A person's understanding of the identity of God should be the basis for one's desires to know and obey His commands. The less one desires the know the Lord, the less a person will know. The less a person knows of God, the less a person desires to obey the commands of God. In contrast, those who desire to know the Lord also desire to know His commands, and by extension, desire to do what God says, having an understanding of His identity. Those who seek to know the Lord, know and recognize His authority, His power, His patience, and His grace and so seek to do as He commands. However, one should not expect those who do not know the Lord or who do not have a desire to know the Lord to do as the Lord says. Either way, the Bible is clear that God is in charge and that there are benefits to those who seek to know God and obey, and terrible consequences for those who do not.
In Leviticus 18:1-30 the Bible documents God's laws concerning sexual immorality. As God prepared His people to enter into the Promised Land, He warned them about the people that were inhabiting that land and the wicked ways they were living. God warned the children of Israel that their pagan practices were wrong and considered an abomination to Him. Therefore, God instructed His children to stay away from those people, told them not to learn their wicked habits, and not to do the things they were doing. God reminded the children of Israel of His own identity in contrast. He repeats that He is "the Lord their God" six times in this passage to remind the children of Israel that He is in charge, that His ways are right and just, and that He is holy, set apart from sin. Thus, He expected His people to desire Him, obey Him, and refrain from doing the things that the wicked world was doing.
The Bible is detailed to present specific commands regarding specific types of sexual immorality that God commanded against. One must consider that the reason that God was detailed and specific regarding these commands was because the people were already participating in these things. Leviticus 18:1-30 explains that the people who were living in Canaan were already practicing the sexually immoral things that God considered an abomination, and this is why God listed these things specifically. God stated that incest, sleeping with one's in-laws, sleeping with one's step children or siblings, one's own children or parents, and one's close extended family (aunts and uncles) was wrong. God said that the people native to the land of Canaan were practicing those things and that they were perverse. God also said that the people were practicing homosexuality and were performing sexual acts with animals. God told the children of Israel that those things were abominations and were perverse. God specifically commanded His people to abstain from these practices.
The Bible is helpful to explain why these practices were an abomination to the Lord. While Leviticus 18:1-30 references the laws against sexual immorality, the Lord also included a section that dealt with people sacrificing to false gods. The Lord placed sacrifice to false gods in the context of sexual immorality. The reason why is two fold. First, the people native to the land of Canaan would perform many of these sexually perverse acts as forms of worship to false gods. The Lord didn't want His people to adopt those wicked practices. Secondly, the Bible classifies the worship of false gods and idolatry as spiritual fornication and adultery. Thus, the perverse acts that God commanded against in the flesh were representative of deeper spiritual issues. Leviticus 18:1-30 categorizes the sexually immoral sins as generally sins of the flesh. The acts that the people were committing were representative of the people indulging in the desires of their flesh, which is naturally contrary to God in sin. The types of sexual immorality were only part of the issue. The reasons that God considered these things as sexual immorality is because they were representative of mankind's desire to fulfill the lusts of the flesh against the commands, order, and will of the Living God.
The Lord warned the people that practicing such sexual abominations would have tragic consequences. The Lord used the people native to Canaan as an example. They lived lives that were dedicated to indulging in their carnal lusts to satisfy themselves, doing things that were unnatural and wicked by the standards of God according to scripture. The Lord reminded the children of Israel that they were going to be used as God's tool to execute judgment against those people. So while the children of Israel were going to inherit the land of Canaan, it was going to happen by way of judgment upon the people already living there. Thus, the actions of the people of Canaan did not have a good result. The Bible explains that the land "vomited" them out because of their spiritual condition that was outwardly demonstrated through sexual perversion. For this reason, God warned His people to refrain from the activities that would cause the land to vomit them out just the same.
God warned the children of Israel to deny the desires of their flesh because the flesh is wicked. God reminded the children of Israel to listen to Him rather than follow the ways of other people. God did not want His people to base their world view and manner of thinking on the habits of wicked people. God reminded His people that He is "the Lord God." God reminded His people that He is Yahweh Elohim. God reminded the people that He is the triune Creator of all things and that His ways are good, right, and just. God wanted good things for His people and so warned them about flawed spiritual conditions that would inspire perverse conduct and cause them to be judged. Those who desire God and His Word will seek to understand these things and be beneficiaries of God's benefits. Those who desire the lusts of their own carnal and fleshly appetites based on the offerings of the world will deny God, His purposes, His order, and suffer terrible consequences as a result.
As God's people, it is important to recognize God's ownership of that which He created. God's authority is significant and important to consider, but only those who respect God's identity as Creator and Possessor of all things would consider His authority over all things. Most fundamentally, God is Possessor of life. Since He authored life, gives it, sustains it, and offers a better quality of it in eternal life, one must come to the understanding that all life is in the hands of the Lord. Hence, the Bible teaches that one should respect the position of God as the Author and Possessor of life by obeying His commands regarding how to treat life.
In Leviticus 17:10-16 the Bible talks about how God views blood. This portion of scripture explains three times in these six verses that the life of all flesh is in its blood. While the blood of a living creature is pumping and circulating, there is life. Therefore, the blood of any living thing is sacredly God's since He is the Author and Possessor of life. The blood of a living thing is important to God. God explained that He wanted the children of Israel to have a respect for blood. This is the reason why blood was required for sacrifice and was sprinkled over certain areas and people in the tabernacle. Since blood was reflective of life, God purposed blood for atonement. The shedding of blood (from animals) was strictly for the purpose of sacrifice so that God commanded the children of Israel to refrain from eating blood and making it as common.
The emphasis of Leviticus 17:10-16 was to explain to the children of Israel that they were to refrain from eating blood. Though it is not just that the Lord wanted to keep the people from eating raw or rare meat. God wanted the children of Israel to have a respect for blood and the life that blood facilitated. Since the wages of sin is death, the flow of blood is exemplary of God's mercy and grace. Since the blood of animals was shed in sacrifice for the purpose of atonement, God didn't want the children of Israel to be overly comfortable with the shedding of blood from animals as if it were no big deal. God wanted His people to understand that the shedding of blood in animals was a spiritual matter so that sins could be covered. God did not want His people desensitized to the processes of sacrifice. Thus, God commanded His people to refrain from consuming blood as if it were just another part of the animal.
Blood is important to God. Blood is the physical substance that God uses to provide life to His creation. When God formed Adam and Eve in the Garden, His original intent was for their life to be of eternal quality. The wickedness of their rebellion and disobedience against Him caused death to enter into the world as consequence. Yet the scriptures are clear to explain that God desires for people to come to repentance rather than die in sin. God desires life - that's why He created it. For these reasons, the substance that He uses to supply life on this planet is valuable to Him and should be treated accordingly. God told the children of Israel to refrain from consuming blood because it is His. It is not the possession of human beings to have authority over blood because all life belongs to God. The Lord didn't want His people treating blood like a seasoning ingredient. Blood means more to God, and so the commands of Leviticus 17:10-16 reflect God's desire to see things from His perspective, with spiritual lenses.
