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There’s a verse I’d like to share with you. Every year I ask the Lord for a verse for the year for me. I do believe this will be my year verse for this year, and it’s not the whole verse; it’s just one expression from it. Isaiah 33:8, “He will be the stability of your times.” Isn’t that marvelous! With that in mind, lets bow before the Lord.
Our Father, we thank You for that truth, and for every truth that you dawn on our heart as your Holy Spirit inclines us to look to Jesus. Once again, this morning as we look in your Word, we ask You to guide our fellowship and our discussion and protect Your people from flesh and blood and everything that is from man. We pray that the eyes of our heart would be opened to see the Lord Jesus in a new and fresh way. Thank You that we can trust You for this, and we commit our session unto You, in the matchless name of our Lord Jesus. Amen.
I want to begin pretty much where we left off last time. In our previous lesson we were focused on the veil, the veil that hung between the holy of holies and the holy place, and we actually saw it in three different ways, its purposes. The first, it was a divider. Exodus 26:33, “You shall hang up the veil under the clasp, you shall bring in the ark of the testimony there within the veil; and the veil shall serve for you as a partition between the holy place and the holy of holies.” It was a partition, it was a wall, it was a divider. You remember what was sewn throughout that veil. Exodus 26:31, “You shall make a veil of blue and purple and scarlet material, and fine twisted linen; it shall be made with cherubim, the work of a skillful workman.”
Cherubim, you remember, were the guardians of the throne of God, and the cherubim that were skillfully sewn into that veil was a reminder that the throne of God was on the other side. Sinful man was on this side, and the holy God is on the other side. That divider, that veil, said, “Stay out, private, no entrance, enter at the risk of your life. You’re going to be consumed.” So, the veil, first of all, was a forbidding wall. Then we also saw it was more than a forbidding wall. It was also a protection, a shelter for them. Exodus 33:20, “But He said, ‘You cannot see My face, for no man can see Me and live!” That veil protected them from seeing His face. That veil protected them from going presumptuously into the presence of a holy God. It was a very merciful provision to have that veil.
In our final look at the veil we saw that it was not only a divider, and not only a protection, but as a divider and a protection it was a foretaste, a picture of Messiah, of the Lord Jesus Christ. Hebrews 10:19&20, “Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh…,” His flesh was pictured by the veil, and the expression, “His flesh,” just means His humanity. He came as a man to divide and to protect. He hid His deity in flesh. The Word became flesh, the Word that was God and was with God. As the veil had two sides, a beautiful side that faced man, his eyes, we could look at it and admire and marvel. It also had another side that was hanging in the presence of God, and in that way, having a human side and having a divine side, it also pictured our Lord Jesus. He was God/man. He was both God and man. That was the extent of our look at the veil last time, and when we left, the veil was still hanging. It was still a divider and still and protector.
As we closed Ezekiel encouraged us, and said, “I’d like us to go beyond that veil. There’s much on the other side that I think you’d be interested in seeing, and I want to show you how you can enter the presence of the Lord, how you can get through the veil. Ezekiel went on to explain that there was a day in the Jewish calendar, a certain day, one day a year, Leviticus 16:19, “This shall be a permanent statute for you; in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall humble your souls and not do any work, whether the native, or the alien who sojourns among you.” The seventh month, tenth day, a special day, and that day was called, “The Day of Atonement.” On this one day, one day alone, the priest was able to get beyond the veil into the presence of God without being consumed. That one day was Yom Kippur. That’s what it’s called today.
It was a solemn day, and that day of atonement was a scary day, filled with many ceremonies and warnings and very strict rules on how it was to be conducted, many, many conditions, a day in which the sentence of death hung continually over the head of the high priest. He had to do everything precisely as it was commanded, or he would have died on the spot. God said, “I’m going to give you a picture now of the appointed way, to get through the veil, and into the presence of God.”
Ezekiel was very zealous and was determined to explain all the intricate details that took place from morning until night on the Day of Atonement, and what it would look like. He began to machine gun us with just some of the facts that took place on that day. He began to rattle off some of the procedures that took place. He said, “I’m going to tell you how many baths the high priest had to take that very day, probably five, and how many times he had to wash his hands and his feet, and that was more than ten, and how many times he had to change his clothes, and why did he have to change his clothes. How many times did he actually go into the holy of holies on that day? It wasn’t just once. He went in at least four times, and each for a different reason. He had certain things he had to follow with each entrance into the holy of holies.”
