Read verses 2-10
Q: To what part of the tabernacle is verse 2 referring?
A: Verse 2 is referring to the most restricted place in the tabernacle, the Holy of Holies. The tabernacle itself enclosed a courtyard with the laver for washing and the altar for offerings. An inner set of curtains enclosed “the holy place” in which there were three items: the golden candlestick, the table of showbread and the altar of incense. Behind the altar of incense was a thick veil that separated off a small area called the Holy of Holies. Inside the Holy of Holies was the ark of the covenant, upon which rested the mercy seat and the cherubim. God’s presence rested on the mercy seat.
Q: Why do you think God called the covering on the ark “the mercy seat” if the penalty for unauthorized entry into the Holy of Holies was so severe?
A: Because the attribute of God’s mercy does not mean the absence of His holiness. Sin is a deadly serious matter to God, for it is what separates man from God. Therefore, sin is an issue that man must acknowledge about himself and reckon with. The mercy seat represented where sins were acknowledged and forgiven, not ignored and appeased.
Q: In verse 3, in what order are Aaron’s offerings made, and why?
A: The sin offering is made first, then the burnt, or trespass offering. The sin offering is made first because it acknowledges that mankind is by nature sinful. The burnt offering acknowledges his willful sins.
Q: In verse 4, is there a difference in how Aaron is dressed as opposed to the description in Exodus 39?
A: Very much so. The extremely ornate, formal priestly garments described in Exodus 39 are not worn on this occasion. Instead, the garments, though still remaining holy, are common dress.
Q: How does Aaron’s garments in verse 4 represent the person of Jesus Christ?
A: Christ was the Holy One “dressed” as a common man.
Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
— Philippians 2:5-8
- When you come before God in worship or prayer, what is the proper attitude to take?
- Why is it so easy to forget that when we come before God, we are coming into His holy presence?
Q: Why are two goats brought for a sin offering?
A: One would be sacrificed, the other would be set free. Which goat was set free was determined by casting lots.
Q: In verse 6, what is significant about Aaron making an offering “for himself”?
A: In order to make a worthy offering, Aaron must himself be made clean, for to enter into the Holy of Holies with sin or guilt would result in immediate death.
Q: Based upon what you know about Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross, how does He fulfill the various aspects of this sacrifice?
A: Christ Himself represents (1) the High Priest making the sacrifice, a common man without sin; (2) the sacrifice itself (the goat and the ram whose blood is shed for a sacrifice for sins); and (3) a scapegoat for which the sins are removed from the camp (mankind). (For further description of how Christ fulfills these roles, read Hebrews 9:1-10:10.)
Application: How does the picture of the High Priest entering into the Holy of Holies affect your view of the person of Jesus Christ?