Blood and Ashes

For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a young cow, sprinkling those who are defiled, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, how much more will the blood of the Messiah, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse our consciences from dead works to serve the living God? Hebrews 9:13-14 HCSB

Leviticus 16:6 records that Aaron, the high priest, had to present a bull as a sin offering on the Day of Atonement to atone for his and his family’s sins. The blood from the bull was to be sprinkled on the mercy seat in the Holy of Holies. Leviticus 16:7-16 records that there were to be two goats used on the Day of Atonement. One goat was to be sacrificed as a sin offering for the people. The other goat was sent into the wilderness, symbolizing the sending away of the people’s sins. The blood from the slain goat was to be sprinkled on the mercy seat. The ashes from a young cow were to be used in the ritual cleansing as outlined in Numbers 19. A red cow or heifer was to be slaughtered and burned completely, with cedar wood, hyssop, and crimson yarn thrown into the fire. The ashes were gathered and placed outside the camp in a ceremonially clean place. The ashes were then used in water as a sin offering to remove impurities. When a person became ceremonially unclean for some
reason, the person was to sprinkle the specially prepared water with the ashes on his body to purify himself.

The writer of Hebrews referred to these sacrifices as a way to illustrate that the blood of Jesus and the sacrifice of His body has once and for all provided everything that we might need to be forgiven and be made clean before God. Jesus’ blood shed on the cross provides what is needed to atone for the sins of the priests and all the people. Through Jesus Christ we are made ceremonially clean so we might have a relationship with the living God.

Challenge: Thank God for the perfect sacrifice that provides atonement for your sins and makes you clean. Jesus’ sacrifice makes it possible for you to have a relationship with the living God. Spend time in prayer seeking God’s wisdom and direction in your life.

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