Dr. S. Lewis Johnson continues his teaching on the Day of Atonement with practical lessons for modern followers of Christ.
[Prayer] Father we thank Thee for the privilege again of studying in the Scriptures and especially these sections from the Old Testament that so wonderfully foreshadow the ministry of the Lord Jesus. We thank Thee for the greatness of our high priest and for the fact that he has accomplished a sacrifice by which we have been redeemed and also now serves as our intercessor and advocate at the right hand of the Father in the heights. We thank Thee that he ever lives to make intercession for us and also to deal with our sins. How wonderful it is to have the assurance of a priest who not only has the proper sympathy for those who are human but in addition has all of the power of the triune God at his disposal. So, Lord, we thank Thee. We praise Thee and again we ask that thy blessing may be upon us in this meeting and the meetings that follow.
For Jesus’ sake. Amen.
[Message] Tonight is the second in our series of two studies on Leviticus chapter 20, well really Leviticus chapter 16 and chapter 23, on the Day of the Atonement. So if you have your Bibles will you turn again to Leviticus chapter 16.
Yom Kippur is the Day of Atonement. In chapter 23 in verse 27 it is called the Day of Expiations. It was “the day” in Israel. It was the greatest of the feast days and it looked forward to the future day of national atonement. We said last week that the Day of Atonement was a reference, ultimately, to the work of the Lord Jesus on Calvary. It is one of Israel’s seven feasts. The first of the feastly festival series was the feast of Passover then the feast of unleavened bread and the feast of first fruits. The Passover signifying our Lord’s death for us, unleavened bread signifying life of the believer, first fruits the resurrection of Christ. Pentecost followed after a fifty day period of time that was typical of the coming of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost and then there was a delay in the feastly program until the month of Tishrei generally speaking in our October which there were three other feasts; the Feast of Trumpets signifying the gathering of the nation Israel ultimately, the Day of Atonement the day of Israel’s national reconciliation which still lies in the future as far as entrance into the blessings of Calvary is concerned, and finally the Feast of Tabernacles the last of the seven feasts which is typical of the millennial kingdom the day of rest for the chosen of Israel. It is a beautiful program. The seven feasts are given for us in the 23rd chapter of the Book of Leviticus, and they are given in that order and designed to present in a simple way in Israel’s national future. Yom Kippur we said occurred historically at Golgotha but the completion of the ritual awaits the second advent of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Well, now, today or tonight we want to turn to the 16th chapter again and I want to look first at the Day of Atonement in Leviticus which we talk about and I want to talk about the significance of the Day of Atonement from the typical standpoint and then I want to conclude, if we have time, by looking at the Day of Atonement and the Epistle to the Hebrews, specifically, the 9th chapter because there it is the background of the things that author writes about at that point. So turning now to chapter 16 verse, I’m going to ask you for the sake of time to skip to the 20th verse. We read the first part of this last week. We’ll read for tonight verses 20 through 22, which is the ritual concerning the second goat.
“When he finishes atoning for the holy place and the tent of meeting and the altar, he shall offer the live goat. Then Aaron shall lay both of his hands on the head of the live goat, and confess over it all the iniquities of the sons of Israel and all their transgressions in regard to all their sins; and he shall lay them on the head of the goat and send it away into the wilderness by the hand of a man who stands in readiness. The goat shall bear on itself all their iniquities to a solitary land; and he shall release the goat in the wilderness.” [The Authorized Version reads to a land not inhabited to a solitary land and he shall release the goat in the wilderness.]
Now, let me just for a few moments review the service of the Day of Atonement. Remember on this day the high priest put aside his garments of glory and beauty which were notable for not only their beauty but for the gold that made up parts of the garments. He laid aside those garments and used on the Day of Atonement some special white linen garments. I guess they were noted for their plainness in one sense in comparison with the garments of glory and beauty. So he changed his clothes and these clothes were the clothes that he used as he accomplished the service of the Day of Atonement. Remember he made three entrances into the holiest of all. The tabernacle was composed of two parts the holy place in which was the table of shew bread, the lamp stand, and the golden altar of incense and then beyond the second veil was the Ark of the Covenant with the cherubim overshadowing the mercy seat. Into the mercy seat or into the place where the mercy was the high priest went only once a year on this day. So he made three entrances on this day. He first went in with incense and the incense was designed to fill the whole of the tabernacles inside the holy place and the holiest of all.
