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Exodus 29:38-46 – Daily Offerings in God’s Tent

http://www.ephraimbible.org/Sermons/20120429_exodus29_38-46.mp3

04/29 Exodus 29:38-46 Daily Offerings in God’s Tent (Leviticus 6:8-13; Numbers 28:1-8)

For the past weeks we have been taking a tour of the tabernacle, the place where God would make his presence known in the middle of the camp of Israel. We have looked at the instructions for the box containing the covenant between God and his people, and the cover of this box, the place where atonement would be made, the very throne of God. We looked at the table filled with bread and wine, the lampstand giving light, the curtains and the structure of the tent itself. We looked at the altar in the courtyard, where sacrifices would be made, and we looked at the priests, outfitted and set apart for service in God’s tent. Now, toward the end of chapter 29, we see the purpose for which the whole tabernacle was constructed.

Daily Offerings

Exodus 29:38 “Now this is what you shall offer on the altar: two lambs a year old day by day regularly. 39 One lamb you shall offer in the morning, and the other lamb you shall offer at twilight. 40 And with the first lamb a tenth seah of fine flour mingled with a fourth of a hin of beaten oil, and a fourth of a hin of wine for a drink offering. 41 The other lamb you shall offer at twilight, and shall offer with it a grain offering and its drink offering, as in the morning, for a pleasing aroma, a food offering to the LORD. 42 It shall be a regular burnt offering throughout your generations at the entrance of the tent of meeting before the LORD, where I will meet with you, to speak to you there. 43 There I will meet with the people of Israel, and it shall be sanctified by my glory. 44 I will consecrate the tent of meeting and the altar. Aaron also and his sons I will consecrate to serve me as priests. 45 I will dwell among the people of Israel and will be their God. 46 And they shall know that I am the LORD their God, who brought them out of the land of Egypt that I might dwell among them. I am the LORD their God.

Importance of the Daily Offering

Offerings were to be made on the altar every morning and every evening of every day. This is what the tabernacle was for. It was designed to be a place where God is approached through his appointed sacrifices. These daily offerings were a big deal. Throughout the rest of the Old Testament, these offerings set the rhythm for the people of God. When David brought the ark to Jerusalem, he charged the priests to offer the daily offerings (1Ch.16:40). These daily offerings were part of the purpose when Solomon built the temple (2Ch.2:4). Under the divided kingdom, king Abijah highlighted the fact that Judah was obediently observing these daily sacrifices as part of the reason that they would experience the favor of the Lord (2Ch13:11). Ezra led the exiles back to Jerusalem, and one of the first things they did was rebuild the altar and begin to offer the daily offerings (Ezr3:3). In Ezekiel’s visions, he is shown the new temple, where these offerings would resume (Ezek.46:13). Daniel records the time of significant events by when these daily offerings were to take place (Dan.9:21). In the prophecies of Daniel, the threat of taking the daily burnt offerings away is seen as a devastating display of the Lord’s disfavor (Dan.8:11-13; 9:27; 12:11).

Daily Offering a Burnt Offering

In verse 42 we are told that this twice daily offering is to be a burnt offering. The burnt offering, as we have seen, is the foundation of the whole sacrificial system. According to Leviticus 1, when a burnt offering was made, the worshiper would place their hands on the head of the animal, and God would accept the animal in their place to make atonement for their sin. The animal was killed, its blood thrown against the sides of the altar, the animal was butchered, prepared, and placed on the altar, where the whole thing would go up in smoke as a pleasing aroma to the LORD. The seriousness of sin was demonstrated and God’s justice was satisfied.

Perpetual Burnt Offering

This offering, offered morning and evening, was to be a perpetual offering. It was to happen ‘throughout your generations‘. Leviticus tells us that ‘The burnt offering shall be on the hearth on the altar all night until the morning, and the fire of the altar shall be kept burning on it …The fire on the altar shall be kept burning on it; it shall not go out … Fire shall be kept burning on the altar continually; it shall not go out. (Lev.6:9,12,13). This was to be a regular, continual, perpetual offering. There was never to be a time when the smoke of this offering was not ascending to the Lord. The implication is that there was never a moment that the sins of the people did not need to be appeased. Continually they needed the covering of the smoke of this burnt offering.

Tent of Meeting

Notice where this offering was to be made. ‘At the entrance to the tent of meeting‘. This name for the tabernacle highlights its purpose. It is the place where God would meet with his people. God is rightly outraged at our sin, but he is not eager to destroy; he is eager to extend mercy and forgive. He established this system of sacrifices so that sin would be taken seriously and still he could meet with his people. See how this is emphasized in the text. It is ‘the tent of meeting… where I will meet with you… there I will meet with the people of Israel… I will dwell among the people of Israel and be their God… that I might dwell among them. I am the LORD their God‘. Our God is a God who desires to be with his people. He is absolutely just, but he is eager to extend mercy.

We also see that our God is a God who desires to be known and who loves to communicate with his people for their good. He says ‘they shall know that I am the LORD their God‘. God wants to be known by his people. God wants us to understand the truth about who he is. He says ‘where I will meet with you to speak to you there‘. Our God is a God who reveals himself primarily in words. He is the unseen God, manifested in cloud and darkness and fire, his awesome power is evidenced, but he most clearly makes himself known to his people in his words. In chapter 33 of Exodus, Moses asks God show him his glory. God responds by proclaiming his name to Moses, declaring his character and nature.

These two concepts, God dwelling with his people, and God revealing himself to his people come together in the divine Word made flesh (Jn.1:1); the Word who was with God and who was God, the second person of the trinity, who became flesh and tabernacled among us, communicating most clearly God’s character and nature. The book of Hebrews begins by pointing us to Jesus, who is the final and ultimate communication of God to man.

Hebrews 1:1 Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, …

Not only is Jesus the ultimate fulfillment of God’s communication with his people, Jesus is also the place where God meets with his people. Where does it say that God will meet with us? There, at the entrance to the tent of meeting, there at the burnt offering, there at the lamb.

John 1:29 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!

Jesus is the one place where the Father can meet with sinful man.

John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

There is no other way, no other place where we can experience God’s favor, but through Jesus. Outside of Jesus, all we will experience of God is his just wrath against our sins.

1Timothy 2:5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.

A Pleasing Aroma

This offering, given every morning and every evening, consisted of a whole burnt offering of a year old lamb, along with a grain offering of about 2 quarts of fine flour mixed with a quart of pure olive oil, and a drink offering of a quart of strong drink, which Numbers 28 tells us was poured out to the LORD in the holy place. Verse 41 says that it is ‘for a pleasing aroma, a food offering to the LORD.’ This phrase ‘a food offering’ with ‘a pleasing aroma’ is repeated 3 times in the Numbers passage. This was something that pleased the LORD, that he enjoyed, that satisfied him. Yet it was not sufficient, not complete, not lasting. These sacrifices had to be offered over and over again, so in a sense, they did not satisfy God. They point us forward to something greater. When David confessed his sin to the Lord, he said:

Psalm 51:16 For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering. 17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

This too points us to Jesus. His Father said of him at his baptism:

Mark 1:11 And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”

And again at his transfiguration:

Matthew 17:5 … a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.”

The Father was well pleased with his only Son. Even when Jesus cried out from the cross “my God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mt.27:46; Mk.15:34), we see the satisfaction of his Father in Isaiah 53:

Isaiah 53:10 Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for sin, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. 11 Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities.

Jesus pleased his Father by his flawless obedience.

Philippians 2:5 …Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, …7 … made himself nothing, …8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

Jesus is the once-for-all final sacrifice who is forever well pleasing to his Father. Jesus is the perfect expression of who God is. Jesus is the one and only meeting place between his Father and sinful man. Jesus is the perfectly obedient Son who, in his life and in his death, was a pleasing aroma that fully satisfied his Father.

The Sanctifying Glory of God

Before we leave this passage, there is one more thing I think we should look at. We have seen, especially in the last two chapters, that everything in the tabernacle was to be sanctified or consecrated, set apart to God. The unique outfits of the priests set them apart to serve in the tabernacle. The multiple animals that were offered were to sanctify or set apart the priests. Blood was applied to the altar to set it apart to make it holy. But here, God says “it shall be sanctified by my glory”. God says “I will consecrate the tent of meeting” and “I will consecrate Aaron and his sons to serve me as priests” God here claims to be the one ultimately to set things or people apart for his use. God’s glory, the awesome radiance of his presence, his weightiness, his gravity, is what sanctifies, purifies, cleanses, makes holy. Malachi says of Jesus’ coming:

Malachi 3:2 But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap. 3 He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the LORD. 4 Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the LORD as in the days of old and as in former years.

