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Hebrews 4:14-16 – OT

03.21.2011

Numbers 35:25-28

This week is the first of three that deals with what I always remember as the chief image from Hebrews, that of Jesus as high priest.  It also takes us back to Numbers, which I had honestly expected to happen before now, but no matter.  The thing that interested me from the linked passage is not something I’ve seen in my commentaries, so please take it as eminently fallible.

The passage addresses how to handle those convicted of manslaughter, which translates to our murder three (accidentally causing someone’s death) or murder two (done in the midst of an argument and without malice aforethought).  They are to be rescued from the victim’s avengers by taking refuge in one of six designated cities until the death of the current high priest.  The death of the high priest was an event that signified atonement for the whole people, essentially his last act of sacrifice on their behalf.  After this, the sins of the people were forgiven, and the convict would be able to return to his home without fear of reprisal.

Like I said, I haven’t seen this mentioned anywhere else, but I see an image of Christ in this atoning aspect of the high priest’s death.  Christ is our high priest in the general sense that he intercedes on our behalf to atone for our sins.  Now I add to that parallel the fact that His death wipes our slate clean so that we can return to the home from which we were exiled.

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