“And then there was the sprinkling of blood. There was the blood of the bull, and how that had to be applied. There was the blood of goat, and how that had to be applied. Sometimes the blood of the bull and the blood of the goat were put in the same basin, and how that had to be applied.” Ezekiel went on and on. He said, “I’ll tell you about the different ways they used incense on that day. Sometimes the high priest had to use the golden altar of incense. Sometimes he had to go out into the outer court and use the brazen altar of sacrifice. Part of that day’s ceremony took him outside the camp.” Ezekiel went on and on. He said, “I’m going to try to give it to you now. I’ll tell you the strict order, and what had to be done first, what next, what follows, and how did it all end.” I hope you had the same reaction I did. I said to Ezekiel, “Whoa, whoa, whoa, that is too much for my little brain. I don’t doubt that every detail of that was important, but when we left off we were focused on the veil. Can we go back there? I would like to see how to get through the veil, and into the presence of God without being consumed. Is there any way you can boil this thing down, and give us the bottom line of the Day of Atonement?”
Somehow, Aaron the priest, the high priest, because of all these rules, somehow, he got through that veil, and he went into the presence of God. To be honest, in my heart, that’s what I want to see. Has God shown a way that we can go into the presence of God, the presence of the King, the throne-room of God, not just to fall down as His subjects, but to have an intimate relationship with the One who is in that room?”
Ezekiel reminded us what he had told us earlier, that everything in the tabernacle, every piece of furniture, every activity was a shadow of Messiah. So, we know for sure the veil was a shadow of Messiah, the veil, that is His flesh. So, we pinned Ezekiel down, “With all of that ceremony, can you tell us how it pictured Messiah? That’s what we want to see.” Ezekiel said, “I’ll do that, but I’ll do one step further. I’ll show you how the day of atonement pictured Messiah, and the ministry of Messiah that takes us into the presence of God. So, we’ll look at His Person, illustrated by this day, and we’ll look at His ministry, illustrated by this day.”
The Ezekiel said, “One thing I need to do first. Before we begin to look at His Person, before we begin to look at the shadow of His ministry, I just want to underscore again the need for such a day as this. Why did they even have a Day of Atonement? Then you’ll see because of that great need, how it pictures Messiah and the ministry of Messiah. Let me start here. All the ceremonies sort of came to a climax on this day, the Day of Atonement. Why was it needed?
Isaiah 59:2 sort of gives us the reason from the mouth of a prophet, “Your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God. Your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He does not hear.” Why do we need this day? The answer is it’s because a holy God is one side of the curtain, and sinful man is on the other side of the curtain. A holy God will not tolerate sinful man in His presence. There has to be forgiveness. Then Ezekiel reminded us of how the day ended. Listen to this verse, Leviticus 16:30, “It is on this day that atonement shall be made for you to cleanse you. You will be clean from all of your sins before the Lord.” How about that as a summary? You will be clean of all of your sins before the Lord.” That’s what was keeping you out, and that’s why this is such an important day.
Ezekiel said, “I want to show you, and focus on how a sinful man was, and the reason he couldn’t get in and why we desperately need this day. The high priest was Aaron, the brother of Moses. Wouldn’t you think from Aaron, given the privilege of being the high priest, that he would be chosen as one of the holy men of Israel, and have a better shot at getting through the veil, than somebody like you or somebody like me?” Leviticus 16:6, “Then Aaron shall offer the bull for the sin offering, which is for himself, that he may make atonement for himself and for his household.” If you are going to understand Aaron, know that before he could go in, he had to make atonement for himself and his family. He was a dirty sinner, same as I am, same as you are. Leviticus 16:11, “Aaron shall offer the bull of the sin offering, which is for himself, that he may make atonement for himself and for his household.” Verse 17, “When he goes in to make atonement in the holy place, no one shall be in the tent of meeting until he comes out, that he may make atonement for himself and for his household and for all the assembly of Israel.” Verse 24, “He shall bathe his body with water in a holy place and put on his clothes and come forth and offer his burnt offering and the burnt offering of the people and make atonement for himself and for the people.” Aaron needed to be cleansed before he could go in. He wasn’t chosen because he was some spiritual hotshot. Over and over and over again God calls attention that He needs the blood sacrifice before he dares step beyond that veil.
