DAY 166 - BIG PICTURE IN A YEAR - THE LAW
THE PRIEST WHO IS ANOINTED AND ORDAINED TO SUCCEED HIS FATHER AS HIGH PRIEST IS TO MAKE ATONEMENT.
Leviticus 16: 32
Today we are going to continue our discussion about the priesthood, with a special focus on the High Priest.
Aaron was anointed and ordained to the office of the High Priest, the one who was to make atonement for all the nation of Israel once a year. The high priest was to sacrifice a bull for his own sin, and a goat for the sins of the whole community. The blood from the sacrifice was sprinkled on the atonement cover, above which was the presence of the Lord – the cloud of His glory. The priest would have to burn incense to produce smoke that would conceal God’s presence, lest he die.
The atonement cover was on top of the ark, and inside were 3 items: the tablets of stone with the Ten Commandments, a jar of manna, and Aaron’s rod with blossoms – symbolic of the sins of the community: disobedience to the law, their lust for things other than what God has provided, and their rebellion against God’s anointed. The sprinkled blood would hide the sin from God’s sight, and from t he cherubim, who are the angels who carry out God's judgment.
Hebrews says that Jesus entered the real, heavenly tabernacle, and with His own blood, covered over, and completely removed, the sins of the whole world. But, in contrast to Aaron and his line, Jesus did this as a sinless man. The sinful high priest would have to follow this practice year after year, but Jesus’ sacrifice was once, and for all. In the end, it had nothing to do with the actual sacrifice that the Israelite high priest brought each year – the Day of Atonement was only a picture – a shadow – and a reminder of the redemption that God had planned.
The Israelites began to trust in their sacrifices to remove their sins and reconcile them to God, but it was never about the actual sacrifices. They were to put their trust in whatever commands and ways God had laid out for them to receive their forgiveness and reconciliation.
Do not put your trust in your own effort and works, focus on obeying God and His Word and His promises. Faith in God is the key.
Thank you, Jesus, for giving your life for your people, for covering over every sin, and for making it possible to access the presence of God. I am eternally yours.