Our portion this week is timely considering that Pesach (Passover) is ending this week. Acharei Mot, or After the Death, gives in Leviticus 16-18 the instructions for Yom Kippur and, while it occurs in the fall, is intricately tied to the events of Passover
In the opening verses we are reminded of the events just a few chapters before where Nadav and Avihu, the newly ordained priests, were killed by Elohim because of their presumption in bringing a sacrifice that He had not commanded. While there is a lot of debate on what their actual sin was, one of the possibilities was that they attempted to enter into the Kodesh Kodeshim, the Holy of Holies, where Adonai Himself dwelt. In this week’s portion, Elohim reminds Moshe and the priesthood of the requirements for entering into that most sacred place.
Adonai said to Moshe: “Tell your brother Aharon that he shall not enter at any time into the holy place inside the veil, before the mercy seat which is on the ark, or he will die; for I will appear in the cloud over the mercy seat.”Leviticus 16:2 NASB
This instruction is a reminder, even for believers today, that Elohim is Holy, and we should not lightly enter into His presence. In actuality we are not able to, even with the sacrifice of Yeshua covering us, because while we have the redemption of our souls, our physical bodies are still under the corruption of sin, and the consequences for us would be the same as Aharon’s rebellious sons.
This Passage is tied to Passover through the veil that separated the two sections of the Mishkan (Tabernacle).
And Yeshua cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth shook and the rocks were split.Matthew 27:50-51 NASB
The common teaching is that we are now able to enter into the Holy of Holies, and have direct access to the Father because the veil was torn. But this is not what the Scriptures teach. We do have additional access, but not into the Holy of Holies. The book of Hebrews lays this out for us.
Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Yeshua, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of Elohim, let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.Hebrews 10:19-22 NASB
It is key to note where we enter, and where Yeshua does. In verse 19 it is clear that we, believers in the Messiah enter into the holy place, not the Holy of Holies. In the previous chapter the author makes a clear distinction between these two.
For there was a tabernacle prepared, the outer one, in which were the lampstand and the table and the sacred bread; this is called the holy place. Behind the second veil there was a tabernacle which is called the Holy of Holies, having a golden alter of incense and the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, in which was a golden jar holding the manna, and Aharon’s rod which budded, and the tables of the covenant; and above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat;Hebrews 9:2-5 NASB (emphasis added)
With these two passages we see that the access we have gained is into the holy place. Previously, only the priests were able to go here as they ministered before Adonai. But the way was made for us to enter here in our lives. This is what is meant in the Prophets:
For the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares Adonai: I will put my Torah within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their Elohim, and they shall be My people.Jeremiah 31:33
The holy place is representative of our hearts, the inner most place of our desires, emotions, and our will. Because of the access, bought by Yeshua, we are able to, by His power, enter into this area and have the sin dealt with.
But the access into the Holy of Holies is still closed to us. Yet, as with Israel, we have an advocate that is able to enter on our behalf. Yeshua entered in for us, our mediator with the Father
This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil, where Yeshua has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.Hebrews 6:19-20 NASB