Aaron was not only not a holy man, but when you read his history, one wonders if God didn’t look for the most sinful man in the camp. Looks like he chose the town drunk in order to be the high priest. Aaron, as far as the record goes, never heard from God directly, only through Moses, and when he finally had authority and was separated from Moses, he led the people into idolatry. Remember the golden calf. In addition, that he needed the blood sacrifice for himself and his family, during the day he had to take so many baths, change his clothes, keep going out to the altar of laver to wash himself. All of this pictures, if the high priest needed that cleansing, what kind of a ministry would Messiah have? Symbolically, yes, he was holy, but that was only a symbol. I can’t find anything to recommend Aaron as a man, except maybe his memory. I don’t think he took notes when he had to go in this day. He had to remember what to do, each detail. When you read the record and see the details, I’ve got to give him that. He had to have a good memory.
On another occasion he got very jealous of his brother, Moses. He and Miriam together stood up against him. That’s when Miriam had leprosy, Numbers 12. Later at the end, Numbers 24, God says, “Just like Moses couldn’t enter the Promised Land, neither could Aaron, and it was because of his sin.” That shows how needed this day was.
Another picture was that the people were also very sinful. Leviticus 16:16, “He shall make atonement for the holy place, because of the impurities of the sons of Israel and because of their transgressions in regard to all their sins.” KJV says, “Their transgressions in all of their sins.” You could say that they couldn’t go in because they were sinful, but every sin was packed full of transgressions, every sin has many transgressions in it. You say, “Well, I lost my temper.” Why did you do that? “I was offended.” Why were you offended? “Well, I didn’t trust the Lord.” Why didn’t you trust the Lord? “Well, I’ve been busy lately and have had a lot on my mind, a lot on my plate.” Well, why didn’t you pray? “Well, I’ve been neglecting the Bible.” Why were you neglecting the Bible? There’s no end. Every sin is a beehive, full of cells; one hive, one sin, and it had transgressions, filled with transgressions.
The Day of Atonement not only took care of every sin, but every transgression in every sin. Why do we need this day? We talk about being forgiven, but this was a day of forgiveness, and somebody as sinful as Aaron, and somebody as sinful as these people who had all these transgressions in all of their sins. Part of the ceremony was the sprinkling of blood. Did you notice this, verse 16, “He shall make atonement for the holy place, because of the impurities of the sons of Israel and because of their transgressions…” Leviticus 16:18, “Then he shall go out to the altar that is before the Lord and make atonement for it…” Leviticus 16:20, “When he finishes atoning for the holy place and the tent of meeting and the altar, he shall offer the live goat.”
When you go through the record and watch the sprinkling of blood, finally he gets through the veil, what is the first thing he has to do? Leviticus 16:15, “He shall slaughter the goat of the sin offering, which is for the people, and bring its blood inside the veil and do with its blood as he did with the blood of the bull, and sprinkle it on the mercy seat and in front of the mercy seat.” Same thing in Leviticus 4:12, “…all the rest of the bull, he is to bring out to a clean place outside the camp where the ashes are poured out…” Not only did Aaron need the blood of Jesus, not only did the people who had iniquity in all of their sins need the blood of Jesus, but they had to sprinkle blood on the holy thing. Everything Aaron touched got polluted. The altar of incense got polluted. The altar of sacrifice got polluted. They were so polluted, that God said, “When you offer the burnt offering, bring it outside the camp to a clean place.” A clean place, outside the camp? I thought inside the camp was the clean place, where the redeemed were. But He said, “No, you don’t understand how sinful man is; even the holy things need the blood of Christ.”
We meet here every Wednesday or almost every Wednesday, I consider our gathering a holy place. Does this Bible study need the blood of Jesus? Oh, you better believe it does! Every Sunday at our particular church we break bread. We celebrate the Lord’s Table. Does that celebration need the blood of Jesus? Indeed, it does! You pray to the Lord. Does your prayer need the blood of Christ? Does your praise need the blood of Christ? We’re going to have an Agape luncheon after this, a gathering, a fellowship. Does that need the blood of Christ? Everything needs the blood of Christ; your songs, your worship, your praise, everything. The Day of Atonement calls attention to what a need to get beyond that curtain. Someone would say, “A Day of Atonement; I thought every day twice a day, morning and evening, 9 am, 3 pm they had the morning and evening sacrifice. Didn’t that take care of sin?” Well, that didn’t work, so they had to have a special day of atonement. Those were just pictures. Hebrews 10:3&4, “In those sacrifices, there is a reminder of sins year by year. It’s impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.” That’s the reason for this special day, to provide such a thorough cleansing, that would admit someone into the presence of a holy God.
