Pastor Marlin Harris

Grab your Bibles please and open them as well as your notes and lets jump right into it tonight.  We are continuing our series of teachings that we began several weeks ago, “We Believe”.  We will continue this series throughout the winter and we are covering the primary doctrines of our faith, establishing what we believe and we are teaching this series and these topics and these issues because it is so critical for us to know what we believe, especially in the time that we live in and during this moment in the church, the life of the church.  There is so much that is happening, so much that is going on until I’m not sure we are aware of what we believe. 

So I wanted to take this time and teach and go over what we believe as a universal church but also what we believe as a local church, New Life, and how we understand the Scriptures and how we understand how they apply to our lives.  I am going to ask if you would once again come with me to the Book of Leviticus 16.  We have been spending time talking about REDEMPTION in Leviticus 16.  Now I know that Leviticus is not one of those real snazzy and exciting books to read but you would be utterly amazed at the enormous amount of salvation types and salvation foreshadowing that is resident in the Book of Leviticus.  Before I get into reading the text and talking about Redemption tonight let me explain the necessity of these Old Testament books and why it is critical for us to know them, and for us to become familiar with them and to read them.  First of all because everything (and I want to make that extremely clear), everything in the New Testament is built upon some foundation that is established in the Old Testament and so if you read the New Testament, certainly you can’t understand it in its fullness without some appreciation and knowledge of what the Bible teaches in the Old Testament; that’s the first thing. 

The second thing that I need to say about the significance of these books is that we would not know our doctrine of salvation, how we are saved, the Holy Spirit and His work in our life, the whole understanding of the church, everything that we are as Christians, we would not know any of that if it had not first been mysteriously woven into the pages and into the teachings and into the practices and writings of the Old Testament.  So we read the Old Testament for a foundation, we read the Old Testament for clarity in understanding the New. 

The last thing that I need to mention about the significance of these books is that they are filled with what is called “types and shadows”.  That is a theological term but here is what it means:  It is symbolic language, or symbolic events, or symbolic writings that express a “substantive reality” in our New Testament experience.  The Old Testament is symbolic writings, symbolic language, symbolic experiences, symbolic events that express, that point to some substantive, some real, some tangible experience in our New Testament life.  Does everybody understand that? 

An example of such would be the tabernacle.  The tabernacle is an event, it’s real, it’s not symbolic in the context that it’s not real and it didn’t happen, it is very real and it certainly did happen.  There was a tabernacle and the tabernacle served a purpose and God placed the tabernacle in the life of the Jews, in the life of Israel to serve a purpose as a type, a foreshadowing, a pointing to some New Testament reality that we are living in today.  So the tabernacle of the Old Testament becomes the foreshadowing of the believer’s life and we are now the tabernacle of God and as we are the tabernacle of God, God meets with us personally as He met with Israel nationally in the tabernacle.  So the two play off of each other; we understand that right.  So whenever you are reading the Old Testament understand that you are reading the foundation of Christianity. 

One of the strongest issues and questions that I have about anyone who is a honest Jew, an honest Hebrew who honestly reads the Old Testament for all that it’s worth, and not able to fully comprehend Christianity or not to accept it is mind-boggling to me because Christianity is the fulfillment of the Old Testament Judaistic practices, ceremonies, rights, rituals and religion.  It is the fulfillment of it, so we need to go back to it in order to understand what we are experiencing in a salvific experience today – we go back to it to get our foundation. 

So we are talking about redemption and certainly the whole notion of redemption is borrowed, it is taken from the Old Testament law experience; Moses’ law experience of redemption.  We’ve been explaining what redemption is and giving a general overview of it and tonight what I want us to do is look at three critical elements in redemption because these elements sort of give us a full explanation of the grandeur and the greatness of our salvation. 

The first element we will look at under Redemption is the element called ATONEMENT.  We will look at it and explain it in just a minute.  The second element under the context of redemption, or under the general category of redemption is the doctrine called JUSTIFICATION and then the third element we will look at under the general category of redemption is the doctrine called SANCTIFICATION.  There is atonement, justification and sanctification.  If you could see redemption like this and we all remember because I’ve been teaching on redemption for about two weeks – it is to buy back out of a market, to buy back with a price.  To purchase out of with a price, that price is a ransom and normally the thing being redeemed is a life.  So whenever you pay for a life to be released that is a ransom, same thing as if it was a kidnapping and you pay a ransom, the same exact idea.  The ransom is the price that is paid for the thing or person who has been enslaved or kidnapped, or who has been taken captive to be redeemed and taken out.  That is all redemption is – that is all that salvation is.  What redemption is, is what salvation is.  If you could see that as a process.  In this redemption process and this is quite interesting, this redemption process has these three elements in it. 