Then having come out after burning the incense inside of the tabernacle he later slew one of two bulls. This bull was a bull of a sin offering for himself. Did I say two? I mean a bull for a sin offering for himself the high priest. He slew the animal. He took the blood from the animal. Took it inside the tabernacle. Took in to the holiest of all the second curtain on this day being drawn so he could go in. He went in and sprinkled the blood on the mercy seat. It was a very solemn occasion. It was an atonement that was made for him and he himself could not enter even on this day apart from blood that was shed for his own sin. Then he came out and slew the first of two goats which had been selected. He again took the blood inside. The blood was sprinkled on the mercy seat as a reconciliation for the children of Israel. Having come out of the holiest of all for the third time, he then did what you have just read in verse 20 through 22, he confessed over the second goat the two goats making up an offering for the children of Israel. The sins and transgressions of the nation Israel and then having laid his hand upon the animal and confessed the sins on of Israel over the animal, the animal was sent off into the wilderness by the hand of a man who stands in readiness and the goat bore on itself the iniquities of the children of Israel into a solitary land and the goat was their release. Tradition has it that the goat was pushed over a cliff in order that goat might die because it was clear to them that the thought of a goat over which had been confessed the sins of the children of Israel wandering back into the camp of Israel would suggest to them that their sins had not really been accounted for one more year. And so they made sure that the goat did not return. He went off. He was pushed over a cliff and typically Israel’s sins were forgiven or atoned for one more year.
Now, I did not say anything last time about the goat and the selection of the goat by means of the lots. And I would like to read verse 8, which says, “Aaron shall cast lots for the two goats, one lot for the Lord and the other lot for the scapegoat.” The scapegoat is the goat that is to be sent off into the wilderness and the first goat the goat for the Lord which has the lot for the Lord over it is the one that is slain and the blood of which is sprinkled on the mercy seat. A great deal of discussion has taken place over the meaning of that expression translated in the New American Standard Bible for the scapegoat.
Now, since the two lots were taken out of the urn and the priest put one of the lots on which was the word or the words for Jehovah and then took the other lot out of the urn which had the words on it for azazel and put it on the goat for azazel. A great deal of discussion has taken place because since one lot says for Jehovah it was it has been the feeling of some that this other word for azazel or as its translated for the scapegoat must therefore also be for a person since one goat is for the Lord is it not likely then that the other is also for a person.
Now, what has made this difficult is that the Hebrew word azazel is, ell, ebrew scholars do not really know what it means, and so that accounts for the confusion and also the discussion. Some have suggested that for azazel really means for Satan and azazel was a proper name a proper name for Satan. Some others have suggested it was one of the demons that were known at that time that, of course, an interpretation related to the preceding one. Some have suggested that the term means a place. The first goat for the Lord the second goat for azazel a place that is the land not inhabited. Still others have said that it’s a reference to a thing but the most common interpretation is that the word which is closely related to a Hebrew word which means to dismiss or depart is probably simply to be translated for departure or a goat of removal as you have in the margin of the New American Standard Bible. I think that that is better and so the translation scapegoat is alright or the goat for departure the reference simply being to the fact that it is the second goat over which the sins of Israel are confessed and which is sent into the wilderness in token of the forgiveness of their sins.
Now, that’s the service and what I want to do now is to come back and rehearse the significance of this service. And I want to divide this rehearsal of the significance the typical significance into two parts. First, some truths that have to do with the priests person.
Now, we are talking about the high priest and the high priest is typical of our Lord Jesus Christ who is our great high priest. So the truths that concern the priests person are truths that are reflective of the ministry of the Lord Jesus who is to come from the standpoint of the Book of Leviticus. The first thing to comment upon, I think, is the change in Aaron’s garments. Aaron’s rich attire is put aside on this day and he puts on the plain white linen garments. The garments of glory and beauty are put aside. The garments of plain white linen are put on. That surely seems to suggest to us the fact that when the Lord Jesus came in his ministry at his first coming he laid aside the glory of his own person, came in form as a man, was found in fashion as a man as a servant, and carried out his ministry of offering and atoning sacrifice for us. I think, the one passage, at least to me, that most beautifully reflects this is the passage in Philippians chapter 2, the great kenosis passage in which the Lord Jesus Christ’s humiliation is set forth. I’ll read a few verses of it beginning at Philippians did I say Hebrews, Philippians chapter 2 in verse 5. Paul writes, “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.” So laying aside the garments of glory and beauty and taking the plain linen garments suggests the humiliation of our Lord Jesus who emptied himself took the form of a bond servant came in the likeness of men and offered the atoning sacrifice.
