How Far is the East from the West?
In keeping with Leisa’s posts about Yeshua in the Tabernacle, I wanted to discuss the concept of how far the east from the west is. This may not seem like a subject connected to the Tabernacle, but it most definitely fits in.
Western civilization orients itself northerly. All our maps are drawn with North being on the top of the page. We have a North pole at the top of the Earth and a South pole at the bottom of the Earth. Yet the Earth rotates on its axis in an easterly direction. Its movement is a continuous east-to-west-to-east rotation. While the North and South poles are definite points on the planet, and as such have a finite distance from one to the other, that is not true for the east or the west. There are no poles that delineate east and west. There are no fixed points on the globe that say, “This is east and this is west!” East to west to east is continuous, unending, and infinite.
Do you know how the Tabernacle was built? It was built in an east to west direction. On Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, the high priest offered up the sacrifices from the east and worked his way to the west, where the Holy of Holies was situated. There were two goats – one for a sin offering and one to be sent out into the wilderness, symbolically carrying the sins of the Israelites away. The goat that was freed was released in an easterly direction into the wilderness. This symbolized Israel’s sins being removed from the east to the west and remembered no more.
Knowing that east to west is a limitless and non-ending rotation, Psalm 103:12 becomes clear: “He has removed our sins from us as far as the east is from the west.” That means our sins are removed from us in a way that has no end. There is no finite stop on this east-to-west direction.
I looked up the Hebrew word for east in Strong’s concordance. The word is qedem. It not only means “east,” but means forward and everlasting. Our sins are flung forward, away from us, in an everlasting way. Our sins are removed from us in the infinite arc of eternity, in an east to west direction.
Aaron (and all subsequent High Priests) were ordered to sprinkle the blood of the sin offering on Yom Kippur in this way: “He is to take some of the bull’s blood and sprinkle it with his finger on the ark-cover toward the east; and in front of the ark-cover he is to sprinkle some of the blood with his finger seven times.” (Deut. 16:14 CJB)
As you can see, the High Priest was to sprinkle the blood on the Ark-cover toward the east. And in front of it, he was to sprinkle the blood with his fingers seven times. In the Bible, the number 7 represents completeness and achievement. For example, it was on the 7th day that Adonai rested after his act of Creation.
We can take from the text of Deuteronomy above that at the end of the services of Yom Kippur, the act of atonement was complete, the sins of the people removed for eternity. Take a moment to consider the implications of Messiah removing our sins as far as the east is from the west, becoming the sin offering and the Azazel goat in one moment.
We have been shown no greater love than this.