The authority of God is a serious matter. The Bible explains that God is referred to as the Most High God. He is sovereign, meaning that He has supreme authority over all things. The Bible explains that God is eternally self-existing, which means that God has no creator and is not dependent on anything in order to live. He has no beginning and no end. The scriptures proclaim the almighty nature of God to show people that He is more powerful than the human mind can fully fathom. The Bible explains that God is glorious to the extent that He has to temper His glory by covering Himself in light. It is for these reasons that God should be revered and exalted as the Authority above all things and that His ways should be considered as supremely righteous so that one's life is reflective of one's submission to Him in recognition of His identity as "Lord" or "Master."
Leviticus 17:1-9 address the issue of submission to the authority if the Lord. One of the important facets of God that defines His authority is His identity as Creator. God is the Creator of all living things. Before God determined to add form and purpose to a world that was dark, chaotic, and void, there was no life. The Bible explains that God spoke and fruit-bearing trees and plants were made manifest. The Bible explains that God spoke, and the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and the beasts of the field were all made manifest. The Bible teaches that God formed mankind out of the dirt of the earth and then breathed life into him by His own Spirit. Additionally, the Bible explains that all things "consist" in Jesus. This means that Jesus holds all things together. The molecular make-up of all things shows a mysterious substance called "atomic glue" keeps positively charged matter from repelling in every atom. The Bible teaches that this "atomic glue" is none other than Jesus Christ, which means that He is not only the reason life exists, but also the reason that life is sustained and continues.
Leviticus 17:1-9 addresses the ways that God expected His people to recognize His authority over life. God had already commanded the people from shedding blood for unnecessary reasons. God had already commanded the people to refrain from eating blood. The Bible teaches that the essence of life is in blood. God wanted His people to respect life and so commanded them to refrain from unnecessary bloodshed. God told the people to refrain from shedding blood unnecessarily as a way to recognize His authority over life. Since God created all living things, He is the sold owner and possessor of life. Life is in the hands of God, not God's people. Therefore, God told the children of Israel to refrain from taking that which was His.
The scriptures state that any person that killed an animal for the purpose of sacrifice was required to do so at the tabernacle of meeting. God required the people to take all sacrifices to the tabernacle as a way to honor and exalt His authority. The tabernacle of meeting was the place where God's glory dwelt and where the presence of God could be sought. God demanded that if a sacrifice was going to be committed, it had to be done in His presence as a way to recognize authority. God did not want animals killed in the context of sacrifice outside of His authority. God commanded the children of Israel that they were not supposed to worship other gods and were not to serve other idols. For these reasons, God demanded that all sacrifice be brought before Him as the supreme Living God that has authority over all life. God did not want the people offering sacrifices other places to other gods and idols as if they were equal in authority to God.
Leviticus 17:1-9 reminded the children of Israel about God's perspective regarding worshiping and sacrificing to other gods and idols. The Lord equated the practice of false god worship and idol worship to adultery. The Bible explains that God examined the worship of false gods and idols as equal to harlotry. God looked at the worship of other things as a spiritual equivalent to sexual immorality. God looked at the worship of other things as equal to spiritual prostitution. The Bible explains that God desires to be one with His people in the same way that a husband is supposed to be made one with his wife. The scriptures explain that God's purpose for marriage was specifically to show the illustration of God's desire to be made one with His people. As two individuals are supposed to become one in marriage, God's people are supposed to become one with God in salvation. Thus, the Bible explains that God is like a husband to His people, and His people are like His bride.
When a person pursues false gods and idols in worship, God looks at such conduct as if He's being cheated on. It is as if His wife is seeking others to be intimate with, being unsatisfied with an exclusive relationship with God. In other words, those who refuse to exclusively worship God are those who do not respect the authority of God, are discontent with God, and yearn for things outside of God's will and promises that are wicked and sinful in nature. The Bible teaches that God looks at this attitude in such a way as if His bride is cheating on Him, and He promises to respond accordingly.
The commands of Leviticus 17:1-9 show that God wants an exclusive relationship with His people. God doesn't want to share His people with other gods and idols any more than a normal and sane husband would want to share his wife with other men. Thus, God expected the people to recognize His unique and sovereign authority by ensuring they committed sacrifices to Him and Him alone, at the tabernacle of meeting. The command about the location of the sacrifices had little to do with the location, and more to do with the focus of the people. The location of the sacrifice would not make any one sacrifice better than another since the blood of bulls and goats isn't sufficient to remove for sin anyway. Instead, one that sought to obey the commands of Leviticus 17:1-9 was one that should have been focused on the Lord, and only the Lord. Those people would have been people that desired to worship God and only God. Those people would have been people that recognized God's authority and sought to honor it through exclusive obedience.
The will of God is not a mystery. The purposes of God's work are not secretive. The purpose of life for the people of God should not be confusing. The Bible is very clear and candid about the things that God desires for His people, and is clear to explain that which God's people are to do to facilitate God's will. The Bible is very clear about the ways that God's people should live to be in line with God's purposes instead of rebelling against His purposes. One must simply look to the Bible to see God's commands, and then examine the patters of His work and commands in order to understand God's purposes for His people.
In Leviticus 16:29-34 the Bible summarized the commands for the Day of Atonement. In the midst of the summary, God communicated His purpose for the Day of Atonement so that the children of Israel could be well informed as to "why" God was doing what He was doing. The scriptures first explain that the practices and rituals for the Day of Atonement were not optional and they were not to be a one-time thing. God commanded the children of Israel to celebrate the Day of Atonement in the seventh month, every year, for the remainder of their existence as a people group. God wanted to ensure that His people continued learn the lessons that He desired them to learn through the feast day. No matter how many times an individual might have celebrated the Day of Atonement in a life time, God wanted the people to practice the sacrifices and observe the commands forever.
The Bible explains that God wanted the Day of Atonement to be as a Sabbath day. The scriptures specifically state that God wanted the children of Israel to "afflict" their souls throughout the course of the Day of Atonement. This means that God wanted the people to humble themselves. The Lord wanted the people to refrain from normal life activities and take time to meditate and consider the sacrifices, their meaning, and God's purposes. God wanted the people to break away from the routines of life and consider the reality of their sin and the necessity of having it cleansed. God didn't want the people to be distracted with life so that they would take their sin lightly, figuring God to be a "tolerant" God, accepting of the sins of His people, contrary to His actual holy nature. God wanted the children of Israel to be reminded of His holy nature and the sins of the people that made them stand contrary to God.
Leviticus 16:29-34 explains that God wanted the people to consider the sacrifices that needed to be committed, examine the high priest as he performed the work he was commanded, and understand the need of cleansing. This truth explains that God's purpose for His people is predicated on cleansing. The Day of Atonement was a big deal to God because the purging of sins from people is important to God. The Lord wanted the people to be reminded of their sinful nature and understand the need of cleansing. God wanted the people to recognize that the method of cleansing sins requires death. God wanted the people to see that His ordained facilitator and administrator of cleansing would be by the role of "high priest." God wanted the people to see the patters of God's work to deal with sin as coming by a mediator that is appointed by God to offer sacrifices dealing with blood for the purpose of purging sin by substitution.
