Good afternoon, everyone. It's a pleasure to be with you once again. And today we have a very special, special opportunity to go into the word of God to investigate something that is very important, not only to us who are presently called of God at this time, but to those in the world we live in who will be called at a future time. We understand the plan and purpose of God is outlined for us in what is called the festivals of God or the annual holy days. And the Day of Atonement is a very special, special day in this great plan of God.
To fully understand and appreciate the Day of Atonement, or what is commonly referred to in the Jewish community as Yom Kippur, or the day of coverings, it is very important that we examine what I will refer to as four key elements... four key elements that comprise an indepth meaning of this most solemn and sacred occasion in the plan of God.
Please remember the holy days and the festivals of God deal with the harvest season. In the spring of the year we have the early festivals formulated based on Passover, Days of Unleavened Bread and Pentecost. But in the fall season of the year, there are other festivals, such as Trumpets, Atonement, Tabernacles, with the Last Great Day.
We're now talking about what transpires on the Day of Atonement in the great plan and purpose of God. So I'd like you to join me as we examine what I refer to these and this is the title of the sermon four keys to understanding the Day of Atonement. Four keys to understanding the Day of Atonement . Those basic keys that we're going to talk about can be summarized in this manner.
Key number one has to do with humility and fasting.
Key number two features the great sacrifice that is given by the high priest on behalf of mankind.
The third key is the removal of the so called azazel goat that is spoken of in the book of Leviticus chapter 16.
And the fourth and final key is we will discuss the joyous occasion called the Jubilee, the Jubilee, that God has ordained, which happens on the Day of Atonement.
So let's begin by looking at key number one. We're going to take a look at this because while fasting is a very important aspect of humbling oneself, let's take a look back in scripture. And if you'll join me, please, we'll go back to the book of Leviticus, in chapter 23, where the festivals of God are outlined for us. And we begin in verse 25, which says that on this particular Day of Atonement,
Leviticus 23:25Ye shall do no servile work therein: but ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD. See All... "You shall do no servile work; and you shall offer an offering made by fire to the Lord." And on verse 26.
V. 26 And the Lord said unto Moses..."
So it's talking about the seventh month. We just read about Trumpets. And now we go to verse 27 into the Day of Atonement.
V. 27 "And on the tenth day of this seventh month there should be a Day of Atonement, and it shall be a holy convocation into you; and you shall afflict your souls ," that means you are to humble yourself to, in essence, come with a humble attitude. And your souls references your nefesh, your body. So you humbly present your body an offering made by fire also to the Lord on this particular day as the ancient old testament symbolism was portrayed.
V. 28 "You shall do no work on that same day, for it is a Day of Atonement, to make an atonement for you before the Lord your God."
Now, this again has to do with something again emphasizing the fall festival season. This has to do with the nation, the nation of Israel. And this also will have to do with the nations of the world when their time of revealing comes from the hand of God.
V. 30 "Whatsoever soul it says in verse 30 that does any work in that same day, that same soul will I destroy among the people."
So this is a very important no work. It's a time of humility. It's a time of humbling oneself. It's so important to God because what we are to do on this day is to focus our whole attention, as it were, on what transpires on the Day of Atonement.
If we allow our minds to wonder here, wonder there, worrying about work, worrying about what we're going to eat, it takes away from what God is trying to convey. For us, on the first part of the plan of God, we practice this very day individually, because it has great meaning to us as well. But when it comes to the fall season of the year, this thing extrapolates and broadens out and covers all mankind, because, remember, the Lord Christ did not just die for the firstfruits of the first harvest season. He died for all mankind. And so this plays a very important part to the whole world in which we live, because many prophesies in the scriptures make it very clear, and God speaks in this manner.
He says unto the nations that know not the Lord, they do not know God, they do not understand His plan, His purpose being worked out here below. The only reason we understand it is because we have been called and enlightened as firstfruits into a great plan that God is working out to bring salvation to mankind. That's why we're here today. Our training is now for a time to assist Jesus Christ when this day will become a major revelation to all mankind. And mankind will have to come and humble itself before the mighty hand of God.
