When the Bible states that it is a day to make atonement for us, what does that mean? How does God make atonement for you?
Sermon presented by Roy Holladay on September 14, 2013 during the Day of Atonement in the Chattanooga, Tennessee congregation.
Thinking back on the past, your first Day of Atonement may be the first time you ever fasted. I don’t know how true that is for most of us, but if that were not true, do you remember the first time you ever fasted? Probably most of us have forgotten that, but do you remember the first Day of Atonement you ever kept?
I remember it very vividly because somewhere on a hillside I was sitting in some pine trees most of the day watching what was going on around me about 30 miles from here, or 40 miles out in the country in Charleston. I was 17 years old at the time and my father said, “We’re going to bale hay today,” and I thought this is the Day of Atonement and I’m not going to bale hay. So I knew if I stayed in the house I would be baling hay, so I went up on the mountainside. Later on I found out, when I met a baptizing tour, that may not have been the best thing to do since I was under the authority of my Dad still. But at that time I knew the difference in the Holy Days. I knew that you should keep the Holy Days; that was 1958. My Dad was not too happy with my actions needless to say, when I came off the hill. But all he said was change your clothes and help me load the hay which I was very happy to do. So I got to eat somewhere about 11:00 that night, but I was very happy to do that.
Many of you, as I said earlier, will remember awhile back that we kept two services on the Day of Atonement. And you might ask, “Why in the world would you hold two services on the Day of Atonement?” Well, because we like to punish people. No, that’s not the reason. The main reason was that in the early days of the history of this modern era of the church there were not many congregations, not many churches. And so when people got together on a Holy Day it was an opportunity to dump the whole load on them. It was an opportunity to give them as much information, to teach them as much as you possibly can. And many churches were scattered around the country and on the Holy Days members would come to a central location. I remember back in the early days in Pittsburgh, we came out in ‘63, Norma and I as a couple to serve, on the Holy Days we’d have 2,000 people. We didn’t have 2,000 people in Pittsburgh, but they would just come from all over Pennsylvania, Ohio, you know just everywhere to attend. Same was true for Chicago in the ‘60s, you had these large gatherings.
Most members today have a local congregation. They have the opportunity to hear 50 sermons plus during the year. So, to come to the Feast of Tabernacles and have 2 services every day is not necessary. How many of you remember having two services at the Feast of Tabernacles? Quite a few of you, but how many of you remember having 2 services at the Feast of Tabernacles where the sermon, the average length was at least 2 hours? I’m not talking about service; I’m talking about the sermon. The sermonettes were ½ hour or 45 minutes and many times there would be 3 meetings. You know, 2 services and you come back in the evening for a Bible study and you would ask why? The children would sit there all day long and listen to sermons and the parents would. Now over the years we have come to realize again, since we have local congregations, there’s not that need to be able to have so many services at the Feasts, and so you have a little more time to spend with yourself and with your family and to fellowship and to do other things.
So, here we are on the Day of Atonement and I had to laugh at Alan’s sermonette talking about water. I don’t think there was a couple of sentences he didn’t mention water in one form or another. But you know that’s good. Let’s go back to Leviticus 23 and v.26 where the Day of Atonement is commanded by God for us to observe. And again, we need to be aware and always cognizant that what we do is based upon this Scripture. It’s based upon God’s commandments and it’s what God set aside for His people to do.
Leviticus 23:26-32 Leviticus 23:26-32 26 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,
27 Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation to you; and you shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire to the LORD.
28 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.
29 For whatever soul it be that shall not be afflicted in that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people.
30 And whatever soul it be that does any work in that same day, the same soul will I destroy from among his people.
31 You shall do no manner of work: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.
32 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.
