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Exodus 25:22 & Leviticus 16:1-4 by Robert Dean
Series:Hebrews (2005)
Duration:54 mins 23 secs

Hebrews Lesson 137  October 2, 2008

 

NKJ Isaiah 41:10 Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.'

 

Last week we began a study of the Ark of the Covenant which is at the very center of the Tabernacle. The Tabernacle was actually a temporary dwelling place for the Ark of the Covenant because it is on the lid of the Ark of the Covenant between the cherubim on the Ark of the Covenant that you have the dwelling place of God, the Shekinah. 

 

Now one form of that word Shekinah…most of you can't read the Hebrew, but that Hebrew word reading from right to left is mishkan. The skn the second, third, and fourth letter form the Hebrew letters s-h-k-n which is the noun form of the verb shakan meaning to dwell which is where we get another noun Shekinah meaning the dwelling of God. The term Shekinah, which we often use today in reference to the glory of God, doesn't refer specifically to the glory of God but the dwelling presence of God. That form of the word was not coined until the intertestamental period between the Old and New Testament by the rabbis to refer to that dwelling presence of God over the Ark of the Covenant. 

 

During the day there was a cloud and at night there was a pillar of fire. Only the High Priest would go into the inner sanctum, the Holy of Holies, which was behind the veil. He only entered once a year, which would be on the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), which happens to fall next Wednesday. So this is a timely Bible class to look at Yom Kippur and its significance in preparation for next Wednesday. So we are in the midst of these high holy days in the Jewish calendar. This last Monday night at sunset Rosh Hashanah began which is the New Year. That's on the civil calendar. Then it ends next Wednesday evening; Yom Kippur begins. So that one day once a year the High Priest would go into the Holy of Holies and there he would sprinkle the blood on the Ark of the Covenant as a picture of God's future redemption of the nation.

 

So we began our study this last time and just a few things by way of review. We looked at the terminology related to the Ark - that it's called several different things in the Old Testament usually related to what is being emphasized. It is called the Ark of the Testimony because it contained the Law. It's called the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord again emphasizing the Mosaic Covenant. It's called the Ark of God, the Ark of the God of Israel, and the Ark of the Lord of all the Earth.  It's called the Holy Ark. It's called the Ark of Thy Strength. It's called the Ark of God 34 times and the Ark of the Covenant of Yahweh 31 times, which shows the emphasis. It was place where God would dwell. 

 

In Exodus 25:22 He told Moses:

 

NKJ Exodus 25:22 "And there I will meet with you, and I will speak with you from above the mercy seat,

 

…which we will begin to study tonight.

from between the two cherubim which are on the ark of the Testimony, about everything which I will give you in commandment to the children of Israel.

 

I pointed out last time that the basic meaning of the word is that it is a box or a chest. The word also describes a coffin. It's different from the Hebrew word used for the ark that is a floating vessel such as the ark of Noah or the basket of papyrus reed that Moses was placed on when his mother put him out on the Nile River. 

 

The Ark of the Covenant itself is a box that is made of acacia wood covered in gold and then the lid is pure gold. The lid as depicted in this picture has the two cherubs on top (The cherubim – the im is the Hebrew plural), which is called the Mercy Seat. That is the focal point for the ritual in the Jewish calendar. 

 

We are told in Hebrews 9:3 which happens to be the focal point of our study (and all of this is background to Hebrews 9) that:

 

NKJ Hebrews 9:3 and behind the second veil, the part of the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of All,

4 which had the golden censer and the ark of the covenant overlaid on all sides with gold, in which were the golden pot that had the manna, Aaron's rod that budded, and the tablets of the covenant;

 

That means a dwelling place. The Greek word for tabernacle is skene meaning a dwelling place. So there's a dwelling place called the Holy of Holies. It has a golden altar of incense in the Ark of the Covenant covered on all sides with gold. There it's reaffirmed that inside the ark as it was initially – there were three things. There was the manna. There was Aaron's rod that budded. This was an almond stick. It was his staff, which indicated his position of authority as the High Priest and the tablets of the Covenant. As we studied these last time, I pointed out that each of these is not only symbolic of God's provision. Ultimately it typifies God's provision of the Lord Jesus Christ. The manna depicts Him as the bread of life. Again He is the one who provides spiritual nourishment just as the Written Word provides spiritual nourishment so does the Living Word. Both are compared in Matthew 4:4. 