And fasting plays a very important part in that as well. You'll remember, if you will, that in Exodus 10, in verse 3, that Moses came before the Pharaoh, and Moses was relating the words of God to the Pharaoh, and he said, "How long do you refuse to humble yourself?" And that word humble is the same Hebrew word ahnav. How come you don't humble yourself before the mighty hand of God in light of what you have seen? And, of course, God was proving His purpose and His point, and all of that is recorded in scripture.
We find in Deuteronomy chapter 8 in verse 2 that God took the Israelites in the wilderness, and He said He humbled them to see whether or not they were going to obey His commands. The same Hebrew word, ahnav. So it means humbling self, walking humbly with God. And especially in this case we add the context of fasting, which Isaiah 58 describes the kind of fast that God looks forward to in verse 5.
So in this particular area, the execution of this first and important key of understanding is that fasting has to do with, again, focusing your attention and your sincere desire to be what? Repentant before God. This is what we have had to learn now. We have had to voluntarily come, because Romans chapter 2 tells us the goodness of God leads you to repentance. So you and I have been led to repentance. And what did we repent of? We came to see that we had violated the laws of God, 1 John 3:4Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. See All.... And because of that we recognize and identified ourselves as sinners before God who needed what? Forgiveness of our sin. When that happened, we then came to the wonderful sacrifice of Jesus Christ, which is the second important key that we will discuss in a moment.
But the fasting on Atonement is about repentance. And the world we live in has not understood the need for repentance and how it relates to their relationship with God. God is going to bring the world to repentance. And the Day of Atonement pictures this very, very important time. That's why it is such a such an important day that nothing else must interfere with it. You don't want your mind wondering here or there. You want to focus on what needs to be understood about this day.
And what they are going to learn as you and I have learned in the early festivals, the what we call the early harvest festival in the spring, what they're going to learn in the latter festival season is this: That they do not have a right relationship with God and Jesus Christ. That's what you and I had to learn. That's what we were brought to understand. And then we were learning how to change by the wonderful gift of the Spirit of God.
Well, once mankind learns its lesson and comes in repentance, it too will receive access to the Spirit of God. God is no respecter of persons, but He's going to have to teach mankind what mankind presently refuses to do, to humble itself before almighty God. Human beings have not learned this great lesson. Only a small fraction of it. That's why scriptures, the keeping of the Day of Atonement, applies to us in the Church of God, but will apply also in the broad world in which we live when it comes their time to see and understand this marvelous plan of God.
We come to this very important understanding because to repent means what? It means stop doing what you have been doing that is in error and contrary to the scriptures of God. And what did we learn? We learn that we were not worshipping God on the right day. We learned that we were not doing many things the way God had outlined in scripture. We certainly did not know about His annual festivals. We were told those were Jewish days that were done. And, yet, God says at the very beginning of Leviticus 23, "These are My feasts," and He begins with the Sabbath, the weekly Sabbath, and then goes on to the annual festivals that are outlined, what He is doing with all mankind in the process of time.
So you and I are in a very unique period of time in our own lives because judgment is now on the house of God. We're being judged now, not the world. Their time of judgment is yet to come. Day of Atonement will be very significant to the world as a whole. Right now they're too busy doing what they want to do and will have to learn some very hard lessons according to the prophetic outline of scripture.
When we apply the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ to our lives, this automatically brings into play key number two, the sacrifice of the High Priest. We have that recorded back in Leviticus 16, where we have much of the information dealing with a ceremony that took place on this time. Aaron was, of course, the high priest, and he had to do certain things on the Day of Atonement, and it was to represent the nation, the nation as a whole.
God has a specific plan outlined, and it goes through in chapter 16 and explains verse by verse what was done. It later gives way to the spiritual High Priest, Jesus Christ, and what He is doing now on behalf of His people who are being called now as firstfruits, and ultimately how it will apply to all mankind when they realize the full significance of the Day of Atonement.
They will realize that something has happened that they were not aware of, that they had been deceived. As the scripture clearly says, mankind has been deceived. Revelation 12 in verse 9 reminds us that Satan, the driving force behind the scenes, the god of this world, has fooled people, deceived them, by giving them hybrid Christianity, a mix where they think they have the answers to things. But the Bible clearly shows they are in error.
