This article looks at Exodus 28 and Leviticus 16 to discuss the typology of the Old Testament high priest as foreshadowing the work of Christ. The article gives attention to the designation of the high priest, his dress (the ephod, breastplate, mitre), and his deeds (atonement, so described in Leviticus 16).

2014. 12 pages. Transcribed by Diana Bouwman. Transcription started at 2:45 and stopped at 48:27.

Our High Priest Christ in the Old Testament Ceremonies Series: Lecture Three

Read Exodus 28:36-38

We know that Moses was on the mountain when he received the Ten Commandments, and the case studies that followed those commandments helped to interpret those commandments. But he did come down from the mount, then he went back up into the mount. And he was in the mount when he received what we call the ceremonial law. The tabernacle was revealed to Moses when he was in the mount. The pieces of furniture were also revealed to him when he was up there in the presence of God (you can see that in Exodus 25-27). But here in Exodus 28 we have the beginning of God speaking to the servant of the Lord concerning the ministry of the high priest.

Aaron had been labouring alongside of Moses, and for the most part, up to this point he had been very faithful. In Exodus 32 we would see sin in his life, and God rebuked it and Aaron repented, but up to this point he had been the faithful companion of Moses. And God chose the Levites to be priests for Himself, and especially the seed of Aaron to be those high priests who would rule in the nation. The work of the tabernacle, the furniture and the priests form a typology in the Old Testament concerning the work of Christ. This typology is commented on in the book of Hebrews. A.W. Pink, when he was commenting on that typology, said:

When commenting there, on the types of Exodus and Leviticus, the Holy Spirit has expressly declared that the entire ritual of the Tabernacle was “a figure for the time then present” (Hebrews 9:9), that it was “a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things” (Hebrews 10:1). They were not given to Israel as a model for Christians to imitate, but as a foreshadowing of spiritual things which find their fulfilment in Christ Himself. Arthur Pink, 1927.

Well, not only was the tabernacle and its furniture a type of Christ; the high priest was also portrayed as a type of Christ – especially his work. While I am not trying to be exhaustive on every reference concerning Christ as our High Priest, I do want us to sample some of the major points as to what it is that He did for us as Priest, what He continues to do for us, and what He will do for us as our glorious High Priest.

So the theme tonight is that we must receive and rely upon Christ in His work as our High Priest. I want us to briefly think about three things: Firstly, the designation of the high priest and what that means; secondly, the dress of the high priest; and then lastly, at his deeds.

The Designation of the High Priest🔗

The designation of the high priest showed his glorious position. He had a position that was very important among the people of God. We have to realize that the priests in the Old Testament were types of you and I. We are priests tonight. If we are believers, God has made us His priests. I know that in the Old Testament there was a certain age by which you became a priest – that is no longer binding. In the Old Testament there was no way that a woman could be a priest – that is no longer binding. In the Old Testament only the Levites could be priests – and again, that is no longer binding. Every believer is a priest.

That is contrary to Romanism, which teaches that there is a caste of people that are above the laymen in the church and that they are to be called priests. Nothing could be further from the truth when you come to Scripture, because the Scripture is very clear that we are all part of God's priesthood! In 1 Peter 2:5 Peter calls us “a holy priesthood,” and that word "holy" means we have been set apart. You have been set apart from the world in order that you might minister to God. Do you view that ministry as your ministry? Do you take it seriously? You are before God, I am before God, and as a priest I am to minister unto Him! He sees my actions, He sees my heart, and He is analysing, as it were, the type of priesthood that I am offering to Him.

God is very serious about His priests. He destroyed Nadab and Abihu because they corrupted the ministry of the priesthood. Going on in that same passage, Peter then says that we are royal priests, and we are priests who are kings (1 Peter 2:9). The apostle John says the same thing. In Revelation 1:6 he calls us “kings and priests.” So you have been given a great deal of authority in the earth. You are to serve Him, and as a priest and king you are to do that which is His bidding among the sons of men.

