Did Jesus Christ abolish Yom Kippur? Should Christians fast?...

A Christian Theology of the Day of Atonement

"Born to Win"
Daily Radio Program
by Ronald L. Dart
Ronald L Dart
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Ronald L. Dart: I recently received a letter about the Passover and the Day of Atonement. The letter allowed as how, since the Passover has to do with the sacrifice of Christ, which forgives us of our sins and washes out our guilt and reconciles us to God, that there is no need for the Day of Atonement and therefore we should not observe it. And in fact, by actually observing the Day of Atonement, the letter suggested that we might be crucifying Christ afresh.

Let's think about this. If the Passover and the Day of Atonement are redundant, it doesn't necessarily follow that you don't keep the Day of Atonement. It could be that you keep the day of Atonement and don't keep the Passover, couldn't it? Does anyone have any suggestions as to why it was that he decided he didn't want to keep the Day of Atonement? It's fairly obvious - fasting!

This reminds me that I've run into another argument that it is good to keep the Day of Atonement, but there is no need any longer to fast on that day. Now the theological rational behind that is unclear to me because Jesus said plainly that when he was gone that his servants would fast. So, they would fast, but according to this other idea, they would not fast on the Day of Atonement!

But what about the idea that the Day of Atonement is now redundant? Some of the very last words of Jesus before he died were, "It is finished." What was finished? What was it that was over? Maybe more important, is there anything that was not finished? Because when he says, "It is finished," this was his death - the death symbolized by the Passover. Is there any need for the Day of Atonement?

"Therefore if any man be in Christ he is a new creature. Old things are passed away. Behold all things are become new. And all things are of God who has reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ and has given to us the ministry of reconciliation" (2 Cor. 5:17). The word of atonement is only used in only one place in the New Testament (in Rom. 5), but the idea of it is contained in this word reconciliation. When New Testament writers speak of the idea of "atonement", their term is to "reconcile, reconciliation, be reconciled" and as he says here a "ministry of reconciliation".

The very work of the ministry is a work of atonement. It's reaching out to people and praying for them that they would be reconciled to God. So that God has reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ. And then in turn has given to us the ministry of atonement or the ministry of reconciliation. "God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself. Not imputing their trespasses unto them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation." That is the message, the teaching that man can be reconciled. "Now then we are ambassadors for Christ as though God did beseech you by us, we pray you in Christ's stead." In other words this is as though, Jesus Christ is speaking in me and I pray you be reconciled to God. "For he has made him to be sin for us who knew no sin that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."

When was Christ made sin? The expression is a curious one, isn't it? He didn't say that he made him guilty of sin. He didn't just say that he laid sin on him. He didn't just say that he imputed sin to him. He said he made him to be sin for us. When did he do that? At birth? Before his ministry started? Toward the end of his ministry? The night of his betrayal? When did this actually take place? "Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us" (Gal. 3:13).

What is the curse of the law? Well if you go back to the Old Testament, you'll find that there was a point where God put one group of people on one mountain and another group of people on another mountain and they shouted back and forth to each other the curses of the law. "Cursed is the man that treats his father and mother lightly". "Cursed is the man ... ". The man who breaks the law is under a curse. In other words, sin is the curse. He made him to be sin. He made him a curse. Paul wrote, "God has redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us. For, as it is written, cursed is everyone that hangs upon a tree."

Jesus was certainly cursed when he was hanged on the cross. the exact moment of the cursing may not be that significant, but I think it was before he actually came upon the cross. Because he was hanged on the cross because he was cursed. When was he cursed? When was he made sin? When did it come upon him? Because there was a point in time where Jesus was made sin, when he was made a curse - preparatory to being placed on the tree. It's an important question. Isaiah 53 gives us a little bit further clue in this regard. It's a scripture that I've taken to using continuously every year in the Passover service, which in many years gone by I did not do, but it is inescapable in its connection to the Passover. Oddly enough it's also inescapable in its connection to the Day of Atonement.

"Who has believed our report? To whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant and as a root out of dry ground he has no form nor comeliness and when we shall see him there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men" (Isa. 53:1). Now in Christ's youth he was not despised and rejected of men. In fact, all the way up until the time of the beginning of his ministry we are told that he grew in grace and in favor with God and man. So that during his life prior to the time that he began to preach, prior to the time that he began to condemn sin, Jesus was in favor with man. Now we are told he is despised and rejected of man. "A man of pain, and acquainted with sickness. And we hid as it were our faces from him, he was despised and we esteemed him not. Surely he has born our pains, and carried our sicknesses. Yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God and afflicted but he was wounded for our transgressions."

