Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 1 * PART 3 * BOOK 9
TABERNACLE SET-UP; DESCRIPTION OF MATERIALS:
CHRIST; HIGH PRIEST WORK: KADESH-BARNEA
Exodus – Deuteronomy
Let’s start again in John’s gospel, Chapter 20, where Mary confronts Jesus outside the tomb early on that resurrection morning, where she is supposing him to be the gardener:
“…She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, `Sir, if thou has borne him hence, (if you’ve taken the body away) tell me where thou has laid him and I will take him away.’ Jesus said unto her, `Mary…'”
Now I’ve made this so plain over the years as I teach this. How many times have you heard the voice of some famous character from radio or television or movie, out of sight in the next room and immediately you know who it is, without seeing them, only by what? By voice. And the same thing here. Now you want to remember that Mary was so close to the Lord Jesus during His earthly ministry. She had probably heard Him call her “Mary” many, many times. And as soon as He speaks the word, “Mary”, she knows Who it is. Even though she can’t recognize Him, yet she knows Who it is. Now I’ll pick it up in verse 16:
“…She turned herself, and saith unto him,`Rabboni;’ which is to say, Master.'”
Now what do you suppose she was ready to do? Oh, she was just ready to give Him a bear hug. An enthusiastic one. But look what He says in verse 17:
“Jesus said unto her, `Touch me not;….'”
Now that’s unusual, because you get down the line into verse 27, which is probably a little later in the day:
“Then saith he to Thomas, `Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side…'”
What’s that? It’s touching. He was for real. And yet to Mary He says immediately “touch me not.” Now look at the reason. Come back to Verse 17:
“…Touch me not; for I am not yet (what’s the next word?) ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren (that would be to the eleven), and say unto them, `I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.'”
I call this the first ascension. The second ascension, of course being in Acts Chapter 1, when He left from the Mount of Olives as the disciples watched Him go. Now let’s go to the Book of Hebrews. I think this will complete the record of what took place early that Sunday morning in time, yet also in eternity, as Jesus left the confines of this earth. Now those of you who have been with me ever since Genesis 1, you will remember when we got to about Genesis 17, that Abraham had a confrontation after defeating the kings that had overrun Sodom. He had this confrontation with a man who came from the then little known village of Salem, the city of peace, which is today Jerusalem. And who was this man? Melchisedec the High Priest. Remember that Melchisedec was a High Priest forever. And Christ was a High Priest after the order of Melchisedec, and not after Aaron.
I showed you back in Genesis that Melchisedec was not a priest under the Law, or the tribe of Levi. He was a priest of all. He covered the whole spectrum of the human race. That means that Christ is not just the High Priest of the Jews but the High Priest of whomever we might be. So I think early that Sunday morning when Jesus would not let Mary touch him, He still had to immediately go into the very presence of the Father. Jesus told Mary that He would ascend to the Father. Now verse 11:
“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;”
Remember when Moses was instructed by Jehovah up there in Mount Sinai to build this Tabernacle? What did He give him? A pattern of the Tabernacle in heaven. Here it is again, and the secret of this whole context is that the Tabernacle was not made with hands. This Tabernacle was not made by Jewish craftsmen, it was untouched by human hands. (The last word in the verse, “building” could have been better translated “creation”) So this is not on the earth, or this creation, but in heaven.
“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 break that verse down: “Neither by the blood of goats and calves (as the High Priest of Israel did.), but by his (what? By His ) own blood he entered in once (not once a year like Israel’s High Priest did. The key word in the Book of Hebrews is “ONCE” ) into the holy place (what’s the holy place? The very presence of God at the mercy seat of God, and there He sprinkled His own blood on the mercy seat), having obtained eternal redemption for us.”
Now you say “Les it ran down Golgotha Hill, it ran down that old rugged Cross.” Now wait a minute. Is anything impossible with God? Granted it ran down to the earth, and I think the picture there is, it was taken up by that which was cursed. But is it hard for God to bring that blood back into a container that He could present in heaven? I don’t think so. My own idea is that He presented His own blood there in the very throne room of heaven. It’s going to be there for all eternity. And every time one of us may be confronted by (and I doubt that we will be, but if we were confronted), “Why are you here?” Our stock answer should be “There sits the blood.” It will be an eternal testimony of why we are going to be in Glory.
A lot of people may go to a funeral of a believer, and come away disgusted because the preacher preached that this man will be in heaven. How in the world do they know that, because nobody knows. But do you know that’s not what The Book says. The Book say that “You are to know” and the reason we can know is not based on what you and I do in good works, or anything else. It is based all upon that finished work of Christ. The fact that He is my propitiation. He is your propitiation. He is the one who was the sacrifice. He was your brazen altar, He is your laver of cleansing, He is your candlestick, He is not only the mercy seat, but He is the blood of the mercy seat. He’s not only the God of mercy, but the sacrifice.
