The Court of Heaven

Once a year the high priest would go into the Holy of Holies to make atonement for all the sins of Israel. It was an awesome experience. The priest would go through elaborate ceremonies to purify himself from sin. They would fix bells on his garment and tie a rope to his leg before he passed through the veil guarding the entrance to the Holy of Holies where the Ark of the Covenant was located. Others would stay outside and listen for the bells. If they were no longer ringing they feared for his life. Nobody would rescue him if the bells stopped ringing. They would simply pull him out with the rope. You did not want to appear before God in filthy garments, which makes the following passage even more astounding.

“Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. The Lord said to Satan, ‘The Lord rebuke you, Satan! Indeed the Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?’ Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments and standing before the angel” (Zechariah 3:1,2). I know of no more powerful image for those who are beaten down by the accuser of the brethren.

Let’s construct the “supreme court” in heaven. God, the Father, is the judge. Satan is the prosecuting attorney, who accuses the brethren day and night. We are the accused, but Jesus is our defense attorney. Do you think you will lose this case? “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus the righteous; and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not only ours, but also for those of the whole world” (1 Jn. 2:1,2). “Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them” (Heb. 7:25). Jesus is standing before the judge’s bench saying, “Look at my hands and feet, and my side where the spear went in to my body. I paid the price. It is finished”

“For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ” (Gal. 3:26,27). Are we not brands plucked from the fire (of hell)? Our filthy garments have been exchanged for His righteous robe.

Dr. Neil

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