American King James Version× And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 27 ”Also the tenth day of this seventh month shall be the Day of Atonement. It shall be a holy convocation for you;… So notice several things as we go through. It’s a commanded assembly, that’s what a holy convocation is – it’s a commanded assembly for you.… you shall afflict your souls, …If you notice in your margin here, afflict says humble. You and I are to humble our souls so we fast as we found out last Sabbath. We’re in the process of humbling ourselves… and you offer an offering made by fire to the Lord . 28 And you shall do no work on that same day, for it is the Day of Atonement,… Notice, why is it called the Day of Atonement? It is a day to make atonement for you. So, this is a day .… to make atonement for you before the Lord your God. 29 For any person who is not afflicted in soul on that same day shall be cut off from his people. 30 And any person who does any work on that same day, that person I will destroy from among his people…. You don’t have to prepare food on this day. You get up and you don’t have to go in and put the teapot on or the coffee pot on or drink a glass of water, or you’ll think about breakfast. You get up and I guess I’ll go read my Bible; I’ll go pray and immediately all that time that was absorbed in all these other activities you can devote to prayer and Bible study now. Then it says… 31 You shall do no manner of work; it shall be a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. 32 It shall be to you a Sabbath of solemn rest, and shall you afflict …or humble… your souls; on the ninth day of the month at even, from evening to evening, you shall celebrate your Sabbath.”
So it’s a day to make atonement for us, brethren. Now in Acts 27, just to back up what we’re talking about here, there are those who’ll say, “Ok, they kept it in the Old Testament but it’s not commanded in the New”. But I’d like you to notice in Acts 27 v.9 that the apostle Paul was observing the Day of Atonement. It says:
Acts 27:9 Acts 27:9Now when much time was spent, and when sailing was now dangerous, because the fast was now already past, Paul admonished them,
American King James Version× Now when much time had been spent, and sailing was now dangerous because the Fast was already over, Paul advised them, …Now I want you to notice it says ‘the Fast’ here. Not just a fast, but the Fast.
Now my margin has a little number here and it says, “The Day of Atonement – late September or early October” and so the translators realized that this was referring to a specific fast. Now I want you to notice – Paul is the apostle to the Gentiles. If anybody’s going to come along and say, “Well, you don’t have to fast on the Day of Atonement” it would have been Paul. He would have had a ready-made excuse; he’s on a boat. He’s out in the middle of the Mediterranean; he’s being buffeted by waves and you know the ship is going this way and the ship is going that way. Not good when you’re not eating and he still observed and kept the Day of Atonement. So, it was observed under some very difficult circumstances here by Paul.
Now when the Bible states that it is a day to make atonement for us, what does that mean? How do you make atonement for you or how does God, maybe would be the better way of putting it, make atonement for you? Let me quote from an article from Baker’s Encyclopedia of the Bible on the Old Testament. It says, “A Hebrew term frequently translated atone, has the same basic meaning as to wipe out, to erase.” If you ever see somebody come along, “Will you erase the blackboard for me?” so you erase it. To cover – put a cover on a bed, you cover the bed. Put a lid on a jar you cover what’s in the jar to cover. Or perhaps more generally – to remove. In the King James Version it is translated by such expressions as – to make atonement, to forgive, to appease, to pacify, to pardon, to purge, to put off, to reconcile. I want you to notice especially the word reconcile. Let me show you one place it is used – Genesis 6:14 Genesis 6:14Make you an ark of gopher wood; rooms shall you make in the ark, and shall pitch it within and without with pitch.
American King James Version×where Noah was told:
Genesis 6:14 Genesis 6:14Make you an ark of gopher wood; rooms shall you make in the ark, and shall pitch it within and without with pitch.
American King James Version× Make yourself an ark of gopherwood; make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and outside with pitch.
Pitch would be like, well it’s pitch, like tar almost that you would just smear over the outside and the inside and it would waterproof it. It would cover the boards. So it gives you the idea of what the word means. In Hebrew it’s the Hebrew word kaphar. We say this day is called Yom Kipper, The Day of Atonement and it is a day for covering, erasing, it is a day to remove.
