Numbers 16 & 17
Three weeks ago, my family had the opportunity to go to Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary for a Hybrid. It was a blessing to be there on campus learning and fellowshipping with other believers throughout the country. We left the campus on Sunday morning and attended a Church up there. After Church we were trying to figure out where to go to eat breakfast because we went to the 9am service, so it was still early. After arriving at a breakfast diner that was full, we decided to find a Cracker Barrel. I knew there was one on the way home or in that direction, but I wasn’t sure where. When we pulled up the GPS and typed in Cracker Barrel it provided me with at least three routes, one took 32 min, another took 25 and the last took 31 min. All three ended up in cracker barrel but they went a different way. Of course, I picked the shortest one because I was hungry.
Some people think of religion as the GPS that brings one to God. And the different routes on the gps are the different sects of religion. One could be Christianity, another Buddhism, or Mormonism, or Hinduism, or Islam, but all make this promise to bring the person to God or reach enlightenment. I am sure that you have heard it explained a different way in the form of a mountain, stating that the are many roads that lead up to the top of the mountain. If you just pick your road or route you can make it there. But this isn’t true. We cannot reach God own our own. God’s holiness would not permit it. In the text that we have before us this morning Numbers 16 and 17 what we are going to see as the Israelites exclaim at the end of chapter 17 “Everyone who comes near, who comes near to the tabernacle of the LORD, shall die. Are we all to perish?”. Who can stand before God?. The bible this morning will provide us with three different scenes or rebellions for our consideration to this question of how can we approach God. . So, let’s pray for the Holy Spirit’s help this morning.
Father, We come before you, sinners I need of grace. We need an advocate before us to approach you. Lord would you fill us with your spirit and grant us understanding of your word. Fill me, for I cannot do anything without your help. Lord be with us tonight.
16 Now Korah the son of Izhar, son of Kohath, son of Levi, and Dathan and Abiram the sons of Eliab, and On the son of Peleth, sons of Reuben, took men. 2 And they rose up before Moses, with a number of the people of Israel, 250 chiefs of the congregation, chosen from the assembly, well-known men. 3 They assembled themselves together against Moses and against Aaron and said to them, “You have gone too far! For mall in the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the LORD is among them. Why then do you exalt yourselves above the assembly of the LORD?” 4 When Moses heard it, he fell on his face, 5 and he said to Korah and all his company, “In the morning the LORD will show who is his,1 and who is holy, and will bring him near to him. The one whom he chooses he will bring near to him. 6 Do this: take censers, Korah and all his company; 7 put fire in them and put incense on them before the LORD tomorrow, and the man whom the LORD chooses shall be the holy one. You have gone too far, sons of Levi!” 8 And Moses said to Korah, “Hear now, you sons of Levi: 9 is it too small a thing for you that the God of Israel has separated you from the congregation of Israel, to bring you near to himself, to do service in the tabernacle of the LORD and to stand before the congregation to minister to them, 10 and that he has brought you near him, and all your brothers the sons of Levi with you? And would you seek the priesthood also? 11 Therefore it is against the LORD that you and all your company have gathered together. What is Aaron that you grumble against him?”
In this first scene that we come to this morning, Korah who is a Levite and Dathan and Abiram who were both Reubenites, come before Moses with a charge. Kohath comes before Moses and says that Moses has gone too far, for all of the congregation are holy and the Lord is among them, why does Moses exalt himself above everyone else.
It was true that the whole congregation was consecrated as holy. They after all were God’s set apart people with nice fancy tassels on their shirts to remind them of their holiness as a people. However, the high calling of holiness that was set upon the people of Israel was not a calling of status or responsibility. God had still given a structure that the Israelites and in particularly the Levites were to hold to. God provided for his people the means and the way in which that they were to worship him. God provided for Israel rules and commands on who would bring the sacrifices and how they were to bring the sacrifices. The Levites if you remember were the ones who God had placed to guard the tabernacle and the items within. Specifically, for the Kohathites they were the ones that carried the holy things that were in the tabernacle. When God decided that it was time for them to leave the camp, the Kohathites were the ones that would carry all the furnishings of the temple. This was the particular job that God had provided for the Kohathites to do.
