Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 1 * PART 4 * BOOK 16
CHRIST, OUR HIGH PRIEST
We are going to come right back to the discussion of what was completed when Christ died, shed His Blood, was buried and rose again. We will be looking at the atonement aspect during this lesson. So we will need to turn to the Book of Leviticus Chapter 16. We trust you will take your Bible and your pen and follow us in Scripture, because I never want you to hear what I say, but rather what The Book says. You may not agree with me, and I don’t expect everyone to do so, but hopefully what I teach will make you get into The Book and study and see if what I say is right. Then, if you’re convinced that I’m wrong and you’re comfortable with it, that’s fine. But I teach it as I see it and as I am led by the Holy Spirit, and trust that Lord will bless hearts by it. We know from our mail and phone calls that a lot of hearts are indeed blessed.
A gentleman told me to today that he has prayed for a long time for someone to come that could open The Word and that God was using me for that purpose. I also had a call from a gentleman in North Carolina who told me that he had prayed for three years for The Lord to send somebody to open this Book. This gentleman is sending the tapes all the way to the Philippines and Hong Kong. So The Word is getting out and a lot of folk are seeing things that they have never seen before.
The Day of Atonement began back in the days when the children of Israel came out of Egypt, the same as all the other feast days. Passover, Firstfruits, and Unleavened Bread and all the rest of them. But, as I mentioned in one of the other lessons, Passover was the feast that was in the Spring, but Atonement was in the Fall of the year. The present name most of you are familiar with is Yom Kippur. Now Yom Kippur is a far better definition or explanation of it than Atonement. Back here in Leviticus, the word “atonement” is really a misnomer because there was no atonement. Animal blood couldn’t take away sin, and that is what atonement speaks of. But there is no way man can become one with God until he has experienced the Resurrection power and the finished work of the Cross. All that the blood of animals could do back then was cover the sins. The Hebrew word for atonement was spelled kaphar in the English. The word “kaphar” means “to cover.” So the Day of Atonement wasn’t the day of removing the sin of Israel, but rather just a covering. Remember in Psalms David tells us, “Blessed is the man whose sins are covered.” That’s why the Old Testament believers couldn’t go into glory when they died. Their sins weren’t atoned for, but only covered. That’s why they had to go down into Paradise and wait until the Lamb of God shed His Blood and then The Lord Himself took them to glory, and moved Paradise up to Heaven. We had that study back in book number 14.
Let’s look at this Day of Atonement, and see how Christ fulfilled all these pictures back here, when He went to the Cross on our behalf.
“AND the LORD spake unto Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron, when they offered before the LORD, and died; And the LORD said unto Moses, `Speak unto Aaron thy brother, that he come not at all times into the holy place within the vail before the mercy seat, which is upon the ark; that he die not: for I will appear in the cloud upon the mercy seat.'”
Remember the Mercy Seat was on the top of the Ark of the Covenant, and it was there that the very presence of God shone. And they could only go behind the veil once a year on this Day of Atonement. And here is the preparation of what the priests had to go through. Now watch the analogy, even as the passover lamb had to be without spots and blemish, so also this High Priest had to go through the whole ritual of cleansing. So let’s look at it:
“Thus shall Aaron come into the holy place (behind the veil): with a young bullock for a sin offering, and a ram for a burnt offering.” He didn’t take the animal of course, but rather their blood.
“He shall put on the holy linen coat, and he shall have the linen (speaks of righteousness) breeches upon his flesh, and shall be girded with a linen girdle, and with the linen mitre shall he be attired: these are holy garments; therefore shall he wash his flesh in water, and so put them on.”
Everything had to be impeccably clean. Now what does that speak of with our High Priest? He was clean and without spot or blemish.
“And Aaron shall offer his bullock of the sin offering, which is for himself, and make an atonement (a covering) for himself, and for his house. And he shall take the two goats, and present them before the LORD at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.” Now watch verse 8:
“And Aaron shall cast lots (or draw straws) upon the two goats; one lot for the LORD (it would be sacrificed), and the other lot for the scapegoat.” It was to remain alive. We still use that term today. He’s the fellow that takes the blame.
“And Aaron shall bring the goat upon which the LORD’S lot fell, and offer him for a sin offering. But the goat, on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat, shall be presented alive before the LORD, to make an atonement (or covering) with him, and to let him go for a scapegoat into the wilderness.”
We can’t understand what a wilderness is here in beautiful Eastern Oklahoma. The barren wilderness of Judea and some of the Middle Eastern desert country is uninhabitable. This live goat then, over which the sins of Israel would be symbolically placed, was taken alive way out into the wilderness and set free. The other goat was immediately killed and the blood was used for a sprinkling on the Mercy Seat behind the veil. But only one man in Israel could do all of this; the High Priest. He alone could go in behind the veil and sprinkle the blood on the Mercy Seat. He alone could lay his hands on that scapegoat and symbolically place all the sins of Israel on that scapegoat.