Now, when we go back to the scripture and use the examples given in Romans 15:4For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. See All..., makes it clear everything written is for our learning. That's why we're here to learn now. The world has a time of learning yet to come. They have to have and go through a similar experience that we have gone through in our period of time and judgment now. The high priest then gives way to the spiritual High Priest that we refer to as the true Jesus Christ of the Bible, a High Priest after the order of Melchizedek. And He is the One that the Church of God gives homage to. We worship Him, and He is the one that the apostle Paul warned about and said, concerning the god of this world, he said, I worry about you, like mother Eve was deceived and taken into a wrong direction, that the spirit of this world would be made manifest, that the serpent would do what? That he would corrupt the thinking of individuals so that they would embrace another Jesus, another gospel, and another spirit.
So we have come to recognize something in our lives, that the high priest who performed this sacrifice in the Old Testament, it was Aaron, the brother of Moses. In the New Testament, it is pictured as Jesus Christ, our spiritual High Priest who's at the right hand of God the Father, who went into the heavens on our behalf to open access to the throne of God the Father. The world is going to discover this marvelous truth when it is their time. Right now they don't understand. Even Jesus said on the stake when He was dying on that cross, he said, "Father, forgive them. They know not what they do." They did not really understand the mechanics of what was transpiring. And mankind still doesn't understand. Only a small handful have been given that understanding. And if you understand this, then you are one of those individuals, and you want to guard that very, very carefully. Wonderful truth and wonderful understanding.
What God has shown us is that if we don't stop what separates us from God, then we're on the wrong side of the ledger. What separates us from God? It's sin. Sin is defined as, again, the breaking of God's commandments. When we break God's commandments, we're guilty of sin. And Romans tells us in the book of Romans that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. So once we have recognized that, then we recognize that we've got to go to our High Priest to receive the sacrifice that was given on our behalf so that we could have our sins forgiven. What the world will come to see on that Day of Atonement in the future, God will show mankind the true Jesus Christ, the true sacrifice that was given on behalf of mankind, that many do not really understand or grasp.
Turn with me, if you will, to Acts chapter 4 verse 12. In Acts 4:12Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. See All..., we see here that Peter, filled with God's Spirit, brings forth the problems that the nation was facing at that time, and then he tells them why Jesus was the stone that was set at nought. And verse 12 says,
Acts 4:12Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. See All... Neither is there salvation in any other.
You can't go to different religions and try to find the salvation of God in those religions. It's not the new age movement. It's not what people like to think would be their future, such as, "Well, it doesn't matter what we believe, as long as we all love one another, we can all get to heaven." Well, it's not in the Bible that way. We are to love one another, and by this shall all men know that you are my disciples. And mankind has to learn that. They have to learn to practice 1 Corinthians 15, which is the love chapter which is the manifestation of that love, once we grasp and comprehend that. Then notice what it says.
Acts 4:12Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. See All... Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name in heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
If this does not come to pass in our lives as individual men and women or as in the nations of the world, then there will be no salvation, plain and simple. God has worked out a marvelous plan, and that plan requires that we, number one, come to God, that first key, we come in humility. Ahnav in the Hebrew is the word, and it means to humble oneself greatly. This is a time of deep introspection, looking at yourself and asking yourself. This is what the world is going to have to do on the Day of Atonement.
You and I had to do this as preparation for the Passover in the spring harvest. But we're talking about the fall harvest, and the world doesn't know. They think they've done everything right, because the Proverb says there's a way that seems trying to the man, but the ends thereof are the ways of death. And mankind is experiencing his world is dying before his very eyes, because they have violated the laws of God and the commands of God.
Now, they're separated from the true God, and anyone who practices sin becomes separated from the true God, because God will not hear the prayers of those who practice sin. We have to be repentant and constantly repenting each and every day. It's not a one‑time occurrence.
So the second key then is acknowledging who the true High Priest of mankind really is: The Son of God Jesus the Christ.
Now, isn't it interesting the note that in Matthew chapter 3 we have this very occurrence where Jesus came and He was baptized, and a voice came from heaven confirming, " This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased." My beloved Son. He was the Son of God.
