The day of atonement spoke of God's grace and mercy to His people. The day of atonement dealt with the sins of the children of Israel. Inherent within this sacrifice was a pictorial lesson that showed Israel how God dealt with their sin and of their standing before Him. The day of atonement demonstrated that the children of Israel stood before God as accepted by God and covered by God in relationship to their sin which unless atoned for separated them from God. (Leviticus 16:21)
The day of atonement was completely connected to the high priestly ritual of two goats. Two goats were to be taken from the flocks of the Israelites in order to become sacrifices unto God. Aaron, Moses brother, and the High Priest of Israel would cast lots in regards to the two goats that had been selected. One goat was to offered to God and the other goat was to become the "scapegoat."
Aaron would carefully follow the specific instructions given by God in Leviticus 4 for this annual sacrifice. The high priest would take the blood from the sacrificed goat into the tabernacle and into the holy of holies. He would then sprinkle the blood on the veil or the curtain and on the mercy seat which sat behind the curtain inside of the holy of holies. This was a "secret" act which was not observed by anyone. It seems that God wanted this covering by the blood to be known publically. There are several lessons in this "public" display of what took place inside the holy of holies.
First, God taught the children of Israel the truth or principle of substitution. When Aaron laid his hands on the "scapegoat" he was symbolizing the transference of the guilt of sin from the guilty to one who was innocent of sin. The scapegoat became a "sin-bearer."
Second, God taught the children of Israel that atonement forever and irreversibly puts away sin: the sin-bearer, the scapegoat goes - never to return - into the wilderness. The sin is forever dealt with, God is satisfied, and the condemnation and judgement is revoked for another year.
Third, God taught the children of Israel that this ceremony foreshadowed a day when sin would be finally dealt with by a sin-bearer that He would provide. The tabernacle no longer exists. The Temple was destroyed in AD 70, the children of Israel were scattered in AD 70. There is no more altar. There is no more high priest. There is no more day of atonement as the ancient Israelites knew them. Why?
The shadow was replaced by the reality! Approximately AD 32, Jesus Bar-Joseph (Son of Joseph) of Nazareth, who had been born in Bethlehem became both the scapegoat and the sin offering. Jesus willingly and obediently humbled himself by allowing both man and God to sacrifice Him upon a cross in order for God, His Father to exalt Him through the resurrection from the dead. Several things took place when the shadow became the reality:
First, the sin of God's elect, his chosen children from all tribes, tongues, nations, and peoples, were imputed to Jesus Christ. God placed the sin of his elect on Jesus Christ, and He who was innocent and had never sinned became sin in order to have the full wrath and fury of an offended and almighty God hurled upon him. (Galatians 2:20)
Second, the total and complete righteousness of Jesus Christ was made available to be imputed by God to his elect when by faith they repent and trust in that atoning work completed by Jesus Christ. Those who were guilty of sin were eternally secured and their sin fully paid for.
Third, this sacrifice of Christ was made once, never to be repeated. Jesus said just before He willingly gave up His spirit and died, τετέλεσται (It is Finished!) Every year from the time of the Day of Atonement was instituted until AD 70, this ritual or ceremony had to be repeated. The high priests work was never finished. There were no chairs in the holy of holies or in the Tabernacle. The high priest could never sit, symbolizing that sin was not fully removed. Jesus upon ascending into heaven some 40 days after He was resurrected from the dead, SAT DOWN at the right of the Father symbolizing that the sacrifice was made and that it was accepted by God thereby removing sin. The work of the atonement foreshadowed in the Day of Atonement was forever finished never to be repeated again.
2010 A-Z Challenge: Y is for Yokefellow
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