Let’s make it simple. How can I get through the curtain? Be perfect; that’s the record. Ezekiel mentioned, “That’s the reason, let me share some shadows of Messiah. I’m curious about certain things of the high priest, and I think it shadows Messiah. Let me mention four of those things. Number one; Aaron was a sinful day, but on this one day he became symbolically holy. After he went through all of those ceremonies, God said, ‘Alright, you can come in. You are symbolically holy.’ What God pictured on the tenth day of that seventh month was that the high priest was symbolically holy. Let’s go to the reality. 1 Peter 2:22, “Who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth.” Hebrews 7:26, “It was fitting for us to have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separate from sinners, exalted above the heavens, who does not need daily, like those high priests who offer up sacrifices, first for his own sins and then for the sins of other people; this He did once for all when He offered up Himself.” Aaron was symbolically holy. The Lord Jesus was literally holy; there was no sin in Him.
There’s a second curious thing Aaron had to do. Remember, every day in the ministry of Aaron, he had to wear those garments called, “garments of beauty and garments of glory.” Symbolically, he was carrying God’s people on his shoulders, their burdens, and God’s people over their heart on the breast piece. This began like any other day. What time did the day of atonement begin, like 6 am? The answer is, “No, it began after the morning sacrifice. They had to have the morning sacrifice first, and when they had the morning sacrifice, Aaron was dressed in his garments of beauty and glory, but after that ceremony, Leviticus 16:4, “He shall put on the holy linen tunic. The linen on his garments shall be next to his body. He shall be girded with the linen sash, attired with a linen turban. These are holy garments. He shall bathe his body in water and put them on.” He had to lay aside the garments of glory and beauty, and clothe himself in plain linen, in order to pass through that veil. He was not allowed to wear those beautiful garments into the holy of holies.
Wouldn’t you think that’s what you should wear? If I’m going to appear before the King, I want to be in my best attire, but that’s not what it was. He had to be in plain linen. Once again, it’s not curious to us who have come to know the Lord, is it? Our Lord Jesus, also, laid aside His garments of beauty and glory, didn’t He? Philippians 2:6, “Although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” What a precious thing!
Remember the day before He died on the cross, when He washed the disciples’ feet? John 13:3, “Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come forth from God and was going back to God, got up from supper, and laid aside His garments; and taking a towel, He girded Himself.” Our Lord Jesus literally laid aside the prerogative of His Godhead and girded Himself with a slave apron in order to carry out the work of redemption. So, Aaron is just a shadow. He’s picturing these things.
“There’s a third curious thing,” said Ezekiel, “a requirement that seemed to supersede all the other rules of that day. He was not allowed to take one step beyond that curtain unless he had blood. He could not enter without blood. Leviticus 16:14, “Moreover, he shall take some of the blood of the bull, sprinkle it with his finger on the mercy seat, on the east side, also in front of the mercy seat he shall sprinkle some of the blood with his finger seven times.” As soon as he passed the veil, protected by a cloud of incense, he had to reach for and put blood on the mercy seat. Hebrews 9:7, into the reality, “But into the second, only the high priest enters once a year, not without taking blood.” He couldn’t go in without taking blood. So, now let’s praise God for the reality. That was the picture. What kind of blood, brothers and sisters in Christ, did Messiah carry in? Hebrews 9:13, “If the blood of goats and bulls and asses of a heifer, sprinkling those who have been defiled, sanctified for the cleansing of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit, offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” And even at that time, when Aaron entered with blood, as he was symbolically holy, he went into a room which was symbolically the presence of the Lord. When our Lord Jesus, Hebrews 9:11, “When Christ appeared as a high priest of good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is not to say of this creation.” Hebrews 9:24, “Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us.” Into heaven itself, the true one; the true what? The true holy of holies.
Where is the holy of holies? I’ll give you a couple of answers. Number one is that it’s heaven itself; that’s where God is. But since you’ve been saved, in your heart is the holy of holies, and we’ll read about that in another connection. It appeared that when God created the whole universe at the beginning of Genesis, it seemed like He took the same blueprint that he used when He gave the tabernacle. The tabernacle has three parts: an outer court, a holy place and a holy of holies. There are three heavens; the first heaven is the atmosphere where the birds fly and what we breathe down here. The second heaven is the stellar region where all the stars are and the galaxies. The third heaven where Paul was caught up into the presence of the Lord, heaven itself. So, the whole universe followed the pattern of the tabernacle. And this little old tabernacle, that little tent is a tiny little picture of these great realities.
