Superior Sacrifice: Immeasurable Benefits
The sacrifice of Jesus, as a Lamb, is far more superior to the Old Testament sacrifices of the blood of animals. And, we praise and glory in its penal and substitutionary benefits. Yet, there is more that He accomplished for us—particularly, that God now lives in man!
Everyone who repents and accepts Christ’s sacrifice is brought into the HOLY of HOLIES not into the outer court of the tabernacle. Hence, anyone who receives Christ is admitted into Heaven and if he or she were to die immediately after, Heaven will be their eternal home.
The outer court of the tabernacle had a fence made of thick fabric which separated the people and the priests who received their living sacrifices, to kill and present before God on their behalf since, they were not qualified to perform such a task. But, in the New Testament, all who believe in Christ, are commanded to kill their own sacrifice (mortify their flesh – minds) as members of the royal priesthood via Christ’s atonement and to present it as a living sacrifice Rom 12:1-2. What a great privilege! Glory to Immanuel! Matt 1:23. So, teaching that faith in Jesus Christ brings believers first into the outer court, then the holy place and eventually into the holiest place is erroneous and insulting to His sacrifice.
It is inevitably important that we recognize that being a babe in Christ does not indicate inferiority and being mature superiority. Both terms, are an indication of the level of understanding of what God has freely done and is doing in His new found dwelling place in the earth (Man). The word new, points to a new creation as Adam was new when God breathed into him 2 Cor 5:17. The better we understand it, the better we’re empowered and encouraged to expend our lives in worship to God and service to His creation.
In Hebrews 12:18-20, Paul, first clarified the truth that, believers in Christ are not brought into anything similar or close to the inferior experience of the people of old. Then, in Heb 12:22-24, he stated that, believers are brought right into the very presence of God because of the superior sacrifice of the blood of Jesus Christ. This, he said, is a good enough reason to heed God’s voice through the Holy Spirit to live in and for the gospel even with our blood (lives) if need be Heb 12:4.
Believers are in the holy of holies beholding God’s face in the face of Christ our High Priest who serves not at the outer court but in the most holy place 2 Cor 4:6. Therefore, the scriptures tells us, “But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him” (John 4:23, 24). To worship in Spirit and in truth means to worship in the holy of holies!
In the Old Testament, though the levitical priesthood was ordained by God, only the high priest had a foretaste of worshipping in the Spirit (HOLIEST PLACE). The rest of the priests knew nothing about worshipping in the Spirit because a curtain demarcated them from enjoying this glorious privilege! Only the high priest worshipped in spirit though through the law. But, when Christ died, he tore the curtain, replaced the law with the dimension of truth to the worship in the Spirit; hence all believers are to worship only in spirit and in truth (Grace-Christ) not law.
So, firstly, Christ’s sacrifice knocked down the fence holding back the people from even daring to enter the outer court. Secondly, He tore open the curtain that kept those inside the outer court and holy place from entering the most holy place Titus 2:11 NKJV. Thirdly, He replaced the law, brought in the reality (Truth) signified by the show-bread which was only a shadow. The combination of knocking down the fence, opening the curtain and making the showbread (Truth) a mirror in which all within the tabernacle can and must look into and eat, necessitated the statement in 2 Peter 1:3, 1 James 1:23.
The Spirit and Truth resides only in the most holy place but overflows freely to the holy place and the outer court. In the New Testament, God has given saints the privilege to serve Him in the three compartments which, in a sense is one. John 10:9 says, “…….will go in and out and find pasture”. In and out signifies free movement in God (most holy place, holy place and outer court) and in our self (spirit, soul and body). While God dwells in our spirit, He flows to overshadow our minds and work through our bodies. Nevertheless, God’s dwelling place in man is the spirit!
The reason for the movement is to gain pasture (life). For example, we move in the most holy place, holy place and outer court for the following reasons:
Outer Court (Our Body)
In the outer court, we do what can be called bodily exercise e.g., marrying and giving in marriage, buying and selling and we invite unbelievers to embrace the gospel (Jesus Christ) 1 Tim 4:8, Rom 12:1. This is part of the reason spirits (Angles) are not ordained to preach the gospel of Christ but we are! Nevertheless, without our outer court (body) we cannot preach the gospel. This is why preaching the gospel is what we MUST do now while we’re clothed with our mortal bodies and alive in the earth. Preach the gospel now beloved!
Holy Place (Our Mind)
In the holy place we fellowship with believers and that is where, we teach, reproof, correct and participate in training (practical exercise of our gifts) as part of His body which, makes any one a man or woman of God 2 Tim 3:16, 1 Cor 5:3-4, 12:4. The purpose is to be equipped (renewed in our minds) to do every good work which is to say, engage in the will and purposes of God on the earth Rom 12:2.
