The Day of Atonement pictures an important part of God's plan for mankind that shows the results of sin. Satan will be banished for his part in causing sin, and Jesus Christ's sacrifice atones for the sins of all mankind.
[Frank Dunkle] I appreciate Mr. Rangel talking about how this is one of his favorite Holy Days, just because you don’t hear that very often. But when you think about the meaning, it’s easy to understand why it would be, it’s a very special day even though you all don’t look quite as happy as you might on some others. I thought I’d mention something that kind of makes some people smile. A year or so ago, flipping channels up… I guess it’s longer than that, but one of my son, Connor’s favorite TV shows, has become America’s Funniest Home Videos , which a lot of you know, you see some crazy things. And I was discussing with the ABC class, I think the last words of a lot of young men if they die young have been known to be, “Watch this.” That might be said before a lot of those videos.
And then there’s the unsaid phrase that might well come afterward. Was it worth it? Imagine a 14-year-old boy skateboarding down the roof of his house, thinking he’s going to bounce off of the awning and into the swimming pool, but later as he’s in the emergency room, his mother might lean over and say, “Well, was that worth it?” It can come up in a lot of other circumstances. It doesn’t have to be asked of kids, doesn’t have to be a crazy adventure. It crossed my mind, after the first summer that I got to go to some of what we’ve called the ABC samplers where a congregation comes together and puts in a tremendous amount of work, I’ve realized, preparing for visitors, having extra meals, having the hall set up for extra time, I could easily imagine when those of us that come in and speak and have the enjoyable time leave, some of them might look at themselves, and feel, “Whew! Was it worth it?” I hope that they’ll say yes since I have a stake on that.
There’s an even more reflective and sober version, we could think of that. You know, think of an elderly man or an elderly woman looking back at a long life, remembering things like marriage, a career, perhaps more than one career, taking trips, raising kids, spending a lot of time involved in this or that. And perhaps at that point in life asking, “Was it worth it? Which part was worth it?” And we all make decisions early on that cause one thing to lead to another, and then to another, and another. And later on, you’re way down the road and you say, “Look where it’s all ended up. Was it worth it those decisions I made early on?” I’m considering this sort of mood of reflection and evaluation today because the Day of Atonement does include that part of it. It’s a sober day. It’s a day of reckoning to some extent. It needs to be a day of reflection and consideration.
And it occurs to me thinking along those lines that when the fulfillment of this day’s symbolic meaning comes, it could provide opportunity for some of the most powerful beings that have ever existed in the universe to reflect, to look back, to remember choices made, actions taken, and perhaps, just perhaps, to ask, was it worth it? In ancient Israel, the Day of Atonement stood out from others. Not only because everyone in the nation was commanded to fast, but because on that day the high priest conducted a ceremony that was not done on any other day of the year. He was permitted to set foot into a room in which no person could set foot in any other day of the year, including him.
If you’ll turn with me to Leviticus 16, we’ll note that Leviticus 16, I’ll begin in the second verse. We’re on Leviticus 16:2 Leviticus 16:2And the LORD said to Moses, Speak to Aaron your brother, that he come not at all times into the holy place within the veil before the mercy seat, which is on the ark; that he die not: for I will appear in the cloud on the mercy seat.
American King James Version×, it says, “And the Eternal said to Moses: ‘Tell Aaron your brother not to come at just any time into the Holy Place inside the veil, before the mercy seat which is on the ark, lest he die; for I will appear in the cloud above the mercy seat. Thus Aaron shall come into the Holy Place: with the blood of a young bull as a sin offering, and of a ram as a burnt offering.’”
And the chapter goes on to describe this unique ceremony. But we have to get all the way to the end of the description to find out which day of the year it was that Aaron was allowed to come in and that the ceremony occurred. If you look across the page in verse 29, verse 29, it says, “This shall be a statute forever for you: In the seventh day [month] on the tenth day of the month,” that’s today, “you shall afflict your souls, and do no work at all, whether a native of your own country or a stranger who dwells among you. For on that day, the priest shall make atonement for you, to cleanse you, that you may be clean from all your sins before the Eternal.”
