The writer to the Hebrews maintained in Hebrews 10:1 that “The law is only a shadow of the good things” thatare fulfilled in Christ. And Paul speaking of the religious festivals associated with the Old Testament law told the church in Colossians 2:17 that these festivals were “a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.” We know the Passover Lamb of the Old Testament, for example is a picture of Jesus and how we too are protected from judgment by His sacrificial blood. In fact, Paul in 1 Corinthians 5:7 states clearly that “Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.”
The Passover was not the only festival that foreshadowed what Christ would come to do in a spiritual sense. There are many other pictures of Him in the rituals of the Old Testament. Another such illustration was found in the ritual for the Day of Atonement. This was the only time of year that the Old Testament High Priest entered the Holy of Holies in the Temple. He would take the blood of the sacrifice into God’s presence and sprinkle it on the mercy seat of the Ark of the Covenant.
The Ark was the only item in the Holy of Holies in the Temple and it was seen as being God’s throne in the midst of His people. This gold-covered chest was covered by what was called the Mercy Seat of God. God’s throne could so easily have been a throne of judgement and yet it was a seat of mercy.
Each year the Hight Priest would go into the presence of the LORD and there sprinkle the blood of the sacrifice that had died on behalf of God’s people. The blood of the sacrifice sprinkled there on the mercy seat, symbolically covered their sin and would temporarily reconcile man with God for that year. Of course, the next year the act would have to be repeated all over again because the blood of animals offered only a temporary solution to man’s problem of sin.
The atonement sacrifice offered on the people’s behalf had to be perfect in every way. If it proved to be unacceptable, or imperfect the high priest who took the offering into the Holy of Holies would immediately die in God’s presence. Thus, the only way the people knew the sacrifice had been acceptable to God and that the blood offered was sufficient to atone for their sins, was if their high priest returned to them!
When Peter and John were called to the empty tomb that Sunday morning, we are told in John 20:9 that they quickly left because at that point they “… still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.” Christ is not only our Sacrifice! The Bible teaches He is also our great High Priest and we know that His blood is sufficient to atone for our sin and reconcile us with the Father, because having offered his blood before the throne of heaven Jesus our High Priest has returned to us!
The Resurrection is essential to the message of the Gospel because it proves that the blood Christ offered as payment for the sin of those who trust in Him, is sufficient to reconcile us to God the Father!
The Resurrection of Christ proves that death has been defeated and that we too shall rise!
May God bless you