Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | April 29, 2014

Coming to the Presence of God with Christ as our Forerunner, as our High Priest, and as our Source of all the promises

Today’s devotion comes from Leviticus 16:1-6.

“Now the Lord spoke to Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron, when they had approached the presence of the Lord and died.  The Lord said to Moses:

“Tell your brother Aaron that he shall not enter at any time into the holy place inside the veil, before the mercy seat which is on the ark, or he will die;  for I will appear in the cloud over the mercy seat.   Aaron shall enter the holy place with this:  with a bull for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering.  He shall put on the holy linen tunic, and the linen undergarments shall be next to his body, and he shall be girded with the linen sash and attired with the linen turban (these are holy garments).  Then he shall bathe his body in water and put them on.  He shall take from the congregation of the sons of Israel two male goats for a sin offering and one ram for a burnt offering.  Then Aaron shall offer the bull for the sin offering which is for himself, that he may make atonement for himself and for his household.”  Leviticus 16:1-6.

————–

Today’s Scripture, by its reference to “the death of the two sons of Aaron”, first of all reminds us of the pure and strict holiness of God taught by the lesson of Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, in Leviticus 10:1-3.

“Now Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took their respective firepans, and after putting fire in them, placed incense on it and offered strange fire before the Lord, which He had not commanded them.  And fire came out from the presence of the Lord and consumed them, and they died before the Lord.  Then Moses said to Aaron, “It is what the Lord spoke, saying,

‘By those who come near Me I will be treated as holy,
And before all the people I will be honored.’”  Leviticus 10:1-3.

Then, the LORD gave the specific warning and commands to Moses to relay to Aaron that we read in today’s Scripture.

“The Lord said to Moses:

“Tell your brother Aaron that he shall not enter at any time into the holy place inside the veil, before the mercy seat which is on the ark, or he will die;  for I will appear in the cloud over the mercy seat.   Aaron shall enter the holy place with this:  with a bull for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering.  He shall put on the holy linen tunic …”  And, the specific commands for what Aaron should do to prepare himself to make atonement continue from Verse 2 until at least Verse 6.

Hebrews 5:1-4 describes the meaning of today’s Scripture.

“For every high priest taken from among men is appointed on behalf of men in things pertaining to God, in order to offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins;  he can deal gently with the ignorant and misguided, since he himself also is beset with weakness;  and because of it he is obligated to offer sacrifices for sins, as for the people, so also for himself.  And no one takes the honor to himself, but receives it when he is called by God, even as Aaron was.”  Hebrews 5:1-4.

Hebrews Chapter 5 then continues by talking about Christ “being designated by God as a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.”  Hebrews 5:10.

“Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of instruction about washings and laying on of hands, and the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment.”  Hebrews 6:1-2.

“And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

For when God made the promise to Abraham, since He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, saying, “I will surely bless you and I will surely multiply you.”  And so, having patiently waited, he obtained the promise.  For men swear by one greater than themselves, and with them an oath given as confirmation is an end of every dispute.  In the same way God, desiring even more to show to the heirs of the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose, interposed with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us.  This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil, where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.”  Hebrews 6:11-20.

And so, we enter the veil as Aaron did to come to the thrice holy presence of God, but with so much more than the sin offering and burnt offering and holy linen tunic that Aaron brought.  We come to the presence of God with Christ as our forerunner for us, with Christ as our high priest, and with Christ as our source of all the promises summarized by the promise given to Abraham:  “I will surely bless you and I will surely multiply you.”  
 


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