The Kohathites were not bottom feeders of the Israelites, the rebellion was coming from those at the top not those at the bottom of the totem pole. Korah wanted more, he was greedy. He wanted to be like the high priest, he wanted to be just like Moses and Aaron. His charge wasn’t only against Moses, but it was against God because Korah didn’t want to submit to the way that God decreed his people were to worship him and approach him.
After this charge against Moses, he falls on his face, not in reverence for Korah, but in an appeal to God for assistance. He doesn’t complain to Aaron but takes his appeal straight to the Lord.
Moses responded with a challenge to see if the claims of Korah were true or not. Korah and his followers were instructed to come before the Lord the next day with incense burners and fire and then the lord would show everyone who was the chosen priest or not. This challenge should had recalled what happened in Leviticus 10:1-3, when Aaron’s sons brought unauthorized fire into the tabernacle and the were killed by God’s Judgement. Moses understood the heart of the complaint, their complaint was not against him and Aaron, but it was against God. Korah believed that he deserved to be at the same status as Moses and Aaron. Why shouldn’t all people be the same as Moses and Aaron? The Levites were chosen priest of the Lord, and they had their tassels to prove that they were holy, Moses understood the issue in the complaint, Moses understood that What Korah was asking to do went against God and his commands. It wasn’t up to Korah to decide how to approach God, but it was God who ordained how he was to be approached. Moses addresses this in verse 8, and in his rebuttal of the claims of Korah he gets to the heart of the issue. They desired position, power, and prestige instead of being satisfied with the role that God had given them. He says Hear now, you sons of Levi: 9 is it too small a thing for you that the God of Israel has separated you from the congregation of Israel, to bring you near to himself, to do service in the tabernacle of the LORD and to stand before the congregation to minister to them, 10 and that he has brought you near him, and all your brothers the sons of Levi with you? And would you seek the priesthood also? 11 Therefore it is against the LORD that you and all your company have gathered together. What is Aaron that you grumble against him. Korah was acting out of selfish ambition rather than in response to God’s holy intention. He was not being humble to the position that God had given him through being a Levite, he desired more. This wasn’t the end of the rebellion but only the first complaint, so let’s look at the second complaint in this scene.
12 And Moses sent to call Dathan and Abiram the sons of Eliab, and they said, “We will not come up. 13 Is it a small thing that you have brought us up out of land flowing with milk and honey, to kill us in the wilderness, that you must also make yourself a prince over us? 14 Moreover, you have not brought us into a land flowing with milk and honey, nor given us inheritance of fields and vineyards. Will you put out the eyes of these men? We will not come up.” 15 And Moses was very angry and said to the LORD, “Do not respect their offering. I have not taken one donkey from them, and I have not harmed one of them.”
Dathan and Abiram refused to come to Moses, when Moses is seeking out what the issue is concerning their complaint and it is different than what Korah’s was. They complained that Moses did not do what he said that he was going to do. That Moses did not bring them to the promised land that was flowing with milk and honey. They said that Moses brought them out of Egypt for his own personal gain. They must have forgotten that they were the ones that caused them not to enter the promised land. Because of their disobedience. At least with Korah’s complaint, he assumed or presupposed the existence of God. Dathan and Abiram did not even address God in their complaint. Dathan and Abiram tried to blame Moses for their current situation instead of accepting responsibility themselves. Rather than looking at themselves, they wanted to cast blame on others, Specifically Moses and Aaron. They even said that they were being tricked by Moses, like he was a conjurer of cheap tricks that was being used to deceive them all. In verse 15 Moses became very angry. Moses instead of arguing and trying to bring about some sort of justification to himself with Dathan and Abiram he went to God, and said Do not respect their offering I have not taken one donkey from them and I have not harmed one of them.” What was God’s response? Let’s read.