So what the people who understand the meaning of this day do, is really pretty simple. I’m not saying easy, but it’s simple. Keep a solemn Sabbath, do no work, and afflict your soul. That is don’t eat or drink during that 24 hour period. Actually, I was looking at the chart on my refrigerator, it’s actually 23 hours and 59 minutes because the sunset gets a little earlier this time of year. I sometimes wonder if God was being a little merciful in that or if He thinks I’m being a little silly. But when we reach that point, now, a few hours from now, at the end of the day as the sun sets, we could ask ourselves, “Was it worth it?” I certainly hope the answer will be yes. But it’s good for us to remember that we are not the main players in the meaning of this day. Any more than the average Israelites in ancient Israel were the main players.
Just as we don’t do the main action for the meaning of this day, they did not do the special activity that was in their time. It was done for them. It was done on their behalf. We just read that in verse 30 of Leviticus 16. Actually, I have to turn the page to get the full sentence, “For on that day the priest shall make atonement for you.” The priest will make atonement for you. Atonement is something that’s done for us as well as we’ll see as we go through this. We might ask what does atonement mean? And I wrote that down before Mr. Rangel gave a very good answer. I’ll give a slightly alternate version that it means you could say to make something right. It means paying the price. You know, there’s consequences to our actions, consequences to everyone’s actions. And atonement is making it good, paying that price.
The symbolism of what happened in ancient Israel on that day required the High Priest to first make a sacrifice for himself for his own personal sins. I always imagine him starting off fairly early in the morning, and going out, and working with these animals. He had to do that so that he could then be considered symbolically, pure and clean enough, to conduct the ritual that lay ahead, a ritual symbolizing the payment, the atonement for sins of the whole nation. And we would say as by extension of the whole world when this day is fulfilled, and its full meaning. Pardon me, my mouth isn’t lubricated today. That special ritual, that ceremony involves two goats.
Let’s look again in chapter 16 here of Leviticus, beginning in verse 5, and speaking of the priest, it says, “And he shall take from the congregation of the children of Israel two kids of the goats,” so they’re very young goats, “as a sin offering, and one ram as a burnt offering. Aaron shall offer the bull as the sin offering, which is for himself, and make atonement for himself and for his house. He shall take the two kids and present them before the Eternal at the door of the tabernacle of meeting. Then Aaron shall cast lots.” And we wonder if the literal meaning has to do with casting some stones, almost like tossing dice or drawing straws. He’ll “cast lots for the two goats: one for the Eternal, the other for the scapegoat.” Of course, the Hebrew there that’s translated scapegoat or scapegoat is Azazel .
Further reading will show that these two goats would have very different fates. Now, for the literal goats, which one of them got which fate was determined purely by chance. They said, “Cast the lots.” Now, the goats looked alike. They were probably of the same age, perhaps looked very much alike, but they were chosen to represent two powerful beings who are not alike. Each of those two beings did not end up each in his own particular situation by chance. Each made specific decisions, took specific actions, which resulted in specific consequences. And thus, unlike the goats, the goats didn’t have anything to say about this. But each of these two beings I’m thinking of could stop and ask themselves, “Was it worth it, the decisions I made, the steps I took?”
But before we look further into that, I do want to review what happened to the goats. Looking in verse 15, speaking again still of Aaron or whoever would be the high priest down through the ages, “Then he shall kill the goat of the sin offering, which is for the people. Bring its blood inside the veil, do with that blood as he did with the blood of the bull,” that’s the bull that he’d earlier sacrificed for himself, “and sprinkle it on the mercy seat and before the mercy seat. So he shall make atonement for the Holy Place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions for all their sins; so he shall do for the tabernacle of meeting which remains among them in the midst of their own cleanness.”
So here is the center of that atonement mentioned earlier, what the day is named for. The High Priest comes in and blood is spilled, it’s to make atonement, atonement for sin. Let me say that backwards. The penalty for sin is death, it involves blood. Because of that, a sacrifice needed to be made to pay for sin. But only one of those two goats was sacrificed as we know. The other one had a very different role to play. Looking in verse 20, “When he made an end of atoning for the Holy Place…” so the atonement was totally done and symbolized with the first goat, the second goat does something different, “When he made an end of atoning for the Holy Place, the tabernacle of meeting, and the altar, he’ll bring the live goat. And Aaron shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, confess over it all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions, concerning all their sins, putting them on the head of the goat, and shall send it away into the wilderness by the hand of a suitable man. The goat shall bear on itself all their iniquities to an uninhabited land; he shall release the goat into the wilderness.”