Process No. 1 or Element No. 1 is that we have to be atoned.  There must be an atonement, and that atonement by definition is nothing more but man and God being made at one with each other.  By atonement, man and God being made at one with each other.  By atonement you could easily put the word reconciliation, that man and God are reconciled to each other.  Atonement is reconciliation.  Now there are some other aspects of atonement that we will cover, but I want to give general definitions for the other two and then we will come back and spend the bulk of our time tonight looking at atonement.  You can look at the word atonement and break it up – AT ONE MENT.  As a matter of fact, atonement comes from that idea “at one” – that God and man are at one with each other. 

Justification means to be declared right with God or to be declared righteous before God.  Justification does not take into account your actual state.  Justification is purely a declaration, a legal term, it does not consider your actual state.  It simply says you are declared right with God even if you are filled with sin.  Justification is a divine decree that God gives that says this person is alright with me. 

Sanctification is the making of one to be righteous.  It is the production of righteousness within the individual.  The making of one to be righteous.  Justification says that God declares me right, whether I am or not.  Sanctification says that “I am becoming what God has declared”, that I am becoming what God has declared.  So God says that “Marlin is alright with me, although Marlin is a sinner, Marlin sins, Marlin has a sinful heart – but Marlin is right with me”.  But it is always based on something else and we will get to that in a minute.  Sanctification is the process that makes me what God said I was.  So God says Marlin is right with me, sanctification is to make me right.  Everybody understand that.  Justification says that “whether I am right or not, God says I am”.  Sanctification says now I am going to produce in him what I have declared about him. 

Now atonement, justification and sanctification, all three of them, they happen immediately, instantaneously the moment you get saved.  Your sins are atoned, you are reconciled with God.  The moment you get saved you are declared right with God (justification) no matter what you did a second before, and thirdly sanctification – you are set apart for God’s use – you are made right.  Your heart is literally, genuinely and authentically born again.  You are not who you used to be, you are changed.  You look the same, you act the same, you remember the same, you might even think and feel the same, but that’s all soul and body.  Your spirit which you haven’t had contact with all of your life if you just got saved, you haven’t had contact with your spirit because you’ve been dead – your spirit man was dead so you haven’t had contact with him.  Your spirit man is brand new, it is sanctified, it is made right with God – alright you got that. 

The only one of the three that continues, or rather I should say is “persistent activity throughout your life” is sanctification.  Once you are reconciled to God, that’s it you are reconciled to God, its once and forever.  Once you are justified, that’s it, you are justified once and forever.  But sanctification is you are sanctified today and you are being sanctified tomorrow and you will be sanctified until Christ returns.  It is a perfecting process within the life and the heart of the believer because sanctification saves your spirit, your soul and your body – this is what you and I must reprogram, what you and I must start working on until Christ returns and redeems the whole life, the whole body.  Do we have that as a general picture?

Lets look at it in its individual parts.  Lets start with Atonement.  Atonement comes from the book of Leviticus, chapter 16This is a day called “The day of atonement”.  The definition I just gave you for atonement is the theological definition.  This is what we understand doctrinally.  However the Biblical definition is somewhat different.  Let me explain why.  The Bible is Hebrew in the Old Testament, Greek in the new.  We are looking at the Hebrew word and the word itself does not express the process so since the word (Kaphar) does not express the process – it simply means to cover.  So whenever you are reading in the Old Testament and you come across the word atonement, one of its primary words is kaphar, which means to cover.

When you look at that definition alone it doesn’t adequately express why the covering takes place so the word “atonement, at-one-ment, has been expanded in its doctrinal understanding to encompass what the Bible teaches about this whole process of atonement.  So lets start at verse 1 of Leviticus 16

Leviticus 16

 1And the LORD spake unto Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron, when they offered before the LORD, and died;

We all know what that is talking about don’t we.  Aaron had two sons, Nadab and Abihu and they offered a fire before the Lord.  This was an incense that they burned before God and they burned this incense before God that He had not commanded them to do.  They did it in the wrong place and they did it at the wrong time.  They went to the outer court and they stood at the brazen altar and they kindled the fire of the altar using the incense that came from the inner court and they tried to light the fire of the altar so that the altar could be used for the burnt sacrifices.  So they were doing something that they thought was good, they didn’t mean any harm, but they used a match from the inner court and God is so meticulous about how He is worshipped and how salvation is typified, that the moment they used the match the wrong way, it sent the wrong signal about salvation and God killed them, destroyed them right then, sent fire and He consumed Nadab and Abihu completely at that moment. 

Now that I’ve told you that very happy story lets continue reading.  If I could mention after Nadab and Abihu, two of Aaron’s sons (he had two others and probably some more ) but Aaron, of course, when his sons died in an instant God tells Moses to tell Aaron “Do not cry for them” – it’s that serious.  He said don’t rent your clothes, don’t mourn, do not cry for them.  As a matter of fact, tell Aaron to go and get his other two sons and light the fire right, and that is significant.  I am breaking every teaching rule right now.  You are not supposed to introduce material that is that tense without explaining it and I can’t explain it because its going to take me away from what we are really teaching.  So look at your neighbor and say “That was mean of God to do and maybe someday pastor will explain why He did it”. 

