Bear The Iniquity Ex. 28:38 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
The mitre with the plate of pure gold was on Aaron’s forehead that he might bear the iniquity of the holy things, which the children of Israel hallowed in their holy gifts. Today we want to study what is meant by bear the iniquity so that we can learn what the Lord did with iniquity in the Old Testament and what he has done with it in the New Testament.
In the Old Testament, a person who sinned would bear the iniquity – these bear the iniquity, for instance – a priest who comes into the tabernacle or ministers at the altar without the linen breeches, [Ex 28:43] – a person who hears swearing and doesn’t report it [Lev 5:1] – a man who profanes the hallowed things of the Lord by eating his peace offering on the third day [Lev 19:5-8] – a person who commits incest [Lev 20:17-20] – and so forth. In other words, he not only sins but he also bears the iniquity.
Then, if a person’s sin was not a capital crime, he could bring an offering to the tabernacle – the offering was given to the Levites [Num 18:22-23] who would bear the iniquity and then the offering would be sacrificed by the priest who would bear the iniquity [Num 18:1; Ex 28:38]. So, there was a transfer of the iniquity from the sinner, to the Levite, to the priest.
On the Day of Atonement, the high priest would enter the holy place within the vail and put blood on the mercy seat to atone for the sins of that year – Lev 16 – on the Day of Atonement, all of the iniquity that had been borne by the priest was placed on the scapegoat and he bore “upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited,” [Lev 16:21-22]. Thus, the iniquity was purged and then it started all over again the next year.
This bearing of iniquity foreshadowed the finished work of Jesus Christ on Calvary – Isaiah 53:5-6, 11 – as prophesied in the Old Testament, this continual work of the high priest bearing sin changed with Jesus Christ – it was necessary that Jesus would come to be once offered to bear the sins of many [Heb 9:28] in his own body on the tree [1 Pet 2:24] and to take away the sins of the world [Jn 1:29] forever [Heb 10:10-14]. Jesus Christ ended this cycle of bearing iniquity [Heb 10:1-4].
Conclusion: You have a choice. You can bear the iniquity yourself or you can trust Jesus Christ who has already borne your iniquity by his one offering. There are no other options. There are no priests today bearing iniquity and there are no scapegoats today bearing the iniquity borne by the priest. Jesus Christ finished this work on Calvary nearly 2,000 years ago. You either trust him or else you die in your sin.