The Priestly Treadmill was Not Meant to Be Plugged in Forever (Thank God!)

Erik Raymond —  February 3, 2011

(Lev 16.31-32) It is a Sabbath of solemn rest to you, and you shall afflict yourselves; it is a statute forever. 32 And the priest who is anointed and be consecrated as priest in his father’s place shall make atonement, wearing the holy linen garments.

This is the famous Day of Atonement passage. In Leviticus 16 God communicates to the Nation of Israel how they would have their sin dealt with. This annual event was to deal with their uncleanness due to their sin. Embedded in the pronouncement of cleansing (Lev.16.30) is this reminder of repetition.

The feast will be repeated because they are sinners and because God is holy.

In verse 29 the people were reminded that this day is to be circled in permanent ink on their calendars. “…it shall be a statute forever…” And here again, “forever…”

Furthermore, there is a plan for priestly succession. This is going to be an ongoing statute.

Every year on the 10th day of the 7th month they are going to need another priest to offer sacrifices for himself, take multiple baths, change his clothes, offer 2 more goats, get a runner to take the goat in the wilderness, throw blood on the curtain, throw blood on the mercy seat, burn up incense, burn up everything extra, and on and on it goes. Do it again, every year.

And, remember, there are not any cleaning crews that would have come into the Tabernacle. There is not a late night team to come in after the festivities die down to clean the blood up off of the floor or the stains from the mercy seat. No, year after year these priests would track in more blood from more goats to offer for the sins of more people.

Every year this blood would serve as a testimony of God’s unflinching holiness and man’s unfading sinfulness. Because God is holy and people are sinful, there is a long term plan set up to deal with sin. The treadmill of priestly succession is turned on in Leviticus 16.

There is work to do because God is holy and people are sinners. And so it starts.

But this priestly treadmill was not intended to be plugged in forever. It looks forward for completion. It looks forward for rest. The bloody repetition cries out for rest. It cries out for satisfaction through perfection.

O’ how valuable is the beloved Christ, the High Priest who does not die! The High Priest who offers one sacrifice! The High Priest who is in every way holy! Yes this priest would be so valuable to the priests who ran on their sacerdotal treadmill until they died and were replaced by another.

Marvel at Jesus and his perfect sacrifice, holiness and the fact that he lives forever!

(Heb 7.25-28) 25 Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost1 athose who draw near to God through him, since he always lives cto make intercession for them. 26 For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, aholy, innocent, unstained, bseparated from sinners, and cexalted above the heavens. 27 He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, afirst for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this bonce for all when he offered up himself.28 For the law appoints men ain their weakness as high priests, but the word of the oath, which came later than the law, appoints a Son who has been made bperfect forever.

Erik Raymond

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Erik has been writing at Ordinary Pastor since 2006. He lives in Omaha with his wife and kids while pastoring at Emmaus Bible Church. Follow regular updates on Twitter at www.twitter.com/erikraymond