Understanding what it means to be able to “draw near to God”…
There are people in important roles whose office I could call today and be told either it will be days or weeks before I can see them, or that I can’t see them at all.
Not so with the God who spoke the Cosmos into existence.
The Old Testament Law was given by God not to make us perfect but rather to show us how utterly imperfect we are in our sin.
An important part of that Law was the role of the Levitical Priests (Old Testament priests were members of the tribe of Levi). The priests were instructed by the Law to intercede for mankind. In other words, outside of God choosing to speak to an individual like Daniel or Gideon, or prophets such as Isaiah and Jeremiah, regular people had no intimate access to God. Only priests had that privilege.
Think about that for a minute. In Old Testament times you and I couldn’t talk to God. We had to wait our turn and go through a priest.
Additionally, only once a year, the high priest (the highest rank of all Levitical priests) – and only the high priest -had permission to enter the Holy of Holies (a designated inner room in the Old Testament tabernacle) to offer blood from an animal to atone for the sins of mankind. “Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin,” the author of Hebrews wrote.
This entering of the Holy of Holies was no casual or hurried experience. Jewish tradition cites if the high priest did not keep every single required step in this process he did so at the risk of immediate death – this is how seriously God has always taken the atonement for the sin of mankind.
Bottom line: the Law kept mankind outside the intimate presence of God.
This was revolutionary news to first century people.
God introduced his new covenant. The need for human priests was fulfilled in the perfect life, death and resurrection of our true High Priest, Jesus Christ.
At his death, the veil in the Old Testament tabernacle that separated the designated human high priest from the Holy of Holies – which symbolized God’s intimate presence – was torn in two from top to bottom signifying the immediate arrival of the new covenant of God with man through Christ.
No longer did mankind need a human being to intercede to God on their behalf. “There is (now) one mediator between God and man,” Paul wrote, “the man, Jesus Christ.”
To the Ephesians believers, Paul encouraged them with this life-changing good news: “But now in Christ Jesus you who were once far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.”
Now, because of the Cross and the Empty Tomb, you and I can approach the throne of God boldly. About anything. Anytime. Anywhere. No wait time. No line to see him.
Stop for a moment and visit with God today. He loved us so much he gave his only Son up to Roman execution so that we might have intimacy with him – and he with us.
Love you all, Nick