REDEMPTION OF THE BELIEVER
DAY OF ATONEMENT
DAY OF ATONEMENT
"Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day
of atonement: it shall be a holy convocation unto you; and ye
shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire
unto the Lord. And ye shall do no work in that same day: for it
is a day of atonement, to make an atonement for you before the
Lord" (Lea. 23:27,28).
"And the Lord said unto Moses, Speak to Aaron thy brother, that
he come not at all times into the holy place within the veil
before the mercy seal, which is upon the ark; that he die not:
for I will appear in the cloud upon the mercy seat" (Lev. 16:2).
"For on that day shall the priest make an atonement for you, to
cleanse you, that ye may be clean from all your sins before the
Lord" (Lev. 16:30).
"Then shall thou cause the trumpet of the jubilee to sound on the
tenth day of the seventh month, in the day of atonement shall ye
make the trumpet sound throughout all your land" (Lev. 25:9).
"And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus
Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement" (Rom.5:11).
"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
"Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest
by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which he hath
consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh"
"But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have
fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his
Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we
deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our
sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to
cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (I John 1:7-9).
DAY OF ATONEMENT placed in the latter section of redemption.
The Levitical convocations are seven in number... If we are
following a logical sequence or pattern of any kind, why wasn't
the Day of Atonement placed first in the order of the
convocations? It seems reasonable that the first thing that
should happen in the plan of redemption is that sin should be
taken care of completely.
But the fact of the matter is that the blood of Passover
protected Israel from the judgment that falls upon the gods of
this world. The Passover blood is a shield, a wall of protection
from the judgment of God. The first Passover was celebrated in
Egypt; but the Day of Atonement, the convocation having to do
with the purging of sins from God's people, was never celebrated
in Egypt! The Day of Atonement could not be conducted until the
Tabernacle of the Congregation had been set up.
Isn't this order of placement of the Day of Atonement
somewhat out of line with our traditional concept of the
relationship between the Christian life and sin, in that we would
expect the convocation typifying cleansing from sin to come at
the very outset or the series of seven convocations?
God's remedy for the sinful condition of His people is the
precious blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. God has made an
atonement for us, just as He covered Adam and Eve with coats of
skins (Gen.3:21). God has covered us with the blood of Christ so
that the shame of our nakedness does not appear when we come into
the presence of God Almighty (Rev.3:18).
The blood of Jesus Christ, the sacrificial Lamb of God, is
applied to our lives in four different ways: (1) as the Passover
blood, which protects us from the judgment of God as it falls
upon the gods of this world, (2) IS the blood of atonement which
cancels the debt of guilt incurred because of our sins; (3) as
the blood of atonement through which the Holy Spirit of God is
enabled to remove the tendencies and repair the consequences of
the sin in us, give us the strength to resist sin, and fill us
with the resurrection life of Christ so that we are lifted above
the spiritual realms where sin abounds; and (4) as the blood of
the sacrifice which we drink when we receive the body and blood
of Christ in the communion.
The atonement which God made for us in the sacrifice of
Christ upon Calvary is so comprehensive that it is difficult to
describe in one or two words. Our definition of make atonement
is: restore completely to divine favor...
The seven convocations do not proceed in order in our lives
like the grades of an elementary school. The spiritual
counterparts of the seven convocations are experienced by us at
the moment of accepting Christ, and should be working in us each
day of our pilgrimage. The several facets of the Day of Atonement
- the Passover protection, the cancelling of guilt, the washing
away of all unrighteousness, and the partaking of the substance
of Christ - are ours at the moment of receiving Christ as our
Savior and Lord.
As we move along in the plan of God for our lives the
convocations are fulfilled in our personalities to an ever
greater degree. Certainly, the full weigh(of authority and power
contained in the body and blood of Jesus becomes increasingly
meaningful to us. Our day-to-day Christian walk brings us to an
ever-greater consciousness of what the blood of Christ really can
do concerning the hold that sin has upon us. We become better
able to lay hold upon the body and blood and thereby overcome the
At this point in our book we are going to dwell for a bit
upon the need of us who have been Christians for a while to learn
to draw upon the authority and power of the atonement made by
Christ, so that we can fight our way through to greater freedom
from the "sin which doth so easily beset us" (Heb.12:1). The
"living bird" of Leviticus 14:7 and the "scapegoat" of Leviticus
16:10 shows us clearly that God intends that our sins not only
should be forgiven but also should be removed from us. We
Christians need to learn more about how to get our sins removed
from us so that we can be made perfect in the sight of God
Perhaps it is our understanding that sin is purged out of
our life at the time of our initial contact with the Lord Jesus
Christ. And, though we have come by the way of the cross - many
years ago in some cases - yet can we claim with certainty that we
have been delivered from backbiting, pride, haughtiness,
spiritual coldness, covetousness, hardness of heart, slothfulness
(concerning the things of the Spirit), hatred, gossip, jealousy,
foolishness, idolatry, lust, envy, lying, boasting, stealing,
divisiveness, witchcraft, ambition, self-love, complacency, fear,
self-pity? If we, individually and collectively, do these things,
then it appears that the power contained in the atonement of
Christ has not accomplished its perfect work in us, although we
have been "saved" (Gal.5:21).