16 And Moses said to Korah, “Be present, you and all your company, before the LORD, you and they, and Aaron, tomorrow. 17 And let every one of you take his censer and put incense on it, and every one of you bring before the LORD his censer, 250 censers; you also, and Aaron, each his censer.” 18 So every man took his censer and put fire in them and laid incense on them and stood at the entrance of the tent of meeting with Moses and Aaron. 19 Then Korah assembled all the congregation against them at the entrance of the tent of meeting. And the glory of the LORD appeared to all the congregation.20 And the LORD spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying, 21 “Separate yourselves from among this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment.” 22 And they fell on their faces and said, “O God, the God of the spirits of all flesh, shall one man sin, and will you be angry with all the congregation?” 23 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 24 “Say to the congregation, Get away from the dwelling of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram.”25 Then Moses rose and went to Dathan and Abiram, and the elders of Israel followed him. 26 And he spoke to the congregation, saying, “Depart, please, from the tents of these wicked men, and touch nothing of theirs, lest you be swept away with all their sins.” 27 So they got away from the dwelling of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram. And Dathan and Abiram came out and stood mat the door of their tents, together with their wives, their sons, and their little ones. 28 And Moses said, “Hereby you shall know that the LORD has sent me to do all these works, and that it has not been of my own accord. 29 If these men die as all men die, or if they are visited by the fate of all mankind, then the LORD has not sent me. 30 But if the LORD creates something new, and the ground opens its mouth and swallows them up with all that belongs to them, and they go down alive into Sheol, then you shall know that these men have despised the LORD.” 31 And as soon as he had finished speaking all these words, the ground under them split apart. 32 And the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up, with their households and all the people who belonged to Korah and all their goods. 33 So they and all that belonged to them went down alive into Sheol, and the earth closed over them, and they perished from the midst of the assembly. 34 And all Israel who were around them fled at their cry, for they said, “Lest the earth swallow us up!” 35 And fire came out from the LORD and consumed the 250 men offering the incense.
36 2 Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 37 “Tell Eleazar the son of Aaron the priest to take up the censers out of the blaze. Then scatter the fire far and wide, for they have become holy. 38 As for the censers of these men who have sinned at the cost of their lives, let them be made into hammered plates as a covering for the altar, for they offered them before the LORD, and they became holy. Thus they shall be a sign to the people of Israel.” 39 So Eleazar the priest took the bronze censers, which those who were burned had offered, and they were hammered out as a covering for the altar, 40 to be a reminder to the people of Israel, so that no outsider, who is not of the descendants of Aaron, should draw near to burn incense before the LORD, lest he become like Korah and his company—as the LORD said to him through Moses.
Korah, Dathan and Abiram and those who were with them, they were to get their censers and place incense in them. After that they were to meet with Moses and Aaron at the entrance to the tent of meeting. Remember Korah’s complaint? That all the nation is holy? That everyone could approach God? But they have forgotten what was said in Chapter 3:38 that any outsider that came into the presence of the Lord will be put to death. And here they stood with their burning incense in front of the tent of meeting. I am sure that it was a quiet scene as the presence of the Lord filled the temple. God’s glory appearing before all the congregation would have been a sight for them. Did God speak to Korah?, What about Dathan and Abiram? No. Verse 20 said that he spoke to Moses and Aaron.
