Saturday, February 27, 2010

There's No Power in This Blood

by Jan Markell

Christianity Today online says that vampires are hot stuff right now even for Christians. Visit a Christian bookstore or publishing house Web site and you might be surprised how many vampire-themed books you will see. What's wrong with the picture? Legions of people will tell you that nothing is wrong. They are, in fact, trying to sanctify vampirism.

Stephanie Meyer's popular Twilight series is cashing in to be sure. Her four books which have sold over 17 million copies, and two movies thus far, are setting new records. To those of us who object, they will tell you that the theme of vampirism is just folklore. They aren't in the Bible. Relax.

But Web sites indicate some are obsessed, particularly with Twilight. Meyer, who is a Mormon, has connected with pre-teens and teens and is many steps beyond Harry Potter. And defenders of Potter had their mantra too: Come on, it's only fiction and it's getting kids to read. What parents and others won't admit is that these occult-laced child-sagas are also snaring some into dark practices.

So the recent Christianity Today review of this phenomenon titles their article, "There's Power in the Blood." As much as I dislike this magazine's Left-leaning views on many things, they have hit on a key here. The enemy is moving in on the most sacred issue to a true Christian -- the saving shed blood of Jesus Christ.

In the article, University of Richmond English professor Elisabeth Rose Gruner notes that both Christianity and vampirism equate blood with life. She states, "Humans instinctively understand that blood is life-giving. But the blood-drinking aspect of vampirism is a 'ghastly parody of Christianity.' While the Christian believer attains eternal life by accepting the blood freely shed on his or her behalf, the vampire achieves immortality by sucking the life out of another."
So, in spite of what should be obvious, one Christian publishing house after another is turning away solid manuscripts for corrupted ones on this demented topic. What an example of Isaiah 5:20 with evil being called good here. This vampire fascination with blood is trying to rob the pure, atoning nature of Christ's blood.

Christianity Today talks to Allen Arnold of Thomas Nelson Publishers. He states,
"Since the story of Christianity is one of redemption, Christian fiction should depict that redemption regardless of the subject matter. Rather than flee from a genre (like vampirism), we prefer to dive in and try to redeem it through a wholly original take."
Translate that: Let's follow the money trail. [Note from Berit: God tells us to abhor evil! No person can "redeem" evil! The above quote illustrates today's utter corruption of Biblical words such as "redemption."]

Friend and ministry colleague Eric Barger sums it up well in his article/brochure, "Bringing 'Twilight' Out Into the Son". "The storyline of Twilight is generally two-faceted. It is first 'boy vampire meets a mortal girl' and secondarily, 'good vampires' fight 'bad vampires.' "
Barger notes that many of the characters in the movie and book series possess supernatural abilities: Mind reading, levitation, lycanthropy, pre-cognitive knowledge of future events (mediumship), super strength, hearing, and speed. They also don't need to eat, sleep or breathe. We're entering the world of divination again. Read Deuteronomy 18.

If you think Christians would automatically reject this, I will share just one of dozens of e-mails I have gotten from "addicted" Christians. Melanie writes,

"I just listened to your radio program on 'Twilight.' I am a huge 'Twilight' fan. I have been obsessed since March of 2009. I have promoted it inside and outside of my church thinking it was just a good love story and an escape from reality. I am a pastoral assistant at my Baptist church and I serve on many committees. I am a born again Christian.

"I thought I would listen to your radio show and dismiss anything that you said. Instead, I am sitting here second-guessing myself. How did I fall in love with these books when I deemed Harry Potter demonic? It bothered me when Bella would discuss her soul, but I pushed that to the side and moved ahead. Now I understand that it was God showing me that these books and movies are not what a Christian should be participating in. Thank you so much for opening my eyes."

Shannon Marchese, senior editor for fiction at WaterBrook, says that while the goal of Christian publishing isn't to emulate worldly trends, it's important to critically engage what consumers are already reading. She says, "Christian vampire fiction allows readers to experience the mythology in a new way." I think she means if something is selling really well, let's offer folks more and more of it and further cash in on the craze.