Matthew 4 takes you to the Spirit of God leading Jesus into the wilderness to do confrontation with Satan the devil, the god of this world. What was the first thing that Satan did in attacking Jesus after He was 40 days? The symbol of trial, He hungered deeply. He was very, very hungry. Satan comes and says, "If you be the Son of God..." Well, Jesus knew he was the Son of God. There was confirmation from heaven. But Satan comes with the demon of doubt into the mind of Jesus and attacks Him, and says, " If you be the Son of God, turn these stones to bread. You've got the power to do it."
Jesus knew exactly where to go. He went right to the book of Deuteronomy, the book of the law, the second giving of the law, as it sometimes is referred to. And what He did, He quoted, "Man shall " do what? "Not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God." That's what makes us alive and meaningful when we understand the power in the word of God.
So he tried to overthrow Christ by constantly coming at Him, and he attacked him basically the way he attacks most human beings. And the world has been attacked in the same way, the lust of the eye, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life. Mankind on the Day of Atonement will have to surrender to God and acknowledge that they have been victims. They have participated in the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life. They will have to repent, and they will have to come to the High Priest who has the only sacrifice, the only name given whereby they can receive forgiveness and mercy, and God is more than willing to forgive them if they do that.
The only problem they run into is what is what is spoken of here in the Old Testament, in the book of Leviticus. That if anyone does not follow those instructions as was given in Old Testament Israel, for them to stay in a workable relationship with God, the God of the Old Testament who was their king, they had to fulfill those requirements on a yearly basis. And when they came to this, what did we find? That if anyone did not follow those, they were cut off. And in the same way in the New Testament we have in Luke 13:3I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. See All..., any New Testament Christian who refuses to repent and come to God on God's terms, what does it say? It says,
Luke 13:3I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. See All... "Except you repent, you all likewise perish."
It will take the individual out of the picture of the plan and purpose of God. So this plays a very, very important part. There's only one High Priest and Mediator between God and man, and that is Christ Jesus. As the New Testament shows that once He accomplished what He did for the firstfruits in the plan of God, the veil in the temple was ripped from the top to the bottom, meaning now those individuals called of God would have access to the Father through Jesus Christ.
Now, the same thing holds true for mankind. Once they come to recognize their need for repentance and crying out to God for forgiveness, they will receive forgiveness. And what will transpire, that veil that blocks them will separate the same way once the sin is repented of, and they will now have access to God the Father through Jesus Christ, and the Spirit of God will be available to them. We're talking about reconciliation. We're talking about the importance of how God wants our relationship with Him to develop. And it's all about Godly relationships, the relationship with God the Father, a relationship with one another as fellow human beings. That summarizes what the law of God is all about: Love of God and love of our fellow man.
Jesus made it very clear that's what is the summation of the law. And that law is being written in our minds and in our hearts by the Spirit of God. And we'll learn more about that at another time, on another day called Atonements counterpart, which would be the Feast of Pentecost. What happens in Pentecost in the spring is what is happening to the world on the Day of Atonement. So the High Priest, Jesus Christ, is made manifest to the world, and that will give them access.
Let's go to Hebrews chapter 9. And the book of Hebrews is the book of the New Testament High Priest, Jesus Christ. And in chapter 9 in verse 7, it says,
Hebrews 9:7But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people: See All... But into the second went the high priest alone once a year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, in the errors of the people :
Then it goes into Jesus Christ and says in verse 11.
V. 11 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 in this building ;
V. 12 For neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood He entered once into the holy place, having attained eternal salvation for us.
So here we have this picture, the Old Testament symbolism, the New Testament fulfillment, all there for our learning, all there for mankind to once embrace on the Day of Atonement. Key number two, a direct picture of Jesus Christ, and He and He only is that great sacrifice. Type and antitype is how it would be referred to.
Now, we come to another very important point, and that's what we have been struggling with in this world for a long time. Going to take a look at this individual. He's called the god of this world in 2 Corinthians 4:4In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. See All.... He's also in the book of Ephesians. Refers to him as the prince of the power of the air. He has played a very powerful and dynamic application of influence upon mankind. You and I have had to struggle and fight against him and his evil cohorts, the demonic world. And we're told that in Ephesians chapter 6 that we wage war against this individual, and we are in a spiritual war.
