The Word for today:
Leviticus 21, 22
The Tabernacle was divided into three sections.
There was a large outer court, then a smaller enclosed area that included two sections. These two sections were known as the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place, respectively:
In the outer court were the altar of burnt offering and the laver (a basin of water for ceremonial washing.)
In the Holy Place were a table with bread, an altar with incense, and a golden lamp stand.
A few days ago, we wrote about the word alone. On the Day of Atonement, some of the priests accompanied the high priest into the Holy Place. They performed their ceremonial duties in the light that shone from the lamp stand:
Now when these things had been thus prepared, the priests always went into the Holy Place, performing the services. (Hebrews 9:6)
But that was as far as any of the priests could go, except for one:
But into the Most Holy Place the high priest went alone once a year, not without blood, which he offered for himself and for the people’s sins. (Hebrews 9:7)
That one—the high priest—went beyond a thick curtain into the Most Holy Place (also known as the Holy of Holies.) No one else could enter there; no one ever witnessed the high priest’s work. The light from the lamp stand could not penetrate the veil.
When Jesus the High Priest offered himself as sacrifice, his time on the altar was in two stages. For the first three hours, he suffered the wrath of man.
But then Jesus entered, alone, into another compartment of time, behind a veil of darkness:
From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land. (Matthew 27:45)
During those three hours, Jesus suffered the wrath of God in the cosmic Holy of Holies (of which the Tabernacle was but a shadow).
And no one except the Father and the Son witnessed his work. Even scripture leaves no record of their transaction.
The Holy Spirit, it seems, has it permanently sealed. More than that, I believe the Holy Spirit is the seal of the record. We would have to break the bonds of Trinity to be able to see into that darkness.
We talk about the cross, we make movies of the cross, we wax poetic and rhapsodic about the cross.
As if we were there.
We Christians are supposed to tell the truth. So here it is: we know a few things about the ultimate Day of Atonement. But about that Day’s ultimate hours, we know nothing.
Father forgive us for speaking so glibly about things we know not of.