The Good, the Bad and the Blood (Lane)
The Good, the Bad and the Blood
by Lonnie Lane
What a wonder-inspiring truth! A reality incomprehensible to the natural mind — that God, the Creator of all that exists, Almighty, All-knowing, All-powerful God — became a Man. Why would He do such a thing? In order to teach us about Himself and to show us His ways can be the only reason. God so much wanted relationship with the people He created that He descended into His creation and became one of us. Astounding! It never gets old for me. I marvel at this all the time, awed by the amazing love and goodness of God. He who made us all became that that which He had made so we could know Him. That God would become man is incomprehensible to many, it was even to the Jews — and often still is. It seems below God to become a man. But isn’t that the point? That God did what no other person could. He is secure enough in Who He is to do so, to make a way where there was no other way. Oh, the majesty of the humility of God!!
To the cousins of the Jews, the Arabs, or to anyone who believes in Allah, that Yeshua is the Son of God is likewise incomprehensible because a foundational premise of believing in Allah is to believe that he has no son. It’s part of what every Muslim declares in their faith. Now, why would that be important if it wasn’t to counter the all-important truth that God does have a Son and His name is Yeshua which means Yah, or God (the only real God) is salvation?
Having said He is salvation, how is it that He became the way to salvation? Here’s where, as we know, it becomes even more astounding. We remain incapable of fully explaining in mere mortal words that this Man, this Yeshua, this Son of God who is God, allowed Himself to suffer on our behalf so that where we have failed to follow God as He created us to be — holy as He is holy, He took the just punishment upon Himself that was due to every person for their independence from or sin against God. Talk about taking responsibility for what He created, even for allowing the departure from holiness. He loved us that much, and values our freedom so much that He gave us the choice to believe and obey Him, to love Him more than ourselves — or not. Could anything be more God-like than that? You’d say ‘yes’ only if that’s how you see God. But even if you don’t, He did it anyway.
We can apprehend what He did for us and be released from the consequences of our sin when we accept by faith, by trusting it’s true, that He died in our place to make us acceptable to God. Then, based on His righteousness, when we had none of our own sufficient to commend us to God, we become acceptable again to enter into a relationship with God we could never have except through Yeshua’s death and His resurrection.
We didn’t always know about this, did we? We didn’t always know this about Yeshua. In fact, too many don’t know about Him in order to believe in Him yet. Certainly Israel didn’t know about God as man any more than the rest of the world did. It was hidden, a secret kept by God for centuries. But He did call Israel to Himself to be a holy people, set apart for Himself. “For you are a holy people to the Lord your God, for the Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth” (Deut 7:6).
But He did give Israel clues about Messiah. Sometimes big ones. It’s against these clues that we measure the truth of Messiah, so that we can see that Yeshua’s coming was God’s plan always. Messianic prophecies tell us that. And the Feasts of the Lord tell us that. These mo’edim, these appointed times with God as the feasts are called, were also rehearsals of what was to come through Messiah. God’s appointed times were a “shadow of things to come” (Col. 2:16-17).
To take a look at the broad picture, we can sum up God’s relationship with mankind this way: God created man to live in harmony and peace with Him, but the first folks were duped into doubting God’s goodness and sin entered God’s perfect world and “broke” it. In time, God found a man whom He could count on to teach his family God’s ways. He changed his name from Abram to “Abraham for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations” (Gen 17:5) and God established a covenant with him that was to last forever, throughout all the generations of Abraham’s progeny and as it turns out, that also included those not from his physical family but also those who choose to follow the ways of God.
In His goodness, God eventually gave to Abraham’s family, now called Israel, a constitution — a set of instructions as to how to live godly lives which included the benefits of doing so, as well as the consequences for not doing so. In this constitution we call Torah, God defined something called “sin.” Now, before the Torah nothing was officially designated as sin, although God made it quite clear that there was certain behaviors that were not acceptable to Him. Banishing Adam and Eve from the Garden and from a life of tranquility would make it clear. God is a holy God and offending His holiness carries consequences. But again, not everyone knows that or makes that connection.
