I don’t think the devil wants this post to be published! I’ve had trouble. I woke up with a bad headache: only to discover that the septic system has backed up, odiferously, into the basement. On my way to my friend’s house to use her bathroom I discovered that the car battery was dead… in the pouring rain. Got the car jumped and I was just thinking that I was having a tough morning when I sloshed coffee over the front seat of the car. Things are not going as planned. On the upside; The bakery was open and my headache is gone. Nothing can stop this train! Next stop: the 6th Feast of the Lord: Yom Kippur!
The world has programmed us well. We believe that we need so much. The perfect soul mate. Perfectly healthy and highly motivated children. The most fulfilling job, we need the perfect house, body-type, ooh! and that credit card with the flight miles and on and on and on we go. After the morning that I’ve had, I think I will add indoor plumbing to the “must have” list!
I’m not saying that there is anything intrinsically wrong with wanting any of those things on that list. However, The only thing, the ONLY thing, that we really need and must have is Forgiveness! (and indoor plumbing!) All that other stuff is just nice frills and frosting. But, if you don’t have forgiveness…you don’t have anything! Only through God’s grace may we find escape from our sins.
Several years ago the Dixie Chicks had a popular, catchy hit on the radio called Sin Wagon. As I recall it was a tune about flying in the face of convention and jumping on the Sin Wagon to fun and success. These days, it is not politically correct to state moral absolutes or to make others feel guilty or bad about anything. It has become very bad form to imply that one’s behavior or lifestyle have put them on the fast track to hell. Like it or not, we are all Hell-bound in this Sin wagon together.
The Bible clearly states, Old Testament and New, that everyone, absolutely EVERYONE, has fallen short of the God’s standard of righteousness (Romans 3:23) and therefore we all NEED, we must have a covering, atonement for our sins in order to avoid being judged by the Almighty.(Jeremiah 31:30,Hebrews 9:22)
Back in the day, sin atonement was made for the entire nation of Israel on The Day of Atonement. Just as we saw in the Passover Feast on a personal level, Sin at the National level also had to be covered by a blood sacrifice. Yom Kippur passages are found in Leviticus 16 ; 23:26-32. Numbers 29:7-11 outlines the sacrificial requirements.( In an effort to be brief, there are a lot of marvelous details that I am totally skipping over.) Yom Kippur involved fasting and not working. One was to spend this time in repentance and readiness for a variety of sacrificial offerings. Failure to do so came with a death sentence. (Leviticus 23:30) It was a big deal and God wanted to make sure that everyone understood that they needed to be involved. Nothing like the threat of certain stoning to get everyone in the mood!
Sin has to be Atoned for. God’s nature is Perfect Light and can abide no darkness at all. Sin is anything contrary to the Nature of God. He gave Moses the Law to show the folks, not only what His nature is and requires, but also, to boldly illustrate our inability to meet God’s standard of Righteousness. Sin must be atoned for, or covered. According to God, this had to be done with blood. And Yom Kippur was the day that God ordained that it be done. This year, 2014, Yom Kippur begins at sunset on Friday October 3rd.
On the following day, the High Priest entered the Holy of Holies, multiple times, to fulfill the Levitical law and to annually paint the picture for the people: pointing to the coming Messiah which we have discussed in previous posts. Yom Kippur points to a future day when Israel repents of her sins and turns to Messiah for salvation.
If the High Priest had properly cleansed himself and prepared everything according to the law, then all went well. If not, the other priests would pull his dead body out of the Holy of Holies by the rope around his leg and start looking for a new High Priest. Two perfect and pretty much identical goats were brought to the High Priest in the outer court where all the folks were gathered. The 2 goats were viewed as a singular (2 part) offering. Lots were drawn and one goat was chosen for Yahweh and the other was chosen as the Azezel, the scapegoat, and immediately, to avoid confusion, a red string was tied to his horn. (Azel is the Hebrew root word that carries the idea of escape).