It is the presence of God, the glory of God that sanctifies us his people. We, today, can look on the transforming glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

2 Corinthians 3:18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

Do you long for holiness and sanctification? Do you long for purity? Do you long for transformation? Do you long to be more like Jesus? Fix your eyes on Jesus!

1 John 3:2 Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. 3 And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.

Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~ www.ephraimbible.org

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April 29, 2012 Posted by | Exodus, podcast | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Exodus 29; Servants in God’s Tent – The Priests – Consecration

http://www.ephraimbible.org/Sermons/20120422_exodus29.mp3

4/22 Exodus 29 Servants in God’s Tent: The Priests (consecration)

Last time we looked at chapter 28, which detailed the official garments of the priests, particularly the high priest. We saw that his clothing was extravagant, designed to match the tabernacle itself, a uniform that would fit him for service in the courts of the King of kings. We saw that he was to serve as a representative who would bear the names of God’s people on his shoulders and bind their names over his heart and carry them symbolically into the presence of God. He had a weighty responsibility.

Today we come to Exodus chapter 29; instructions on the process by which the priests were to be set apart for service in the tabernacle. So far, chapters 25-31 have contained the instructions for what God is commanding his people to do, and the fulfillment, the record of God’s people obediently carrying out every detail of his instructions has been found in chapters 35-40. For the fulfillment of this chapter, we have to go to the next of the five books of Moses, Leviticus, chapter 8.

Today we will take a look at God’s instructions for how his servants were to be set apart, and as we go we will look at some of the ways this points to our service as priests of God, and then ultimately to our Great High Priest.

A Public Ceremony

Before we get into the details of Exodus 29, we should look for a minute at the Leviticus passage, which fills in some additional details.

Leviticus 8:1 The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Take Aaron and his sons with him, and the garments and the anointing oil and the bull of the sin offering and the two rams and the basket of unleavened bread. 3 And assemble all the congregation at the entrance of the tent of meeting.” 4 And Moses did as the LORD commanded him, and the congregation was assembled at the entrance of the tent of meeting.

We find out in Leviticus 8 that this is a public ceremony. Moses is to gather the entire congregation at the entrance to the courtyard. Everyone in Israel is to be present to see this one who would go before God to make intercession for them installed into this holy office.

The Necessary Materials

Exodus 29:1 “Now this is what you shall do to them to consecrate them, that they may serve me as priests. Take one bull of the herd and two rams without blemish, 2 and unleavened bread, unleavened cakes mixed with oil, and unleavened wafers smeared with oil. You shall make them of fine wheat flour. 3 You shall put them in one basket and bring them in the basket, and bring the bull and the two rams.

These verses lay out what will be required for this ceremony. The first thing Moses is to do is to gather the appropriate materials that he will need. It will require the special priestly garments described in the last chapter, the special anointing oil described in the next chapter, and three animals; one bull and two rams, all without blemish.

Washed, Clothed, Anointed

Next, we see the actual ceremony begin.

4 You shall bring Aaron and his sons to the entrance of the tent of meeting and wash them with water. 5 Then you shall take the garments, and put on Aaron the coat and the robe of the ephod, and the ephod, and the breastpiece, and gird him with the skillfully woven band of the ephod. 6 And you shall set the turban on his head and put the holy crown on the turban. 7 You shall take the anointing oil and pour it on his head and anoint him. 8 Then you shall bring his sons and put coats on them, 9 and you shall gird Aaron and his sons with sashes and bind caps on them. And the priesthood shall be theirs by a statute forever. Thus you shall ordain Aaron and his sons.

Moses is to do three things here. He is to wash, he is to clothe, and he is to anoint Aaron for service. Aaron needed to be washed because he was dirty. Remember, at this point Israel is camping in the desert. This was probably not a full bath, as it was public; we can assume that he was already wearing the linen undergarments; they are not mentioned as being put on here. This would be a washing of exposed flesh; the hands and feet. After he was washed, then he was clothed in the uniform of the high priest. Notice that all of these things are being done to Aaron. He is not doing them himself; he is passive. He is washed; he is clothed; and he is anointed. Anointing was a ceremony that was done to set someone apart for a particular office. Kings were anointed (1Sam.16:13); prophets were anointed (1Ki.19:16); and priests were anointed. The Hebrew word for anointing is where we get the word ‘Messiah’ or ‘Christ’ – it means ‘the anointed one’. Anointing was a symbolic way to show that God’s blessing was being poured out on this individual. The anointing of God’s Messiah is pictured in Psalm 45

Psalm 45:7 you have loved righteousness and hated wickedness. Therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions; 8 your robes are all fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia…

In Psalm 133, the unity of believers is compared to this anointing oil.

Psalm 133:2 It is like the precious oil on the head, running down on the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down on the collar of his robes!

Aaron is washed, clothed, and anointed. This is useful for us, because we as believers in Jesus Christ are told in several places (Rev.1:5; 1Pet.2:5,9; Rom.15:16) that we are priests to God. We have been washed, clothed and anointed by God. We have been washed and set apart in baptism, where we publicly confess Jesus Christ as our Lord. Ephesians 5 describes how we believers are washed.

Ephesians 5:25 … as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.

We are clothed.

Isaiah 61:10 I will greatly rejoice in the LORD; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

We are anointed.

2 Corinthians 1:21 And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, 22 and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee. (cf. 1 Jn.2:20,27)

We as believers, being built into a holy priesthood, are cleansed by the washing of water with the word, are clothed with the righteousness of Christ, are anointed with God’s Holy Spirit.

Three Sacrifices

Next, we have the three animals offered; the sin offering, the whole burnt offering, and the ordination offering. The sin offering was a way for the worshiper to confess and find forgiveness for sins committed in ignorance. The whole burnt offering was the foundational offering that secured atonement for a person and turned God’s anger into favor. The ordination offering was a special kind of fellowship offering, where the worshiper enjoyed the communion of a restored relationship with God. The sequence here starts with the sin offering.

Bull for Sin Offering

10 “Then you shall bring the bull before the tent of meeting. Aaron and his sons shall lay their hands on the head of the bull. 11 Then you shall kill the bull before the LORD at the entrance of the tent of meeting, 12 and shall take part of the blood of the bull and put it on the horns of the altar with your finger, and the rest of the blood you shall pour out at the base of the altar. 13 And you shall take all the fat that covers the entrails, and the long lobe of the liver, and the two kidneys with the fat that is on them, and burn them on the altar. 14 But the flesh of the bull and its skin and its dung you shall burn with fire outside the camp; it is a sin offering.

Laying hands on the head of the sacrifice is common to all three of these sacrifices. It is a symbolic way to identify with the animal, to confess sins and recognize that sin deserves death, and this innocent animal will die in my place. In the sin offering, specific acts of sin are in view, specific known violations of God’s law are confessed and forgiven.

In Leviticus 8:15 we are told that this offering served to purify the altar and set it apart to make atonement for it. Even the altar itself, built by the hands of sinful men, needed to be purified, consecrated, set apart for service.

The majority of this sacrifice was not burned on the altar. The blood was smeared on the horns of the altar, and poured out at the base of the altar, the fat and some of the internal organs were burned on the alter, but the bulk of the animal, all the meat, was taken outside the camp and burned. This is as if to say, that’s what I deserve. That’s where I belong, outside the camp, separated from God’s people, cursed and cast out, unclean, excluded. My sins separate me from God, and my sins separate me from God’s people. This offering pictures that clearly. This animal is destroyed outside the camp so that my sin can be forgiven and I can be welcomed as part of the worshiping community.

This part of the sin offering is highlighted by the author of Hebrews.

Hebrews 13:10 We have an altar from which those who serve the tent have no right to eat. 11 For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the holy places by the high priest as a sacrifice for sin are burned outside the camp. 12 So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood. 13 Therefore let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured. 14 For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come. 15 Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.

Jesus was led outside the city to his place of execution. He was excluded. We go to Jesus, we honor Jesus, we worship Jesus, we gladly accept being excluded because our King was cursed and put outside.