Now, a second thing notable about Aaron is that Aaron acted throughout this chapter under divine direction. I want you to notice the way the language of chapter 16, stresses this. Look at verse 2, “And the Lord said to Moses, ‘Tell your brother Aaron that he shall not enter at any time into the holy place.” Verse 3, “Aaron shall enter.” Verse 4, “He shall put on the holy linen tunic.” Verse 5, “He shall take from the congregation of the sons of Israel two male goats.” Verse 6, “Then Aaron shall offer the bull for the sin offering.” Verse 7, “He shall take the two goats.” Verse 8, “Aaron shall cast lots for the two goats.” I think, you can see that the stress of this chapter rests upon the fact that Aaron follows the divine direction in all of the details. This is a work that is commanded by God.
Now, do you remember the words that the Lord Jesus says about his own ministry? He says things like he came to do the will of him that sent me. My meet is to do the will of him that sent me. He even says at times that he does not do anything or say anything that he does not hear or see the Father doing. Every single thing that our Lord did as long he was here in the flesh was done by divine direction. So the very fact that Aaron carries out this ritual of the Day of Atonement precisely as set forth in the word of God illustrates our Lord’s own obedience under the directing hand of God in his messianic work. He subordinated himself to the will of the Father in everything that he did. Now, he did not surrender his divine attributes because that is impossible but he did surrender the voluntary use of his divine attributes and turned over the use of them to the Father. It is, I say, a beautiful picture of our Lord Jesus.
Now, one other thing. You notice as you read through this chapter it is specifically pointed out that this work shall be done by Aaron alone. He had no helpers. No other person ever went into the holiest of all and sprinkled blood on the mercy seat. No one was ever in the holiest of all except that high priest and he only once a year. No other foot was ever upon the boards of the tabernacle in the holiest of all but Aaron. And on the day in which he carried out this ministry that restored or continued the relationship between the children of Israel and the Lord that very day was a day in which Aaron alone acted. He did his work alone.
Now, in the Old Testament and also in the New Testament more than once in messianic passages it is stated that the Messiah shall do his work alone. In Psalm 22 in verse 11, we read in words that express the feeling of the Messiah as he is carrying out his atoning work, “Be not far from me, for trouble is near; for there is none to help.” And in the 69th chapter in the twentieth verse also a Messianic psalm we read, “Reproach has broken my heart and I am so sick and I looked for sympathy, but there was none, and for comforters, but I found none.” Now, those texts do not say that he accomplished the work alone. They simply say that he was alone. He had no help. He had no sympathy but in Hebrews chapter 1 in verse 3, we read, “And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power When He had,” now this expression made purification in the Greek text is a construction in the middle voice a kind of indirect middle which should be rendered I think to get the full flavor of the Greek expression, “when He had by himself made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.” So Aaron did his work alone. He had nobody to help him. The work of atonement is a work that the Lord Jesus Christ alone does.
Now, let’s turn to the truths concerning the priests work of atonement. The first thing that I want you to bear in mind is that this Day of Atonement stresses right at the beginning the sin of the children of Israel. The sanctuary is unclean. The sanctuary, the tabernacle is the place of worship and the very fact that there had to be the sacrifice of the Day of Atonement is a visible proclamation of the truth that all is not right between the Lord and the nation. So once a year that tabernacle had to be cleansed by the sacrifices of the Day of Atonement. That said that there was something wrong between the Lord and the nation Israel. It in effect then is a proclamation of the sin of the nation. So the very fact that it had to be carried out stresses the sin of the people.
Second, the nature of the sacrifice I won’t have to labor because we talked a great deal in these chapter in Leviticus about the nature of the offerings which begin the Book of Leviticus, we talked about the offerings in the case of the lepers cleansing of the two birds and the significance of the slaying of the animal, and so let me just state what again comes before us here. We have primarily in the two goats one slain the blood of which is put upon the mercy seat in the holiest of all. The other over which the sins of the people are confessed and set off into the wilderness another picture of atonement by virtue of penal satisfaction through substitution.
