December 12, 2017. So Your Called to Minister—Studies from Nehemiah
Nehemiah 9:1-4 Now on the twenty-fourth day of this month the children of Israel were assembled with fasting, in sackcloth, and with dust on their heads. Then those of Israelite lineage separated themselves from all foreigners; and they stood and confessed their sins and the iniquities of their fathers. And they stood up in their place and read from the Book of the Law of the LORD their God for one-fourth of the day; and for another fourth they confessed and worshiped the LORD their God. Then Jeshua, Bani, Kadmiel, Shebaniah, Bunni, Sherebiah, Bani, and Chenani stood on the stairs of the Levites and cried out with a loud voice to the LORD their God.
Following the Feast of Trumpets comes Yom Kippur or the Day of Atonement. In this text, the people are praying, confessing their sins and the sins of their fathers. The hope was that as they prayed, God would accept there sacrifice as an atonement for their sins of the past year and prepare them for the year to come. Previously under the Mosaic Law, when the tabernacle and temple were functioning, animal sacrifice was required, and the High Priest would go into the Holy of Holies with a blood offering to make atonement for Israel. Atonement didn’t remove the sin; it merely covered the sin.
Hebrews 9:11-15 But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And for this reason, He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.
Hebrew tells us that the tabernacle and temple were copies of the heavenly temple where Jesus the Great High Priest entered not with the blood of bull and goats but with his own blood. He didn’t pour out the blood on the mercy seat but sat down on the mercy seat, having obtained mercy. He didn’t cover the sin. He removed the sin, having paid in full the price for sin, through his death.