Updated: Oct 29, 2019
I have been doing my personal study in the book of Leviticus lately, and I can honestly admit, this time around, I am overwhelmed by the laws and the ways of atonement for the people of Israel! There was a lot to follow,and a lot to do when considering atonement, and walking rightly with God! The worst part, though, is the sacrifice. Imagine taking a sheep, goat, or bull in, one you raised and cared for, whether for wool, meat, or some other purpose, and bringing it before the priest and watching as its throat is cut and its life drains from its body. Imagine its eyes at you watched this creature who did nothing to you dying...for YOUR sins. This is the biblical image of the Sacrifices outlined in Leviticus. It's harsh! But as we continue I hope you see what is happening here. The Wages of sin are death. We were told that from the beginning when there was no sin. Adam and Eve did not believe they would not die, and now they have returned to the dust from whence they came (I just said whence...). Our lot in life is, because of our sin, death. YET, God decides to provide a way out. In Leviticus, something else took the sin YOU put on yourself, and its death paid the price. That should get us to stop and think, shouldn't it? Yet it didn't. We know that Israel strayed, and the sacrifices ultimately became a ritual instead of a lesson and reason for thanking God. Imagine now that you're looking at the cross, the Roman Soldiers nailing Jesus' Hands and Feet, and imagine you're the reason each lash on his back, each cut on in his forehead from the thorny crowns, and each hammer stroke is your fault. Imagine looking in to His eyes as the life is draining from them, and hearing the mocking cries of those around Him "Save yourself." Imagine knowing that this was for you, and You're the reason He's suffering. Because you are. This is God's great love for us. God provided the means for our escape, but someone had to pay the price. Jesus offered His body for our sins. We're the reason He suffered and died, and sometimes we live as if we don't care. Every breath I have is breathed because He gave me it, and gave up His own that I might know freedom. Isn't that worth dwelling on, and living my life because of? Hebrews 9
The Earthly Holy Place
1Now even the first covenant had regulations for worship and an earthly place of holiness. 2For a tenta was prepared, the first section, in which were the lampstand and the table and the bread of the Presence.b It is called the Holy Place. 3Behind the second curtain was a second sectionc called the Most Holy Place, 4having the golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, in which was a golden urn holding the manna, and Aaron’s staff that budded, and the tablets of the covenant. 5Above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat. Of these things we cannot now speak in detail.
6These preparations having thus been made, the priests go regularly into the first section, performing their ritual duties, 7but into the second only the high priest goes, and he but once a year, and not without taking blood, which he offers for himself and for the unintentional sins of the people. 8By this the Holy Spirit indicates that the way into the holy places is not yet opened as long as the first section is still standing 9(which is symbolic for the present age).d According to this arrangement, gifts and sacrifices are offered that cannot perfect the conscience of the worshiper, 10but deal only with food and drink and various washings, regulations for the body imposed until the time of reformation.
Redemption Through the Blood of Christ
11But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come,e then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) 12he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. 13For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctifyf for the purification of the flesh, 14how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify ourg conscience from dead works to serve the living God.
15Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant.h 16For where a will is involved, the death of the one who made it must be established. 17For a will takes effect only at death, since it is not in force as long as the one who made it is alive. 18Therefore not even the first covenant was inaugurated without blood. 19For when every commandment of the law had been declared by Moses to all the people, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, 20saying, “This is the blood of the covenant that God commanded for you.” 21And in the same way he sprinkled with the blood both the tent and all the vessels used in worship. 22Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.
23Thus it was necessary for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these rites, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24For 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. 25Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, 26for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, 28so 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.
Footnotes: a 2 Or tabernacle; also verses 11, 21 b 2 Greek the presentation of the loaves c 3 Greek tent; also verses 6, 8 d 9 Or which is symbolic for the age then present e 11 Some manuscripts good things to come f 13 Or For if the sprinkling of defiled persons with the blood of goats and bulls and with the ashes of a heifer sanctifies g 14 Some manuscripts your h 15 The Greek word means both covenant and will; also verses 16, 17