Let’s put this on hold for a moment and go to the Book of Genesis Chapter 14. This takes us back to Abraham, and he had just pursued the Kings that had overrun Lot’s home town of Sodom. He conquers them and brings Lot and his family back. But on his way back in the area of present day Jerusalem a strange thing happens.
“And the king of Sodom went out to meet him after his return from the slaughter of Chedorlaomer, and of the kings that were with him, at the valley of Shaveh, which is the king’s dale.”
“And Melchizedek king of Salem (remember that’s the last five letters of Jerusalem) brought forth bread and wine (that’s unusual isn’t it? Bread and wine was never used in tabernacle worship, or even alluded to in the Old Testament economy. So where are we already leaping to? To the death, burial, and Resurrection of Christ. The bread and wine spoke of His broken body, and shed blood. Now I’m sure Abraham had no concept of what Melchizedek was doing, but God knew): and he was the priest of the most high God.”
Not the priest of Judaism but a priest of the Most High God. Whenever the term “Most High God” is used, it is not just a reference to Israel but predominately to the non-Jewish world. You will see that in the Book of Daniel when Nebuchadnezzar referred to Daniel’s God as the Most High. So, all these things have their purpose in Scripture. Since Israel isn’t on the scene yet, Melchizedek is the High Priest of the whole human race. He is a picture then of that priesthood that Christ would fulfill. Now we need to go to the Book of Hebrews again and tie all of this together.
“But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building;” Christ’s Tabernacle and the place of sprinkling the Blood is in Heaven.
“Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place (the very throne room and presence of God), having obtained (by His shed Blood)eternal redemption for us.” Now let’s back up to Hebrews Chapter 6.
“Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.”
“FOR this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him;”
There had to be a High Priest not just for Israel and the Jew, but for the whole world as well. Christ, as “High Priest,” is not after the order of Aaron, but rather after the the High Priest of all.
“If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron (there had to be a reason)? For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law, For he of whom these things are spoken pertaineth to another tribe, of which no man gave attendance at the altar.”
“For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood.” Only the Levi tribe could be Priests.
“And it is yet far more evident: for that after the similitude of Melchisedec (the High Priest of all) there ariseth another priest, Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment(Law of Moses), but after the power of an endless life. For he testifieth, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.”
How did Christ fulfill the role of the High Priest? We need to go to John’s Gospel for a moment and find out. It’s the Resurrection morning and Mary, at the tomb, was aghast that the tomb was empty. Mary quickly runs and tells Peter and John about it. So you know the account.
“But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre, And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. And they say unto her, `Woman, why weepest thou?’ She saith unto them, `Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him (she, like the disciples doesn’t know),’ And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus (Mary remembers Jesus like He was described in Isaiah 52:14). Jesus saith unto her, `Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou?’ She, supposing him to be the gardener (He looked very human), saith unto him, `Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.’ Jesus saith unto her, `Mary.’ She turned herself, and saith unto him, `Rabboni; which is to say, Master.’ Jesus saith unto her, `Touch me not: for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.'”
Now what is Jesus doing here? He ascends in that moment of time while Mary runs to tell the Twelve. And then when He meets with them He tells them to touch Him, and to check out His wounds and so forth. But remember, to Mary He tells her, “Touch me not for I have not yet ascended to my Father.” Well, He had to ascend to fulfill the order of that High Priest that we just read about in Hebrews. That High Priest had to be spotless, and Jesus couldn’t even let Mary touch Him. Let’s return to Hebrews once again. I can’t repeat this often enough.
Now picture Christ after the order of Melchisedec, and not like Aaron’s, whose priesthood was for the Jew only. But Christ’s order of Melchisedec can now cover the whole spectrum of humanity: you and I, black and white, red and yellow, rich and poor. That was the priesthood of Melchisedec.
“But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building (it’s in Heaven, and Jesus has entered into it with what?); Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.”
Now, let’s cover those three hours between noon and 3:00 P.M. that Jesus spent on the Cross (that we discussed a couple of lessons ago). Remember there was darkness, and not a word from the Cross. Remember the scapegoat? It was left alive. Between noon and 3:00 P.M. Jesus is still alive. What do you think He becomes? I think the scapegoat. Now where was the scapegoat sent? Into the wilderness. What I like to think (and I may be wrong but it’s food for thought), is that in those three hours, Jesus stepped out of time as His body hung on the Cross. But in soul and Spirit He stepped into eternity where there is no time element, and suffered the punishment for all the sins of mankind. He became our scapegoat and took our sins far, far away, never to be remembered anymore. Then He comes back at 3:00 P.M. and finishes His statements from the Cross. And then He can say, “It is finished.”