So when this takes place, verse 1, the Lord says to Moses in verse 2, speak to Aaron your brother and tell him that he needs to be careful what he does so this doesn’t happen to him. 

 2And 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.

The Lord tells Moses to tell Aaron that he cannot come whenever he wants to into the holy place within the vail, before the mercy seat which is upon the ark because if he does he will die. 

for I will appear in the cloud upon the mercy seat.

He says “Moses, this just happened to Nadab and Abihu, they just died, I made clear examples of them, now you go and tell Aaron that if he messes up the same fate will happen to him as well.  So he is not to come at any time he wants to into the Holy Place within the vail”.  The Holy Place is two sections:  there is a holy place within the vail and the holy place without the vail.  We call the holy place within the vail “the holiest of Holies” or “the Holy of Holies”.  This is the place within the tabernacle, which is a tent like you see any tent outside camping just a lot bigger, and in this tent there is a curtain (a very thick vail) that is right smack in the middle or two-thirds inside of that tent and beyond that vail there is a piece of furniture that is called the mercy seat; its actually an ark – it’s a golden wood box with two huge cherubim statues of angels placed on either side of this rectangular box, and this box is the presence of God and represents the mercy seat where God sits.  Therefore this box would symbolize the Throne of God, where God sits It’s a mercy seat but remember that God sits in judgment, so this judgment seat becomes a mercy seat whenever the blood has been applied to it which was Aaron’s job in making certain that the sins of the people could be forgiven

His job was to take blood and sprinkle it on the judgment seat that it may be a mercy seat and that God would have mercy on the sins of His people.  And what God is saying to Moses is “Run quickly and tell Aaron don’t come in here, don’t come in here until I tell him to come in here because if he comes in here anytime he wants to come in here, he will die.  Now the question I guess I can answer is that one.  Why is it that Aaron would dieBecause these details are critical for understanding salvation.  They are critical for understanding God’s redemptive plan to man.  They paint the picture, they symbolize, they foreshadow – these are metaphors for how God will redeem man of his sins

We are not talking about a few men or a couple of men.  We are talking about the entire human race, all who will believe.  It is that clear and that serious.  This is redemptive; this is salvation.  It is also speaking about how ugly sin is and how Holy God is because when you are looking at the heinousness of sin and the Holiness of God, that this is what demonstrates that, this is the picture that God decided to paint, to demonstrate that.  This is the illustration that God was trying to give to show how Holy He is, how unholy man is and how sin must be forgiven and how heinous sin is, that death must happen when sin takes place

All of this we understand as a doctrine of Jesus dying on the cross for our sins that we may be right with God, all of that is illustrated in the Holy of Holies, and the blood, and the animal sacrifices and the priests and Aaron and his sons, all of these are illustrations and here is what God is saying.  “If you get the illustration wrong, if you get the illustration wrong, you are painting the wrong picture about my Holiness and man’s sinfulness and the list goes on and on, and because it is so significant, I have to treat that as a sin because the illustration is just as real as the event itself.  Are you getting it. 

So he says “Moses go tell Aaron that there is a certain way I want this done.  He goes on now and He says the reason why he’ll die is because I am going to be on the mercy seat.  I’m going to be sitting on the mercy seat; I’m going to come down in the cloud and I will sit on the  mercy seat and whenever I sit on the mercy seat please tell Aaron don’t come in here unless he’s got blood.  Alright. 

 3Thus shall Aaron come into the holy place: with a young bullock for a sin offering, and a ram for a burnt offering.

 4He 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;

Lets stop there for a moment.  Does anybody know what the garments in the Old Testament symbolize for New Testament reality, anybody know?  Take a stab at it.  Garments cover you, not the blood, but garments cover you – what could it possibly symbolize?  No problem, I’ll tell you.  Garments symbolize righteousness, that as you are clothed you are clothed in righteousness.  If you’ll remember when Adam and Eve sinned the very first thing they did was try to make garments for themselves.  They took fig leaves and sewed them together and tried to make garments for themselves, and do you remember what God did?  God killed an animal and God took the skin of that animal, took off their fig leaves and clothed them with that skin because if they were allowed to continue to walk around in self-made clothes, it would make the message that you could appear before God with something you did on your own, and no man, no person can appear before God with something that they did on their own. 

There is no self-made righteousness -- that is self-righteousness and self-righteousness will never allow anyone to stand in the presence of God.  So when God came walking in the cool of the evening here is Adam and Eve hiding with their self-righteousness, their self-made clothes on.  Notice what comes out of their mouth – they make excuses, it’s the woman you gave me, it’s the serpent who tricked me.  They make excuses, they try to justify what they did.  They said “I’m not as bad as it seems, this isn’t as bad as it looks.  I had a good reason for what I did.  I did what I did because I’m only human or because I was tricked or because the woman you gave me told me to do it or I got some good excuse. 