Dathan and Abiram said that they were not blinded from what Moses was doing, that they saw the true reality of what was going on. This was a false claim from them. They were truly blinded from something; they were blinded from their sin. “This is what sin does to us, as it has been said before sin promises things that It cannot fulfill, it offers us freedom while keeping us in bondage. It offers us happiness outside of God’s character, but only causes heartache and pain. It causes us to place blame on others. It puffs us up and makes us think that we are god instead of submitting ourselves to God. We see Korah, Dathan and Abiram suffering from their sin. Korah wanted more status in the congregation. Dathan and Abiram wanted power and the ability to control. Isn’t this what happened in Genesis 3, The serpent said to Eve that if you eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil it will make you like God. Furthermore, Genesis 3 also shows us how sin blinds us to our own faults, God goes to Adam and asks him, “have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?, and Adam turned and told God, “The woman in which you have given me, she gave me the fruit. Then the woman blamed the serpent. Here we see pride in the heart of Korah, Dathan and Abiram deep in their complaints. Pride comes from making yourself an idol. Pride comes from placing yourself above God and his plans. Pride hurts relationships because it is sin. And so, we see here that the sin of Korah, Dathan and Abiram has caused God to judge the whole congregation. God was going to consume all the people of Israel. However, Moses fell on their face in intercession, O God, the God of all spirits and flesh, shall one man sin, and will you be angry with the whole congregation? Instead God relented his anger to the whole congregation. But judgement still fell onto Korah, Dathan, and Abiram and their families. Moses said, “hereby you shall know that the lord has sent me to do all these works, and that it has not been of my own accord. If these men dies as all men die, or if they are visited by the fate of all mankind, then the lord has not sent me.”
If they kill over and die from being sick, or old age, God did not send Moses. But if the Lord creates something new. Something like God demonstrating his creative power in the world. Like the earth opening up and swallow them whole, still alive, and then they go down to Sheol. This is how you should know. I see it like this Moses stood up and said these things and as soon as he finished the earth opened up and swallowed them whole. Gone poof, the earth closed back up just as moses had said. Moses said if something new was to happen… like the earth swallowing these people whole… then you can know I am from the Lord. Wow, how would you deny that Moses was from the Lord now. And to top it off fire came and burned the men that were offering the incense. One writer says this, “If the swallowing alive of Dathan and Abiram and their families was visible disproof of their claim that the lord was either dead or irrelevant, then the fire from the tabernacle that consumed Korah’s 250 priestly pretenders was a visible disproof of Korah’s claim of priestly equity.”
They had no claim, they were burned up just like Aaron’s sons for bring the unauthorized fire. Then to remind the nation of Israel when they came to offer sacrifices that the penalty for sin is death, and that God’s ordering of the people and priest is not just a suggestion, God had them take the censers and place them as a covering for the alter. God showed here that only who God has chosen could approach him safely, everyone else would die. God showed that it was Moses who he has ordained to speak to him and for him. And it was Aaron who was called by God to the special role of high priest, that not all men would be able to do it. I'm sure that this demonstration of God’s justice upon the people brought back memories for Aaron. While Aaron came out of this ordeal unsinged. Aaron was the high priest that God had appointed, for his people to come through to get to him. He may had remembered what Moses said to him after the death of his Sons, Nadab and Abihu, Moses said This is what the Lord has said Among those who are near me I will be holy and before all the people I will be glorified.” Aaron understood that God’s holiness was unapproachable, even for him as high priest he had to offer bulls and goats so that he may approach God. Furthermore, Aaron understood that Gods chief priority was to glorify himself. Aaron being the priest was a mediator between God and man. Gods power here by swallowing the complainers should have left a lasting impression on the nation of israel but Unfortunately, the congregation didn’t remember what had happened on the next day. Follow along verse 41.
41 But on the next day all the congregation of the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and against Aaron, saying, “You have killed the people of the LORD.” 42 And when the congregation had assembled against Moses and against Aaron, they turned toward the tent of meeting. And behold, the cloud covered it, and the glory of the LORD appeared. 43 And Moses and Aaron came to the front of the tent of meeting, 44 and the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 45 “Get away from the midst of this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment.” And they fell on their faces. 46 And Moses said to Aaron, “Take your censer, and put fire on it from off the altar and lay incense on it and carry it quickly to the congregation and make atonement for them, for wrath has gone out from the LORD; the plague has begun.” 47 So Aaron took it as Moses said and ran into the midst of the assembly. And behold, the plague had already begun among the people. And he put on the incense and made atonement for the people. 48 And he stood between the dead and the living, and the plague was stopped. 49 Now those who died in the plague were 14,700, besides those who died in the affair of Korah. 50 And Aaron returned to Moses at the entrance of the tent of meeting, when the plague was stopped.