Now, it is penal. That is there recognition of this that a penalty for sin must be born in the death of the animal. The death of the animal is evidence that a penalty is being born. The satisfaction, the idea of satisfaction is vividly portrayed in the sprinkling of the blood in the mercy seat. So when the blood was taken in from the sacrifice sprinkled on the mercy seat it was a token of the animal sacrifice satisfying the holiest and righteousness of God. It was the death of the guilty in order that the penalty might be paid in God’s law upheld. The Apostle Paul writes in Romans chapter 3, “Being declared righteous freely by the redemption which in Christ Jesus whom God has set forth propitiation through faith in his blood.” So the blood that was sprinkled on the mercy seat was the propitiation of the Father for the sins of Israel. And the fact that the animal’s blood is taken into the holiest of all instead of the blood of the people is, of course, evidence of substitution. So we have penal satisfaction by a substitute. It is striking in this 16th chapter in the Book of Leviticus ten times the word for atonement kaphar is rendered exilasasqai — Greek word related to the word for propitiation by exilasasqai or compounds. In fact, the very term mercy seat is a word hilasterion which is found in Romans 3 in verse 25, when Paul writes, “Whom God has set forth a propitiation” a mercy seat, literally. So you can see then that what we have here is penal satisfaction, propitiation through substitution and the terminology as well as the logic of what has taken place stresses that.
Now, we stress in Believers Chapel because a true doctrine of the atonement must include the idea of the suffering of penalty. Atonement cannot take place unless a penalty is paid. Further, God’s righteousness and holiness must be satisfied. He is absolutely holy. He cannot overlook any sin at all and since we cannot pay the debt someone must pay it for us and so we must have substitution.
Now, the third thing that this chapter stresses about the priest’s atonement is the value of the sacrifice. Only one thing touched the mercy seat and that was the blood of the atoning sacrifice. Only that may touch the place where God typically dwelt. Remember in the holiest of all there was the ark the cherubim overshadowing the mercy seat above was the pillar of cloud and pillar of fire tokens of the presence of God. It was there at the mercy seat that God said he would meet with Israel and the only thing that could be place upon the mercy seat was the blood of a sacrificial animal. Now, that beautifully, I think, stresses the value of the sacrifice and it must do so. The writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews talks about these things in the 9th chapter and we’ll read some of these verses later on.
The fourth thing, the nature of the forgiveness. Now, the forgiveness that Israel experienced as a result of the Day of Atonement was not an eternal forgiveness. It was temporal. Every year they had to go through this same sacrificial ritual every year over and over and over again. So this was a temporal forgiveness. It was a forgiveness that lasted for one year.
Now, I think, that by contrast it’s evident that our Lord’s sacrifice is far superior to the sacrifices of blood of the sacrificial blood of bulls and goats because his sacrifice, of course, is a sacrifice that covers sins forever but the forgiveness under the Levitical system was a temporal forgiveness. It beautifully pictures our Lord’s work but we should never forget that it is temporal.
Fifth, the means of the atonement. Now, in chapter 17 in verse 11 in the Book of Leviticus we read this, “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood by reason of the life or reason of the soul that makes atonement.” The means of the atonement, atonement was made by the shedding of blood. What’s significant about the blood? Well, that 11th verse of the 17th chapter says, “it is the blood by reason of the life that makes atonement.” Life is found in the blood. The soul is found in the blood literally. So life is in the blood. The reason that our Lord must die is because there must be a violent death. There must be penalty and the blood must be shed because the life is in the blood. Harvey who discovered the circulation of the blood said it’s the fountain of life. The first to live the last to die and the primary seat of the animal soul. To shed blood then is to pout out life to shed is to put to death. In the New Testament we are told that we have forgiveness through the blood. We are told that we are justified through the blood. We are told that the cleansing that we posses is through the blood.
