Sermon for January 1, 2023

Purify and Renew

Ezekiel 45:18-24

18 “This is what the Sovereign Lord says: In early spring, on the first day of each new year,sacrifice a young bull with no defects to purify the Temple. 19 The priest will take blood from this sin offering and put it on the doorposts of the Temple, the four corners of the upper ledge of the altar, and the gateposts at the entrance to the inner courtyard. 20 Do this also on the seventh day of the new year for anyone who has sinned through error or ignorance. In this way, you will purifythe Temple.

21 “On the fourteenth day of the first month,you must celebrate the Passover. This festival will last for seven days. The bread you eat during that time must be made without yeast. 22 On the day of Passover the prince will provide a young bull as a sin offering for himself and the people of Israel. 23 On each of the seven days of the feast he will prepare a burnt offering to the Lord, consisting of seven young bulls and seven rams without defects. A male goat will also be given each day for a sin offering. 24 The prince will provide a basket of flour as a grain offering and a gallon of olive oilwith each young bull and ram.

Unlike our calendars, the New Year was recorded differently in the Old Testament times. Their New Year started with preparations for Passover.  However, things change for the Jewish people.  This portion of Scripture is recorded by Ezekiel 25 years after the fall of Jerusalem to Nebuchadnezzar and Babylon.  The Jewish people would not be the same after this when it comes to their celebration of time.  Their calendar changes and the names of their months change.  In fact, our calendar has changed numerous times.  From the point of our Scripture, Israel would now use a Babylonian calendar.  Then, a Roman calendar in the day of Jesus.  Since then, we have had the Julian calendar and presently, as of 1752, we use a Gregorian calendar.  Some calendars only had 10 months.  Some calendars used the phases of the moon.  Some calendars focused on getting the changing of the seasons.  So, why so many changes and which one is right.  Well, they all are…sort of.

  • Location, location, location
  • Expanding Empires
  • More civilizations interacted with each other

New Year today according to Scripture

Hebrews 9: 13-16

13 For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, 14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.

15 Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant.

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