It is crazy to me the audacity of the people of Israel that we see here. They approach Moses and Aaron the next day saying that they were the ones that killed the people of Israel. Again, this shows how sin blinds us. It shows how sin makes us look to others as the ones at fault. The people didn’t see that they were the ones complaining, they were the ones grumbling, they were the ones at fault. They assumed that it was Moses and Aaron’s fault and it wasn’t a judgment of God upon. They didn’t see that God was holy and righteous, and they were a people in need of mercy from the lord. The glory of the lord covered the tent of meeting. God’s presence was before men and who could stand. God again came down in the form of a cloud and filled all the area with his glory. God’s majesty came to the people of Israel, not because they sought him, but out of judgement.
This time the complaining wasn’t a particular group of people, but it was the whole of the congregation of the people of Israel that came to complain. This time God wasn’t relentless in his judgement over them. God issued a plague and people started dyeing left and right.
What we see here again Moses and Aaron’s intercession for the people. Moses told Aaron to go and get the censer and make atonement for their sins. While God’s judgement was being poured out upon the nation of Israel, Aaron takes the incense and runs into the midst of the assembly, he isn’t worried about what will happen to him, the only thing that he is focused on is the people around him. He makes atonement for the people.
And I love this part. He stood in between the dead and the living, with incense burning making atonement for the people. We see one man impacting many because of his willingness to surrender himself to the task that God had given him to do. He saved those who were living because of his willingness to follow God. All the people of Israel were not holy as Korah said. God had chosen a representative that would come before him to atone for the sins of the people of Israel, this representative was the High Priest Aaron. Aaron’s intercession turned away God’s wrath and the plague stopped. What an intercession! From the moment that God started the plague, Aaron did not think about himself but entered into the congregation to intercede between the living man and the eternal God. It says that only 14700 people died. How many more would it have been if it wasn’t for Aaron. How many more would it have been if it wasn’t for Moses? How many of them deserved the wrath of God upon them for their sins? All of them. What a wonderful intercession from Aaron.
Last Sunday I had the opportunity to teach the older Children’s Sunday School class. And one of the students asked a simple but very tough question. She asked, If God is Good, then why did he tell the nation of Israel to Go and kill the Amorites and Caninities? I have heard this question many times, in different ways. This question of if God is good then why…? Could be asked here We could say if God is good and loving then why did he kill all of these people with the plague? Why did he open up the earth and destroy the Kohathites? What happened to these people on the two days that we are reading about now, they deserved it. Now you can say, well I don’t think that is far to say. My loving God would never do this… My loving God would never kill like this… I want to say your right… Your loving God may never do something like this, however the true and living God, the God that has revealed himself in scripture, this same God that we are reading about here in numbers 16 and 17, does.
God as he has revealed himself in scripture is loving, but he is also just and he is Holy. Humanity since the fall is nothing but corrupted sinners. It is only by God’s grace that he lets us live at all right now. Because of our sins we deserve death. The wages of our sins, that you and I commit every day is death. And what God is doing here in Numbers 16 and 17, is showing his holiness and his justice combined. He is showing how he despises Sin. He cannot be around it, he cannot be near it. He cannot entertain the slightest bit of sin that is upon a person. No one can come before him, with a drop of sin upon themselves. This is why he ordained the stoning of the man who picked up sticks. Something simple as picking up sticks, was a violation of his commandments. You may ask to yourself, well I don’t think that is right for God to kill someone just because they picked up sticks. Why didn’t God give a second chance to the man who picked up sticks? Because God is clear, His standard for obedience is perfection, because he is the ultimate standard. We like to compare ourselves to others, Well I’m not as bad as Johnny, He has stolen a car. Johnny isn’t your standard, God is. God has put forth his law that requires our obedience, however through our daily disobedience we are separated from God.