So, can we find God in all of this? That is, in the books, movies, reviews, discussion questions for church youth groups (yes, you read that right). Harry Potter fans will point to god-like images and comparisons all throughout the book series, so why not see God in Twilight, too? Beth Felker Jones writes in her book, Touched by a Vampire: Discovering the Hidden Messages in the Twilight Saga (Multnomah 2009), that what is the most worrisome issue is that the books and movies are full of spiritual themes.

Twilight deals with the longing human beings have to be transformed, to be set free from our limits and weaknesses. She says, "All of this could open up quite a conversation about the gift of salvation." Oh, really? I guess I'm not connecting the dots but admittedly I don't want to! Come on now, do you want to equate salvation with vampirism? Just the opposite is true in the books and movies. Bella is willing to sell her soul (and thus her salvation) for Edward.

Barger says, "No matter how dreamy Hollywood may present Edward Cullen (the chief vampire) to be or how obsessed some junior higher may become with him, Twilight is nothing short of Satan's cloak of evil appearing to be good."

He concludes, "Until the final battle has been fought and the Lord has come with His everlasting and perfect peace, Satan will attempt to prevail through manipulating those whom he may. Stephenie Meyer is just one in a long line of those to whom, without their understanding it, the Evil One has paid big money for their services. Twilight is more than mere entertainment. To some it has become every bit as important and as captivating as a religion."

Never in my lifetime have we had to contend for the faith 24/7. What was once blatantly evil is suddenly ok. Spiritual applications can be made from worldly scenarios. Up is down, down is up, right is wrong, wrong is right, and we're all drinking tea with the Mad Hatter!
This sounds like what might happen in the last days. Are you listening for the sound of the trumpet?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Sacred or Secular

Ok, I've been inspired by the folks over at Defending.Contending. to create my own Sacred or Secular quiz.

Your job here is to peruse the lyrics below and decide whether or not the song is by a secular artist or a 'Christian' artist. You'll find the answers below.

1) Reach out your hand if your cup be empty,
If your cup is full may it be again,
Let it be known there is a fountain,
That was not made by the hands of men.

2) I once was lost
But now I'm found
I got my feet on solid ground
Thank you Lord
If you believe within your soul
Just hold on tight
And don't let go
You can make it
Make it happen

3) And now I am standing here
My heart’s so full, I can’t explain
Seeking faith and speaking words
I never thought I’d say
There can be miracles
When you believe
Though hope is frail
It’s hard to kill

4) I've found out a reason for me
To change who I used to be
A reason to start over new
and the reason is you

5) Hold Me
Like The River Jordan
And I Will Then Say To Thee
You Are My Friend
Carry Me
Like You Are My Brother
Love Me Like A Mother

6) Man we 'bout to light the night with that flare
Job from the gun in the hand of the spare
With the kick so hard that you gotta be strong
It's so hottah
You can barely hold on
So rock me drop me
But you will never stop me
From takin' this show to a full room of monopoly
So turn off the lights
Pass me the mic
Bring on the lights,
You been waitin all night

7) It's not a joke
I've felt as messed up as you do
I've felt the feelings you've been feeling
Been through the same things
You've been through
And I know how hard it is
To feel like you're all alone
We've all been given a second chance
But the chance is all our own

Well, did you get them all? Let's see:
1. Secular(Ripple by the Grateful Dead) 2. Secular(Make it Happen, Mariah Carey) 3. Secular(If You Believe, Mariah Carey) 4. Secular(The Reason, Hoobastank) 5. Secular(Will You Be There, Michael Jackson) 6. 'Christian'(ShowStopper, TobyMac) 7. 'Christian'(Scream, Thousand Foot Krutch)

Enemies, Part Three

Distraction is one of our greatest enemies.

Ralph Winter once wrote that “America today is a save-yourself society if there ever was one. But does it really work? The underdeveloped societies suffer from one set of diseases: tuberculosis, malnutrition, pneumonia, parasites, typhoid, cholera, typhus, etc. Affluent America has virtually invented a whole new set of diseases: arteriosclerosis, heart disease, strokes, lung cancer, venereal disease, cirrhosis of the liver, drug addiction, alcoholism, divorce, battered children, suicide, murder. Take your choice. Laborsaving machines have turned out to be body-killing devices. Our affluence has allowed both mobility and isolation of the nuclear family . . .

