Having grown up a Gentile, a non-Jew, I have never fully grasped the full impact of what this Good Friday means. Recently, I have been studying the book of Hebrews and have learned some things that shed huge amounts of light on the significance of today. Good Friday is the day we reflect on the death of Jesus and what that means.
In Hebrews 9 and 10, the author is explaining the tabernacle of the Jews and the role that Jesus plays within that context. The Old Testament tabernacle, built by Moses under the explicit instructions of God, was built as a copy of the true tabernacle in heaven. Somehow, all the parts, dimensions, and purposes serve to copy an actual place in heaven.
As we study this mysterious place, we find that Jesus is the actual to the whole copy. Let me explain. The tabernacle was made up of the door, the bronze altar for sacrifices, the bronze laver for cleansing with water, the lamp stand, the golden altar of incense, the table of showbread, the Holy of Holies which contained the Mercy Seat and the Ark of the Covenant, and a veil that separated everything from that holy place.
As we read through the New Testament, Jesus is called “the door” (John 10:19), the sacrifice (1 Corinthians 5:7), the cleansing water (Ephesians 5:26), the light (John 8:12), the incense (Revelation 8:3-4), the bread (John 6:33-51), the mercy seat (Hebrews 4:16), and the veil (Hebrews 10:20). In other words, Jesus came as the heavenly actual of the earthly copy of the tabernacle. He even serves as the High Priest of this tabernacle, able to make atonement for our sins.
Matthew 27:51 tells us that when Jesus died, in that moment, the veil of the temple was split in two. When that happened everyone, for the first time, could glimpse into the Holy of Holies. Before, only the High Priest could enter once a year. When the veil was split, all had access to the Presence of God.
When Jesus’ body (the veil) was ripped in the actual, the copy followed.
At that moment in history, everything merged: natural and supernatural, heaven and earth, God and man. “It is finished.” The High Priest became the sacrifice. The Holy of Holies became accessible to all. Because Jesus is the actual, His sacrifice covers all.
The whole process was completely contained within Jesus. What was my role? I was part of the fickle crowd who screamed for Him to die. But because His body was ripped, because the veil was torn, I can walk right up to the presence of God, in the actual Holy of Holies, and know Him intimately.
When the tabernacle was originally built it was the copy. Everything that happened in the copy was translated to the actual. The sacrifices and incense from the copy were accepted in the actual. When Jesus died, everything in the actual was translated in the copy. All of heaven was poured into our space. That is what Good Friday is all about.