Here’s where I want to stop again and emphasize that even though these two goats start out the same, that morning when they’re chosen, they’re indistinguishable. So much so that only casting lots can be used to show clearly which one should play what role. But once that’s done, once the lots are cast, they do not play equal roles. The live goat bears iniquities. It takes responsibility for sin, but does not, not in any way at all, atone for the sin. The live goat doesn’t pay the price for the sin, only the sacrificial goat does that. Only the sacrificial goat by its blood provided the High Priest access to the Holy Place. The live goat doesn’t provide any benefit to the people of Israel, or we could say by extension to us. The only good it does is in going away. And that’s what it does, it goes away. And that is a benefit, well, symbolically.
Now, the common interpretation that’s put on the ceremony is that the goat that is sacrificed represents Jesus Christ. The goat that lives has stymied scholars who just didn’t put the pieces together over the thousands of years. But our understanding of Bible prophecy gives us a pretty clear indication, that goat, the Azazel , symbolizes Satan the devil. Satan’s role in history and in the ultimate fate of mankind, that’s not equal to Jesus Christ. That’s why I’ve been making the point, the goats had very different roles to play. But what he did and what will happen to him is important. It’s significant enough to warrant depiction within the ceremony, and for us to remember on this special day.
Now, let’s consider Satan where he came from and, you know, some of where he came from and his destiny. As I said, the fact that the living goat, the Azazel , bears iniquity but does not pay the penalty implies bearing blame, while still not making things right. We would apply this to Satan, we could say that he bears responsibility for the sins of others. He certainly bears responsibility for his own sins, but he’s got a lot of responsibility in the sins of other people. But he’s not able, and I would say probably not willing, to pay the penalty for those sins. He wasn’t willing to step up and pay the penalty. This matches with the principle of individual responsibility.
Many of us have memorized what Ezekiel 18:4 Ezekiel 18:4Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sins, it shall die.
American King James Version×says. I won’t turn there but there it clearly says, “The soul that sins, it shall die.” We’re not that far from Deuteronomy. I will turn to Deuteronomy 24. Deuteronomy 24:16 Deuteronomy 24:16The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin.
American King James Version×reminds us again that God takes seriously the idea of responsibility. Deuteronomy 24:16 Deuteronomy 24:16The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin.
American King James Version×, “Father shall not be put to death for their children, nor shall children be put to death for their fathers; a person shall be put to death for his own sin.” So we can think Satan may not have forced anyone to commit an act of sin, but the Bible does show he’s had a lot of influence. And for that, he is responsible. Matter of fact, I will turn 1 John 3:8 1 John 3:8He that commits sin is of the devil; for the devil sins from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.
American King James Version×. I have some scriptures I’ve been debating whether or not to turn to them because they’re short. And I have trouble finding them in this new Bible.
But 1 John 3:8 1 John 3:8He that commits sin is of the devil; for the devil sins from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.
American King James Version×makes a clear connection, “He who sins is of the devil, for the devil sinned from the beginning. For this purpose, the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.” So if you sin, you’ve got a connection to the devil, the devil sinned from the beginning. I’m one of those people I often like to ask the next question, “From the beginning of what?” And it’s a valid question because we can see in Scripture that God did not create a devil. So it must be from the beginning of the time when Satan became the devil. And he began that identity with a sin. It’s described for us in Ezekiel 28. If you’ll turn there, Ezekiel 28 we’ll begin in verse 14. We often pair Ezekiel 28 with Isaiah 14. And I’ll probably turn there briefly later, but I chose this one because of the more detail.
Ezekiel 28:14 Ezekiel 28:14You are the anointed cherub that covers; and I have set you so: you were on the holy mountain of God; you have walked up and down in the middle of the stones of fire.
American King James Version×, speaking of the one that we believe became Satan, the devil, it says, “You were the anointed cherub who covers; I established you;” this is God speaking, “you were on the holy mountain of God; you walked back and forth in the midst of the fiery stones. You were perfect in your ways from the day that you were created, until iniquity was found in you.” So God created a beautiful, a privileged angelic being, but that being at some point in time, chose to sin. And we move on in verse 16, “By the abundance of your trading you became filled with violence within, and you sinned; therefore I cast you as a profane thing out of the mountain of God; and I destroyed you, O covering cherub, from the midst of the fiery stones.”