We are distracted from experiencing Christ, moment by moment, day by day.

So, what do we do with all these enemies?

Romans 8:37 says that Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.

Let me close by reading to you what Piper says about this verse.

What does “more than conquerors” mean? How can you be more than a conqueror
when you risk for the cause of God and get hurt for it?

If you venture some act of obedience that magnifies the supreme value of Jesus Christ and get attacked by one of the enemies mentioned in verse 35, say, famine or sword, what must happen for you to be called simply “a conqueror”? Answer: You must not be separated from the love of Jesus Christ. The aim of the attacker is to destroy you, and cut you off from Christ, and bring you to final ruin without God. You are a conqueror if you defeat this aim and remain in the love of Christ. God has promised
that this will happen.

Trusting this, we risk.

But what must happen in this conflict with famine and sword if you are to be called more than a conqueror? One biblical answer is that a conqueror defeats his enemy, but one who is more than a conqueror subjugates his enemy. A conqueror nullifies the purpose of his enemy; one who is more than a conqueror makes the enemy serve his own purposes. A conqueror strikes down his foe; one who is more than a conqueror makes his foe his slave.

Practically what does this mean? Let’s use Paul’s own words in 2 Corinthians 4:17: “This slight momentary affliction is preparing [effecting, or working, or bringing about] for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.” Here we could say that “affliction” is one of the attacking enemies. What has happened in Paul’s conflict with it? It has certainly not separated him from the love of Christ. But even more, it has been taken captive, so to speak. It has been enslaved and made to serve Paul’s everlasting joy. “Affliction,” the former enemy, is now working for Paul. It is preparing for Paul “an eternal weight of glory.” His enemy is now his slave. He has not only conquered his enemy. He has more than conquered him.

Affliction raised his sword to cut off the head of Paul’s faith. But instead the hand of faith snatched the arm of affliction and forced it to cut off part of Paul’s worldliness. Affliction is made the servant of godliness and humility and love. Satan meant it for evil, but God meant it for good. The enemy became Paul’s slave and worked for him an even greater weight of glory than he would have ever had without the fight. In that way Paul—and every follower of Christ—is more than a conqueror.

This is the promise that empowers us to take risks for the sake of Christ. It is not the impulse of heroism, or the lust for adventure, or the courage of self-reliance, or the need to earn God’s favor. It is simple trust in Christ—that in him God will do everything necessary so that we can enjoy making much of him forever. Every good poised to bless us, and every evil arrayed against us, will in the end help us boast only in the cross, magnify Christ, and glorify our Creator. Faith in these promises frees us to risk and to find in our own experience that it is better to lose our life than to waste it.

Therefore, it is right to risk for the cause of Christ. It is right to engage the enemy and say, “May the Lord do what seems good to him.” It is right to serve the people of God, and say, “If I perish, I perish!” It is right to stand before the fiery furnace of affliction and refuse to bow down to the gods of this world. This is the road that leads to fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore.
At the end of every other road—secure and risk-free—we will put our face in our hands and say, “I’ve wasted it!”

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Enemies, Part Two

In light of viewing enemies as those things set to separate us from the love of Christ, let me suggest another enemy in addition to satan and temptation and sin. Blessings. And I use the word blessings here very loosely so as to not trample the true blessings God has given us. We are overflowed in our culture with great wealth, comfort, and prosperity. Now you think, “Well, I’m not prosperous.” You’re not prosperous compared to who? Go back to James 1 and to verse 17:

17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” We hear this so much to refer to material things . . . food, cars, homes, possessions, money, etc. And we do have to be careful here, because it is a blessing of God to have our needs met. But because we like what is coming our way, and we don’t see it pointed out as inherently wrong, we automatically call it a blessing from God.

Let’s go back to Luke 12:16-21

16 Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. 17 And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’ 18 So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.”’ 20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’ 21 “So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”

What did abundance do to this man? It made him forget in reality in who God is, who the blessings really belong to, and who he was before God. Here is a major danger for us. We have an enemy that presents the world’s pleasures and riches before us, and they become our goal and aim instead of Christ, thus separating us from experiencing him. And I am not talking about what we would term as extravagant, but what many would just consider middle of the road. But it becomes what we do and what we are toiling for, rather than a relationship with Christ, and then we turn and say all those things are a blessing from God. And in their right and proper place, they are.

