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Atonement: Past and Present


   In this modern age, so many are so busy with life that they cannot see what the purpose for life really is. When we look at the past and present, we see some similarities, but also some differences. To comprehend the present more fully, we need to first understand the foundation which has already been set.
   Also the tenth day of this seventh month shall be the Day of Atonement. It shall be a holy convocation for you; you shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire to Yahweh. And you shall do no work on that same day, for it is the Day of Atonement, to make atonement for you before Yahweh your Elohim. For any person who is not afflicted in soul on that same day shall be cut off from his people, Leviticus 23:27–29 NKJV.
   Like the weekly (7th Day) Sabbath, we keep this as a day of rest from work, but since this was done under the Levitical Order, we don't offer sacrificial offerings by fire. We see under the Melchizedek Order in Messiah, that we still keep this day set apart, but we offer rather of our increase and of ourselves. See our free booklets entitled, The Temple Tenth and Orthodox Believers.
   It's wonderful to think of Yahshua as our High Priest in the heavenly realm. Is He interceding for us, as the high priest would intercede on the peoples behalf in the past? If Satan is accusing us, which Scripture says he does, day and night, Yahshua is then, no doubt, interceding for us.
   We'll all be amazed to see just how much goes on in the spirit realm, once we are changed ourselves and can witness all of it.

Kept: Past, Present, and Future
   And any person who does any work on that same day, that person I will destroy from among his people. You shall do no manner of work; it shall be a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. It shall be to you a Sabbath of solemn rest, and you shall afflict your souls; on the ninth day of the month at evening, from evening to evening, you shall observe your Sabbath, Leviticus 23:30 – 32 NKJV.
   We afflict our souls, as commanded. On the 10th day we fast, from sunset of the 9th to the sunset of the 10th. In the New Covenant (Acts 27:9), we find this actually referred to as "the Fast." No water and no food. Harder for some than others. And, of course, we do the best we can, given health issues and the like.
   This Day is serious, however, as we've read, "any person who does any work on that same day, that person I will destroy from among his people." Why is it so important? Why is it needed? Because it's part of the process that Yahweh set forth from the beginning for the reconciliation of Himself and Israel and all of mankind in general. It's foundational.
   For us, it is somewhat symbolic of the sacrificial death of Yahshua Messiah. It also points to a prophetic atonement process in the coming Kingdom, in which Atonement will be kept after His return.
You shall then sound a ram’s horn abroad on the tenth day of the seventh month; on the Day of Atonement you shall sound a horn all through your land. You shall thus consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim a release through the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you, and each of you shall return to his own property, and each of you shall return to his family, Leviticus 25:9–10 NASB.
   There have been a lot of studies and interest about Daniel's Timeline (found in Dan 9:24-27), and the Jubilee years, and the Messiah's return. I'm sure there will be more interest and more dates offered in the months and years ahead.
   In the meantime, we can point to Yahshua Who actually spoke about proclaiming a release to the prisoners and quotes the first part of Isaiah chapter 61.
How do we understand this release in our own lives? Certainly, we are forgiven of our past sins, but is that it? Not at all.

Obedience to The Father
   What did Yahshua teach? Aren't we to follow in His footsteps? Yes, and in doing so, we submit to Yahweh. Remember what Yahshua said about Who is good?
“Why do you call Me good?” Yahshua answered. “No one is good — except Yahweh alone,” Mark 10:18 NIV.
   Yahshua was submitting to Yahweh fully. He didn't sin, so one would think that Yahshua was good, also. "Good" meant excellent in all quality and character, the very core nature of Yahweh is eternal life itself. A very good thing. Yahshua took the opportunity to give honor to Yahweh and allow people to know where goodness truly comes from. The source of all life and goodness: Yahweh.
   Mankind is at fault, however, and is in need of a Savior.
For there is not a just man on earth who does good and does not sin, Ecclesiastes 7:20 NKJV.
   Yet, we do see that with determination to study and follow Yahweh's Holy Word and especially with Yahweh's Spirit imparted, one can be blameless and faithful.
   Perfect? No, but certainly following a righteous path with continued growth with perfection in mind. The path is Yahweh's way, His Holy Word, which was also seen lived out in the Messiah.
   The Apostle Paul was said to be blameless (Acts 24:14, 16; 25:8), but how was he able to be blameless? By the Spirit of Yahweh, which he also acknowledged was in the bretren.
Now I myself am confident concerning you, my brethren, that you also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another. Nevertheless, brethren, I have written more boldly to you on some points, as reminding you, because of the grace given to me by Yahweh, Romans 15:14–16 NKJV.
   He recognized the forgiveness received and also the Spirit within, and he wanted to encourage the brethren to also be blameless with the goodness afforded to them by Yahweh and Yahshua. Essentially, having received Atonement and being brought into a right relationship with Them.
   With all of that said, we do make mistakes; we do continue through a process of refinement, maturing and growing, as we follow the written Word, and Yahshua, in the Spirit. We understand more and more, with our character and integrity improving and growing.
   We are being worked with, and Yahweh's Spirit is allowing us to have true belief and works, in the Name of Yahshua, the only begotten Son of Yahweh. In learning about Atonement, we are to consider how it was done in the past, but with a spiritual approach to it today.