So that’s what I like to put on that word propitiation. Everything that was pictured in type here in the Tabernacle was fulfilled by Christ to the very last jot and tittle, Who became our High Priest. He presented His blood. And remember when we looked at I John where it says “…And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:” So the moment we sin, God expects us to just simply confess it, you don’t have to beg for forgiveness. I’ve told people for 20 years “Quit putting that cliche at the end of your prayer, asking God to forgive us for our sins. That is from habit. Our sins are forgiven. But what does He want us to do? Confess them. Call it what God calls it. And the moment we confess it, the Lord Jesus the advocate, points to that blood, and says “Father, he or she is under the blood” And Paul says “Nobody dare accuse us.” And it is for that reason.
Let’s go back, and pick up Leviticus Chapter 16. The only reason I want to touch on this Day of Atonement is that it so beautifully pictured, just as we saw from John’s gospel and Hebrews, how that Christ fulfilled in every detail this Day of Atonement. I think it is unfortunate that our translators called it the Day of Atonement. Because it was not a Day of Atonement for the Nation of Israel. There was no Day of Atonement for Israel until Christ died. This should have been called the day of covering. And the word in the Hebrew is kaphar, which meant to cover. But we will have to stick with it, because it’s the term we have all became acquainted with. And even the theologians who know better, do what I do, they keep on using it rather than upset the apple cart. But it is really a misnomer. In Leviticus 16 we will start with verse one:
“And the LORD spake unto Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron, when they offered before the LORD and died; (remember they took strange fire) 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.'”
What is under the mercy seat? The demanding Law, and there is no mercy in the Law. Always remember that. The Law can do nothing but condemn you. The Law can’t save anybody:
“Thus shall Aaron come into the holy place: with a young bullock for a sin offering, and a ram for a burnt offering. He shall put on the holy linen coat, and he shall have the linen 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.”
We skipped over these garments because of time, not that they were not important. And before he could begin that Day of Atonement, here it comes again. How did he have to start? He had to wash, and wash, and wash. In fact when we get a little further, they had to wash in running water, much the same as surgeons do when they prepare for surgery. But it had to depict a complete physical cleansing. And then he could put on those linen undergarments, and then he put on the holy garments.
“And he shall take of the congregation of the children of Israel two kids of the goats for a sin offering, and one ram for a burnt offering. And Aaron shall offer his bullock of the sin offering, which is for himself, and make an atonement for himself, and for his house.
In other words, even though he was a High Priest of Israel, he was a sinner. He sinned just as well as anybody else. In order to began this role of the High Priest (and here again is where Christ of course went in sinless, even though He took our sins upon Himself), Aaron had to kill this first sacrifice for himself and his family. He would take the blood and make his way, and no doubt stop at the laver of cleansing; he would then come on through and then he had to take the coals from off the brazen altar, and he would bring them in and put them on the altar of incense, and the smoke would be more or less his protection or covering. And as he would take the blood of that offering, and would come through the sanctuary, and once a year he would come behind the vail. And he would sprinkle the blood of his sacrifice (the bullock) upon the mercy seat for himself and his family:
“And he shall take the two goats, and present them before the LORD at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats…”
Now he starts with two animals, the bullock and two kid goats. He has used the bullock for his own sacrifice, for himself and his family, and now he comes to the two goats and he casts lots. In other words I guess we would say that he drew straws to see which goat would be killed and which would be left alive:
“And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the LORD, and the other lot for a (what?) scapegoat.”
You know, we still use the word today, don’t we. A scapegoat is somebody who takes the blame for somebody else. Continuing on:
“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 with him, and to let him go for a scapegoat into the wilderness.”
Now he takes the goat that is designated by lot to be put to death (and I should have used the bullock the first time) and he takes the blood of the goat and he goes through this same process and he again comes behind the vail and he sprinkles it upon that beautiful, golden, mercy seat of the cherub. II know a lot of people think, “That must have been just filthy with dried blood.” But now listen, they didn’t just sprinkle gobs of blood around. You know how they did it? The took their finger and dipped it in the basin and just touched on it. So there wasn’t gobs of blood upon that gold. I’ve had that question come up more than once. But he would just simply take his finger and thereby present the blood. Then after he had presented the blood of the goat on behalf of the children of Israel, he would make his way back out.