How do we make atonement? What has to be done to make atonement for the people and why do we need atonement? That would be the main thing that we’d need to concentrate on. That is why do we need it? Part of the answer is found over here in Leviticus 17 and v.11 we read:
Leviticus 17:11 Leviticus 17:11For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you on the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that makes an atonement for the soul.
American King James Version× For the life of the flesh is in the blood,… so the life is in the blood… and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.’ …So it is blood then that atones for your soul, or that does something, or that erases something or covers something, pardons something, purges something and reconciles you.
Now who’s blood? When, how is all of that done? Well, Leviticus 16 if you back up here just a few chapters, we have a whole chapter devoted to the Day of Atonement. And there were a series of ceremonies performed on this day and an offering given on this day in the Old Testament that illustrates how Atonement was to take place. How it was to take place. Let’s notice beginning in v.7, we’re not going to read all of this chapter, just highlight a few verses.
Leviticus 16:7-10 Leviticus 16:7-10 7 And he shall take the two goats, and present them before the LORD at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.
8 And Aaron shall cast lots on the two goats; one lot for the LORD, and the other lot for the scapegoat.
9 And Aaron shall bring the goat on which the LORD’s lot fell, and offer him for a sin offering.
10 But 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 a scapegoat into the wilderness.
American King James Version×,14,17 He shall take the two goats and present them before the Lord at the door of the tabernacle of meeting…. That’s where they would go to meet with God… 8 Then Aaron shall cast lots for the two goats: one lot for the Lord …one lot was for God… and the other lot for the scapegoat…. Now as I’ve explained to you in the past, the word scapegoat is an unfortunate translation. It would be better to call it an escape goat. Scapegoat means you know, somebody blame’s put on and he’s not really guilty – he’s the scapegoat. But the escape goat means you let it go, it escapes, it gets loose and so it was more of an escape goat… 9 And Aaron shall bring the goat on which the Lord ‘s lot fell, and offer it as a sin offering… Now the question is: Who is our sin offering? Well, obviously Jesus Christ was. He was the offering that was offered up for our sins,… 10 But the goat on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat… or the escape goat… shall be presented alive before the Lord , to make atonement upon it, …or should be over it – to make an atonement over it and to let the escape goat go into the wilderness… and to let it go as the scapegoat into the wilderness…. So, here were these two goats – one goat stood for Jesus Christ. That was the sin offering, one for the Lord. The other one represented the devil as I will show you as we go along here. v.14 … 14 He shall take some of the blood of the bull and sprinkle it with his finger on the mercy seat on the east side; and before the mercy seat he shall sprinkle some of the blood with his finger seven times…. So Aaron was to come into the Holy of Holies, the inner chamber, and you had in there the ark of the covenant on top of it was a lid. That lid was called the Mercy Seat. On top of that lid were two angels, two cherubs that stood looking at each other. The two cherubs that are over God’s throne and he sprinkled blood seven times on it. It pictures complete forgiveness. Seven is a symbol of completeness – seven day week, seven Holy Days you just see in the term seven, and it was sprinkled on the mercy seat. Now the mercy seat was a type of God’s throne in heaven. You might remember that in the ark in the tabernacle were the two tables of stone – the Ten Commandments. Then was the mercy seat and the two tables under the mercy seat and it pictures the very throne of God that God sits on. And basically what it illustrates is that you and I break God’s law. We sin. We can be forgiven and as such God’s grace and mercy can triumph over our sins. We can repent and our sins can be forgiven. Now notice in v.17 … 17 There shall be no man in the tabernacle of meeting when he goes in to make atonement in the Holy Place, until he comes out, that he may make atonement for himself,… so the priest had to make atonement for himself… for his household, and for all the assembly of Israel.
