[Note: When I originally posted this in 2013 I seem to have made a mistake in the settings so as to make it inaccessible. Since this is the season, I am posting it again.]
The Israelite holy day we call the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) presents a fascinating imagery of community purification of sin. It may seem like a weird and bloody ritual from a barbaric time, therefore completely irrelevant to our modern age.
In some ways that is true, but for early Christians it had a great deal of symbolic meaning related to the life and mission of our Lord Jesus Christ. In fact, the writer of the Letter to the Hebrews uses many aspects of that ritual to point to how great a High Priest Jesus is due to his life, sacrifice and resurrection. He compares Jesus’ life and mission to various rituals of that ceremony and…
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