Go to Luke 4.

3 And the devil said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” Something as simple and needed for physical life such as bread becomes a temptation for Christ. It is a temptation that would separate Him from the Father. Look at verses 5-6. 5 Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him[d] all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. 6 And the devil said to Him, “All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish.” Later Christ would say that “foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” Bread and the things in and of themselves were not evil, but the Father’s plan for the Son included no such comfort. And to partake would be a distrust of God.
In our culture, our desires, our activities, our ease, our comfort, our pursuits cans separate us from the love of Christ. The sad thing is that we often justify them as good things and call them blessings. Cannot we also be tested with much? Can testing come trough much leisure and comfort?

Andrew Peterson wrote a song some time back that I just love the lyrics to. He had been to South America where he saw poverty, sickness, disease, and a people who were utterly joyful and delighting in experiencing Christ.

Here’s how it goes:

The Land of the Free
Little Elba how’s the sun in South America?
does it shine upon the faces of the poor?
do they see in it the brilliance of the place that’s been prepared
and dwell upon the hope of what’s in store?

or are they just like me? do they only see
an opportunity to complain about the heat?

Little Elba, how’s the rain in South America?
does it fall upon the rooftops of the sick?
do they thank the Lord for coming up with such a great idea
and dream about a place beyond all this?

or are they just like us? do they gripe and fuss
about the rain and mud when they’ve had too much?

‘cause I’m just a little jealous of the nothing that you have
You’re unfettered by the wealth of a world that we pretend is gonna last

well, I’m weary of the spoils of my ambition
and I’m shackled by the comfort of my couch
I wish I had the courage to deny these of myself
and start to store my treasure in the clouds

‘cause this is not my home, I do not belong
where the antelope and the buffalo roam

they say God blessed us with plenty, I say you’re blessed with poverty
‘cause you never stop to wonder whether earth is just a little better than
the Land of the Free

so I hope you’re safe and dry in South America
‘cause I’m feeling pretty good in Tennessee
may you never be so happy you forget about your home...
your home in the Land of the Free

In tomorrow’s final post, we will see how all our enemies, satan, sin, temptation, and the testing of having much, all work in the same way to separate us from the love of Christ. We will also see what it truly means to be more than conquerors.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Enemies, Part One


When you think of an enemy, especially from the point of view of a Christian, what do you think of?

We think of enemies usually first as satan and his demons. When anything bad happens such as difficulty, sickness, pain, hardships, they are usually attributed first and foremost to satan. And satan and his demons are enemies that do seek to do us harm. We see it first in the Garden of Eden. In fact, there he is the prime component to introducing sin to the human race. He is the open, declared enemy of God and thus the enemy of whoever God sets his affections on. He is described as accusing the saints before God and one who walks around like a lion seeking whom he may devour. And he does set his sights on the followers of Christ. Christ told Peter that satan desired to sift him like wheat. And we are told to resist the devil. So he is a very real, very dangerous, very persistent enemy of the Christian.

What about other specific enemies? Look at Romans 8:35-39

35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Notice the quote in verse 36 from Psalm 44 where the psalm writer knew no answer for the nation’s position before God and their persecution than the sovereignty of God. But Paul applies it here as a prophetic statement that describes the church. And these things are accomplished through the enemies of tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril, and the sword, or violence. We also get a clue as to the goal of these enemies in verse 35. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Paul answers in verse 39. Nothing, he is persuaded, can separate us from the love of Christ. But, can we be separated from experiencing the love of Christ? Can tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril or sword prevent us from experiencing his love?

