"THE DAY OF ATONEMENT."
I. PAUL WROTE TO THE COLOSSIANS:
Jesus has blotted out the written ordinances that were against us, which were contrary to us, and took them out of the way, nailing them to His cross;
In so doing, He spoiled the principalities and powers, and made an open show of His victory as He triumphed over them through His victory on the cross.
Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath [days]:
Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body [is] of Christ.
A. One of the most holy days was the day of atonement. This was the one day in the year when the high priest entered into the holy of holies. On this day he entered twice, once with the blood of the sacrifice for his own sins, and the second time with the blood of the sacrifice for the sins of the nation.
1. This was only a foreshadow of things to come, the substance is Jesus.
2. These sacrifices were all pointing ahead to Jesus.
B. Why a sacrifice?
1. The penalty for sin is death.
2. Man's sin requires that man should die.
3. God provided a way by which man would not have to die for His sin. That was by allowing an animal to become a substitute for the man and die in his place.
4. In a ceremony, the man would put his hands on the head of the animal, and confess his sin. The animal would then be slain, and by the death of the animal, the sins were covered.
C. Once a year the high priest would offer a sacrifice for the sins of the nation. This day was known as Yom Kippur, or the day of atonement.
1. On this day the high priest had to do all of the work alone.
a. It reminds us of how Jesus accomplished the work of our redemption alone.
b. Concerning the disciples it declares that they all forsook Him and fled.
c. The prophecy was fulfilled, "Smite the shepherd and the sheep will scatter."
2. On regular days, many priests would be involved in the offering of the sacrifices, but this day the high priest operated alone.
3. He was not attired in the beautiful garments of the high priest, but just wore the linen garments of the common priests.
a. This reminds us of how Jesus lay His glory aside, and took upon Him a robe of flesh.
b. He who was with God and thought it not robbery to be equal with God, came in the likeness of man. As a servant he submitted to the will of the Father and died on a cross as a sacrifice for the sins of the world.
c. We are told that He was made a little lower than the angels that He might suffer death.
4. First the high priest would offer the daily sacrifices.
5. He then would offer a bullock for his own sins.
a. This was something that the high priest had to do before he could come into the presence of God in the Holy of Holies.
b. This is something that Jesus did not have to do, for in Him was no sin.
6. The priest would then take the two goats, lots were cast to see which goat would be slain, and which goat would be released as a scapegoat into the wilderness. There were two lots made either of wood, stone. On one was written LASHEEM for the NAME, on the other was written LAZAAZEEL for the SCAPE-GOAT. Then they put the two lots into a vessel which was called kalpey, the goats standing with their faces toward the west. Then the priest came, and the goats stood before him, one on the right hand and the other on the left, the kalpey was then shaken, and the priest put in both his hands and brought out a lot in each: that which was in his right hand he laid on the goat that was on his right, and that in his left hand he laid on the goat that was on his left, and according to what was written on the lots, the scapegoat and the goat for sacrifice were ascertained. Then determining this solemn business by lot, showed that God alone was to select and point out the goat by whom this great atonement was to
be made. We have the scripture in 1PE 2:6
, "Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, (that is chosen) precious: (of great value) and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded."
7. The one goat was then slain and its blood brought into the Holy of Holies and sprinkled on the mercy seat.
8. The High priest would then take the other goat and lay his hands on the head of the goat and confess the iniquities of the nation.
9. A priest would then take that goat out into the wilderness and release it.
10. As the goat ran away, when it had disappeared, the priest would signal to a priest who in turn would signal to the next priest until the priest standing on the top of the Mount of Olives would receive the signal and then he would signal to the high priest who was standing in the door of the temple waiting for that signal. He then would proclaim to the people that their iniquities were put away.
a. The two goats signified the twofold work of redemption. Not only were the sins atoned for, but the scapegoat represented their being put away.
b. God has not only forgiven your sins, but He has put them away. As we read in our psalm this morning:
As far as the east is from the west, [so] far hath he removed our transgressions from us.
II. THE WAY IS NOW MADE FOR THE PEOPLE TO FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD.
A. This is why God made man in the first place. He desired meaningful fellowship with man. Fellowship means harmony, union, oneness.
B. Things went well until man sinned. At this point the oneness with God was broken, and man became alienated from God.
1. God cannot be one with sin.
2. Sin always separates a person from God.
Behold, the LORD'S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:
But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid [his] face from you, that he will not hear.
3. People try to understand the cry of Jesus while on the cross. "My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?"
b. In Psalm 22
it is explained, "For You are holy who inhabits the praises of Your people."
c. This is the bitter cup that Jesus sought to escape from, when He prayed, "Father if it is possible let this cup pass from Me, nevertheless, not My will, but Thy will be done."
4. An inevitable consequence of sin is separation from God.
If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with the other, and the blood of Jesus Christ, God's Son, cleanses us from all sin."
III. JESUS OUR GREAT HIGH PRIEST, AND HIS ATONEMENT.
A. HEB 9:11
: But Christ being an high priest of good things to come by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building;
Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption [for us].
For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh:
How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people,
Saying, This [is] the blood of the testament which God hath enjoined unto you.
Moreover he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry.
And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.
[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.
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:
Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entered into the holy place every year with blood of others;
For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.
IV. A GREAT EMOTIONAL MOMENT.
A. When the high priest received the signal that the scapegoat had disappeared in the wilderness, and would then announce to the people, "Your sins are put away." It was a moment of great emotion, rejoicing, relief.
B. It meant that the door was now open for them to fellowship with their Creator, and fulfill the basic purpose of their being.
C. At the baptismal service as I stand in the water with the person who has come for baptism, I often say, "We are now going to bury the past." It is a moment of emotion, I so often see tears running down the cheeks. The lips form the words, "Thanks God." or "Praise the Lord."
D. It is so good to know that our great High Priest has entered into heaven for us with the blood not of animals, but His own blood, and has offered it on the mercy seat before the throne of God, that our sins have been put away and that the door of fellowship with God has been opened whereby I can fulfill the basic purpose of my existence by becoming one with God in fellowship.
Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast [our] profession of faith.
For we do not have a high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like we are, yet without sin.
Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.