When was Jesus made sin? When did he come under the curse for us? It was before he was wounded, because he was wounded for us, because he was made sin for us. "He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities. The chastisement of our peace was upon him. And with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray. We have turned every one to his own way, and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all." When?

When did God lay the iniquity of us all upon Jesus Christ? Before his death. Before his suffering. Before his humiliation. Before or at his arrest. For the things that took place through the humiliation, through the spitting, through the shame, through the torment, through the beating, through the crown of thorns, through the crucifixion, every thing that took place there was because he had been made sin for us. And he died for us. "He was oppressed, he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth, he was brought as a lamb to the slaughter and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he opens not his mouth. He was taken from prison and judgement, who's going to declare his generation? For he was cut off out of the land of the living for the transgression of my people was he stricken." That part is not too difficult to understand.

When Jesus, at the very end, the very last moment, said "My God, my God why have you forsaken me?", he was forsaken because he had been made sin. Because he had been made a curse, for cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree. When did it happen? I can't pin it down to the exact moment, but certainly we have a pretty good idea of when it was.

Turn with me to Lev. 23, it's the commandment for the Day of Atonement that we will begin observing tomorrow night at sun down. In Lev 23:26 "And the Lord spoke to Moses saying, in the tenth day of the seventh month there shall be a Day of Atonement." Actually of "reconciliation." The word means "covering," not just reconciliation, but a covering as in a "cover up." He said a Day of Covering. "It shall be an holy convocation. And you shall afflict your souls." Which basically means fast, to afflict your life is an idiomatic expression just as another way of saying "fast". The bible is not very precise about the exact nature or circumstances of a fast except that it is generally described as being without food and without water. To anyone who has a health problem or has medication, I would think it's a good idea to consult your physician relative to the Day of Atonement. Those of us in good health, it basically means you do without.

Continuing in Lev. 23, "In the tenth day there shall be an holy convocation you shall afflict your souls. You shall do no work in that same day, it is a day of atonement for you before the Lord your God. Whatsoever soul that be, that shall not be afflicted in that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people. And whatsoever soul it shall be that does any work in that same day, the same soul will I destroy from among his people." This is not to be taken lightly is it? We're not dealing with just some ordinary little transgression. "Whoever it is that will (a.) not fast or (b.) do any work, I will cut him off from among his people." So this is a day which God takes seriously, and of course all of God's people have historically done it, taken it seriously too.

"You shall do no manner of work, it shall be a statute forever throughout your generations. In all your dwellings. It shall be a Sabbath of rest and you shall afflict your souls. In the ninth day of the month," which is tomorrow, "at even, from even to even shall you celebrate your Sabbath." That is tomorrow evening until the evening following. It's a Sabbath day and the Day of Fasting.

There was a ceremony to take place on this day, and it's found in Lev. 16. It is really the only holy day where there is such an elaborate description of what the priest does on the day as opposed to what you the people do. There really was not a great deal for the people to do on the Day of Atonement beyond fast, and present themselves there. And they gathered around in large numbers because of the things that went on. The only times that the high priest was out of their sight was during those moments when he had to take off all of his clothes, and even there he did not go to the changing room that the Levites usually used. They rigged up a curtain for him, a linen curtain, and he took his clothes off behind that curtain so that witnesses or people on the other side could actually hear what he was doing. They could hear the sound of the water as he bathed himself, because he had to bathe himself from head to toe. I think he must have bathed himself from head to toe on this day ten times, no less, in all the things that he had to do. And washed his hands and his feet close to forty times or better. So there was a lot of washing going on. All this was done within view except for the one thing that he would do when he went into the Holy of Holies.

Leviticus 16 follows on the heels of a tragic incident where several people had attempted to come to the Holy of Holies and present strange fire. There were a lot of oddities that went on and people tried to do things out of order and out of time. But God is telling Moses that there was only going to be one time a year, one day and one day only, when Aaron was allowed to come into the Holy of Holies, and he tells him what he is to do on that day.

