As I am reading through the Bible chronologically this year, admittedly there are times when I get into some drier passages. Passages can go on for chapters with genealogies or list of rules and regulations. For the last two weeks I have been reading the end of Exodus and most of Leviticus. These chapters have been filled with Levitical laws related to the tabernacle, the priests, the offerings, the festivals and most recently on holy living.
Many of the laws are quite detailed; some explain how to sacrifice an animal by first removing its kidneys and liver and cleaning the hind legs. Other laws cover how a priest is to inspect a patch of eczema on your skin to determine if you should be considered ceremonially clean or unclean.
Because of the presence of God in the Israel camp (pillar of smote by day, pillar of fire by night), the Israelites had to be a holy people. They constantly had to be thinking about their sin and guilt. They constantly were making offerings for sin and guilt seeking the forgiveness of God. One whole tribe of the Nation of Israel, the Levites, were dedicated to helping the nation relate to God through these rules, regulations, laws, offerings and feasts. Approximately 1/12 of the entire nation were priests working to help the people be seen as holy in the eyes of God.
Reading about all these procedures, rules and laws reminds me of how good we have it now. We now have one High Priest, Jesus Christ, who is constantly interceding to God the Father on our behalf. He is a perfect Priest, holy and blameless, set apart from Sinners. God is still a holy God and he must still be separated from the sin of man, but Christ’s death, burial and resurrection has made it possible for us to one day arrive into the presence of God and be seen as sinless, blameless and acceptable to God, as one of His children.
From Hebrews 7 (NIV):
23Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office; 24but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. 25Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.
26Such a high priest meets our need—one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens. 27Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself. 28For the law appoints as high priests men who are weak; but the oath, which came after the law, appointed the Son, who has been made perfect forever.