Sunday sermon notes (Leviticus 16:1-22)

Even before Creation, God put forth a plan of redemption for mankind. After the fall, God placed cherubim to guard the way back into the Garden of Eden. Likewise, the final plague of the ten plagues against Egypt was the worst: the death of each family’s firstborn. The only way to protect against the plague was by painting blood on the doorway of the Israelites’ homes.

And so we come to Leviticus and the construction of the tabernacle. The Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) was the most important day on the Jewish calendar. Within the tabernacle was an inner room, the holy of holies, where the priest would make a sin offering. There were specific instructions on how this was to be done. The priest was to confess all of Israel’s sins. (This serves to remind us of what Christ has done on our behalf.)

At that time, you could not approach God directly. Only the priest was allowed to enter the holy of holies, so a sinner could not come before God on his own behalf. Even then, the only way the priest could approach God was with the blood of a sin offering. God did meet man at the mercy seat (the lid on the Ark of the Covenant). The priest came with blood on his hands. This was the place where sins were forgiven. Cherubim, hammered out of gold, stood atop the mercy seat.

Inside the ark was the law of God. Yet we have broken the law. No man in his sin can possibly commune with a holy God. There had to be a plan for man’s redemption. Just like the mercy seat, blood not only had to be shed, it had to be applied. We could not reach mercy; it came literally running to us. Man cannot get to God on his own.

In Leviticus, the priest (Aaron) served as mediator between sinful men and a holy God. Today our mediator is Christ. Now, Jesus is our great high priest and Christ is our only way to God. Every sin we have ever committed and ever will commit has to be paid for, because no sin can ever come before God. We either allow Christ to pay for our sin or we will pay for it ourselves by spending eternity with the devil. One dies so that the multitude may be set free.

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