Going back to Leviticus chapter 16, we have a reenactment on a yearly basis of this account of what transpires with the high priest and what is called the twin goat sacrifice. I notice in the spring we talk about lambs, and in the fall we talk about goats. So the goats are used in this. So it's a different sacrifice. It's a different representation. But after the high priest does what he is instructed to do, in verse 5 of Leviticus 16, it says.
Leviticus 16:5And he shall take of the congregation of the children of Israel two kids of the goats for a sin offering, and one ram for a burnt offering. See All... And he shall take of the congregation of the children of Israel two kids of the goats for a sin offering, one ram for a burnt offering.
V. 6 And Aaron shall offer his offering for a sin offering, or his bullock for a sin offering, which is for himself, and make an atonement for himself, and for his house.
V. 7 And he then shall take the two goats, and present them before the Lord...
Now, this is very important, because there's a lot of confusion today in the commentaries and in various areas regarding the two goats. There are some people who believe the two goats represent Jesus Christ in totality. But that is not correct, in light of what the scripture clearly reveals to us. Commentaries are divided because they say the azazel could also be Jesus Christ or Satan the devil. They're really not sure. Now, the context gives us a very important understanding. It goes on to say, verse 7,
Leviticus 16:7And he shall take the two goats, and present them before the LORD at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. See All... He shall present the two goats, and he present them before the Lord.
Now, why before the Lord? Simply because it is only the Lord who can properly discern where the right goat is, as opposed to the wrong goat. Now, this has great significance to us in our everyday life. Says Satan deceives the whole world. Why is he able to do that? Because he pawns himself off as an angel of light, an angel of light. And so people think they've got the real McCoy, when in reality they don't. They have a counterfeit Christ, so well done so that the average person cannot discern properly, unless God reveals who this azazel goat really is. And so it goes ahead and it says what?
V. 7 You present him before the Lord at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.
And Aaron shall do what?
V. 8 He shall cast lots upon the two goats; one for the Lord, one to represent the Lord, and the other lot for the scapegoat.
Now, the King James uses the term scapegoat. It's a bad translation. It would better be renders escape goat, one that is allowed to escape or be taken out and away. When we use the term scapegoat, we tend to get the impression that somebody has been taken advantage of and made a scapegoat and that the individual is not really the problem. This goat representation is a serious problem for mankind, one that mankind does not understand fully, because he has been the driving force behind the scenes. And we have waged wars, human kind, against this spirit influence down through time. That's why he is called the "god of this world."
So what happens? The lot is cast, one for the Lord, and the other for the scapegoat. And he shall bring the goat upon which the Lord's lot fell, and offer him for a sin offering. That's what Jesus Christ truly represented. He represented God as a sin offering for mankind.
V. 10 And the goat, on which the lot fell for the scapegoat, or the azazel, shall be presented alive before the Lord, to make an atonement with him.
Now, that's the word that throws sometimes people, an atonement. They're thinking, well, that has to be Christ making an atonement. No. It's better making an exchange. An exchange of the sins that have all dominated man's world and mankind are being what? Exchanged and placed on the source of the very one who was the originator of sin himself, Satan the devil. He was the original sinner. The liar, the murderer, from the beginning. He's the one that led mankind astray. Mankind has suffered under his rule as nobody can even begin to fully explain.
People have heartaches and stories they can tell you. So much of it is generated by the god of this world who has impacted all of us and put such heavy burdens on us in ways that we sometimes wonder, and people sometimes say, "Where is God in all of this?" Well, God is where He has always been, on His throne, working out His great plan of salvation for mankind, but having to let mankind learn some bitter and hard lessons, because mankind won't listen just by talk. God said that back through Jeremiah. He said, "I did not talk about burnt offerings when I brought you out of Egypt." He says, "I said obey my voice." They wouldn't do it.
History of the Old Testament tells us they fell prey to that. They would not listen. They wanted to do it their way. The nations today want to do things their way. They use the term, "We have our own national interest at stake." Well, God has a big stake in all of this too. His stake is the very salvation of mankind through a plan and purpose that only He was able to bring to pass, and He will bring it to pass.
And so what we have is that this azazel will have to be taken out of the way. So the Day of Atonement, this third key that is so important for us to understand, is that this is symbolizing the condemnation of Satan the devil. He is that old serpent. He has been the plague against humanity. He will be taken and placed for a thousand years, incarcerated, according to scripture.