So all of the other tribes, the millions of Israelites he would do this and he would sprinkle blood for each one – for himself, his household, for the tabernacle and then also for the people. And when he sprinkled the blood it was a symbol of the offering of Christ who was offered up so that our sins could be forgiven. Now, I think v.17 the last part again, … he shall make atonement for himself and for the assembly… . So this is how on the Day of Atonement in the Old Testament atonement was made for the people. This goat was killed, its blood was brought into the tabernacle by the high priest, he sprinkled it, he did this each time he came and then he came out. Symbolically, we see that part of the rituals on the Day of Atonement pictured the blood of Jesus Christ being shed to make atonement for us; to make it possible for us to have the atonement of our sins.
Now in Hebrews 9, let’s go over to the book of Hebrews 9 and v.22 we find a lot of the symbolisms in the Old Testament are explained in the New Testament and Paul writing here in the book of Hebrews certainly does that. The fact that he makes a statement in here that they weren’t spiritual enough for him to go ahead and clarify some things; oh how I wished he had added a little more and clarified a little more if he understood more and had written it down for us so that we would have it. But let’s notice here in v.23 says:
Hebrews 9:23-28 Hebrews 9:23-28 23 It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.
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:
25 Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest enters into the holy place every year with blood of others;
26 For 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.
27 And as it is appointed to men once to die, but after this the judgment:
28 So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and to them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin to salvation.
American King James Version× Therefore it was necessary that the copies of the things in the heavens should be purified with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24 For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands,… It was the Holy of Holies in the tabernacle or the physical temple… which are copies of the true,… See all of these were copies of something in heaven, of the true… but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us;…. So the holy of holy chamber or room, the innermost room in the tabernacle was a picture of heaven itself, the very throne room of God… 25 nor that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another— 26 He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin …How?… by the sacrifice of Himself…. So whose blood did that symbolically picture being sprinkled? Jesus Christ’s and so He appears in heaven… 27 And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after that the judgment,… So we all die, we’re flesh, we’re human, we’re all going to die… 28 so Christ was offered once …only once… to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation…. So, Jesus Christ came and He died for our sins, but let’s back up to verse 22. It says:
Hebrews 9:22 Hebrews 9:22And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.
American King James Version× And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission… .There is no forgiveness or remitting of sins without the shedding of blood. So without the sacrifice of Jesus Christ there would have been no forgiveness of sins. And so what they did symbolically, as we read verses 23 to the end of the chapter, was a type on the Day of Atonement, was a type of what Jesus Christ was willing to do.
Atonement brings about remission or forgiveness of sins. Our sins are covered by the blood of Jesus Christ. That’s what the Old Testament word atonement basically implies. That our sins are covered, they are forgiven and atonement has been made possible for us, and it’s been made possible for you and me to have been brought into a right relationship with God. You and I can now have a right relationship with God. Before our conversion, the Bible doesn’t exactly say it this way but this is what way it was, we were in a wrong relationship with God. We were, our relationship with God was not right. It was not good; it was not the way that it should be. Let me quote again from Baker’s Encyclopedia of the Bible; notice a further quote here about atonement. “In Christian thought, the act by which God and men are brought together in personal relationship, the term is derived from an Anglo Saxon word meaning – making at one. Hints at onement.” People used to laugh at Mr. Armstrong when he said, “Day of Atonement can mean at onement”. Here Baker’s Encyclopedia actually quotes that. Now the Hebrew doesn’t say that; he says it’s from an Anglo Saxon word. It presupposes that a separation has taken place or an alienation needs to be overcome, if human beings are to know God and have fellowship with Him. As a term expressing relationship, atonement is tied closely to such terms as reconciliation and forgiveness - reconciliation and forgiveness. So it implies that there has been a separation or an alienation. So what if, let me explain what this means, the word is used to presuppose also things like a husband and wife not getting along. And they’ve got a conflict, they’re separated, they’re alienated then all at once they’re able to sit down and talk, communicate. Things are right with them and now they have been made one again. Whatever the problem was has been forgiven. Each one says I’m sorry, forgive me and it’s been removed. It’s no longer there; it no longer stands as a roadblock between them and now they can be in harmony again. They can cleave to one another.
