Jesus is not only the Lamb who dies for us, but He is also the High Priest who lives for us. What does a priest do? He "is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices" (Hebrews 8:3).
Cannot I present my own gifts? No, a sinner cannot approach God directly. "Your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear" (Isaiah 59:2). We have seen that sin can be atoned for and man brought back to God only by shedding the blood of an innocent substitute. But shed blood is not enough. It must be presented in the sanctuary. Yet the sinner cannot do this. Someone must act for him (see Hebrews 5:1).
The priest speaks to God for men. Jesus returned to heaven "to appear in the presence of God for us" (Hebrews 9:24).
The priests who ministered in the earthly tabernacle served as "the example and shadow of heavenly things" (Hebrews 8:5). As we observe their movements, we understand Christ's ministry in heaven.
In case of transgression by the whole congregation, the elders brought a young bullock to the altar in the court. As they laid their hands upon the bullock's head, the sin was transferred in type from the people to the substitute. Then the bullock must be slain, but the work had just begun. Notice carefully the next step: "The priest that is anointed shall bring of the bullock's blood to the tabernacle of the congregation: and the priest shall dip his finger in some of the blood, and sprinkle it seven times before the Lord, even before the veil. And he shall put some of the blood upon the horns of the altar which is before the Lord" (Leviticus 4:16-18).
The shedding of the substitute's blood, the sprinkling of that blood before the inner veil and on the horns of the golden altar provided forgiveness. When God forgives sin, He covers it with blood. Jesus' blood represents His perfect life, and the shed blood shows the life poured out in sacrifice. In the sprinkled blood we can see the forgiveness of sin provided by a Savior who laid down His life for us. Thus when the Father looks at you and me, He does not see the filthy garments of our own righteousness, but instead, the life of Jesus (see Isaiah 64:6).
In the great plan of salvation, Jesus our Substitute died for us, bearing our sins. The Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all" (Isaiah 53:6). He "bare our sins in his own body on the tree" (1 Peter 2:24). But Jesus is not only our Lamb, He is also our High Priest.
On the cross He died for us. In the sanctuary He lives for us. "But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands; neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us" (Hebrews 9:11, 12).
Behold the Lamb of God, that taketh
away the sin of the world.
We see Jesus on Calvary dying for us with our sins on Him. Then we see Him rising from the dead and going to heaven as our High Priest. By His own blood He enters the temple of God there to cover our iniquities with His blood. Thus He transfers our sins from us to the sanctuary, from earth to heaven. "As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us" (Psalm 103:12).
Have you confessed your sins and let Jesus transfer them to the sanctuary in heaven? Either they remain with you, here on the earth, or through Jesus' blood, God has transferred them to the heavenly sanctuary.
Guilt, fear, worry, and concern over sin are destroying people. Millions suffer from ulcers, heart attacks, and nervous breakdowns. If the burden of guilt presses down on your soul, bring your sin to the sanctuary and put it on the Lamb of God. Confess it. Give it to Him. Let Him be your Sin Bearer. Let His death take the place of your death.
The only way sin can get into the sanctuary is for the priest to take it there, but Jesus can't take your sin unless you give it to Him. He will not grab it from you. If He puts it into the sanctuary and covers it with His blood, it will be because of your free choice to confess that sin to Him. Then you will know personally that your sin has been transferred, in fact, to the heavenly sanctuary. "Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered" (Psalm 32:1).
Another wonderful lesson concerning the transfer of sin appears in Leviticus 4:27-35. Here God made provision for bringing a goat or a lamb when one of the common people had transgressed. After the sin had been transferred to the animal by confession, the substitute was slain, and the priest dipped his finger in the blood and dabbed it upon the horns of the altar of burnt offering. The promise of forgiveness applied in this case just as when the priest sprinkled the blood in the holy place: "The priest shall make an atonement for his sin that he hath committed, and it shall be forgiven him" (Leviticus 4:35).
How did this sin get into the sanctuary? When the priest did not sprinkle the blood in the holy place, he ate a portion of the sacrifice (see Leviticus 6:25, 26). Concerning this, Moses told the priests, "God hath given it to you to bear the iniquity of the congregation, to make atonement for them before the Lord" (Leviticus 10:17, 18).
Similarly, Christ bears our sins in His own bodyŚnot only on Calvary but in the heavenly sanctuary. He was "once offered to bear the sins of many" (Hebrews 9:28). On the cross, He bore our sins as the Dying Lamb. In the sanctuary, He bears them as the Living Priest.