- Getting to Know the Father -
TAKE ME INTO THE HOLY OF HOLIES
By Pastor Max Solbrekken, D.D.
“Jesus said unto him, I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life: no man cometh unto the Father but by Me.” (John 4: 6); “For through Him (Christ) we both (Jews and Greeks - all believers) have access by one Spirit (Holy Spirit) unto the Father.” (Eph. 2: 18)
About 30 years ago, Rev. Harald Bredesen, the preacher who had been influential in praying with Pat Boone and Pat Robertson to receive the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, was ministering in our church. During his message, he made a comment that caused me to pray earnestly for more truth on the subject! This message is the outgrowth of that nugget of truth he planted in my spirit so long ago!
He said: “It's easy to get to know Jesus, but it is not so easy to get to know the Father.” I was raised in the Pietist branch of the Evangelical Lutheran Church where most of our attention was placed on Jesus. And rightly so! I realized, however, that what Bredesen said made a lot of sense. It's easy to get to know Jesus, because He is the world's only Saviour and without Him there would be no hope for fallen man!
Jesus stated: “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost”. (Luke 19: 10). St. Paul said: “… Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners.” (1 Tim.1:15); “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom. 5: 8); And our Lord was called, “a friend of sinners.” (Matt. 11: 19).
The Bible says: “…whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Acts 2: 21); “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in thine that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” (Rom. 10: 9, 10)
Our Saviour stated: “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you…I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of My Father, I have made known unto you.” (John 15: 13–15)
GOD’S LOVE MANIFESTED THROUGH JESUS!
The Bible says: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3: 16).
Almighty God loves sinners, but it is evident that He could not show His love toward us without Jesus bearing our guilt, as our substitute! Our sin was too great to overlook. It had to be dealt with, before God could take us in His arms and love us as His children! He was unable to have a Father / Son relationship with us, until our sins were laid upon His Son – the Lamb of God – and judgment meted out!
God the Son, was “made flesh” through the incarnation, so that He could suffer, bleed and die in our place! God the Father had to turn His back upon His Son as He hung on Calvary’s cross, while our sins were being divinely judged. The Bible says: “For He (God) hath made Him (Jesus) to be sin for us, Who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Cor. 5: 21).
What is often missed is the marvellous truth that although the Father had to judge His Son, the blessed Holy Spirit did not leave, but was “in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself” (2 Cor. 5: 19) during that horrible time of judgment!
Shortly before His death, Jesus said to His disciples: “Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, and every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me.” (John 16: 32).
This gives us great assurance, knowing that since the Holy Spirit did not forsake our Lord Jesus during that awful time when He was judged as our substitute, neither will He leave us during our times of trials and death!
THE GREAT MYSTERY OF THE GODHEAD!
The Bible gives us a glimpse into the ‘great mystery’ of the Godhead, which we as mortals will never fully understand. Jesus stated: “Yet a little while, and the world seeth Me no more; but ye see Me: because I live, ye shall live also. At that day ye shall know that I am in the Father, and ye in Me, and I in you….If a man love Me, he will keep My words: and My Father will love Him, and WE will come unto Him, and make OUR abode with Him.” (John 14: 20, 23)
St. Paul confirmed: “To wit (that is to say), that God (Holy Spirit) was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.” (2 Cor. 5:19).
Sometimes, preachers who are unlearned in the Scriptures teach false doctrines, because they have studied ancient heresies that look good on the outset but are spurious at the root. One such teaching is the ‘Born Again Jesus Doctrine’: Jesus dying spiritually and needing to be born again in hell!
When Jesus died, His spirit went directly to “Abraham's Bosom”, which was the part of HADES reserved for the righteous dead. When our Saviour arose from the dead, He brought with Him those who had been held there. (Luke 16: 19-20; Luke 23: 43; Eph. 4: 8-10)
The truth is that Satan has never been in Hell, is not presently in Hell, but will be consigned to Hell after the Millennial Reign of Christ. (Rev. 20: 1-10). The EVIL ONE is the “Prince of the power of the air” and the “god of this world.” (Eph.2: 2; 2 Cor. 4: 3-5). The King James Version has incorrectly used the word 'hell' in several places where the correct word should be 'hades'.
Martin Luther pondered deeply about “God forsaking God’? The Father judging His Son in our place, and the Holy Spirit within Jesus reconciling the world unto God, solves that dilemma!
Isaiah prophesied 700 years before the birth of the Christ Child: “Surely He hath borne our sicknesses (makob) and carried our pains (nasa): yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God and afflicted.