First Ram for Whole Burnt Offering

15 “Then you shall take one of the rams, and Aaron and his sons shall lay their hands on the head of the ram, 16 and you shall kill the ram and shall take its blood and throw it against the sides of the altar. 17 Then you shall cut the ram into pieces, and wash its entrails and its legs, and put them with its pieces and its head, 18 and burn the whole ram on the altar. It is a burnt offering to the LORD. It is a pleasing aroma, a food offering to the LORD.

The whole burnt offering was the core of the sacrificial system. The entire animal was butchered, prepared, and placed on the altar, and the whole thing went up in smoke to God. This was the offering that dealt, not with specific sins, but with my sinful condition; my sin nature. There is no part of me that has any merit before God. I am sinful through and through. All of me deserves the holy wrath of God. Instead, he offers a substitute. I lay my hands on the head of the animal, confessing that I deserve this punishment, transferring my guilt to it, and the whole thing goes up as a satisfying aroma to God.

Remember, this is a public ceremony. All Israel is looking on. They are seeing this man, the high priest, the one who is to mediate between God and them, lay his hands on the head of this animal. They would recognize in that action a confession of sin, an acknowledgment of guilt deserving death, a need for a substitute. These religious leaders were publicly and openly owning up to the fact that they were no better than the people they were representing before God. They too were sinners that needed forgiveness.

Second Ram For Ordination

19 “You shall take the other ram, and Aaron and his sons shall lay their hands on the head of the ram, 20 and you shall kill the ram and take part of its blood and put it on the tip of the right ear of Aaron and on the tips of the right ears of his sons, and on the thumbs of their right hands and on the great toes of their right feet, and throw the rest of the blood against the sides of the altar. 21 Then you shall take part of the blood that is on the altar, and of the anointing oil, and sprinkle it on Aaron and his garments, and on his sons and his sons’ garments with him. He and his garments shall be holy, and his sons and his sons’ garments with him. 22 “You shall also take the fat from the ram and the fat tail and the fat that covers the entrails, and the long lobe of the liver and the two kidneys with the fat that is on them, and the right thigh (for it is a ram of ordination), 23 and one loaf of bread and one cake of bread made with oil, and one wafer out of the basket of unleavened bread that is before the LORD. 24 You shall put all these on the palms of Aaron and on the palms of his sons, and wave them for a wave offering before the LORD. 25 Then you shall take them from their hands and burn them on the altar on top of the burnt offering, as a pleasing aroma before the LORD. It is a food offering to the LORD. 26 “You shall take the breast of the ram of Aaron’s ordination and wave it for a wave offering before the LORD, and it shall be your portion. 27 And you shall consecrate the breast of the wave offering that is waved and the thigh of the priests’ portion that is contributed from the ram of ordination, from what was Aaron’s and his sons. 28 It shall be for Aaron and his sons as a perpetual due from the people of Israel, for it is a contribution. It shall be a contribution from the people of Israel from their peace offerings, their contribution to the LORD. 29 “The holy garments of Aaron shall be for his sons after him; they shall be anointed in them and ordained in them. 30 The son who succeeds him as priest, who comes into the tent of meeting to minister in the Holy Place, shall wear them seven days. 31 “You shall take the ram of ordination and boil its flesh in a holy place. 32 And Aaron and his sons shall eat the flesh of the ram and the bread that is in the basket in the entrance of the tent of meeting. 33 They shall eat those things with which atonement was made at their ordination and consecration, but an outsider shall not eat of them, because they are holy. 34 And if any of the flesh for the ordination or of the bread remain until the morning, then you shall burn the remainder with fire. It shall not be eaten, because it is holy.

This final sacrifice was a special fellowship offering. The fellowship offering always followed the whole burnt offering, and part of this animal was laid on top of the burnt offering, also offered to the Lord. Part of this offering was eaten by the worshiper in God’s presence, enjoying the result of the offering for atonement, enjoying forgiveness and reconciliation with a holy God. A unique part of this ordination offering is that the blood was smeared on Aaron and his sons. Just as the altar was set apart and purified by applying the blood to it, so the people who serve in God’s tent are purified and set apart by sacrificial blood being smeared on them. It was smeared on the right ear, the right thumb, and the right big toe. The right side was the place of honor and privilege. This would be a symbolic way of setting apart the whole person, from top to bottom. A priest was one who represented the people before God, and taught God’s word to the people. As such, he needed to be attentive himself to God’s word. He needed his ears sanctified. The thumb and big toe of a conquered enemy were sometimes cut off as a way to incapacitate them and render them helpless. The priest’s hands must be set apart for service, to do the things that please his Master. His feet must be set apart for service, to walk in paths of righteousness.

Seven Days of Ordination

35 “Thus you shall do to Aaron and to his sons, according to all that I have commanded you. Through seven days shall you ordain them, 36 and every day you shall offer a bull as a sin offering for atonement. Also you shall purify the altar, when you make atonement for it, and shall anoint it to consecrate it. 37 Seven days you shall make atonement for the altar and consecrate it, and the altar shall be most holy. Whatever touches the altar shall become holy.

This ordination ceremony was to last seven days. It seems that these three offerings were repeated every day for seven days, a complete cycle, a full week. This was a big deal. God took six days to create the world and everything in it, and here it takes seven days of bloody sacrifices to set apart these sinful people who are to serve him as priests.

Contrast Jesus

This highlights a contrast with Jesus, our Great High Priest. Last time we saw that Jesus was not part of this earthly priesthood. He didn’t have the right genealogy. He was from the wrong tribe, the royal tribe. He is a different kind of priest altogether. One problem with these priests was that they had to be replaced. They were mortal. Jesus, because he is eternal God, holds his priesthood permanently. The author of Hebrews tells us:

Hebrews 7:25 Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them. 26 For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. 27 He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he offered up himself.

Jesus is different, better, a more excellent high priest, because he didn’t need any of these sacrifices to deal with his own sins. He is holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, exalted above the heavens. He had no sins of his own to confess. He had no guilt that needed to be atoned. Jesus could stand before his Father on his own merits, accepted. “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Jesus had no need to be forgiven. He always perfectly obeyed the will of his Father. Jesus is our final once-for-all greater high priest, who offered the once-for-all sacrifice, his own perfect eternal sinless self as a sin-bearing substitute to once-for-all permanently take away sin.

1 John 3:5 You know that he appeared to take away sins, and in him there is no sin.

Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~ www.ephraimbible.org

April 22, 2012 Posted by | Exodus, podcast | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Exodus 28; Servants in God’s Tent – The Priests

http://www.ephraimbible.org/Sermons/20120415_exodus28.mp3

04/15 Exodus 28 Servants in God’s Tent: The Priests

We are in Exodus, studying God’s specifications for the place where he will meet with his people. The view he gives us of the tabernacle began with the place of the manifestation of God’s immediate presence, the symbol of God’s throne in the most sacred place, and backs out through the holy place and out into the courtyard, to the means for sinful people to enter God’s presence, the altar of burnt offering. From there, our view is turned to the priests, primarily the high priest, who would be the one to bring the people back into the presence of God. Then, on the way back in, we will see some of the other furniture that was skipped over earlier, like the brass washbasin and the altar of incense, that would specifically be used by the priest as he enters into the holy places to serve. The focus of this chapter is the unique and elaborate clothing that is to be worn when the high priest enters the presence of God.

Oil For Illumination

It is interesting that the specifications for the lampstand are given in chapter 25, but the oil for the lamp is not presented until the end of chapter 27, right before the description of the garments of the priests.

Exodus 27:20 “You shall command the people of Israel that they bring to you pure beaten olive oil for the light, that a lamp may regularly be set up to burn. 21 In the tent of meeting, outside the veil that is before the testimony, Aaron and his sons shall tend it from evening to morning before the LORD. It shall be a statute forever to be observed throughout their generations by the people of Israel.

The focus turns from the furniture itself to how it is to be used, and specifically to who is to use it. Here we are introduced to Aaron and his sons, who will tend the light. The pure olive oil, oil which is used for anointing, and oil which is used to provide illumination, points forward to the Holy Spirit, who illumines God’s people and anoints them for service. It is appropriate that the oil is presented immediately before those who would serve are are introduced.

Tent of Meeting

It is also interesting that the tabernacle is here for the first time referred to as the ‘tend of meeting’. It is called the tent of meeting because this is the place where God will meet with his people.