Revelation talks about that in the 20th chapter 21st chapter, I believe it is. Let's go. I think it's in the 20th chapter. Make sure I have this correct. Yes, chapter 20 and verse 1. And a fit man comes, and he's not going to deceive the nations anymore. So during that time we have, again, the nations of the world now breaking free from the insidious rule of Satan the devil because he's going to be incarcerated along with his demons, and mankind will breathe a sigh of relief for the first time. They will no longer have the terrible, terrible assault of the evil one to have to deal with on a day to day basis.
So key number three is very important in so much it reveals, again, who we're against on a day to day basis.
And now we need to go back and emphasize, before we get to key number four, on the joyous day of Jubilee. I can't emphasize enough the following. The world is going to have to learn that they have been guilty of spiritual idolatry. You and I have been guilty of spiritual idolatry in the Churches of God. This is what you read about in Revelation 2 and 3, the problems, the difficulties that are recorded there. The Church of God has not been clean down through time, and it is not clean even today. There are many things that have to be cleansed and worked out, and the only way is through repentance and coming to God. That's why judgment is upon us right now, that we must if we see anything that we are amiss in light of the word of God, we've got to change it and cry out to God for forgiveness. He will forgive us and, through the power of His Spirit, help us to overcome that we don't repeat the same mistakes again. That's why 1 Corinthians 10 is written.
1 Cor 10:11Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. See All... All these things happened to them for our learning, upon whom the ends of the age are come.
God does not want us to lust after wrong things. And we live in a lust filled age today. You hear commercials, and what do you hear all the time? You hear it. I hear it. "You deserve the very best." Do you? Not according to the word of God. You deserve death. For the wages of sin is death. That's what we've earned. But man doesn't want to hear the reality of that. No. Don't preach to me smooth things. Tell me I'm okay. You're okay. Tell me everything is great. God says, no, it's not. He says, "Cry allowed and spare not. Show the people their sin."
Mankind has not seen its sin, thinks what it's doing is correct. You and I thought we were doing things that were correct, and we had to learn to repent by the grace of God and come to newness of life in Christ Jesus. He is our role model. He's the one we're going to follow. He's the one that can provide salvation for all of us. Mankind is going to have to come to recognize this very thing.
Notice Jeremiah chapter 3. When we studied the old covenant, and the new covenant is spoken of in scripture, we come to recognize we're talking about a marriage relationship, a marriage relationship that brings two parties together in a unity and a faithfulness of devotion and service to each other.
Ancient Israel went astray. And in chapter 3 we notice, in verse 13, God is saying,
Jeremiah 3:13Only acknowledge thine iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against the LORD thy God, and hast scattered thy ways to the strangers under every green tree, and ye have not obeyed my voice, saith the LORD. See All... Only acknowledge your iniquity, the wrongs that you have done. The world is going to, on the Day of Atonement, come to acknowledge their iniquity, their lawlessness, their sin, their disobedience to God, just as we have had to do in our lives in the spring harvest and in the early harvest, as pictured why we are called now. If we were not called now, we would be this Day of Atonement would be representative of a time we would be called in the future.
Mankind as a whole will be called at a future time and acknowledge what you and I are having to acknowledge in our everyday life right now. And so God mercifully tells us, He says,
V. 13 "That you have transgressed against the Lord your God. "
Would any of us say we have not transgressed? No, we have all transgressed. We acknowledge our sins. He says,
V. 13 "And you have scattered your ways to strangers. "
Have we done that? You better believe we've done that, and we've had to acknowledge that in every green tree. In other words, you've just wasted time. You've rendered life away and you didn't recognize what you were doing in the truer sense of the word. And He goes on to say,
V. 13 And you have not obeyed notice again the voice of your Lord.
You haven't listened carefully. Well, we're trying to listen. We're trying really hard with God's help to listen. There's going to come a time when the world is going to have to try real hard to listen to what God is saying. And He says,
V. 13 "O, backsliding children," says the Lord, "return." Why? "I am married unto you. "
You know for a marriage to succeed, a man and a woman pledge an oath to each other. And if there's going to be fidelity, if there's going to be trueness and soundness and unity in a marriage, it is mandatory that you can't have, as we say, roving eyes, that take you this way, that way, or you want to play around, as we have in our society today. People play around. Take a look at the Hollywood community, and what do you see there? Terrible examples of infidelity. There's no fidelity in some of these. Not everyone, but, you know, the vast majority that are so held up high are people that practice terrible, terrible examples of fidelity in marriage. It goes on to say,
