The historical lessons and prophetic insights provided by the Day of Atonement are numerous, but it also provides an incredible lesson for Christians to live by today.
On this Holy Day we often go BACK in history to rehearse the requirements upon Israel to sacrifice a goat as a sin sacrifice for ALL of the people, the goat on which the Lord’s lot fell, and to lay hands upon the goat determined by chance to remain alive and confess all of the sins of the whole nation to be born upon the head of that goat, which would then be released in the wilderness, no longer to be in the presence of the assembly.
From this, we rehearse what we believe to be blanket forgiveness every year of national sins and also the probably prophetic significance of this event and the symbol each goat represents.
On this day we often look FORWARD to the story in Revelation of the time just after the return of Jesus Christ when Satan becomes bound to remain bound for a very, very long time while Christ reigns on earth.
From this, we rehearse what we believe to be the prophetic significance of this event with the establishment of a new kind of relationship between man and God absent the influence of Satan.
These associations provide to all of us fantastic insights into God’s game plan for all of mankind. As with all of God’s Holy Days, annual and weekly, we are fed another significant component of God’s blueprint for saving as much of mankind as possible to become eternal living members of God’s family.
I appreciate that we are able to look at Biblical history and find a prophetic meaning to Israelite ceremonies. I also appreciate the foretelling found in Revelation, which clearly states certain aspects of God’s plan, like Christ ruling on earth with Satan removed from influence.
Brothers and sisters let us cherish the knowledge of these things and always consider their significance in the story of mankind, but having these things firmly in mind, what about TODAY???
We do not offer bullocks and goats in sacrifice! We, ourselves, must live in a world where the father of lies is quite busy deceiving.
We come to this day and rehearse the story surrounding Atonement. We obey the command to keep it, including fasting from food and water from sunset to sunset.
And, concerning today, we will often hear of the symbolic value that fasting provides as we honor God’s command. We surmise the lack of food and water, making us weaker, helps us remember how reliant we are on God for every single breath, much less, food and water.
It is true that we are totally dependent on God just to be-here-breathing. For prospective Christians, it can be a very helpful practice in remembering human frailty. For prospective Christians, it can be a perfect reminder of the need to turn to God in thanks for every gift of life.
But, Christian, let not today be a high day, higher than the rest, for realizing our dependence upon God. Let not today be a high day, higher than the rest, for associating becoming close to God by physical hunger and thirst. Let not today be a high day, higher than the rest, for being brought close to God into an intimate relationship.
Let’s turn to Acts 26 to read a part of the story Paul shares with King Agrippa about Paul’s conversion and commission.
Acts 26: 12 “While thus occupied, as I journeyed to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priests, 13 at midday, O king, along the road I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining around me and those who journeyed with me. 14 And when we all had fallen to the ground, I heard a voice speaking to me and saying in the Hebrew language, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ 15 So I said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And He said, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. 16 But rise and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness both of the things which you have seen and of the things which I will yet reveal to you. 17 I will deliver you from the Jewish people, as well as from the Gentiles, to whom I now send you, 18 to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.’
The Apostle Paul, here, in explaining his commission to King Agrippa was not doing so for the purpose of revealing to the king the 5th Annual Holy… Turning from darkness to light, from Satan to God, receiving forgiveness and sanctification, were not to define Atonement, but to define the establishing of saints among the Gentiles. And, yet, doesn’t the theme seem the same?
This is a declaration and a definition of faith in Christ, to be turned from darkness to light, from Satan to God, forgiven and sanctified.
I’ve brought this up before, and you’ve heard it before from others, surely, but let’s remember for a moment a very important promise.
James 4: 5 Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, “The Spirit which dwells in us yearns jealously”?
6 But He gives more grace. Therefore He says:
“God resists the proud,
But gives grace to the humble.”
7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.
One prophetic value of the Feast of Trumpets observed nine days ago is that Christ will conquer this world. If we are Christians, Christ has already conquered us. We have already surrendered our ways for His way. If we look forward to the Feast of Tabernacles upon us in five days, it reminds us of the promise that Christ will rule over the nations, just as, in our own surrender to God, Christ is now, right now, our own ruling King of kings and Lord of lords. And, it’s not as if we have surrendered and been thrown into a dungeon, but we have surrendered and all of God’s blessings have been bestowed upon us, instead.
But, TODAY, though Satan is not bound in darkness, out of sight and out of mind, by the promise of scripture, we have the privilege of resisting the devil who will then run away from our presence. To resist is to experience the same effect as him being bound.
Go to the Feast this year having inserted your own life into the meaning of each of God’s Holy Days, Festivals, and memorials. Experience the abundance of the Feast recalling that Christ died to cover your sins, that you are being led out of a sinful lifestyle by God’s power, that you have been blessed with God’s Holy Spirit having repented, that the devil has ZERO power over you if you resist, that you are, right now, led and ruled by Christ, the Head of the Church, and that today, right now, God is FOCUSED on you to guide you in salvation.
When we return from the last of God’s annual festivals, let us not forget the daily role each of those festivals plays in our life. Today, we celebrate a time when Satan is bound and peace reigns over mankind, so let us not forget that, today, and every day, we are promised that Satan cannot influence us if we resist him, as we experience, daily, Christ’s reign over us, offering us peace of mind in the knowledge of our salvation.