Once a year, the high priest went into the Holy of Holies to make atonement for Israel's sins. After sanctifying himself — bathing (purifying) himself thoroughly — he took with him the blood of a bullock and a golden censer (or cup) held by three chains. The priest then removed some coals from the altar, put them in the censer, took a handful of incense and went into the Holy of Holies.

Inside the Holy of Holies was an ark. Atop it was the mercy seat and on either side of the seat were two golden cherubim, whose wings spread over it. The mercy seat represented the very presence of God where the Lord sat on His throne.

The high priest took the handful of incense and threw it on the fire in the censer. Suddenly, a beautiful aroma filled the tabernacle. The priest waved the censer in front of the ark until the mercy seat was enshrouded in a cloud of aromatic, sweet incense.

Beloved, this is a perfect illustration of what Jesus has done for us and is doing right now. First, it signifies Jesus' death and ascension to the heavenly Father as our High Priest. Second, this scene of atonement further signifies the time when Jesus began to pray for us, interceding to the Father on our behalf.

The initial work of Jesus' intercession was the sprinkling of His blood on every bond and debt we owed. A bond is "a sealed note of debt or obligation that is binding upon the debtor and his heirs." The devil once laid claim to you because you were dead in trespasses and sins.

There must be a cavern somewhere in the bowels of hell containing a mountain of records that are due, including your note and mine. The notes read, "You must pay with your life — and the price is eternal damnation." But Jesus was given the keys to hell's vault! Our High Priest went down to the very pits into that place of records and opened up the vault. He began flipping through the records and pulled out our notes — all the bonds, debts and obligations of those who believe in Him and who will yet believe.

Jesus gathered all those notes and took them to glory. There, in the presence of the Father, He sprinkled His blood over them, announcing, "These debts are paid in full by My own blood."