V. 14 "I am married to you. And I will take you, one from a city and two from a family, and I will bring you unto Zion.
V. 15 I will give you shepherds according to My heart, which will feed you with knowledge and understanding."
That's the job of the ministry, to feed the people of God, so they know who they are, what they are, why they are, why they're on this planet, where they're going, and what is their future destiny. The scripture addresses all these things.
We see a world today breaking down before our very eyes. It's collapsing. But God shows that when we fast and we humble ourselves, we learn a very important lesson. We break down very quickly. We're not very strong, and that unless we have something to sustain us, we won't last very long. This is why, again, the world has not yet learned its lesson. We should never try to fast to get God to do something. We should fast because we want to get closer to Him so that we, as individuals, can understand His mind, His motive, His actions.
The book of Ecclesiastes is filled with this admonition. Here's a man called Solomon, given great wisdom and understanding in a physical realm. And, yet, he had everything and anything going the way he wanted. He had his cup of tea, so to speak. And yet what he ended up doing, he says, when it was all said and done, "If you leave God out of the picture, your life is empty. It goes nowhere." And so what does it say? Let us hear the conclusion of the matter in chapter 12. He says,
Ecclesiastes 12:13Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. See All... "Fear God, keep his commandments, for this is the whole man."
This is what keeps you on that straight and narrow path that leads to life. If we don't follow that command, then we fall prey to the temptations of this world. Only when a person has turned to God and looks to God for His strength will he then begin to solve the problems and difficulties in the lives of individuals. God tells us that the fast He wants is a fast of humility. If you repent of breaking the commandments of God and start with enthusiasm and zeal to embrace the things of God, things will turn around. If you truly love God, then the Spirit of God will lead you to obey Him, not to disobey Him. And Jesus Christ living His life in us will always lead us in the direction with His spirit to God the Father.
Mankind has not yet learned this lesson. That's why you see in scripture divisions among nations, divisions. Everything is divisions. You even find divisions in the Church of God. According to the scriptures we experience it in our lifetime. Why are there divisions? Simply because divisions are the result of doing what people seem or think is right in their own eyes. The closer you get to doing the things according to the scripture, the better off you are. And because divisions come up, it means that there are individual circumstances where the commandments of God are not being kept. And people then are violating, for example, respect for God's Sabbath. Do all the nations of the world respect God's Sabbath? No. Did we always respect God's Sabbath? No. Did we have to learn to respect God's Sabbath? Yes. Will they learn to respect God's Sabbath? Yes.
What happens when the Kingdom of God is on this earth? The law shall go forth out of Zion. It will go out of Jerusalem, and people will learn. What if people don't want to obey the laws and things of God? Simple. God says, "You don't want to do it? No rain. You still don't want to do it?" Just read it yourself in Zechariah 14. God says, "You'll bring punishments on yourself, simply because you don't want to listen." God is telling us very plainly that Sabbath breaking and idolatry were the cardinal sins that brought ancient Israel down in the Old Testament.
Ezekiel chapter 20 deals with that. You can study it at your own leisure. You and I are told not to repeat same mistakes. That's our calling now in the early harvest. But the world is going to have to recognize that they have been guilty of Sabbath breaking and idolatry. They have bowed down to strange gods. They have not acknowledged the God of heaven and earth. They say evolution is what made us. They bow to the god of evolution rather than to the God who created the heavens and earth, who gives us every breathe we have.
What the Day of Atonement is going to be teaching, what we learn, is that the nations are going to face their great tests, their time of acknowledgment, that they have not played by the rules of God. None of us have. All have to come to recognize if we don't play by the rules of God, we won't play at all. And Jesus makes that very plain, "Except we repent, we all likewise perish." And I don't think any of us in our right mind want to perish. Well, then the answer is, get in harmony with God, as fast as you can. Acknowledge your weaknesses and ask God to guide you. Mankind has yet to learn these fundamental lessons.
