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Jesus the Priest

March 26, 2012

Scott Whynot

The Old Testament of the Bible includes the laws and regulations surrounding Israelite priesthood.  A priest had a variety of functions, but one of the most important was to offer the blood sacrifices.

To the horror of every PETA supporter, animal sacrifices were common at that time.  However, there was a certain sacrifice only preformed once a year.  On the Day of Atonement, the high priest would enter into the Holy of Holies (a room in the tabernacle which was restricted for the other days of the year) and perform a sacrifice for the sins of the people.  The Holy of Holies also contained the Ark of the Covenant, which was found in 1981 by a skilled archeologist.

This sacrifice would occur every year on the same day.

The book of Hebrews describes how Jesus is our Perfect High Priest.  Like the priests of the Old Testament He also offers a sacrifice, but instead of the blood of animals He offers His own blood shed on the cross.  He doesn’t present His sacrifice in the earthly tabernacle; rather He enters heaven itself and appears before God.  Furthermore, His sacrifice is complete and need not be repeated ever again:

But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation; and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.

 (Hebrews 9:11-12)

The chapter goes on to explain that the sacrifice of Christ is superior to the sacrifices of animals by the Israelite priests.  He was completely perfect and even God Himself; so while the sacrifices of animals made a person outwardly clean, Christ’s makes a person clean on the inside.

For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

(Hebrews 9:13-14)

The Old Testament sacrifices were a foreshadowing of the perfect sacrifice of Jesus that was to come.  Christ’s sacrifice propitiates God for us.  Essentially, this means that Jesus takes the punishment we deserve for our sins upon Himself.  Christians find forgiveness through faith in the perfect sacrifice made by Jesus upon the cross.  Without this forgiveness, men are still under the wrath of God for their sins and

It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

(Hebrews 10:31)

One Comment
  1. jeff ste. marie permalink

    Well said Scott!

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