The Word: Hebrews 10:1-18

Given yesterday’s Yom Kippur/Day of Atonement post, this passage seemed a good choice today:

Hebrews 10:1-18 ESV:

For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year, make perfect those who draw near. Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, since the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have any consciousness of sins? But in these sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.

Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said,

“Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired,

but a body have you prepared for me;

 in burnt offerings and sin offerings

you have taken no pleasure.

 Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come to do your will, O God,

as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.’ ”

When he said above, “You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings” (these are offered according to the law), then he added, “Behold, I have come to do your will.” He does away with the first in order to establish the second.  And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.

And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying,

“This is the covenant that I will make with them

after those days, declares the Lord:

I will put my laws on their hearts,

and write them on their minds,”

then he adds,

“I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.”

Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin.

Understanding Yom Kippur as a Christian

Observant Jewish people are busy preparing for Yom Kippur, or the Day of Atonement, which begins at sundown today and lasts through tomorrow.

The day is described in Leviticus 23:27-28

“Now on the tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement. It shall be for you a time of holy convocation, and you shall afflict yourselves and present a food offering to the Lord. And you shall not do any work on that very day, for it is a Day of Atonement, to make atonement for you before the Lord your God.” Continue reading

Persecution Updates: Burma/Myanmar

It turns out, that in spite of persecution, Christianity has grown in Burma (also known as Myanmar). My latest article:

New census shows Christianity spreading in Burma

The spread of the gospel has faced huge obstacles in Burma, including bloody civil war, violence against ethnic minorities, and radical Buddhist opposition. In spite of all that, Christianity has grown in Burma (also called Myanmar), according to new figures.

The United Nations Population Fund released new census data in July showing Christians made up about 6.3 percent of the population, up from 4.9 percent in 2004, World Watch Monitor reported. The country is 89.9 percent Buddhist; Chin state was the only majority-Christian region.

Continue reading at World

Updates from Morocco and Bangladesh

MoroccanChristiansMy latest articles for World magazine online focused on the situations for Christians in Morocco and Bangladesh.

In Morocco believers are growing bolder in their faith, sharing testimonies through youtube and podcasts. Meanwhile, in Bangladesh Christianity continues to grow in spite of worsening persecution.

Moroccan Christians risk persecution with YouTube testimonies

In a new series of YouTube podcasts, Moroccan Christians are stepping out of the shadows, showing their faces, and telling their stories. Speaking to their countrymen, they proclaim themselves “Moroccan and Christian.”

The public testimonies counter the common view that to be Moroccan is to be Muslim and that all Christians living in Morocco are foreigners, not natives. The small religious minority faces community and government persecution.

In one video, a woman named Iman says her husband’s relatives assumed she was foreign-born because they knew she was a Christian, according to Moroccan World News (MWN).

Keep reading at World’s site

Continue reading

Persecution Updates: Canada, Egypt, Iran

I’ve been remiss in sharing the past few stories I wrote for Worldmag.com about the persecuted. So here they are:

Canada contemplates closing its Office of Religious Freedom

Groups representing Jews, Muslims, Christians, and others are urging Canada’s new Liberal government to renew the country’s Office of Religious Freedom and the position of ambassador for religious freedom, which is set to expire at the end of March.

Andrew Bennett, a Catholic professor, has served as the country’s ambassador for religious freedom since its inception in 2013. His tenure was set to expire on Feb. 18, but Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion extended it to March 31, according to National Post.

That gives the government time to weigh “how best to preserve and protect all human rights, including the vital freedom of religion or belief,” said Dion, one of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s new cabinet ministers.

Keep reading at WORLD.

Continue reading