Why are we, or why have we been in the past and why is the world alienated from God? What separates mankind from God? It’s not woman, that’s light humor, very light. We have been separated from God. What separates man from God? Well, in Genesis 2 and 3, if you go back to Genesis 2 and 3 what happened to Adam and Eve? At one time they walked with God, they talked with God, had a good relationship with God. God told them what to do, what to eat, how to get along. You know God created a wife for Adam, he was blessed, had everything he needed. Go out to the garden pick vegetables, pick fruit, sit under the tree, sit by the river and watch the fish jump, the animals come and all this. But one day discord entered. Along came the serpent, Satan the devil, and he said, “Has God said you’re not to eat or has God said you can eat of every tree or not eat of every tree?” And the woman then begins to defend God and you know he lied to them. They disobeyed God. They followed Satan and then they were driven out of the Garden of Eden and alienation took place. They were alienated from God; they were separated from God. Remember Isaiah 59:2 Isaiah 59:2But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.
American King James Version×?
Isaiah 59:2 Isaiah 59:2But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.
American King James Version× But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear.
What is it that separates man and woman, mankind from God? Well, it’s our sins have separated us. And who was instrumental in leading man into sin? We go back to Genesis 2 and 3 again – the serpent. The net translates Isaiah 59:2 Isaiah 59:2But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.
American King James Version×this way – Your sinful acts have alienated you from your God. Our sinful acts have alienated, or separated us. Let’s turn over to Isaiah 53:6 Isaiah 53:6All 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.
American King James Version×though. Isaiah 53:6 Isaiah 53:6All 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.
American King James Version×we read:
Isaiah 53:6 Isaiah 53:6All 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.
American King James Version× All we like sheep have gone astray;… So all of us have gone astray. We’ve all sinned, we’ve all transgressed God’s law and … We have turned, every one, to his own way;… So everyone of us has gone after our own way, what seems right. Every way seems right in the eyes of a man, his own way seems right and so everyone has gone after his own way… And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
So, all of our sins had to be laid on Jesus Christ. He paid the penalty. This is the reason why the Day of Atonement also focuses on the devil, and his ultimate punishment. He has been responsible for misleading man; for leading man into sin, influencing man, deceiving man, directing him off the path. Ephesians 2:1 Ephesians 2:1And you has he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;
American King James Version×, we read a summary here of how he has done this.
Ephesians 2:1-3 Ephesians 2:1-3 1 And you has he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;
2 Wherein in time past you walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience:
3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
American King James Version× And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, …We lived, we walked according to the world, its standards, its value, its principles… according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience,… So, Satan the devil’s the one who influences all of those who disobey, and we all lived that way at one time…. 3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, …the wrong desires of the flesh in other words,…. fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.
So we were children of wrath. So he leads man, society, nations and cultures into sin and to disobedience against God. And he has been responsible for that. Ephesians 6 – turn over here, it’s one page in my Bible.
Ephesians 6:10-12 Ephesians 6:10-12 10 Finally, my brothers, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
American King James Version× Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places… .So our battles are spiritual in nature and you’ll find we wrestle. Our enemies are not other human beings; they’re Satan and his demons. So, as the Bible says in Revelation 12:9 Revelation 12:9And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceives the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
American King James Version×, he’s deceived all nations. In other words, he’s mislead, misdirected all nations. He’s convinced man that his, that’s the devils way, is right and that it’s ok to do whatever seems right in your own eyes, because who’s to judge you? You’re supposed to be tolerant. You know we hear all of these phrases today.
When God makes atonement for us, or when you and I have the sacrifice of Christ applied to us when we were baptized, had our sins forgiven, our sins were covered. They were forgiven, forgotten, we rose up out of the water, had hands laid on us, received God’s spirit and guess what? We were reconciled to God at that point. You and I have been reconciled to God. Again, the Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible has this to say about reconciliation, “A restoration of friendship, relationships and of peace where before there had been hostility and alienation.” Now people can say, “Well I’ve never been hostile against God.” Romans 8:7 Romans 8:7Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
American King James Version×says the carnal mind is enmity against God. That means hostile against God. You know what about the mind, the heart and all has been hostile and rebellious against God. So it says here that it’s a restoration of friendship. That God can now be our friend; we can have a right relationship with God and of peace where before there had been hostility and alienation. Ordinarily, it also includes a removal of the offense which causes the disruption of peace and harmony. So that means our sins; our sins being forgiven.