It’s self-righteousness.  It simply says I’m not that bad, I’m not that naked and what God was saying “You are very naked, I see right through those fig leaves.  Until I give you clothes you will never be presentable before me”.  So He goes and He kills an animal.  The first thing to die in the garden was an animal and the animal died so that Adam and Eve would not die.  He killed an animal so they would live; took the skin of the animal, clothed and covered themselves with it. 

Now this is the same idea and concept – highly sophisticated a little bit more in the text that we are reading now but it is Aaron who is a priest and He tells Aaron “when you come before me make certain that you have an animal that can die and make certain that you have on clothes that I call righteous.  Wear Holy garments.  Holy garments represent righteousness.  Then it says here

what is it therefore shall he wash his flesh in water, and so put them on.

Wash his flesh in water – anybody have any idea what that symbolizes.  That’s the whole point of reading Leviticus, know the symbols, know the symbols.  What does it symbolize, wash his flesh in water?  Take a stab at it.  Anybody.  Obviously the water represents the Holy Spirit and also the water represents the Word of God.  It is the Holy Spirit that washes us.  It is the Word of God that maintains our cleansing.  It says he washed himself with water; symbolic of the Spirit of God – that we are washed before we are righteous.  And it says

 5And 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.

He’s being very specific here.  He tells Moses to make sure that Aaron carries two young goats and then one ram for a burnt offering. 

 6And Aaron shall offer his bullock of the sin offering, which is for himself,

And there’s our word the first time we see it.

and make an atonement [khafar] for himself, and for his house.

And make a covering; same thing God did for Adam and Eve.  The same thing God is saying must be done to Aaron or the priest.  The same thing that God does for anyone who is made righteous, must make a covering, must make an Atonement for him and his house.  Interesting enough He says that whenever Aaron comes into My presence make sure Aaron is dressed right, make sure Aaron has blood (has an animal that can die), make sure Aaron comes at the right time and be certain that Aaron comes with the right elements that he needs to make a covering for him and his house.

Now this covering for him and his house is the same idea of making this covering of righteousness, being covered by being right.  Alright class, what is righteousness?  What is it by definition?  You guys are scoring zeroes man.  Has anybody gotten one of these questions right so far?  You know this one.  I heard it:  Right standing with God.  Now look at it and think about the definition, you can also say right standing before God.  Righteousness is when I stand before God and I’m right.  Or I stand before God and He sees me as right.  Not right in my way, but right in His way.  Not human rightness, but God rightness.  Whenever I stand before God He sees me as being right.  That is an atonement for righteousness; that is the covering.  Now listen very carefully.  The only way that I can be right before God or right with God is if I am covered with the right stuff.  I got to be covered with the right stuff.  That covering is translated in our Bible as Atonement. 

Therefore the Atonement, whatever it is, is going to be the thing that covers me which makes me right when I stand before God.  Thus I’m reconciled back to God, brought back to God, because my sins have been covered and I am right before God.  This righteousness is given to me because my sins have been covered.  That atonement is what makes me right before God.  Continue reading.

 7And he shall take the two goats, and present them before the LORD at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.

 8And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats;

Casting lots simply means that he shall barter for which one of the two goats shall belong to God and which of the two goats will belong to man.  It says “And Aaron shall casts upon the two goats; one lot for the LORD, and the other lot for the scapegoat.

 9And Aaron shall bring the goat upon which the LORD's lot fell, and offer him for a sin offering.  

So it means he’ll take two sticks (that’s what a lot normally is, two sticks) and say this one is for God and this one is for a scapegoat of the people, and he takes these two sticks and throws them into the air and whichever one falls upon the goats becomes that which belongs to the Lord.  So he marks the Lord’s stick, throws them in the air – if that stick falls on a particular goat that goat is now the Lord’s goat.  Now for anybody in here – the hesitation that I had was that you would quickly say “See they were gambling in the Bible” and the Bible is very clear that even when man cast his lots, it is God who determines the end. 

The second thing is never in Scripture do you ever see a lot being cast for financial gain being given – NEVER.  A lot is always cast as a way of seeking to clarify God’s will.  It’s the same thing as putting the fleece on the ground that Gideon did.  It’s the exact same concept.  Whenever Matthias was chosen as the Apostle to take Judas’ place because he died, a lot was cast.  It’s always cast to give clarity to God’s will.