Once God defined the concept of sin, He didn’t leave Israel in that state, but provided a multitude of ways for the people of Israel to be forgiven for their sins. He provided blood sacrifices — an animal had to die in the place of the person, and its blood would pay the price for the sin. An elaborate system of sacrifices was set up, first in a tabernacle and later in an enormous and glorious temple constructed largely for the purpose of performing the sacrifices. A good bit of Judaism’s priesthood and even the construction of its places of worship were centered around the sacrificial system in order to appease God for His anger against sin.
Sin is missing the mark of holiness that God has set. It’s offending the holiness of God and His absolute authority. Sin is doubting the goodness of God and ascribing to Him characteristics that violate His character and nature. It is misusing what God created as good in ways that are not good. “Everything created by God is good” (1 Tim 4:4). Let’s take a look at the word “good” to see how God created everything to be, all of which reflects His absolute goodness. The word good in Hebrew is tov (tove). It means: beautiful, best, better, bountiful, cheerful, at ease, fair, (to be in) favor, fine, glad, good- (lier, iest, ly), goodness, graciously, joyful, kindly, kindness, best, loving, merry, most, pleasant, pleasing, pleasure, precious, prosperity, ready, sweet, wealth, welfare, (be) well, and favored. Eden was all this and the life God created for Adam and Eve was characterized by all that tov is.
God warned Adam that to partake of the tree of the knowledge of good (tov) and evil (Gen 2:9, 17) would mean death. How could he know what death meant? He was perfect but he was naÿve, inexperienced, unaware of the wiles of the wicked one. Though Adam warned Eve, they both succumbed to the suggestions of the enemy that God wasn’t good and was withholding good from them. What really could be even “gooder” than God and what He had already provided for them? But as she listened to the words of the sly seducer, suddenly her trust in God became distrust until Eve acted out of distrust of God’s goodness. Adam followed along though God had first given him the warning. We know what resulted. Evil entered the world. Sin took hold and changed the world that day. What entered in is a Hebrew word, choshek, which means ‘dark’ hence darkness, misery, destruction, death, ignorance, sorrow, wickedness and obscurity. As time went on, these attributes became more pronounced and God and His goodness were so obscured to them that He destroyed the world and all in it, except for righteous Noah and his family.
As God is good, so sin is bad. The word for bad is ra, which in its full meaning tells us what replaced good. It tells us what came into the earth with the rebellion of sin that took us out from under the fullness of God’s goodness. Ra means: bad, evil, adversity, affliction, calamity, displeasure, distress, ill favored, grief, grievous, harm, heavy, hurt, hurtful, mischief, not pleasant, sad, sadly, sore, sorrow, trouble, vex, wicked, worse, wretched, wretchedness and wrong. The prime root of the word, ra’a, tells us what actually took place. It means to spoil, literally by breaking into pieces, to make good for nothing, to be bad (ra) physically, socially or morally, to afflict, break down, to be, bring or do evil, evil doer, do harm, hurt, deal ill, punish, vex, do wickedly, do or deal worse. All those things came about when goodness was “broken” as a result of doubting in God’s goodness and acting on that doubt.
It is interesting to note that while ra means all that bad, the word rapha means “to mend, i.e., to cure, to cause to heal, repair thoroughly, to make whole. One of the names of God is YHVH Rapha, the Lord our healer. He has made a way to heal all that brokenness of sin. How?
God required blood to pay for sins. In fact, He tells us that our very life is housed in our blood “for the life of the flesh is in the blood and I (God) have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood by reason of the life that makes atonement” (Lev. 17:11). “As for the life of all flesh, the blood is identified with its blood” (:14). Said another way, “it is the life of all flesh; for the life of all flesh is its blood” (:14 NKJV). We can live without various parts of our bodies, but take away the blood or the organs that allow the blood to function in our life, and we are no longer alive.
It’s also an interesting thought to consider that when Adam and Eve sinned, their blood must have changed. If “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23) and since the life is in the blood, if they eventually died physically, then their blood was affected or they would not have died. When we are sick, we take blood tests which generally indicate the sickness. The blood is sick when we are. Or the other way round. So if you’ve ever wondered why God chose blood to make atonement for our souls, that’s why. What is higher and more valuable in human existence than our lives? Nothing says life more than our blood.