This was especially so in the relationship of God with humanity. When Christ removed the enmity between God and mankind by His vicarious sacrifice, meaning His sacrifice can stand for us if we accept it. In Romans, if you back up here to Romans 5:8 Romans 5:8But God commends his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
American King James Version×, we covered this in detail not too long ago in Bible study:
Romans 5:8-10 Romans 5:8-10 8 But God commends his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.
American King James Version× But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us… .Jesus Christ died for us before we were ever born. We were born, we grew up disobeying God, He died for us as it says here - while we were still sinners… 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, …The word justified here in the Greek means, to cause someone to be in a proper or right relationship with someone else. You’re in a right relationship with them. We have now been made right with God. Do you know that the fact that you’re here on the Day of Atonement and that you’re fasting and that you’re striving to obey God, that you are doing what’s right on this day? Billions of people are not doing what’s right on this day because they have not been made right with God yet, either in mind, or in heart or in knowledge or in approach… 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood… We have been put right with God to be in a right relationship with Him… we shall be saved from wrath through Him. 10 For if when we were enemies …We’ve all been enemies in the past… we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, …by His sacrifice… much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life…. Salvation comes because God lives in us and it is through the Spirit of God dwelling in us that we have eternal life in us. So you and I have been justified and we have been reconciled to God.
Now in 2 Corinthians 5:17 2 Corinthians 5:17Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
American King James Version×, an interesting section in the New Testament talks about the New Testament ministry here, but let’s notice beginning in verse 17:
2 Corinthians 5:17-21 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
18 And all things are of God, who has reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and has given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, not imputing their trespasses to them; and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.
20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be you reconciled to God.
21 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.
American King James Version× Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 18 Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself …We have been brought back into a right relationship with God. How?… through Jesus Christ, …In other words through His sacrifice He made this possible… and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, …So the ministry today is not the ministry of death. I don’t go around and say, “Ok, you committed this sin therefore, I’m going to gather some of our deacons and we’re going to go out here and stone you.” We don’t do that today. Now guess who administers the administration of death ultimately – it’s God. See, that judgment is left up to God; He knows whether we’ve repented, changed or not…. 19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation…. The ministry today is to teach the principles to people on how to have peace, proper relationship, how to get along, how to avoid conflict. It says… Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. 21 For He made Him who knew no sin… that’s Christ… to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him ….So, you and I then are reconciled to God.
Now, let’s go back to the book of Hebrews again, chapter 12 in the book of Hebrews and v.6 this time. Hebrews 12:6 Hebrews 12:6For whom the Lord loves he chastens, and whips every son whom he receives.
American King James Version×. Ok, let me make sure this is the chapter I wanted. Well, let me drop down here. This is not the chapter I wanted, let me back up here and see which one is. Well, I think it’s probably chapter 10. Let’s go over to chapter 10 here, yeah chapter 10. We’ll find out.
Hebrews 10:6-7 Hebrews 10:6-7 6 In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin you have had no pleasure.
7 Then said I, See, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do your will, O God.
American King James Version×, 10, 12 In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin you had no pleasure. 7 Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come—In the volume of the book it is written of Me—To do Your will, O God.’” …And verse 10 it says: 10 By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all….12 For the Son, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, …So again you find that Jesus Christ offered up one sacrifice for sin and He doesn’t have to continue to be offered up over and over again.
Jesus Christ did this not only for us, the firstfruits, but also for all of mankind. Let’s notice in 1 John 2:2 1 John 2:2And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for our’s only, but also for the sins of the whole world.
