Monday: Psalm 119.97-128; Numbers 29.12-40; Hebrews 12.18-24

From: Nick Sarantopoulos

During the holy seventh month and after the high holidays came the feast of Sukkot, a feast that marked the end of the agricultural year, when the final crops were harvested. 

The amount and kind of public ritual sacrifices that were required for this feast tells us just how important it must have been.  Five times as many bulls (very expensive, by the way) and twice as many lambs and rams were offered for sacrifice in the eight days of Sukkot than in the preceding high holidays. Sukkot is an eight-day festival, technically just seven, but followed by an extra Sabbath day of congregating, fellowship, and religious ceremony. 

The feast had a very unique schedule of ritual sacrifice, beginning on the first day by offering thirteen bulls (maybe the thirteenth bull was for the Levites, who knows?). During the period of seven days, the sacrifices were reduced by one bull per day. But all the quantities of the other sacrificial animals remained the same. It's so strange of a concept today just to think what the Hebrews had to do to atone for sin and obey God.  

This festival of Sukkot is about giving thanks to God for the gathering of the crops and for sustaining Israel during the previous year. But it also reminds us of the final ingathering, not of grain, but of the church of Jesus Christ.

On a personal level, I often get to relate to the Hebrews in the wilderness, as I occasionally find myself in a similar (wilderness) state of mind. However, we know by faith that the story ends by us entering “the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem” (Heb. 12:22). We do not need any more to sacrifice animals to cover our sin. We do not become sinners because we sin. It's the opposite. We sin because we are sinners. The blood of Christ was the propitiation (ilasterion) for our sins, and our sin has been removed from us. The blood of Christ is stronger than our sin. All we have to do is turn our face to God and rest by the mercy seat. No struggle, no battle, no sacrifices needed. Just rest.

I work as CEO of a local, not for profit, community credit union. I am someone that the Lord very recently sought and found. I am very grateful to him and to this community of the Church of the Cross. I look forward to knowing all of you better and to keep growing in discipleship together to carry out His mission as life unfolds.