God wrote into a system of casting lots and called it “urim and thummin”.  You don’t need to know that than just to listen to it.  It’s two precious gems or jewels that the priest always carried in his breastplate.  Urim and thummin, and when there was a case when they couldn’t determine God’s will, the priest would take the urim and the thummin and he would roll them around and throw them down, which is where we get our concept of dice from but you see how the enemy has changed the idea of what this is for and used it for money and for financial gain; do you see that?  Someone says “I didn’t know they had dice in the Bible”?  You should read the Bible; it is very, very interesting.  He wouldn’t throw them down per se, but he would use them to determine the Lord’s will and, Yes, that idea and concept is where the whole idea of dice comes from.  But it comes perverted and counterfeit as a way of making money for the person gambling for money.  This is not gambling, this is to give clarity on God’s will.  They cast these lots and the lot falls upon a particular goat, and that particular goat it falls upon, that goat belongs to the Lord.  Now they do a certain thing with them.  We’ll continue reading.

 9And Aaron shall bring the goat upon which the LORD's lot fell, and offer him for a sin offering. 

So when the lots are cast and the stick falls upon a particular goat, that one gets to die.  So he comes and brings him to offer as a sin offering.  In earlier passages it describes exactly how God wanted the goat to be killed, the lamb to be killed, and exactly what He wanted done with the blood, what He wanted done with the inner-parts of the animal, what He wanted done with the meat and what He wanted done with the ashes – after you burned the animal, after he has been eaten.  He was very clear that everything about this animal has to be completely consumed.  Either consumed by the priest or consumed by fire, and the blood drained out and sprinkled over the people.  That nothing of this animal is left.  It is burned to its ashes, and even its ashes are spread over the people as an Atonement; that this symbolizes of course Christ Jesus.  He is symbolized as our sacrificial goat or as our sacrificial lamb.  It says now in verse 10.

 10But the goat, on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat, shall be presented alive before the LORD, to make an atonement with him, [a covering, a khafar] and to let him go for a scapegoat into the wilderness. [I’ll explain that in just a minute.]

 11And Aaron shall bring the bullock of the sin offering, which is for himself, and shall make an atonement for himself, and for his house, and shall kill the bullock of the sin offering which is for himself:

Now let me tell you what’s happening very quickly.  Aaron comes in, he’s got three animals.  Remember from verse 5, it says “and he shall take of the congregation of the children of Israel two kids of the goats (two young goats) for a sin offering and one ram (the same thing as a bullock) for his offering.  And verse 6 says “and he shall offer his bullock”.  Now here it says “and Aaron shall bring the bullock (that’s the one he has for himself) of the sin offering, which is for himself, and shall make an atonement for himself and for his house and shall kill the bullock of the sin offering, which is offered for himselfSo he’s got three animals, one for himself, he’s got one animal that will serve as a scapegoat (which I will explain in a minute), he’s got a third animal that will serve as a sin goat for the sins of the people, that no one is without need of atonement, not even Aaron the priest; that Aaron the priest, himself, needed to be atoned.  And it goes on now and it says:

 12And he shall take a censer full of burning coals of fire from off the altar before the LORD, and his hands full of sweet incense beaten small, and bring it within the vail:

 13And 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:

Lets stop there.  Remember his two sons died because they did not get this incense thing right.  And so he comes in and he has incense, and it says he has it in his hands, and he takes this incense and he burns it on the coals of fire and he puts the incense, pours it on the coals of fire and, of course, the fire burns the incense smoke up.  Anybody have any idea what that could possibly represent.  Incense, coals of fire, the smoke rises.  Huh?  Worship.  Prayer.  Communion with God.  This is the sweet aroma, incense is a sweet smelling powder.  A sweet aroma that rises before God, changes the atmosphere. 

Remember in the New Testament there was a woman who came and she had this box of ointment and Jesus was at one of the Pharisee’s house and she came in and she broke this expensive box of ointment (an alabaster box) – a very expensive ointment – she broke it and poured it over him and she began to anoint his feet, and to anoint him with this sweet perfume, and Jesus said “Do not stop her.  Let her do what she is doing”.  Now she was doing this as an act of worship.  Jesus said “Don’t stop her from worshiping me, she’s giving me that which cost her much”.  This incense is a smell unto God; its our prayers and our worship which we send up before Him and it is to cost us everything.  Worship is to cost us everything that we are.  All that I am in submission to all that He is, that’s what worship is.  Jesus said “What this woman has done will be written down as a memorial unto her; that she understood that I am to be worshipped”. 

The illustration, do you see that illustration in the New Testament of Christ and the woman.  Same illustration here in the Old Testament.  The idea that it points to is worship and prayer.  So He says whenever he comes into my presence he must have the right clothes on, he has to come at the right time, he has to have the right animals and the right blood, he’s got to have the right worship and the right prayer when he comes.  That’s a whole lot of rightness that he’s got to have when he comes.  Don’t you think that God is trying to make a point?  That I am so Holy that anyone who stands before me who is not right dies and He creates these enormous stipulations of what is required to be right. 

