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5. The Fact of the Redeemer’s Return was foreshadowed in the Ritual on the annual day of Israel’s Atonement.
The order of events on the Day of Atonement are described in Leviticus 16, a chapter which is exceedingly rich in its typical signification. The Day of Atonement had to do with the putting away of Israel’s sins, therefore, its dispensational application refers mainly to Israel though, as we shall see, the Church was also typically represented. We shall not now attempt anything more than a bare outline of the happenings of that most memorable day on Israel’s sacred calendar. The order of its ritual was as follows:—
First, Aaron washed in water and then attired himself in the holy linen garments. It is to be noted that Aaron was provided with two sets of garments—those which were “for glory and for beauty” (Ex. 28:2), and the plain linen garments which were used when he offered sacrifice to God: the change from the latter into the former is referred to in Lev. 16:23, 24. It was the plain, linen garments which were worn by the high priest on the Day of Atonement, because, clad thus in robes of spotless white he prefigured the sinlessness of the One who came to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.
Second, Aaron offered “a bullock of the sin-offering” to “make an atonement for himself and for his house”(vs. 6). Our Great High Priest was without sin, He “knew no sin,” yet He became so identified with His people that God “made Him to be sin for us” (2 Cor. 5:20), hence in the type Aaron makes atonement not only for his “house” but for “himself” as well. But observe particularly “and for his house.” That is where the Church is seen, the Church which by Peter is termed “a spiritual house, a holy priesthood” (1 Pet. 2:5; Heb. 3:6).
Third, Aaron took two goats and presented them before the Lord at the door of the tabernacle where he cast lots upon them—“one lot for the Lord, and the other lot for the scapegoat” (vss. 7, 8). The two goats bring before us the two great sides of Christ’s cross-work, namely, the Divine and the human. The death of the Lord Jesus not only provided a salvation for lost sinners but it also vindicated and glorified God Himself. On the Cross Christ met the claims of God’s justice, satisfied the demands of His holiness, vindicated His governmental rights and publicly exemplified His righteousness. “One lot for the Lord,” then, is what God obtained in the death of His beloved Son.
Fourth, the goat of the sin-offering was killed and its blood brought within the veil and sprinkled both upon and before the mercy-seat. (vs. 15). The mercy-seat was God’s “throne” in Israel. Observe that the blood was sprinkled but once upon the mercy-seat and seven times before it (vss. 14, 15). Once was sufficient to meet all the claims of God, for that which the blood of the goat typified—the “precious blood” of Christ—was of infinite value in the sight of heaven, but seven times it needed to be sprinkled to meet our deep, deep need in order to provide for us a perfect standing ground before God!
Fifth, after making atonement for the holy place and the altar—showing there is that, even in our communion with and worship of God, which needs cleansing- Aaron laid both his hands on the head of the second, live, goat, and confessed over him “all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, and putting them upon the head of the goat” and sending him away into the wilderness, into “a land not inhabited” (vss. 21, 22). Just as the first goat represented the great truth of propitiation, the Divine side of Christ’s cross-work, the satisfying and glorifying of God, so this second goat represented the other great truth of substitution, the manward side of Christ’s cross-work, the acting of the Lord Jesus as the Surety of His people and bearing away their sins “as far as the east is from the west.” The laying on of the priest’s hands upon the head of the innocent goat signified an act of identification, the counterpart of which now enables us to say by faith “I was crucified with Christ” (Gal. 2:20—Greek). The confession of Israel’s iniquities over its head, intimated the transference of guilt, pointing forward, as it did, to Christ bearing “our sins in His own body on the tree” (1 Pet. 2:24). The thrice repeated “all” evidenced the completeness of the atonement there made, and thus it was with the Anti type “who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity” (Titus 2:14). The sending away of the goat bearing Israel’s sins into “a land not inhabited,” typified the complete removal of sin; and blessed be God our sins have all been completely taken away so that it is written “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1).
Sixth, after atonement had been effected, the high priest came out of the Holy of Holies, attired himself in his robes of beauty and glory returned to the waiting Congregation in the outer court (vss. 23, 24). It is in this last act of Aaron that we arrive at the point which is specially germane to our present study. The Anti type, our great High Priest, has already made atonement and has passed through the veil into the Holy of Holies on high “now to appear in the presence of God for us,” but soon He shall divest Himself of the sacrificial garments and attired in robes of glory and beauty He shall come forth to His waiting people whose sins and iniquities shall be remembered “no more for ever.” It is to this coming forth of our High Priest that Heb. 9:28 (speaking in the very language of the above type) refers—“So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin (our sins gone) unto salvation.” Thus we see that the Ritual of Israel’s annual Day of Atonement foreshadowed not only the cross-work of Christ and His present session at God’s right hand but that it also typified and looked forward to His return in glory.
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