DEAR BROTHER—I send you a few thoughts on the tabernacle and the work of the high priest. I presume all admit that the tabernacle that God commanded Moses to build was a "figure" or "pattern" of, and was designed to teach us the way into the "true tabernacle which the Lord pitched, and not man" (Heb. 8:2); also that the office and work of the high priest prefigured the office and work of Christ; and that the high priest making atonement with the blood (life) of the victim, carrying it into the most holy, "within the vail," and applying it to all that needed to be cleansed, foreshadowed the atonement by and application of the blood (life of Christ). Therefore, the study of the movements of the high priest in his official duties is one of great interest to us who are hopefully awaiting the blessing of Him who hath entered within the vail for us.
The 16th of Leviticus gives a pen picture of the official scene. The high priest was to be attired with linen coat, breeches, girdle and mitre. "These are holy garments" (verse 10). He was to "wash his flesh with water and so put them on." [Thus clothed with "holy" garments—or righteousness—("The fine linen is the righteousness of saints, i.e., holy ones. Rev. 19:8)—he was prepared to offer acceptable sacrifice.]
"And Aaron shall bring the bullock of the sin-offering, which is for himself, and shall make an atonement for himself and for his house"—"whose house are ye?" (verse 11 and Heb. 3:6). This offering of the bullock, in its antitype in the body of Jesus, which was prepared for sacrifice (Heb. 10:5) was certainly for the church, the body of Christ. The shed blood (i.e., the evidence of the completeness of the sacrifice) was carried within the vail by the high priest, and atonement made. When that work was done he came out—"his house" being typically cleansed. "THEN shall he kill the goat of the sin-offering that is for the people [type of the world, as the house of Aaron is a type of the church], and bring his blood within the vail, and do with that blood as he did with the blood of the bullock" (verse 15).
The point to which I would call especial attention is, the going in and coming out of the high priest. If the first going in, with the blood of the bullock, was for the "church of the first born," and, like the paschal lamb, affected only them, as seems clear, then the blood of the goat, which was not for the priesthood, but for the people, would not be applied until its blood had been carried in and sprinkled, and the high priest would again come out. It will be seen that the law teaches that the high priest goes in and comes out twice.
As the bullock represented Jesus, the Head of the church, does not the goat represent the church? As the goat followed the bullock in the sacrifice, does not the church follow her Head? Do not we "fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ?" (Col. 1:24.) The Head suffered first, and the body through the Gospel age, under the control of the Spirit, as Christ in us, presenting "our bodies a living sacrifice." (Rom. 8:13 and 12:1.) If we suffer with Him, we shall be glorified with Him, and so reign with Him. (Rom. 8:17 and 2 Tim. 2:12.)
Is not then our suffering as necessary in order that we with Him may become the Kings and Priests of the world, in order to their salvation, as was His suffering necessary in order that He might be our Saviour?—it being God's purpose to bless the world, "the people," or the nations, through the Seed, Head and Body, made perfect through sufferings.
The thought, then, is, that as the bullock slain represented the sacrifice of the flesh-life of Jesus, which secured to Him the right and power to shed forth His Spirit—as the power of Eternal life—on the church, so the slain goat represented the sacrifice of the flesh-life of the church, which secures to her the right and power, as the Bride of Christ, to apply her spiritual power for the benefit of the people. Then it is certainly a fact that the high priest must come out and take this goat-blood (the evidence of the completeness of the sacrifice) within the vail, before it will affect the world. And will not Christ fulfill this when He gathers the saints to Himself and presents them before the Father? Christ coming for His saints and our gathering together unto Him is certainly the "coming as a thief," but not the appearing with Him in glory, which must be a later event. This later event seems to be the fulfillment of Zech. 14:5 and of the prophecy that "every eye shall see Him." (Rev. 1:7.)
If the above conclusions are correct it follows that the high priest's coming out after making the atonement for "the people" by sprinkling the goat's blood, is a type of the open manifestations then due—the saints being already with Him. Now we desire to fasten this one point, that the high priest did not change his clothes nor wash his flesh at the coming out from the work of atonement "for his house," but after the sprinkling of the goat's blood, on coming out the second time.
It then follows that the visible or open appearance of Christ is not due now, that is when He comes for His saints. And one thing more is equally true that the washing of the flesh is not due until the change of garments, and therefore cannot be fulfilled on the saints, unless they need washing after they have been beyond the vail. Some are certainly locating this washing at the wrong time according to the law. May we be fully prepared for every event in God's order, by the sanctifying influences of the word.
We are glad to hear from you and furthermore we are glad that our views regarding the teachings of the word on this important subject are so much in harmony. Our views on this subject as expressed in previous papers, are almost identical with those you herein express; the only point of difference perhaps being that you (seemingly) expect a manifestation of the great High Priest (Christ Jesus the head and his body, the church) in glory visible to the natural sight of humanity, while in my view of the matter, "the world seeth him no more" with the natural eye, but will see or recognize his presence and reign by the eyes of their understandings being opened by the judgments of the "day of the Lord." Then they all shall see him and us by the light of those judgments as we now see him by the light of His Word—our Lamp.
We agree fully that the washing and change of garments from those of sacrifice—the linen—to those of executive office of—"glory and beauty," takes place after we have been changed and been presented in the Father's presence as His Bride or body. The significance of the washing and change to our mind is, that when he begins to reveal himself to those in the "court" (believers—not accounted worthy of translation—and to be a part of the Bride) they will be able to recognize the Christ as changed and then invested with Glory, Honor and Immortality—they will realize him as the one whose blessing is to be desired. Afterward (Lev. 9) he goes forward to the gate and there blesses, all the people (the world at large,—unbelievers) all of whom while he blesses (the work of the Millennial Age) will come to recognize Him as the one altogether lovely; in whom all their hopes centre and upon whom all the covenants and promises of God (the Ephods) depend.
If we but keep closely in sight the intimate relationship and close resemblance between the bullock and the Lord's goat, it should continually stir us up to see that we are being crucified with Him if we would reign with Him, the "Scapegoat," evidently representing [R246 : page 5] that part of the church who shall be delivered afterward. After "the body" is complete He shall "deliver those who through fear of death (crucifixion of pride and self, etc.,) were all their lifetime subject to bondage"—Let us not be of this class, but as the Lord's goat—"Let us go to him without the camp (nominal church) bearing the reproach with him."—[EDITOR.]