I am grateful that God set up the complicated system of laws and sacrifices for His people as they began their journey in the Wilderness. It is a picture that we can hold in our minds that illustrates a greater reality that has taken place in Heaven. The book of Hebrews makes clear that the animal sacrifices that were used back then were not able to clean the consciences of the people and the priests themselves were as imperfect as those they offered sacrifices for. And the only person who could go directly into the presence of God was the High Priest...and only once a year at that! The book of Hebrews shows us that Jesus Christ has opened up direct access to God's presence to all who will trust in His perfect sacrifice. This morning it occurred to me that Jesus was both the sacrifice, itself, and the High Priest, bringing the sacrifice before God. The only way a sacrifice that has died can offer itself is if it conquers death and regains life. The purpose of the blood is to confirm the reality of death. The effect of the offering of Jesus' blood by Jesus is to prove Jesus has died for sin (our sins and all sins). The purpose of Jesus presenting Himself, and His bloodied body, before God is to establish that death has died and life has transcended death. A living sacrifice...sounds like a contradiction, but is actually a confirmation of the victory God has established in His Creation. And Jesus lives on!
Hebrews 9:7 But only the high priest ever entered the Most Holy Place, and only once a year. And he always offered blood for his own sins and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance. 8 By these regulations the Holy Spirit revealed that the entrance to the Most Holy Place was not freely open as long as the Tabernacle and the system it represented were still in use.
9 This is an illustration pointing to the present time. For the gifts and sacrifices that the priests offer are not able to cleanse the consciences of the people who bring them.
11 So Christ has now become the High Priest over all the good things that have come. He has entered that greater, more perfect Tabernacle in heaven, which was not made by human hands and is not part of this created world. 12 With his own blood—not the blood of goats and calves—he entered the Most Holy Place once for all time and secured our redemption forever.