A High Priest after the Order of Melchizidek🔗

But the high priest was one who was over the priests. And we know that our Lord is the High Priest after the order of Melchizedek. In Hebrews 5:10 the apostle says that He is “called of God an high priest after the order of Melchizedek.” It is interesting that he is quoting from Psalm 110, and there it says that He is the priest after the order of Melchizedek. But the apostle makes the observation and makes the application of that verse to Christ as being the High Priest. He is not just a priest after the order of Melchizedek; He is the High Priest over all priests. In His name He is called the King of Righteousness – that is what Melchizedek means. In the place that He serves He is called the King of Peace, because Melchizedek was the king over Salem (Salem means "peace"). So we have a High Priest after the order of Melchizedek, and as that High Priest He is the King of Righteousness and He is the King of Peace.

Now, for a man to be king and priest in Israel was something absolutely unique, because to be a king you had to be of the tribe of Judah and to be a priest you had to be of the tribe of Levi. But because He is after the order of Melchizedek, He does not have to be of the Levitical priesthood, and so He can be both King and Priest. He can be a “Priest upon His throne” (to use the language of Jeremiah), and we have then a King and Priest who is unique. He follows the example of Melchizedek there in Genesis 18.

A High Priest Fulfilling the Typology Laid out for Aaron🔗

Having said that He is a High Priest after the order of Melchizedek, He is still a High Priest fulfilling the typology laid out for Aaron. As that High Priest, He rules over the other priests. You see that in Numbers 3 and then again in Numbers 8. The Levites were given to the high priest to serve him, and we as priests have been given to Christ. He rules over us. He is the High Priest. There is not a priest here among God's people that is equal in rank to Christ. We are all under Christ. He is the one ruling over us.

He also performs the actions that allow the priests to function. We will see that later when we look at the Day of Atonement. But atonement was made for the Levites, as well as the nation. And so for us to do our function in the people of God and among the people of God, we need a High Priest who can atone for our sins. Basically, his labours in the Old Testament were twofold: He represented the people to God (and in doing so he offered sacrifice and intercession), and then he represented God to the people. He was a teacher. In Deuteronomy 33 you have all the priests as teachers, and of course, the high priest (being over them) was the supreme teacher. He was the one who used the Urim and Thummim, that was to determine judgments in the nation (and our Christ is the one who, with perfect knowledge and perfect wisdom, brings judgments into the Church of Christ). And he was the one who was blessing Israel for God (and you see that blessing inferred in Numbers 6:22-27).

Tonight you have a High Priest! And you and I, if we will not lay hold of Christ as our High Priest, then we will lay hold of someone else. Someone else will be the one who is the mediator between God and man, and we will go to that other person to try to get access into God's presence, and we will go to that other person to get a word from God. But Christ is the High Priest of His people, and we are to go to Him and through Him into God's presence, and we are to seek God's favour from Christ, and Christ alone.

The designation of the high priest, then, puts this man as a mediator between God and men, and as such a mediator he allows the people access into God's presence.

The Dress of the High Priest🔗

Secondly, we can look at the dress of the high priest. That is what we have in Exodus 28. That dress is thoroughly described, and I don’t want to look at the whole chapter because it would take too much time. I want us to look primarily at those three pieces of dress that have designations written by God. The first is called the ephod, and then you have the breast plate, and then you have the plate upon his head.

Before we look at those three pieces of clothing that he was to put on, look Exodus 29. Because when they actually put the clothing on the high priest, there was a ritual that was done. Note that first of all the high priest was to be washed with water. You see that in verse 4: “And Aaron and his sons thou shalt bring unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and shalt wash them with water.” I believe this washing of water is symbolic of the Word of God. Paul says in Ephesians 5:26 (speaking of us), “That [Christ] might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word.” There is a washing that takes place by the word. And we find that in our Lord’s ministry He was completely conformed to the Word of God. There was nothing in His being that went against the Word of God. And when others were twisting the Word of God – taking away from the Word of God or adding to the Word of God – He clarified the meaning of the Word of God each time.