The pattern of God's work on the Day of Atonement was supposed to provide insights into the fulfillment of God's promises through Messiah. The Mediator is Jesus as the Great High Priest from the order of Melchizedek. The scriptures plainly explain that Jesus was appointed by God as the Son of God (Heir of God) to fulfill the role of the Messiah to deal with sin. While the high priest from the tribe of Levi offered animal sacrifices, Jesus offered His own blood and gave up His own life as God in flesh so that His sacrifice served to be the greatest sacrifice in the history of the world. The blood that was shed in the crucifixion of Jesus Christ was the eternal blood of the Living God, as proved by the resurrection. Hence, Jesus is qualified to be mediator and stand between the Father and all of His people to bring peace. For these reasons, Jesus is qualified to purge the sins of God's people as a substitution. For these reasons, the will of God is plain and simple. Receive the cleansing from sins that He offers through faith in His Son. The will of God is simple: pursue the purging of sins in order to please God and stand approved before Him by seeking to know Him through Jesus according to the Bible. Life is as simple as one's willingness to submit to this command of God according to His purposes.
The people of God have no business messing with sin. The people of God are called to be holy. This means that the people of God should be set apart from sin and the wicked ways/processes/practices of the world. The Bible explains that the Lord expects His people to live according to a different and higher standard that is based on His own perfect nature. While these might seem like lofty expectations, the Bible also teaches that God offers forgiveness of sins through His Son and purification from sin by His Spirit thereby equipping the people of God to progressively resemble His perfect image that the Bible defines as holy. This then means that one must simply desire to be cleansed in faith rather than participate in sin, understanding God's position against sin.
In Leviticus 16:20-28 the Bible provides the instructions that God gave regarding the Day of Atonement concerning the scapegoat. The Bible explains the tasks that the priests were supposed to execute in order to ensure that the scapegoat was dealt with properly, and that the people learned the lesson that God desired to teach through it. The scriptures state that the high priest was supposed to commit sacrifices for himself, his family, and the tabernacle to that the work of the high priest and the offerings that were given in the tabernacle could be pure. God wanted the priest and his family to be cleansed of sin so that their sin would not defile the sacrifices committed on behalf of the people. The Lord wanted the tabernacle purified through sacrifice so that the defilement of the people that was imparted into the tabernacle would not defile the sacrifices on behalf of the people. These sacrifices were intended on centering the heart of the high priest and the people on the point that the wages of sin is death, and the need for forgiveness is a serious matter.
Leviticus 16:20-28 explains that the scapegoat was to be brought to the high priest. The high priest was instructed to place both of his hands upon the head of the scapegoat and confess the sins of the people. This doesn't meant that the priest had to recite a compiled list of every sin of every Jew. Instead, the high priest was instructed to confess the people as sinners. The priest was to place his hands upon the scapegoat, acknowledging that he and the people continually fell short of God's perfection. The high priest was supposed to admit the sinful nature of the people. The high priest was to humbly admit that he and the people were unable to produce a quality of righteousness that pleased God in order to seek God for mercy. The confession of sins was intended to cause the people to acknowledge their depraved nature in contrast to God's holy nature and exalt Him as Yahweh.
The scriptures explain clearly that as the high priest confessed the sins of the people, it was symbolic of the iniquities of the children of Israel being placed upon the goat. The confession of the priest was symbolic of a transfer of guilt. God sought to show the people that He did not desire to impart guilt upon His people even though they were guilty. God provided a scapegoat. God provided a way out. God was seeking to show His people that He had a plan to take the sins of the people and the guilt that comes with it (thereby requiring death), and impart it upon something else instead. The confession of sins upon the scapegoat on the Day of Atonement shows that God wanted to transfer the sins of His people unto something else so that His people would not have to die in judgment for their sin.
Leviticus 16:20-28 explains that as the transgressions of the people were placed upon the head of the scapegoat, the goat was to be escorted out of the camp of the children of Israel and let loose in the wilderness. The goat was supposed to bear the sins of the people and then be sent away. Thus, the goat would symbolically carry out the sins of the people into the wilderness, never to be seen again! This shows that God has a desire to remove and purge sin from His people so that it is no longer a factor for His people. God does not seek to cover sin. God does not seek to paint over sin. God does not seek to hide or disguise sin so that it cannot be seen. The scriptures show that God desires to outright purge sin and take it away from His people so that it no longer affects the people. God desires to take sin away from His people so that it is no longer in the neighborhood of His people. Hence, while God desires His people to be holy and set apart from sin, the instructions for the Day of Atonement show that God Himself would take sin away from the people through the scapegoat, which was a prophetic picture of the Messiah.
Once the scapegoat was sent out into the wilderness, the Bible explains that high priest and the man who took the scapegoat, were to remove their clothes, wash their clothes, bathe, and then they were able to complete the sacrifices for the Day of Atonement on behalf of the people - the burnt offering and sin offerings. This shows that the sins of the people that were placed on the scapegoat had an infectious affect. The transfer of sins from the people to the goat caused the people who handled the goat to be defiled so that they required additional cleansing. This is not a literal truth. Instead, God intended to show that sin is infectious in nature and when one has any contact with it in any sort of way, is affected by it, thereby requiring cleansing. This speaks to the extent of depravity of God's people, as well as to the perfection and holiness of God in contrast.
After the high priest atoned for himself, for his family, for the tabernacle, and confessed the sins of the people on the scapegoat, he was then required to commit the burnt offering and sin offering on behalf of the people to additionally cleanse them of their sin. While the scapegoat was a symbolic gesture of God removing sin from the dwelling place of God's people, the wages of sin is death, and sacrifices were still required. However, it is important to recognize the order of events. The priest had to be cleansed first. The place of the priest had to be cleansed second. The sins of the people had to be confessed third. The desire of the people to dwell set apart from sin had to be communicated through the scapegoat fourth. Then, and only then, were the sacrifices that dealt with the sins of the people made effective as atonement.
This process reveals the steps of salvation. Consider that the high priest was the administrator and facilitator of atonement. He served to be a prophetic picture of the Messiah - Jesus Christ. Thus, the facilitator of forgiveness of sins and cleansing from it comes by Jesus and only Jesus as the Great High Priest from the order of Melchizedek. This is why the sinless nature of Jesus is so critical. While the high priest from the tribe of Levi had to commit multiple sacrifices to cleanse himself and the environment of his work, Jesus did not have to commit these sacrifices. Jesus had no sin and so did not require cleansing. The scriptures reveal that Jesus as the embodiment of the glory of God actually served as a cleansing agent so that the things He touched were made pure and well, as seen by various healing testimonies. Therefore, the only offering that Jesus was required to give was of Himself. That one sacrifice was sufficient to cleanse the people.