We'll begin reading in verse 5. "He shall take from the congregation of Israel two kids of the goats for a sin offering and one ram for a burnt offering." Now for those of you who are not aware of it, there has been some discussion down through the years about what is the nature of these two goats, and what do they symbolize? And what is the meaning of them as the high priest went through all this. And some argument was made of the fact that it says these two goats are "a" (singular) offering. They are not sin offerings, they are "a" sin offering. And the suggestion is made that they are both part of one sin offering. Now that does not follow from the grammar. As a matter of a fact you look at it and you'd say two goats for a sin offering, you'd think well maybe that means that they are both one offering. But, in actual fact, you are going to take two goats, you're going to cast lots between them and "a" sin offering (singular) will be offered, and it will be one of these goats.

The other goat will not be offered at all. It won't be a peace offering, sin offering, burnt offering, or anything else because it is not offered, something quite different is done with it. This may seem unimportant at first, but it does bear on the meaning of this day, and the significance of it as we make our way down through the ceremony that he walked through.

There were two kids of the goats for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering. "Aaron shall offer his bullock of the sin offering", which is for himself. And he will make an atonement, or reconciliation for himself and his house. "He shall take the two goats and shall present them before the Lord, at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And he shall cast lots upon the two goats." We're told that historically there was a little round container, and in this there were two markers if you will. At one time they were made out of gold. And on one of them were the words AL YHVH and on the other were the words AL AZAZUL. Two little gold tokens. One of them was to designate "for the Lord", one of them "for azazul". And the high priest simply reached in without being able to see them, took them in his hand, selected them without looking at them again and decided this way - which goat was for the Lord and which goat was for azazul. It was considered, superstitiously a good omen, if the one for the Lord was in the right hand as opposed to the left. But which ever one it was, that was the goat. The selection was made in that way. So he took them and he selected them.

One of the goats then was for the Lord or for YHVH, and the other goat was the scapegoat. "Aaron shall bring the goat upon which the Lords lot fell and offer him for a sin offering." There is "a" sin offering, one sin offering, it was one of these two goats. "But the goat on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat." By the way, this is a peculiar little expression "scapegoat", and it took me a long time to figure out what it meant. It means in the Hebrew "goat of departure". And when we make our way all the way back to King James translators, and say why scapegoat? Commonly, in old English, the initial "e" was dropped off of certain expressions. So this is the "escapegoat", the one that gets away, the one that escapes, the one that is let go. As opposed to the one that is kept. "The goat on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat shall be presented alive before the Lord to make an atonement with him and to let him go for an escapegoat, into the wilderness."

So Aaron brings the bullock of the sin offering and he makes his way through all the things that have to be done. "Then shall he kill the goat of the sin offering that is for the people." This is interesting, because first of all this goat is designated as being for YHVH right? They cast lots, one of them designated for YHVH and the other one designated for azazul. Now we are taking, the same goat, that is the one that is to be offered and we are told it is the one that is for the people, and it is the one which is the sin offering. THE goat of THE sin offering, that is for the people, he's going to kill it. Then he brings the blood within the veil and does with that blood as he did with the blood of the bullock. He sprinkles it before the mercy seat, and upon it. "He shall make an atonement for the holy place because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, because of all their transgression and all their sins. And so shall he do for the tabernacle of the congregation that remains among them in the midst of their uncleanness. There shall be no man in the tabernacle of the congregation, when he goes in to make an atonement in the holy place. Until he comes out and has made an atonement for himself for his household and for all the congregation of Israel."

The atonement for himself, his household, all the congregation of Israel has to be done with blood. When it is done, finished and completed, an atonement has been made for the people because he takes, kills the live goat, takes it's blood in and goes through the ceremony of sprinkling that had to be done in the Holy of Holies.

There is an interesting footnote to this, that during the old time of the tabernacle and of Solomon's Temple, inside the Holy of Holies, that is behind the veil, sat the ark of the covenant, and, of course, you read the expression mercy seat, which is not a seat, because the Hebrew word for it is Kippur or cover. We get the word Yom Kippur, or the Hebrew expression Yom Kippur as done in our language, it is Day of Atonement or Day of Covering. What is translated as "mercy seat" actually is "cover" or "lid". So he went in to sprinkle the blood on the cover of the mercy seat "cover", on the Day of Covering. It's a slight play on words that was quite deliberate in the Hebrew. And totally lost in most translations. But it was there never the less.