“But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
“He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth. He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He opened not his mouth. Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise (crush) Him; He hath put Him to grief.” (Is. 53: 3 -7, 10)
The Lord spoke to Moses to appoint three cities on each sides of the Jordan as ‘Cities of Refuge’ where someone who had committed manslaughter, could flee to and be protected from the avenger of blood. (Num. 35: 9–15)
The Bible says: “That the slayer that killeth any person unawares accidentally and unintentionally may flee thither; and they shall be your refuge from the avenger of blood. And when he that doth flee unto one of those cities shall stand at the entering of the gate of the city, and shall declare his cause in the ears of the elders of that city, they shall take him up unto them, and give him a place, that he may dwell among them.
“And if the avenger of blood pursue after him, then shall they not deliver the slayer up into his hand; because he smote his neighbour unintentionally, and hated him not before time: And he shall dwell in that city, until he stand before the congregation for judgment, and until the death of the high priest that shall be in those days: then shall the slayer return, and come unto his own city, and unto his own house, unto the city from whence he fled.” (Josh. 20:3-6)
CITIES OF REFUGE POINT TO JESUS CHRIST!
Here are some lessons we learn from this event:
No. 1 - God extends His mercy in fairness to all people, with easy access to a place of refuge! Jesus died for the sins of the entire world. (John 3: 16).
No. 2 - He did not hold anyone directly responsible for unintentional, accidental happenings. (Rom. 3:23). Manslaughter is different than pre-meditated murder. If it was murder, the avenger would kill the slayer (v.19).
No. 3 - The slayer could not leave that city or he was fair game for the avenger of blood! Jesus is our Refuge. For eternal safety, we must stay in Christ–we must not leave Him! Anyone who rejects Jesus Christ as Saviour is already condemned. (John 3:18; 1 John 5:10).
No. 4 - When the High Priest died, the slayer was free to leave. When Jesus Who is our High Priest, died and rose again, we were liberated and made righteous through His shed blood and resurrection! No. 5 - The Hebrew names of these cities all point to Jesus the Saviour of the world!
Here are the names and their meanings: Kedesh – sanctuary; Shechem – shoulder; Hebron – friendship; Bezer –fortress; Ramoth –high places; Golan –Joy. Jesus Christ is the sanctuary into which we run. He is the shoulder carrying our burdens. He is the friend that sticks closer than a brother. He is the Captain of our salvation, Who fights our battles. He is our high places where we sit with Him above the filth of this world, and He is our great Joy!
Although God loves us all and “makes His sun to rise on the evil and as on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust”, He cannot condone our sins and His wrath is against us! We were as guilty as the slayer who was fleeing to the City of Refuge to be given sanctuary. (Col. 1: 20; Eph.2: 15, 16).
The Bible states: “…whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” (James 4: 4). We ran from the judgment of God into the loving arms of Jesus – OUR CITY OF REFUGE – and the judgment for our sins fell on Him instead of on us. When He died as our High Priest, we were released from our sentence of condemnation and death! We are, therefore, made FREE! (Rom. 8: 1; John 8: 32, 36)
I repeat, God could not have saved us, unless Jesus Christ had entered the picture! That is why God sent His Son into the world – not to condemn us, but to save us! (John 3:17).
St. John stated: “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation (expiation, mercy seat) for our sins. We love Him, because He first loved us.” (1 John 4: 10, 19)
THE HOLY OF HOLIES!
In my quest for the truth, while diligently searching the Scriptures and praying intensely in the Holy Spirit and in the understanding (English and Norwegian), I discovered that Harald Bredesen was right when he said: “It’s easy to get to know Jesus, but it’s not so easy to get to know the Father.”
I also discovered that our Lord Jesus was intent upon us getting to know the Father as He did! That was the primary reason for His coming to this earth. Through His incarnation, and subsequent death and resurrection Jesus, became the Mediator between God the Father and sinful humanity!
The Bible declares: “For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus: Who gave Himself a ransom for all.” (1 Tim.2: 5,6)
Our Lord stated: “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me. If ye had known Me, ye should have known My Father also: and from henceforth ye know Him, and have seen Him. (John 14: 6,7).
To Philip’s inquiry about the Father, Jesus said: “Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak unto you I speak not of Myself: but the Father that dwelleth in Me, He doeth the works.
“And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter (Divine Helper), that He may abide with you forever. At that day ye shall know that I am in My Father and ye in Me, and I in you…If a man love Me, he will keep My words: and My Father will love Him, and We will come unto him, and make Our abode with him.” (John 14: 10,11,16,23).
Here is an anointed song that should be sung where true worshipper desire to get to know God the Father intimately:
Take me into the Holy of Holies. Take me in by the blood of the Lamb. Take me into the Holy of Holies. Take a coal, touch my lips, here I am.
St. Paul makes it clear that we must get into the Holy of Holies before the ‘Throne of Grace’ if we are to know the Father intimately: “For through Him (Jesus Christ) we both (Jews and Greeks – all believers) have access by one Spirit (Holy Spirit) unto the Father.” (Eph. 2: 18).