Blood and Water Purify
   There were a lot of purification rites under the Levitical Priesthood, which had to be done with blood and water. Even the altar of incense had to be purified.
   It says in Exodus 30:10 ESV,
Aaron shall make atonement on its horns once a year. With the blood of the sin offering of atonement he shall make atonement for it once in the year throughout your generations. It is most holy to Yahweh.
   In Revelation, there are references to the smoke of incense along with the prayers of the saints rising to Yahweh. In fact, the prayers of the saints are likened to bowls of incense.
   Some assemblies will use incense as a type of symbolic purification and holiness rite, and they will also burn candles, which, a couple verses before verse 10, actually does talk about "trimming the lamps," which is another study in itself.
   We don't do these things in Messiah, except in the spiritual sense. For example, letting our light shine and viewing our prayers being like incense to Yahweh.
   In the Levitical Order, things were very particular, and had to be done exactly as commanded or death would result. W e find during Atonement, a good chapter to cover is Leviticus 16. Let's consider some of the actions taken in it.
Now Yahweh spoke to Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron, when they had approached the presence of Yahweh and died. Yahweh said to Moses: “Tell your brother Aaron that he shall not enter at any time into the holy place inside the veil, before the mercy seat which is on the ark, or he will die; for I will appear in the cloud over the mercy seat," Leviticus 16:1–2 NASB.
   As you may recall, Aaron's sons had brought in strange fire (Lev. 10:1), and that was certainly not allowed. The fire was to be taken from the coals from the altar (Lev. 16:12), but they evidently got it from somewhere else. The result of that transgression (sin, 1 John 3:4) was that they died. How important is it then for us to listen carefully, and to do what we're told?

Symbolism, Types, and Antitypes
   Moses is listening very attentively at this point, and has to relay what Yahweh is telling him to tell his brother Aaron, the assigned high priest and Levite for the Temple worship.
   Aaron shall enter the holy place with this: with a bull for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering. He shall put on the holy linen tunic, and the linen undergarments shall be next to his body, and he shall be girded with the linen sash and attired with the linen turban (these are holy garments). Then he shall bathe his body in water and put them on, Leviticus 16:3 – 4 NASB.
   Should we take things this far today? How far do we go? What Covenant was in the past, and what Covenant are we in today? Any changes (Heb. 7:12)? Are we not able to discern type from antitypes? That is, something in the past which points to something in the future?
   When you search the Internet you'll find a few "Levites" and "high priests" (at least that must be what they're trying to look like) who are wearing what appear to be Levitical priestly garments. These are for the Levite priests, but the thing is we're seeing those who are proclaiming the Messiah are wearing these things, and they are most likely not Levites. It doesn't really matter. We are to put on the Messiah, not Levitical articles of clothing.
   Ritual purification washings (today being called miqve'oth) are also popular among some. Yet, the reason for these was so the temple (tabernacle, at that time) was not defiled. You read of this in Leviticus 15:31. We know why they were done, at that time. They were a type of purification before Yahweh, to be justified before Him. Today there is only one immersion needed in Messiah.
   Continuing, and reading further in Leviticus 16:5 – 6 NASB, it says,
   He shall take from the congregation of the sons of Israel two male goats for a sin offering and one ram for a burnt offering. Then Aaron shall offer the bull for the sin offering which is for himself, that he may make atonement for himself and for his household.
   Two goats, a ram, and a bull. Each having significance, but we'll really want to take a look at the two goats.
He shall take the two goats and present them before Yahweh at the doorway of the tent of meeting. Aaron shall cast lots for the two goats, one lot for Yahweh and the other lot for the scapegoat, Leviticus 16:7 – 8 NASB.
   There is some symbolism we can surmise from this when we think about the two opposite forces, such as Yahshua the Messiah and Satan the devil. Satan is often considered as the scapegoat or goat of removal (H5799, azazel), while Yahshua the sin offering for all the people and for all their sins.
   This is one thing that is different about Atonement over Passover. Passover was an individual atonement. The actual Day of Atonement was for all of the people, collectively. Further we read, in Leviticus 16:15 – 16 NASB,
   Then he shall slaughter the goat of the sin offering which is for the people, and bring its blood inside the veil and do with its blood as he did with the blood of the bull, and sprinkle it on the mercy seat and in front of the mercy seat. He shall make atonement for the holy place, because of the impurities of the sons of Israel and because of their transgressions in regard to all their sins; and thus he shall do for the tent of meeting which abides with them in the midst of their impurities.
   While this sacrificial goat appears to fit with Yahshua's sacrifice for us today, it's interesting that the other goat seems to also have some symbolism which could be related to the Savior.
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, Leviticus 16:21 NASB.
   The problem with this being related to the Savior is that this goat is not killed right away, even though it would eventually die. This, then, is more closely related to Satan. Notice here how the hands of a man, who stands in readiness, takes the goat away. Now take a look at Revelation, to see a similar situation:
Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain. And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, Revelation 20:1 – 2 ESV.
   This angel evidently stood in waiting to lay his hands on Satan to take him away. This is very similar to what we saw in the Atonement account of the past, even though we can think of the one goat as a covering for us even today.
   We see this was more appropriate in the Passover than in Atonement for us, the Passover providing individual atonement.
   Interestingly enough, in Exodus 12:5, a goat in place of the lamb could be used if the individual family was too poor to afford a lamb.
   Prophetically, we see Atonement not yet completely fulfilled. Today, we observe Atonement more for understanding of what is ahead in the future for all of Israel, but also because the Appointed Time still stands as a commanded gathering and annual Sabbath.
   Annual Sabbaths are said to be forever (Lev. 23), with no end. Today, they are kept without the blood of animals; today, it is with different sacrifices and offerings, the "calves of our lips" (Hos. 14:2), for example.