You guys remember a man by the name of Uza?  Uza was trying to get the ark back in David’s day, many years before this.  The ark had been captured by the Philistines and David seeks to bring the ark of the covenant, the mercy seat back into Jerusalem and they now have taken control over Philistine territory.  David has conquered the Philistines and he comes and says “I want to get the mercy seat back because you stole the mercy seat and you took it into your homeland”.  So David gets this team of men, Uza is one of them, they put the ark on a cart and they start taking the ark back on this cart, driven by oxen and it starts to wobble and Uza, good guy, meant well, he was trying to make sure the ark didn’t fall – so he reached up and he steadied the ark and the moment that he touches the ark God kills him there.  You guys remember that.

Because it makes a statement.  God is meticulous, God is orderly, God is purposeful and nothing is to diminish or dilute the illustration because the illustration is what typifies our salvation, and he kills Uza, and he kills Nadab and Abihu, he puts these elaborate details of how you come into His presence because He is trying to make a clear statement about how holy He is and how unholy we are and that sin requires death, even when its unintentional.  Everybody get that.  This is making a huge statement about sin.  He goes on and I’m not going to read the entire chapter although I could. 

 12And he shall take a censer full of burning coals of fire from off the altar before the LORD, and his hands full of sweet incense beaten small, and bring it within the vail:

 13And 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:

So it says if he comes into my presence and he is not worshipping me, he will die. 

 14And he shall take of the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it with his finger upon the mercy seat eastward; and before the mercy seat shall he sprinkle of the blood with his finger seven times.

And someone is saying is he going to ask us why he has to sprinkle it eastward, and the answer is “No”, I’m not going to ask you that because I don’t have a clue.  And then verse 15

 15Then 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:

 16And he shall make an atonement [a khafar] 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.

 17And there shall be no man in the tabernacle of the congregation when he goeth in to make an atonement [a khafar; a covering] in the holy place, until he come out, and have made an atonement [a khafar; a covering] for himself, and for his household, and for all the congregation of Israel.

 18And he shall go out unto the altar that is before the LORD, and make an atonement [a khafar; a covering] for it; and shall take of the blood of the bullock, and of the blood of the goat, and put it upon the horns of the altar round about.

 19And he shall sprinkle of the blood upon it with his finger seven times [seven is for completion and for fulfillment], and cleanse it, and hallow it [make it holy, sanctify it] from the uncleanness of the children of Israel.

 20And when he hath made an end of reconciling the holy place [There’s our word “reconcile’; bringing it back to God], and the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar, he shall bring the live goat:

Stop there.  Let me tell you what I just read, here’s what is going on.  Aaron goes in, he’s got a bowl full of blood, he has a hyssop branch (we learned this from other passages).  He has a hyssop branch and he comes in dressed right, he’s got on priest’s garments, as he walks into the Holy of Holies, the first thing he does is he takes his incense and he sprinkles it over the coals of fire and when he does that the smoke rises and that means God is worshipped. He takes the hyssop branch (looks like a regular tree branch), dips it into the bowl of blood and he sprinkles it on the mercy seat so that he may receive mercy because God says “He’s there”.  When he sprinkles it on the mercy seat the blood says “something died”.  When the blood says something died that means you don’t have to because something died in your place. 

After he sprinkles the mercy seat with blood, then he does a weird thing.  He starts sprinkling everything.  He sprinkles the horns of the altar (why is he doing that?).  Then he walks out of the Holiest of all into the Holy Place (into the inner court) and he starts sprinkling the furniture, he sprinkles the walls – I mean this is blood, animal blood, you know it smells terrible and he’s sprinkling everything, and nobody can be in there while he’s sprinkling and nobody can be in there except for Aaron, by himself.  All the people are waiting on the outside and he’s inside covering everything with blood.  And its says because the people’s sins have contaminated the tabernacle, and the tabernacle itself needs to be reconciled before God.

What could it possibly mean?  Okay class – what does a tabernacle represent?  A tabernacle represents a believer’s life, the church universal, the church of God.  Where God comes to meet the church.  The church is contaminated because of the sins of the people.  So when God starts judging Paul said “He will judge, and judgment first begins at the House of the Lord”.  So Aaron is sprinkling wood and gold and linen, and he’s sprinkling materials in this tabernacle because God’s getting the picture that says “All of the church must be covered by the blood, all of the church because our sins have contaminated the perfect body of Christ. 

Our sins bring a reproach upon His cross is what the Bible says.  The word reproach means that our sins dilute its glory before man.  A reproach is a shame, a scandal, it’s a shame.  It says our sins bring a scandal to Jesus’ cross.  That people judge the cross of Christ, the body of Christ, the sacrifice of Christ, they judge the church of Jesus Christ based upon the people who live in it.  And it says “Don’t just sanctify the individual people, sanctify the collective body of the church because the people have reproached the name and cause of Jesus Christ”.  Now be real honest, be very honest – do you not know people who are unsaved and will not give Jesus and God and the things of God the time of day because we in some way have messed it up for somebody else who is not saved.  Contaminated it. 