But notice as well that the high priest was to be anointed. You see that in verse 7: “Then shalt thou take the anointing oil, and pour it upon his head, and anoint him.” He was to be anointed. And truly, the anointing with oil is a picture of the ministry of God’s Spirit. We find in Matthew 3:16 that Christ was so anointed. When He began His ministry He was anointed with the Spirit, and there is no indication that the Spirit ever left Him. In verse 16 it says, “And Jesus, when He was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon Him” (That is, John the Baptist saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting upon Christ).

But after He finished His ministry on this earth, He ascended to heaven, and there was another anointing that took place. You see that in Acts 2:33: “Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, He hath shed forth this which ye now see and hear.” He hath shed forth Pentecost. He is the one who sent the Holy Spirit, where three thousand were saved. This is Peter’s explanation of what has just taken place. Verse 36 interprets a little bit further: “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made the same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.” So when He went to the right hand of God and when He was seated there, God anointed Him with the Holy Ghost, and that Holy Ghost, as it were, came to His body. And they received the Holy Ghost there at Pentecost.

This Holy Ghost, coming upon Aaron’s head and down to his body, is something that is illustrated in Psalm 133. There the psalmist says, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments.” Pentecost was the anointing oil upon the head of Christ that would flow down to His body. Since then, this body being anointed (we are the anointed ones, because we belong to Christ), we are therefore to be in unity with God’s people. We are to forbear one another in love. We are to indeed esteem our brethren before we seek out our own will.

So we have then this symbolism that even before the clothing was put on He was cleansed by the Word – His life was completely conformed to the Word of God – and He had this anointing upon Him, an anointing that truly influences us.

The Ephod🔗

The first piece of clothing that I want us to look at is the ephod. You see in Exodus 28:6-12 that this ephod had two onyx stones with Israel’s names engraved in them. Six of the names were engraved in one stone; six of the names were engraved in the other stone. They are engraved according to birth. Now, we are not quite sure of the order of birth. We have the order given as to what had taken place in Genesis. But having said that, they knew. And the onyx stones were then placed upon the shoulders of the high priests. They were part of the ephod. They were joined, so they could not fall off. And the ephod, then, became a way of God’s people knowing that he was bearing them up on his shoulders.

This speaks of His strength. He is bearing us up. We are not bearing ourselves; He is bearing us up with His strength. That speaks as well, then, of our security. Because He is bearing us up, we are secure. If you were having to rely upon your strength before the presence of God, you and I would fail. We would stumble. We couldn’t make it on our own! But He has us upon His shoulders. Our names are written there. And He is bearing our burdens.

Now, there are several issues in the Old Testament where people were said to bear something on their shoulders. The one who would be the Messiah would bear the sins of His people. They would be laid upon Him. You have that language used in Isaiah 53:12. He bare our sins. They were put upon His shoulders. And so the High Priest is before God, and He is bearing the great needs that His people have – He is bearing before God their sins! Remember the passage in Isaiah 9:6, speaking again of the Messiah, where it says that “the government shall be placed upon His shoulders.” Not only does He bear our sins, but He bears the government over His people! And tonight He knows your needs, He knows what you are lacking, and He brings in to God upon His shoulders those burdens that you and I carry! He is the one who, as the great King and our High Priest, has us upon His shoulders.

Look at verse 12: “And thou shalt put the two stones upon the shoulders of the ephod for stones of memorial unto the children of Israel: and Aaron shall bear their names before the LORD upon his two shoulders for a memorial.” It is very clear here that he has an identification with his people and he is bearing their burdens before the Lord. And Christ certainly does that for us. He is the one bearing our burdens before Jehovah.

