By Mark A. Finley
In the last couple of lessons we have studied God’s plan of salvation as revealed in the Old Testament sanctuary. In the sanctuary service God instructed His people about the coming of the Messiah. The sanctuary is all about Jesus. He is the Lamb that dies. He is the Priest who lives.
The golden candlestick speaks of Jesus, the Light of the World. The bread on the golden table speaks of Jesus the Bread of Life. The incense rising from the golden altar speaks of the perfume of His righteousness.
The work of the high priest on Israel’s Day of Atonement speaks of Jesus’ final solution to the sin problem. In our lesson today we will study how Jesus will eventually do away with sin.
1. What is the “main point” of the apostle Paul’s teaching on the sanctuary? Read the text below and write your answer on the lines provided.
“Now this is the main point of the things we are saying: We have such a High Priest, who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a Minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the Lord erected, and not man” (Heb. 8:1, 2).
2. Where is Jesus now, and what is He doing? Read the text below and fill in the blanks.
“For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us” (Heb. 9:24).
Jesus is in_____________itself, appearing in the presence of God for____________________
When the book of Hebrews speaks of Jesus “appearing in the presence of God for us,” it is speaking of Jesus’ heavenly ministry on our behalf. All the benefits of His sacrifice are ours. Pardon and power, mercy, forgiveness, and redemption are ours.
3. What is God’s ultimate goal regarding sin? Circle the words in the text that best answer the question.
“But now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself” (Heb. 9:26).
God’s goal is much more than to save us individually, as important as that is. His goal is to finally and completely do away with sin forever.
4. How does the Old Testament sanctuary service reveal God’s plan to do away with sin? What word is used four times in the following passage? Read the text and fill in the blank.
“And the priest, who is anointed and consecrated to minister as priest in his father’s place, shall make atonement, and put on the linen clothes, the holy garments; then he shall make atonement for the Holy Sanctuary, and he shall make atonement for the tabernacle of meeting and for the altar, and he shall make atonement for the priests and for all the people of the assembly. This shall be an everlasting statute for you, to make atonement for the children of Israel, for all their sins, once a year” (Lev. 16:32-34).
This special day at the end of the Jewish religious year was called the Day of _______________
On the Day of Atonement, the Jewish high priest offered a sacrifice without spot or blemish. No sins were confessed over the head of the animal. He entered the sanctuary with cleansing blood to cleanse the sanctuary from the sins of the people that had accumulated symbolically all year. The Lord’s goat (Lev. 16:15), or the goat of the sin offering, represented Jesus bearing our sins.
5. What did the high priest do as he left the Most Holy Place of the sanctuary? Where did he place the responsibility and final condemnation of all sin? Read the text and fill in the blank.
“And when he has made an end of atoning for the Holy Place, … he shall bring the live goat. Aaron shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, confess over it all iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions, concerning all their sins, putting them on the head of the goat, and shall send it away into the wilderness by the hand of a suitable man” (Lev. 16:20-22).
When the High Priest left the sanctuary he placed the guilt of sin on ______________________
Jesus is our only sin-bearer, but the ultimate responsibility for sin rests on Satan, the originator of all sin. The live goat (the scapegoat) represents Satan. At the end of time, he will bear the full responsibility for the sins he has caused people to commit. Satan and sin will be destroyed.
6. What appeal did God give Israel on the Day of Atonement?
“Also the tenth day of this seventh month shall be the Day of Atonement. It shall be a holy convocation for you; you shall afflict your souls” (Lev. 23:27).
“For on that day the priest shall make atonement for you, to cleanse you, that you may be clean from all your sins before the Lord” (Lev. 16:30).
a. You shall _____________________your ___________________________
b. The priest shall make___________________________for you.
The Day of Atonement was a day of judgment. All Israel gathered around the sanctuary to “afflict their souls” or repent of their sins. They prayed for deep soul cleansing.
We too are living in the judgment hour (Rev. 14:6, 7). God is appealing to us to surrender our lives completely to Him, to be secure in the final judgment because of our faith in Jesus.
Would you like to commit your heart to Jesus today in deep confession of sin? Simply say, “Jesus, cleanse me.”
Next month’s study will conclude this series about Jesus’ ministry for us in heaven.