Life is in the Blood
   But Yahweh demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Messiah died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him, Romans 5:8 – 10 NKJV.
   Why blood though? What is the significance of blood in all the sacrifices, both Levitical and for us now in Messiah, through His one sacrifice?
   The Israelites, evidently, had this question among themselves, so Yahweh tells them and us WHY it is needed:
For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your lives, for it is the blood that makes atonement for the life, Leviticus 17:11 TS.
   When we get into the New Covenant writings, we see clarification as to how Yahshua's blood is so much better, because we, now, receive of the Spirit from Yahweh which does far more than we could hope.

Entering the Holy of Holies
   In Hebrews 9:7 – 8 NIV, it states,
   But only the high priest entered the inner room, and that only once a year , and never without blood, which he offered for himself and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance. The Holy Spirit was showing by this that the way into the Most Holy Place had not yet been disclosed as long as the first tabernacle was still functioning.
   While some translations don't say ignorant sins, the underlying word does actually indicate ignorance. And this is evidently what the author understood about the Atonement offering. Even though Leviticus chapter 16 indicated all sins, and repeated, as such, the context of the whole of Scripture has to be considered, and that is exactly what the author here is doing.
   Knowing the prophesied Messiah had come, the author of Hebrews explains all those in Messiah no longer have to go through the purification procedures or ritual blood sacrifices anymore under the Levitical priesthood.
   This is an illustration for the present time, indicating that the gifts and sacrifices being offered were not able to clear the conscience of the worshiper . They are only a matter of food and drink and various ceremonial washings—external regulations applying until the time of the new order, Hebrews 9:9 –10 NIV.
   The New Order, which he is speaking of, is the Melchizedek Order. The one, in which, those in Messiah abide.
But Messiah, having become a High Priest of the coming good matters, through the greater and more perfect Tent not made with hands, that is, not of this creation, entered into the Most Set-apart Place once for all, not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood, having obtained everlasting redemption. For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the defiled, sets apart for the cleansing of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of the Messiah, Who through the everlasting Spirit offered Himself unblemished to Elohim, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living Elohim? (Hebrews 9:11 – 14 TS).
   While we see what Atonement was like in the past, we also see what it is for those of us in Messiah, accepting His position as High Priest and recognizing that we have Him as a Mediator today before the Almighty Father.
   We've been granted the abiity to serve and obey Yahweh as He desires, with clean hearts which love Him and do His will. We are no longer seen as unclean.
   It makes us consider our role in life and what we need to be doing now. Yahshua also makes that clear to us:
And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many, Matthew 20:27 – 28 KJV.
   Let's consider what this day of Atonement is for us today, in Messiah, and not just what it meant in the past.
   We close here with Hebrews 10:21 – 24 NKJV,
   And having a High Priest over the house of Yahweh, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He Who promised is faithful. And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works.
   The time is now to be cleansed from our past sins, to walk in newness of life. If you'd like to know more about the Holy Days of Yahweh, please read our free booklet entitled Biblical Holy Days.

-Elder David Brett

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