Unique Office; Unique Outfit

Let’s look together at the details of this unique outfit that would be worn by the one who would bring God’s sinful people back into his presence, and then we will look to our final High Priest who brings all this to its perfect fulfillment.

Exodus 28:1 “Then bring near to you Aaron your brother, and his sons with him, from among the people of Israel, to serve me as priests–Aaron and Aaron’s sons, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar. 2 And you shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother, for glory and for beauty. 3 You shall speak to all the skillful, whom I have filled with a spirit of skill, that they make Aaron’s garments to consecrate him for my priesthood. 4 These are the garments that they shall make: a breastpiece, an ephod, a robe, a coat of checker work, a turban, and a sash. They shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother and his sons to serve me as priests. 5 They shall receive gold, blue and purple and scarlet yarns, and fine twined linen. 6 “And they shall make the ephod of gold, of blue and purple and scarlet yarns, and of fine twined linen, skillfully worked. 7 It shall have two shoulder pieces attached to its two edges, so that it may be joined together. 8 And the skillfully woven band on it shall be made like it and be of one piece with it, of gold, blue and purple and scarlet yarns, and fine twined linen.

Aaron, Moses’ brother, and his sons, are singled out of all Israel to be the ones who would serve God as priests. A priest is one who guards the honor and glory of God, the one who instructs the people on how God is to be approached, and the one who intercedes in the presence of God on behalf of the people. Aaron and his sons would serve in a unique role, they would fill a unique office, and they were to be clothed for service in a way that would be appropriate to that office.

Holy garments were to be made. These were uniforms that would only be worn while a priest was on duty; they were holy; and would visibly set him apart as one who was authorized to serve in the tabernacle. God says that they were to be made for glory and beauty. ‘Glory’ could literally be translated ‘weighty’ or ‘heavy’; as priests who served the very presence of God, they carried a huge, weighty responsibility. They represented the glory of God himself. They would bear the sins of the people into the very presence of a holy God. Their uniforms would display the weightiness of their responsibility. They were also for beauty. They were to match the beauty of the tabernacle itself, with its gold and its lavish royal colors. In fact, the cloth out of which these garments were made would match the cloth of the tabernacle itself; royal colors, blue, purple and scarlet, colors of the sky, beautiful flame colored garments. In chapter 39, which records the actual making of these garments, there is added detail about how gold leaf was to be hammered out and cut into threads to be woven into the holy garments. These would be uniforms appropriate for those who serve in the courts of the King of kings.

Names on His Shoulders

There is some very specific symbolism built into the uniform of the high priest.

9 You shall take two onyx stones, and engrave on them the names of the sons of Israel, 10 six of their names on the one stone, and the names of the remaining six on the other stone, in the order of their birth. 11 As a jeweler engraves signets, so shall you engrave the two stones with the names of the sons of Israel. You shall enclose them in settings of gold filigree. 12 And you shall set the two stones on the shoulder pieces of the ephod, as stones of remembrance for the sons of Israel. And Aaron shall bear their names before the LORD on his two shoulders for remembrance. 13 You shall make settings of gold filigree, 14 and two chains of pure gold, twisted like cords; and you shall attach the corded chains to the settings.

The high priest was to bear stones of remembrance on his shoulders into the presence of the LORD. These two onyx stones were engraved with the names of the the twelve tribes of Israel. He was to bear them on his shoulders. Shoulders are designed to bear burdens. This one man would carry the weight of the whole nation of Israel on his shoulders. He would carry them before God for remembrance. The exodus event started when the people of God cried out for help, and we are told that God heard, God remembered, God saw and God knew (Ex.2:23-25). Here, God was providing a regular way for his people to be symbolically and regularly brought to remembrance. Their names were carried into the presence of the LORD on the shoulders of the high priest.

Names on His Heart

There was a second way God’s people were to be carried by the high priest before the presence of the LORD.

15 “You shall make a breastpiece of judgment, in skilled work. In the style of the ephod you shall make it–of gold, blue and purple and scarlet yarns, and fine twined linen shall you make it. 16 It shall be square and doubled, a span its length and a span its breadth. 17 You shall set in it four rows of stones. A row of sardius, topaz, and carbuncle shall be the first row; 18 and the second row an emerald, a sapphire, and a diamond; 19 and the third row a jacinth, an agate, and an amethyst; 20 and the fourth row a beryl, an onyx, and a jasper. They shall be set in gold filigree. 21 There shall be twelve stones with their names according to the names of the sons of Israel. They shall be like signets, each engraved with its name, for the twelve tribes. 22 You shall make for the breastpiece twisted chains like cords, of pure gold. 23 And you shall make for the breastpiece two rings of gold, and put the two rings on the two edges of the breastpiece. 24 And you shall put the two cords of gold in the two rings at the edges of the breastpiece. 25 The two ends of the two cords you shall attach to the two settings of filigree, and so attach it in front to the shoulder pieces of the ephod. 26 You shall make two rings of gold, and put them at the two ends of the breastpiece, on its inside edge next to the ephod. 27 And you shall make two rings of gold, and attach them in front to the lower part of the two shoulder pieces of the ephod, at its seam above the skillfully woven band of the ephod. 28 And they shall bind the breastpiece by its rings to the rings of the ephod with a lace of blue, so that it may lie on the skillfully woven band of the ephod, so that the breastpiece shall not come loose from the ephod. 29 So Aaron shall bear the names of the sons of Israel in the breastpiece of judgment on his heart, when he goes into the Holy Place, to bring them to regular remembrance before the LORD.

The high priest carried the names of the tribes into God’s presence, six on each shoulder. He also had them each deeply engraved, as a signet ring would be engraved to leave an impression, each on a precious stone mounted in gold settings on a cloth pouch. This pouch was bound over his heart. This may provide the background to the expression of love we find in the Song of Solomon:

Song of Solomon 8:6 Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm, for love is strong as death, jealousy is fierce as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire, the very flame of the LORD. 7 Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it. If a man offered for love all the wealth of his house, he would be utterly despised.

The high priest was to engage both his strength (shoulders) and his mind, will and emotions (heart) in carrying his people before his LORD. This ministry of intercession was to engage his whole being.

God’s Guidance

This breastpiece, bearing the names of each of the tribes of Israel, also had another function. It was called ‘the breastpiece of judgment’; or ‘the breastpiece of decision’.

30 And in the breastpiece of judgment you shall put the Urim and the Thummim, and they shall be on Aaron’s heart, when he goes in before the LORD. Thus Aaron shall bear the judgment of the people of Israel on his heart before the LORD regularly.

We don’t know much about Urim and Thummim, except that their function was a means of receiving guidance from the LORD in making decisions. The words mean ‘lights and perfections’ or ‘lights and darks’, possibly differently colored stones that were used to determine the will of the LORD by casting lots. The breastpiece served as a pocket to hold the means by which the high priest could inquire direction of the LORD on behalf of the people.

Warning Bells

31 “You shall make the robe of the ephod all of blue. 32 It shall have an opening for the head in the middle of it, with a woven binding around the opening, like the opening in a garment, so that it may not tear. 33 On its hem you shall make pomegranates of blue and purple and scarlet yarns, around its hem, with bells of gold between them, 34 a golden bell and a pomegranate, a golden bell and a pomegranate, around the hem of the robe. 35 And it shall be on Aaron when he ministers, and its sound shall be heard when he goes into the Holy Place before the LORD, and when he comes out, so that he does not die.

The purpose of the bells on the hem of the robe of the high priest were to make noise and announce his presence in the holy place so that he would not die. Entering the presence of the LORD was to be taken seriously. The privacy of God’s holy presence was symbolically guarded by this part of the uniform.

Holiness of Mind

36 “You shall make a plate of pure gold and engrave on it, like the engraving of a signet, ‘Holy to the LORD.’ 37 And you shall fasten it on the turban by a cord of blue. It shall be on the front of the turban. 38 It shall be on Aaron’s forehead, and Aaron shall bear any guilt from the holy things that the people of Israel consecrate as their holy gifts. It shall regularly be on his forehead, that they may be accepted before the LORD.

There was to be a reminder, a declaration, bound on the forehead of the high priest, ‘holy to the LORD’. He was to keep at all times on the front of his mind, that he was set apart to the service of the Lord, and the people he represented were also a people set apart, holy. He was the one who would bear their guilt, and the sacrificial blood that covered it, into the presence of the Lord, and he would be the one to bear their gifts, set apart to the Lord, into the presence of the Lord.

