Immanuel Part III
The Levitical Priesthood (LP) system of Atonement that God installed during the Mosaic Covenant period of human history was system that provided limited atonement to a select group of people (one nation) for a limited time period. It served two primary purposes. First, the system provided a means for God to dwell with His people. Second, the physical tabernacle and the system of Atonement were a ‘shadow’, an intended type-ology of a future and ‘superior’ system that was yet to come.
The LP system required a continual replication of blood and burnt offerings in order to provide continual atoning for the sin acts of the people. The root problem that caused the people to do the acts of sin, their Sin nature that lived inside each person’s ‘flesh’, was not dealt with in the LP system. Even with the LP system in place, all ‘men’ were still in their ‘fallen’ state. Sin, the virus, still ruled their human nature. God lived in their midst, among them, in a tabernacle made by human hands. But He did not live ‘in’ them.
The Good News was that a change, a divine level paradigm shift was about to occur. In God’s sovereign timing and plan, a superior, an everlasting, an eternal, and new system would be introduced. It would be called the New Covenant. The New Covenant would provide a permanent solution to the problem of Sin, the guilt, the penalties, and it would restore the spiritual connection between God and man. Man would inherit a ‘redeemed’ status. Man would become ‘regenerated’. the curse of the ‘Fall’ would be broken forever, and God would not just come to take residence among them..He would come to live ‘inside’ their literal physical bodies. Wow!!!
Now…only God, in His sovereign plan for how He sees time, how He uses human history to accomplish His purposes…only God knows the why and when of what He chooses to do. There was roughly a 500 year period between Abraham and Moses… from the time that God made-covenant with Abraham…promising to make a great nation out of his seed and where He gives the LP system of Atonement to Moses….then roughly another 500 year period until He made a covenant with David wherein He promised that a future King would come from his seed that would be a ‘king whose kingdom would last forever’ (2 Samuel, chapter 7). Isaiah foretold it, Isa 7:14, 9:6-7. Then it would be another 1000 years from the time of David until the time that God declares it is time for the New Covenant to be revealed.
To set the stage for the New Covenant…I think it is important to literally quote the Apostle Paul from the book of Hebrews, chapter 8 through chapter 10 vs 23. I choose to quote this lengthy passage because it is the ‘Inspired Word of God..through Paul..to us’ and it is, to me, one of the more powerful and important passages, within one context, in the Holy Sciptures…so read it all please, carefully, letting the truth of it soak into your spirit man. Paul compares the work and outcome of the Old Covenant’s Levitical Priesthood system to the work and outcome of Jesus Christ in the New Covenant:
Hebrews, Chapter 8 through Chapter 10 vs 23: The point of what we are saying is this: We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, and who serves in the sanctuary, the true tablernacle set up by the Lord, not by man. Every High priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices, and so it was necessary for this one also to have something to offer. If he were on earth, he would not be a priest, for there are already men who offer the gifts prescribed by the law. They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven. This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle: “See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.” But the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, and it is founded on better promises. For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another. But God found fault with the people and said: “The time is coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they did not remain faithful to my covenant, and I turned away from them declares the Lord. This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God and they will be my people. No longer will a man teach his neighbor or a man his brother, saying ‘Know the Lord’, because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” Now the first covenant had regulations for worship and also an earthly sanctuary. A tabernacle was set up. In its first room were the lampstand, the table and the consecrated bread; this was called the Holy Place. Behind the second curtain was a room called the Most Holy Place, which had the golden altar of incense and gold-covered Ark of the Covenant? This ark contained the gold jar of manna, Aaron’s rod that had budded, and the stone tablets of the covenant. Above the ark were the cherubim of the Glory, overshadowing the place of atonement. But we cannot discuss these things in detail now. When everything had been arranged like this, the priests entered regularly into the outer room to carry on their ministry. But only the high priest entered the inner room, and that only once a year, and never without blood, which he offered for himself and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance. The Holy Spirit was showing by this that the way into the Most Holy Place had not yet been disclosed as long as the first tabernacle was still standing. This is an illustration for the present time, indicating that the gifts and sacrifices being offered were not able to clear the conscience of the worshiper. They are only a matter of food and drink and various ceremonial washings – external regulations applying until the time of the new order. When Christ came as high priest of the good things that are already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not man-made, that is to say, not a part of this creation. He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but He entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption. The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God. For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance–now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant. In the case of a will, it is necessary to prove the death of the one who made it, because a will is in force only when somebody has died; it never takes effect while the one who made it is living. This is why even the first covenant was not put into effect without blood. When Moses had proclaimed every commandment of the law to all the people, he took the blood of calves, together with water, scarlet wool and branches of hyssop, and sprinkled the scroll and all the people. He said, “This is the blood of the covenant, which God has commanded you to keep.” In the same way, he sprinkled with the blood both the tabernacle and everything used in its ceremonies. In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. It was necessary, then, for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these sacrifices, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ did not enter a man-made sanctuary that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence. Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priests enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own. Then Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of Himself. Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him. The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming–not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship. If it could, would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins. But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins, because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said: “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased. Then I said ‘Here I am–it is written about me in the scroll–I have come to do your will, O God.’ ” First he said, “Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them” (although the law required them to be made). Then he said, “Here I am, I have come to do your will.” He sets aside the first to establish the second. And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool, because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy. And where these have been forgiven, there is no longer any sacrifice for sin. Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess for he who promised is faithful.