Every time there is sin in the church it contaminates the Cross of Christ.  Every time there is rebellion in the people of God it contaminates the Cross of Christ.  Whenever you tell somebody at work you are a Christian and then two weeks, two months or two years later, they make you mad and you can’t help yourself and you go off and cuss them out or you yell and scream, you just contaminated – are you getting the idea.  This is the reason for church discipline.  Church discipline has to happen.  It is the exact same thing as Aaron going into the tabernacle and sprinkling everything in the tabernacle.  It’s all got to be cleaned, it’s all got to be cleaned.  Paul said “a little leaven leavens the whole lump”.  A little bit of sin makes the whole thing bad.  Are you getting the idea here.  So discipline in the church has got to happen.  Man, if we don’t discipline in the church we are allowing for the contamination of the people to contaminate the Body of Christ that represents the Cross of Jesus Christ – it can’t happen.  We’ve got to come with a hyssop branch and blood and we’ve got to sprinkle it on everybody, on everything.

People get offended whenever there is church discipline.  They get offended whenever you say “Hey you know what if you live this way, then these are the consequences here in this church”.  And they get mad when that happens.  I mean “I can’t believe, Jesus died for my sins and the church is judging me, he said judge no man”.  He said judge no man outside the church but in the church I’m looking at fruit and telling you what kind of tree you are.  And so whenever the word is being preached and I talk about sin, that is sprinkling the hyssop branch of blood over the people.  Whenever I deal with controversial issues and it makes you cringe, that is sprinkling the blood over the people. 

Now notice very carefully now, he said “Aaron if you don’t do it you will die”.  I’m sorry guys I don’t want to die.  I’m doing it.  Now I know he is not speaking about physical death for me because I’m saved, I know that, but he is talking about death of the fruit, death of the effect, death of the anointing, I don’t want anything in my life that God has given me to die, I want it to live, I want His pleasure always on my life so I’ve got to do the sprinkling. 

If you are a father or a mother over a family, you’ve got to sprinkle everything in your house.  You can’t just spank your kids when they irritate you.  You don’t spank them off of irritation, you spank them off of principle.  This is sprinkling, spanking, sprinkling, spanking.  I’m sprinkling the blood because everything, whenever that child – doesn’t the Bible say “If you spare the rod, guess what you do, you spoil the child”.  Spoil, contaminate, reproach, scandal, its all the same thing.  You create a child who doesn’t understand authority and doesn’t understand morality, and doesn’t understand ethics and obedience and humility.  You create a child with a bad character and if the child has a bad character it will eventually be a reproach unto that child.  As a matter of fact the Bible says “If you don’t discipline your child that he will be a reproach unto his mother and his father.  Are you getting it?

Father and mother discipline their children.  Aaron disciplines the nation by sprinkling the blood on everything in the tabernacle because your sins contaminated it.  Jesus disciplines us through tests, trials, temptations, struggles, sufferings – you get the idea don’t you?  And the church disciplines those who are in it through the preaching of the Word and the enforcement of Biblical principles when the Word has been disobeyed by publicly and corporately.  Other than that we are coming to a place that is contaminated and what good is it if you come to the tabernacle, Israel, and Aaron hasn’t hallowed the tabernacle, if he hasn’t made it holy and here you are with your sacrifices coming every year and you are coming to a place where God says “I’m not even coming to”. 

Have you ever been in a church where God wasn’t?  Have you ever been in a New Life worship service and you just sense today God ain’t here.  Some of you are saying “That is happening right now”.  Because God only comes in places where hearts are prepared and holy to receive Him, and if we come and we do good time preaching and feel good messages and you are going to get your’s and its on the way – if we do all of that, Sunday after Sunday after Sunday, do you know what we are doing – we are not putting the blood where it ought to be and if you don’t sprinkle the blood where it ought to be it contaminates, and contaminates and contaminates and soon some unbeliever is going to come here and God won’t be here and trust me, when God leaves Ichabod is written over the door[1] – THAT MEANS THE GLORY OF GOD IS DEPARTED (another story altogether), and when the glory of God is departed, hear me carefully – people do dumb stuff.  They make dumb decisions and sin happens inside, and leaders fall, and people get into sin and crazy scandals break out because the glory of God will depart.

I had a guy ask me, he said “Man how is it that these ministers can fall like this, how can they fall.  I mean they are charlatans, they are liars, they ain’t no good, they ain’t no good”.  I say “Oh man, you better be careful.  Be careful what you say.  Think it but don’t say it”  “But they are liars”.  I said “You know, they may be lying now, that doesn’t mean they always started that way.  They could’ve started out great, they could’ve started out sincere and honest and real – yes Real.  But they failed to sprinkle the blood on everything, and soon they started making a little bit of money, and they sprinkled less blood – more lemonade, less blood, more kool aid.  They started sweetening it up, they started making sin less and less, then they started celebrating sin, winking at sin, glossing over sin because anytime you gloss over sin people who are in sin will appreciate that. 