So he was destroyed in the fact that he was no longer the covering cherub. He was sent away. “Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor; I cast you to the ground, laid you before kings, that they may gaze at you.” I think because of beauty, for the sake of splendor, vanity and pride led that covering cherub to become Satan the devil. I said he made a choice. I wonder if he’s ever stopped and thought to himself, “Was it worth it?” If it stopped there, though, it would only be his own sins and his own pride and rebellion that he would be held responsible for. But he’s led many others into sin. We see a hint of that back in Revelation 12. 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×reveals him again in his identity as the devil and Satan.
And this is, of course, looking ahead to what happens and looking back in a sense. 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×says, “So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” Earlier in verse 4, I mentioned that “his tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth.” This tells us the reason Satan wasn’t cast out of heaven alone because he didn’t sin alone. I’ll give you a reference in 2 Peter 2:4 2 Peter 2:4For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved to judgment;
American King James Version×, it plainly mentions angels that sinned. So there was sin involved. And this pretty strongly influences that Satan influenced them. He led them to sin. And we could say they’re responsible for their own sin, but Satan is responsible for his sin. And I think we can make the case that leading the others into sin was a sin of itself.
And Satan has led all of humanity into sin similarly, starting with that famous story in the Garden of Eden. We can turn back to Genesis if you will. I imagine many of you might have this memorized, but I’ll turn to Genesis 3. We know this powerful creature that was once the anointed cherub that covers is in the story from the beginning. He appears in the Garden of Eden, he appears near the end of the book of Revelation. Here, we see him talking to the first woman that ever lived. Oh, and it’s beginning in verse 1, “Now the serpent was more cunning than any beasts of the field, which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, ‘Has God indeed said, “You shall not eat of every tree of the garden”?’ Woman said to the serpent, ‘We may eat of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree that’s in the midst of the garden, God has said “You shall not eat of it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.”’ Serpent said to the woman,” I imagine with the most sarcastic voice he could, “You will not surely die. God knows in the day you eat of it, your eyes will be open, and you’ll be like God, knowing good and evil.” What happens next is Eve and Adam, and every person who has ever lived, except for one did sin, that one being Jesus Christ, the only one who was out was without sin.
But we know that sin came. 1 John 3:8 1 John 3:8He that commits sin is of the devil; for the devil sins from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.
American King James Version×says, “He who sins is of the devil…” who has sinned? I’ll reference also Romans 3:23 Romans 3:23For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
American King James Version×, “All have sinned. Everyone has sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” All people have been deceived, at some time or another, were duped into following Satan and his way of sin. Paul describes it fairly well. Maybe I should say very well, I don’t think I’m in a position to evaluate how well Paul did his job. So I’ll turn to 2 Corinthians 4:4 2 Corinthians 4:4In whom the god of this world has 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 to them.
American King James Version×. This is a memory scripture, I do better if I just cited it from memory, instead of trying to read my notes. 2 Corinthians 4:4 2 Corinthians 4:4In whom the god of this world has 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 to them.
American King James Version×, actually we could back up to verse 3, because Paul is then speaking and we could reference one of the things that I think Mr. Rangel said in the sermonette that we’re not failing and preaching the gospel, not everyone is called.
He said, “If our gospel is veiled,” which it is, “it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is in the image of God, should shine on them.” So most of the world has their eyes blinded. They’ve been fooled, deceit. And God hasn’t directly intervened to unblind them. Well, I know there are some gray heads here. You might remember a leader of the Church used to describe it. He said that there are people out in the world who think there’s this tremendous battle going on between Satan and Jesus Christ trying to win souls. And he said, “If that were the case, who’s winning?” Well, if that were true, Satan would be winning. And if someone then asked him, “Well, is it worth it?” He’d say, “You bet it is.” But that scenario is not true. There’s no battle going on. As I said, those two goats play totally unequal roles. There’s no battle going on between Jesus and Satan. Everything is going according to the plan of God. Rather, that ceremony that was given to Israel thousands of years ago does show how God had a plan all along. And that plan has a specific fate for Satan.
So we should turn to 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×, John speaking of the vision that he sees, he says, “Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who was the Devil and Satan, and bound him for thousand years; and cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nation’s no more until the thousand years are finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while.” I’ll say only for a little while. Down in verse 10, we see the conclusion, “The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet,” they should say “ were . And they will be tormented day and night forever.”