Perhaps there is a reason why in the sequence of the
Levitical convocations, one of the most important set of
symbols in the Old Testament experience, the Holy Spirit of God
placed the Day of Atonement in the latter section of His
representation of the Christian salvation. It may be that a
person must be converted and then walk with Christ for a season
before God is able to deal with the profound deceitfulness of the
heart to root out the tares from among the wheat (Matt.13:29).
As it is written, "The heart is deceitful above all things,
and desperately wicked: who can know it?" (Jer.17:9).
(Somewhat not understood correctly by many, and taken out of
context of the whole Bible by others. I have a full study of this
passage in Jeremiah 17 on this Website - Keith Hunt).
This, of course, is not the primary application of the parable of
the tares and the wheat (Matt.13:37-43). Christians do sin. In
any case, two facts seem evident.
(1) the cleansing of the Tabernacle and of the priests and people
occurs during the latter part of the series of convocations, just
prior to the convocation of Tabernacles (fullness of the
indwelling of Christ and the Father; redemption of the mortal
(2) the farther along that Christian disciples walk with Christ,
the more conscious they become of the problem of sin in their own
life and the need for personal holiness, showing that holiness
of life is not completely achieved at the time of the first
acceptance of Christ.
When a Christian sins the wickedness may not be of the
gross, obvious nature of drunken brawling, armed robbery, or
pushing drugs. The wickedness may be of a more deceitful nature.
The sinfulness of the household of faith tends to be that of the
heart, the murderous hardness, jealousy, pride, spitefulness of
the heart. Such was the heart-sin of Israel, the murderer of
prophets front ancient times. Whenever "Israel" sees her Beloved
she is apt to cry, "Away with Him! Crucify Him! Let the guilt for
His murder fall on us and our children!"
Perhaps we shouldn't blame the Hebrew Pharisees too much for
the murder of Jesus. It is possible that the Christian churches
of today would get rid of Christ somehow were He to appear. We
might find fault with His words or deeds, or have Him discredited
in some manner or put out of the church, while we are singing,
"Have Thine Own Way, Lord." Jeremiah may be as current as the
morning paper when he warns, "The sin of Judah is written with a
pen of iron, and with the point of a diamond: it is graven upon
the table of their heart, and upon the horns of your altars"
It may be difficult for us Christians to believe that there
actually is sin in the churches, when the Christian church is
God's own institution in the earth. Perhaps part of the reason
we find this fact so hard to accept is that we do not understand
the pattern of God's workings. Think about the implications of
Leviticus 16:16, for example:
"And he shall make an atonement for the holy place, because of
the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their
transgressions in all their sins: and so shall he do for the
tabernacle of the congregation, that remaineth among them in the
midst of their uncleanness."
A MISLEADING ASSUMPTION
A misleading assumption sometimes made by us is that the
presence of God in our midst means that we are holy. The
Christian churches are of God, we reason, are of divine origin,
and if we sense the presence of God it must be true that
we are walking in holiness in His sight.
A good way to test the accuracy of this idea is to ask the
people of the world their opinion of the holiness of the
Christian church people, as far as can be determined upon the
basis of their daily actions and words. Another way to test the
idea is to look about us; or, better yet, to look at our own
imaginations, motives, words, and deeds.
"And so shall he do for the tabernacle of the congregation, that
REMAINETH AMONG THEM IN THE MIDST OF THEIR UNCLEANNESS." If God
refused to have anything to do with people until they were holy,
there would be precious little of the presence of God anywhere on
God doesn't come among us because we are holy, but rather to
make us holy. The Holy Spirit is not given to us because we are
holy, but in order to make us holy. The manifestation of the
Spirit is not given to a believer because he is righteous, but
rather to make him righteous. A person doesn't receive an
apostleship, or a gift of teaching and revealing the Word, or a
gift of miracles because he is unusually holy, but in order to
create holiness in him and in those who receive of the grace
given to him.
