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Fireheart 1945


"Defend your clan, even with your life." - Warrior code, Warrior cats novel series

More Blog Posts225

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Jun
7th
2020

Messianic foreshadowings · 8:17pm June 7th

Intercession

In Exodus 32:11-14 and Numbers 14:13-19, Moses intercedes with God for Israel's sins. God has threatened to destroy the people, and said He would a great nation of Moses alone. Each time, Moses begs God to forgive the people; his argument (in the first two) goes like this;

1. If God destroys the people, the Egyptians will hear of it, as will the surrounding peoples, and either make God out to be a liar (Exodus 32:12) or to be unable to lead Israel to Canaan (Numbers 14:16); an appeal to God's glory and honor.

2. Moses reminds God of the promises He made to Abraham, Issac, and Jacob (Exodus 32:13); an appeal to God's promise-keeping.

3. Moses asks God to forgive the people, as He is "slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love (Numbers 14:18)," an appeal to God's love and forgiveness.

Each time, God relents, though in Numbers 14 Israel's transgression is such that God reveals that they will have to spend forty years in the wilderness until all who were above the age of 20 died off (Numbers 14:29) (with exceptions such as Joshua and Caleb, who had demonstrated their faith in God) due to their unfaithfulness in not trusting Him to carry out what He had promised (i.e. in this case the conquest of Canaan) and for speaking ill of their inheritance (13:32-14:10, 21-25, 29-35).

Moses stands between God and the people when a sin is committed; Moses calls upon God and His greatness to forgive the sin; and God relents from destroying the people outright. I think that the video in this link helps to explain more. Or, as this website puts it regarding the golden calf incident;

The seeming changing of God's mind in these and in other situations makes people wonder if God is wavering in His word. But this is not the case. In the situation with Moses God was angry because the people had rejected Him in favor of an idol. His desire to destroy them was not unalterable. Moses' intercession on behalf of the people kept them from being destroyed. From humanity's point of view God's mind was changed but God had known all along what would happen. Moses prayed for mercy and God answered his prayer.

God also threatens to destroy the congregation in Numbers 16:21 and 16:45. In both cases, Moses and Aaron intervene. The first time, they appeal to God's justice, saying it would not be right to destroy the entire congregation for the sins of a few (v. 22). God then orders the people to get away from the dwellings of the rebels (v. 23-24). The second time, after God has destroyed the rebels, the people unjustly accuse Moses and Aaron of killing the rebels (v.41). God then threatens Israel's destruction again (v. 44-45). Moses has Aaron take fire from the altar and "make atonement (v. 46). In response, God halts the plague he had sent among the people, though 14,700 people die for their sin (v. 49). Again, because of an intercession, the nation as a whole is saved from the just wrath of an all-Holy God.

Manslaughter and the High Priest

There's also the example of what happens when manslaughter occurs; in Numbers 35:9-16, 22-28, God tells the people that if someone kills another person by accident, and its proven to be such, then the manslayer can flee to a City of Refuge. However, they are only safe within the city. If the "avenger of blood" (a term translated elsewhere as "kinsman-redeemer") finds them outside the city, they are allowed to kill the manslayer (v. 26-29), as he was supposed to remain within the city. Only after the death of the current high priest can the manslayer go back to his own land and resume his life (v. 29).

At first glance, this practice may seem odd; why would someone have to flee to a specific city if the killing was accidental, and why would the avenger of blood be permitted to kill them if they were found outside the city?

I think that upon closer inspection that the verse says more than this. The key part of the manslaughter verses is that, in order for the manslayer to be able to leave the city without the threat of death, someone else - the high priest - has to die. In other words, they must wait until someone innocent of the bloodshed (accidental as it was) dies to be able to return home.

The sacrificial system

Let's also briefly discuss the sacrificial system for Israel. Unlike in pagan nations (such as in Greece and the nations that would surround Israel), where sacrifices were essentially bribes and/or food to their (no)gods, Israel's sacrificial system was meant to save the life of the Israelite (or convert) from sin (Leviticus 4). Again, something innocent (in this case often a sheep, though goats, cattle, and, for the poor, pigeons and doves, were also used) had to die so that the person could be free of sin. And these animals had to be spotless; no blemish or boil or injury or illness or damage (such as blindness) or any other deformation was allowed (Leviticus 4:3, 23, 28, 32, 22:22-24, Deuteronomy 17:1). Only the best out of the animals could legally be sacrificed. The penalty for sin is death (Romans 6:23), and as such someone/thing had to carry the penalty.

But these animal sacrifices could not be a permanent solution. As the webpage in this link says, Old Testament sacrifices were temporary coverings, bandages, and could not remove sins. The Hebrew is likewise explained in the above link. In addition, Moses and Aaron also sinned (Numbers 20:9-12) and would be denied entry to the Promised Land, and were not perfect intercessors. Nor did any who succeed them become one. And, as with Moses and Aaron, the priests, including the high priest, could sin.

Combination in Christ Jesus

The permanent solution came in the Second Person of the Trinity; Jesus Himself. And it's here that these Old Testament concepts - Moses' intercessions, the High Priest's death to release one from their transgression, and the animal sacrifices - intersect.

Think about it. Jesus was a sacrifice, one and for all, for sin (Hebrews 9:27-28, 10:1-18, 1 Peter 3:18, 1 John 2:2, Ephesians 2:8-9); Jesus died so that other people could be free of sin (Matthew 20:28, John 11:25, 1 John 3:16); Jesus is High Priest (Hebrews 4:14-15, 7:26-27); and Jesus intercedes for us with the Father, so that we may not be punished as we deserve for our sins (1 Timothy 2:5, Hebrews 7:26-28, 1 John 2:1). All these Old Testament laws and concepts were leading - pointing - to the Messiah to come. God gave us His Law partly as a means to show how high the bar was (see here, especially the final paragraph, for the purpose of the Mosaic Law). We could and cannot not meet those standards (Romans 8:3-4), and deserve death (i.e. hell) for our sins.

Yet God, Almighty, all-Holy and all-just and hating sin absolutely, yet loving, graceful and merciful beyond our ability to comprehend as well, gave His Son to us (while we were yet sinners, Romans 5:8) that through His death and resurrection, we rebels can repent of our sins because of Him, we can know Him, we can approach Him, and we can receive eternal life through Him and because of Him. May all worth be rightly ascribed to God.

"Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin (Hebrews 4:14-15, KJV)." (See here for ESV version)

May we all truly repent and know God's love and Good News, may we come to love God with all our heart, strength, soul, and mind, and be saved by Christ Jesus and His work, death, and resurrection. May we trust Him, and not ourselves, for our salvation.

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