Monday, September 10, 2012

Locked up under the Old Covenant!

     This might not be the exact topic you think it is very popular for professing Christians to reject the symbolic restrictions of the Mosaic Law, and to loudly proclaim "We're not under the Law, but under grace!"  But plenty of much better men have corrected those excesses, and I want to expose you to just one literal case of confinement under the Old Covenant:
Lev 21:12  "He shall not go out of the sanctuary, lest he profane the sanctuary of his God, for the consecration of the anointing oil of his God is on him: I am the LORD."
"Nobody knows the trouble I see..."!
     Moses refers to the serving High Priest in context (Aaron at this time), and confines his movements for the time of his term (till the end of his life, I think!) to the immediate proximity of the Tabernacle (later the Temple).  This is another perfect example of fuel for the fire of our misconceptions of the Law as harsh, restrictive, and useful only for cultivating thankfulness we don't live in ancient Israel!
     But God is smarter than that (a lot smarter!), and wouldn't be foolish enough to inscripturate ("record as Scripture") something useless for the vast majority of its readers, and then contradict Himself ("All Scripture is profitable..."?).  So we must ask:  why would the High Priest be confined to the sanctuary?
     So what would happen if the High Priest wandered away from the sanctuary, took a vacation, or just happened to be speaking at a bible prophecy conference in Toledo (I Kings 18:27)?  God's people would be without a mediator, bereft of the intercession that is required for sinful people to commune with a holy God.  For that reason, Numbers 3:38 places the residence of the High Priest right next to the Tabernacle, and the Temple included rooms for the priests.  So that answers why this would be necessary in Israel... how about us?  Most, if not all, of the regulations of the Old Covenant have a typical aspect regarding Christ (meaning they are a symbol that points to a full reality).  Some are well known:  the passover lamb looks to Christ's intercessory work, the sacrificial animal's spotlessness mirrors Christ's, etc.  Clearly, an ever-present High Priest displays an ever-present Saviour...
"...who has become a priest, not on the basis of a legal requirement concerning bodily descent, but by the power of an indestructible life...Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them."  (Heb 7:16,25)
     Since Christ is always "on duty" at the Father's right hand, we always have ready access to God, for communion, forgiveness, and our needs.  This is the reality Leviticus points to, and that we enjoy today.

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