16.5 Moses 16, Day 5

New Year

I am very, very far from being a Jewish scholar, but I am very excited by some of the things I’ve been learning about the study regarding the festivals outlined in Leviticus 23.  I’m particularly excited to refer back to this when we study Revelation.

For example, this week we’ve been studying a lot about the holiday Yom Kippur.  But from what I’ve been studying it is appropriate to really start with the Feast of Trumpets.  The feast of trumpets is the 1st day of the 7th month of the Jewish Calendar, Tishri.  This fall day marked the end of the harvest season and a beginning of the fall feast days.  The high priest would sound a trumpet to call all in from the time of harvest.  It would begin a preparation time called “Ten Days of Repentance” or the “Days of Awe.”  This is what led up to the day of Yom Kippur on the 10th day of the 7th month.

Now, here are some really interesting facts from a Christian perceptive.  Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year is on the Feast of Trumpets.  Why is the new year celebrated on the 7th month?  It wasn’t always.  Originally, it was on the 1st day of the 1st month but after the temple was destroyed (after Jesus’ death and resurrection), the Jews changed New Years.  And what day do they pick?  The day the trumpet sounds to market the end of the harvest period and the beginning of the “days of awe” leading up to atonement day.

With what you’ve been learning read ahead to Revelation 7 and 8.  Look at the ones wearing white robes.  Look at the censer filled with coals from the altar in heaven and incense.  Look at the trumpets being sounded. In Rev 11 we see the temple of the Lord opened and the Ark of the Covenant present.

A day will come when the time of harvest will end and the days of repentance and the days of awe will follow leading to a day of atonement.  How amazing is it that God’s chosen people, the Israelites, have adjusted their calendar to mark that day as the new beginning.

My Answers:

11.
a.
once a year on Yom Kippur (10th day of the 7th month)

b.
Sacred – a day to deny yourselves and to present offerings, a day of sabbath rest

12.
a.
He is able to save completely (not repeating over and over again).  He is holy, blameless, pure, set apart, exalted.  He did not enter by means of blood of goats and calves but by his own blood – Eternal redemption

b.
By sharing the gospel with others.  By honoring his sacrifice through sacrificial love and giving.

c.
Lord, thank you for freeing us for all eternity from the penalty of our sin.  Thank you for being the sacrifice we could never be.  Thank you for loving the world so much that you gave your life so that we who believe in you might be saved. Thank you for coming again.

 

16.4 Moses 16, Day 4

How much sin will be allowed into heaven?

How much sin will be allowed into heaven?  Depending where you are on your faith journey, that may seem like a very strange question, but, stop for a moment and actually think about it.

Clearly, the answer from the bible is zero.  Sin cannot abide in God’s presence.  There is no level of acceptable sin that can be with God.

But, look at that question again from the perspective of someone who does not know what the bible says.  The most common perception is that a loving god will just overlook sin.  Or maybe God grades on a curve and as long as I’m scoring above the 50% ranking, I should have a golden ticket for heaven.

To those who have read the bible, those ways of thinking may seem ridiculous, but these ideas are all too common, not only among the bible illiterate “christians”, but it is actually taught by many of the world religions.  Many world religions are religions of “good works”.  Only through having a balance of good works that tilts in your favor can one hope that god or the universe or whatever will judge the works sufficient.

Because of that balance quotien, every other religion is based on uncertainty.  It is based on hope, but concern, because of not knowing who can ever be sure of being good enough.  It is also based on a really weird understanding of a heaven where some levels of sin will be allowed.  What happens to that sin in heaven? Do people continue sinning?

But, Christianity stands alone.

1. Christians recognize that absolutely no sin will be allowed into heaven.  Zero.  Not only that, but Christians believe that we inherit sin from the generations that came before us, so even if we somehow avoid sin (good luck with that), we still are tainted by sin.  It also means that sin is sin, whether saying a bad word or being a mass-murderer, both are sin.  It doesn’t mean we are ridiculous to say there is no difference between the two, but both are sin.  That is a pass-fail grading system where passing equals perfection.  In essence, this eliminates any and every one from earning entrance to heaven.