The Holy of Holies was entered four times: 1) Coals were scooped from the brazen altar. The incense was added to the fire pan and taken into the Holy of Holies. The priest waited there until the smoke from the incense filled the room. 2) Next, he entered to sprinkle the blood of the sacrificial bullock. This was to atone for the sins of the priesthood which had to be taken care of before he could minister to the needs of the Israelites. 3) The throat of the “Yahweh” goat was slit and the blood caught in a golden bowl. With this, the High Priest entered and carefully, according to God’s instructions dipped his fingers into the bowl and sprinkled the blood on the Mercy Seat seven times, counting aloud so as not to goof anything up. 4) Later, after everything else was done, He would enter one last time to collect the fire pan and ladle that had filled the Holy of Holies with the perfumed smoke.
After this blood Atonement was taken care of He came outside where the Azezel goat had been waiting. He placed his hands on the head of the goat, symbolically placing all the sins of the nation on the head of this goat who was then led off into the wilderness never to be seen again. Just as today, Jesus takes our sins and places them as far as the East is from the West.(Psalms 103:12) So, the scapegoat is a picture of Jesus. He was our scapegoat. He took all of our sins onto himself so that we would not have to pay for them ourselves. The other little goat is also a picture of Jesus. It was by way of the shed blood that our sins were covered, just as the sins of Israel were covered, each year, by the blood of that special sacrifice.
We saw the High Priest sprinkle the blood in a special way seven times. Seven is God’s number of perfection. (creation took 7 days, every 7th day is the Sabbath, every 7th year was a Shemitah year, 7 times 7 , plus one was the Jubilee Year.)
All pictures of the perfect freedom, salvation, provision and rest found in Yeshua Ha Mashiach: Jesus the Messiah.
Each time the High Priest entered the Holy of Holies to approach God, he had to walk through the Holy Place which was lit only by the light of the ever-burning lampstand: a picture of Jesus, the Light of the World. He walked past the table of showbread, a picture of Jesus: The Bread of Life. Everything in the Tabernacle is a perfect picture of Jesus the Messiah. There is only one door to enter…There is only one way to get to God and that is through Jesus. In John 14:6 Jesus tells us that “I am the Way the Truth and the Life and No one comes to the Father but by me.”
So now, when God looks down, he doesn’t see Sinful Sally anymore-He sees the blood of Jesus. I am, now, forever cloaked in His perfect righteousness, the perfect covering of Jesus. Does that mean that I am perfect? Does that mean that I don’t sin anymore? No, of course not. Sadly, I am a slow learner and sin all the time. The Bible tells us that if we confess our sins then He is always faithful and just to forgive those sins.(1 John1:9) I keep confessing and sweeping those under the rug/cloak/blood of His covering where they are never seen again!! Wow! God is so Good!
Now, I stand in a different place. Just as Israel repented and fasted and prayed that God would find their High Priest and the sacrifices acceptable for one year to atone for their collectivesins; When I have acknowledged and accepted Jesus as Messiah, I am acknowledging that the final sacrifice was made and no more are necessary. I have been permanently Redeemed! Jesus was the Perfect Atonement. The Ultimate Blood Sacrifice. (Isa. 53:10)
I am still in mid-move chaos and cannot find my notes to cite the specific source. So, I will just wing this from memory and you can take it on faith or not: Rabbinical tradition held that every Yom Kippur, when the Azezel goat was chosen, that a thick red wool thread was tied from his horn to the door of the Temple. While the people waited outside in uncertain anticipation, the High Priest went into the Holy of Holies. Once this was accomplished, tradition states that the red thread would, supernaturally, always turn white as snow. This let the peopleknow, immediately, that the Sacrifice had been accepted and that they were in right standing with God for another 12 months. Rabbinic Tradition further states, that the Yom Kippur in the year that just happened to fall after Jesus’s crucifixion, that the Red thread never turned white again. The rabbinical leadership had no explanation for this phenomenon beyond that of being puzzled by the abrupt nature of it’s disappearance.
It is All about the Blood of Jesus! Every time I hear that story of the Rabbi’s bafflement of the sudden cessation of their Yom Kippur miracle, I think of this old hymn. It is good for the Nations and it is good for individuals It is especially good for Yom Kippur:
What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus. What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
refrain :Oh, precious is the flow that make me white as snow! No other fount I know, Nothing but the blood of Jesus!
For my pardon, this I see. Nothing but the blood of Jesus. For my cleansing this my plea. Nothing but the blood of Jesus.