Summary: When you come to church, it is not up to the preacher, the worship leader, the musicians and the singers to get you right with God. Leviticus tells us 4 things the worshiper must do and and 4 things the "priest" does.
14 And he shall take of the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it with his finger upon the mercy seat eastward; and before the mercy seat shall he sprinkle of the blood with his finger seven times.
15 Then shall he kill the goat of the sin offering, that is for the people, and bring his blood within the vail, and do with that blood as he did with the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it upon the mercy seat, and before the mercy seat:
16 And he shall make an atonement for the holy place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions in all their sins : and so shall he do for the tabernacle of the congregation, that remaineth among them in the midst of their uncleanness.
17 And there shall be no man in the tabernacle of the congregation when he goeth in to make an atonement in the holy place, until he come out, and have made an atonement for himself, and for his household, and for all the congregation of Israel.
18 And he shall go out unto the altar that is before the LORD, and make an atonement for it; and shall take of the blood of the bullock, and of the blood of the goat, and put it upon the horns of the altar round about.
19 And he shall sprinkle of the blood upon it with his finger seven times, and cleanse it, and hallow it from the uncleanness of the children of Israel.
The passage that we read here is just one of many that you can find in the Old Testament that shows the duties of the priest of Tabernacle's worship system. I picked this passage out randomly because this is often what you think about if you have done any studying of Old Testament sacrifices. You find a priest killing a sacrifice and sprinkling the blood of the sacrifice on the altar and then on the mercy seat. You often picture the animal being placed on the burning altar, and of course for the sins of the people.
This concept of a sacrifice originated with the first sin in the Garden of Eden. It was the sacrifice of an animal that, in essence, took the place of the one that sinned and paid the penalty of the sin.
It began with one simple verse in the Book of Genesis…
21 Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.
With that verse, began man's understanding that when sin comes into his relationship between him and God, there will be the penalty of death. But graciously, God has allowed a substitute to be in our place.
11 For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.
So the idea of a sacrifice is not at all uncommon. It is so common that if you are not careful, when you read through passages containing a sacrifice, your mind will automatically insert picture images of what is happening, and who is making it happen. And that is where I want to take you this morning. In our automatic insertion of this picture image, we often get it wrong. Our mind often works in such a way that if we ever put something into our minds, that becomes the default picture and image we use.
Let me give you an example. How many of you if you are reading or thinking about…if it is being preached about….Moses with the Ten Commandments, and ready to break them, picture Charlston Heston as Moses. If you have ever seen the movie, The Ten Commandments, it could be easy for your mind to use that image, even many years later after seeing the movie.
I am saying this because after our mind constructs a paradigm, or a model, or a pattern in our thinking, then it can become auto insertion, even if the model in our mind is not lining up with the words we read from the Bible. And when Hollywood gets it wrong, which they often times do, our mind can get it wrong, even when we are reading Words of the Bible.
Back to The Sacrifice…The Priest…The Altar. Let me bring these images back to the forefront of your mind. The Book of Exodus describes the saving of Israel out of Egypt. It describes the journey through the wilderness to the Promise Land. It also describes the instruction and construction of the Tabernacle.
The Book of Leviticus begins where the book of Exodus ends – at the foot of Mount Sinai. The Tabernacle has just been completed. Now God is ready to teach the people how to worship there.