[Calvary Chapel]  1998-02-28 - The Great Day of Atonement - Yom Kippur

The Comprehensive Study Series, Part 25

The Atomenment in the Old Testament, Part 4

Wow what a study! I hope you folks like this one. Anyway it's late I just got back from the emergency room with the wife and so if I sound a little frazzled in writing this - I am. I hope God increases your understanding of His Word through this. Amen.

The offerings and rituals of the Great Day of Atonement were made for the entire nation of Israel. The inherited or the Adamic sin as well as unknown sins of the individual and nation were taken care of year by year through this ritual. This is set forth in Leviticus, Chapter 16. Of all the days of the year the day of Atonement was the most important. The ceremonies conducted were not to be construed as being the same as the personal offerings (see last week's devotional for added info) of individuals who were guilty of sin - they applied only to Israel nationally.

The high priest bathed his flesh and put on holy linen clothes and wore a linen miter. He alone officiated in this service. With proper clothing, he brought a young bull for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering to make atonement for himself and for his house. He also received at the hands of the congregation of the children of Israel two he goats for a sin offering and one ram for a burnt offering. Upon receiving the goats the high priest would do this: Leviticus 16:18 And he shall go out unto the altar that is before Jehovah, and make atonement for it, and shall take of the blood of the bullock, and of the blood of the goat, and put it upon the horns of the altar round about.

He presented the goat upon which the lot fell for Jehovah to sacrifice as a sin offering but " for Azazal [removal ]" the goat on which the lot fell he would do this:

Leviticus 16:10 But the goat, on which the lot fell for Azazel, shall be set alive before Jehovah, to make atonement for him, to send him away for Azazel into the wilderness.

The high priest then offered the bullock as a sin offering for himself and his house. He did this before he killed the goat of the sin offering for the people. Accomplishing this he then returned to the altar of burnt offerings by which the second goat stood "alive before Jehovah" to be sent away "for Azazel" into the wilderness.

Leviticus 16:20-22 And when he hath made an end of atoning for the holy place, and the tent of meeting, and the altar, he shall present the live goat: and Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions, even all their sins; and he shall put them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a man that is in readiness into the wilderness: and the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a solitary land: and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness.

All iniquities and transgressions carried by the goat into a solitary land included both known and unknown sins of the entire nation. Those individuals who did not come in genuine repentance and humiliation for their sins could not enjoy forgiveness - but were to be cut off from the commonwealth of Israel.

Leviticus 23:29 For whatsoever soul it be that shall not be afflicted in that same day; he shall be cut off from his people.

Lets look at some of these details a little closer. Who was Azazel ? We need to remember the two animals made up one sin offering. By the slaying of the goat which the lot for Jehovah fell, and the sprinkling of its blood upon the mercy seat, expiation of the sins of all Israel was accomplished. By the high priest laying his hands upon the goat which the lot had fallen - and leading that goat into the wilderness - the complete removal of the sins of the nation from the presence of God and from His people was symbolically set forth. Viewing the lots that were cast upon the two goats, one for Jehovah and one for Azazel. It is reasonable to consider the two persons Jehovah and Azazel were deeply involved in the sacrifice. We all know Jehovah is God, and we know that in the ritual on the great day of atonement Azazel is none other than the evil spirit in the world who is the great adversary of man and God -Satan. An examination of Zechariah 3:1-5 reveals a heavenly court scene:

  1. And he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of Jehovah, and Satan standing at his right hand to be his adversary.
  2. And Jehovah said unto Satan, Jehovah rebuke thee, O Satan; yea, Jehovah that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?
  3. Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and was standing before the angel.
  4. And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, Take the filthy garments from off him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with rich apparel.
  5. And I said, Let them set a clean mitre upon his head. So they set a clean mitre upon his head, and clothed him with garments; and the angel of Jehovah was standing by.

In this court scene Israel as a nation is represented by Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of Jehovah. Satan, always the deceiver, is standing at the right hand of Joshua, posing as the defense attorney of Joshua (Israel) and he is endeavoring to prosecute and condemn Joshua before Jehovah. The Lord (Judge) most sternly rebukes Satan, telling him that He has chosen Jerusalem and that Joshua, representing Israel, is as a brand plucked out of the fire. Instead of rejecting Joshua, the Lord commands those standing near to remove his filthy garments replace them with rich clothing and place a clean miter on his head. The verdict rendered in the case is expressed in the words the Lord used in addressing Joshua " Behold I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee and I will clothe thee with rich apparel. " This clearly says that there will be a time when Israel will be nationally cleansed forgiven and reinstated into the favor of God.