 

NKJ Matthew 4:4 But He answered and said, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.' "

 

Aaron's rod indicates God's provision of a priest. There was the rebellion involving Dathan and Abiram and the rebellion against Moses and Aaron accusing Moses of nepotism - that he's just putting his own brother in as high priest. They wanted to do it their own way and God devises a test where he put the staff of the different men who wanted to be high priest into the Ark overnight. Overnight Aaron's rod miraculously sprouted branches and leaves and bloomed and produced almonds indicating that God is the one who produces life where there is death and also indicating that Aaron was His choice to be High Priest. 

 

Then the tablets (the stone tablets) for the Ten Commandments represented God's law, which of course the Israelites had broken during the time which Moses was initially getting them up on Mt. Sinai. They became impatient. They convinced Aaron to make a golden calf, and then they worshipped the golden calf. So they were violating the law even before they received it. But God in His grace provides a solution. It is Jesus Christ who is the spiritual food. He says He is the bread of life, John 6. He is spiritual food, the spiritual rock I Corinthians 10:1-3. Jesus Christ is the High Priest (a genuine High Priest) who is the Lord's High Priest. That's what we studied in Hebrews 7. He is the one who fulfills the tablets of the Law. So all of these elements are rich with meaning and significance. 

 

By placing them inside the Ark of the Covenant they represent the failures of Israel to accept the grace provision of God. This is why when the Mercy Seat is placed over the Ark, then this is where there needs to be cleansing because of the sin in the life of the nation. So last time we continued to look at all of these different, these three different things that were in the Ark to come to understand them. 

 

So tonight what I want to focus on is how the Ark is used in terms the teaching of doctrine in the Scripture. The Mercy Seat is described by the Hebrew word kapporet. Kapporet comes from the root kaphar (kpr – those are the consonants). Remember Hebrew was not originally written with vowels. So what you have is the nouns, the adjectives, the participles are all built off of a three-letter root. That three-letter root is kaphar. Now in past times it was often thought that the primary meaning of kaphar was to cover because the word is used in Genesis 6 to talk about, to describe, Noah's action of covering the ark (the ship that he was building) with pitch in order to waterproof it. So that verd kaphar is used there, but recent scholarship in the last 100 years has recognized that this is really a homonym. You have two different words that are spelled the same way. So if you look this up in any Hebrew dictionary they'll have kaphar #1 and kaphar #2. Kaphar #1 is an older antiquated word that was used in Genesis. Kaphar #2 is the word that relates to atonement. So what you were probably taught as I was taught for many years was the main idea of atonement is the covering for sin. But that's a misunderstanding of the word. The primary meaning of the word has to do with, is related to cleansing. In fact in over half the passages in the Mosaic Law where you have this verb when it was translated by the rabbis into Greek in the Septuagint they translated it with the Greek verb katharizo, which means to cleanse or purify related to the purification of sin. 

 

I'm not sure what the significance of this is but it is interesting that there is no comparable word to atonement in the New Testament in the post-cross epistles. Some have suggested that perhaps that is due to the fact that kaphar has its primary focus on a ceremonial cleansing. Once you have the completed work of Christ on the cross, then you don't use that vocabulary anymore. Maybe that's true; I don't know. I don't think we have enough evidence to suggest that. But, I think it's interesting because theologically in the history of theology the work of Christ on the cross is often referred to as atonement. But you don't find that word in the New Testament. You only find that in the Old Testament in the rituals related to the Day of Atonement and the Ark of the Covenant. 

