"LET THERE BE LIGHT" Ministries
LET THEM MAKE ME A SANCTUARY, part 13 quotes
Credit: Adele Sessler from lightministries.com
1) Responsibilities of the High Priest
The high priest’s responsibilities included:
- bearing the names of the “children of Israel...before the Lord” (Exodus 28:12).
- bearing “the judgement of the children of Israel” (Exodus 28:30).
- bearing “the iniquity of the holy things, which the children of Israel shall hallow in all their holy gifts” (Exodus 28:38).
- bearing “the iniquity of the congregation, to make atonement for them before the Lord” (Leviticus 10:17).
- bearing “the iniquity of the sanctuary” (Numbers 18:1).
- bearing “the iniquity of your priesthood” (Numbers 18:1).
The high priest's responsibilities were of a much higher and of greater importance than any of the common priests’ responsibilities, because he and he alone was bearing all these important things upon himself!
The responsibilities of the common priests included helping the high priest perform and accomplish some of the duties connected with the Sanctuary. Their services included handling and properly officiating over the many offerings and sacrifices which the people brought to the Lord each day (see Leviticus chapters 1-7). Also they were a type of health inspectors which had power to confine diseased people, or to exclude others from the camp due to plague (see Leviticus chapters 13-15).
The services of the common priests were mainly confined to the outer court of the sanctuary, and especially centered around the Altar of Sacrifice, the handling of the sacrifices, and of taking some of the shed blood of the sin offerings and placing it upon the horns of the Altar of Sacrifice (Exodus 29:12; Leviticus 4:25, 34). But these common priests could also enter into the first apartment of the sanctuary, and place some of this shed blood from the sin offerings upon the horns of the Altar of Incense before the Lord (Leviticus 4:7, 18).
No common priest could enter into the most holy place or the second apartment of the earthly Sanctuary. Only the high priest could enter into that sacred place and stand directly before God Himself. But he could only enter into that most holy place on one day each year – the Day of Atonement.
2) The Day of Atonement occurred on “the tenth day of this seventh month”, which was in the fall season (Leviticus 23:27). All of the daily sanctuary services performed, as well as all the daily sacrifices made for sin, pointed forward towards this particular one day.
The Hebrew word for “atonement” is “kaphar”, and it translates and means “to cover with a coating like bitumen, to cancel, to appease, make an atonement, cleanse, disannul, forgive, pardon, purge away, reconcile” (Strong’s, word #3722). Through the Atonement any sins which the people had committed and had confessed would be freely forgiven, removed and purged away, and then they would become completely cleansed from all these sins. Any punishment due them would be disannulled and cancelled, and the wrath of God against them would be appeased because they would have been reconciled back to Him. They would also be covered over with a material like bitumen which represented the righteousness of Christ, that would completely cover them over so that none of their own naked and shameful self could be seen - and all because of this Atonement!
3) The transference of sin from the people onto the substitute victim and then from the blood of the victim onto the Sanctuary, made the Sanctuary unclean and contaminated “because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions in all their sins” (Leviticus 16:16).
4) The precise process to cleanse the Sanctuary on this Day of Atonement is found recorded in Leviticus chapter 16, and it involved 12 very important steps:
Step #1 - The high priest first selected a young bullock for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering for himself and for the rest of the priests and their households, and then entered into the outer court of the Sanctuary.
Step #2 - The high priest then washed “his flesh in water”, and after becoming fully cleansed, he then put on all the holy garments of his priesthood.
Step #3 - The high priest then sacrificed and spilled the blood of the bullock to atone for his and the other priest’s sins, and placed some of it’s blood into a small container.
Step #4 - The high priest then entered into the first apartment, took a censer and took some live fiery coals from off the Altar of Incense and placed these into the censer, then he took some incense in his other hand and entered into the second apartment. While passing through the inner veil and into this most holy place, the high priest put this incense upon the coals in the censer which caused a cloud of fragrant smoke of sweet smelling incense to billow up and fill the room. This cloud of incense shielded his person from being directly seen by God whose very presence was manifested between the two cherub angels and above the mercy seat.
Step #5 - The high priest then put the censer down, took the small container of the bullock’s spilled blood and with his own finger he sprinkled it’s blood upon the mercy seat, and then in addition he also sprinkled it’s blood in front of the mercy seat 7 times.
Step #6 - The high priest then left the censer within the most holy place, and went out into the first apartment. He then placed some of the bullock’s blood upon each of the horns of the Altar of Incense, and then sprinkled it’s blood in front of the Altar 7 times.
After doing these things an atonement had been made for the high priest as well as for all the other priests and their households, and they were all now considered fully forgiven from all their confessed sins made throughout that year, and were now actually sinless!
The entire carcass of this sacrificed young bullock, including its skin, flesh and dung, was carried forth outside of the camp of Israel and then completely burnt up until nothing remained of it but ashes.