Nevertheless, the order of the scapegoat shows that the sacrifices on behalf of the people are only made effective when the sins of the people are confessed, and the desire to live apart and separated from sin is communicated as by the scapegoat. One must trust in the sacrifice of Jesus as sufficient, but also confess one's identity as a sinner. One must admit that one is not able to meet God's expectation in righteousness by one's own brand of "goodness." One must acknowledge that one is not perfect, but that one must be perfect in order to please God. One must trust that Jesus is the method by which one is perfected. One must come to terms with the reality of sin, its real dangers, and desire to live separated from sin, seeking Jesus as the scapegoat - the manner by which sin is removed from one's life. One must desire to be cleansed by the methods that God prescribed in the Word, and be willing to demonstrate one's faith through obedience to the Word. Then and only then is the sacrifice of Jesus and the benefits that come with it, made effective in one's life.
The truth of the matter is that Jesus' sacrifice through the crucifixion was sufficient to deal with all sin ever committed. However, each and every person is individually accountable to believe in this truth in order for this truth to have a positive effect through salvation. In other words, salvation is freely offered to all, but only those who desire to be saved and separated from sin (and its consequences) will be saved and separated from sin. The Word of God provides instructions for the people of God to follow in order to outwardly demonstrate one's inward desire to be cleansed from sin and receive the righteousness of Jesus to live eternally in His kingdom. Those who desire to please God, having an understanding of His merciful nature, embrace the privilege to obey God, exercising His Spirit to do so, recognizing that without Jesus and His Spirit, death is the only other outcome.
There is a human tendency to compare one to another. People are often measuring their own qualities against similar qualities of another for a variety of reasons. Where this tendency becomes problematic is when Christians practice this habit to justify their sense of righteousness. Many believers have the habit of looking at the faults and mistakes of others and comparing them to one's self in order to justify one's position as a "better" Christian. This tendency reflects a high level of ignorance of the scriptures regarding what the Bible teaches about the truth of sin. The Bible explains that the Living God does not tolerate sin of any kind. Even though all sinners are not judged by the wrath of God (since those who trust in Jesus are saved by grace and not appointed to wrath), all sin is judged by the death of Jesus Christ. Therefore, since God saw it necessary to change His form for the purpose of death to deal with sin, one MUST consider the magnitude of any sin and transgression against God as being absolutely unacceptable and very dangerous!
The Bible explains that sin is not just deadly to those who commit it, but also contagious as a deadly virus that is airborne. In Leviticus 16:15-19 the Bible explains that the high priest had to sprinkle the blood of the sin offering in the Holy of Holies just as he had to do for his own offering. Thus, the high priest had to sprinkle blood from two different animals, from two different sacrifices, two different times, for two different reasons. The first time the high priest was to sprinkle the blood on the mercy seat was for his own sin. However, the scriptures describe that the second time the high priest had to sprinkle blood on the mercy seat was to atone for the tabernacle itself!
The scriptures teach that the physical structure of the tabernacle required atonement. Leviticus 16:15-19 is candid to explain that since the tabernacle rested on land that was inhabited by sinful people, the holy structure required spiritual cleansing through sacrifice. God commanded the high priest to sprinkle the blood of the sin offering above the mercy seat in the Holy of Holies as a way to consecrate the tabernacle - the holy place of worship for the the children of Israel. God plainly stated that the tabernacle needed to be atoned for "because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel and because of their transgressions, for all their sins."
This means that the sin of Israel was so bad that it infected the tabernacle as though the structure were tainted and dirty. The spiritual condition of the people made it so that a physical structure required spiritual cleansing! God explained that, since the tabernacle resided in the midst of the natural uncleanness of the people, God required the high priest to atone for the structure itself since the structure had holy purposes according to God's will. God commanded that no person should enter the tabernacle while the high priest was performing this duty, showing that only the high priest was able to atone for the defilement of the people that perverted the place where the glory of God resided.
Once again, this work is reflective of the work that Jesus will complete as Messiah. The scriptures explain in Revelation Chapter 21 that Jesus will make a new heaven, a new earth, and a new Jerusalem so that the effects of Jesus' work to recreate will be that "the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God (Revelation 21:3)." Some wonder why Jesus would need to make a new heaven. One must consult the scriptures and consider the defilement that exists in heaven at this moment. The Book of Job states that Satan approached God in heaven to inquire about Job. The Book of Zechariah shows that Satan stood before God to accuse Joshua the high priest as one guilty of sin while Jesus stood by Joshua as an advocate. Revelation 12:7 explains that a great war will take place in heaven between Michael the archangel and his angels against Satan and his demons. Testimonies such as these explain that heaven is defiled because of the presence of Satan and the rebellion that takes place in it. Thus, Jesus will execute the work of the high priest and cleanse "the tabernacle of God" by making a new one.
These testimonies show that sin is infectious. The Bible explains that sin has characteristics that are very much like a living organism. The people of Israel sinned just like all other people, but such sin caused the dwelling place of God to be contaminated so that atonement was required for the tabernacle. This should show the people of God that sin is not a small matter! Sin is not something that can just be shrugged off. Sin is not something that one can take lightly and assume it to be no big deal. Sin is serious to the extent that God required sacrifice to atone for a tent because the sins of the people made it ugly and dysfunctional in the eyes of God. If sin can affect a building in such a way (a building set apart for divine use), one must consider the consequences of sin in the lives of God's people. God wanted His people AND His work to be consecrated from ALL uncleanness - no matter how big or small. Therefore, God commanded atonement for the tabernacle. The Bible teaches that the physical bodies of believers are God's dwelling place now showing that the people of God should also be set apart from all uncleanness, and cleansed in order to fulfill the purposes of God in the manner that He desires.
The ministry and purpose of Jesus Christ is not a subject that is exclusive to the New Testament in the Bible. The Bible teaches that Jesus was in the beginning with God and as God before the formation of the universe. Jesus has always been the second part of the triune God, and the will of the Father has always been for Jesus to be the manner in which His creation engages and connects with Him. Therefore, when one examines any part of scripture, one must seek to do so seeking to know the will of the Father concerning the work of Jesus Christ. One can look at the scriptures in Genesis and find the details of Jesus' ministry that are documented in the Gospels. Likewise, one can look to the commands of the Law and see the same prophetic claims and plans of the Father concerning Jesus as the Messiah.
In Leviticus 16:11-14 the Bible explains the details concerning the sacrifice of the high priest for the Day of Atonement. The scriptures previously explained that the high priest had to offer a sin offering on behalf of himself and his family before he could perform the sacrifices for the people, and before he could enter the Holy of Holies to enter the presence of God that rested above the mercy seat of the Ark. In Leviticus 16:11-14 the Bible explains why that sacrifice was so important and also explains the second step the high priest had to execute before performing his work on behalf of the people in the Holy of Holies.