We see this is corresponding to that goat that was taken out into the wilderness, cut off from any human contact. As I said, its value wasn’t going away. And that seems to be depicting Satan’s fate. He will be taken away, he’ll be cut off from all contact, no more to deceive the nations, no more to lead people into sin. That’s going to come to an end. That is one of the reasons this is such a happy Holy Day. I didn’t realize the alliteration of that until it came out of my mouth, but there’s a joy in this. What a fall from where he started out. I mentioned Isaiah 14:12 Isaiah 14:12How are you fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how are you cut down to the ground, which did weaken the nations!
American King James Version×. It’s very brief. You can let me quote it too if you like. But I’m going to turn there. Isaiah 14:12 Isaiah 14:12How are you fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how are you cut down to the ground, which did weaken the nations!
American King James Version×, “How are you fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! O, you’re cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations!” He was the covering cherub and he allowed pride and vanity to corrupt him, was it worth it? He gained power and influence over all the world, had billions under his influence and under his control, but he will be cut off. He’ll be isolated and powerless. So was it worth it?
Now, let’s consider the other goat that had a very different fate. Of course, well, we’ve already described what happened to the goats. Some scholars over the years have had doubts as to who that first goat, you know, represented. But we’ve had to put some pieces together. And we put the pieces together, we can see it fairly clearly. What’s true for the goat that was sacrificed is pretty obvious. Leviticus 16 says, “The blood sacrifice made atonement for sin.” Many scriptures in the New Testament plainly tell us, that’s what the sacrifice of Jesus Christ was about. Let’s turn to some of them starting with Romans 5:10 Romans 5:10For 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×says, “For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son… we were reconciled through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.”
That Greek word for reconciliation is katallage , which if my whiteboard were here, I’d go up and write it. And the students might be chuckling because they usually can’t read what I write, but it’s K-A-T-A-L-L-A-G-E. And it means restoration or atonement. And in fact, I’m reading from the New King James, the Old King James uses the word atonement. That’s what Jesus Christ sacrifice did and does. 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×says, “He Himself,” that is Jesus Christ is who this is speaking of, “He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, not for ours only but also for the whole world.” That’s pretty amazing, partly that I was able to pronounce propitiation, and I haven’t any water to drink. But that’s another term that sounds very religious, but it’s the thing that makes it better, the thing that pays the price we could say. And that’s incredibly important.
I guess one of the things I wanted to do in this message is sort of remember the importance of Satan being bound on this day, and that’s a vital part of what this day pictures, but we sometimes focus on that enough that we sort of forget, “Oh, yeah, there’s that other goat. Oh, that other goat was pretty important.” Well, what it symbolized was of the utmost importance. You know, Jesus Christ sacrifice for our sins was so important. It bears us focusing on this day, that’s what atones us. And not just us. Let’s turn to Hebrews 9. We’re near there. Hebrews 9 beginning in verse 2. And by the way, I know I’m saying this in very serious tones, but I’m not meaning to say it as though it’s something you haven’t heard before. Understand that we have an experienced group who is knowledgeable of this. I think when I’m hungry I speak more soberly and seriously.
Hebrews 9:2 Hebrews 9:2For there was a tabernacle made; the first, wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the show bread; which is called the sanctuary.
American King James Version×, this is speaking of the ancient times, even before the temple that the permanent building was built, there was a tabernacle, a tent that was the focus of worship. And it said that “For a tabernacle was prepared: in the first part, was the lampstand, the table, and the showbread, which is called the sanctuary.” So this special building had two rooms. The larger one had these things, the lampstand, the table where the showbread was put. And behind that, there was a smaller room, a perfect cube. So “behind the second veil, the part of the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of All.” Okay, let’s drop down to verse 7. “Into the second part the high priest went alone once a year,” the Holiest of All, that’s the one day of the year the High Priest could go in, that was the Day of Atonement, “not without blood, which he offered for himself and for the people’s sins committed in ignorance.”
The meaning of that becomes more clear if we skip to verse 11. And verse 11, it says, “But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater, the more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.” I find that interesting. In this case, the high priest Aaron, at one point, is symbolic of Jesus Christ, but the goat and its blood is also symbolic of Jesus Christ because Aaron couldn’t sacrifice his own blood and bring it in. Obviously, we’re speaking of impossibilities. But Jesus Christ, because death could not hold its power over him, He would be resurrected. And so he symbolically did come to the holiest of all, He came to the Father. And we see now why we don’t continue having goats on this day.
