All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. - 2 Timothy 3:16-17
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Salvation in Unforgettable Terms – Part 2
Based on Leviticus 1–6

Last article we looked at how the ancient Hebrews saw their salvation journey literally through the first two parts of the sanctuary. First they receive justification and then sanctification, based on the death and resurrected life of the coming Messiah. As they follow the rituals of each compartment, they experience complete forgiveness of their sins as they are transferred to the sanctuary. Applied literally to the pMessiah, His slain body serves as justification before God for their past, and His resurrected life as the means for sanctification.

The Most Holy Place

But now, let’s consider the last phase of the sinner’s salvation journey as we look at the last compartment of the sanctuary, called the Most Holy Place (or just “Holy Place” in Leviticus 16). This is the most sacred compartment of all because it portrays, in a literal manner, the cosmic throne of God!

The top of the Ark of the Covenant is pictured as the footstool of the divine throne. This is where the sinner comes to seek mercy and salvation, and the ancients understood this. In their time, the guilty always sought mercy at the feet of a superior, such as a king.

The Day of Atonement

Leviticus 16 describes the Day of Atonement and the process of cleansing the sanctuary from the sins that have been transferred there. Please note that Leviticus is the middle book of the Pentateuch (the five books of Moses), and that chapter 16 just happens to be the middle chapter of the book of Leviticus. To the Hebrew mind, this indicates that this particular chapter is the theological center of everything!

On the morning of the Day of Atonement, the high priest offers a bull as a sin offering, and a ram as a burnt offering for himself. Then he washes himself and is considered free from sin. As he puts on his high priestly linen garments, he becomes a symbol of the Messiah. Presenting two goats before the Lord at the door of the sanctuary court, he casts lots for the goats by placing two inscribed objects (probably made of wood) into an urn, and then drawing them out. The selection is left to God.

One lot is for the Lord’s goat—a symbol of the Messiah, the Redeemer of the righteous. The other lot is for the scapegoat (azazel in Hebrew) a symbol of Satan, the source of all evil.

The Lord’s goat is slain as a sin offering for the people, and its blood is sprinkled on and before the mercy seat of the Ark of the Covenant. The scapegoat is also a sin offering, but it is not slain. It represents Satan, who not only must bear his own sins, but also must bear responsibility for his part in the sins of the righteous. By contrast, the Messiah bears the responsibility for the part the righteous have in their own sins.

If one does not understand that both Satan and the righteous each bear responsibility for their part in every sin, the scapegoat (a symbol for Satan) becomes the Savior for the righteousness when it is led away into the wilderness, bearing the sins laid upon it!

After the Most Holy Place is cleansed from sin, the high priest cleanses the Holy Place, and finally moves into the court to do the same. Thus the whole sanctuary is cleansed and free of sin.

The sinner, through the literal portrayal of the sanctuary, now has reached the final stage of his religious journey. It all begins in the court, where he’s justified, moves to the Holy Place, where he’s sanctified, and finally to the Most Holy Place before God, where he’s glorified. Through the process of sanctification, the Messiah has changed him to possess the attributes of God’s character.

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