The Breastplate🔗

The second piece of garment that had an inscription upon it was called the breastplate. You see that spoken of in Exodus 28:26-30. The breastplate would be attached to the ephod, but it was worn over the ephod. It had twelve precious stones – no two alike. It had precious stones with the names of each tribe upon it. These precious stones were indicative of the way that the Lord valued His people. We were said to be His jewels. You may not view yourself that way, and we may not view the Church of Christ that way, but He views individually His people as His jewels! The great Puritan John Trapp said, “Their price of great value and worth, signifying what a price Christ valued His church at.” So tonight you are the jewels of God! And we are not all alike – we don’t all have the same gifts spiritually, we have not come perhaps from the same part of the world, we have not come through the same church. But nonetheless, the Lord has laid His hand upon us, we are a jewel in His sight, and He has put us in the ephod worn by Christ.

The ephod covered the heart. In covering the heart, it indicated that upon the heart of the high priest were the needs of the people.

And Aaron shall bear the names of the children of Israel in the breastplate of judgment upon his heart, when he goeth in unto the holy place, for a memorial before the Lord continually. And thou shalt put in the breastplate of judgment the Urim and the Thummim; and they shall be upon Aaron's heart, when he goeth in before the Lord: and Aaron shall bear the judgment of the children of Israel upon his heart before the Lord continually. Exodus 28:29-30, KJV.

The High Priest went in before the Lord, and He had on his heart you and I!

Now, when did he go in before the Lord? At what time of the year did he go in to the Holy of Holies and stand before the Lord? What month was it? It was that month of perfection; it was on the day called the Day of Atonement. And we are going to see in just a minute that it was on that Day of Atonement that He went in before the Lord and He had upon His heart the great needs that you and I have. The Urim and the Thummim were to help with judgment. He has perfect judgment, and as He comes into the Holy of Holies He could have in the Holy of Holies cried out for our judgment. He could have cried out for the judgment of God to fall upon our heads. And yet something quite different happens there. Again, Trapp says, “Their use” (that is, the jewels and the ephod) “that Aaron must bear them on his heart signifies Christ’s ardent affection to His and constant intercession for them.” “His ardent affection to His” (that is, His own) “and His constant intercession for them.”

Sometimes we feel that we are just part of a church. That the Lord has somehow just gathered together a large body, and that we are one of those bodies but He never really notices us. He does not know our temptations; He does not know our failures; he does not know the gifts that He has given to us; He is ignorant about who we really are. And yet, this teaches us something quite different! It is not only that He is bearing us upon His shoulders and His strength is holding us up, but His heart is intimately acquainted with each one of us! When He hung on the cross, He knew you! And as you live your life before Him, He knows you and He knows your needs! He is very cognizant of what the needs of His people are.

The Mitre🔗

The third piece of garment that is mentioned here has to do with the mitre. That too had an inscription on it. Exodus 28:36-38. They were to engrave on the metal “Holiness to the LORD,” and that “Holiness to the LORD” was put upon the mitre, upon the turban that was set upon the head. What was “Holiness to the LORD” significant of? Well, it obviously speaks to the moral purity of the high priest. Now, the high priests were not perfectly moral in the sense that they had to have a bullock offered for their own sins.

But never did He, Christ, need a bullock offered for His sins! In fact, the writer of Hebrews points that out – that He never had to offer a sacrifice for His own sins and then one for the sins of His people; he offered one sacrifice, and that was for the sins of His people. Christ was morally pure, set apart from sin. He was completely devoted to God’s will. Whatever God wanted was the will of Christ. He was set apart in that regard to do God’s will, even bearing the needs of His people before God when that meant His own judgment! He would perform God’s will on behalf of His people. And on His head was this mitre, with this statement, “Holiness to the LORD,” indicating He was the servant of the Lord. Yes, He was bearing His people upon His shoulders. Yes, He had them upon His heart, but His whole desire was to please God and to do God’s will. And had He not had that desire, you and I would never be saved. There must be a High Priest who does the will of God.