To Cover Shame

The concluding note indicates that the rest of Aaron’s sons, those who were not the high priest, were to be similarly but much more simply clothed.

39 “You shall weave the coat in checker work of fine linen, and you shall make a turban of fine linen, and you shall make a sash embroidered with needlework. 40 “For Aaron’s sons you shall make coats and sashes and caps. You shall make them for glory and beauty. 41 And you shall put them on Aaron your brother, and on his sons with him, and shall anoint them and ordain them and consecrate them, that they may serve me as priests. 42 You shall make for them linen undergarments to cover their naked flesh. They shall reach from the hips to the thighs; 43 and they shall be on Aaron and on his sons when they go into the tent of meeting or when they come near the altar to minister in the Holy Place, lest they bear guilt and die. This shall be a statute forever for him and for his offspring after him.

Remember back in the garden of Eden, God walked with the man and the woman in perfect fellowship, and they were naked and not ashamed. Their rebellion and sin brought shame and guilt, which must now be covered. God’s priests, who were to enter into fellowship with him were to be appropriately clothed.

No Shoes

One thing is missing from this description of the priest’s clothes. There is no description of any kind of footwear. Nothing is said about shoes. God had told Moses (Ex.3:5) to take off his sandals because he was standing on holy ground. Now the priests who would minister in God’s holy tent, would apparently minister barefoot.

Our Greater High Priest

The author of Hebrews points back to the priests who descended from Aaron and tells us that a much greater High Priest is now on the scene. Our final High Priest is Jesus. Hebrews does not tell us that Jesus is the latest and greatest high priest. He points to the startling fact that Jesus doesn’t qualify to be one of these Old Testament priests at all (Heb.7:13-14). Jesus is from the wrong tribe. He is from the royal tribe of Judah. The priests who served in the tabernacle must be of the tribe of Levi, descended from Aaron. Jesus is a different kind of priest altogether. He tells us that Jesus is a priest not based on lineage, but on the power of an indestructible life (Heb.7:16). He points us to the fact that Old Testament priests had to be replaced because they kept dying (Heb.7:23-24), but Jesus “holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever.” He points us to the weakness and uselessness of the old priesthood, because it was ineffective to make anyone perfect (Heb.7:11, 18-19), and its need to be replaced by something better. And that something better is here. Jesus, who has perfect holiness written on his forehead. Jesus is the one who carries our burdens on his strong shoulders and binds us in love over his heart. It was prophesied in Isaiah

Isaiah 49:15 “Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. 16 Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands…

Jesus is the one who keeps us in constant remembrance before his Father.

Hebrews 7:25 Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.

Jesus is the one who guides us in paths of righteousness. Jesus is the one who covers our shame. Jesus clothes us in the royal robes of his own righteousness.

Isaiah 61:10 I will greatly rejoice in the LORD; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

In fact, now that the old is done away with by Jesus our great High Priest, he invites us, each one of us, all of us, to serve him as priests.

1Peter 2:5 you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

1Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~ www.ephraimbible.org

April 15, 2012 Posted by | Exodus, podcast | , , , , | Leave a comment

Resurrection and the Gospel; 1 Corinthians 15:1-8

http://www.ephraimbible.org/Sermons/20120408_1corinthians15_1-8.mp3

04/08 Resurrection and the Gospel; 1 Corinthians 15:1-8

Today is Resurrection Sunday. We celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The resurrection of Jesus is an essential part of the gospel message.

1 Corinthians 15:1 Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you–unless you believed in vain. 3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. 8 Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.

The gospel, or ‘good news’, is the good news message of salvation. Paul says we are being saved by it if we receive it, stand in it, and cling only to it. This is central. This is important. This is the focal point of the whole bible. Let’s look at this message.

Christ the Messiah

First, the good news message is a proclamation of good news about a person. The person is Christ. This is a message about Christ. But Christ is not a name, it’s a title. ‘Christ’ is a Greek word that means ‘anointed one’. It is a translation of the Hebrew word ‘Messiah’, the anointed one. What does it mean to be the anointed one?

In the Old Testament, anointing with oil was used as a way to set a person or thing apart for a particular role, office or use. Kings were anointed (1Sam.10:1), and priests were anointed (Ex.30:30). Even the tabernacle was anointed to set it apart as holy (Ex.40:9). The prophet Samuel was sent by the Lord to anoint Saul and then David to be king over Israel. God promised David an heir who would sit on his throne, who would rule forever (2Sam.7:12-17). Isaiah expands on this promise, explaining that this coming king will be Immanuel, God with us, born of a virgin (Is.7:14); that he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighy God, Father of Eternity, Prince of Peace, and he will rule on the throne of David forever (Is.9:6-7). The Jews of Jesus’ day were looking for this coming king who would free them from Roman oppression and restore Israel as a nation to her former glory. They were looking for a king, a political and military leader who would lead them in victory over their enemies and give them peace. That is what God’s anointed king would do. When Jesus provided food for the multitudes, they wanted to make him a king by force, but he avoided it (Jn.6:15). When Jesus asked his disciples privately who they believed him to be:

Matthew 16:16 Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

After Jesus commended Peter for having divine insight into his true identity,

Matthew 16:20 Then he strictly charged the disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ.

Christ Died

Then Jesus began to expand their view of what God’s Messiah must do.

Matthew 16:21 From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.

They had no category for this kind of Messiah. The Christ doesn’t hide his true identity; he comes with fanfare in glory. The Christ doesn’t suffer; he alleviates the suffering of his people. The Christ doesn’t die, he wins.

Matthew 16:22 And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.”

This is not what Peter or any of the other apostles had signed up for. They were his select men, appointed to rule with him when he ascended the throne and began to rule. They had already been jockeying among themselves for the chief positions. So Peter takes it upon himself to give campaign advice to his Lord. ‘Don’t talk like that Jesus! It’s bad for publicity.’ You see, Peter, and the rest of the apostles didn’t yet get it. They didn’t understand the full role of the coming Christ. This is probably a key reason why Judas defected. During the trial and after the crucifixion the disciples seem lost. This wasn’t part of the plan. This wasn’t supposed to happen. The Messiah wins. We thought it was Jesus. But now he’s dead.

What Jesus was beginning to teach his disciples, what they wouldn’t get until after his resurrection, was that there was another vein of prophecy that the Messiah must fulfill. True, the Christ would be the Conquering King who reigns forever, the divine Son who would sit on his Father’s throne. But the Christ must also be the suffering servant. Look back to Isaiah, chapters 52-53. In 52:7, we are pointed to the good news, good news of peace, of happiness, of salvation, good news of God reigning over his people. Messiah, the divine conquering king. In verse 13, he shall act wisely, he shall be high and lifted up, exalted. The Christ, ascending his throne. But as he goes on, we begin to wonder what kind of ‘lifted up’ this might be.

Isaiah 52:13 Behold, my servant shall act wisely; he shall be high and lifted up, and shall be exalted. 14 As many were astonished at you– his appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance, and his form beyond that of the children of mankind– 15 so shall he sprinkle many nations; kings shall shut their mouths because of him; for that which has not been told them they see, and that which they have not heard they understand.

Isaiah 53:1 Who has believed what they heard from us? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? 2 For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. 3 He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Christ Died For Our Sins

The shock of a disfigured Messiah, marred beyond human semblance, a sight so horrific that men hide their faces. A despised and rejected Messiah, a man of sorrows? Why? How? He goes on:

Isaiah 53:4 Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. 5 But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth. 8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people? 9 And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth.

The Messiah, stricken, smitten by God, afflicted, wounded, crushed, chastised, scarred, oppressed, led to the slaughter, taken away in judgment, cut off out of the land of the living. Why? What has he done to deserve this? And the answer resounds ‘Nothing!’ He has borne our griefs, carried our sorrows, wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities, chastised to bring us peace, scarred to bring us healing. It’s our fault. We like sheep have gone astray. We insist on rebelling against him and doing life our own way. But the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

Isaiah 53:10 Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for sin, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. 11 Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors.