And now then, we pick up his act on the scapegoat, where he lays his hand upon it. Come down to verse 20. Now again, I’ve got to make another comment. I’ve had this question before also. I bet you’ve all heard that the High Priest went in with a rope tied to one of his feet, and that in case he died, they could drag him out. Now listen, that may be according to legend,but it’s not in The Book. Now he did have bells around the bottom of his garment. And if the bells stopped tinkling, then Israel would have known that he was in trouble. But there’s nothing in the record that a High Priest ever lost his life behind the vail. But it was serious business. Had they done anything one bit wrong, God would have stricken them dead. Had anyone other than the High Priest tried to go behind that vail, he wouldn’t have come out alive. And so the High Priest actually did have bells around the hem of their garment. And as long as those bells were tinkling, those outside knew he was still getting along okay. But, let’s get back to this goat that has been left alive. Down to Verse 20. When he has finished his work in the Holy of Holies:
“And when he hath made an end of reconciling the holy place, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar, (in other words, he had finished all the ritual within that little tent)he shall bring the live goat: And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel….”
Don’t lose sight of Who is pictured even in this scapegoat? Christ is. See, He has become not only our sacrificial goat, the One Who’s blood was sprinkled, but now He becomes the scapegoat. Now there’s a tremendous lesson here. There’s a Hymn that says Buried, he carried our sin, where? Far away. Well, the Hymn writer picks it up here from the scapegoat. Let’s read on:
“And Aaron 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, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man (where?) into the wilderness.”
Into the wilderness where there was no record, where there was no geographical pinpoint, where nobody could go back and bring it back. I think that’s a picture of exactly what Christ did. Now very few people are aware of this, while He was on the Cross, there were three hours of time in which nothing was spoken. Now He made several statements from the time he was put on the Cross until high noon. And then at high noon, what happened? Absolute darkness fell upon the earth. And then at three o’clock in the afternoon, He speaks again the final statements from the Cross. The final ones. And that’s when He gave up the ghost, then of His own volition and he died. But what happened in that three hours? Absolute silence. The earth is enveloped in darkness. Well I think that is when Christ took our sins as far removed, the Scripture says now, as East is from the West. They have been buried in the deepest sea. I think in that three hour period of time, not in time, but perhaps in the eternal state, He literally suffered all the hell, all the judgment that every human being deserved. And after stepping out of eternity back into time, now on the Cross, He can say what? It’s finished.
You know I love to teach kids. I’ve got a couple of fourteen-year-olds in one of my classes and one of them came up the other night, and we were talking about this very same thing, and the statement one of them made shows that they were thinking. One of them said, “Now Les, I like this, you know it’s finished from the Cross.” But, then he said, “It wasn’t really finished until he was resurrected.” And I said, young man, your thinking is true But, what Jesus was really referring to was the business of obliterating our sin. Of suffering the sin penalty that was finished. And naturally, our salvation could never be complete until he rose from the dead. That’s why I’m always emphasizing Paul and his writings. Because Paul says, “We know only Christ, crucified and risen from the dead.” And remember, that’s our Gospel. That was revealed to Paul from our crucified and risen Savior in heaven. Oh, so many people are hanging on Jesus’ earthly ministry. A book came out awhile back by a famous author, “The Gospel According to Jesus,” and the minute I heard the title I knew the guy was out in left field. Because you cannot be saved by the Gospel according to Jesus tonight. Because that is speaking of His earthly ministry. We have salvation only by virtue of His death, burial and resurrection. That’s our gospel. And you people know it, but there are a lot of people out there that don’t know that. They just can’t comprehend that there is a difference.
Anyway, the high priest then fulfilled, or he pre-typed that which Christ fulfilled as our high priest. And as I’ve pointed out now in all the aspects of the Tabernacle program, those priests were human. They died. There had to be others come in and take their place. It was exercised year after year after year. But the finished work of Christ, the word in Hebrews as I’ve said so often is what? ONCE! For this He did ONCE! And He obtained what? Eternal redemption for us. Oh never lose sight of it and help your friends and neighbors who may know nothing of this, to understand.
Come back with me for just a moment to that verse that we looked at earlier in Romans Chapter 3. Because I think once you get the picture of how that all the aspects of Tabernacle worship were for the children of Israel, a burden. It was a yoke. I mean everything had to be done just exactly right. But, oh I want people today to understand how free we are from all of that, because Christ has done it all on our behalf. And now coming back to Romans 3 verse 26 and 27. Where now after showing that He is our propitiation, if we will just believe it:
“To declare, I say at this time his righteousness (He’s done it all. He’s the whole Tabernacle)that he might be just, and the justifier…”
He’s done it all, from both directions. He is not only the just one, who was the perfect sacrifice who fulfilled all the demands of a Holy God, but He is also what? The Holy God. And then he says:
“…the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.”
Or, as Paul normally puts it, “In Jesus the Christ, the Resurrected one.”