Informational By Susan Niswonger / a couple of months ago Share Tweet Pin Share Standing with the congregation around the Outer Court, one could fill the excitement building, it wouldn’t be long now. Today was the Day of Atonement. It was the one day every year when the High Priest would go before the Lord with blood of the sacrifice and the burden of the prior year’s sin would be lifted and pushed ahead until the same time next year. The sacrifice had been made on the Altar, the people had watched as the High Priest carefully washed at the Laver and had entered in the Holy Place. They could hear the tinkling of the bells as the High Priest donned the special garments as specified by Jehovah. Bearing the sacrificial blood, the High Priest stopped in front of the Altar of Incense to pick up the Censer. One more time the High Priest ran through a mental check, had he performed each task according to God’s plan, were any steps overlooked, was the sacrifice unblemished, had he washed properly, were all the garments in place? The awesomeness of the task before him was overwhelming as he stepped behind the Veil bearing the blood and incense into the darkness of the Holy of Holies. Through the cloud of incense, the priest sprinkled the blood on the Mercy Seat. The Holy of Holies was suddenly illuminated as the Glory of God descended to rest on the Mercy Seat. The sacrifice was accepted, God’s mercy had been extended for one more year. I am always amazed at the detailed description of the Tabernacle, its furniture, the priestly duties and the method of sacrifice given to Moses by God. The High Priest could not forget one step or take a short cut as he approached God on the Day of Atonement, but the anticipation of standing in the Presence of God overshadowed the tedious preciseness of the preparation. The priest could not offer the sacrifice and bypass the Laver, for the sacrifice was not the goal. After washing, he could not return home, for washing at the Laver was not the goal. He couldn’t take a bite of the show bread, light a candle, and meditate at the Altar of Incense because what he needed was behind the Veil in the Holy of Holies. He had to get to the Mercy Seat and witness the Presence and Glory of God; he had to enter the Holy of Holies. Christianity has so many beliefs and interpretations of how to approach God that we have lost sight of the goal, entering into the Holy of Holies. We debate at the Altar of Sacrifice, should the sacrifice be laid out in this fashion and what exactly must be included, does the sacrifice have to be totally dead and is fire really that important? Without slaying the sacrifice on the Altar there was no blood and the High Priest could not enter the Holy of Holies without blood. Next the Laver blocks our path. Can we just sprinkle a little of the water on our hands to rinse off the blood, why can’t I just perform the ceremony my way, but unless the Priest was thoroughly cleansed according to God’s plan, he would die at the entrance of the Holy of Holies and never experience the Glory of God. Finally, we come to the Holy Place and experience the light of truth, feast upon the Bread of Life and offer our praise as a sweet smelling savor unto the Lord. Why would you want to stop now, the Veil has been torn, the Mercy Seat is within reach, the Glory of God is about to descend, you can step into the Holy of Holies. If every Christian would let go of personal theologies, their beliefs that some things were only given to the Apostles, the thoughts that once again God is hidden behind a veil or that His fullness is only available for a select group of people and long to step into the Holy of Holies, the power and glory of God would once again manifest itself on the Mercy Seat. I am tired of debate, religious exclusivity, and settling for less than all of God. I just want to enter the Holy of Holies.