We all have violated god’s commands. We are prone to pride, we are prone to grumbling, we are prone to sin. God is Holy, Righteous, and just. His holiness is not like the holiness that the people of Israel thought they had. His holiness is pure, unadulterated, sinless perfection. He is none like any other. His is righteous and just. The Bible is clear that the wages of sin is death.
For God to be just, the penalty for sin must be dealt with. He cannot overlook any sin. He doesn’t see if the good outweighs the bad. He didn’t look at Korah and say “man you have worked so hard to serve me. He doesn’t look at the individual person and calculates to see if they have done more good than bad. If they have walked enough older ladies across the street, if they have given enough money to the church or to others, if they have served at the soup kitchen. No, your good would never outweigh your bad. Our works are like filthy rags to the Lord. We need someone else. Humanity cannot approach God on their own. This is what God is showing here in Numbers 16 and 17, for man to approach God their sin must be atoned for. We need someone that will come in between us and God, to atone for our sins. We need intercession. We need a high priest like Aaron takes up his censer and runs in between the living and the dead offering atonement for the nation of Israel sin.
The next scene shows us God’s provision to cease the grumbling. He is showing through the sign of Aaron’s staff of who he has appointed to be the one who serves him and is able to be in his presence. Let’s read.
Aaron’s Staff Buds
17 1 The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Speak to the people of Israel, and get from them staffs, one for each fathers’ house, from all their chiefs according to their fathers’ houses, twelve staffs. Write each man’s name on his staff, 3 and write Aaron’s name on the staff of Levi. For there shall be one staff for the head of each fathers’ house. 4 Then you shall deposit them in the tent of meeting before the testimony, where I meet with you. 5 And the staff of the man whom I choose shall sprout. Thus, I will make to cease from me the grumblings of the people of Israel, which they grumble against you.” 6 Moses spoke to the people of Israel. And all their chiefs gave him staffs, one for each chief, according to their fathers’ houses, twelve staffs. And the staff of Aaron was among their staffs. 7 And Moses deposited the staffs before the LORD in the tent of the testimony.8 On the next day Moses went into the tent of the testimony, and behold, the staff of Aaron for the house of Levi had sprouted and put forth buds and produced blossoms, and it bore ripe almonds. 9 Then Moses brought out all the staffs from before the LORD to all the people of Israel. And they looked, and each man took his staff. 10 And the LORD said to Moses, “Put back the staff of Aaron before the testimony, to be kept as a sign for the rebels, that you may make an end of their grumblings against me, lest they die.” 11 Thus did Moses; as the LORD commanded him, so he did.12 And the people of Israel said to Moses, “Behold, we perish, we are undone, we are all undone. 13 Everyone who comes near, who comes near to the tabernacle of the LORD, shall die. Are we all to perish?”
All of the chiefs of the tribes of Israel came and brought a staff and it was placed before the ark of testimony. But only Aaron’s budded. God showed once again that he appointed the high priest as the one who can come before him. And the people of Israel finally understood. That on their own they couldn’t come before God. They cried out Are we all to perish?
God had taken a dead stick and gave it life. One commentator puts it this way, “This blooming almond branch was a symbol of the certainty that the Lord will fulfill his promises of great blessing for his people through the priesthood.”
As I pointed out earlier we need to see that we cannot stand in the presence of a holy God. We alone cannot walk any way we want to God. All roads do not lead to him as if he is on top of a mountain waiting for us to come to him. God has provided for us in scripture the reality that we need something else, we need someone to bring us to God. We need an intercessor. We need someone to stand in between us and God and be an advocate on our behalf.
