Thursday, January 7, 2016

The Final Atoning Sacrifice for Sin

As I have been reading the Old Testament and the New Testament, I continue to see unbelievable correlations. Today, I was studying Exodus and I saw something that I have never seen before that I would like to share with you. Mind you, I am not a Bible scholar, nor have I ever attended a Bible college or any theological studies course. I am only sharing with you what I believe the Holy Spirit laid on my heart as I was reading.

As I sat and read Exodus 30, I immediately went back and read Luke 7, I was actually blown away by what I read and discovered. Jesus is no doubt the Savior of the world; the PERFECT atoning sacrifice for all the sins of humanity.

Everything in the Bible points to Jesus and the redemption promise God planned since the fall of man; when Adam and Eve first sinned against God's commandments.  I believe God has revealed His plan to redeem humanity all through the Old Testament. More and more I see how Jesus is revealed through the narratives written as early as even Genesis. (If you are interested in learning more about what the Old Testament reveals, I suggest you read the blog post Old is New Concealed, and New is Old Revealed.)

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If you will hang with me for a few minutes, I will share a quick background...From Exodus chapter 20 through 23, Moses writes about God's new law for the Israelites. From chapter 24 through chapter 30, God confirmed His covenant with His chosen people and established His commandments for sacrificial atonement of sins. In order for the Israelites to receive forgiveness of sins, a priest had to be established through certain consecration methods in order to even approach the altar standing in front of the atonement cover, or curtain that is over the Ark of the Covenant, in the Tabernacle. This was the most holy place where God resided in the Tabernacle and dwelt among the people. He resided in the "skin" of the curtain covering the ark. (God resides in skin.)

During these times in Israel's history, there were certain acts that the priest had to perform in order to approach God. Exodus 30 describes the altar of incense and the sacred anointing oil that could only be used for the purpose of consecration before God and preparation for the altar. No other incense or oil could be used and the sacred oil and incense could not be used for any other purpose.
"Do not offer on this altar any other incense or any burnt offering or grain offering, and do not pour a drink offering on it. Once a year Aaron shall make atonement on its horns. This annual atonement must be made with the blood of the atoning sin offering for the generations to come. It is most holy to the Lord." Exodus 30:9-10
As you read through the chapter you learn about the atonement money and the basin for washing. Aaron and his sons (all priests consecrated to God) had to wash their hands and feet before they entered the tent of meetings (or the tabernacle).

Verses 22-33 are God's instruction to Moses on how to create the anointing oil, which a major ingredient was myrrh (gall). It was used for anointing everything in the tabernacle. Including all the gold covered furnishings and the ark of the covenant. Verses 34 - 38 describe how God expected the incense to be made, which included frankincense. God was very specific about the ingredients and the amount for both the oil and the incense. He also made it very clear that they should not use any of that type of oil or incense on anything else. Both were very sacred and holy to the Lord and used ONLY to prepare the altar of atonement for sins and consecrate for holiness. (Exodus 30:30)

When I read all of this describing the tabernacle and the furnishings and then the anointing oil and incense, my mind went immediately to Luke 7. You may be thinking, why?? If you will go read that chapter, you will see that Jesus was anointed by a sinful woman before He was arrested and crucified.
"A woman in that town [Bethany] who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee's house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them." Luke 7:37-38
A couple of things popped in my mind... One, was this a correlation between what the priests did in the tabernacle before atoning for sin and Jesus being anointed by the woman? A. woman. anointing Jesus before His sacrifice?... whoa.  This woman knew how great her sin was and knew that Jesus forgave sin.... A woman was the first human to sin. 
"It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial." John 12:7
The second thing I thought of was was when Jesus said..
"Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven - as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little." Luke 7:47
Just as there is a wash basin in front of the tabernacle for washing before making a presentation before God, the woman washed His feet with her tears. Only a few days before the passover when Jesus was to be presented before God. Just before Jesus was to be sacrificed for our MANY sins.

We have been forgiven much by the atoning blood sacrifice of Jesus who died on the cross! Jesus said...
"Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her." Matthew 26:13 
And look!!! Here I am... writing about this story for you, from my blog, 2016 years after His birth! WOW!

wise men
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The other thing that popped in my head after reading Exodus chapter 30 was the Magi. Yes... the Magi... the three wise kings of the orient who bore the gifts that traveled so far.... I thought about the three gifts they carried; gold, frankincense, and myrrh. The very same ingredients God described very clearly to be used for the furnishings of the tabernacle, the oil, and the incense.

The Bible does not specifically state the reason why the Magi brought these three particular items, but I believe there is a much deeper meaning. Some speculate that the Gold represents Jesus' divinity; God in the flesh. I believe that could be accurate. All of the furnishings and the ark in the tabernacle where overlaid with gold. Everything in the tabernacle represented holiness. Jesus is Holy!

Now there is frankincense which has a pleasant odor. The priests had to burn incense on the altar of incense in the tabernacle every day - all day long. (Exodus 30:7-10) This altar was also used for only one other reason - the annual blood atonement for sin offering. Frankincense represents Jesus willingness to become the sin offering, wholly giving Himself up as the final sacrifice for sin. Jesus is Perfect, Righteous, and Willing!

And finally myrrh. Myrrh was a spice used for embalming, a poison. Myrrh is said to represent suffering, affliction, or bitterness. It is also called, "gall". When Jesus was on the cross, he was offered "gall" so he wouldn't be able to feel His pain, but He refused it. (Matthew 27:34) He suffered greatly and died on the cross for us. Myrrh was also used as a major ingredient in the sacred anointing oil in Exodus 30. Again, this oil was ONLY used to concecrate for holiness. Were the wise men, and the sinful woman in Luke 7, symbolizing the anointing of Jesus? JESUS IS OUR HIGH PRIEST AND KING!

I absolutely love learning what the Holy Spirit reveals from the Word of God. It amazes me... the more I read, the more unbelievable correlations between Old and New Testaments are revealed... evidence that each letter, word, verse, chapter, and book is divinely inspired by God Himself. Our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ who was resurrected from the grave and dwells with those who believe. In our own skin! AMEN!
"If you declare with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." Romans 10:9  
"Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." Romans 10:13

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