It is not unusual for Christians to confuse ministry,
especially highly visible ministry, with holiness and
spirituality. Then, if the highly regarded, sometimes idolized,
minister should manifestly sin along some line, neither he nor
his followers can admit the sin and treat it objectively. He is
destroyed, and some of his followers along with him. He and they
had supposed that God had revealed Himself through his ministry
because he was particularly holy.
We Christians must come to understand that God has set His
holy tabernacle, so to speak, among us in the midst of our
uncleanness. Then we will be able to view our sins objectively
and to confess them from a position of strength, faith, and
stability, rather than to pretend that we don't do them or to get
unduly alarmed or to fall away in dismay or despair when our sin
"Speak not thou in thine heart, after that the Lord thy God hath
cast them out from before thee, saying, For my righteousness the
Lord hath brought me in to possess this land: but for the
wickedness of these nations the Lord doth drive them out from
before thee. Not for thy righteousness, or for the uprightness of
thine heart, dost thou go to possess their land: but for the
wickedness of these nations the Lord thy God doth drive them out
from before thee, and that he may perform the word which the Lord
sware unto thy fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Understand therefore, that the Lord thy God giveth thee not this
good land to possess it for your righteousness, for thou art a
stiffnecked people" (Deut.9:4-6).
Can we face the possibility that the Christian church, the
very body of Christ, has members who sin? It may help us to
remember that a very large fraction of the whole Bible
is directed toward the problem of the sins of Israel. A great
part of Isaiah, of Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Hosea, Amos, Micah, and so
on, were addressed to the "sinners in Zion." The Lamentations of
Jeremiah proceeded from the effect of the judgments of God upon
His called-out people, His church.
A substantial percent of the New Testament writings is
concerned with sin in the Christian life: for example, Romans
13:9-14, I Corinthians 1:10-13; 3:1-5; 5:1-13; 6:1-20;
2 Corinthians 12:20,21; Galatians 5:15-26; 6:8; Ephesians
422-5:7; Philippians 3:18,19; Colossians 3:5-10; 1 Thessalonians
414-8; 5:22,23; 1 Timothy 6:3-11; 2 Timothy 3:1-9; Titus 2:1-151
Hebrews 3:12-19; James 3.1-5:20; I Peter 1:13-15; 2:1; 4:1-4;
4:15-19; 2 Peter 1:4-10; 2:1-22; 3:11; and of I John; 3 John
9-11; Jude 7-19; Revelation 2:14; 2:20-22; 3:15-17; 21:8; 22:15.
Perhaps the root of our misconception concerning the
relationship of the Christian believer to sin is that we have
assumed that the bulk of the Bible admonitions against sin is
addressed to people outside the church. The truth of the matter
is that the Bible almost exclusively is referring to sin inside
the church. The prophets spoke to Israel about sin and the
apostles wrote to the Christian churches about sin.
But if there were not one single Bible reference to sin in
the Christian life we would know, nevertheless, that sin indeed
is a problem because of what we find in our own heart, because of
the vigilance we must maintain against our own motives and deeds.
Perhaps the greatest of the I'm, dangers facing the church
is not the spiritual deadness, the complacence and indifference
toward the things of Christ, the love of the world, the
slothfulness, the pride and haughtiness, the backbiting and
gossiping, the hardness of heart and lack of forgiveness, the
desire to seek the approval of the world over the approval of
God. These pitfalls are grievous enough.
But the one great piece of evidence that testifies in
thunderous tones to the inner spiritual condition of God's
people, a fact that nullifies the edicts of the church and
eclipses the world's view of Christ upon the cross, is the
existence of division and competition in the multitude of
denominations and sects of Christianity. Denominational pride and
loyalty give final proof of self-interest, self love,
self-ambition. All such organizational and doctrinal divisions
are works of the flesh (Gal. 5:20).
GOD'S PROVISIONS FOR THE SINS OF CHRISTIANS
We have written the truth as we see it in the Scriptures and
in real life. And we sincerely believe it to be as dreadful as we
have portrayed it. But we believe just as sincerely that there is
a remedy symbolized by the Day of Atonement that is more than
equal to the task of purifying the church perfectly.
During the Hebrew convocation of the Day of Atonement, the
atonement was accomplished by a sprinkling of animal blood and by
public confession of the sins of God's people. In the case of the
Christians, the atonement was accomplished by the once-for-all
offering of Christ upon the cross, and by the daily application
of His precious blood to our lives.
Also involved and absolutely essential is the confessing of
sins by Christ's disciples; sometimes confessed to God in
private, sometimes to another person for counsel or prayer or
because the other person is implicated, and sometimes (in rare
instances - only when actually necessary because there are
pitfalls in this practice) to a group of individuals in a church
CONFESSION OF SIN
TO BE CONTINUED