is all-sufficient for our sins.  For this particular service, the jeweled, elaborate clothing of the Priest was set aside and only pure linen worn.  Jesus Christ left His glorious home and lived a pure life for us until He offered Himself on the cross to atone for our sins.  The scapegoat is a picture of the removal of our sins; just as the goat was sent off into the desert, God removes our sins as far as the east is from the west!  While the High Priest only entered the Holy of Holies once a year, Jesus Christ entered heaven to offer His blood as the completed sacrifice.  Jesus remains in that Holy Place praying for you and I moment by moment.  I am overwhelmingly thankful for living in the reality of Jesus Christ; for living when the presence of God and His mercies are ever accessible.  Thank you, Jesus!

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