Day of Atonement (Part 1)

Published on by simon weston

“And you shall do no work in that same day; for it is a day of Atonement, to make an Atonement for you before the Lord your God. For whatsoever soul it be that shall not be afflicted in that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people. And whatsoever soul it be that does any work in that same day, the same soul will I destroy from among his people. You shall do no manner of work: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. It shall be to you a Sabbath of rest and you shall afflict your souls in the ninth day of the month at even, from even to even, shall you celebrate your Sabbath.” (Leviticus 23 v28-32)

A very clear indication of the meaning of Atonement is given in the Bible (Leviticus chapter 16). Here we find an Old Testament ritual wherein two goats were to be presented before the High Priest. The action of  "casting lots" was an appeal to God to decide a matter. So Aaron was to "cast lots" to find what each of these goats represented (Leviticus 16 v 8). One was to represent "the Lord"—the God of Israel who later emptied Himself and became our Saviour (1 Corinthians 10 v 4). The other goat was to represent Azazel, which is a term—as many Hebrew references explain—for the "adversary," Satan the Devil!

The goat representing the "Lord" was to die. God told Aaron to "offer it as a sin offering" (Leviticus 16 v 9) just as Jesus Christ gave His life for our sins. But regarding the "adversary goat," God commanded:

"Aaron shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, confess over it all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions, concerning all their sins, putting them on the head of the goat, and shall send it away into the wilderness by the hand of a suitable man. The goat shall bear on itself all their iniquities to an uninhabited land; and he shall release the goat in the wilderness" (Leviticus 16 v 21–22).

Then the man who led this goat symbolizing Satan into the "wilderness" was to bathe his body and even his clothing (Leviticus 16 v 26) for, symbolically, he had come into direct contact with the very embodiment of evil—Satan the Devil! He had been used to separate Satan from the people of God. He had led the "adversary" goat to a wilderness—FAR AWAY—where he (Satan symbolically) could not hurt or deceive God’s people anymore!

When was this ceremony to be carried out? "This shall be a statute forever for you: In the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month" (Leviticus 16 v 29). Though the ancient Israelites understood that this ceremony was to be part of the observance of the Day of Atonement, very few grasped the real spiritual meaning this should have for New Testament Christians. For how could they, since they were blinded even to the meaning of the first goat—the Messiah—when He came to this earth to die for their sins?

Yet the New Testament shows that this is exactly what happens when Christ returns. When  Jesus’ return as King of kings (Revelation 19 v 11–21). Then, in Revelation  chapter 20, we read that a mighty angel is appointed to remove Satan.

"He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while" (Revelation 20 v 2–3).

Clearly Satan— adversary—is CUT OFF from humanity so he is unable to deceive mankind during the one thousand year reign of Christ! That is why humanity will quickly become "at one" with God’s ways—NO MORE SATANIC INFLUENCE. That is why, during the glorious reign of Christ,

"They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain, for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea" (Isaiah 11 v 9).

And Isaiah further explains how at the time the blindness of humanity is fully removed,

"He will destroy on this mountain the surface of the covering cast over all people, and the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death forever, and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces; the rebuke of His people He will take away from all the earth; for the Lord has spoken" (Isaiah 25 v 7–8).

So with the blindness of humanity removed, man can indeed become united with God. For Christ will have paid our part in our sins, but Satan the Devil will certainly be utterly banished to a symbolic "wilderness" or "bottomless pit" and be restrained and held in this kind of a prison for his part in our sins.

God is just! He will place on Satan’s own head the enormous guilt he bears for stirring up mankind against God, for deceiving humanity into thinking God is "unfair" and that His laws and righteous ways are not good. Finally, again, humanity will learn to appreciate God and His ways. Genuinely love and worship the true God of the Bible. For at this point, the Atonement for humanity’s sins will be complete"

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