Thirdly, you note that He bears the iniquity of His people and they are accepted. Look at verse 38: “It shall be upon Aaron’s forehead,” (that is, the statement, "Holiness to the LORD") “that Aaron may bear the iniquity of the holy things…that they” (that is, the people of God) “may be accepted before the LORD.” In Ephesians 1:6 the apostle Paul is praising God because “[God] hath made us accepted in the beloved.” The high priest was set apart from everyone else in the nation, and as being set apart, he was to do God’s will. And that will meant that he would represent the people. It was not that he was ignorant of their sins – he knew their iniquities. He was coming in before God with those iniquities, and when he would leave, the people would be accepted.

What a perfect picture we have of Christ’s work! He truly bears our sins upon Himself. He truly has our greatest needs upon His heart. And when He hung on the cross and He cried, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” He was bearing from the very heart of hearts what you and I should have borne in wrath, because we had sinned against God.

The Deeds of the High Priest🔗

Thirdly, we can say that the deeds of the high priest showed his propitiation. If his dress showed his passion, his deeds showed his propitiation. Turn to Leviticus 16. I cannot go through the whole passage, but let me point out four things to you.

Atonement for those on Christ’s Heart🔗

First of all, the atonement that Christ would make as our High Priest was for those on His heart. Again, we have already noted (although it is not in Leviticus 16) in Exodus 28 that when he went in before God, he had upon his shoulders the names of his people. When he went in before God, He had the names of his people upon his chest, or upon his heart. When did he go in before God? Only the high priest went in once a year, and he went in on the Day of Atonement.

And I would suggest to you that these ornaments, that were teaching us concerning the fact that He loves us and He bears our burden, are especially important on that day. He bore the names of Israel before the Lord into the holy place. Isaiah 53:12 says, “He was numbered with the transgressors; and He bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” He approached God knowing that He was numbered with the transgressors. That it was imputed to Him that He was a transgressor. That is the way that Pilot treated Him, that is the way the priests treated Him, but that is also the way that God was treating Him! He was treating Him as if He were a transgressor. And then as He was before God “He bare the sin of many,” and as He was before God He made intercession for those upon His heart and upon His shoulder. His atonement was for those upon His heart.

Now, there are Arminians saying that He did not know who was upon His heart – that is utter nonsense. I believe the atonement – particular redemption – works in tandem with the election of God. That the Father is not trying to save more or less than the Son is trying to save. But apart from that, the Son did know who was coming when He hung on the cross. Whether you have to say like the Arminian that He looked ahead and saw who was coming and He knew because they were going to come, or whether you believe (as the Scripture reveals) that the Father gave to Him a people and He knew who was coming, in either case, when He was on the cross He knew who was coming! He was not hanging there and dying for those already in hell. He was not! And He was not hanging there and dying for those He knew would be in hell.

Now, His atonement would be big enough for all, and if they would come it would save all, but those already in hell had made their decision, and those that were going to hell (whom He knew were going to hell) would make their decision. Whom then was He dying for? Those given to Him by the Father. He would not lose one of them. He would raise them up at the last day. They would each one be saved, because He bore their wrath as He went into the Holy Place. He bore the names of Israel. He knows those that are His people.

Atonement Bathed in Intercession🔗

Note secondly that His atonement was bathed in intercession. Turn to Leviticus 16:12-13. Here the high priest takes the censer full of burning coals of fire from off the altar before the LORD. This altar is not the burnt offering altar outside the tabernacle; this is the altar right before the veil. It is called the altar of incense, or the golden altar. He takes from off that altar the coals of burning incense, and it says:

…his hands full of sweet incense beaten small, and bring it within the vail: And he shall put the incense upon the fire before the LORD, that the cloud of the incense may cover the mercy seat that is upon the testimony, that he die not. Leviticus 16:12-13, KJV.

So here is the picture: the high priest is coming within the veil, but before he comes within the veil he goes to the altar of incense and he takes coals from off that altar. And he comes with those coals in his vessel and he puts the coals on the ground. And then he takes the incense that is in both his hands and he puts that incense upon the coals, and that incense now begins to fill the Holy of Holies, but especially it fills the place above the mercy seat – the place where the Lord said He would meet with His people.

