For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one's life (Vayikra / Leviticus 17:11).
At this time of Passover we remember how every household was to apply the blood of a lamb on the top and sides of their doorframes. As the Angel of Death journeyed throughout Egypt to slay the firstborn, he passed over any household that had the blood applied.
This weeks Torah portion includes a statement that is the basis for this:
The Hebrew word translated "atonement" means, "covering." We need a covering because in our natural state we are not permitted to be in Gods presence. God does not tolerate sin. In fact the consequence of sin is death. However the blood of the sacrifices acts as our covering. God accepts the death of these animals in our place.
Gods acceptance of blood, no matter how gory it seems, is a gift to us. The Torah is clear that there is nothing that we can do to make up for the wrongs in our lives. God himself has provided the way to find acceptance with him.
Still we tend to think that it is our own deeds that make us fit to stand before him. We have a hard time tolerating any notion that the way to God is a gift from him rather than an achievement on our part.
The Passover season is a vivid illustration of this. This foundational event in the life of Israel shows us how God is the one who saves us, not we ourselves. As we read the story, the people did very little to bring about their freedom. It was an act of God. It is strange how we then think that life with God depends so much on our own efforts. This is not to say we do nothing at all. But what we do is far more a response to what he has first done for us rather than his responding to what we do.
We can know God because he has provided the way. Just like the blood on the doorways covered the people when the Angel of Death passed through Egypt, so the blood of Yeshua the Messiah covers us. If his blood is upon us, through our believing in him, Gods judgement will pass over us and we will dwell in his presence forever.
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