The Bible explains that the high priest was not exempt from sacrifice. Since the high priest was also a human being, conceived in sin, living with imperfections, he was required to atone for his sin through sacrifice like everyone else. The Bible teaches that the high priest was required to give a bull for a sin offering that would atone for his sin as well as the sins of his family. The role of the high priest was predicated on sacrifice since his ministry was to be prophetically reflective of the ministry of Messiah. In the same way that the Messiah's purpose was founded on the sacrifice of Himself on behalf of the sins of the world, God commanded the high priest to provide a sacrifice in order to fulfill his duty as mediator on behalf of the children of Israel.
Leviticus 16:11-14 then states that the high priest was supposed to enter into the Holy of Holies with a censer filled with incense and waive it over the mercy seat on the Ark of the Covenant. This was a serious matter! The command to take incense into the Holy of Holies was so serious that God warned that the high priest would die if he failed to do so. Thus, after the high priest offered his sacrifice, he was to fill the Holy of Holies with the sweet smelling incense by waiving it over the mercy seat. Lastly, the high priest was supposed to take the blood of his sacrifice with him and sprinkle it over the mercy seat seven times. Upon obeying these commands, the high priest would then be able to meet with the presence of the Living God above the mercy seat.
When examining the commandments for the high priest regarding the sacrifice and offering of incense, and considers the consequence of death for disobedience, one must realize that God is serious about these commands. The penalty of death for something that seems so simple should show that God considered these commands to be most significant and important regarding the revelation of His will and purposes. Knowing that the Law and the rituals that were commanded in it were supposed to serve as teaching lessons and illustrations concerning Messiah, one can conclude that there is an important lesson to be learned concerning the Messiah that is directly tied to the sacrifices and incense, which is why God's consequences for mistakes and disobedience were so harsh.
The Bible explains that the tabernacle was supposed to be a model of heaven. Thus, the things that took place in the tabernacle were reflective of the activity that took place in heaven. When Moses received the instructions to build the tabernacle, God emphasized the need to follow "the pattern" of which the template was heaven. For this reason, one can read about visions and testimonies where men were privileged to see heaven, and they documented seeing the lampstand, the altar, and even the censer with incense. In Revelation 5:8 the Bible explains that the Apostle John witnessed the throne room of God, and in it he saw four angels and twenty four elders (representing the raptured church) worshiping Jesus, each having a harp, and golden bowls filled with incense. Revelation 5:8 states plainly that the incense was representative of the prayers of the saints - the people of God.
Later in Revelation 8:3-4 the Bible explains that an angel stood before the altar of God in heaven and he also had a golden censer filled with incense. Once again, the incense is identified as the prayers of the saints - the people of God. The scriptures state that the incense was taken before the throne of God and the smoke of the incense - the prayers of the saints - ascended before God. In Psalm 141:2 the scriptures beg the Lord that prayer would be considered as incense and comparable to the regular evening sacrifices. For these reasons, the Bible clearly shows that the incense of the high priest on the Day of Atonement was supposed to be representative of the prayer of God's people. Thus, the actions of the high priest showed that the high priest served as mediator by taking the prayers of God's people before the presence of God that rested on the foundation of mercy after sacrifice was committed.
This work is exemplary of the work of Jesus as Messiah. The scriptures state several times that when Jesus ascended into heaven, He went to the right hand of the Father where He continually makes intercession on behalf of God's people (Romans 8:34, Hebrews 7:25). The original language of the Bible states that intercession means "to cast a light upon." This means that Jesus is ministering from heaven, seated at the right hand of the Father, which is the greatest position of authority, to be an advocate for God's people. The Bible teaches that proper prayer is done when one prays "in the Spirit" (Ephesians 6:18). This means that one should pray "with the Spirit" since prayer should be reflective of one receiving communication from God concerning His will and purposes, so that when one says "amen" one is agreeing with the will of God. This means that one's desires in prayer should be reflective of God's own desires that He communicates to His people by His Spirit. Since Jesus sits as the right hand of the Father interceding on behalf of God's people, Jesus receives the proclamations of "amen" from the Father's people and offers them as sacrifices unto the Father in heaven!
When one understands these dynamics explained in scripture, one can clearly see that God was stern concerning the offerings of the high priest on the Day of Atonement because his work was supposed to be a picture of the work of Messiah in heaven. If the high priest would have corrupted the work, he would have corrupted the picture of God concerning the methods He would employ to offer salvation and sanctification. As the high priest was required to deal with sin before offering the incense of prayer, Jesus was required to offer Himself as a sacrifice before ascending into heaven to intercede on behalf of God's people in prayer. The prayers of God's people are important. The Bible teaches that the incense was considered a sweet smelling aroma to God, which means that the prayers of God's people are also a sweet smelling aroma. However, scripture also teaches that proper prayer is reflective of one's communication to God by His Spirit in which one is laying down one's own desires as sacrifice in order to receive and submit to the will and purpose of the Father. Thus, one says "amen" to end one's prayer, which means "so be it."
The ministry of Messiah today is founded on the prayers of God's people. The Bible explains that God's people should seek Him in the Word, then receive understanding of the word through prayer, which is communication from the Father, to Jesus, and then translated to God's people from Jesus by the Holy Spirit. Jesus first offered Himself as a sacrifice to deal with the sins of the world, which is how this conduit of communication with God is made possible. Jesus then ascended into heaven, which is how the Holy Spirit is able to dwell in the hearts of God's people. Jesus resides at the right hand of the Father today in order to exercise His Spirit within the hearts of believers to communicate the understanding of the Word and purposes of God. God intended the children of Israel to learn these things through the actions of the high priest then and still desires His people to learn of Jesus in the same way today!
The concept of propitiation is important for people to understand. Propitiation is a word and concept that the Bible uses to describe the satisfaction of judgment and wrath. In 1 John 2:2 the Bible explains that Jesus is the "propitiation" for the sins of the world. In other words, since God is righteous, holy, and just, He has to judge sin and promised to deliver terrible wrath against it. However, since Jesus is considered the embodiment of propitiation, it means that God's wrath against sin was satisfied through the destruction of Jesus in the crucifixion. This does not mean that God will not ultimately judge sin and sinners. The work that Jesus did on the cross only represents part of the total work that Jesus will execute. Instead, Jesus' death can be considered propitiation since God is willing to dismiss the sins of any who believe in and trust in the identity and work of Jesus as the Son of God and Messiah. This means that those who believe will not have to endure the suffering associated with God's judgment and wrath upon sin. Trusting in the identity and purpose of Jesus allows one to receive the benefits of His work in propitiation so that God's anger is satisfied through His crucifixion rather than the death of His people.
This is a lesson that God sought to teach His people for quite some time. The scriptures teach that the wrath and judgment of God is very real, but also that God is not willing that any should perish, but all come to repentance. God will judge those who are deserving of judgment, but He would rather demonstrate patience and refrain from swift action. For this reason, God taught His people the concept of substitutionary atonement. God used the Law to teach His people that He would be willing to pardon the guilty by placing judgment upon another figure.