Let me give you an example of an enemy that sought to sever me from experiencing my Savior. I had a task to do. It was one that seemed simple enough, but something that took a great deal of carefulness and attention to detail in order to complete. I accomplished it, and soon discovered that something wasn’t right. There was an unnoticed mistake somewhere that I could not identify. I may have failed at my task making a situation that was already bad even worse. The problem could have been very costly and would inconvenience many people, possibly making someone angry with me. What immediately followed the realization of these facts was the average human response. You get that sinking feeling in your gut when anxiousness sets in. There is distress. And in the anxiousness and distress and worry, I become separated from experiencing the love of Christ. Did he still love me? Of course! But that experience wasn’t there, and it was something I had to fight for. I had to fight for my joy in him.
So verse 35 has helped me tremendously with dealing with enemies by seeing that any enemies’ goal is to separate me from the love of Christ. They cannot do that positionally, but can disrupt my experience of it.

So if we look an enemy as anyone or anything that wants to separate us from the experience of Christ, we can also see that temptation and sin are our enemies. And certainly satan and his demons can be very active in this, but we know that in a war against them that they have an ally on inside of the camp, and succumbing to temptation is an inside job.

James 1:14-15 14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. 15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.

If you have a MacArthur study bible, look at the note on verse 14 under the words “his desires.” The strong desire of the human soul to enjoy or acquire something to satisfy the flesh. Mans’ fallen nature has the propensity to strongly desire whatever sin will satisfy. On down it says that the Greek grammar also indicates that these desires are the direct agent or cause of one’s sinning.

So innate, internal, fleshly desires are defaulting toward sin, wanting to fulfill their passions, thus cutting us off from experiencing the love of Christ. And we often think of these things such as sexual lusts, anger, selfishness, greed . . . things we know are bad.
Tomorrow, we shall look at an enemy that may not seem so vindictive at first glance.

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Devolving of "Christian" Music

The theory of evolultion claims that living beings adapt and change in order to survive and thrive in their environments. This means that new information would have to be added to the genetic structure of such living beings for new improvements to occur. We actually observe the opposite. Genetic information is being lost and corrupted over time, not added to or improved. The same seems to hold true for so-called "Christian" music. The highness of praising God has been lost by catchy pop hooks and phrases. Remove the music, and the lyrics oftentimes seem bizarre. Toby Mac just released his new album Tonight. Going by the few songs that I have heard, there is little here that lifts high the name of Christ. I will post here the lyrics to the song Funky Jesus Music. How much of this is magnifying the great worth of Christ? And once you finish with that, head over to DefCon's blog and take their "Sacred or Secular" quiz.

Rock, rock
Give me that rock
That hip, that rock
Give me that funky

Yo stick it in red
We got the cred
No need to say what’s already been said
Don’t need to please
When we got the proof
We be on our knees
When we raise the roof
‘Cause we got the
Wow pow mix of flavor
We got the funky Jesus blazer
No equal
Diverse people
Come get it now
Won’t be a sequel

None of that mumbo jumbo
Give me that hip hop funk soul
Give me that funky Jesus music
Give me that soulful gumbo

Give me that funky
Funky Jesus Music
Give me that hip, that rock, that funky soul
Give me that juicy flow
Give me that funky
Funky Jesus Music
Give me that hip, that rock, that funky soul
And watch this party grow
Let’s go

Look at them freaks, they fashion loud
Makin’ that hotness, movin’ that crowd
Bumpin’ that jump with a life injection
Sweet to the ears like the candy section
Hits to the eyes
Feels so fly
Fashion that just won’t subside
We got this winner’s ball
So check it out
Gonna’ watch ‘em fall
We’re goin’ back
We’re goin’ way back

From coast to coast
This is the most
We got beats and rhymes
And aftershows
We got funky people on the highs and lows
MC’s like Wiggy they call us pros
So, sure shot, I could take stock of this
I’ll play the post in the b-boy bliss
See, we bum rush with no discussion
A red hot show with freak production

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Baraboo Man Accused of Using Stun Gun on 'Sinner'

While I agree with the man's overall premise, perhaps crossing the line into premeditated assault is not the best way to get the point across-

MADISON, Wis. – A Baraboo man was accused of repeatedly shocking a male dance instructor with a stun gun, claiming the instructor was a "sinner" who "defiles married women." A Dane County prosecutor said the suspect, 59, hastily arranged a dance lesson at the instructor's Madison home and showed up with a stun gun and sledgehammer last Friday. The criminal complaint said the man told a detective that his church does not condone touching while dancing and that he was going to scare the instructor "and tell him to leave the women alone."
The Wisconsin State Journal said the instructor told police that the suspect phoned for private dance lessons, and when he opened the door to his home, he began to shock him repeatedly in the neck with the stun gun.