American King James Version×. We read here:
1 John 2:2 1 John 2:2And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for our’s only, but also for the sins of the whole world.
American King James Version× And He Himself is the propitiation …The word propitiation means forgiveness, the means of forgiveness. It is through Him, by Him that we can be forgiven… for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.
So, Christ died for the whole world, for all of mankind to make it possible for all to be a part of God’s kingdom. Now brethren this is the reason why the Feast of Tabernacles and the 8th Day follow the Day of Atonement. Atonement shows how God is going to bring atonement, or bring about atonement, bring about reconciliation and make the whole world at one with God. The Feast of Tabernacles pictures it being done. The Last Great Day, or the 8th Day, pictures when that opportunity will then be extended to all mankind. Now, in order to do that, the devil and his cohorts have to be removed. You cannot have peace on earth, you cannot have harmony on earth, you cannot have unity on earth with Satan the devil running wild doing his own thing, influencing mankind. So, in order that the devil and his cohorts are no longer an influence, they have to be removed. This is where the second goat comes in that was selected on the Day of Atonement. Let’s go back to Leviticus 16:20 Leviticus 16:20And when he has made an end of reconciling the holy place, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar, he shall bring the live goat:
American King James Version×quickly. Leviticus 16:20 Leviticus 16:20And when he has made an end of reconciling the holy place, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar, he shall bring the live goat:
American King James Version×again and let’s read two or three verses here – through verse 22:
Leviticus 16:20-22 Leviticus 16:20-22 20 And when he has made an end of reconciling the holy place, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar, he shall bring the live goat:
21 And Aaron shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them on the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness:
22 And the goat shall bear on him all their iniquities to a land not inhabited: and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness.
American King James Version× “And when he has made an end of atoning for the Holy Place, the tabernacle of meeting, and the altar, he shall bring the live goat. 21 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… an angel… . 22 The goat shall bear on itself all their iniquities to an uninhabited land; and he shall release the goat in the wilderness.
Now, this is symbolic again. It shows that Satan has led man into sin. He bears guilt for misleading man; for directing man in the wrong way. His part in leading man into sins is confessed over his head. His part in directing man, in other words tempting man, deceiving man, misleading man, he broadcasts, his signal goes out, his spirit goes out, his influence goes out and it influences all of the nations. So, he’s going to have to bear his guilt, his responsibility. Jesus Christ paid for our sins. Our sins are removed. Satan has to pay the responsibility, share the load for what he has done.
There is coming a day when God is going to say to the devil, “Enough’s enough. This is it. Your time’s up, it’s over. I’m shutting the door. Your influence is no longer. I’m going to lock you up. You’ve been free for 6,000 years. You’ve tried your way, you’ve tried every form of government, you’ve tried every religion. You’ve tried everything you can think of and look at all the misery and suffering and everything it has produced. You’ve had it and into the pit you go.” And God’s going to throw him in the pit. Satan the devil is the spirit of this age. This age is called this present evil age. He’ll be locked up; he won’t be able to influence the human race for 1,000 years. Now we know he’ll be loosed for a little while afterwards. After that he’s going to be cast into outer darkness forever. Let’s go back to the book of Revelation chapter 20 that describes what we’re talking about here. Revelation 20 we find when Jesus Christ returns to the earth. You’ll find if you’ll notice in chapter 19 Christ returning, heaven’s opened, behold a white horse, He who sat on him is called Faithful and in righteousness he judges and makes war and He is called in v. 13 the Word of God. The armies in heaven follow Him. He strikes the nations, He’ll rule them with a rod of iron and then the beast and the false prophet in v. 19 are taken, thrown in the lake of fire, and then you’ll find in v.20 – then following right after these series of events of Christ’s return, fighting the armies of the earth, taking the beast and the false prophet and throwing them into the lake of fire:
Revelation 20:1-3 Revelation 20:1-3 1 And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.
2 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,
3 And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.
American King James Version× Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit …or the abyss… and a great chain in his hand. 2 He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; …lock him up, he’s chained… 3 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.