Our Lord Jesus – through His shed blood – makes it possible for sinful man to enter the Holy of Holies. And only the blessed Holy Spirit can bring us into the awesome and holy presence of God the Father!
The Bible states: “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in the time of need.” (Heb. 4: 16). The writer to the Hebrews states: “Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus.” (Heb. 10: 19).
The earthly Holy of Holies that was in the ‘Tabernacle in the Wilderness’ and later in the Temple at Jerusalem, is a type of the Holy of Holies in Heaven, which is the ‘Throne of Grace’!
The Bible says: “But Christ being come an High Priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and calves, BUT BY HIS OWN BLOOD He entered in once into the HOLY PLACE (in Heaven), having obtained eternal redemption for us.
“For if the blood of bulls and goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, Who through the Eternal Spirit (Holy Spirit) offered Himself (God the Son) without spot to God (Father), purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” (Heb. 9: 11–14).
WHY WE PREACH THE CROSS!
St. Paul wrote: “We preach Christ crucified…For I determined not to know anything among you save Jesus Christ and Him crucified…We preach not ourselves but Christ Jesus our Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.” (1 Cor. 1: 23; 2:2; 2 Cor. 4: 5)
Why do we preach the cross? The power of the Gospel lies in the shed blood of Jesus Christ, Who gave Himself as a ransom for the sins of the entire world and rose from the dead in power and glory! The Bible says: “It is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.” (Lev.17:11). “Without the shedding of blood there is no remission (forgiveness) for sins.” (Heb. 9: 22); “The blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanseth us from all sins.” (1 John 1: 7).
As the guilty Israelite desiring forgiveness for his sins brought an innocent animal to the Brazen Altar to be slain to pay his penalty, he had to stand and watch the sacrifice suffer, weaken and die, so we must constantly remind ourselves and others, of the tremendous price Jesus had to pay for our soul’s salvation!
How I thank God that tens of millions around the world had the opportunity to view the ‘Passion of the Christ’, to get a picture of the physical mistreatment and pain suffered by our Lord. The spiritual pain and agony that He suffered was much worse!
St. Paul stated: “For Christ sent me...to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” (1 Cor. 1: 17, 18)
“And you being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath He quickened (made alive) together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to His CROSS; and having spoiled principalities and powers, He made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it.” (Col. 2: 13 -15).
The Bible says: “And when He had given thanks, He brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is My body which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of Me. After the same manner also He took the cup, when He had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in My BLOOD: this do as oft as ye drink it in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord’s death till He come.” (1 Cor. 11: 24 -26)
Since Jesus is our Heavenly High Priest, He had to fulfill all the obligations of the type, which was the earthly High Priest! Not only is Jesus our High Priest, but He is also the Sacrifice and the Mercy Seat, of which we will read in Leviticus 16: 3 - 23.
THE GREAT DAY OF ATONEMENT!
Once a year on a very special day, ‘The Great Day of Atonement’, only one man – the High Priest - could enter the Holy of Holies to make an atonement for himself, his house, the tabernacle, the holy place and the people of Israel!
The forgiveness of sins is not a trivial matter! There is nothing haphazard or uncertain about God’s great plan of Salvation – then or now! Then, it was only one man on one day. Today, it is only ONE Saviour, our Lord Jesus Christ, who fulfilled the great ‘Day of Atonement’ once and for all times, when He died on the CROSS for the sins of all mankind!
The Bible says: “Thus shall Aaron come into the holy place: with a young bullock for a sin offering, and a ram for a burnt offering. And he shall take… two kids of the goats for a sin offering. And Aaron shall take the two goats, and present them before the Lord at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.
“And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the Lord, and the other lot for the scapegoat. And Aaron shall bring the goat upon which the Lord’s lot fell, and offer him for a sin offering. But the goat, on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat, shall be presented alive before the Lord, to make an atonement with Him, and to let him go for a scapegoat into the wilderness.”
One goat was offered as a sacrifice on God’s part to fulfil the blood covenant between God and Israel, to forgive their sins. The innocent animal was a type of the Lamb of God, which He gave to save all sinners through the death of His Son, Jesus Christ!
The other goat became the scapegoat, which would symbolically carry their sins into a deserted place. This innocent animal was a type of Jesus, Who would carry away our sins! All sins that are confessed to our Heavenly Father in His name, are forgiven and forgotten by our Lord! (Ps. 103:12; Micah 7:19). NOTICE: No priest or mediator is necessary. From the time of Jesus’ death and resurrection, He has been and still is, the ONLY mediator between God and man! (1 Tim. 2: 5).
The ‘TABERNACLE IN THE WILDERNESS’ was a movable tent used as a meeting place, where God could meet with His people during Israel’s forty years of wandering in the desert. It was divided into three sections: the outer court, the sanctuary (holy place) and the holy of holies!