 

In the New Testament you have the use of the word hilasterion, which is the Greek that is translated for propitiation in the older King James Bible which is written for people who understand and know English and have more than a third grade education. Of course in modern translations which are all written for those who are products of government schooling and don't know how to read beyond the third grade level, they have to dumb down the vocabulary. So you look at these new translations and they don't use these time honored words that are so great – like redemption and propitiation and expiation and reconciliation – because they are too long for people to understand who just have a third or fourth grade reading level. So you notice that there is a constant dumbing down of translations because we just don't produce people who are educated enough which really flies in the face of the whole history of Christianity. Back during the Puritan era in the 1650's in Massachusetts the town with the lowest reading level…98% of people in Massachusetts could read because they understood that you had to learn to read so you could understand God's Word. Christianity has always influenced people to be educated, contrary to how those who are hostile toward Christians look at Christianity today.

 

A key verse for understanding this in the New Testament is in Romans 3:25. You might want to turn with me there – Romans 3:5. We'll take a little time just to think about the significance of this particular verse. There are a couple of other passages that are related to this in understanding propitiation; for example in our passage in Hebrews as well, Hebrews 9:15. But we're going to limit our focus here on this one key passage in Romans 3. The section actually begins back in verse 21 so let me begin reading there to get the context.

 

Verse 21 reads:

 

NKJ Romans 3:21 But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets,

 

Now what Paul has been doing and what Paul does in Romans is to explain how God's righteousness is vindicated in history. This goes back to his opening sentences back in Romans 1:16-7 where he says:

 

NKJ Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it

 

That is the gospel. 

 

is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.

 

NKJ Romans 1:17 For in it

 

That is the gospel. 

 

the righteousness of God is revealed

 

That's what Romans is about is the revelation of God's righteousness in history.

 

from faith to faith; as it is written, "The just shall live by faith."

 

…quoting from Habakkuk.

 

So when we come to Romans 3 he's continuing to talk about this revelation of God's righteousness. Notice he said: 

 

NKJ Romans 1:17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith;

 

And in 3:21 he said:

 

NKJ Romans 3:21 But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed,

 

In the previous part of Romans 2 and the first part of Romans 3 he has shown how the Law in the Old Testament (the Mosaic Law) was one way in which the righteousness of God was revealed and established. He will argue in other places that the Law is not a means whereby man can achieve God's righteousness. The Law shows that man cannot achieve the righteousness of God. 

 

But He says in verse 21;

 

being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets,

 

The revelation of God's righteousness is going to be through Jesus Christ. 

 

He again uses the phrase the righteousness of God in verse 22. He says:

 

NKJ Romans 3:22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference;

 

Now what he is talking about there is the righteousness of God that comes to those who believe through faith in Christ. Now this is a doctrine that should be very clear to all of you. It is the doctrine of Imputation of Righteousness: that man cannot fulfill all the mandates of the Mosaic Law.  It's impossible. The purpose of the Law was not to get away from people to be saved, but to show that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God: that none could measure up to God's righteousness. No human being can produce the kind of righteousness that God's perfect righteousness demands. 

 

So the only way to have that kind of righteousness is to have it given to them. So it is witnessed – I mean that is Jesus Christ and this issue of righteousness is issued in the Law, the Torah and the prophets, which is a term for the Old Testament – even the righteousness of God. If you look at the way it's translated "even the righteousness of God through faith in Christ to all and on all who believe"…so the righteousness of God comes through faith, not because of faith. It is very important to understand that: that you are not declared righteous because you believe. There's a difference in the Greek. You have the preposition dia. If it uses an accusative case noun, then it has the meaning of cause. If it has a genitive, then it has the idea of intermediate means. So we are ultimately saved because of God's grace and because of the work of Christ. But it becomes ours through faith so that when we put our faith in Christ, faith is non-meritorious. It is the object of faith that has merit, which is the Lord Jesus Christ. So when we believe in Christ it has no merit. God does not choose us or elect us because we believe. But we believe, and it is through that faith then that God then imputes to us the righteousness of Christ.