This is symbolic of the intercession that Christ made for His people. Remember, He is coming in; His people are upon His heart. He coming in; their burdens are upon His shoulders. He is coming in, and He knows that what He does is the only thing that is going to grant them acceptance with God. And He comes in with prayer. He is calling upon God; He is seeking God's face. When we come to the cross, it is hard to know everything that He prayed. I believe when you read Psalm 22 the first half of that Psalm is indeed that which came forth from the lips and heart of our Saviour. The one portion that we know that He said was, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” He was praying on the cross. Hebrews says that He was uttering these strong cries with tears.

The fire is indicative of a heart that is indeed fervent; a heart that is bent upon doing God's will. And it is that fervent heart that is causing the incense, as it were, to come up before God. His atonement would bathe an intercession for His people.

Atonement through Blood🔗

Note thirdly that His atonement was through the blood.

Then shall he kill the goat of the sin offering, that is for the people, and bring his blood within the vail, and do with that blood as he did with the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it upon the mercy seat, and before the mercy seat: And he shall make an atonement for the holy place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions in all their sins: and so shall he do for the tabernacle of the congregation, that remaineth among them in the midst of their uncleanness. Leviticus 16:15-16, KJV.

He takes the blood of the goat (not of the bullock – the bullock has already been offered; the bullock was offered for the high priest’s sins). As we have said, Christ never offered that bullock, because He Himself was not sinning. He had never sinned, and so He needed not a sacrifice to cleanse His sin. So the only sacrifice we have is really one.

And before God he takes that animal’s blood, and he sprinkles it before the mercy seat and upon the mercy seat. It is before the mercy seat – he is now bearing the sins of his people, and as he is bearing the sins of his people, he has them upon his heart, he is bearing their sins upon his shoulder, and he is standing before God. And because he has the blood, he is not consumed. And then that blood is sprinkled on the mercy seat. The mercy seat was covering the law of God. It was indeed a testimony against God's people. The blood was upon the mercy seat, and here is Jehovah God in the Shekinah glory hovering over that mercy seat, and He can look at the high priests and the ones being represented by the high priest, and He can, as it were, smile upon the high priest and the people of God. Why? Because he had blood with him.

In this case, it was His own blood. The High Priest is the sacrifice. The Mediator is the propitiation, the ransom. He is doing both works, and He is applying the blood to the needs of His people. He is dying there for the sins of His people. And while He is dying, He is offering it up Himself to God.

Atonement specifically for Forgiveness🔗

Fourthly, we can say that the atonement was specifically for forgiveness. There was another goat, the scapegoat. It was chosen, and you find in verse 21 that Aaron would lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat. And then he would 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. Here is the goat, as it were, receiving the naming of all of the sins. In that regard, Christ has received all of our sins; they have been placed upon Him for us.

Then it says at the end of verse 21: “And shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness: and the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited: and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness.” All the sins are upon the goat, and a man now leads that goat out into the wilderness, never for that goat to come back. This is a picture of the forgiveness you and I enjoy because of the blood of Christ. One of the words in the Scripture – the word in the New Testament – for "forgiveness" has at its root this idea of sending away. Your sins have been sent away; therefore, they are no longer being viewed by God and they are no longer being brought into judgment before God.

So we have the high priest coming with blood into the Holy of Holies. We have this incense, this prayer, and he offers his blood for atonement. And the high priest puts our sins upon this other goat, and the sins are completely taken away. David said, “They are as far away from us as the east is from the west.” They are sent away! They are no longer a part of us. There are different images showing that they have been severed from us. One such image is that of circumcision. They have been cut away. That old man – that man of our sins – has been cut away, no longer being viewed as a part of us.

Now, this is not your work! This is not the work of one of the priests today. It is not my work. I know that it is confusing in some circles today, where they say they have priests who are offering sacrifices, and those sacrifices are said to take away sin. You cannot take away sin with your sacrifice! Only the High Priest can do that. And Jesus Christ did it once for all for our sins.

