Sunday, 8 March 2015

Jesus Replaces the Box

In Romans 3:25 Paul uses some tricky and complicated language, talking of Jesus Christ being presented as a 'sacrifice of atonement' (as translated in the NIV). The actual Greek might also be translated as 'place of atonement'. Furthermore the Greek wording is recognised by scholars to refer to the 'atonement cover' of the 'ark of the covenant'.

The ark of the covenant was the special box created in the Exodus story (see Exodus 25:17 - 22 and 30:6), and possibly looked like this:

The box was carried and kept by the wandering Israelites as their most hallowed and treasured possession. It would be placed at the very centre of the temple, ultimately representing the place where people could meet with God and be made right once again.

So make no mistake, it was an important box!

But now see what Paul is saying: Jesus is that atonement cover. Paul qualifies his statement with 'through the shedding of his blood', so more precisely Paul is saying:

Jesus dying on the cross is the atonement cover!

Yes Jesus-on-the-cross replaces the box. The actual physical box was somehow lost in history anyway, but Jesus being raised to life is very much alive today and so continues to be that ultimate place where people can meet with God and be made right once again.

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