 

Then in verse 23 Paul comes along and says at the end of 22 (that last phrase should really be with 23):

 

NKJ Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

 

What Paul has just done in Romans 2 and the first part of Romans 3 is to show that gentiles are all sinners; Jews are all sinners. Jews have isolated the revealed Law. Gentiles have violated their conscience and the fact that they have a conscience even if the conscience doesn't have the right norms and standards in it; it still provides a standard. By violating that standard they reveal that they are guilty. So both gentiles are guilty and Jews are guilty. 

 

Now he is concluding the section.  He says:

 

NKJ Romans 3:23 for all have sinned

 

Jew and Gentile alike…

 

and fall short of the glory of God,

 

Then in verse 24 he says:

 

NKJ Romans 3:24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,

 

This is one of those great passages of doctrine that we could truly spend weeks on so I'm just hitting the high points. What he is saying is that we are justified freely without condition by His grace. So God's grace is the ultimate determiner of the plan of salvation. Salvation is not done on human merit, but it's a free gift. This is the same thing Paul says in Ephesians 2:8-9.

 

NKJ Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,

 

NKJ Ephesians 2:9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.

 

So verse 24 says:

 

NKJ Romans 3:24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,

 

So we're justified again through redemption. So we had the Doctrine of Imputation earlier. Now we have justification and redemption.  Redemption means to purchase something. It means to pay a price. Whenever you buy something you are redeeming it. It was a word that was often used in the marketplace. One of the words used for redemption was the Greek word agorazo. The noun is agora, which is the word for marketplace. We have that brought over to an English – agoraphobic or agoraphobia, which is a condition where people are afraid to go out in public, to go out into the marketplace. So agora means to go to the marketplace and purchase something. Exagorazo means to purchase something out of the marketplace. 

 

Then another set of words that are also translated redemption are the words lutrao and apolutrao. The prefix apo intensifies it, also has that idea of paying a purchase price. So when you look at the word redemption it refers to the objective work of Christ on the cross where He paid a price. He paid a penalty. He died in our place. It is a substitutionary death so that His death is instead of ours so that He actually pays for our sin and we do not pay that price ourselves so that sin isn't the issue for the Christian; the issue is faith in Christ. 

 

Now that's something that's a problem for a lot of folks. They think that well, when you die if you haven't trusted in Christ as your Savior, then the reason you go to hell is to pay for your sins. Well, sins are already paid for. The reason you go to the Lake of Fire is because you have rejected God's provision of righteousness, not because you have sinned. The sin penalty has already been paid for on the cross.

 

It is like if you were to go out to dinner with someone and they were to pay the bill, pickup the tab for you. Let's say you got up. You had to excuse yourself to go to the restroom and you came back and found out they had already paid the bill. 

 

You say, "No, no, no, no. I don't want you to pay the bill. I want to pay the bill." 

 

Well, it's already paid. You can't go and pay it. It's done. You may reject it, but it's already paid for. So the whole concept of redemption and payment breaks down if it's only a provisional payment in the event that you accept it. It's already paid for. 

 

As I have taught in the past, three things have to happen in order for a person to go to heaven. First of all the sin penalty itself has to be paid for.  The sin penalty has to be paid for. That sin penalty is spiritual death. When God created Adam and put him in the garden, He placed the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil in the garden. 

 

He said, "Don't eat from it for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die."

 

… not 930 days later when you die physically, but the day that you eat of it you will surely die. So there was something that happened at that instant which theologians call spiritual death. This is the same kind of death Paul refers to in Ephesians 2:1 when he says, "You were born dead in your trespasses and sin." You are physically alive, but you're spiritually dead. You're dead in your trespasses and sins. Being dead "in" your trespasses and sins isn't being dead "for" your trespasses and sins. See you haven't committed any yet. You're just being born. You are born spiritually dead because of the sin of Adam which has brought spiritual death into the human race.

 

Now the reason I brought that point up is that there are a couple of places in the Bible where it talks about people dying "in" their sins. 

 

So there are a number of people who have suggested, "Well see, if you don't trust Christ as your Savior and you die "in" your sins; then that means now you have to pay for your sins." 

