Sabbath, October 27, 2012
“Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord.” Leviticus 23:27.
The day of atonement
1. Into what part of the sanctuary did the high priest go once a year to perform the special cleansing service?
Leviticus 16:2 And the Lord said unto Moses, Speak unto Aaron thy brother, that he come not at all times into the holy place within the veil before the mercy seat, which is upon the ark; that he die not: for I will appear in the cloud upon the mercy seat
Hebrews 9:3 And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all.
“Once a year, on the great Day of Atonement, the priest entered the most holy place for the cleansing of the sanctuary. The work there performed completed the yearly round of ministration.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 355.
“Jesus stands in the holy of holies, now to appear in the presence of God for us. There He ceases not to present His people moment by moment, complete in Himself. But because we are thus represented before the Father, we are not to imagine that we are to presume upon His mercy, and become careless, indifferent, and self-indulgent. Christ is not the minister of sin. We are complete in Him, accepted in the Beloved, only as we abide in Him by faith.” –(The Signs of the Times, July 4, 1892) Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 933.
2. What was special about the mercy seat? What revelation was given there?
Exodus 25:22 And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubims which are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel.
Numbers 7:89 And when Moses was gone into the tabernacle of the congregation to speak with him, then he heard the voice of one speaking unto him from off the mercy seat that was upon the ark of testimony, from between the two cherubims: and he spake unto him.
“This ark was considered the glory and strength of Israel. The token of the Divine Presence abode upon it day and night.” –The Story of Redemption, p. 183.
“In the tabernacle and the temple His glory dwelt in the holy Shekinah above the mercy seat. In their behalf He constantly manifested the riches of His love and patience.” –Prophets and Kings, p. 18.
“There Jehovah had revealed His presence in the cloud of glory above the mercy seat. There rested the base of that mystic ladder connecting earth with heaven (Genesis 28:12; John 1:51)–that ladder upon which angels of God descended and ascended, and which opened to the world the way into the holiest of all.” –The Great Controversy, p. 18.
“When the high priest entered within the most holy, once a year, and ministered before the ark in the awful presence of God, he inquired, and God often answered him with an audible voice. When the Lord did not answer by a voice, He let the sacred beams of light and glory rest upon the cherubim upon the right of the ark, in approbation, or favor. If their requests were refused, a cloud rested upon the cherubim at the left.” –The Story of Redemption, p. 184.
3. While the high priest was performing the special service in the most holy place on the day of atonement, what were the people doing?
Leviticus 16:29 And this shall be a statute for ever unto you: that in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, ye shall afflict your souls, and do no work at all, whether it be one of your own country, or a stranger that sojourneth among you.
Leviticus 16:31 It shall be a sabbath of rest unto you, and ye shall afflict your souls, by a statute for ever.
Leviticus 23:27-31 Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord. And ye shall do no work in that same day: for it is a day of atonement, to make an atonement for you before the Lord your God. For whatsoever soul it be that shall not be afflicted in that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people. And whatsoever soul it be that doeth any work in that same day, the same soul will I destroy from among his people. Ye shall do no manner of work: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.
“The whole ceremony was designed to impress the Israelites with the holiness of God and His abhorrence of sin; and, further, to show them that they could not come in contact with sin without becoming polluted. Every man was required to afflict his soul while this work of atonement was going forward. All business was to be laid aside, and the whole congregation of Israel were to spend the day in solemn humiliation before God, with prayer, fasting, and deep searching of heart.” –The Great Controversy, pp. 419, 420.
The most holy place
4. Consider the prophecy concerning the 2,300 days and the cleansing of the sanctuary, the day of atonement, and Christ’s entering the heavenly most holy place in the light of Revelation 11:19.
Revelation 11:19 And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.
“As foretold in the Scriptures, the ministration of Christ in the most holy place began at the termination of the prophetic days in 1844. To this time apply the words of the Revelator, ‘The temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in His temple the ark of His testament.’ Revelation 11:19. The ark of God’s testament is in the second apartment of the sanctuary. As Christ entered there, to minister in the sinner’s behalf, the inner temple was opened, and the ark of God was brought to view. To those who by faith beheld the Saviour in His work of intercession, God’s majesty and power were revealed. As the train of His glory filled the temple, light from the holy of holies was shed upon His waiting people on the earth.” –The Story of Redemption, p. 379.
5. What separated the two compartments of the sanctuary, and what was located in the most holy place?
Exodus 26:33 And thou shalt hang up the veil under the clasps, and shalt bring in thither within the veil the ark of the testimony: and the veil shall separate unto you between the holy place and the most holy.
2 Chronicles 5:7 And the priests brought in the ark of the covenant of the Lord unto his place, to the oracle of the house, into the most holy place, even under the wings of the cherubims.
“Beyond the inner veil was the holy of holies, where centered the symbolic service of atonement and intercession, and which formed the connecting link between heaven and earth. In this apartment was the ark, a chest of acacia wood, overlaid within and without with gold, and having a crown of gold about the top. It was made as a depository for the tables of stone, upon which God Himself had inscribed the Ten Commandments. Hence it was called the ark of God’s testament, or the ark of the covenant, since the Ten Commandments were the basis of the covenant made between God and Israel.
“The cover of the sacred chest was called the mercy seat. This was wrought of one solid piece of gold, and was surmounted by golden cherubim, one standing on each end. One wing of each angel was stretched forth on high, while the other was folded over the body (see Ezekiel 1:11) in token of reverence and humility. The position of the cherubim, with their faces turned toward each other, and looking reverently downward toward the ark, represented the reverence with which the heavenly host regard the law of God and their interest in the plan of redemption.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 348, 349.
The blood of Christ
6. In the services of the earthly sanctuary, what did the high priest take with him when he entered the most holy place?
Hebrews 9:7 But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people.
“He entered the most holy place on the Day of Atonement, ‘not without blood,’ as a mediator for all Israel.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 426.
“The cleansing, both in the typical and in the real service, must be accomplished with blood: in the former, with the blood of animals; in the latter, with the blood of Christ.” – The Great Controversy, pp, 417, 418.
7. How were the people of Israel cleansed from all impurity on the day of atonement? Of what were those sacrifices a symbol?
Hebrews 9:13 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.
Leviticus 16:15, 16 Then shall he kill the goat of the sin offering, that is for the people, and bring his blood within the veil, 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.
“Important truths concerning the atonement were taught the people by this yearly service. In the sin offerings presented during the year, a substitute had been accepted in the sinner’s stead; but the blood of the victim had not made full atonement for the sin. It had only provided a means by which the sin was transferred to the sanctuary. By the offering of blood, the sinner acknowledged the authority of the law, confessed the guilt of his transgression, and expressed his faith in Him who was to take away the sin of the world; but he was not entirely released from the condemnation of the law. On the Day of Atonement the high priest, having taken an offering for the congregation, went into the most holy place with the blood and sprinkled it upon the mercy seat, above the tables of the law. Thus the claims of the law, which demanded the life of the sinner, were satisfied.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 355, 356.
“In the sacrificial offering, offered by the Jews, was seen a symbol of Christ, whose blood was to be shed for the salvation of the world. In the sacrificial system the truth of the atonement was to be impressed upon the world, that all might know that without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins.” –The Signs of the Times, August 28, 1893.
For review and meditation
• When did the antitypical day of atonement begin?
• What attitude should the people who live in the time of the atonement have?
• Consider what the blood of Christ enables His people to do.