Now apparently, chapter 18:2 of the book of Revelation indicates this will probably be in the environments, the area of modern Babylon and you find here the angel cried mightily with a loud voice saying:
Revelation 18:2 Revelation 18:2And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.
American King James Version× And he cried mightily with a loud voice, saying, “Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and has become a dwelling place of demons,… Not only is Satan thrown in there, but the demons…. a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird! …And so they will all be thrown in there.
Modern Babylon would be the city of Rome, you know and that environment. And he will no longer be broadcasting his message, his influence. It’s like, you know on the radio, somebody pulls the plug and his station is no longer on the air. It’s just been removed. Radio devil is gone and you know it’s not there to influence mankind anymore. And what will happen? We will have 1,000 years of peace and harmony; of God’s way being taught. No more wars, no more violence, no more divorces, broken marriages and you know all of the problems we see around us. Let’s go back to Isaiah 11:9 Isaiah 11:9They 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.
American King James Version×. Isaiah 11:9 Isaiah 11:9They 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.
American King James Version×summarizes what we’re talking about. There’s coming a time as it says here:
Isaiah 11:9 Isaiah 11:9They 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.
American King James Version× They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: …notice… for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.
So the earth is going to be absolutely saturated with the knowledge of God. That’s not true today. At where the truth goes out Satan sends a thousand different false messages to try to submerge it, cover it. So Isaiah 11:9 Isaiah 11:9They 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.
American King James Version×tells us the result – the earth will be full of the knowledge of God. The whole world will be at one with God. See at that time, people’s minds will be opened, the truth will make sense, they’ll have a chance to hear and to repent. We will be there to teach them, to guide them, to lead them, to train them. The devil will be released for a short time after that 1,000 years is over and then he and his cohorts will be cast into outer darkness as other Scriptures talk about, forever. They will never again have any influence in the family of God.
And the family of God will then, you know, make its headquarters on the earth. A new heaven and a new earth, and new Jerusalem and God the Father Himself will come to the earth. He will be the tabernacle at that time. He will tabernacle with man, He and Christ. And we will use this as our base of operations forever. And the family of God will be free from that influence and we will live forever and ever growing even more in harmony and peace. At onement with God and learning more and more as eternity rolls on about God and how to love Him, obey Him, serve Him and whatever He has in store for us.
So what a wonderful plan of salvation God has for all of us. You know there are seven annual Holy Days. Three of those steps have already happened or are in the midst of being fulfilled right now. Christ did come. He was the Passover lamb. You know coming out of sin pictures what God does for the first fruits so we as a church, we as God’s people, those who are being called now are coming out of sin as the Days of Unleavened Bread pictures. Pentecost pictures us as the firstfruits. So we are living those days now and there’s going to come a time when the last four days will begin to be fulfilled. And when the tribulation occurs, you know Christ eventually comes back, sets up His government, the Feast of Trumpets will have been fulfilled. The resurrection will have occurred; that will have taken place. And when He comes back He’s going to take the devil, lock him up, and in one sense the Day of Atonement has occurred but not totally. Because throughout that 1,000 years and into the 8th Day all mankind will learn how to be at one with God, be reconciled to God. And then finally the 8th Day when that resurrection takes place. So brethren, as I mentioned last Sabbath, we are experiencing those first days now and we look forward to the future when these will be fulfilled. In the millennium they will look back and they’ll say, “Yeah, the devil was locked up and you know, he’s not able to influence us now”. And so they will look back on that and they will see us and they will say, “Yes, you know those first fruits. Look at what they went through. You know they’re here; they’re our teacher and they will go and they’ll come and they’ll seek more knowledge. So, if God’s able to perform the first three steps, He’s certainly able to perform the last four and He will do so. So, brethren, be thankful that you and I today are part of the first fruits and that we will assist Jesus Christ in bringing atonement to the whole world and so that at a time here in the future that everyone will have the chance to be at one with God.