There are many other things that the New Testament says about the blood all related to the atoning benefits of the work of Christ. God makes everything of the blood of his son and over and over through the Bible he tries to stress that point. At the Passover, it was when I see the blood I will pass over you. It is when the blood is sprinkled on the mercy seat that the atonement took place. It is only when our Lord has shed his blood that redemption is accomplished. Shedding of blood suggests sacrifice, suggests death, and it suggests violent death. That’s why we say over and over again that if our Lord had died of a heart attack we wouldn’t have redemption. He must die violently. He must die under human judgment as a divine penal sacrifice. We cannot have atonement without blood. That’s why in preaching, blood should be stressed. We don’t want to over stress it but the Bible as you can see stresses it constantly and attributes to the blood of Christ all of our blessings even calls it “precious blood.” Why did Peter call it that? Well because he saw that all of his future, all of the life that he possessed, rested upon the blood of Christ, the outpoured blood of our Lord on the cross. Don’t be ashamed of the blood. There are people who speak of the blood in a very disparaging way. The Bible never speaks of the blood in a disparaging way. Now, we should never forget that atonement is accomplished more than simply by physical death. It is our Lord’s spiritual death. That is even more significant but the two should never be really separated too distinctly.
Another thing, the benefits of the atonement. What did the atonement on the Day of Atonement do for the children of Israel? Well it maintained Israel in the fellowship with our Lord for one more year. I want you to turn over with me to Hebrews chapter 9 in verse 15, for just a moment before we turn there for a little longer session. In Hebrews chapter 9 in verse 15, the writer of the epistle says, “And for this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, they who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.”
Now, I want you to notice the words “a death has taken place” for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant. Now, that says that our Lord Jesus Christ died on the cross not only for the sins that lay before him, our sins, but for the sins of all who lived under the first covenant. In other words, our Lord’s death is a death that looks backward as well as forward. Lindsey who has written a book on the Book of Hebrews says, “Not posterity merely but ancestors were benefited by the self-denying scenes of Calvary. The river of mercy flowed backward from the cross to the creation as well as onward to the end of the world. The saints who had died before the Lord came are saved just as the saints who lived after he has come by the blood that he shed on Calvary’s cross.”
Now, while Israel was maintained in fellowship with the Lord only for one more year. The covenant was renewed for one more year in the case of the shedding of the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ all the sins of the past and all of the sins of his people in the future are taken care of by what he did then. The saints who lived before our Lord came were saved when they believed on credit to use one of our every day terms. They were saved on credit but the saints that are saved now are saved by virtue of the blood that has already been shed.
Now, one final thing, the divine authority of sacrifice. I stress this, we stressed it in connection with Aaron. He operated according to divine requirements. Over and over through the chapter we have this shall, Aaron’s shall. He shall take the blood. He shall kill the animals. He shall sprinkle the blood. He shall send the goat off into the wilderness. All of this was done under divine authority. Why did God erect this massive detailed ritual cultus which we call the Levitical system? Why it was to teach us to prepare us for the all of the ramifications of what would happened if the Lord came and of course now to teach us the things that have transpired in his sacrifice. Israel was all constantly reminded of what the redeemer would do. We look back and read these chapters and reflect again on all of the aspects of our Lord’s saving work.
Now, we won’t turn to John 10:18, for the sake of time but there the Lord Jesus speaks about doing the will of the Father in his work of laying down his life for us. What I’d like for you to do now is to turn over to Hebrews chapter 9, and let’s read a few verses of a section in which the writer of this epistle speaking against the background of the Day of Atonement describes in antitypical fashion the ministry of the Lord Jesus. The tabernacle was composed of two parts. This is the holiest of all. This is the Holy of Holies. Here was the Ark of the Covenant. Now, in the holiest in Holy of Holies, there was the lampstand, there was the table of showbread, there was the golden altar of incense and, of course, there was the incense. In the court, there was the brazen altar of sacrifice and the labor in which the priests washed their hands and feet as they went back and forth. On the Day of Atonement this second curtain, here was a curtain, here was a curtain. The second curtain was drawn so that the high priest was able to go into the holiest of all.
Now, on the Day of Atonement the high priest appeared at the brazen altar. There he slew the goat which was for the children of Israel. He took the blood and he went into the holiest of all and there he sprinkled it on the mercy seat. Then he returned coming out of the gate; so that we really have three actions of the high priest on the Day of Atonement. He appeared at the golden altar at the golden at the brazen altar of sacrifice. There he slew the animal. He went into the holiest of all sprinkled the blood on the mercy seat. Then came out and when the children of Israel saw him of course they knew that the blood sacrifice had been accepted.