 

Dying in your sins doesn't mean that at all. Dying in your sins doesn't mean dying for your sins. It just means you are dying in a state of spiritual death. Ephesians 2:1—you were born dead in your trespasses and sins. So if you die in your sins that is comparable to dying where you are still spiritually dead. 

 

Okay, what happened with Adam was he disobeyed God. That instant he died spiritually. So that is the penalty for sin. Christ pays that penalty on the cross so that's not an issue for anybody any more. The problem is that experientially we are all still spiritually dead. We're born dead in our trespasses and sins. So we don't have real life, spiritual life. We're spiritually dead.

 

The second problem that we have is that we don't have righteousness, and we can't be in God's presence without perfect righteousness. 

 

So when we trust Christ as our savior at that instant that we believe in Christ - a number of things happen. But the two most important things that happen are #1, a person is born again. They move from being spiritually dead to being spiritually alive. Another thing that happens simultaneously (probably precedes it logically, but I didn't state it in that order so imputation would precede it logically) is imputation of righteousness and the declaration of justification by faith. 

 

So that solves the other two problems. 

 

The cross objectively solves the first problem by paying the penalty of sin for everybody. But the other two problems are not solved unless somebody puts their faith alone in Christ alone. So the instant you do that you receive the imputation of righteousness to solve that problem and you are regenerated to solve that problem. Now you will go to heaven and spend eternity with the Lord in heaven. Those who don't have that can't and so they are condemned to the Lake of Fire. 

 

John 3:18 says:

 

NKJ John 3:18 "He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

 

Belief would have solved that problem. Failure to believe means they're still spiritually dead and they lack righteousness. 

 

So Paul says:

 

NKJ Romans 3:24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,

 

Justification is personal application based on the objective payment of the price on the cross.

 

Here is our verse, verse 25. 

 

NKJ Romans 3:25 whom

 

That is Jesus Christ. 

 

God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed,

 

Hilasterion - a mercy seat. So Jesus Christ is set forth as a Mercy Seat. He is that Mercy Seat on the Ark of the Covenant. He is the one who is satisfying the justice and the righteousness of God. So God displays Him publicly as a Mercy Seat or propitiation in His blood through faith.

 

This was to demonstrate Him as God's righteousness because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed. 

 

Now how did this Mercy Seat work? To understand we have to go back into the Old Testament. When we look at the depiction of the ark here and this is a picture of the Mercy Seat, we have the two cherubs that are looking down. You can't see their faces, but they were to be looking down into the center area of the lid of the ark. This is where the blood would go. The blood is there to appease. That's another synonym for propitiation - to appease or to pay the price. Propitiation means to conciliate, to appease. There may be some problems with that in the English, but that's the English definition of the word. The righteousness of God is to satisfy God's righteous demands. 

 

So cherubs are always associated in Scripture with the righteousness, the justice, that is, the holiness of God. So God's righteousness is violated by human sin. His justice therefore must condemn sin. 

 

But when the blood is applied, then God's character (His righteousness and His justice) is satisfied that the payment is sufficient. That's what is depicted in the Mercy Seat and on the Day of Atonement. 

 

So turn with me in your Bibles to Leviticus 16. Now this comes contextually or in time there are some other material that has preceded this; but Nadab and Abihu thought they could go into the Tabernacle, into the holy place, carrying incense that was fired not by the fire from the brazen altar; but it's referred to as strange fire. It wasn't authorized. So they think they can come up with their own way to come into God's presence. They were instantly executed by fire from the Lord according to Leviticus 10:2.

 

Now when we come to Leviticus 16:1 we read:

 

NKJ Leviticus 16:1 Now the LORD spoke to Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron,

 

So this chapter comes chronologically after chapter 10. 

 

when they offered profane fire before the LORD, and died;

 

NKJ Leviticus 16:2 and the LORD said to Moses: "Tell Aaron your brother not to come at just any time into the Holy Place inside the veil,

 

That is into the Holy of Holies inside the veil. 

 

before the mercy seat which is on the ark, lest he die; for I will appear in the cloud above the mercy seat.

 

It's obvious that God means what He says because He has just incinerated two of Aaron's sons. You can only come into God's presence on God's terms. 

