Wednesday, April 07, 2004

The Living Temple

This is my own, personal Bible study for today, inspired by a prayer at church on Sunday:

"The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands." (Acts 17:24)

"Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you?" (1 Cor. 4:8)

"Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body." (I Cor. 6:19-20)

At church last Sunday the man who prayed over communion talked about the Old Testament method of purifying the temple with the sacrificial blood of animals. The temple now resides in each of Christ's believers, so we purify the temple by taking communion as Christ instructed us to do in rememberance of Him. His prayer added a whole new dimension to communion for me. To think that each time I take communion, I am cleansing the temple. (Of course, I cannot cleanse it, but I allow Christ to cleanse it by accepting His sacrifice).

The Old Law: "The priest is to sprinkle the blood against the altar of the Lord at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting...For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the alter." (Leviticus 17: 6, 11)

The New Truth: "When Christ came as high priest of the good things that are already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not man-made, that is to say, not a part of this creation. He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves, but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption." (Hebrews 9:11-12)

The Holy Spirit testifies: "'Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.' And where these have been forgiven, there is no longer any sacrifice for sin." (Hebrews 10:6)

The following devotional came to me by email from Christian Woman Today:

By Suzanne Benner

Throughout the book of Revelation, Jesus is known as the Lamb of God. Let's pause today to think about what that means.

In the Old Testament, we are told the story of the sacrificial lamb. God provided a ram on Mount Moriah for Abraham to sacrifice instead of his son Isaac (Genesis 22:1-19). The Israelites were instructed to kill a lamb, spreading its blood on the doorframe, to keep the angel of death from destroying their firstborn on that first Passover in Egypt (Exodus 12:21-30). Year after year, sacrifices were offered to take away the sins of the people (Leviticus 4:26). Then finally, when Jesus walked this earth, John the Baptist saw Him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29)

On our own, we cannot stand before God because of our sin. Yet we are not lost, because Jesus is the fulfillment of the Old Testament story of the sacrificial lamb. "He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world" (1 John 2:2).

May the deep meaning of the title, "the Lamb of God" resound in your heart. Jesus gave up His life for yours and mine!

~Jesus, we join with the 24 elders singing, "You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth." (Revelation 5:9, 10). With the angels we sing, "Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honour and glory and praise!" (Revelation 5:12)


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