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The Bible In A Year: Day 32

Exodus 26-27
Psalm 28
Matthew 28

God gives Moses specific instructions on how to build the tabernacle. This is a movable tent-like structure that will be the temple to God until Solomon builds his temple in Jerusalem. Every detail is covered, from the shape and size, down to the materials used. He lays out how to arrange the curtains and where to place the sacred objects.

The last part of chapter 26 is about the veil that is to separate the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place. The inner and smaller room is where The Ark of The Covenant resided, and was only entered by the High Priest on the Day of Atonement to sprinkle blood of the sacrifice on the mercy seat. This veil was a demarcation between God and the priesthood, who represented the people, and was torn at the crucifixion signaling an end to the Old Testament system.

The next chapter covers how to build the altar and what materials to make it out of. it also goes over how to build the courtyard. Unlike the inner tent where the Holy Place and Holy of Holies is located, the courtyard is open to all worshiper, not just the Levitical priests. It also is uncovered and just has an outer wall of curtains around it.

Matthew 28

Jesus dies on Good Friday in chapter 27 and now we are at Sunday morning. Why is it significant that he rose on Sunday morning? Because Sunday is the first day of their week, but if you count to the seventh day, and then go forward one to what would be the eighth day, that day is Sunday. The eighth day is when newborn boys were to be circumcised according to the Abrahamic Covenant, and that is significant because the world was created in six days, but God rested on the seventh, so the eighth day signifies a new creation. They are brought into this world and their natural family, and then on the eighth day they are brought into their adopted family of children of Israel and of the covenant.

So for us, the resurrection being in the eighth day signifies a new creation of the world, it’s being recreated anew in light of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Jesus rose from the dead “on the first day of the week.” Because it is the “first day,” the day of Christ’s Resurrection recalls the first creation. Because it is the “eighth day” following the sabbath, it symbolizes the new creation ushered in by Christ’s Resurrection. For Christians it has become the first of all days, the first of all feasts, the Lord’s Day (he kuriake hemera, dies dominica) Sunday: We all gather on the day of the sun, for it is the first day [after the Jewish sabbath, but also the first day] when God, separating matter from darkness, made the world; and on this same day Jesus Christ our Savior rose from the dead.

CCC 2174

Jewish beliefs at the time were that a soul remained with the body for three days before departing for Sheol, that is why Jesus waiting until Lazarus had been dead three days before resurrecting him. That was so that everyone knew he was really and truly dead, that his soul had departed and had now returned. This is the same for Jesus, having been in the tomb for not just a few hours or a day, he rose on the third day, and so was truly and actually dead.

When they arrive and angel informs them that he is risen and instructs them to go tell the others. It mentions the guards were “like dead men” meaning they’d lost consciousness during the spectacle of the angel descending as described by Matthew.

The guards ran to the the high priest’s entourage and tells them what happened, and instead of being amazed or even wondering if such a thing could be, they concoct a story about falling asleep while the disciples stole the body, and then bribe the guards to spread this story. Their hearts were so hardened against Jesus that they never even considered he might rose from the dead, even after all the other things they had seen. I wonder if they ever reconsidered when none of the disciples produced the body of Jesus, even under torture and execution, none of them ever recanted and said “ok we stole his body.” Why would people go to their death for a story they invented or a fraud they had a hand in implementing?

The Gospel of Matthew closes with Jesus meeting the disciples in Galilee, where their whole adventure started. He gives them what is known as the Great Commission to spread the gospel and grow the kingdom, just before he ascended back to the father from where he came.

That great commission applies to all baptized Christians. It wasn’t just the job of his disciples in Galilee in AD33, because we are all now his disciples no matter the time we live or the place.

Tomorrow’s readings:
Exodus 28-31
Psalm 29

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