 

Man can't say, "Well, I think God's this way and I can approach Him the way that I think is best."

 

God determines how we can approach Him and He has the right to do that just as any of us has the right to determine who will come into our house and under what conditions. 

 

It amazes me how so many people in their arrogance want to say, "Well, I can come to God. He'll let me in because I'm sincere." 

 

I don't care how sincere you are. If I don't know you, I'm not going to let you in my house. I don't know why God has to be a bigger fool than I am. But that's how most people want to treat God out of their arrogance. So God makes it very clear that there is a set procedure for coming into His presence in the Holy of Holies and any other way of doing it is going to result in death. 

 

The only time the High Priest can come into God's presence is going to be once a year. 

 

The ritual is described beginning in verse 3.

 

NKJ Leviticus 16:3 "Thus Aaron shall come into the Holy Place: with the blood of a young bull as a sin offering, and of a ram as a burnt offering.

 

Now this is one of those passages that if you're not careful you can become very confused because you have here a sin offering (a young bull sin offering), a ram as a burnt offering. Then if you skip down to verse 5 it says:

 

NKJ Leviticus 16:5 "And he shall take from the congregation of the children of Israel two kids of the goats as a sin offering, and one ram as a burnt offering.

 

Wait a minute. Did we read "a goat" up there? No, we read a young bull and a ram. Now we've got two kids of the goats. As a sin offering, the sin offering earlier was a young bull. So there's a young bull sin offering. There's a ram burnt offering. There's a two-goat kid sin offering and another ram burnt offering. So at this point we've got four offerings that Aaron is going to bring before the Lord. 

 

This is a tremendous amount of work. I want you to get the sense of that: bringing the animal in, properly taking care of the animal, trussing the animal, slaughtering the animal, butchering the animal, draining the blood from the animal, all according to the set ritual. And you have to do this on four different sacrifices. So this is going to take a good bit of time in order to accomplish this. 

 

In the meantime Aaron is told exactly how to dress when he does this. He can't wear just any garment. Verse 4 describes the garment. 

 

NKJ Leviticus 16:4 "He shall put the holy linen tunic and the linen trousers on his body;

 

We'll come back in a couple of weeks and we'll look at the dress, the uniform of the High Priest and what that signified in his ministry

 

he shall be girded with a linen sash, and with the linen turban he shall be attired. These are holy garments. Therefore he shall wash his body in water, and put them on.

 

On the turban is written the Hebrew "qadash la yahweh" which means "Holy to the Lord" signifying that he has been set apart to the service to the Lord which happened at his inauguration at his ordination as the High Priest. 

 

He follows a ritual washing, a complete washing of his body in water, which takes place before he puts the garments on. Then at the end of the day, it will take place again when he takes the garments off before he gets back into his street clothes, as it were. 

 

So we note that he is to be properly attired. God dictates the attire that we should have. This is a picture of the fact that we can only come into God's presence when we're clothed with the righteousness of God. 

 

He will first offer the ram as a burnt offering. This is for himself.  He then offers the ram as a burnt offering, and then he will offer the bull as a sin offering for himself. This is described in verse 6.

 

NKJ Leviticus 16:6 " Aaron shall offer the bull as a sin offering, which is for himself, and make atonement for himself and for his house.

 

Now ceremonially he's already saved. So the idea here of making atonement for himself is not focusing on that idea of dealing ultimately with the overall sin penalty, which we normally think of with the word atonement. He is making purification (cleansing) for himself and for his household. 

 

So first he offers the ram as a burnt offering to God. This is the first offering described in Leviticus 1 where the animal is consumed in fire. Then he offers the bull as a sin offering for himself. The blood of the bull is then taken into the Mercy Seat and sprinkled with his finger on the east side of the Mercy Seat. That is in front of the Mercy Seat - 7 times. He will take his finger and he'll splatter it 7 times in front of the Mercy Seat according to verse 11. 

 

NKJ Leviticus 16:11 " And Aaron shall bring the bull of the sin offering, which is for himself, and make atonement for himself and for his house, and shall kill the bull as the sin offering which is for himself.