2. Christians believe that every one has the opportunity to enter heaven regardless of their sin.  Not by any acts they perform or any denial or avoidance they adhere to, but because Jesus paid the price.  The covering of Jesus’ sacrificial offering, by taking all the sins of the world onto His head and carrying them away to the grave, then defeating even death to rise again, is a gift offered to all mankind.  The requirement is not works or acts, it is acceptance of this gift of grace.  We also believe that this is the only way.  Jesus is the only path – No one comes to the Father but through Him.

In these ways, Christianity is absolutely exclusive and absolutely inclusive.  But, when faced with the question of how much sin will be accepted into heaven, it is also the only religion that makes any sense.  It is also the one that absolutely removes all doubt.  If you accept Jesus, regardless of what you have done, you’re covered completely.

So who are you counting on to be the covering of your sins?  Is it yourself or is it Jesus?

 

My Answers:

9.
a.
2 goats, lots drawn, 1 sacrificed blood used for purification and atonement, the other sins of the people were laid upon and it was taken out of the camp into the wilderness

b.
Jesus offered his life (blood) as a sin offering, a payment for our sins.  He carried the sins of all mankind on his body, outside of the city to calvary where he bore them on the cross.  Through his death, sacrifice and his atoning act of carrying away our sins, we are set free.

10.
a.
take off the linen garments and leave them there, bathe himself and put on his regular garments, come out & burnt offering

b.
to make atonement for himself and for the people.  Because God said.  Because even though the sins of the people had been removed, sin still continued within the people and the camp and a final atonement was still needed

16.3 Moses 16, Day 3

Sin Splatters, Sin Sticks and Sin Stinks

How often have you heard, “if it doesn’t hurt someone else then I should be able to do whatever I want.”?  It is masqueraded as independence or self-freedom.  It is simplified to the idea that people should mind their own business.  Everyone can just do their own thing.

We think this thinking is so progressive and so modern.  But it is ancient.  Judges 17:6 says of the people thousands of years ago, “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”

But the idea that the things I do don’t hurt other people is a lie.  Sin splatters and sticks.  Like someone dropping and breaking a glass full of orange juice, it splatters on to those around them.  An innocent by-stander gets covered in the sticky mess.  It’s splatters are almost impossible to clean up.  Days later you find a sticky mess that was missed.  But to make matters all the worse, sin isn’t a glass of orange juice, it is a glass of the strongest stench, most repugnant smelling, most infectious pathogen you can think of.  Try carrying around a vile of Ebola and make the argument, as long as I’m not hurting anyone else I should be able to carry this vile of virus with me and juggle it.  We know better.

Children are scared for generations.  Marriages and lives are destroyed.  Shame and poverty and abuse and excess and all the other wrongs of the world all stem from sin.  It’s stench permeates not only our lives, but the very land we live on, the walls, the clothes, everything around us.

But, it does not permeate God.  In God’s presence, sin and everything it has infected is burned away.  It cannot be tolerated and it cannot be allowed.  This is what happened to Nadab and Abihu.  This is the warning God gives over and over again to Moses and Aaron in regard to how to approach the inner sanctum, the presence of God – “lest they die”.

While Jesus paid the price of our sin, sin still continues in this world.  Someday, Jesus will return to cast sin and its master into a lake of fire, but until that day we still live with sin and its consequences.  When He returns we will rise with Him to live forever in His presence.  Christ’s covering will save us from the impact of our sin.

If you have accepted Jesus’ gift of salvation, the payment of your sin, past, present and future, has been made in full.  But you still should do all you can to avoid sin.  Not only for improvement of your own life and honor to the one who saves you, but even more so, for the protection of its impact on those around you and the place your live.

 

My Answers:

6.
1. God said to, 2. In this way he will make atonement for the Most Holy Place because of the uncleanness and rebellion of the Israelites, whatever their sins have been

7.
Sin is like a skunk – it’s stench  permeates into everything it is around.  But scripture locks up (cages) the stench of sin.  Scripture is not about sin, it is about the good news of the promise/gift of redemption through faith in Jesus Christ

8.
a.
thoughts, words, deeds, not only by what they have done, but also by what they have left undone.  They do what is right in their own eyes and ignore and reject any teaching that is contrary.  They desperately want and fight for others to accept the sin they are doing as being normal and right

b.
It permeates in pictures, video, music, dress, language.  It is in shifting and perverted societal norms, in the abuse of power the neglect of the poor and widows and orphans.  There is no part of daily life that is left untouched

c.
bath it in prayer, repent of my sins and pray for those around me.  Seek first and only God and ask for the power of the Holy Spirit every day to direct my life and my thoughts

16.2 Moses 16, Day 2

It starts with me

Sin is everywhere.  When we open our eyes and look around, sin is permeating every part of our society.  It is glorified in music, on television, in magazines, in billboards.  It is in politics and journalism.  It is in our dress, our speech, our thoughts.  With open eyes, it feels like we are standing in the middle of an landfill that stretches for as far as we can see.  To make atonement for sin, where does God want us to start.

The temptation is to look to address the biggest areas of sin.  Maybe start by trying to change media channels.  Or maybe a better approach would be to sin of leaders, since they are leaders.  Or maybe the answer is to look to the low-hanging fruit – maybe start with trying to establish dress codes.

But, this isn’t something we need to figure out.  God gives us the answer in Leviticus 16.

When He calls Aaron to see the sin in the community and establish a day of atonement, the first area God directs Aaron to focus on is Aaron.  He starts simple.  Take a bath.  Change your clothes. Bring a bull.

So far so good.  I can do this.  I can start the day of atonement with me.  I can take a bath.  I can change my clothes.  I could even get a bull, at least figuratively, I could bring the stubborn bullheadedness of my sin nature.  I can recognize that I need forgiveness and atonement.

But the next step is the one that can trip us up.  (I apologize, but this is going to be a little gory).  The next step for Aaron was to slaughter the bull.  He wasn’t supposed to give it a pinprick.  He was supposed to kill it, slit its throat and let it totally bleed out.  According to Purdue.edu, blood would make up approximately 7% of the total body weight of the animal.  This comes out to about 6 gallons of blood.  I know that is gross sounding, but think about that in terms of our own confession of our sins in approaching God for forgiveness and atonement.

I’m o.k. bringing my sin before God.  I’m o.k. with a pinprick of bleeding my confession of my sin before God.  But God wants me to let it all drain out.  He wants me to completely abandon that old life and let it die.  Not because He needs it, but because I do.

Only by letting all my sin bleed out in confession to the Lord can I offer up prayers for forgiveness like incense so thick it is like a cloud before God’s eyes.  And only then can I be completely at-one-with (atonement) God, putting me in a position where I can truly make a difference in also praying for others’ sin life.

So where should I start: Start with me.  Do the basics to approach God.  Then let it all come out in confession.

 

My Answers:

3.
MHP: the inner sanctum in the tent of meeting, the area behind the curtain containing the ark of the covenant

AC: The mercy seat.  The lid over the ark of the covenant shaped with 2 cherubim angels, wings streched over it, facing the cover

ARK:

A box of acacia wood overlaid with pure gold inside and out, contains the 10 commandments

4.
a.
16:1 after the death of the 2 sons of Aaron who died when they approached the Lord, 16:2 or else he will die, 16:13 so that he will not die

b.
Honorable preparation is required.  A cleansing of my own thoughts when approaching things that are holy (work, worship)  Have I prepared myself to honor God?

5.
a.
one was to be sacrificed as a sin offering, the other was used for making atonement by sending it into the wilderness as a scapegoat

b.
For his own sin offering, to make atonement for himself and his household.  His sins needed sacrifice

c.
wash, change, bring  bull, slaughter bull, take censer of burning coals from the altar 2 handfuls finely ground fragrant incense, take behind the curtain, put  incense on fire,(smoke conceal), sprinkle blood with finger on front and 7 times before atonement cover

d.
Am I bringing everything before God.? Are my prayers like the incense smoke; so robust and thorough that it fills God’s most holy place with supplication?