5) The atonement needing to be made for the rest of the Israelites was as follows:
Step #7 - The cleansed, guiltless and sinless high priest went out of the first apartment and into the outer court to the entrance door of the Tabernacle, and took two goats and a ram to make atonement for the children of Israel. He then cast lots upon the two goats, and the “goat upon which the Lord’s lot fell” was chosen specifically by God to be the sin offering for the children of Israel, while the other goat which was called the Scape Goat was kept alive. The ram was to be kept as a burnt offering for the Israelites later on that day.
Step #8 - The high priest then sacrificed and spilled the blood of the goat chosen to atone for the accumulated sins of the children of Israel, then placed some of its shed blood into another small container, and then just like with the blood of the bullock, he brought the goat’s blood into the most holy place, sprinkled it on the mercy seat and then 7 times before the mercy seat, and then did the same process in the first apartment on and before the Altar of Incense.
After doing these things an atonement had been made for all the children of Israel, and they were all now considered fully forgiven from all their confessed sins made throughout that year, and were now actually sinless!
The whole carcass of this sacrificed goat, including its skin, flesh and dung, was also not burnt on the Altar of Sacrifice, but just like with the bullock, it was carried forth outside of the camp of Israel and also completely burnt up until nothing remained of it but ashes.
6) After performing and completing these services, the entire Tabernacle and Sanctuary had symbolically become fully cleansed and reconciled from all the contamination of this year-long accumulation of sin, and an atonement had been symbolically made for “all the congregation of Israel”, including both priests, and non-priest Levites, as well as all other Israelites. This revealed that the spilled blood of the substitute young bullock as well as the substitute goat that was specifically chosen by the Lord God Himself were not for the purpose of transferring any sin to the Sanctuary, but were now for the purpose of atoning for all the mass of sins which had already occurred and been previously transferred to the Sanctuary, thus providing a precious and life-giving way for all the mass of confessed sins to be forgiven and removed (see Leviticus 16:15-19).
7) Step #9 - After finishing this first cleansing work, then the high priest went out of the first apartment, took the live Scape Goat and then “shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat”. This meant that the high priest was taking all this immense weight of the burden of sin from off of himself and was now transferring it onto the Scape Goat for it to bear instead.
Step #10 - The high priest then gave this Scape Goat into the hands of “a fit man” who took this goat far away out of the camp of Israel and “into the wilderness...and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness” (Leviticus 16:21-22). This reveals that the Scape Goat was not slain, its blood was not spilled to atone for any sins at all, but it was itself to “bear upon him all their iniquities” and wander all alone in “a land not inhabited” (Leviticus 16:22), where it ultimately saw death and never returned to bother God’s people again.
Step #11 - The high priest then went back into the first apartment, and took off all his high priestly garments. Then he washed himself again with water, put on the garments of the common priests’, and then came out of the first apartment, leaving these other holy garments behind.
Step #12 - The high priest then took both the ram for the priests as well as the ram for the children of Israel and offered them both for a burnt offering unto the Lord to “make an atonement for himself, and for the people”. This reveals that not only were all the confessed sins of the priests and all the children of Israel already atoned for, forgiven, and fully removed from them and also from the Sanctuary, but any possible contamination of these Israelites being connected with sin in the first place had now also been atoned for. Thus the people were not only forgiven for all the sins they had once committed and were sinless, but now they were also personally cleansed from all contamination from these sins and were now absolutely perfect, spotless and without blemish!
8) While the high priest was performing all these important steps, the Israelites themselves were also given something to do.
“...ye shall afflict your souls...And ye shall do no work in that same day: for it is a day of atonement, to make an atonement for you before the LORD your God.” Leviticus 23:27-28.
The Hebrew word for “afflict” used here is “anah”, which translates and means “to abase self, afflict, chasten and humble self” (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, word #6031). This reveals that on this Day of Atonement all of God’s followers were not to be engaged in working, but were to be in an attitude of humbleness and self-abasement, chastening and afflicting themselves because of their past sinful actions. Since this Day of Atonement actually began on “the ninth day of the month at even” (Leviticus 23:32), or at the very beginning of the 10th day at sunset, while the actual work of the high priest did not begin until daylight of this 10th day, then all of the Israelites had precious time to carefully examine their lives to see if all their sins had indeed been confessed and forgiven. If they discovered sins which had not yet been confessed, then they still had some precious time to bring their sin offering to the priests before the high priest could finish his work of atoning for the Sanctuary and the people. Because after the high priest had finished his work, it would then be too late for any sin to be forgiven!
This affliction and humbling of self was vitally important for all Israelites to follow, in fact it was salvational for them to do so.
“...whatsoever soul it be that shall not be afflicted in that same day...And whatsoever soul it be that doeth any work in that same day, the same soul will I destroy from among his people.” Leviticus 23:29-30.
This Day of Atonement was an extremely solemn and soul-searching time, and any of God’s followers who would not respect this day would be destroyed due to their carefree and lax attitude. And even though the people could not see the priest themselves when he was in the Sanctuary, yet if they were quiet and paid close attantion they could hear the tinkling of the bells upon the bottom of his holy priestly garments, and could understand what part of the work he was then performing.