In Leviticus 16:6-10 the Bible teaches about God's command on the Day of Atonement concerning the sacrifices of the high priest. The scriptures explained that the high priest could not go into the Holy of Holies any time he desired, but instead on one specific day for one specific purpose. The high priest was required to enter the Holy of Holies with two sacrifices showing that one cannot enter into the presence of God without a suitable sacrifice. Leviticus 16:6-10 explains the basis for what God considered to be a suitable sacrifice.
The Bible teaches that the high priest had to first offer a sacrifice for himself and his household. Though the high priest was appointed by God to hold the unique position of high priest, his need for a sacrifice showed that he was still flawed in nature, and unable to meet the full expectation of the Living God according to His holiness. Moses commanded the people that the high priest was required to offer a sin offering for himself and his household. This means that the sins of the high priest and his household had to be dealt with before he could minister. This shows that the servants of God are required to be pure and blameless before they are able to serve according to the needs of others.
Since the high priest served as a picture of the Messiah, the need for a sin offering for the high priest showed that the Messiah had to be without sin in order to fulfill His duty. In the history of mankind, only one man has dwelt on the planet as one without sin - Jesus Christ. Knowing this, one can rest assured in confidence that Jesus was well qualified to complete His work as Messiah since there was no sin within Him that needed to be addressed. The high priest was responsible for carrying the sinful burdens of Israel upon his shoulders and committing sacrifices on behalf of the people to cleanse them of sin. Yet the commands for the high priest on the Day of Atonement show that the high priest needed to be cleansed himself before performing his duty to cleanse others. When Jesus was born into this world, He was born from a virgin, thereby protecting His previously existing sinless nature since no one from the seed of Adam (a sinner) was involved with His birth. The righteousness of Jesus Christ was continually demonstrated throughout the course of His public ministry so that even upon His death sentence, His innocence was proclaimed several times. For these reasons, Jesus was qualified and equipped to perform sacrifices on the behalf of others.
Leviticus 16:6-10 also explains that the high priest had to take with him 2 goats as offerings unto the Lord to atone for the sins of the people. Scripture states that the high priest was to present two goats to the Lord and then cast lots. The goat on which the lot fell was call "the scapegoat." The other goat was offered on behalf of the people as a sin offering. That goat would die for the sins of the children of Israel as a sign of national repentance and cleansing. The scapegoat on the other hand was to be set free. God commanded that once the one goat was slaughtered as a sin offering, the scapegoat was to be committed in prayer for the purpose of atonement, and then set free in the wilderness, never to be retrieved.
This practice was intended to teach the children of Israel about propitiation and substitutionary atonement. The people were supposed to learn about God's desire to bring life to His people, but also that such life required death. While the scapegoat was allowed to live, it was only on account of the death of the other goat. The wages of sin is death. Blood must be shed. Something needs to die. The practice of the two goats on the Day of Atonement reveals that God does not desire all to die even though all are deserving of death. Instead, God showed that He is willing to be satisfied concerning His judgment against sin when the proper sacrifice is committed. When God's laws and commands are followed, God is willing to forgive transgression and relent in His wrath, casting judgment unto a more suitable sacrifice.
At the same time, one must consider the role of the scapegoat. While the scapegoat was allowed to live, it was sent out of the camp into the wilderness, never to be seen again. It is important to recognize that Leviticus 16:6-10 commanded the priests to make atonement upon the scapegoat before sending it out. This means that the high priest was supposed to confess the sins of the people and place them upon the scapegoat, so that when the scapegoat was sent into the wilderness, it symbolically took the sins of the people out with him, never to be seen again. Thus, while God is willing to impart the death that one deserves unto a more suitable sacrifice, the practices on the Day of Atonement show that God expected His people to receive His mercy and live their lives separated from sin. God wanted the sins of the people taken away from the camp, never to be seen again. God would accept the sacrifice of one appointed for that task, but clearly illustrated that He wanted His people to live apart from sin. Thus, the life that God gave through propitiation was given with the expectation that such life be lived according to God's commands, God's holiness, God's righteousness, according to God's Word and purposes.
The Bible teaches that Jesus was able to fulfill the role of both goats. When Jesus died, His death was considered propitiation. God promised to wage war against sin on behalf of humanity since mankind was unqualified to win such a war. God poured out His wrath upon sin through the crucifixion of Jesus so that those who believe in Jesus and live according to His ways in repentance can receive the benefits of His death. One can escape the wrath of God since the Bible teaches that those who believe in the identity and work of Jesus will be forgiven. It is a if the sins that one has committed are placed upon the cross that Jesus died on so that one's sin dies as well. Thus, the wrath of God that one deserves is satisfied through the death of Jesus. As the death of one goat allowed for the life of another, the death of Jesus allows for the eternal life of all who believe upon Him.
At the same time, Jesus is the scapegoat as well. Jesus is the method by which one's past sins are forgiven, but also the manner in which sinful nature is removed. In Zechariah chapter 3 the Bible documents a vision that reveals the Messianic nature and purpose of Jesus. In the vision, Jesus is found taking the filthy garments of the high priest and replacing them with a clean white robe as a gesture to refute the accusations of guilt from the devil in the presence of the Father. This vision shows that Jesus is responsible for removing one's sinful nature (filthy robes) and replacing it with His own righteousness by the power of the Holy Spirit through sanctification (white robes). In the way that the scapegoat took the sins of the people outside of the camp, Jesus takes the sins of His people away. Just the same, as the scapegoat was set free in the wilderness never to be seen again, thereby being separated from the sins the goat carried, when one receives the cleansing of Jesus, one is expected to be separated from the sin that Jesus died to remove. The apostle Paul said it this way: "Shall we continue in sin so that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?" (Romans 6:1-2)
The opportunity is communicated clearly. All people are considered sinners and guilty before the Living God, deserving of judgment and wrath through death - eternal separation from God. However, Leviticus 16:6-10 explains that one does not have to die in one's sin. God is not willing that any should perish. God desires that people would come to repentance; that is, turn from their sinful nature and trust in His offering of salvation according to scripture and live by the Word according to His standards of righteousness that lead to eternal life. God showed that He is willing to accept a more suitable sacrifice as a substitute for the death that one deserves as a sinner. The Bible explains that Jesus is the only sacrificial substitute that the Father will accept. Therefore, all have the opportunity to receive forgiveness, and have the wrath that one deserves be accounted unto Jesus through the crucifixion that already took place! In this way, one is able to live rather than die!
The expectation is also communicated clearly. Those who receive forgiveness of sins are expected to live set apart from the sins they've been forgiven of. Since a living being needed to die and blood needed to be shed on behalf of sin, one should not seek to continue in sin as if death and the shedding of blood is no big deal - especially when one recognizes that the blood that was shed was the blood of the only begotten Son of God! As the scapegoat was sent out into the wilderness to remove the sins of the people, the people were supposed to let those sins go and seek to live life righteously according to the standards of the Living God as documented in scripture.