And so the people kept a coming, and they kept a coming, and when the success happens they confuse success with the will of God, and they thought this is the will of God, look at the people who are coming, this is the will of God, and the next thing you know there is no more blood on that branch, its all kool aid and lemonade and sweetness and now we are giving the people what they want and saying what they want, and telling them what they want to hear – are you getting the point?  God at some point says “I can’t go back because the tabernacle is contaminated”, and whenever the tabernacle is contaminated God doesn’t show up, guess who does?  And he tempts, and we’re weak because God isn’t there and we fall, and when we fall the falling is the megaphone of God.  Its God using His megaphone that says “You were once right, get right again.  Clean up the house!”; that’s what He says.  But that’s a big decision to make at this point because to clean up the house it means somebody’s got to die.  Are you getting the point? 

So he says Aaron, listen very carefully, don’t play with this.  Take the hyssop branch, take the blood, take the incense, put it in a bowl, get the coals of fire from the altar out in the outer court, bring it into the Holy of Holies, put the incense in your hand and worship me (make me the center of attention) and whenever I receive the worship take that branch, dip it inside, sprinkle that mercy seat and beg me for my mercy.  My mercy is available and everlasting but don’t be arrogant to think you have earned it.  When you get finished doing that, Aaron put blood on everything.  Put blood on everything, then back out (that’s another passage) of that Holy Place and put blood on everything that you see inside the inner court and then back out and then when you go before the people (that’s another passage), put blood on them.  Walk by them and sprinkle them with blood, splatter them right in the eye.  (laughter) 

As a matter of fact, on the day of Atonement every family had a priest who represented them, and that priest – they would take turns going to the tabernacle and they would have their animals killed, blood drained, and when they got there they would put the animal into the brazen altar, they would take that hyssop branch (which represents one family, or one group of families; a family is a huge thing in Hebrew) – they would take this hyssop branch and that priest would go back to that family or this large group and he would spend the rest of the day sprinkling everybody because that’s how serious it is; are you getting it? 

Atonement, Atonement – I never did tell you what happened to the scapegoat; I’ve got to do that first.  It says in verse 21

 21And 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 into the wilderness:

 22And the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited: and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness.

 23And Aaron shall come into the tabernacle of the congregation, and shall put off the linen garments, which he put on when he went into the holy place, and shall leave them there:

And then it goes on to talk about what Aaron will do.  Here’s what it says.  Remember there were three animals, one bullock (ram for himself; that he would kill for him and his own family, then he would go and sprinkle it; then he would come back and do the exact same thing with the goat the lot of the Lord fell upon; he would kill it and sprinkle everything, and then he would take the scapegoat, and Aaron would come and this is what is so critical – man this is really tough, but Atonement doesn’t happen unless this takes place, he would lean down and he would whisper into the ears of this goat every sin of the people.  That would take a long time if he did it with us, right.  He would say the people have fell into “idolatry, the people have lied, the people have cheated, the people have hated their brother, the people have stolen, the people have forgotten their God, the people have gotten into wickedness and iniquity”.  He would whisper this into the ears of the goat and after he put all the sins into the goat’s ears, he would lay his hands upon the goat (transference) – be careful who you let lay hands on you.  He would lay his hands on the goat and that means the goat and me are identified with each other. 

I am the priest over the people and I transfer the sins of the people over to the goat.  And then he would call a fit man because he’s got to run that goat all the way into the wilderness and when the goat is far enough away from the camp, he would let the goat go.  Do you know what that represents – REMOVING SIN FROM THE CAMP.  Get sin, I’ve got to be very clear about this – get sin out in the open.  I’ve got to tell the goat what you did.  Then we’ve got to get the sin out of the camp.  This is called REPENTANCE.  There is no atonement without repentance.  There is no atonement without a sacrifice.  If we don’t repent, we cannot be atoned for our sins.  People want to come and get saved and they don’t want to repent.  They want to get saved and they don’t want anything to change.  They want to get saved but they want to live the same way they’ve always lived.  And the point is that I need to get your sins off you and onto this scapegoat (who represents Christ, Christ is both the scapegoat and the sacrificial goat), and I’ve got to tell Christ your sins, and then I’ve got to move your sins away from the camp.  You cannot live the way you have lived.  You must change. 

When this is done, when this is done then the people can say our sins have been covered by the blood of Christ and removed from us.  Therefore we have access and reconciliation with God.  When that happens, God looks at the people who have been Atoned and He says “They are justified; I declare them to be right”.  Lets stop there; that’s our lesson for the night.