Holiest Place (Our Spirit)
In the most holy place, we fellowship with the Spirit of God alone in our private Acts 10:9, Matt 6:6. This type of worship will never end even after we are unclothed (sleep) temporarily to be clothed again at the right time with immortality. Truly, all who participate in this type of fellowship with Christ, will eventually be gathered together as one beautiful bride of the raised glorious King of kings and Lord of lords! Amen.
So, in Christ, we are free to engage life in all ramifications — marry and give in marriage, build houses, gain all the academic qualifications we need, go on holidays, eat, drink and enjoy as men with flesh and blood. Also, to make friends and share Christ with unbelievers at home and abroad. We have freedom in Christ to gather for fellowship as often as we choose, use our gifts and minds (the mind of Christ) to serve one another. We have free access and privilege to enter into personal divine communion with the Holy Spirit and Christ our Lord. All of this brings fulfilment to Luke 10:27, Eph 4:13.
When in the holy of holies, we often need to be reminded that there are people outside of the outer court who need to be brought in and that earthly matters need to be attended to. For example, John the Apostle was caught up in the holy of holies (in the Spirit) but, if he did not return to participate in the outer court and holy place, we wouldn’t have had his letters and the encouragement it gives us today. Also, if God didn’t interrupt Peter with the strange dream, Cornelius would have carried on with philanthropic work and zeal without truth (Christ) which, does not make anyone part of Christ’ bride Acts 10:1-48, Eph 2:8, Acts 4:12.
When we’re in the holy place (gathering of believers), we need to remember that the brethren need to be encouraged by the gifts of the spirit in us and not leave it dormant. This is what the ministry gifts—Apostles, Prophets, Teachers, Evangelists, Shepherds and the spiritual gifts was given to believers for in the church 2 Cor 8:4, Eph 4:11-12, 1 Cor 12:7-11.
When in the holiest place, one’s attention is wholly on the Lord. This is the reason the scriptures tell us, “that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ” (1 John 1:3). John the apostle was certainly referring to something beyond their being with Jesus physically. See verse 1, 2, 5 and particularly 6.
True fellowship starts with hearing and seeing — and the place we hear and see is in our spirit which, has been brought into the holiest place by Christ. This is how we arrive at the unity of the faith and the knowledge of Christ. Anyone who is not in Christ can agree with every doctrine but cannot come to the unity of faith (not union of faiths) and knowledge of Christ which is, participation in the light 1John 1:6. Every believer in their private communion participates in the holiest place, making it possible to see and hear from the Spirit through the Truth. Without the Truth, all the teaching and encouragement from the five-fold ministries and the spiritual gifts in the body will not culminate to maturity (true understanding and devotion to God).
The ministries and spiritual gifts in the body serve to enlighten and confirm what the Spirit says to individual believers through the word. This is why the Holy Spirit is the Teacher who speaks to all Christians at all times, everywhere and in every situation. If the ministries and spiritual gifts fail to function or exercise for whatever reasons, the Teacher never, never fails to. For example, when the disciples deserted Jesus, the Holy Spirit was still with Him and when all but the Philippian Church abandoned Paul, for a season or in the many times he was arrested and alone, the Comforter was always with him Deut 31:6, Heb 13:5.
Finally, Before Christ came, God’s people never worshiped together in Spirit and in Truth in the same place (God’s presence). The practice was that one man (the high priest) entered His presence on behalf of the others or the man of God, went up to the mountain (God’s presence) to receive His word for the people.
In all the multitudes of sacrifices made in the Old Testament none sprinkled clean the heart of man. But, the Divine conception, birth, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ did and more than that, it PATICULARLY BROUGHT the unique benefit of the presence of God in Man as never before except when He first created him. The failure to studiously examine the purpose of this aspect of Christ’s achievement for us has led to many wrong doctrines which undermine the riches we have in Christ that help us abide in Him. Sadly, it has shamefully led to a loss of power to live a dimension of live ordained freely for God’s people in this dispensation of grace 2 Cor 4:7.
The weight of the statement in verse 7 of 2 Corinthians chapter 4 can hardly be fully comprehended by any mortal man. Nevertheless, the graciousness of God in giving us His holy word and the Holy Spirit Who lives in us and guides us into an knowledge of His word helps us to understand the revealed mind of God in things pertaining to our salvation. So, each person who is in Christ carries an immeasurable blessing within him or herself and the gathering together of all who are in Christ constitute God’s house on the earth, a bride being adorned for her Husband.
Therefore, there is a ration for you and I to eat in Christ which affects our spirit, mind and body to experience God’s awesome grace that helps us live in and for God beyond our own human capacity and abilities Mark 10:27, Matt 19:10-11, Eph 5:32. May God help us to eat it and enjoy the abundant life Christ has already made available for us John 10:10b, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly”. Amen