Note: I know many people get tripped up when it comes to looking at the books of the Bible that cover the Old Testament laws. Some do not seem fair at all and sexist compared to our society. But we must understand the time period as well. The structure of society then is not the same as it is now. Not only that, but those laws do not apply the same way they once did before.
We know this because of Jesus Christ.
Inspiration For Today’s Post
I apologize for the lack of blog posts. It’s been almost a full month since the last time I wrote. Within that time, my family has been adjusting to the new move and getting settled. It’s a process. Getting settled and figuring out where to go from here.
I feel compelled to add, as we speak of a process, the book of Leviticus is definitely one. Leviticus is all about figuring out where to go from here. As the movie, Wall-E put it, “Directive.”
I completed reading Leviticus last week and the book covers an assortment following its predecessor Exodus. Exodus ends with the Ark of the Covenant created. Leviticus follows with festivals, sacrifices for various sins and how to prepare them, and the particular roles of the tribes. As mentioned, sin sacrifice holds a large part of the book.
Missing Link Between Man And God
In a time period we can’t imagine, sacrifices were a daily routine. Intervention of God and man was just that. Moses spoke to God and God spoke to Moses. Moses then relayed the information to God’s people, a lot of information. Rules. Rules. Rules.
So many rules, in fact, it isn’t impossible to understand why the people of God were so focused on rules by the time Jesus arrived. But the connection by then was extremely weak between God and man. Instead of God giving the rules, it was man giving the rules. Relationship had become religion. And religion only causes problems.
Some Notes On Sin Sacrifices
1. There were a lot of rules regarding cleanliness. This included not approaching dead bodies, bodily functions of both sexes, touching anything unclean (Leviticus 5:02) and diseases to name a few. Most of them required a sin sacrifice and even then, such as people with diseases, people were separated from society (if they were still physically diseased after being examined by a priest).
2. There were sin sacrifices for sinning unintentionally. (Leviticus 4:02)
3. There were sin sacrifices for lying (Leviticus 6:03) and thoughtlessly making an oath (Leviticus 5:04)
4. The most interesting sin sacrifice I found was in (NIV) Leviticus 16:22
“The goat will carry on itself all their sins to a remote place, and the man shall release it in the wilderness.”
Wait! Say what about #4?
Yes, an actual scapegoat. Aaron placed his hands on the goat and confessed all of the iniquities of the sons of Israel. (Leviticus 16:21) It is, for this reason, I feel God knew long ago that His people would fall. Before scripture began to talk of a Lamb, it spoke of one goat who bore the sins of all while walking in the wilderness.
Symbolically, the sin sacrifices were taken from animals, viewed as pure, because we needed something pure to blot out our sin. But animals are not Christ. When animals were sacrificed to cleanse the sin, they died with the sin.
But Jesus didn’t die with sin in Him. Jesus remained pure from the inside, even though He was tainted because of us.
How can that be?
Symbolically: Before He Was Sacrificed He Was Cleansed
Let’s start at the beginning before Jesus became the symbolic goat of this sin sacrifice.
(NIV) Matthew 3:06, “Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.”
John the Baptist baptized his cousin Jesus in the Jordan River.
(NIV) Matthew 3:13, “Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John.
Jesus Fulfills Righteousness
Before Aaron put his hands on the live goat, Aaron atoned the holy place.
(NIV) Leviticus 16:20, “When Aaron has finished making atonement for the Most Holy Place, the tent of meeting and the altar, he shall bring forward the live goat.”
John the Baptist, at first, is hesitant when Jesus requests baptism. He requests that Jesus baptize him instead. But Jesus answers, (NIV) Matthew 3:15, “Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all the righteousness.” Then John consented.”
They needed to prepare the way for a final atonement. Instead of animals being the sacrifices, Jesus was preparing to become the final sacrifice.
John, a man, placed his hands on Jesus and baptized Him. Jesus rises out of the waters, the Heavens open and the Spirit of God rests upon Him. God speaks and says that He is well pleased with His Son. (Matthew 3:16 & 17)
Immediately after His baptism, what happens? (NIV) Matthew 4:01, “Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.”
Jesus is tempted three different times. (Matthew 4:03-10)
1. Tempted to use His own power to turn rocks into food to prove He was the Son of God.
2. Tempted to throw Himself down so angels will raise Him up to prove He is the Son of God.
3. Tempted to worship Satan and He will receive all kingdoms of the world.
Let it be realized, Jesus is all God and all man. If these things tempted Him, then yes our Lord was tempted. Food, power, wealth may appear to be the topics of temptation Jesus faced. But at the core, it was power and greed. Show off that He is the Son of God. Deny God and worship Satan to receive kingdoms.
In almost any circumstance the core of many of our problems lies with these two issues, power or greed. But the core of Christ is different. He denied Himself for us. He worshipped God with His whole heart. He reached out to the diseased. He worked on the Sabbath. He healed, He led, and He made fishers of men.
In the same way sin sacrifices to God symbolically “cleansed” His people, Jesus’ actions physically cleansed us. He became the sacrifice and the offering. Every day He spoke and healed people, this was evident.
Love Of Christ Overcame Our Sin
He became tainted because of us. He was dirty because time was short. He became a servant to everyone. Physical evidence of His tainted body remains in the holes in His feet and hands. We sacrificed Him. Our darkness weighed on Him. He became our sin and our death… because He loved us.
But Jesus is precious and special. Unlike animals and unlike man He breaks through barriers of our tainted souls and sins.
Death has no hold on Him.
(NIV) Matthew 3:11, “I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes One who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”
That very fire burned through the shroud covering His face. Our sins washed away from His body and His shoulders as light flooded through the darkened tomb bursting through the rocks.
(NLT) Hebrews 2:09, “What we do see is Jesus, who was given a position “a little lower than the angels”; and because He suffered death for us, He is now “crowned with glory and honor.” Yes, by God’s grace, Jesus tasted death for everyone.”
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No past sacrifice had such power. He gave us a chance to live through Him by means of the Holy Spirit, to be forgiven, and to have a relationship with Him.
Confessing with our mouth, Jesus is Lord, God will forgive all our sins. It’s that simple. If we want to be forgiven for all our sins, change our life, and start a relationship with Christ, then all we need to do is ask.
(NIV) Romans 10:09, “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
He became our Savior. He fulfilled the Law and became the ultimate sacrifice so that no more were needed. Physical evidence of Him being our King remain in the holes in His feet and hands.
He became our missing link to God.
He became our Hope.
He became our Cleansing Waters.
He became our Everything.
And He was our scapegoat.
(Can’t get enough posts? Check out my second blog Peeking Beneath)