The tabernacle offers real access to God, but it is limited access. Not everyone can go into the tabernacle and only a very select few can enter the Most Holy Place on a restricted basis. The priests would both serve God (28:41), and represent Israel when they did so. We see the representative part of their job description when they are directed to wear the names of the tribes of Israel engraved on stones on their chest (Ex. 28:9-12). The priests would offer sacrifices that were pleasing to God and also ones that were used by God as a means of atoning for the sin of the people. As we read these passages, we see the elaborate preparations of the priests – the beauty of their clothes and the rituals to set them apart. But we also see the precarious position that they minister in as we hear the constant reminder, “lest they die.”
Reflect and Connect: The OT practice of priesthood is fulfilled in Jesus. The book of Hebrews explains that Jesus is the great high priest who represents us before God and gives us access to the power of God. Because Jesus is our high priest, we no longer need a human being to formally represent us before God, we can all enter the presence of God through Christ. At the same time, we serve as “lowercase-p” priests when we pray for other people. Consider these NT passages in light of the OT practices we read about today:
Hebrews 4:15-16 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Hebrews 10:19-22 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.
I Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
This blog is part of the ministry of City Reformed Presbyterian Church. Unless otherwise noted, the entries are written by Matt Koerber. This is part of a project that our church is doing as we read through the narrative sections of Scripture between early January and Easter 2020. New entries will be scheduled to drop automatically at 5:00 am on the scheduled day.