For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, not to appear in the presence of God for us; nor was it what He would offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the holy place year by year with blood that is not his own. Otherwise, He would have needed to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment, so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.” (Hebrews 9:24-28, NASB).
A Focus On Jerusalem
Day 5 was filled with archaeological exploration. We explored the ancient ruins of the City of David, went through dry (or wet!) tunnels, heard afresh the healing story of the Pool of Siloam – while sitting by the pool itself! We also sat on the steps where Peter likely preached the sermon of Pentecost – and the expansion of the Church first began. We also enjoyed some time in the Israel Museum and the Jewish Quarter – enjoying the sights, smells, sounds, and tastes of a world far different from the American West.
The Holy of Holies
The most moving moment of that day, however, came during one of our underground explorations. We came upon what is considered to historically be the closest spot any person can come to the location of the ancient “Holy of Holies.” There, we found many people praying and weeping for the re-establishment of the Temple, so that the proper Day of Atonement could be celebrated once again. I could not help but be both saddened and simultaneously overjoyed to think of the above Hebrews passage. Jesus, the true and great High Priest – has entered the most Holy Place, the one not made with hands, and has made a final, once and for all atonement for sin. There is no longer the need of animal sacrifice. There is no longer the need for a priesthood to stand up on behalf of others. We now, presently, this moment, have a great High Priest, who is both the one sacrificing and the sacrifice. And yet, how many have heard his name and still look for something more?
A women grieving the absence of the Day of Atonement