Frank W. Nelte

August 1995

The Day of Atonement

The Day of Trumpets pictures the return of Jesus Christ. Then the Day of Atonement pictures the next step in God's plan. Here is a brief rundown of this Holy Day.

But for a start we should understand that the word "atonement" is A MISTRANSLATION from the Hebrew! The Hebrew text does not ANYWHERE use a word that means "to atone" or "atonement"!

The Hebrew word that is translated into English as "atonement" is the verb "kaphar", and it is first used in Genesis 6:14.

Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and SHALT PITCH IT (Hebrew "kaphar", elsewhere translated as ATONEMENT) within and without with pitch. (Genesis 6:14 AV)

Where the English word "Atonement" has been formed from the words "to make at one" (i.e. AT-ONE-MENT), the Hebrew word really means "to cover over" and "to cover up".

So GOD has put the focus for this particular Holy Day on "OUR SINS BEING COVERED OVER" by the blood of Jesus Christ. The translators of the Bible have changed this emphasis away from our sins being "covered up" or "covered over", to one of "being made at one with God". Now THE CONCEPT of being made at one with God is great and fine ... there is nothing wrong with it! HOWEVER, that is not really the focus which God chose to give to this Holy Day! The focus GOD gave this day is on "covering up sins"!

This may seem like an almost insignificant change in focus. But I point it out here because over the years many ministers have at times drawn any number of conclusions based on GOD supposedly focusing this day on "MAKING-AT-ONE". But that is simply not what God has emphasised with this particular Holy Day.

So here is a brief overview.

THE DAY OF ATONEMENT

Leviticus 23:26-32 = the basic instructions for this Holy Day.

Leviticus 23:27 = a holy convocation = a commanded church service; afflict = to fast; no food and no drink.

Regarding fasting see Ezra 8:21, Esther 4:15-16 and Deuteronomy 9:9,18

Leviticus 23:28 = no work; Hebrew word "atone" means "to cover up/over" and NOT "to make at one". The emphasis is clearly on our sins being covered up.

Leviticus 23:29 = fasting is commanded!

Leviticus 23:30 = DON'T WORK ... at the risk of the death penalty!

Leviticus 23:31 = for ever

Leviticus 23:32 = it is a Sabbath; from the end of 9th day to the end of 10th day.

"FROM EVEN UNTO EVEN" = this is how ALL Sabbaths are determined!

THIS HOLY DAY PICTURES OUR SINS BEING PLACED ON SATAN, AND SATAN THEN BEING REMOVED!

THE REASONS FOR THESE INSTRUCTIONS

REASONS FOR FASTING:

- to draw close to God & withstand temptations = Matthew 4:1-4, 11

- to receive help to do God's Work effectively = 2 Corinthians 11:23-28

- to increase in faith = Matthew 17:14-21

- to loose the chains of wickedness imposed by Satan = Isaiah 58:3-6

REASONS FOR NOT WORKING:

- all human activity is influenced by Satan = 2 Corinthians 4:4; Jude 1:15

- to cease from our own works & ways = Hebrews 4:10

THE MEANING OF THIS DAY ACTED OUT EVERY YEAR

Leviticus 16:29 = this whole chapter discusses THIS SPECIFIC DAY!

Leviticus 16:2 = no regular access to God's throne (Holy of Holies)

Hebrews 4:14 = today Jesus Christ is our High Priest

Leviticus 16:3, 6 = FIRST the priest brought a sacrifice for himself

Hebrews 7:26-27 = Jesus Christ did NOT do this part

Leviticus 16:4 = Aaron in PLAIN robe = for self & sober occasion

"WASH" = get rid of all contamination

Leviticus 16:5 = 2 GOATS from THE PEOPLE for a SIN OFFERING

Leviticus 16:7-8 = CAST LOTS = a solemn appeal to God to decide where men are unqualified to decide in this matter

2 Corinthians 11:14 = without divine revelation NOT A SINGLE HUMAN BEING would identify Satan correctly!

2 Corinthians 11:3 = Satan is very deceptive. GAMBLING profanes a holy service appealing to God.

Leviticus 16:9 = for Christ! Pictured by the Passover. A sin offering for ALL the people.

Leviticus 16:10 = for Satan! Not killed, but driven away!

THIS PICTURES THE FATE OF SATAN & ALL DEMONS

NOTE: LEVITICUS 16:9-10 TELL US WHAT IS TO HAPPEN, BUT BEFORE IT DOES!

Leviticus 16:11-14 = NOW Aaron starts by purifying himself. THEN he is ready to officiate in Christ's place.

Hebrews 4:15 = Christ had no need for this part here.

FROM LEVITICUS 16:15 ONWARDS THE HIGH PRIEST REPRESENTS THE RESURRECTED CHRIST & WHAT HE WILL DO AFTER HIS SECOND COMING!

1 PETER 3:22 = Christ inside "the veil"

Hebrews 8:1, Hebrews 6:19-20 and Hebrews 9:22-28 explain this further.

Leviticus 16:15-19 = Christ's work these past 1900+ years.

RESULT: OUR SINS are covered over, and therefore we are accepted by God.

Leviticus 16:20 = the 2nd coming of Christ.

Hebrews 9:7 = "once" every year = on one OCCASION, but actually TWICE on the same day.

