Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Day of Atonement- Yesterday and Today

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 souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul. Leviticus 17:11
We have been dealing with blood issues since 2006 when my husband was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma (Cancer in the Bone Marrow). We have learned a lot since then. Just recently, he has had his stem cells harvested and is getting ready for a second round since they didn’t get enough the first time. It is an eerie feeling to have your life blood go through a machine, be filtered and then returned back into your body. It certainly does drain a person of energy for a few days…but we all know what would have happened if the blood wasn’t returned back!

During the time of Moses, God instituted a solemn ceremony called the Day of Atonement to reconcile the people back to Himself. Just this one time every year, the High Priest would enter into the Holy of Holies with the shed blood to make atonement for sin. Basically, it was a day of Substitution, Sacrifice and Scapegoat, described in Leviticus 16.

Substitution – Perfect animals (bullocks and goats) were selected to die in place of the individual and the nation (verse 3-5).

Sacrifice – The animal was slain at the great altar and its blood was sprinkled on the Mercy Seat in the Holy of Holies for Atonement (Covering of Sin), (verses 6-15). Leviticus 17:11 (quoted above) states the purpose and the principle for animal sacrifice.

Scapegoat –A goat was sent away from the camp into the wilderness, symbolizing the people’s sins being taken away (verse 21-22).

Messianic Fulfillment

This ceremony was a vivid picture of what Jesus came to do in His First Coming.

He became our Substitute, just like the perfect animals, He died in our place.
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

He became our Sacrifice, just like the shed blood of the animal; He shed His blood on the Cross for our sins, not just as atonement, but for eternal redemption!
In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. Colossians 1:14

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. Hebrews 9:12

He became our Scapegoat, just like the goat that took the sins away, Jesus, who had no sin, came specifically to take our sins away.
The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! John 1:29

And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin. 1 John 3:5 (See Psalm 103:12)

Today, our dear Jewish friends have a Day of Atonement, but with no Atonement! Why? It is because in place of blood sacrifices there are good intentions and religious deeds which do not meet God’s requirements. But, in Messiah Jesus, Leviticus 16 has been fulfilled. Consider… would you want an atonement which cannot be obtained today and even if it was, only provided a mire covering or would you want redemption, which is obtainable now by faith to anyone and is eternal.
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

Have you received this special gift for yourself?

For an exciting re-enactment and explanation of this observance, consider purchasing the DVD, “Messiah in the Day of Atonement”, produced by The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, in which Peter portrays the High Priest. The photo, above, is a scene from this DVD.