The expectation is no different for the people of God today. Those who trust in the identity and work of Jesus as the Christ should not be content to live according to one's old sinful habits. The Bible teaches that the old person before faith was put to death and that one is born again as a new creation and should exemplify a new temperament, new habits, new motives, and new purposes according to the Spirit of God as fueled by one's spiritual diet in the Word of God. The people of God should seek to live lives predicated on repentance. Jesus said it this way. One must deny one's self, pick up one's cross and follow Him. This means that the people of God that allow "the scapegoat" to take one's sins away should daily deny one's sinful desires that stem from the wicked nature of one's flesh and temptations of the world. One should pursue God through the Bible, seeking to know Him and live according to His standards. One should pursue perfection in holiness. One should pray to the Lord that His Spirit would daily purge sinful habits and tendencies while teaching the habits and characteristics of Jesus. These are the lessons that God desired His people to learn during the days of Moses and Aaron, and these are the lessons that God desires His people to learn and execute today.
The Bible speaks candidly about the nature of God. In fact the intent of the Bible is to explain and teach about the character and nature of the Living God. There is no other purpose. While there might be some additional benefits that come with the understanding of God's nature, the purpose of scripture is to know who God is according to His own Word. One of the difficult things to consider about God's nature is the extent of His glory. The Bible provides testimonies of some that witnessed the glory of God to certain degrees, but one cannot fully digest the nature of God unless one honestly approaches scripture to understand the nature of God's glory and the ways that people must engage with it.
In Leviticus 16:1-5 the Bible explains that God had a conversation with Moses after Aaron's sons tried to duplicate the glory of God and died in the process. Though God's judgment was right, fair, and swift, He did not desire for repeated offenses; and so God instructed Moses about the manner in which His people should approach Him and seek His glory. Moses was first commanded by the Lord to tell Aaron that, even though he was the high priest, he was not permitted to approach God at any time. The scriptures explain that God's presence and glory would rest above the Mercy Seat in the Holy of Holies inside of the tabernacle. Aaron was instructed that while he was the only one permitted to go in that room, he could not do so any time he wanted to.
This shows that it is impossible to freely approach the glory of God whenever one desires. Though one may desire to be in God's glory, the scriptures show that God restricted even His appointed men. God had specific criteria that Aaron had to follow in order to seek the presence of God in the Holy of Holies. The scriptures candidly explain that if Aaron were to go into the Holy of Holies in a manner that was contrary to God's instruction, the consequence would have been death! This means that, while God is the essence of life, His glory is destructive against those who seek to approach Him in a manner of pride, self-righteousness, or ignorance. The instructions of God found in Leviticus 16:1-5 explain that God requires His people to approach Him in very specific ways that are detailed in scripture, and those who are unwilling to yield to scripture will be unable to bear the glory of God and die.
The first command that Moses gave to Aaron was that, if Aaron wanted to go to the Holy of Holies, he had to have blood sacrifice. It was not possible for the high priest to enter the Holy of Holies without blood. The high priest would have to have a sacrifice for himself in order to enter into the presence and glory of God. God's glory and presence would be a blessing with sacrifice, but without sacrifice, God's glory would have been destructive towards those who disobeyed. Even though the high priest was God's appointed servant as mediator between Himself and His people, the high priest was required to offer blood. This means that no one - not even God's selected servants - are able to approach God without sacrifice. God is holy, righteous and just. Mankind is sinful in nature. God cannot dwell with sin since sin cannot survive the glory of God. Since the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23), then sacrifice is required to enter into the presence of God. Such was the case even for the high priest.
Secondly, the scriptures explained that the high priest was required to put on the holy garments to enter into the Holy of Holies. The high priest had to wear the tunic, the robe, the turban, the breastplate, and the whole uniform that was fashioned by Bezalel and Aholiab. This command explains that God required a certain quality of attire from His people that desired to be in His presence. One must recall the garments that were created for the high priest. Each facet of the clothing for the high priest was indented to have some sort of symbolic representation or teaching lesson concerning the Messiah. The clothing of the high priest was supposed to serve as a uniform that resembled the work of Messiah according to the eternally unconditional promises of God. Thus, in order for the high priest to enter into the presence and the glory of God, he had to look like the Messiah. In order for one to dwell in the presence and glory of God, one must resemble the Messiah - Jesus Christ.
Lastly, Leviticus 16:1-5 explained that the high priest needed to offer sacrifices on behalf of the people as well. Since the high priest was supposed to serve as a mediator between God's people and Himself, the high priest was responsible for offering sacrifices on behalf of the people in order to dwell in the presence of God. The high priest needed to atone for his own sin, but fulfill his role to facilitate the atoning of sins for God's people. Since the uniform of the high priest was designed in such a way to symbolize the role of the high priest carrying the burden and weight of Israel upon his shoulders, the high priest was required to deal with the sins of the people that were placed upon him. The high priest could not approach the presence of the Living God without doing such.
Seeing these instructions, one must understand the qualifications of the Messiah since the role of Aaron as the first high priest in Israel was indented to teach the people about the work that Jesus Christ would fully accomplish as Messiah. The scriptures state that the high priest could not approach the presence of the Father unless there was sacrifice committed. The high priest could not enter into the glory of God to facilitate the cleansing work of God's people according to His promises unless blood was shed. In the same way, Jesus could not approach the Father to fulfill His promises unless He offered a blood sacrifice. Since the blood of bulls and goats is insufficient to please the Father concerning sin, Jesus offered His own blood in order to be able to enter into the glory of the Kingdom to fulfill the promises of the Father. While Jesus did ascend to the right hand of the Father (Acts 1:9-10), He did so by first surrendering Himself to the cross. Hence, the death of Jesus was required in order to fulfill the Messianic promises of God as seen in the instructions for the high priest.
The scriptures explain that the high priest had to be clothed in the proper attire in order to enter into the glory of the Lord. The attire that the high priest was appointed to wear was attire that explained the purpose of the Messiah. The clothing of the high priest was intended to reveal the righteousness, mercy, and grace of Messiah. In this way, the Messiah would be clothed in the righteousness, mercy, and grace of the Living God. The scriptures explain that Jesus was clothed in righteousness since He was tempted in all ways yet did not sin (Hebrews 4:15). The scriptures explain that Jesus possessed the mercy of the Living God that results in eternal life (Jude 1:21). The scriptures explain that Jesus was the physical embodiment of God's grace (John 1:14). In these ways, Jesus was clothed in the proper attire to perform the duties of high priest and mediator. Since Jesus wore the proper spiritual attire, He had the approval of the Father to intercede on behalf of the people so that His intercession was effective and sufficient to fulfill God's promises.