You see, for the conquering King to bring in his reign of righteousness and everlasting peace, he must make peace between God and sinful man. The first thing he must conquer is not the Romans, but our hard, rebellious hearts. He must make us, sinners, righteous! He bears our iniquities. He is the final offering for sin. He satisfies the justice of a holy God, being crushed for our sins. He, the righteous one, made intercession for us, and makes us to be accounted righteous.

So the gospel message begins: “Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures.” Christ, the conquering King, the Divine Son of God, the One who will reign forever, died. He died, not of old age, not of natural causes, not for anything he had done, but ‘for our sins’; to pay the price our sins deserve. He substituted himself for us in order to make peace between God and us. Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures. The Messiah came as suffering servant to fulfill the the prophecies. He came to give his own life a ransom for many. He came as the seed of the woman to crush the head of the serpent. He came to be the sacrificial Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures.

That He Was Buried

The second point of the gospel message is ‘that he was buried.’ What is the significance of the Roman soldiers hastening the crucifixion by breaking the legs of their victims, but finding Jesus already dead and running him through with a spear? What is the significance of Joseph’s request to bury the body and Pilate’s demand to verify that he was indeed dead, the hurried wrapping in burial cloths and spices, the placing in a new tomb and rolling a huge stone to seal the entrance? What is the significance of the Jewish leaders’ fears that the disciples might steal the body and securing a guard of soldiers and an official edict to seal the tomb and verify that it was undisturbed? The significance of ‘that he was buried’ is to certify that he was indeed dead. The Christ was dead and buried.

That He Was Raised On The Third Day In Accordance With the Scriptures

The third point of the good news is that Jesus did not stay dead. He is alive! Jesus was raised from the dead on Sunday morning! The significance of the resurrection is that Jesus accomplished what he set out to do. He was perfectly obedient to his Father. He took the cup of God’s wrath against us, and drank every dark drop. He carried our sins to the cross, paid for them in full, and cried out ‘it is finished’. Jesus voluntarily gave his life as a ransom for us. The Father was pleased with his sacrifice, and showed his approval by raising him from the dead.

The resurrection of Jesus is also said to be ‘in accordance with the scriptures’. The passage we read in Isaiah 53 requires a resurrection. God promises, because of his obedience to death, to divide him a portion with the many.

The New Testament writers point to Psalm 16, a Psalm of David, that says ‘you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption’ (Ps.16:10), and they make the point that this was not fulfilled in David, because he died and stayed dead. It must be pointing to Jesus, David’s greater Son. Paul in 1 Corinthians 15 tells us that Jesus is the firstfruits of the resurrection – pointing to our future physical resurrection that will be like Jesus’ resurrection. Leviticus 23:10-11 describes the offering of firstfruits, which was to be presented on the day after the Sabbath; the Sunday after the Passover.

And That He Appeared

The final point in the proclamation of the gospel is that the resurrected Jesus appeared.

5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. 8 Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.

The apostle here lays out the incontrovertible evidence of the authenticity of the resurrection. The resurrection of Jesus was no hallucination, no trick of the active imagination, no wishful thinking on the part of his disciples. Jesus appeared numerous times to different groups of people, many of whom were skeptical and certainly not expecting it. On one occasion the resurrected Jesus appeared to more than five hundred brothers, and Paul invites his original readers to go interview them to verify the claim.

In our culture, faith is often defined as believing something that has no evidence to back it up. We hear things like ‘it takes a lot of faith to believe that,’ indicating that the less evidence there is to support a claim, the more faith it takes to believe it, and the greatest amount of faith is required to believe something that is contradicted by the facts. This is not biblical faith, and God does not expect us to believe things for which there is no evidence. Biblical faith is placing trust or confidence in God and his word because he has proven himself trustworthy.

God is not opposed to giving us a foundation of solid evidence on which our faith can rest. In the Old Testament, God pointed to his ability to declare things that had not yet happened, so that when they happened, it would prove that he is who he claims to be. Consider the disciple Thomas. In God’s providence, he was not in the room when Jesus first presented himself alive to his disciples.

John 20:24 Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.”

Thomas was a committed follower of Jesus. He believed that Jesus was the promised Messiah, the coming King. On one occasion, he declared his readiness to follow Jesus to the death if that was what he required (Jn.11:16). Thomas believed, but now the evidence was pointing in a different direction. Jesus was dead. This didn’t fit what he knew of the scriptures, so he must have been wrong about Jesus. He had been deceived. He had given three years of his life to following a lie. He would not be duped again. He demanded hard evidence. It would take more than a vision to convince him. He demanded proof that the one who was claiming to be Jesus resurrected was really the same Jesus he had known. He needed to know that this was not an identical twin or a look-alike. He wanted to see the unmistakable evidence of continuity that this was the same Jesus who had been nailed to a cross, who had a spear thrust into his side penetrating his heart.

John 20:26 Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.”

Jesus appears, and he does not rebuke Thomas for his lack of faith. He invites him to test the evidence for himself He does not condemn him for doubting, but he tells him that the time for doubting is over now that the evidence is here. Thomas, who up to this point was resolved in his skepticism, is persuaded by the evidence.

John 20:28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

Thomas believes. He believes that this crucified Messiah is indeed the Lord of the universe, God in the flesh. Thomas trusts him personally as his own Lord and God. Thomas is persuaded by the evidence, a converted skeptic. The statement of Jesus is often misunderstood as scolding Thomas for his demand for proof. In the context this cannot be. Jesus did not deride Thomas for being skeptical. He gladly offered himself as evidence. Jesus doesn’t say that it would have been better if Thomas had believed something he thought was not true. God never asks us to believe something that is not true. Thomas was called by Jesus to be a witness. Thomas, like the other Apostles, was called to bear witness to Jesus, to his life, death and resurrection. He saw, and he testified, so that we who have not seen, who could not be there, can read his eye-witness account and believe. Jesus was looking beyond Thomas to those skeptics today who would be persuaded by the historical evidence of Thomas’ testimony and believe. And he calls us blessed. This is the context of Thomas’ statement in John’s gospel.

John 20:28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” 30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

This is the good news message of salvation. That the Messiah died for our sins according to the scriptures, that he was indeed dead and buried, that he was raised back to life by his Father as proof that he is who he claimed to be, and that this proof was documented by multiple eyewitnesses, including skeptics, so that we, today, reading the historical record, can be convinced to place our trust in the sin bearing work of God’s Messiah. 

Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~ www.ephraimbible.org

April 8, 2012 Posted by | occasional, podcast | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Good Friday Devotional; Matthew 27:41-42

http://www.ephraimbible.org/Sermons/20120406_good_friday.mp3

04/06 Good Friday

He saved others; he cannot save himself

Matthew 27:41 So also the chief priests, with the scribes and elders, mocked him, saying, 42 “He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him.

Mark 15:31 So also the chief priests with the scribes mocked him to one another, saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. 32 Let the Christ, the King of Israel, come down now from the cross that we may see and believe.” Those who were crucified with him also reviled him.

Luke 23:35 And the people stood by, watching, but the rulers scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!”

The mocking of the religious leaders is dripping with irony. They meant it to be ironic; he who saved others is now rendered completely helpless. But the irony is deeper than even they knew. Could Jesus save himself? What would be the implications of that? What does it mean to be saved?

Jesus claimed to be able to summon more than twelve legions of angels to come to his assistance (Mt.26:53). If we really understand who Jesus is, we know that it was not the soldiers and the nails that held him on the cross. Hours earlier, he had spoken a word and the whole group that came to arrest him drew back and fell to the ground. In a few days, he will appear inside a locked room. No, it was not the nails or the soldiers that prevented him from saving himself. It was not his weakened physical condition, so weakened from the beatings and blood loss that he could not carry a wooden beam to the site of crucifixion, that kept him from coming down from the cross.

To understand what it means that he could not save himself, we need to look more carefully at what it means to be saved. The religious leaders acknowledged that Jesus had saved others. He had rescued others from sickness, from disease, from physical disabilities, even from death. But Jesus also saved in a more profound way. When a small group could not access Jesus because of the crowd, they startled everyone by digging through the roof and lowering their paralyzed friend down through the hole right in front of Jesus. Jesus startled everyone even more by the way he responded. Clearly the friends brought their paralyzed friend to Jesus because they believed he could make him walk again. But Jesus intends to save him on a much deeper level. He says “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.” (Mt.9:2; cf. Mk.2:5; Lk.5:20).