Don't Make the Awesome Love of God Cutesy-Wootsy

I saw this while I was out working today and had to take a photo. Really? I mean, c'mon, really?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Yahoo news shares scripture

As of this moment, the third most emailed story on Yahoo! news is full of Scripture. Tim Tebow, the former Florida Gators quarterback and Heisman trophy winner, is well known for including scripture references on his eye black, a grease applied under the eyes to reduce glare from sunlight or stadium lighting.
The article lists the top five scriptures from Tebow's college career (the top five based on the games he played in, not the scriptures themselves). It not only gives the reference, but lists the passages in their entirety.
How awesome to see scripture openly shared in an increasingly hostile, public arena.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Repugnancy of Sin

Exodus 29:38 "Now this is what you shall offer on the altar: two lambs of the first year, day by day continually."

Are you disgusted by sin? Its ill effects are enough to make one nauseous when the weight of the curse sets in to one's mind. Nations are leveled by earthquakes, floods, and famines. Families set against one another in violence. Misunderstandings lead to bitterness and lifelong anger. Disease, pain, cancer, lame limbs, heart disease, diabetes, depression, suicide, Alzheimer's, and death are the atmosphere of a people cursed by the effects of sin. Contentions, wars, suicide bombers, soldiers in wheelchairs, artificial legs and arms come because of the authorship of sin by mankind.

As foul as these effects of sin may be, God gave us a picture of sin's consequences as compared to His holiness through the people of Israel. As God laid out the plans for the tabernacle, which foreshadowed the Jerusalem temple, a grisly scene unfolded before the people whom He led from Egypt. Day after day, animal sacrifices took place before the nation as a constant reminder of sin's curse. And what a vivid reminder it is. In the tabernacle and eventually in the temple, we see daily a bloodbath of animal slaughter. Lambs and bulls whose throats were cut, the blood drained, the carcass and meat and entrails separated and burned. This relentless and never ending spectacle of blood and death stood as a testimony and reminder of sin. Can you imagine the scene? Animal after animal led to be butchered on behalf of man's offenses. Can you hear the sounds of lambs calling out in longing to return to their owners as they are led to the priest where their flesh was opened and their white wool stained with the scarlet flow of their own blood? Can you imagine the stench of a place where animals are massacred under the priest's knife every single day because of the uncleanness of the people?

Oh that this would cause the children of Israel to hide their faces in their hands and lament that the sacrifice is never complete. The macabre marches on, day after day, to remind them that the atonement is never complete. But yet, it did not have that effect on Israel. Soon, they became calloused to sin, and such sacrificing became mere routine. And one day, when a sacrifice came that would put an end to all other sacrifices; when the One came whose blood would finally and completely atone in what the blood of bulls and sheep failed to do; they by and large disregarded Him and the effects of sin.

God's Holiness and man's sin cannot coexist. Yet it appeared for thousands of years that God was allowing that to happen. The world plunged deeper and deeper into sin as His own people even failed to keep the Law that He had given them. Animals were slain day after day as atonements for sin, but none fully paid the penalty that His Holiness called out for. These were mere shadows of what was to come. Jesus Christ became the lamb that was slain upon the Holy altar of God's sacrifice in order to atone for sin. He entered the vile, filthiness of sin, and became sin on our behalf. The weight and vileness of sin cannot be realized by those of us who now live and walk this earth. We see and experience much of its ill effects, yet we do not comprehend the full load of mankind's sin against a Holy God. But Christ does. The one whose body was broken and whose blood was spilled like the lambs who were slaughtered day in and day out at the altar in the tabernacle and temple. And it is in His sacrifice that we can escape the curse of sin and enjoy Him freely. Where the blood of animals failed to atone for our sin and continually reminded us of our state before His Holiness, we now have one we can look to and say, "It is finished! There is atonement, there is sacrifice, there is peace with God!"