What is ironic about this is what happened later in Herod's Temple. You know the first temple was destroyed. The ark of the covenant was either hidden, taken, stolen or destroyed. We have no idea what happened to the original ark of the covenant. But in Herod's temple, and this is during the days that Jesus was going through his life and his ministry, when the high priest went to the Holy of Holies and opened it up to go inside to sprinkle the blood on the Day of Atonement, there was nothing there. There was no ark. It was empty. It must have been a strange feeling for him to know what he was supposed to do and to go to that place and to experience the emptiness of realizing that the ark of the **Testament** was absent. It was, the focal point of all this that was going on, which is where the cover was that had to do with the Day of Covering. There was no cover. There was no ark to be covered. The Ten Commandments inside it, the law on tables of stone, the law written by Moses in a book, all that had either perished or had been hidden, but was certainly lost.

People often ask "What about the ark of the covenant? Does it exist somewhere?" It may well. It may well. It's entirely possible that priests hid the thing somewhere, but every indication would be that the priests that hid it were killed, and took their secret with them, because no one knows where it is - whether it exists. And it would be indeed a strange thing if it should turn out to exist.

Nevertheless, the priest takes in Lev. 23:15, the goat of the sin offering. He kills it and makes this atonement. In verse 17 it says, "he has made an atonement for himself, his household, and for all the congregation of Israel." Now, we make our way through all this and the sequence of it is clear enough.

There is a commentary on this which I think that you might find of some interest. It's found in the New Testament. You don't have to go to Clark's commentary or the Critical Experimental. The best place to go is to the Book of Hebrews first. This is certainly the oldest commentary on the Lev. 16 in existence. At least that I know of. There may be some ancient Jewish commentaries that go back as well.

Heb. 8:1 "Now of the things which we have spoken, this is the sum. We have such an high priest who is set on the right hand of the throne of majesty in heaven." Keep in mind that the ceremony of the day of Atonement focused on the high priest. The people did nothing. They stood and watched, and all they did was fast. In fact they did nothing - they didn't even eat. But the priest did it all. Everything that was done on the Day of Atonement was done by the high priest. He got some help in certain aspects of the task, in preparation and bringing all this together, but the actions, the actual actions that are described in Lev. 16, every thing was done by the high priest. And there is no loss of significance to that to the Christian, because we understand that everything that was done for our atonement, everything that was done for our salvation, every single action was done by our High Priest. And all we can do is to stand and watch.

And be humble. And in one sense of the word the fasting of the Day of Atonement is particularly significant and specially meaningful for all of us. As we stand and watch as it were, as we stand and ponder what was done for us by our High Priest.

"He is a minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched and not man. Every high priest is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices, wherefore it is of necessity that this man, that is Jesus Christ, have something himself also to offer." He did not bring two goats, he didn't bring another animal, he didn't bring a bullock. It wasn't necessary for him to make an atonement for himself. For he himself needed no atonement. What he came to offer was himself. I won't take the time to read all of chapter eight, although it is of interest.

In Hebrews 9:1 read. "Verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary. First there was a tabernacle made, in which was the candle stick and the table and the shew bread which is called the sanctuary. After the second veil the tabernacle which is called Holiest of All." The overall structure of this was roughly rectangular in shape. It would have been twice as long as it was wide. The Holy of Holies itself was a perfect square. There was a veil that was hung. Outside of that, outside of that veil was another area approximately the same size and, of course, the whole thing was an enclosed in a structure called the tabernacle.

There was the overall area where there were a table and candle sticks, but then inside the veil was what we call "the Holy of Holies", what he calls here, "Holiest of All". There were the golden pot that had manna, Aaron's rod that budded, and the Tables of the Covenant. All through hundreds of years of Israel's history, inside the Tabernacle, and later inside the Temple, there actually was a pot of manna which they had preserved, which apparently did not breed worms and stink. It had been kept all those years as a testimony. Also inside it was Aaron's rod that budded. Also inside it were the Tables of the Covenant the Ten Commandments. All there.

It is also interesting that in Revelation at the very end time, when the heavens are opened, one of the things that is seen there is the Ark of the Covenant. And inside that Ark of the Covenant will be the Tables of the Covenant, which are the Ten Commandments - including the Sabbath!.