When the angel told Joseph to name his fiance’s baby ‘Jesus’, it was because ‘he will save his people from their sins‘ (Mt.1:21). The name ‘Jesus’ or Yeshua means ‘YHWH saves’.

When people grumbled because Jesus went to eat with a tax collector, a sinner of the worst kind, Jesus replied “today salvation has come to this house” and he said “the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” (Lk.19:9-10).

When a woman of the streets came in and wet Jesus’ feet with her tears and let down her hair to dry them, everyone at the table was outraged, because of the reputation of this woman. Jesus highlights the fact that she was not just your average sinner, but someone whose sins were many, and he turned to her and said “your sins are forgiven” (Lk.7:48).

Each time Jesus claimed to forgive sins, the crowds were shocked, because they rightly understood that all sins are ultimately an offense against God, and only the offended party can forgive sins. Jesus was making, in their opinion, the blasphemous claim to be God. We know that he was indeed claiming to be God, and that he was telling the truth. But even God does not forgive sins without appropriate sacrifice. God will by no means clear the guilty” (Ex.34:7; Num.14:18; Nah.1:3). A judge who says to a rapist or a murderer ‘it’s okay, I forgive you’ would simply not be doing his job. He has an obligation to the state and to society and to the offended party to promote justice. God has an obligation to himself, to his own character. That is why Jesus is hanging on that cross. Because my sin has dishonored the infinite God, it demands and infinite punishment. I, a finite creature, could be punished for an infinite period of time; or the infinite God could pay the infinite price in my place. That is what is happening on the cross. Jesus, the infinite God, takes the guilt of my sins on himself and suffers infinite punishment. So when Jesus says to the paralyzed man or to the tax collector or to the woman of the city ‘your sins are forgiven’, he is saying not only that he is God, the offended party, but also that he can justly forgive because he is about to pay the infinite price. Jesus said he “came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mt.20:28; Mk.10:45).

When the rulers mocked Jesus, saying ‘he saved others; he cannot save himself’, the irony was that they spoke a truth deeper than they knew. In order to save others in the deepest sense, he could not save himself.

They also said “let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him.” This, too, on a superficial level was probably true. If Jesus summoned twelve legions of angels and supernaturally freed himself from the nails and healed himself of the scars and revealed his true identity in a blaze of transfiguration glory, the religious leaders would have to eat their words and would be forced to acknowledge that this Jesus must indeed be who he claimed to be. But that is not what believing, in the distinctly Christian sense, is. When a Christian says ‘I believe in Jesus’, what they mean is ‘I am trusting in Jesus to forgive my sins based on the payment he made on the cross.’ A Jesus who came down from the cross would be a Jesus who chose to disobeyed his Father. A Jesus who came down from the cross would be a Jesus who aborted the saving work he came to accomplish at its most critical point. That would be a Jesus who offered forgiveness but refused to make the necessary payment. A Jesus who came down from the cross would not be a Jesus worthy being believed in, in the truest sense of the word. For Jesus to be the object of our saving faith, he could not come down from the cross. He could not come down, not because of inability, but out of obedience and love. Jesus willfully chose to endure the cross so that we who believe in him could be saved.

Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~ www.ephraimbible.org

April 6, 2012 Posted by | occasional, podcast | , , , | Leave a comment

Exodus 27; Furniture in God’s Tent – The Grill and The Courtyard

http://www.ephraimbible.org/Sermons/20120401_exodus27.mp3

04/01 Exodus 27 Furniture in God’s Tent: The Grill and The Courtyard

God told his people to “make me a sanctuary, that I may dwell in their midst” (Ex.25:8). We have been studying God’s tent, the place where God taught his people what it means to have a holy God living with them. God started by describing the function and the inner beauty of his presence and worked backward, out away from the visible manifestation of his glory. The glory of his presence would be there above and between the golden cherubim, who served as his throne. These angelic creatures formed part of the lid that covered the documents of the covenant, which were contained in a box overlaid with gold. This cover is where sacrificial blood was applied once a year, on the Day of Atonement. This room was made by exquisitely decorated tapestry draped over a gold overlaid framework that provided the structure for the tent, and a curtain of the same tapestry separated this room from the rest of the tent. Outside the curtain, there was a gold table, piled high with an abundance of bread and wine, and there was a gold almond tree with seven olive oil lamps illuminating the room. Over the linen tapestry there were three more protective layers; goats hair, tanned ram’s skins, and the hides of the sea cow. There was another curtain, also ornate, but lacking the cherubim, that served to separate the tent itself from the outer courtyard. It is outside the main tent, to the altar and the courtyard that we turn our attention today. We will start by looking at the altar.

The Altar of Burnt Offering

Exodus 27:1 “You shall make the altar of acacia wood, five cubits long and five cubits broad. The altar shall be square, and its height shall be three cubits. 2 And you shall make horns for it on its four corners; its horns shall be of one piece with it, and you shall overlay it with bronze. 3 You shall make pots for it to receive its ashes, and shovels and basins and forks and fire pans. You shall make all its utensils of bronze. 4 You shall also make for it a grating, a network of bronze, and on the net you shall make four bronze rings at its four corners. 5 And you shall set it under the ledge of the altar so that the net extends halfway down the altar. 6 And you shall make poles for the altar, poles of acacia wood, and overlay them with bronze. 7 And the poles shall be put through the rings, so that the poles are on the two sides of the altar when it is carried. 8 You shall make it hollow, with boards. As it has been shown you on the mountain, so shall it be made.

And we read of the actual construction in chapter 38.

Exodus 38:1 He made the altar of burnt offering of acacia wood. Five cubits was its length, and five cubits its breadth. It was square, and three cubits was its height. 2 He made horns for it on its four corners. Its horns were of one piece with it, and he overlaid it with bronze. 3 And he made all the utensils of the altar, the pots, the shovels, the basins, the forks, and the fire pans. He made all its utensils of bronze. 4 And he made for the altar a grating, a network of bronze, under its ledge, extending halfway down. 5 He cast four rings on the four corners of the bronze grating as holders for the poles. 6 He made the poles of acacia wood and overlaid them with bronze. 7 And he put the poles through the rings on the sides of the altar to carry it with them. He made it hollow, with boards.

God gives us a glimpse into the glory of his presence, and then describes how it is that we, sinners, are to be restored to a right relationship with him. The sacrificial altar is central to the worship of God. Without the altar of sacrifice, there is no way for a sinner to stand in the presence of the holy God. Functionally, it might help to think of the altar as a large barbeque grill. It was 7.5′ square with bronze sides standing 4.5′ tall, an open top and bottom, and a bronze grating suspended halfway down the inside. For a comparison, most large backyard bbq grills have about 300 – 600 square inches of grilling surface area; room to grill 24 – 30 burgers. The bronze altar would have 8,100 square inches of grilling surface; enough room to grill over 500 burgers at once. Along with the altar, the bronze utensils that would be used with it are described; ash pots, shovels, sprinkling basins, meat forks, and fire pans.

God’s Just Judgment

Bronze is a metal that withstands high temperatures well, which is why it is associated with judgment in the bible. In Revelation 20, we see God seated as the final judge.

Revelation 20:11 Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. 12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. 13 And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. 14 Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

Notice in this passage that people are judged according to what they have done, and everyone who is judged based on performance is condemned. Only those whose names are in the book of life are exempted from judgment. All who are judged on the basis of their works are thrown into the lake of fire, because as Isaiah tells us “all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment” (64:6); and the author of Hebrews tell us we must repent of our dead works (6:1; 9:14). The Psalmist pleads for mercy rather than justice. In Psalm 143 he says:

Psalm 143:2 Enter not into judgment with your servant, for no one living is righteous before you.

And Paul tells us in Romans that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (3:23); and that the law “speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight” (3:19-20).

Provision of a Substitute

There is no escape for sinners from the just wrath of a holy God; rebels who refuse to respect their Creator, wretches who prefer to run after their own desires rather than worship their God. There is no escape, unless God provides the sacrifice of a substitute. And this is exactly what God did.

Leviticus 17:11 For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it for you on the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement by the life.

“The wages of sin is death” (Rom.6:23), and God allowed the death of an innocent substitute in place of the offending sinner to bring reconciliation. The use of this altar is described in Leviticus 1.