As we are dangling over the pit and God’s wrath is being poured out upon us because of our sin. We should fear God’s Justice and Holiness! But God has shown mercy and grace. He has provided a better high priest for us one that didn’t have to atone for his own sins but was perfect just as God is perfect. Jesus is the one who God has provided to intercede for us. He is the one who is our advocate before God. He has provided the righteous for the unrighteousness so that we may be brought to God. As 1 john 2 says that I am writing hese things to you so that you may not sin but if anyone does sin we have an advocate with the Father Jesus Christ the righteous, Christ was the propitiation for our sins and not for ours only but also the whole world.
Christ intercedes on our behalf because of his righteousness. It is Christ’s own perfection and holiness that grants us opportunity to come before God. He bore the wrath of God upon himself, so that you and I may have salvation by our faith in Him. Jesus unlike Aaron who still lays in his grave, has risen from the dead, he defeated sin and death, and now is seated at the right hand of the Father. Christ has been made our high priest, as Hebrews 5 says being made perfect he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him being designated by God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek.
Through Christ’s priesthood we have been made holy, and now we can approach God, not only this God dwells in us. He no longer dwells in a temple, but rather in his people. And because of Christ, 1 Peter reminds us that we are now a holy priesthood and we offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ, we are a Chosen race a royal priesthood a holy nation a people for his own possession that we may proclaim the excellencies of him who called us out of darkness to his marvelous light. Once we were not a people but now we are God’s people, once we had not received mercy but now we have received mercy.
Christ unlike Aaron and Moses continues to intercede for his people Hebrews 7:25 says this. Therefore, he is able also to save them to the uttermost all who come unto God by him seeing he ever lives to make intercession for them.” He saves to the uttermost, he does not have to repeat his sacrifices daily, but all sins that we could ever commit have been taken upon himself.
John Flavel says this concerning Christ’s intercession for us, “Christ has not only offered up his blood to God upon the tree as a full price to purchase pardon and grace for the believer, but lives in heaven, and that for every to apply unto us in the way of intercession, all the fruits, blessings, and benefits, that the precious blood of his deserves, and has procured us a price for him. Jesus Christ our high priest lives forever in the capacity of a potent intercessor, in heaven for believers.”
Christ goes before us to God and offers his blood in the place for our sins. He speaks on our behalf, for our sins. Just as Moses and Aaron came before the Lord and pleaded with God, so does Christ for those who are of him. This means for the Christian that when we sin, we keep a short account and take all of our sins to Christ, quickly repenting and not making a habit of sin. His advocacy will never fail, it continues till the end. Don’t hold on to the sins that burden you but cast them at the feet of our Lord.
For you who have came here thinking that any road may Go to God. See the need for someone greater than yourself. See your need for a high priest. See your sin in light of a holy God. See Jesus today, and repent of your sins and believe by faith that he is Lord. Submit yourself to him, don’t be like the nation of Israel and believe that you can do it on your own or that you are holy through your own works. But see your need, God has provided salvation for you through Jesus.
Christian, do not take lightly what you have been called to. You have someone in heaven that you can bring your sins to. Jesus your intercessor has made you holy by his blood and set you apart to serve him. He is a great high priest that sympathizes with our weaknesses, he knows and cares for us. He understands our needs and our deepest desires. Even though Jesus is not here bodily he has promised that we are not forgotten. Just as the censers were cleansed and made holy by the fire of the Lord, you have been made holy through the blood of Christ. And you have been set apart for the work of the Lord. Love one another, serve one another, do not be prideful as Korah, Dathin and Abirum, but see others as more important than yourselves. We now have no need for earthly priest or intercesor to represent us before God. Therefore, Christian, confidently look to Jesus as your high priest, advocate and intercessor.
O most holy God, You are perfect and holy, while we are sinful. We thank you for Jesus, the righteous, Now we can come to you and offer up prayers, now we are your children, now we can approach you. Father, help up see your holiness. Help us keep a short account of our sins, help us look to Jesus, our saviour, our great high priest. Amen.