So that we've had the first key, fasting and humbling ourselves. It's what's pictured for the world on the scene for the Day of Atonement.
Followed by the true Revelation of the true High Priest of a God who provided the sacrifice for their sins.
Third, we find that the awesome hand of God is going to do what? It's going to bring to us the awareness, again, of the azazel that has been the real troublemaker behind the scenes.
But now, we come to the joyous day of Jubilee. Key number four. Not a whole lot is spoken of at times about the Jubilee, but it will be a great time when the world will experience freedom from the invisible influence of Satan and the demonic realm. We cannot begin to imagine how wonderful that will be, because we've had to live under this influence, all mankind has, for 6,000 years. But when it becomes the time for mankind to be dealt with in the fall harvest season and you and I, dear, Brethren, are being trained now so that we can assist Jesus Christ in bringing many sons and daughters unto glory to meet relatives and family and friends and people from past generations and to work in harmony with them and show them the true love of Jesus Christ and how He gave His life so that they could live again, and because of the resurrection, that's why you're alive again. You have come from the dust of the ground, and you would have stayed in the ground if the Son of God had not given His life for you.
And all these others that you see, they are the firstfruits of God's great plan. They have a testimony to you world that these are people who came out of the world, surrendered themselves to Jesus Christ and are given the glorious honor and privilege to be part of the first resurrection, changed from physical flesh to divine spirit, which is your destiny to become part of the glorious family of God. And they are here to help you. They will be in cities. They will be in states. They will be in they are kings and priests working with Jesus Christ and all the other saints of the first resurrection to glorify great God.
They brought fruit, fruit that glorified God the Father through the Spirit of God. Now, that spirit is made available to you, and now you have the opportunity, if you will so choose, to humble yourself, to accept that great offering, to realize you don't have to fight the god of this world. Now, you have the joyous freedom to live your life free from the pain, the suffering, the heartache, the wars, and all the things that made you cry as human beings when you first lived that first physical life many, many eons of time ago.
So, Brethren, the family of God, what this basically is going to be doing, once Satan is taken and placed out of the picture, it's going to be a breath of a new beginning for mankind. Mankind then will be featured as it moves towards the Feast of Tabernacles, a time of great joy and happiness, and this new covenant will be made manifest to mankind. Their fruits will be then made manifest that we as human beings will have a new relationship with God.
We, right now, have a wonderful relationship with God that would not have been possible without the calling of God and giving us this understanding. God will call mankind to understand the great purpose of life, that to enter the family of God is what it is all about. If you do not enter the family of God, you have no destiny, no future.
Unfortunately, there will be some who will rebel. And you ask yourself, how in the world would someone want to rebel against such a wonderful blessing such as that, to live forever in the family of God? Why would they rebel? It's called the pride of life. They will not surrender the pride of life. They would rather hang on to their own lustful desires rather than to humble themselves before the mighty hand of God who will raise us up in due time as He has promised to do.
Brethren, it is only through repentance and obedience to God that any person will have the privilege or the honor to enter into the family of God. On this Day of Atonement, let's encourage our own hearts by zealously examining ourselves in light of the word of God, recognizing how the world will have to come and do this very same thing, because we can't afford to let anything come between us and God and Jesus Christ. But there is an enemy that would like to do that, to put a stumbling block to the sons and daughters of God.
Well, I hope you will take to heart and consider why this day is so important, not only to us now, as we rehearse it on a yearly basis in the Church of God, but what it means to the world to be set free. Once and for all, to, first of all, come to recognize their need to walk humbly with God, something they haven't understood, and to come to see the true Jesus Christ, the High Priest of our salvation; to understand why it is so wonderful to have the adversary taken out of the picture, where you can have a deep breath and know that you now can be at ease, instead of in a state of disease, always fearful, worrying, wondering what is coming. And then, finally, to see the joyous fulfillment after 49 years, the 50th year of the joyous Jubilee.
Isn't it interesting, we have in the spring we have seven weeks, 49 days, and on the 50th day is the Feast of Pentecost? In the fall we have 49 years, and the 50th year is celebrated as the Jubilee. It's going to be a wonderful time, Brethren. It's a wonderful time to be called now, that you should have the honor and the privilege to bear the name, "a servant of the living God."
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