The Day of Atonement is something that Paul explains a great deal in the book of Hebrews. Just look at one passage tonight in Hebrews 9. This typology that we have been just looking at in a very simple and quick fashion, the Apostle Paul takes great length to explain in Hebrews 8, 9 and 10. In Hebrews 9 we read these words:

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; 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. For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? Hebrews 9:11-14, KJV.

By dead works we are not trying to atone for sin anymore. When our conscience smites us, what do we do? We run to our High Priest. We run to His atonement, and His shedding of blood cleanses us from all sin – cleanses us from internal sin, cleanses us from external sin. His blood cleanses us from all sin! So you have the picture of the two goats showing indeed what God does in the forgiveness of our sins, and you have the picture of the high priest as he uses those two goats to picture our atonement. It is one Person doing the work – it is Christ as Priest and sacrifice!

Tonight, we will have Christ as our High Priest or we will seek another. People do seek out a priest – no question about it – because they feel guilty for sin. Their conscience is smiting them, and so they try to somehow atone for their sins by blaming others, by trying to find fault with others. Because their own heart is smiting them concerning their own sins. And someone will come and help them. You can go to a psychologist and a psychologist will say, “Blame your parents…blame society…blame that church you go to…blame everyone but yourself.” And he becomes then the high priest. You go to the cults and false religion today, and what do they do? They take you to your guilt and they become your high priest and they give you works to do to get rid of your guilt. Those works won't get rid of your guilt! The guilt remains. It may make you proud because you think you have done something that atones for your sins, but that will become a fallacy when you stand before God in judgment and find out you did nothing to atone for your sins!

Either we are going to have Christ as our High Priest, or we are going to seek for another. Either we will have Christ as our atonement, or we will seek for another. Either we will have Christ’s finished work as our atoning work, or we will seek to finish His work, thinking that we can add to that work. My friend, when you come to the book of Hebrews, over and over again the refrain is that He did this once. Once! He was successful, never to do it again. That is why the Day of Atonement was not done every month. In the calendar year (which was picturing their religion of what Christ would do), the Day of Atonement happened once, indicating it was only going to happen once in time. And it happened when He hung on Calvary.

Is your confidence in Him? Is my confidence in Him? If you are not saved, then truly you have not yet put your confidence in Him, but there are many of God's people and they doubt. They doubt that He has actually done what He said He would do. They have never seen it. All they have are the pages of Scripture. But the Scripture is clear. It is clear!

Charlotte Elliott lived in the late 1700s and beginning of the 1800s. She died in 1871 in England. She was an invalid all of her life. By the age of 32 she could not go to church, even though she had a brother that was a preacher and she was very steeped in knowing what Christianity taught. There were activities taking place and she felt bad because she could not help in those activities. And one of the nights when she was in depression because of those activities, as she could not help perform in the church, she was also doubting whether she was truly saved or not. How often we look at what we can do or cannot do and that brings us to doubt what Christ has done. So she was doubting. And in that night she penned a hymn. She wrote:

Just as I am – without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bidst me come to Thee,
O Lamb of God, I come!

Just as I am – and waiting not
To rid my soul of one dark blot,
To Thee, whose blood can cleanse each spot,
O Lamb of God, I come!

Just as I am – Thou wilt receive,
Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve;
Because Thy promise I believe,
O Lamb of God, I come!
Just As I Am, Charlotte Elliott, 1835.

That hymn has been used in the hearts of many as they have sought the Lord, just like she did. Not pleading their merits, but pleading the mercy and grace of the Lamb. She had a brother that was a preacher, and he said that he had hoped and thought that his ministry had been used of God in the lives of many, but he said that his invalid sister, in writing that hymn, touched more lives than he could ever hope to touch. Do we have Christ as our Great High Priest? He is there, and He offers himself as a Mediator to each one of us.

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