Heb. 9:5 "Over it, the Cherubim of glory shadowing the mercy seat, or that is the covering, of which we can not now speak particularly. Now when these things were thus ordained, the priest went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God." In other words, they could go in there any time they it was necessary. They could go in there to put the shew bread in, they could go in to light the lamps. They could go in there to take care of things - all of the things that had to be done. They were in and out of there more than once a day taking care of things that they had to do.

"But into the second, that is the Holy of Holies, the high priest went alone." All by himself, no one could go with him. He could not have any assistance. Him alone, "one time every year, and that he could not go without blood. Which he offered for himself and for the errors of the people. The Holy Spirit signifying by this that the way into the Holiest of All was not made manifest while the first tabernacle was standing." In other words mankind as a whole had no access to God.

In that period of time. Mankind was not able to go to the Father and to say, "Our Father who art in heaven hallowed be thou name," because it was a totally different economy. But the point is the priest went in there one time, every year, he had to take blood, because we have a blood sacrifice, and without the shedding of blood we are told there is no remission of sin. These things were done with all this symbolism and of course this one day that we're talking about here is the Day of Atonement, which had the service that was described back in the 16th chapter of Leviticus as we were reading.

Now passing on down a little further to verse eleven. "But Christ being come an High Priest of good things to come. By a greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands." That is to say not of this building. "Neither by the blood of goats and calves but by his own blood he entered in once into the Holy place. Having obtained eternal redemption for us. For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies to the purifying of the flesh. How much more shall the blood of Christ who through the eternal spirit offered himself without spot to God. Purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?"

The reason I'm taking the time to explain this and go through it is to underline what is happening. In the New Testament sense Jesus Christ is our High Priest. The Old Testament high priest going into the Holy of Holies with blood symbolizes what Jesus Christ did. But remember, Jesus Christ was made sin before he died, because it was in the shedding, it was in his suffering first, and in the shedding of blood second, that he actually made expiation, that he found the blood where which he would make the covering whereby the atonement for us would be accomplished. It was in his death that he bore our sins and accomplished our atonement and when he had died that was finished. It was done. That was finished.

On the other hand, he was apparently not finished. It says down in verse 24, "For Christ is not entered into the Holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true. But into heaven itself now to appear in the presence of God for us. Nor yet that he should offer himself often, like the high priest entered into the holy place every year with the blood of others." Remembering the sequence now, the live goat was killed, the high priest went in to the holy place. Jesus Christ was killed, he went to the Father and he was presented there for our sins. He took his blood into the Holy of Holies in heaven, and he there made a covering for us and for our sins. And when he had done that, it was over, it was finished. But read on.

"Then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world. But now once, in the end of the world has he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. As it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgement, so Christ was offered to bear the sins of many." When did he bear them? He bore them to the stake. That's where he bore them. He died for them. That's where he bore them. He took his own blood before the Father as he bore our sins.

"And unto them that look for him, shall he appear the second time unto salvation." We have so much trouble with some of these words, like "salvation". And we think, "I have been saved haven't I? And isn't my salvation accomplished?" Well, yes in a manner of speaking, it was. But yet, what are we doing here? We're told that Jesus Christ is going to appear a second time unto salvation. So that in that sense salvation is yet ahead. So that when we said, "it is finished", we were not saying that "he is finished," for he will return unto salvation.

Now there's a little thing that's been left open here. There is a question that has not been resolved. There is a slight door that has not been closed. Turn back to Lev. 16, for we paused before we finished that chapter. We had the priest killing the live goat in verse seventeen. He goes in and puts the blood in the Holy of Holies as a covering for our sin. He makes an atonement for himself, the household, and the congregation of Israel. Now verse twenty, "When he has made an end of reconciling..." And that word again you can just treat as synonymous with "atonement." "When he has made an end of reconciling the holy place and the tabernacle of the congregation and the alter, he shall bring the live goat..."

We almost forgot about that live goat, almost forgot that he was even in the picture. "Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel." All their transgressions, all their sins, putting them upon the head of the live goat and sends him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness. "And the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities into a land not inhabited and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness."