Aaron was symbolically holy, our Lord Jesus was literally pure, holy and impeccable. Aaron laid aside garments made by man. He laid aside the prerogatives of deity itself. Aaron offered the blood of animals. He offered His own blood. Aaron entered symbolically into a holy place. Jesus went into heaven itself, with His own blood. What a redemption we have, all pictured in this Day of Atonement.
“Another thing is curious,” Ezekiel said, “about this Day of Atonement. That is that the room was completely cleared out.” Leviticus 16:17, “When he goes in to make atonement in the holy place, no one shall be in the tent of meeting until he comes out, that he may make atonement for himself and for his household and for all the assembly of Israel.” On that day all responsibility fell on the high priest. Nobody could help; no other priest could help. There is so much to do, and yet he had to do it all by himself. The decks were cleared. In addition to the Day of Atonement requirements, many commentators, Bible scholars believe that the ordinary duties of the day were not suspended, that they also were included. In between the responsibilities of the Day of Atonement, he had to trim the lamps, and revive the fire on the altar, and handle the daily sacrifices, and work with the incense. Everything was laid on the high priest all by himself, all alone, and no one could help.
In the reality, on that solemn day that we call Good Friday, Calvary where He did it all, that Day of Atonement, He had to do it alone, lovers and friends scattered. He was alone. Isaiah 63:3, “I have trodden the wine trough alone. And from the people there was no man with Me.” Isaiah 63:5, “I looked, and there was no one to help, and I was astonished and there was no one to uphold; so, My own arm brought salvation to Me.” He had to do it all by Himself. The Father gave Him the cup, and He had to drain the cup to the dregs all by Himself. In that connection, it’s not only one man, but the Holy Spirit calls attention to the day of atonement; there was one day. In other words, all of these pictures, and God is saying, “In the end, I will settle the sin question in a single day.” How precious! When you think of that in terms of the reality, at the closed of the day, you remember the verse, verse 30, “On this day that atonement shall be made for you to cleanse you; you will be clean from all your sins before the Lord.” The fully developed form of one day, Hebrews calls, “once,” Hebrews 7:27, “…who does not need daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the sins of the people, because this He did once,” one day and one sacrifice. Hebrews 9:28, “Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation…” one man did it once for all people, and Hebrews 10:10, “By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” One person, once for all people, once for all time, all pictured by the Day of Atonement: one sacrifice, all people, all time.
So, Aaron was a picture, a shadow. He was symbolically holy. He laid aside garments of beauty and glory made by men. He offered the blood of bulls and goats. He entered into a symbolic holy place. He had to do it by himself alone, and it had to all be done in one day. All of that pictures our dear Lord Jesus. Ezekiel said, “I showed you how Aaron foreshadowed Messiah, but let me tell you about some of the things that pictured His ministry, what He accomplished on that day. In the picture the high priest went through the veil into the presence of the Lord. That was on the tenth day of the seventh month, but the eleventh day of the seventh month the veil was still hanging there, and you had to do it all over again next year. The veil was just hanging there. In the reality, Matthew 27:50, “Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth shook, and the rocks were split. The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection they entered the holy city and appeared to many.” That miracle was so great it was also recorded in Mark, and in the gospel of Luke.
We saw in Hebrews 10:20 that the veil, that is His flesh. The reality is, the moment our Lord Jesus died, the very moment Jesus died, the veil was rent in two from the top to the bottom. The veil in Herod’s temple was a lot different than the veil in the tabernacle. Herod was very proud. This veil was huge; sixty feet high and four inches thick, and that veil was rent in two. It’s almost as if the Lord in heaven, the minute Jesus died, He ripped open the veil, and said, “It’s over; come on into My presence. Now you are welcome to come into My presence. There is no more forbidding wall. The tabernacle, the priests, the garments, the food they ate, the veil, the sacrifices were all pictures, and were designed to show us how to get through the veil and to get in. It was all just a picture. How can I get in and survive? But the picture could only point to how.
