The Day of Atonement was a Sabbath of Sabbaths. As our Jubilee trumpeter, the Lord bids us to rest in Him. When God’s work was done at the close of the sixth day, He rested from all His work. When Christ’s work of redemption was done, He sat at the right hand of God. He rested in His accomplished work.
12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;
13 From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.
He isn’t threatened by the devil! He’s not worried about fallen angels or demons! He’s not concerned that wicked men might win the war! He expects them to be under His feet! What should be our attitude toward the enemy? Far too often we envision him standing in opposition to the moves of God. How frequently do we see him as a piece of furniture placed for the pleasure of our Lord’s feet? The Master expects His enemies to be trodden underfoot. To whom did He give the marching orders to stomp old split-foot into the ground?
Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.
And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.
We’ve been given the marching orders to pound the serpent into the dust. This we can do because of what He imparted to us through the blood shed on the cross. In our own strength we couldn’t even overcome temptation, let alone the devil. This is why we need to cease from our own works and rest in His accomplishment.
9 There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.
10 For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.
11 Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.
The holy of holies in the tabernacle measured 10 cubits x 10 cubits x 10 cubits. That’s 1,000 cubits cubed. The Ark of the Covenant, the throne of God, sat on the earth. This was representative of the 1,000 year reign of Christ on earth, the Millennial Kingdom. It was only on the Day of Atonement that the high priest could actually come into the place where God’s throne rested on earth. He entered in by the blood. He had afflicted himself, he had denied himself, he had humbled himself to be able to get into that place with the blood. But without the blood, all the humbling and denying would have been for naught. Principally and ultimately, it’s the blood that grants access.
The rest that remains for God’s people is in the holy of holies of earthly time: the Millennial Kingdom. For 1,000 years, Jesus will rule the planet from His throne in Jerusalem—not in heaven but on earth. Imagine the restful peace of abiding under the exercised government of a perfect ruler in a devil-free world! But to enter into this rest, we must cease from our own works. That means we must choose God’s works over our own wants. We must choose God’s doings over our own desires. We must afflict our souls, deny our flesh, and bathe our spirits in the blood.
If I truly want to enter into that rest, I must decide that what God wants me to do is more important than what I want to do. And then I have to accomplish His assignment with the strength He gives me. If I try to do it in my own strength, I am not ceasing from my own works. I’m simply producing something out of the flesh, which is bound up with iniquity. It’s going to miss the mark. And if I keep going, I’ll eventually transgress against the will of God. If I work in the flesh, I’m doomed to failure; I’ll not bear the fruit of the Spirit because my flesh is warped. If you have ever tried to throw a warped spear or shoot a warped arrow, you know what happens— you are going to miss the mark. If I try to work it in my flesh, I am going to miss the mark and sin. And then, if I become aware of my sin and choose to go on that crooked path anyway, I become a transgressor. This is why I have to cease from my own works to get into this place of rest with God. I must go through His works, His blood, His Spirit, His atonement; not mine. I can’t enter in by my works. Salvation is by grace. But I must labor in that grace to enter into His rest. We are to labor through His Spirit. We are to labor through His strength, for when we are weak, He is strong.
12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
13 Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.
14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.
The word of God mentioned in verse 12 isn’t your Bible—it’s the Living Word. This is why verse 13 says that nothing is hidden from “His sight.” He’ll speak to us through the Bible, but He is the Living and Powerful Word of God that is sharper than any double-edged sword. And because He is such a great high priest, we are to hold fast our profession. The Greek word translated “profession” is homologia which comes from homologeo which means “to speak the same thing.” As we shall see, we are to confess “the same thing” that faith declares.
15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
He knows what it’s like to be tempted; He knows the feeling of fleshly desires dragging one toward sin. But He never succumbed. Not only can He commiserate with us, He can cause us to conquer because He was victorious over sin—all sin. This is why we can come to the throne of grace. But what is it we obtain there first? Mercy—God’s rightful judgment withheld. I don’t know about you, but it is usually the need for mercy that drives me to His throne. It is in the times when I have missed the mark, or God forbid, transgressed. And it is there that I encounter the merciful shower of His blood. And once mercy is obtained, grace is found. And though it is wonderful to know that we can be forgiven, more and more we need to strive not just to cease from our own works, but to cease from sin altogether.
1 Peter 4:1
Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin…
Frying the flesh finishes sin, but putting our flesh through the fire of self-denial and discipline hurts. That is why it’s called suffering. We don’t have to wait for someone to torture us for our faith to suffer for Jesus. We can beat ourselves up! We can afflict our souls and humble ourselves. And then God can lift us up, for God gives grace to the humble.
There are numerous accounts in the Old Testament of wicked kings who filled the streets with innocent blood. And God would say, “I’m done with him. I’m going to destroy his kingdom. I’m going to drag him through the thorn fields on his way to captivity. I’m going to give his blood to the dogs for drink. You go tell him he’s dead meat.” And the prophet goes and gives the king the message from the Lord. Hearing of his impending doom, the king says, “Oh, no!” He quickly finds some sackcloth and puts it on, dumps some ashes on his head and says, “I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.” And God says, “Look at that! He’s humbled himself. Go tell him he can stay.” His amazing grace is only outdone by His astounding mercy! And we have the blood of Jesus Christ and dare to walk around in condemnation. “Oh, I’m so wicked! I can’t do that for God because I’ve been so horrible! I can’t look at Him, I’ve been too terrible.” What a shame! We’ve been set free of our iniquities, sins, and transgressions by the blood of Jesus Christ for the purpose of going into the holy of holies. Let us humbly receive grace from His throne.