Now it's been suggested that this goat also represents Christ [cf. the apocryphal Epistle of Barnabas]. Because in a sense the sins of Israel were laid on the head of the goat. And the expression that God laid on Jesus the sins of us all calls that back to mind. And the goat bore their sins away into the wilderness, with Jesus as our sin bearer. But do you see the problem?

There is a problem with this. Because the fact is that Jesus bore our sins to the stake, he was made sin, he was made a curse before he died. And when he died, He died to Sin! Just like you and I die to sin when we go down in the waters of baptism and come up again. "The wages of sin is death." When you sin, you've got to die. All of our sins were swept up and placed on Christ. One translation says "they met on Christ." All of our sins did. He became sin for us and when he died, he died to sin. Sin had no more dominion over him. When you go into the waters of baptism, you die to sin. Sin has no more dominion over you. There was a death warrant out for you, signed in your own blood by your sins. Now when the sheriff comes around with a warrant looking for you, you no longer exist, you are dead to sin. That warrant can not be enforced because you've already died in Christ. You're free, liberated, sin can no longer have any dominion over you. But you see Jesus Christ accomplished that all of that in his death. It was over.

Then the high priest having taken the blood in, comes back out of the holy of holies which symbolizes the presence of God. Jesus Christ is our High Priest. Where does that fit in? Here we read, and remember the whole context of Hebrews 8, 9,10 is the ceremony of the Day of Atonement and all of the symbolism of it. And right in the middle of this, it says Christ was offered to bear the sins of many. "Unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time unto salvation.' The high priest coming back pictures Jesus Christ coming back unto salvation. And apparently he has some unfinished business.

Is it to have God once again lay upon him all the sins of the world? So that he can bear the sins of the world away unto a place not inhabited? A wilderness where there is no one? Which has the sound of outer darkness? Which is talked about as a place of demons, and where Satan and the demons are going to be held. Is that what's supposed to happen? That doesn't fit anyone's knowledge of eschatology and of what is supposed to happen in the last times. And of what Jesus Christ is supposed to do when he returns to this earth. Not really.

Strangely Hebrews has nothing much to say about that second goat, really nothing to say. Doesn't describe anything that is to be done, the tenth chapter goes on to talk a bit about the meanings of some of the things that are going to happen. It says, in Heb. 10:11, "Every priest stands daily ministering an offering often times the same sacrifices," which can never take sins away. You have to understand that, the priest is in the Temple, working like mad, killing animals, sprinkling blood. Hebrews says it can't take away sins. But this man can, that is Jesus Christ, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever! Jesus Christ's sacrifice for sins took place one time for ever! And that's all.

"He sat down at the right hand of God, from hence forth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. For by one offering he has perfected forever them that are sanctified. Whereof the Holy Spirit also is a witness to us for after he had said before, this is the covenant that I will make with them after those days saith the Lord. I will put my laws into their hearts, in their minds will I write them. And their sins and their iniquities I will remember no more." Won't even bring them to mind. They are forgotten, blotted out. "Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin." For those of us to whom Jesus Christ will not impute sin - to those of us who have been forgiven of our sins, there will never ever be any need again at any time to make an offering for sin.

"Having therefore brethren boldness to enter into the Holiest by the blood of Jesus." Do you know what he is saying? It's a clear reference to the Day of Atonement, the high priest going into the holiest place. He said now you can have boldness to go into the holiest yourself. He doesn't mean into the Temple. He means going into the place where God is. "By a new and living way which he has consecrated for us through the veil, that is to say through his flesh. And having a High Priest over the house of God let us draw near with a true heart and full assurance of faith. Having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering. For he is faithful that promised."

Do you realize that all this sprinkling and all this washing he's talking about here are all allusions to the ceremonies of the Day of Atonement? The priest had to wash his whole body about ten times. The fit man that carried the goat out into the wilderness and let him go out there had to come back, take off all of his clothes, wash his flesh in pure water. So there was washing and sprinkling and he's still using all the allusions of the Day of Atonement.

"Lets hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering, for he is faithful that promised. And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together." He doesn't say "it's the Day of Atonement," but the entire context of three chapters is the Day of Atonement and the High Priesthood of Jesus Christ.

Why then would we assume that we are allowed to forsake the assembling of ourselves together on the Day of Atonement? Why, if Jesus' disciples were to fast any time, why not on the Day of Atonement? For the whole day is about Jesus Christ and his work. And his sacrifice for us. Of all people in the world who would want to keep the Day of Atonement, Christians ought to. He says, "don't forsake the assembling of ourselves together as the manner of some is, but exhort one another, so much the more as you see the day approaching" - the day when he shall "appear the second time unto salvation."

