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Cleansed and forgiven

For when every command had been proclaimed by Moses to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and goats, along with water, scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled the scroll itself and all the people, saying, This is the blood of the covenant that God has ordained for you. In the same way, he sprinkled the tabernacle and all the articles of worship with blood. According to the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. Hebrews 9:19-22 CSB

Continuing on from yesterday, the following verses give more detail into the sacrificial acts performed for the first covenant. After Moses proclaimed the commandments to the people, he then offered animals as sacrifice, proclaiming also the symbolism behind the act and sprinkled the people. Through these actions, the first covenant was enacted between God and the nation of Israel. Verse 20, as mentioned from yesterday, is very similar to the words of Jesus Christ at the last supper. The comparison is purposeful, showing the connection between Moses’ symbolic act to Jesus’ completion of the gift of salvation at the cross. Verse 21 is very interesting, in that it adds additional actions done during Moses’ time that was not explicitly stated in the book of Exodus. These actions were done and documented according to Jewish tradition. As Thomas Lea writes, “The use of blood obligated both parties to be faithful to the covenant. If either party were unfaithful to a covenant, he or she experienced the fate of the sacrificial animal.” Hence, the covenant was not to be taken lightly. Finally, verse 22 gives the conclusion that “according to the law almost everything is purified with blood.” There were some Jewish traditions that did ritual cleansing through water, fire and flour, but blood was especially common. The writer of Hebrews testifies that his constant emphasis on purification with blood is not his own idea. He bases it on the law of God. Says he, “In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood” (9:22). That law is recorded in Leviticus 17:11 where God through Moses says to the Israelites: “For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life.” Animals were sacrificed and their blood was poured out to secure forgiveness for sin, but wasn’t completely finished until Christ had died on the cross, in which permanent atonement, removal of sin, was done. “For this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins” (Matthew 26:28). “…and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” (Hebrews 9:22). Because Christ shed His blood and I repented of my sin, acknowledged Him as my Lord and Savior, my sins are forgiven.


Isaac De Guzman


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