 

NKJ Leviticus 16:12 "Then he shall take a censer full of burning coals of fire from the altar before the LORD, with his hands full of sweet incense beaten fine, and bring it inside the veil.

 

He goes on and describes this process.  Down to verse 14…

 

NKJ Leviticus 16:14 "He shall take some of the blood of the bull and sprinkle it with his finger on the mercy seat on the east side; and before the mercy seat he shall sprinkle some of the blood with his finger seven times.

 

So he takes the coals in for the incense, then he goes into the Holy of Holies. Then he will come out again. He comes out and he takes the two kids of the goats. One is the offering; the other is going to be the scapegoat. So this is a picture of the fact. It is going to picture two things. It's going to picture the sacrifice for sin, which is the kid that dies and then he will put his hand on the other kid. He will identify his sins and by putting his hand on the kid and there is a transference of those sins ceremonially to the kid. Then this kid is taken out into the wilderness to show the complete removal of guilt. God completely removes the guilt of the sin from us so that it is not brought back. The scapegoat is then taken out into the wilderness. 

 

So he will slaughter the one goat as a sin offering which is for the people. The earlier sin offering was for his house. This was for the people and he will then bring the blood from that goat into the Mercy Seat and sprinkle it before the Mercy Seat, which is described again in verse 15. 

 

NKJ Leviticus 16:15 " Then he shall kill the goat of the sin offering, which is for the people, bring its blood inside the veil, do with that blood as he did with the blood of the bull, and sprinkle it on the mercy seat and before the mercy seat.

 

Then he will go out and he will make purification of the altar with some of the blood from the bull sacrifice (the burnt offering) and some from the goat as well by putting it on the horns of the altar. This is described in verse 18 and 19.

 

NKJ Leviticus 16:18 "And he shall go out to the altar that is before the LORD, and make atonement for it, and shall take some of the blood of the bull and some of the blood of the goat, and put it on the horns of the altar all around.

19 "Then he shall sprinkle some of the blood on it with his finger seven times, cleanse it, and consecrate it from the uncleanness of the children of Israel.

 

So there is the cleansing of the altar. 

 

Then at this point he takes the live goat, confesses it and releases it into the wilderness. That's described in verse 21. That will bring the ritual to a close.

 

Verse 22 says referring to the scapegoat: 

 

NKJ Leviticus 16:22 "The goat shall bear on itself all their iniquities to an uninhabited land; and he shall release the goat in the wilderness.

 

God completely removes our sin from us as far as the east is from the west. 

 

NKJ Leviticus 16:23 " Then Aaron shall come into the tabernacle of meeting, shall take off the linen garments which he put on when he went into the Holy Place, and shall leave them there.

 

Now he is going to take off his linen garments. He is going to leave them there. 

 

Verse 24, he washes his body with water in a holy place, takes a complete bath, puts on his regular garment. 

 

NKJ Leviticus 16:24 "And he shall wash his body with water in a holy place, put on his garments, come out and offer his burnt offering and the burnt offering of the people, and make atonement for himself and for the people.

 

Then he comes out and he offers his burnt offering and the burnt offering of the people again and makes atonement for himself and for the people.  Then the fat of the sin offering he burns on the altar. 

 

So it is a lengthy process showing how much has to be done in order to cleanse from sin. That's one of the things I think that is often forgotten by folks who think that somehow you can lose your salvation. They haven't dealt honestly enough with all that had to be done in order to become saved in the first place. What this depicts is all of the things that have to be done in order to provide real cleansing. If this is just ceremonial cleansing, then think how much more has to be done for real cleansing. 

 

So all of this would take place on the Day of Atonement.

 

Now we'll get into this in a minute when we go through the history of the ark. But after the First Temple was destroyed in 586 BC (and I believe the ark was hidden) that's my view. Others think it was taken to Babylon. Others think it was spirited away by Jeremiah down to Egypt. There are some different views and we'll look at those because that's an interesting thing to look at: what happened to the Ark of the Covenant? I believe it was hidden by the Levites and when the Israelites (the Jews) came back from captivity and they rebuilt the Temple and dedicated it in 516 BC, there was no Ark of the Covenant in the Holy of Holies. So what did they do? Well, they still had the foundation stone. 

