The holy of holies was also called the “holy oracle.” It was of this place that God said “There I will meet with you, and I will speak with you from above the mercy seat.” The communications of God proceed from the holy oracle, from the holy of holies. Communion without communication is impossible. We need to enter into the holy oracle to hear our Father’s words, for it is the place from which He speaks. The basis for receiving any revelation from God is the blood of Jesus Christ because it is only by His blood that we are able to enter in.
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.
On the Day of Atonement, blood went on the veil and beyond. The blood of the sin sacrifice was sprinkled on it with a motion that imitated whipping a man. When Jesus gave up the ghost, the veil of the temple was rent from top to bottom. Can you imagine the reaction of the priests? There they are in the holy place going about their daily functions when suddenly—“RIIIIP!!”—this very tall, double-thick veil tears down the middle from top to bottom. And as if that weren’t bad enough, then comes an earthquake to knock them off their feet! There’s not much in life that teaches humility quite like getting knocked down. The veil tore from the top. Grace comes from God to man; only the humble receive it.
Another important facet of the Day of Atonement was that it was called a Sabbath of Sabbaths.
It shall be a sabbath of rest [Hebrew—a Sabbath of sabbatism, a rest of rests] unto you, and ye shall afflict your souls, by a statute for ever.
This emphatic description for a day of rest is only used of the weekly Sabbath, the Sabbath year, and the Day of Atonement. Other holy days were Sabbaths, days of rest; but these were special. They were the Sabbath of Sabbaths.
One wonders how many have used the term “scapegoat” without knowing its true significance. Most have a sense of what it means—a person blamed for the wrongs of another or one chosen for punishment to satisfy a need for public justice even though they haven’t done the wrong. We equate the scapegoat with the “fall guy” or the “whipping boy.” Though these connections resonate with some of the purpose of the scapegoat, they miss much of the richness of what the goat truly represented. Before we look closely at what the term “scapegoat” actually means, let us examine what was placed upon it.
The Cleansing of the People Relieved, Aaron leaves the inner sanctuary, walks through the holy place and hands the vessel …
Abraham Heschel refers to the Day of Atonement as Judaism’s holy of holies in time. This day is the most sacred day of the holy calendar. It occurs on the 10th of Tishri, the first month of the civil year and the seventh month of the ceremonial year. A day of fasting, it stood between the two great feasts of Pentecost and Tabernacles. It was on this day that all the sins, transgressions, and iniquities of the people for the entire year were covered over. It was on this day that the high priest entered the holy of holies with blood on his hands.