If you recall, we talked above about the appointed times, the mo’edim of the Lord which are holy convocations — His holy convocations as being clues of the coming of Yeshua (See Leviticus 23:1-4). Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement, pronounced Yoam keepoor) is a day of a solemn Sabbath which is a clue to the atoning death of Yeshua. It is a day that is celebrated yearly on the tenth day of the seventh month which this year (2008) falls on October 9th. It is to be a day of humbling yourself before the Lord, a day to do no work (23:27-31). This is known as the most holy day of the year in the Jewish calendar.
Yom Kippur is the culmination of a ten-day process beginning with the Feast of Trumpets which we know today as Rosh Hashanah. In Hebrew it is called Yom HaTeruah and is when the trumpets are sounded to designate that we have entered the time of self-examination before God to make right anything that “missed the mark” of God’s holiness in the past year. These are called the ten Days of Awe in which someone is to be awed by God’s holiness and in fear of offending Him, lest your name not be included in the Book of Life for the following year.
It reminds me of John the Immerser’s words, “Prepare the way of the Lord; Make His paths straight” (Matthew 3:3; Luke 3:4). Yom HaTeruah, which this year falls on our September 30th is a time to enter into a solemn time to reflect on the holiness of God and where you could have acted more in accordance with His goodness, as defined above, and to repent of where we might have been guilty of “ra” in any way. God’s convocations are designed yearly to take us always upward and more mature in the things of God. Even as believers in Yeshua, taking this time to assess your life before God may give you insights you hadn’t realized before and take you to higher places in Him.
No other people in the earth, besides Israel, were called to be accountable to God, and no other people in the earth had a way to be absolved of guilt and assured of a year of acceptance before Almighty God. God in His goodness had made a way, in fact, many ways for a person who had sinned to be restored not only to God but to the persons against whom they had sinned. But they had no idea of being “born again” or having the Holy Spirit in their personal lives. They may have been forgiven as a nation on Yom Kippur and even as individuals as they brought their own sacrifices to the altar of God when needed, but it was only the prophets, priests and (righteous) kings who would have the privilege of the Holy Spirit’s presence and influence in their lives.
When John the Immerser announced, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29) he may not have realized it was by His death that it would take place. He may have thought that He would rid the world of evil by defeating it in a great war against evil, bringing judgment against sinners, starting with the Romans who held Israel captive. He may not have realized that “God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:17). But one thing is for sure, John’s humility before Him is certain: “There comes One after me who is mightier than I” (Mark 1:7). He saw his role as limited: “I indeed baptized you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit” (:8). This was a revolutionary thought — ordinary people immersed with the Holy Spirit. That was a promise that brought people far and near to John in order to make themselves ready for this immersion in the Holy Spirit.
But it wouldn’t take place until Yeshua became the kiporah, the atonement for sin. We can identify with His atoning death, “as Yeshua was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4). He paid the price for the sin, not just of the nation of Israel, but for the whole world, and not just for a year, but forever. He died once and for all, one time for all persons. The proof that He accomplished His task is that the grave could not hold Him because He was sinless, and so He was resurrected again to life. Not just life but New Life in the Spirit. God, “through Him, reconcile(d) all things to Himself having made peace through the blood of His cross… whether things on earth or things in heaven” (Col 1:19). He was the ultimate Yom Kippur sacrifice. And those who put their faith and trust in that reality have their names written not just in the Book of Life for that year, but in the Lamb’s Book of Life eternally.
What Yeshua did for us is far beyond what any of us can really comprehend. By submitting to what man experiences in His sinful nature, by even experiencing hell for a season of three days (and how can we imagine that?), He canceled the power of ra in our lives and restored us to the place of receiving all that is tov from God. Now, we may not yet be walking in all that is available to us, but we live in an extraordinary time when God is restoring all things to His people in order that we may “make ready the paths of the Lord, make His paths straight” (Matthew 3:3). We have been atoned for. Let us not be so used to hearing those words that we lose the great impact, the profound significance of having been released from the consequences of when the world became “broken” by sin. May I suggest that you take the Ten Days of Awe beginning on September 30th and give thought to the fact that we have “so great a salvation” (Hebrews 2:3). Can we ever give thanks enough to our Lord and the One who is indeed our Savior for sharing His goodness with us?