Leviticus 1:3 “If his offering is a burnt offering from the herd, he shall offer a male without blemish. He shall bring it to the entrance of the tent of meeting, that he may be accepted before the LORD. 4 He shall lay his hand on the head of the burnt offering, and it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him. 5 Then he shall kill the bull before the LORD, and Aaron’s sons the priests shall bring the blood and throw the blood against the sides of the altar that is at the entrance of the tent of meeting. 6 Then he shall flay the burnt offering and cut it into pieces, 7 and the sons of Aaron the priest shall put fire on the altar and arrange wood on the fire. 8 And Aaron’s sons the priests shall arrange the pieces, the head, and the fat, on the wood that is on the fire on the altar; 9 but its entrails and its legs he shall wash with water. And the priest shall burn all of it on the altar, as a burnt offering, a food offering with a pleasing aroma to the LORD.

This is a graphic bloody scene, because our sin is a gruesome offense against the honor of our good God who loves us. I must acknowledge that I have offended a holy God, and that my sin warrants the fire of eternal death. I must lay my guilty hands on the head of the innocent substitute, and God accepts that substitute in my place.

A Perpetual Offering

This was an ongoing, perpetual offering, because I am a repeat offender. Continually, I refuse to love and honor God above all else. Continually, I am guilty before him of breaking his greatest commandment.

Leviticus 6:9 “Command Aaron and his sons, saying, This is the law of the burnt offering. The burnt offering shall be on the hearth on the altar all night until the morning, and the fire of the altar shall be kept burning on it. …12 The fire on the altar shall be kept burning on it; it shall not go out. The priest shall burn wood on it every morning, and he shall arrange the burnt offering on it and shall burn on it the fat of the peace offerings. 13 Fire shall be kept burning on the altar continually; it shall not go out.

A Celebration

The whole burnt offering was the primary, foundational offering, the one that answered our sin problem. The whole animal went up in smoke to signify the severity of our sin and to satisfy God’s justice. But the whole burnt offering was not the only kind of offering to be placed on this altar. There was the gift offering – a gift of food, part of which was burnt on the altar to God, and the rest given as food to the priests. There was the fellowship offering, a response to the results of the burnt offering, celebrating peace with God. This fellowship offering could express a sacrifice of thanksgiving, a vow, or a freewill offering (Lev.7:11-21). These are some of the offerings listed in Deuteronomy 12.

Deuteronomy 12:6 and there you shall bring your burnt offerings and your sacrifices, your tithes and the contribution that you present, your vow offerings, your freewill offerings, and the firstborn of your herd and of your flock. 7 And there you shall eat before the LORD your God, and you shall rejoice, you and your households, in all that you undertake, in which the LORD your God has blessed you.

…11 then to the place that the LORD your God will choose, to make his name dwell there, there you shall bring all that I command you: your burnt offerings and your sacrifices, your tithes and the contribution that you present, and all your finest vow offerings that you vow to the LORD. 12 And you shall rejoice before the LORD your God, you and your sons and your daughters, your male servants and your female servants, and the Levite that is within your towns, since he has no portion or inheritance with you. (cf. Deut.14:26; 27:7)

These offerings were to be characterized by rejoicing, celebrating the goodness of God in providing salvation and his abundant blessing. A portion of the animal sacrificed was left on the altar as an offering for the Lord, but much of the meat was grilled there and then eaten by the worshipers in the courtyard. Let’s look at the courtyard.

The Courtyard

Exodus 27:9 “You shall make the court of the tabernacle. On the south side the court shall have hangings of fine twined linen a hundred cubits long for one side. 10 Its twenty pillars and their twenty bases shall be of bronze, but the hooks of the pillars and their fillets shall be of silver. 11 And likewise for its length on the north side there shall be hangings a hundred cubits long, its pillars twenty and their bases twenty, of bronze, but the hooks of the pillars and their fillets shall be of silver. 12 And for the breadth of the court on the west side there shall be hangings for fifty cubits, with ten pillars and ten bases. 13 The breadth of the court on the front to the east shall be fifty cubits. 14 The hangings for the one side of the gate shall be fifteen cubits, with their three pillars and three bases. 15 On the other side the hangings shall be fifteen cubits, with their three pillars and three bases. 16 For the gate of the court there shall be a screen twenty cubits long, of blue and purple and scarlet yarns and fine twined linen, embroidered with needlework. It shall have four pillars and with them four bases. 17 All the pillars around the court shall be filleted with silver. Their hooks shall be of silver, and their bases of bronze. 18 The length of the court shall be a hundred cubits, the breadth fifty, and the height five cubits, with hangings of fine twined linen and bases of bronze. 19 All the utensils of the tabernacle for every use, and all its pegs and all the pegs of the court, shall be of bronze.

And we read of the actual construction in Exodus 38.

Exodus 38:9 And he made the court. For the south side the hangings of the court were of fine twined linen, a hundred cubits; 10 their twenty pillars and their twenty bases were of bronze, but the hooks of the pillars and their fillets were of silver. 11 And for the north side there were hangings of a hundred cubits, their twenty pillars, their twenty bases were of bronze, but the hooks of the pillars and their fillets were of silver. 12 And for the west side were hangings of fifty cubits, their ten pillars, and their ten bases; the hooks of the pillars and their fillets were of silver. 13 And for the front to the east, fifty cubits. 14 The hangings for one side of the gate were fifteen cubits, with their three pillars and three bases. 15 And so for the other side. On both sides of the gate of the court were hangings of fifteen cubits, with their three pillars and their three bases. 16 All the hangings around the court were of fine twined linen. 17 And the bases for the pillars were of bronze, but the hooks of the pillars and their fillets were of silver. The overlaying of their capitals was also of silver, and all the pillars of the court were filleted with silver. 18 And the screen for the gate of the court was embroidered with needlework in blue and purple and scarlet yarns and fine twined linen. It was twenty cubits long and five cubits high in its breadth, corresponding to the hangings of the court. 19 And their pillars were four in number. Their four bases were of bronze, their hooks of silver, and the overlaying of their capitals and their fillets of silver. 20 And all the pegs for the tabernacle and for the court all around were of bronze.

This courtyard was created around God’s tent by 7.5′ tall linen curtains hung on silver hooks from pillars set in bronze bases. The courtyard would be 150′ long and 75′ wide, with one 30′ entrance in the center of the east wall. The screen for the gate was made to match the colorful embroidery of the front covering of God’s tent. This was a large courtyard, providing over 10,000 square feet of space for worshipers to come sacrifice and celebrate and eat in God’s presence. All who would come on God’s terms were welcome. Hundreds if not a thousand could gather at one time in God’s courtyard to enjoy his goodness. Outdoor cooking and eating would be the social norm for a tent community; cooking and meals would not happen inside a tent, so God would be perceived as a generous and hospitable king, welcoming all to come and eat with him in his courts. We can see from this that God enjoys his people gathering together to worship him and to celebrate his forgiveness.

Jesus

The first thing a worshiper would see as they enter the courtyard through the gate on the east end was the continual fire burning on the large altar, reminding of their sin and need for sacrifice. Jesus may have had this in mind when he said

John 10:7 So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. … 9 I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. 11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

In 1 Corinthians 10, in warning us against participation in idolatry, Paul parallels Israel eating the Old Testament sacrifices with our taking the bread and the cup in communion.

1 Corinthians 10:16 The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? 17 Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread. 18 Consider the people of Israel: are not those who eat the sacrifices participants in the altar?

All of Israel was to come to the one altar. There was one means of dealing with sin. There was only one method of forgiveness that they all had in common. The people of Israel were unified in that they all participated in the one altar, and that altar pointed toward Jesus. We, as God’s new covenant people, are united in that there is only one sacrifice that is sufficient to deal with all our sin; the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. We who are many become one because we have one thing in common, we find full and free forgiveness in Jesus, the Lamb of God. We participate in the blood of Jesus as needy sinners who cling to nothing but the blood of Jesus for salvation. We participate in the broken body of Jesus as we feed on him and draw strength and sustenance from him.

The author of Hebrews points us to Jesus, who is so far superior to the Old Testament system, which was merely a shadow pointing us to him.

Hebrews 13:10 We have an altar from which those who serve the tent have no right to eat.

Jesus is our altar.

He goes on to point us to the kind of sacrifices that we, who have been forgiven by Jesus, should offer.

Hebrews 13:15 Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. 16 Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. 17 Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.

Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~ www.ephraimbible.org

April 1, 2012 Posted by | Exodus, podcast | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment