There was an earthly place of holiness, a tent with two sections. It wasn’t the idea of a human being but God’s. Priests went into the first section, the Holy Place, and they offered sacrifices to cleanse the people and themselves from sin, intentional or accidental. God revealed to Moses that without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin. Moses sprinkled the blood of calves and goats over people and things.
'For when every commandment of the law had been declared by Moses to all the people, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, saying, "This is the blood of the covenant that God commanded for you." And in the same way he sprinkled with the blood both the tent and all the vessels used in worship. Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins' (Hebrews 9:19-22).
But there was a second section where only the high priest was allowed to go once a year, taking blood with him. He went into the immediate presence of God. No-one knew whether he would even survive the experience. He might be struck dead. After all he was an ordinary, weak person who was guilty of sinning.
I heard a history teacher preaching in my church recently. He said that the US astronaut James Irwin, only one of twelve people to stand on the moon, was asked after returning to the earth what he felt the most significant achievement of our age had been. He said this: 'The most significant achievement of our age is not that man stood on the moon, but rather that God in Christ stood upon this earth.' Jesus came to bring peace to a sin ravished world and to reconcile God and man, and the most significant date in the history of the whole universe was the day Jesus died on the cross.
Two days after that Jesus rose from the dead and then later He ascended to heaven. He became our great 'High Priest', taking His own blood as the perfect sacrifice for the sins of the world. The atonement for sins was done once, and yet it was sufficient for everybody for all time, past, present and future.
But there’s another important date in the history of the universe which is still to come. It’s the day when Jesus returns to earth. Until then we are to represent His physical body in this world. We can only do this by the power of the Holy Spirit, as each one of us loves one another as Jesus loves us and contributes our individual gifts to the 'Body of Christ'. 'So Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him' (Hebrews 9:28). Are you looking forward to that important date in the history of the universe?
Prayer: Dear heavenly Father, May we be prepared and ready for Your second coming, eagerly waiting for You. Help us to do Your will each day. Thank you that we are cleansed by the perfect sacrifice of Your precious blood. Amen.
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