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Oct 31, 2016

EZEKIEL 36-37:
In chapter 34, we heard the passage that many Jews would have thought of when they heard Jesus say, “I am the good shepherd. I give my life for the sheep.” The Lord promised to take away corrupt shepherds and to shepherd the flock himself.

Like we heard in Ezekiel and in Isaiah, and will hear in Revelation, Babylon will be judged. That kingdom was God’s tool to execute judgment, but they themselves will feel God’s judgment.

In chapter 9 of Hebrews, details about rituals under the first covenant were given. The writer was showing by contrast how Jesus entered a greater, permanent, holy, divinely made Most Holy Place with the one-time-only sacrifice of his own blood. In our time, I think the details also show us the impossibility of our ever rebuilding a system like the Mosaic covenant. I take this opportunity to share my opinion— which I recognize will not be shared by all listeners. But here it is: Those who want to add old covenant observances to our Christian faith just add accretions of man-made ritual. It is better to study and understand how much better the new covenant is, rather than to add empty and powerless ritual and symbolism from the old to the new.

Translation note:
22 So let us come near to God with a sincere heart[, with full belief, and// and a sure faith,] with hearts that have been purified from a guilty conscience and with bodies washed with clean water.