 

The foundation stone is the rock that is referred to when you refer to the Dome of the Rock, the Muslim mosque up on the Temple Mount. And I've never had the opportunity to go in there because since the Intifada of 2000 non-Muslims can't go into the Dome of the Rock. But, I've seen pictures. There is the rock, the bare rock that is there. This is the foundation stone that was in the Holy of Holies in the Temple. So what the High Priest would do in the Second Temple period was that he would go in and he would splatter the blood on the foundation stone. 

 

Now there's a view that is held by many rabbis, I think has fairly good documentation behind it. That is that and we'll look at this in a minute - maybe not this time. Maybe we won't get to it until next time. But the ark was actually hidden in a room that is beneath the foundation stone.  There is some evidence for that we'll get into probably in the next lesson. But the reason they would still splatter the blood on the foundation stone is because of its close proximity to the Ark. There is the view that that's where the ark is still hidden. There were a couple of rabbis (I'll tell you the story next time) who discovered an ancient entry way into the Second Temple (what was called Warren's Gate). They went in and dug under the Temple back in the early 80's. They're both dead now. They died within the last ten years, but they both died believing that they had come within less than 50 feet of this hiding place for the Ark of the Covenant. There is some documentation on that we'll get into next time. But that's what they did until the destruction of the Second Temple. 

 

Now on the Day of Atonement there is to be a sacrifice in the way rabbinical theology sort of reinvented itself, reinvented the Old Testament into Judaism. Judaism formally doesn't start until after the Temple is destroyed in AD 70. What is known today as Judaism is the result of rabbinical theology as it became solidified in the 2nd and 3rd centuries. It is not what was primarily taught. Some of it was, but it was not solidified at the time of Christ even though some of the Pharisees and Sadducees theology was there. It doesn't become institutionalized until in the 90's at the beginning of the Council of Jamnia – I think it's around 95 AD. 

 

In Judaism they believed that the sacrifices that the Jewish people make, make up for the sacrifice on the Day of Atonement until the Messiah returns and builds the next Temple which they refer to as the Third Temple. However we would understand the Third Temple to be the apostate Tribulation Temple that the Antichrist will desecrate in the middle of the Tribulation and that the Temple that the Messiah builds will be the Fourth Temple, which is built during the Millennial Kingdom.

 

So what we've done here is go through the ritual from the Old Testament related to the Day of Atonement. It is a picture of the fact that God's righteousness and justice has to be satisfied in relation to sin so that the Mercy Seat then is the picture of the satisfaction of God's character that sin is completely paid for. 

 

Thus when Paul writes in Romans 3:25 he says that Christ is the one who God displayed publicly as a Mercy Seat in His blood. He then becomes the equivalent. So the Mercy Seat is the place where God's character was satisfied. So Jesus Christ is the one who satisfies God's righteous and just demands on the cross because Jesus Christ is without sin. He is sinless and therefore He is qualified to go to the cross as our substitute and pay the penalty for our sins and His death then satisfies the righteous demands of God. So His justice therefore can be satisfied by that sacrifice. This demonstrates God's righteousness on the cross: that His righteous judgment has to be satisfied. So He passes over the sins previously committed (that is, prior to the cross) because in God's plan He knows that Christ will pay the penalty for all sins. So He doesn't deal with those sins until later putting that off until Christ comes.

 

Now next time what I want to do in the next lesson is go through the history of the Ark taking it through the Old Testament going through the Exodus, going through the conquest, the period of the judges, going through Samuel up to its permanent residence in the Holy of Holies in the Solomonic Temple. 

 

Then the question is - what happened to it after that? What happened to the Ark? Why don't we have it today? Where is it? Is there any idea where it is? Is anybody going to find it? We'll look at all of that next time.

 

Let's bow our heads in closing prayer. 

 

Illustrations