Sin and Sins

  In the Old Testament, there were many priests.  The descendants of Jacob’s son, Levi, were the priests.  God changed Jacob’s name to Israel, Jacob had 12 sons, thus we have the 12 tribes of Israel.  The men of the tribe of Levi were the priests.  While there were many priests, there was only one High Priest at a time.  This office began with Moses’ brother, Aaron, and was passed to his oldest son, then to his, and so on.  When people committed a particular sin, perhaps they stole something or told a lie, they could take a sacrifice to the tabernacle or temple, depending their era of time, and one of the many priests could offer that sacrifice to God for them.  That was for particular sins; however, for the fact of sin in their life, just sin in general, that sacrifice was only made once a year, on the Day of Atonement, and only by the High Priest, and it had to be repeated every year.  This finds its greater meaning in New Testament times, as we understand that all people are sinners by nature, as well as sinners by choice.  For the fact of sin, or sin in general, Hebrews 4:14 says that Jesus is “our great High Priest.”  Hebrews 10:12 says that “He offered one sacrifice for all time,” and that was the sacrifice of Himself.  That is the only covering for sin, not any thing we can do or stop doing, but the sacrificial death of Christ.  That sacrifice fully paid the debt for every person who will ever be born into the family of God by grace through faith.  That takes care of the eternal penalty of sin; yet, in 1John 1:9, we are told that “if we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  This is in reference to particular sins that would hinder our fellowship with God.  Therefore, Jesus fulfills the role of the entire Old Testament priesthood.  This is why we do not see the office of priest mentioned in the New Testament.  There is now just one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus!

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