In verse 13, it says, “If the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctify us for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” Again, we don’t sacrifice a bull or two goats and we don’t have to sprinkle blood. Those were symbols in place until Jesus Christ became that ultimate sacrifice. We consider Satan’s past and the choices that he made, and his ultimate fate. And I speculate if he would ever wonder if it was worth it. Could we do the same for Jesus Christ? And I’ll note again that I’m speculating, but I think we can. We can consider the decisions that were made and the steps taken.
If we turn to John 1, we see the beginning, the beginning of it all, John 1:1 John 1:1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
American King James Version×, “In the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him. Without Him, nothing was made that was made.” Now, I think we all know, but if we skip down a few verses, we clearly see that this Word was the God being who became flesh and blood as Jesus Christ. In verse 14, it says, “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” Unlike Satan, Jesus was not created. He was eternal, He had always been. Satan had a beginning. That passage we read in Ezekiel 28 said from the day that he was created. But Jesus Christ had always been and He was the one who did the creating. The Father and Son work together, but He did the creating.
And there’s a phrase in the book of Revelation, which tells us that when that creating was going on, He already had a plan in place in Revelation 13. I was about to say Revelation 3, so I’m glad I turned the page of my notes. Revelation 13:8 Revelation 13:8And all that dwell on the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
American King James Version×says, “All who dwell on earth will worship Him whose name…” that Him is Jesus Christ, “have not been written in the Book of Life… the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” That was a bit of reading to get to that point but “slain from the foundation of the world.” And there’s part of me that goes, “Hmm… Foundation of the world, that’s a pretty long time ago.”
The Greek word there for world is kosmos . It can be interpreted either to mean the creation of the physical planet, it could also mean the beginning of human civilization. Either way, it’s back at the very beginning. I think of the time, when, you know, the Scriptures… the Hebrew that’s in Genesis where it says that “He created Adam from the dust of the earth,” it implies working with his hands. In my mind, I imagine the one who became Jesus Christ getting down and with His hands working in the dirt. That’s perhaps simplified because I’ve got my hands in the dirt and nothing like a person comes out, but I’m not God. But He was closely involved.
And at that time, you could say if the foundation of the world wasn’t before then, it was then. And in His own mind, He was as good as slain. “The Lamb was slain from the foundation of the world.” And what that means is, God the Father in Jesus Christ didn’t have to decide on Christ’s sacrifice as some kind of emergency measure, like, “Oh, no, they ate of the wrong tree, what are we going to do next?” It wasn’t like that. The plan was already in place. The plan was in place when God inspired the prophecy of the suffering servant in Isaiah 53, beginning in verse 4. These are some scriptures we commonly read in connection with the Passover. But knowing the fate of that goat that was the chosen for the sacrifice, I think it’s appropriate.
Isaiah 53:4 Isaiah 53:4Surely he has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
American King James Version×, “Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.” So without understanding the truth, people think, “Oh, that Carpenter from Nazareth is getting beat up because of His own sins.” Here, it says, “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.” Instead, the plan was there. It was in place hundreds of years before this when God inspired David to write Psalm 22. Psalm 22, I won’t read very much of this, but I’ll note a scripture or two.
Psalm 22, specifically verse 15. And it says, “My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and My tongue cleaves to My jaws; you’ve brought Me to the dust of death. The dogs have surrounded Me; the congregation of the wicked has enclosed Me. They pierced My hands and My feet; I can count all My bones. They look and stare at Me. They divide My garments among them, from My clothing, they cast lots.” He was brought to the dust of death. But it wasn’t an emergency measure, you know, it was a plan. Matter of fact, long before hundreds of years before king David wrote these lines, it’s obvious the plan was in place when God inspired Moses… well, I shouldn’t say inspired. He actually spoke to Moses face to face and told him what they would do on the Day of Atonement each year.
He described to them how the High Priest would have to choose these animals in the morning and sacrifice a bull for his own sins and his family so that he could represent the High Priest of Jesus Christ, and then cast lots for those two goats. The plan was in place. He knew one of those goats would represent the one who had been the anointed covering cherub being sent away. One of them would represent the Son of God, the Creator, willingly becoming a sacrifice, ending His life for the sake of others. Yes, according to what we read in Revelation 13:8 Revelation 13:8And all that dwell on the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
American King James Version×, the plan for Jesus Christ to be the atonement sacrifice for the sins of mankind was in place when the Word knelt down and started forming Adam out of the dust of the ground. And knowing that right from the start, I’ve got confidence. He had that plan, and He expected that it would be worth it. I suspect He’s never had any doubts that it would be worth it. The plan hasn’t come to its full fruition yet though. Even though we’ve moved beyond that spilling of blood, there’s still more to come after that.