But what about this other goat, we still haven't answered that question. You know it's not surprising that many people, in trying to understand it, have turned to the book of Revelation to see what it is that Jesus Christ will do when he returns. Think about it. In Hebrews 8, 9, and 10, it's plain that Jesus becomes sin; he bears our sins; he takes them all upon himself and he suffers; he is humiliated; he is betrayed; and he dies and he sheds his blood for our sins. He takes his blood; presents it to the Father, and makes intercession for us, and makes an atonement for us.

When He comes back a second time, at the time of the end, what is he going to do? What is his unfinished business? What are the things he's going to be taking care of? And is this other goat in here anywhere?

In Rev.19 is where we're going to start. People have come back to this place to say to themselves, "What is he going to do? What follows on the heels of Christ's return?" And of course we have long understood that the Feast of Trumpets refers to the return of Christ and the resurrection. We can also ask the question, "What comes next in God's plan? What's He going to do? Does the Day of Atonement have anything to do with it?"

Rev. 20:1 "And I saw an angel come down from heaven having the key of the bottomless pit, and a great chain in his hand." It's not hard to see a comparison between this angel and the fit man of Leviticus 16 is it? Not hard at all. You can easily see why people have seen this in it. "And he laid hold of the dragon that old serpent which is the devil and Satan, and he bound him a thousand years. And he cast him into the abyss." You can easily see in this him taking the other goat, upon whom all the sins of all Israel had been confessed, taking this goat into a place not inhabited and leaving him there. There are variances in it, but again it's not a bit hard to see this as a part of the unfinished business that has to take place.

Jesus is coming back unto our salvation. And I will tell you categorically that an important thing that we need be saved from is the devil. For it's hard enough, with nothing more than human nature to deal with, to get sin out of your life and to overcome sin and to conquer sin. It's another thing with the great arch enemy and adversary of God still here.

I've thought about this many times that these two goats as far as anyone could tell by looking at them were very much alike. In fact they are chosen by lot, and I think of the fact that in the Bible, Satan is presented to us as an angel of light. Paul said as far as you're concerned if you ran into him, if you saw him, you might well think that you were looking at an angel of light from all outward appearances, because he is a beautiful gorgeous creature. And in fact if you were looking at an angel or at Jesus Christ in his glorified state, I think you might well have thought he was an angel.

If you were to see Jesus Christ and Lucifer in some glorified state how would you know which was which? How could you tell? You don't know what Jesus looked like. You don't know the shape of his face. And you've already been told that Satan the arch deceiver looks like an angel of light when he appears to you. Do you realize that he has been Jesus' rival from the beginning? He has been an adversary of God, an enemy of God. He has fought God from day one.

There was a war in heaven before there was ever a man on the face of the earth. And there will be another war. Jesus says, "I saw Satan like lightning fall from heaven." Jesus himself had to confront Satan in the flesh. This was not his first encounter with him. He had seen him before. He knew who he was. Satan knew who Jesus was. The demons knew who Jesus was. That battle and that rivalry was old before Jesus ever put foot on the earth as a human being. They have fought and they will fight again

There is coming a day when Jesus will be glorified and all his saints with him. There is coming a day when there is a great feast a great wedding feast, the marriage of the lamb with great rejoicing. And before that day, the great rival of God will be humiliated, judged, condemned, and banished. It's pictured by the Day of Atonement.

There is one more thing about this day. One time in fifty years on the Day of Atonement - it happened every fifty years. I suppose it would be tomorrow night a little after sundown, if this was a fiftieth year. Someone would put a trumpet to their lips and make a blast on the trumpet, and liberty would be proclaimed throughout the land. Slaves would be let go. Men would be given their property back. People would be allowed to go home. Home. Do you realize what a magic word that is? Home? Where our roots are. Where you belong. Where your people are. Home. The Day of Atonement is the first day of a new age. It's the first day of going home to God. It's the first day of liberty. Not just for a few, but for everyone.

Excerpted from the Sermon, A Theology of Atonement preached on 10/7/89 by Ronald L. Dart
provided by Kevin A. McMillen.

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