Now, with that in mind let’s read the verses here beginning at verse 23. I’ll try to read through rapidly and I’ll just make a few comments. The order in which the author writes against the background of the Day of Atonement is slightly different but he’s speaking about the same spiritual truths but applying them to the Lord Jesus. Verse 23, “Therefore it was necessary for the copies of the things in the heavens to be cleansed with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us.” Now, you can see first of all speaks of this entrance into the holiest of all. He appears there in the amid the clouds of incense, the smoke of the incense. He appears in the presence of God for us. Now, the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews is making these events refer to the ministry of our Lord. first he will appear here for his cross. Then in his high priestly work he will enter into the holiest of all and remain in the presence of God there for us. That is what he is dong right now.
Now, let’s read on. Verse 25, “nor was it that He would offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the holy place year by year with blood that is not his own.” He did not have to do it often like Aaron who had to do it every year and furthermore Aaron had to go in with somebody else’s blood because he needed the blood of an animal to pay for his sins. Otherwise, he would have needed to suffer often since the foundation of the world but now once at the consummation he has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.”
Now, he refers to our Lord at the brazen altar offering the sacrifice of Calvary. Let’s read on, “And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment, so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many,” right here once offered to bear the sins of many, “shall appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him not to bear sins to those who eagerly wait for him for salvation.” So the appearance the second time is the appearance of the high priest as he came forth from the tabernacle having accomplished the sacrifice.
Now, do you see what he has done? He has said that when Aaron appeared at this altar and slew the goat it was like our Lord’s sacrifice on Calvary. When Aaron went into the holiest of all and sprinkled the blood there it is like our Lord in his present ministry as high priest at the right hand of the Father there he appears in the presence of God for us by virtue of the blood that was shed. So that his appearance is the acceptance of not only of himself but of those for whom he comes. That is for all who are related to our Lord Jesus as representative priests. That is for us. And finally he says he will come out of the tabernacle just as Aaron did but it will be at his second advent. So you can see then he transfers all of this to the present time and he says Christ has offered the sacrifice. He’s now in the presence of God and there appearing for us praying for advocating for us but he is to come out a second time at the completion of the salvation program. The contrasts are obvious between our Lord’s ministry and the Aaronic, but it’s a beautiful picture then of the three appearings of the Lord Jesus.
One last thing, the children of Israel were required to from a subjective standpoint do one thing on the Day of Atonement. Now, you can find that if you turn back to Leviticus chapter 16, and with this we’ll have to close but it’s a, I think, a very important personal thing. In Leviticus chapter 16 in verse 29. listen to what Moses says, “This shall be a permanent statute for you: in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall humble your souls and not do any work, whether the native, or the alien who sojourns among you; for it is on this day that atonement shall be made for you to cleanse you; you will be clean from all your sins before the Lord. “It is to be a Sabbath of solemn rest for you, that you may humble your souls; it is a permanent statute.” You see what he said.
Now, I think, over in chapter 23 in verse 29, I’ll read that for you quickly, he adds one point. He says, “If there is any person who will not humble himself on this same day, he shall be cut off from his people.” You might have asked the question does the Day of Atonement operate, well, exoperato as the Romanists say. In other words, is it by the very fact that is carried out valid for every Israelite? If the goat was slain and if the goat was sent off into the wilderness is every Israelite thereby given the benefits of the sacrifice whether he cares or not? Maybe he’s sleeping while Aaron’s carrying out his ministry. People have been known to sleep while ministry takes place. Suppose he sleeps. Suppose he misses it. Suppose he doesn’t care. Suppose he plays marbles while all this is going on. Is it valid for him? No. The children of Israel must afflict themselves. They must enter into the experience on a personal level. If they do not afflict themselves if they do not confess their sin if they do not by faith enter into the reality that this Day of Atonement was intended to suggest they are cut off from the people of Israel. As you see, the same truth that we see all through the Bible it’s not enough to have our Lord offer an atoning sacrifice. It is necessary for an individual to come by the grace of God to a personal trust in him who has accomplished that saving work and if there is no entrance into it in a personal way it is no experience that benefits us at all.
We have to close.
[Prayer] Father, we are grateful to Thee for these pictures again that show us our Lord Jesus Christ’s work and we pray, Lord, that we may always remember that it is important for us to enter into a relationship with our Lord in a personal way. Deliver us from the indifference and coldness. Help us to remember that our Lord came not simply for sin but for our sin, for my sin. And, O God, through the Holy Spirit, give gratitude and thanksgiving for him.
We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.