( Leviticus 16:13-14 = inside the veil; Leviticus 16:15 = 2nd time inside the veil.)

Leviticus 16:21-22 = Christ took OUR guilt upon Himself.

But the real cause of it all was Satan. Satan's OWN guilt for LEADING us into sin is placed on Satan's own head.

NOTE: Satan carries away the sins of all the people ALREADY FORGIVEN. They are removed ENTIRELY from us and from the presence of God.

ANALOGY:

A rich influential man (Satan) hires a murderer (us), who is then caught. When the murderer is forgiven, this does NOT remove the instigator's (Satan's) guilt! He is still guilty!

Revelation 20:1-3, 10 = the future fulfillment

Zechariah 13:1-2 = Satan & the demons removed

Leviticus 16:23-28 = all those who come in contact with Satan. NONE of them carry back his attitudes.

VERSES 29-34 = once a year ... on ATONEMENT!

THE MEANING: The sprinkling of the blood of the first goat shows us VISIBLY the means of reconciliation with God. It is the shed blood of Christ which reconciles us to God.

Likewise, the sending away of the second goat, laden with those sins, VISIBLY shows the complete removal of those paid-for sins from the presence of God. It also shows VISIBLY Satan's eternal fate, to wander in a totally desolate area of restraint.

Satan's power over mankind is based on sins! When all those sins are laid back on him, THEN Satan has lost his claim on us, and also his power over us. Then he can no longer accuse!

However, Satan is NOT YET driven away!

Leviticus 25:8-13 = The JUBILEE, which pictured liberty, was announced on the Day of Atonement, the day when Satan is removed. Therefore we need to prepare ourselves for this event and for the return of Jesus Christ.

ROLE OF A PRIEST:

When man sinned, he was cut off from God. The priesthood of Melchisedek was created to provide a means for SOME men to have access to God. A priest is a mediator, acceptable to both parties, between God and sinful man.

Jesus Christ became that first Priest. HIS FUNCTION was TO MEDIATE. After the Exodus, because of Israel's sins, Christ delegated His own office of Priest to Aaron. To give a meaning to Aaron's priesthood, sacrifices and rituals were added because of sins (Galatians 3:19, 24).

Aaron's FUNCTION was TO OFFICIATE over the sacrificial & ceremonial laws. His MEDIATING was only very limited! Since His resurrection, Jesus Christ has taken back His own office as High Priest. Christ's FUNCTION is once again TO MEDIATE, and NOT "TO OFFICIATE"! Sacrificial & ceremonial laws are no longer in force.

It seems that during the millennium the SPIRITUAL priesthood will MEDIATE, and the PHYSICAL priesthood will OFFICIATE with physical services.

There are some interesting parallels between the process of restoration from sicknesses and the Day of Atonement. Let's briefly consider the following.

THE PROCESS OF SICKNESS & RESTORATION TO HEALTH

1) We ingest poisons from the day we are born, and we were exposed to poisons in the womb even before birth.

2) Two ways poisons exist within our bodies:

A) They are IN THE BLOODSTREAM and go to every part of the body this way.

B) They are also stored IN THE FAT TISSUES of the body, to prevent them from causing immediate harm to the body.

3) The presence of such poisons does two things:

A) They cause sickness & disease & health problems.

B) They also speed up the aging process of the body.

4) Three ways of dealing with health problems:

A) Eat foods that provide the needed vitamins and minerals to counter deficiencies and problems that have developed.

B) Stop eating those things that cause the problems.

C) Fast to release poisons that are stored in the fat tissues. This opens the way for such poisons to be eliminated through the kidneys.

5) Satan's influence in our lives:

A) Invisible attitudes affect us from birth. They "are in our bloodstream" and readily affect us.

B) Some attitudes and ways (i.e. habits we develop) are stored "in our fat cells". Simply no longer doing what is wrong does not get these "toxic attitudes" out of our system. For these it requires "fasting" to prepare the way for eliminating them completely.

6) Repentance & Conversion:

A) We have to stop eating "the junk food" diet (spiritually speaking), i.e. stop doing what is wrong.

B) We have to start doing what is right (taking in the "foods" that provide the spiritual "vitamins" we need).

C) We have to fast to release the toxins of wrong habits and wrong ways of thinking, so that they may also be eliminated.

7) The Day of Atonement:

A) We stop ALL work (i.e. doing all the wrong things).

B) We stop eating (i.e. taking in all the wrong things).

C) We FAST to start releasing the wrong habits and ways of thinking and behaving. See Romans 6:12-18.

8) Leviticus 16 and the Azazel events:

Satan's guilt is placed upon his head, and Satan is then removed permanently from any opportunity to influence anyone.

9) Leviticus 25:8-13:

The Jubilee year is announced on the Day of Atonement, the day Satan is bound, of the 49th year.

Jesus Christ referred to the jubilee at the start of His ministry.

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, TO PREACH THE ACCEPTABLE YEAR OF THE LORD.” (Luke 4:18-19 AV)

Perhaps Jesus Christ started His ministry in the 49th year of a 50-year cycle? And if He did, would He perhaps be scheduled to return exactly 2000 years later, in another 49th year of a 50-year cycle? I certainly don't know. It is just an interesting thought, but one that I don't believe anyone should pin any particular hopes and expectations on.

Frank W. Nelte