“Christ …hath given Himself for us … a sacrifice to God”  [Ephesians 5:2]

     A new convert reading through the Scriptures for the first time finds things in the Old Testament that perplex him.  In Leviticus 7:8, an animal is entirely consumed on the altar and the skin is given to the priest.  Another animal is consumed by the priest, the worshipper, and the altar [v11-36].  On the Day of Atonement, the priest takes an animal and puts it to death, while on the same day, another animal is sent into the wilderness [16:7-10].  The new believer cries, “What does all this mean?

     As he continues his journey through the Bible, God provides an answer to his question. While many passages point to Christ as our sacrifice, none is clearer than this text, which states that Christ gave Himself “an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savour.”  With this key in his hand, the believer is able to unlock the mysteries surrounding the Old Testament sacrificial system.

     It is Christ who received the wrath of God and gave His people a robe of righteousness [Romans 3:24-28].  It is Christ who reconciles the worshipper, the priest, and God by His atoning work [Romans 5-10-11].  And it is Christ who once and for all bore our sins away into a wilderness, never to be found again [Hebrews10:12-18].  Christ’s sacrifice takes away all the sins of all God’s people for all eternity [1 John 1:7-9].

     With the light of this glorious Gospel shining in the soul, new and old saints confess:

Jesus, Thy blood and righteousness,

My beauty are, my glorious dress;

‘Midst flaming worlds in these arrayed,

With joy shall I lift up my head.

[Dr. Mark Allison]


     Halloween is an abbreviation of ‘All Hallow’s Eve’ and is held on October 31, a time of year some church liturgies remember the dead, hence the ghoulish decorations associated with it. It is also a time of ‘Trick or Treat’ for the children.  They dress up in costume, some with a devilish theme, go from door to door and are rewarded with candies.

     Unfortunately, Halloween has a questionable past.  While ostensibly Christian, there are pagan overtones.   Those who would harm the children by putting dangerous objects among the treats now endanger the fun of ‘trick’ or ‘treat’.

     Hence, the Toronto church opted out of Halloween many years ago and replaced it with a fun night for the children with none of the trappings of Halloween.  The children enjoy the fun in a wholesome Christian atmosphere.


     Herod Agrippa II, great-grandson of the infamous Herod the Great, became a tetrarch of Abilene, Galilee, Iturea, and Trachonitis in 53AD.  With his sister Bernice, he visited the Procurator of Judaea, Porcius Festus, in Caesarea.  In the beautiful Mediterranean seaport, Festus held a notable prisoner, the apostle Paul.

     Festus told Agrippa of Paul’s lengthy imprisonment, of how he refused trial before the Jews in Jerusalem, and of his appeal to Caesar.  He also mentioned that Paul was a follower and preacher of Jesus Christ and that he had no direct charges against him.  Agrippa expressed interest in hearing Paul for himself, and so a special hearing was arranged for the next day.

     With great pomp, Paul was paraded before the King and other dignitaries.  It was a wonderful opportunity for Paul to launch into a lengthy defence of his position and make a strong appeal for his freedom.  However, Paul’s response was very different and serves as a challenge to each follower of Jesus Christ.

     Seemingly unconcerned about his freedom, or the possibility of execution, Paul looked upon Agrippa and saw a man with a soul in desperate need of God’s salvation.  He gave him his personal testimony and told how he met Christ on the Damascus road so that Paul the persecutor became Paul the preacher.  He made such a pointed personal appeal to Agrippa that the king cried out,
“Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian”
[Acts 26:28].

     The lesson is obvious.  Each Christian should be a faithful witness to others, small and great.  He should speak of Christ and what he has seen, heard, and experienced in his own life through the saving grace of God.

“I cared not where or how I lived, or what hardships I went through, so that I could but gain souls for Christ” [David Brainerd]