Hebrews 9:8, “The Holy Spirit is signifying, the way into the holy place had not yet been disclosed, while still that outer tabernacle was standing.” Who would have guessed that the way in was not a way in? The way in was a Person who is the Way. We thought that was going to teach us what we need to do in order to get in. He said, “No; the pictures pointed to the Way, but the Way is a Person and His name is Jesus.” The reality, that rent veil, is a full message of redemption. In the picture, the high priest went in, and those he represented were outside the court waiting for him to come back and give the high priestly benediction, “The Lord bless you and keep you and the Lord make His face shine upon you,” and so on. They were out there waiting for that. That’s the picture.
That’s not what happened in the reality. In the reality the high priest didn’t go in representing those who were out here. In the reality, the high priest went in, and He took them with Him. We went in when He went in. We’re not outside waiting. He took us in when He went in, so we can say, “I’m crucified with Christ,” and when He rose, I could say, “I’ve been risen with Him.” Hebrews 10:19&20, “Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh.” It’s not just that He opened the way for me to go in. It’s better. He’s not teaching me how to go in. He’s not my example; He my substitute. That’s why Matthew included, “the tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised.” The saints rose with Him and went to heaven. That’s just another picture. Colossians 3:1, “Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above…” Ephesians 2:6, “…and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” The way in is not following some religious principle, “Oh, I know the way in now, and I’ve got to repent, and I’ve got to pray, and I’ve got to fast, and I’ve got to have faith.” That’s not the way in.
Jesus said, “I’m the Way, the Truth…” There’s no other way in. If I don’t go in in Him, I don’t go in. That’s how we get into the presence of God. Coming boldly is not saying, “Alright, now He’s made me brave, and I believe he’s forgiven me, and now I can go in.” No, coming boldly is coming in by faith, reckoning that you are dead in Christ, reckoning that He has already taken you in. That’s the boldness that we need. That was His ministry, to go in and take me with Him, to go in and take you in with Him. His one time ministry, His death on the cross opened access to the presence of God for all time. He IS the way into the presence and fellowship of the Lord.
Much happened when God ripped that veil that day. Of course, it was Him; it was His flesh, but that veil, all through the Old Testament was a picture, and when He ripped the veil, He ripped up all the picture. He said, “The old is over.” He ripped up the old economy, all the ceremonies, “We don’t need it anymore, all of the pictures, all of the animal sacrifices, all of the ordinances, all of the rules, all of the regulations.” Hebrews 7:12, “For when the priesthood is changed, of necessity there takes place a change of law also.” Hebrews 7:18, “For, on the one hand, there is a setting aside of a former commandment because of its weakness and uselessness (for the Law made nothing perfect), and on the other hand there is a bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God.” Hebrews 8:13, “When He said, ‘A new covenant,’ He has made the first obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear.” When He ripped up that veil, He not only said, “Come on in in Me,” but He also said, “There is no more need for all of that ceremony. Praise God for that!” What an awesome ministry as you move from the picture to the reality. Aaron represented the people; Jesus united with the people. In Aarons’ day they waited outside; Jesus took us in. We were in Christ Jesus. There were two bodies on the cross: His body and the mystical body, the church. He also took us to the cross.
There’s one other display. We’re not going to complete this. Ezekiel has more to tell us about the Day of Atonement next time, but I want to close with this. There’s a certain part of the ceremony that was very different and very curious, and I’m talking about the two goats at the end of the day. Leviticus 16:5, “He shall take from the congregation of the sons of Israel two male goats for a sin offering and one ram for a burnt offering.” I want you to notice the expression, “two goats for one offering.” It’s not two different offerings: two goats, two parts of the same thing. The one offering, the reality is so wonderful, you just needed more than one picture to communicate it, sort of when Isaac went up. Abraham took him on Mt. Moriah. Isaac is a picture, but it fell short, so now the crown thorned ram picks up the rest of the picture. If I’m going to see death and resurrection, I need Isaac and the ram, two parts and one picture.
There’s little doubt that the first goat foreshadowed the death of Jesus. Two goats were selected; one would live and one would die. Leviticus 16:8, “Aaron shall cast lots for the two goats, one lot for the Lord and the other lot for the scapegoat. Then Aaron shall offer the goat on which the lot for the Lord fell and make it a sin offering. But the goat on which the lot for the scapegoat fell shall be presented alive before the Lord, to make atonement upon it, to send it into the wilderness as the scapegoat.” I think everyone would agree the first goat that died pictures our Lord Jesus. He died. There’s much written about this goat, and there’s a lot of theories, and some of them are pretty weird, and some of them are pretty odd. I’m not going to bore you with all of that. Let me show you how that second goat was the second part of the single offering. Leviticus 16:21, “Then Aaron shall lay both of his hands on the head of the live goat and confess over it all the iniquities of the sons of Israel and all their transgressions in regard to all their sins; and he shall lay them on the head of the goat and send it away into the wilderness by the hand of a man who stand in readiness. The goat shall bear on itself all their iniquities to a solitary land; and he shall release the goat in the wilderness.”