In the outer court was the brazen altar – a type of the cross - where innocent animals were sacrificed as an offering to God. Brass is a symbol of judgment! Worshippers entered here with their sacrifice! The priest then proceeded to the brazen laver that was made out of polished mirrors– a type of the Word of God that washes us and reveals our inward thoughts - where he washed his blood-stained hands!
The second section was the sanctuary or holy place that contained the table of showbread pointing to ‘Jesus the Bread of Life’, the golden candlestick with seven candle holders, a type of ‘Jesus the light of the world’. Near to the veil that separated the sanctuary from the Holy of Holies stood the golden altar of incense, a pre-picture of ‘Jesus our intercessor’!
ONLY THE HIGH PRIEST ALLOWED IN HOLY OF HOLIES
For the High Priest, this was a very solemn and moving experience. He had to sanctify himself and go through a thorough preparation before entering that holy place.
If God rejected the offering, the High Priest would immediately die! Bells were sown onto his garments, so that the people prostrated on the pavement outside could hear the tinkling of the bell, and know that he was still alive! Writings of Jewish scholars, state that a rope was tied to his left ankle to assure that his body could be retrieved, should God reject the offering!
Sin is a serious affront to the holiness of Almighty God and the payment for sin a major undertaking. The plan of salvation initiated by the Father and purchased for us through the sacrifice of His beloved Son, is the greatest and most significant event in the history of mankind!
THE CHRIST ALONE DOCTRINE!
The central Creed of all the great Protestant Reformers was this: By GRACE alone, through FAITH alone, in CHRIST alone! Salvation is by the GRACE of God, through FAITH in the finished work on Calvary for us and in CHRIST JESUS alone! Period. (Eph.2: 8-10)
The Bible teaches the 'Christ Alone Doctrine'! Not Christ and the church; not Christ and tradition; not Christ and dogma; not Christ and Mary; not Christ and the saints; not Christ and confirmation; not Christ and baptism; not Christ and church membership! Christ alone saves us! He doesn't need our help! His blood alone washes away our sins!
The Holy Record states: "But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin." (1 John 1: 7); "...When He (Jesus) had BY HIMSELF purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on High." (Heb.1: 3)
The High Priest had to meet alone with God inside the Holy of Holies to make atonement for the sins of the nation of Israel, and Jesus had to suffer, bleed and die alone. There were others around Him – His disciples, the rabbis, scribes and Pharisee, and the Roman soldiers – but while paying the price for our sins and suffering, He did it all by Himself.
The High Priest had no interaction with the people until he had finished his work. Similarly, when Mary Magdalene saw our Lord after He had risen from the dead, Jesus admonished: “Touch Me not; for I am not ascended to My Father: but go to My brethren, and say unto them, I ascend to My Father, and your Father; and to My God, and your God.” (John 20: 17).
JESUS IS OUR HIGH PRIEST FOREVER!
He hadn’t finished His High Priestly work! As the High Priest entered the Holy of Holies carrying a basin of blood which he had to sprinkle on the Mercy Seat, Jesus had to carry His own Blood into the Holy of Holies in Heaven!
The Bible says: “For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into HEAVEN itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us: Nor yet that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest entereth every year with blood of others; For then must He often have since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.” (Heb.9: 23–26).
The Bible says: “There is one mediator between God and man, the Man Christ Jesus.” (1 Tim. 2: 5). “…that He might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For that he Himself hath suffered being tempted, He is able to succour them that are tempted.” (Heb. 2: 16–18).
“But this Man, because He continueth forever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost, that come to God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them.” (Heb. 7: 24–27).
Jesus, our blessed Lord and Saviour, is touched by the feelings of our infirmities; temptations, troubles, pains, sickness and grief! He knows us better than we could possibly know ourselves and He cares for us, and has provided a way of escape from our sins, fears, miseries and bondage! (Heb. 4:15; 1 Cor. 10:13).
He bore our sins as well as our sickness and pains, so that we would not need to bear them! (Is. 53: 4,5). He said: “Come unto Me, all ye who labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.” (Matt. 11: 28)
ENTERING THE PRESENCE OF GOD!
All believers who want their prayers answered and receive an enduement of Holy Spirit power, must get into the Holy of Holies! We desperately need to enter into the presence of God! My prayer is that we will all begin to hunger and thirst after God and His righteousness, and become intimate with the Lord of the universe and the Master of our lives! It is imperative that we get into the throne room and become one with the Father and the Son, through the blessed Holy Spirit!
Oh, how my heart yearns after God; to be in His marvellous and awesome presence and to drink in His love and goodness. And to receive His compassion for the souls of men and His power to unchain them from Satan’s entangled web of falsehoods, lies and fear!
May God bless you, my dear friend, as you seek His face with a pure heart and a sincere spirit of faith and trust! Amen.