I want to turn to Acts 2:22 Acts 2:22You men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the middle of you, as you yourselves also know:
American King James Version×. Acts 2 beginning in verse 22, “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know— Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God,” note that determine, purpose, and foreknowledge. They didn’t catch Jesus when He wasn’t expecting it and managed to grab Him because of Judas, it was all planned. “You have taken by lawless hands, and crucified, and put to death whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death; because it was not possible that He should be held by it.” God was never going to let that happen.
Moving on, “For David says concerning Him: ‘I foresaw the Lord always before my face, He is at my right hand, that I may not be shaken. Therefore my heart rejoiced, my tongue was glad; moreover, my flesh also will rest in hope. For You will not leave my soul in Hades, nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.” We know that’s referring to Jesus Christ, it will go on to say, “Well, David did see corruption.” But there’s more to the overall plan and the overall story. The Day of Atonement with its two goats doesn’t tell everything of the full plan of God. And that makes sense, we’ve got a full Holy Day calendar, seven Holy Days. But what I want to emphasize here is that God has always had the end result in view. Jesus Christ from the time He started playing the game if you want to say that analogy, knew this final score. He knew where it would end up.
If He were to ever consider asking Himself, was it worth it? I think we know that. Well, turn with me to 1 Corinthians 15, because I do want to look at a little bit more of what happens in that plan. This isn’t covered in Leviticus 16, but it’s very important. 1 Corinthians 15:3 1 Corinthians 15:3For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
American King James Version×, all right, “For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scripture, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.” Prophecy shows all these things. Later in the chapter, we can look further ahead in the plan if you’ll look at verse 22.
In verse 22, it says, “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.” The end result comes in verse 24, “Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power.” He must reign until He has put all enemies under His feet. And the last enemy that will be destroyed is death. When Jesus Christ has all power, and he’s ruling with God the Father, you think you’ll say, “Was it worth it?” Sometimes it seems a little silly to ask that. But let’s not forget, though, that the plan was never about just Him having all power and authority, it was also about us, about adding children to God’s family, as it says a few pages later in Hebrews 2, Hebrews 2:10 Hebrews 2:10For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
American King James Version×.
It sounds like you’re not getting there any faster than I am. I’m going to have to read this one from memory. There we go. Hebrews 2:10 Hebrews 2:10For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
American King James Version×, “For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through suffering.” That was the plan all along, bringing many sons to glory. And again, I say when that time comes, when many sons have been brought to glory, if Jesus were to stop and think, “Was it worth it? Was all the suffering, was all the waiting worth it?” I think I know what His answer would be. And so we’re here today. As I mentioned, we’re not slaughtering animals, which is good because we’ve got new carpet out in the hall. But we also don’t have to suffer and die for our own sins.
We have pretty much the same role now that the ancient Israelites did on the Day of Atonement. Like them, we’re keeping a solemn Sabbath. Like them, we’re afflicting our souls by fasting. And like them, our High Priest is making atonement for us. So for us to gain the benefits of what He has done, we need to do what? We need to submit to God, accept what He’s doing for us. We see a further description in Micah 6. I’m going to say one of the happiest words that kids always hear, my last scripture, Micah 6:8 Micah 6:8He has showed you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?
American King James Version×, this sums up what we have to do. As I said, we don’t have to make our own atonement. We do have to accept the sacrifice that does.
But here in Micah 6:8 Micah 6:8He has showed you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?
American King James Version×it says, “He has shown you, O man, what is good; what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and walk humbly with your God?” Many of you in this room have been striving to do that for many years now. We expect to keep on doing that for however long we have in this physical life. Do justly, love mercy, walk humbly with God. When we reach the stopping point, wherever it is the stopping point of our lives, however many years down the road it might be, we might each consider what God asks us to do. Consider the result, having our sins forgiven, being one of many sons brought to glory. And we could each look in the mirror and ask ourselves, “Was it worth it?” I say absolutely yes and then some.