Lastly, the scriptures explain that the high priest had to offer sacrifices on behalf of the people in order to enter into the Holy of Holies. This is where the role of Aaron as the high priest and the role of Jesus as the Great High Priest from the order of Melchizedek differ slightly. Aaron was required to bring two sacrifices - one for himself and also for the children of Israel. Aaron was required to offer two sacrifices because, while he was appointed by God as high priest, he was also a sinner in need of cleansing himself. This is why someone greater than the Levitical high priest needed to fulfill and complete the work of the high priest. One who is in need of cleansing is not qualified to offer effective cleansing for others. Therefore, God revealed Himself in the form of flesh in order to do the job that the Levitical high priests were unable to do.
It is imperative to understand that Jesus died once and for all (Hebrews 9:12, Hebrews 10:10). Though Jesus was a man, He was God in flesh and without sin. This is why the sacrifice He offered of Himself is greater than any other sacrifice ever given. Jesus died once. Yet Jesus' death was sufficient to atone for the sins of the world. According to the instructions found in Leviticus 16:1-5, the whole purpose of the high priest entering the Holy of Holies is to purify the people of God through sacrifice. Jesus' role as Messiah satisfied this work so that His death is equal to the sacrifice that people needed in order to be cleansed from sin. Jesus died once, and that's all that was needed to cleanse all who believe from all sin. All of God's people are made whole and pure because of the work that Jesus did, that generations of men proved they were unable to do.
In these ways, the instruction that Moses received in Leviticus 16:1-5 as helpful to instruct the high priests about how to approach God, but more helpful to show how anyone can approach God. The glory of God is so great that when He is sought outside of the ways He prescribed, His glory is destructive. The glory of God is so great and powerful that it will kill those who seek Him in ways different than the ones He commanded. However, since the instructions that Moses communicated to Aaron resemble the prophetic work of Jesus as the Messiah, then the Bible clearly shows the manner in which one must seek the glory of God - through His Son. The Law shows that mere men are unqualified to seek God's glory as sinners. The Law shows that One greater than a mere man would have to fulfill the work that mere men were unable to do. The Bible explains that Jesus was the One that did the work that Levitical priests were unable to do so that the people of God could be genuinely cleansed and equipped to dwell in His glory. The work of Jesus as the Great High Priest was sufficient to remove the sin that causes God's glory to destroy, which then enables God's people to receive the benefits that come with God's glory, being able to dwell eternally with Him!
Consequently, the Bible makes it clear that one MUST go through Jesus to enter into God's glory. One must offer sacrifice in order to go to Jesus - death to self in repentance. One must be clothed in the righteousness of God that only comes from the Spirit of God when one possesses faith in the identity and work of Jesus. One must resemble the Messiah that saves and be made of up His essence in order to dwell with God. Since Jesus has already performed the necessary work to enter into God's glory, anyone is able to do so freely at any point in time so long as one is repentant and pursues Jesus through scripture. The way to the glory of God and the life that comes with it is through Jesus and only Jesus. According to scripture, any attempt to receive the benefits of God's glory outside of Jesus will result in death.
Uncleanness is a serious matter to God. He is holy, righteous, just, and perfect in every way. For this reason, if any desire to dwell with God, all are required to be as He is. Since God is pure, one must be pure in order to dwell with God. Since God is perfect, one must be perfect to dwell with God. This requires one to undergo a process of change throughout the course of one's life. The Bible teaches that none are righteous and that all are considered defiled as a result. Knowing this, one cannot expect to remain in one's original or "natural" condition as one was born in and expect to dwell with God in eternity, thinking things like, "Well God made me this way." The Bible is very clear about the need of spiritual cleansing to dwell in the presence of God.
In Leviticus 15:1-33 the Bible describes some of God's parameters for the things He considers to be "uncleanness" thereby requiring cleansing. The first half of the chapter discusses the uncleanness of men regarding "discharges." The Bible teaches that any man (not just the priests) that had a "discharge" was to be considered "unclean." The King James Version of the Bible refers to the "discharge" of a man as "an issue of the flesh." While this phrase is helpful to describe the physical nature of God's point, the phrasing is also helpful to explain the spiritual significance of God's point as well. The term refers to any emission of fluid that is supposed to be contained in the body that secretes in some way out of the body - be it through an infection, a sore, a wound, or through sexual stimulation.
The scriptures explain that any time a man has any sort of issue like this, the person is to be considered unclean. If the unclean man touches any person or thing, that person or thing is also to be considered "unclean." Thus, the "uncleanness" of the man is highly contagious. The original unclean man would be considered unclean for 7 days, and on the 8th day be ritually cleansed and then offer two turtledoves or two pigeons as sacrifices to be cleansed by atonement. This shows that, though the issue appeared to be a physical condition, God prescribed a spiritual remedy.
Leviticus 15:1-33 also accounts for the work that needed to be done for the women. The scriptures explain that "uncleanness" for the women was regarded in the same way as the men, but also included their "time of customary impurity," referring to her menstrual cycle. Like the men, if an "unclean" woman touched any person or any thing, that person or thing was required unclean and had to be washed, being considered unclean until the next day. Like the men, a woman that was "unclean" was considered such for 7 days and required to go through the ritual washing and sacrifices of the birds in order to be atoned for their uncleanness. The Bible teaches that uncleanness stemming from a "discharge" required the same ritual practices of the Law for both the men and the women.
Leviticus 15:1-33 also explains why God was so stern about this. The scriptures explain that the children of Israel were required to separate anything that was considered "unclean" from that which was considered clean, specifically referring to the tabernacle. The Bible plainly states that God wanted anyone with a discharge of any kind to be considered "unclean" in order to keep the tabernacle free from defilement. This shows that God was examining the physical conditions of the people through spiritual lenses.
Consider the reality of bodily discharges. The scriptures show that bodily discharges are reflective of infirmities or imperfections of the body related to decay - even a woman's menstrual cycle. When God created human beings in the beginning, there was no sin so there was no decay. Thus, there would not have been any bodily discharge. One can include the menstrual cycle of women in this category since the curse of sin caused the birth process of women to be altered in some way as documented in Genesis 3:16. For these reasons, bodily discharges are evidence of the decay that sin causes, which is why God examined these physical infirmities in spiritual ways.
This truth presents a powerful reality to all people. The human body does not exist in the condition that God originally intended and it is because of sin. Sin caused decay, infirmity, and death. Thus, any scrape, cut, or discharge should serve a s a reminder of one's sinful condition. Since life brings an ample amount of these reminders, one should often be reminded of one's position as an "unclean" sinner, thereby always requiring cleansing from the One that God appointed as Cleanser and Healer - Jesus Christ. God did not want His dwelling place defiled with the imperfections of human flesh and so required the children of Israel to isolate injured and sick people from the tabernacle. This shows that if one desires to be in the presence of the Living God, one cannot approach Him with any imperfection whatsoever. One must be cleansed and the Bible teaches that one is only cleansed through faith in the identity and work of Jesus Christ in salvation by the purification work of God's Spirit. When one repents and trusts in the claims of the Bible concerning Jesus, one will receive the Holy Spirit in order to be cleansed, purified, and perfected, thereby removing one from uncleanness and equipping one to dwell in the kingdom of the Living God.