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Keeping Sweet With God. 253. Sept 27, 2020

Photo by Keem Ibarra I was reminded by a friend that tomorrow is The Day of Atonement, or, as Dad used to say, at-one-ment. This was a day of repentance for Israel, and the main holy day for the year.  Called Yom Kippur, this Holy Day was set aside as a solemn assembly for repentance for the past year for the high priest, the priesthood and the nation.   This weekend was chosen specifically for The Return, an event held in Washington DC for the express purpose of national repentance for the USA. Others from around the world joined in and repented for their own nations. I joined a Zoom meeting for Australia. When I signed in there were 447 aboriginals and others already participating in repentance prayer for our nation. In Tabernacle times, and in the Temple era, the Day of Atonement was the one day the High Priest entered the Holy of Holies. It was also the time he was stripped of all regalia to come before the Lord in white linen. Removed were the

  1. Robe of the Ephod (The white linen material with Blue, Purple and Scarlet, and Gold hammered into thin wires (Exodus 39:3)(also, the coloured pomegranates and bells on the bottom)

  2. The Ephod (the five colours, plus the two shoulder onyx stones in gold settings with the twelve patriarchs engraved)

  3. The Curious Girdle of the Ephod (again, with the five colours).

  4. The Breastplate (with the twelve stones and Urim & Thummim in the small breast pocket);

  5. The Mitre (the blue coloured top cap upon the head and golden head plate with 'Holiness Unto The Lord' written thereon ).

All external colouring and glory were removed for this day of solemnity, and replaced with white. The regalia was to show the glory of the High Priest before man, not God.  The High Priest wasn't coming before God to impress him, and neither can we impress God with our Doctorate's of Divinity or external awards. When we come before the Lord for repentance he wants to see a plain and contrite heart, an offering he can accept. Repentance and acceptance of God's sacrificial terms is the only way we can be at-one with him. On 'The Day' in the Old Testament, animal blood was sacrificed in place of the people's blood. Likewise, today, Christ blood was offered in place of ours. How fortunate we are.     The need to be at-one with God is threaded throughout scripture beginning when Adam and Eve fell from grace. Once out of the garden, they had to make at-one-ment for their sin, since they were now separated from God.  Leviticus 17:11 gives God's instruction for a blood sacrifice for this day. "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." Leviticus 23:27-32 outlines the key points of the day, including the need to afflict the soul. V27 "Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord." Despite the slaying of a beast for the substitutional blood, the Lord still expected personal repentance and an afflicted heart. One of the reasons the beast was on the altar was to represent the people's hearts torn in anguish at their own sin. We are to be heartbroken over sin and desperate for reconciliation with God, not casual or easy-going about it.     Jesus also spoke of the affliction of our souls when he said this in Luke 9:23, "...If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me."  Like the people of the Old Testament, we can't really follow Jesus until we have accepted the terms of his at-one-ment.   In fact, it did more than atone. Atone means to cover. Jesus died so our sins were not just covered for another twelve months but completely washed away. Keeping sweet with God? Along with repentance comes a joyful heart, as the Lord accepts our sacrificial words of sorrow. Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of the old man within us. He loves to accept genuine repentance. When thinking on tomorrow's Day of Atonement, consider both the cost of Christ's blood and the value of repentance in your life, and what it would mean if they weren't available.  Today's prayer: Dear Lord, I praise your name for the Day of Atonement, and what it represents in my life. Thank you for recording these wonderful Old Testament types for me to learn from. As I read of their dedication to the sacrifices, I think on my own life and how I can sacrifice my own selfish thoughts and hollow desires.

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