So, the high priest had to lay both hands on the head of the goat and confess (I don’t know how long that took) all the iniquities and all of the sins of all the people, symbolically transferring every sin to the head of that goat. Then, a man who was set aside on purpose (this is the one time it wasn’t a high priest) to lead the goat into the wilderness. Today the rabbis have things that go beyond the Bible, and they said he had to go twelve miles into the wilderness, and then he would find a cliff, and he pushed the animal over the cliff. That’s not in your Bible. But the two goats together tell a wonderful story. The first goat says, “Jesus died for my sins.” The second goat says, “My sins have been carried away into the land of oblivion, into the wilderness.” Where were they carried? Into the desert, never to be seen again. They’re gone. They were carried away.
There’s a verse, and John the Baptizer spoke the verse, and I think it perfectly illustrates the two goats on the day of atonement. John 1:29, “The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God,” that’s the first goat, “that takes away the sin of the world,” that’s the second goat. The one offering with two pictures, “Behold the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.” I’m glad God gave that in two pictures, because I think some Christians are standing in between two goats. In other words they look at the one goat, and they say, “I believe Christ died for me,” but they don’t quite believe that all their sins are gone. They don’t quite believe that they’re all taken away into the land of oblivion. Some struggle so much with the sin question, and they need to enter into this, the second goat. You say, “I’ve laid my hand on the head of the one who died.” Have you ever laid your hand on the second goat? By faith, as well, it’s gone. Hebrews 10:22 says, “Let’s draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith.” Where can I get this full assurance? Another place it’s called, “hope.” I need hope. I need to know that all the sins of my youth are gone, and God doesn’t remember them anymore. He wills not to remember them. I need to know that.
God uses and I’ll quote with this illustration, a very strong, on the level of earth, graphic illustration. We were living in Newport, Rhode Island, so we were familiar with many fishermen, and we knew what an anchor was. We were on a navy base. I’ve seen the big anchors for the big ships. Anchor is a strong word. It’s heavy, it’s solid, it keeps you from drifting, you can’t get a bigger word than anchor. So, you would think the anchor is going to be holding something that is very huge. Here’s what we read. Hebrews 6:19, “This hope we have as an anchor of the soul…” The anchor is hope. That’s an amazing picture, to have such a powerful picture, it’s hope, “both sure and steadfast,” listen, “one which enters within the veil where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us., having become a high priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek.”
The way it reads, I won’t read 17-20, but it says that this anchor doesn’t go down to grip a rock. The anchor goes up, and it hooks on the throne of God. You say, “What in the world are the cables?” Hebrews 6:19 says, “…that by immutable things, God who cannot lie,” his character and God who gave a promise, His oath; those are your cables. And my hope, His cables in the veil to the throne of God by the character of God, and by the Word of God. We have this hope. You can’t have a better hope than that, but it’s within the veil.
As a summary, this day of atonement, so precious, pictures Messiah, and He was not only symbolically holy, He was literally holy. He laid aside His Godhead, so that He could die for us. He took His own blood. He went in not to a picture, but to heaven itself to present Himself in the presence of God. This work He did all by Himself. There was no one to help. In His ministry, He died, and the veil was rent, His flesh. And when the veil was rent, He took us in with Him, and He tore up the old covenant, not needed anymore, and He anchored us in the presence of God, not just to bow down as His servants, the King and His subjects, but as your Lover, your Savior, your Friend. Not only to go into the presence of God, but to have fellowship with Him.
There are other things about this day, and we’ll pick it up next time.
Let’s pray together. Heavenly Father, thank You for the privilege we have to meet in this home, and to look in Your Word and trust the indwelling Holy Spirit to focus us continually on our Lord Jesus Christ. Lord, how we praise You! Thank You now for the food that is provided, and the fellowship we anticipate. Lord, we know that something died in order that we could live on the level of earth, and we just want to remember once again all that You’ve done or us. Lord, we love You, and give us a good fellowship. We ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.