In the ritual on the Day of Atonement Azazel represented Satan. The slain goat made atonement for sin, while the scapegoat ladened with the same sins - transferred to it symbolically by the laying on of hands - went forth for Azazel into the wilderness. By the scapegoat going for Azazel, announcement was made to Satan that Israel's sins had been removed and that atonement had been made for them by this act. The announcement was made to Satan that his power and claim over Israel was broken, and she now stands approved in God's s sight and fellowship is restored with Him.

The scapegoat - laden with the forgiven sins of all Israel - removed them to the wilderness back to the very source of all sin - Satan. This, like a bundle of canceled checks, shows shows the power of God to cancel sin by atonement. We must bear in mind that only for one year at a time were the sins of the nation rolled away because this ritual had to be observed annually. In the special ritual on the day of Atonement, there were two goats - a dead one and a live one - but both constituted one sin offering. Both death and life are set forth symbolically in connection with the removal of Israel's sins nationally. The full meaning of these facts is fully brought out in the New Testament. In Hebrews 9:1-10 the sanctuary, its furnishings and the typical significance of the service of the day of atonement are discussed. The conclusion is found in verses 9 and 10

Hebrews 9:9-10 which is a figure for the time present; according to which are offered both gifts and sacrifices that cannot, as touching the conscience, make the worshipper perfect, being only (with meats and drinks and divers washings) carnal ordinances, imposed until a time of reformation.

Hebrews 9:11-14 But Christ having come a high priest of the good things to come, through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation, 12  nor yet through the blood of goats and calves, but through his own blood, entered in once for all into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption. 13 For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling them that have been defiled, sanctify unto the cleanness of the flesh: 14 how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish unto God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

Christ's offering of himself as the spotless and sinless Lamb of God was the fulfillment of all that was implied in the slaying of the goat upon which the lot fell for Jehovah - in the ritual of the great day of atonement. The blood of bulls and goats in the old economy could not take away sin nor could it purge the conscience and give satisfaction and assurance. The blood of Christ, however, does meet all the demands of God's holiness; it cleanses and purges the conscience, giving the believer perfect assurance.

The writer of Hebrews does not call attention to the fulfillment of that part of the ritual related to the sending away of the goat "for Azazel" which bore the canceled sins of Israel.

I Peter 3:18-22 Because Christ also suffered for sins once, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God; being put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit; 19 in which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison, 20 that aforetime were disobedient, when the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water: 21 which also after a true likeness doth now save you, even baptism, not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the interrogation of a good conscience toward God, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ; 22 who is one the right hand of God, having gone into heaven; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.

The Apostle Peter ( in I Peter 3:18-22) tells us that after the Lord had shed His blood for the remission of Israel's sins - being put to death in the flesh but being made alive in the Spirit - He went in the Spirit and preached (made an announcement) to the wicked spirits in prison (Hell) concerning his finished work The power of sin had been canceled by Him. This meets all the requirements of the goat that was laden with the canceled (forgiven) sins carrying them " for Azazel" into the wilderness. This was not the end of the ritual by any means, though. After sending the goat into the wilderness, the high priest went into the holy place, still wearing the clothes he wore when he made the sacrifices. He remained in the sanctuary of the tent of meeting, bathed his flesh and attired himself in garments of beauty and holiness. Later he appeared in all his glory to all those in the waiting congregation. They joyfully hailed his appearance - Atonement was accomplished!

When we look at the record of our Lord Jesus Christ, we see that having been put to death in the flesh and energized in the spirit, He went forth and made the announcement to the evil spirits in prison. He then returned and shortly ascended to glory (Heaven) entering into the sanctuary not made with hands. He took His blood and cleansed the heavenly things therewith. This happened nineteen hundred years ago. He has never - like the high priest - reappeared to Israel. This is the position of the people of Israel and the whole world today. We can rest assured that the Lord is going to completely fulfill this ritual, reappear and be joyfully hailed by His chosen people Israel.

This will be done when Israel sees the mistake that was made by their fathers over nineteen hundred years ago. This mistake was the rejection of King Messiah. When Israel in genuine repentance and absolute faith in Him, confesses its national sin, He will reappear, coming out of the heavenly Sanctuary - just as the high priest did after the atonement was made for Israel on the Day of Atonement. Today there are more churches and organizations giving the truth to Israel as best as they can. They realize that faith comes by hearing the Word of God and that the message of reconciliation was given to man. Perhaps praying for Israel's salvation is what the Psalmist meant when he said to us to do the following:

Psalm 122:6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: They shall prosper that love thee.

In His Service,