Monday: Beyond Forgiveness
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Read Leviticus 16:32-34. What was the main task of the High Priest on the Day of Atonement?

Image © Phil McKay from GoodSalt.com

Image © Phil McKay from GoodSalt.com

The primary function of the high priest was to mediate between God and mankind. Regarding the sanctuary, he administered the system and performed various rituals of sacrifices and offerings (Heb. 8:3). His task on the Day of Atonement was enormous. He performed almost every ritual, except for leading the goat for Azazel into the wilderness, though he gave the command to send the goat away.

On the Day of Atonement, the “great” priest, as he was also called, became a living example of Christ. Just as the attention of God’s people was focused on the high priest, Jesus is the exclusive center of our attention. As the activities of the high priest on earth brought cleansing to the people, so does Jesus’ work in the heavenly sanctuary does the same for us (Rom. 8:34, 1 John 1:9). Just as the only hope of the people on the Day of Atonement was in the high priest, our only hope is in Christ.

“The blood of Christ, while it was to release the repentant sinner from the condemnation of the law, was not to cancel the sin; it would stand on record in the sanctuary until the final atonement; so in the type the blood of the sin offering removed the sin from the penitent, but it rested in the sanctuary until the Day of Atonement.”—Ellen G. White, Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 357.

According to Leviticus 16:16-20, the high priest had to enter the most holy place and purge it from the ritual impurities, transgressions, and sins. He then transferred all the iniquities, all the transgressions, and all the sins of Israel onto the live goat and sent them away, through the goat, into the desert. Thus, all the moral faults of Israel were gone. This achieved the unique goal of the Day of Atonement: a moral purification that went beyond forgiveness. There was no new forgiveness necessary on this day. God had already forgiven their sins.

As we struggle with all our God-given strength to put away all sin, how can we learn to lean totally on Christ’s merits as our only hope of salvation?

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Monday: Beyond Forgiveness — 34 Comments

  1. [Moderator's note: Please use your full name.]

    Does the day of atonement still exist today?
    What does "beyond forgiveness" mean?

    Like(0)
    • The Bible concept of at-one-ment is a multi-faceted picture of how God seeks to bring Himself, the host of heavenly beings and humanity into harmony again. Forgiveness for human sin features prominently here! It can be achieved in a finite moment of time. However divine-human reconciliation also features as part of at-one-ment. And this is often achieved as an extended process.

      To give a very human illustration of the difference between forgiveness and reconciliation. A spouse may forgive the other for an affair in a moment. However, the process of reconciliation often takes months and years.

      Like(10)
      • Thanks, Peter, for the helpful analogy. :)

        In the spirit of your analogy could we then equate "reconciliation" with "restoration of relationship"?

        Relationship building takes time - whether it is between two human beings or between a human being and God.

        Like(1)
    • [Moderator's Note: Please use full names when commenting. Thank you.]

      We do not perform the rituals of the Tabernacle anymore -- they ended when Jesus died on the cross, because those rituals were leading up to the Cross. The true Day of Atonement will be when Jesus returns and destroys sin for eternity. Just as our sins were transferred to Jesus and already forgiven, they will only be removed on the Final Day.

      Like(4)
      • Let me give you these feasts from Leviticus 23 in chronological order and how they were fulfilled and no longer in the future:
        1. Passover: Crucifixion.
        ICor5vs7 ... For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us
        2. Unleavened bread: Body of Christ which had not sinned.
        Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, [as] silver and gold, from your vain conversation [received] by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: 1peter1vs18, 19
        3. Wave sheaf (first fruits): resurrection
        1Cor15vs20: But now is Christ risen from the dead, [and] become the firstfruits of them that slept.
        4. Weeks (Pentecost)
        Outpouring of the Holy Spirit, please read Acts 1 and you will understand
        5. Trumpets: trumpets were blown to signal that judgment was close by
        Have you ever heard of the Millerite movement? They blew the trumpets to signify that Atonement which began in 1844 was coming.
        6. Atonement: Investigative judgment
        And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters. Revelation14vs6, 7
        WE ARE IN THE ANTITYPICAL DAY OF ATONEMENT, and not only are we to humble our hearts before God and confess our sins, but we are, by all our educating talent, to seek to instruct those with whom we are brought in contact, and to bring them by precept and example to know God and Jesus Christ whom he hath sent. {Christian Education 157.1}
        7. Tabernacles: yet future.....
        Ngoni Chimbwanda, nchimbwanda@gmail.com.

        Like(5)
      • The Day Of Atonement will become a completed reality at the end of the thousand years when God will finally send Satan, his angels and all the wicked into fire and brimstone to burn them UP forever and they will exist anywhere anymore in Gods sinless universe. God will finally reunited with all His universe and that is AT-ONE-MENT. Cheers!!!

        Like(2)
  2. It appears to me that on the actual (final) Atonement day, the main activity was the cleasing and removal of sins from the various segments of the Sanctuary that had accumulated overtime. Forgiveness took place daily. Thus while the Lord forgives us daily, time will come when all record of our sins will be cleansed.

    Like(7)
      • In last week's lesson, (or the previous one) we studied how for different types of sins, the priest would either carry the blood of sacrifice to the temple, or eat the flesh of the sacrifice himself, and then enter the temple. So the temple gets defiled either by the 'sinful' blood carried into the temple, or by the 'sinful' priest who eats of the 'sinful' offal offered by the sinful subject who has come to sacrifice for his sin.

        Like(2)
    • Hi Proctor. Not only will our record be cleansed but our sins will be remembered no more (Hebrews 8:12; Hebrews 10:17; Isaiah 43:25; Jeremiah 31:34). If God forgets our sins, I'm pretty sure we won't be recalling them either.

      When God says "I will blot out your sins and remember them no more" Isaiah 43:25, I believe He can be taken at His word and that He doesn't keep a "super secret" record of our sins in case He needs them later.

      Yes, I believe that when God forgives and forgets our sins as He has promised, they will no longer exist in any form nor in anyone's memory. They will be gone (Psalms 103:12) forever "...for the former things are passed away." Revelation 21:4

      Like(1)
  3. Learning to lean on Christ's merits instead of our own is vital. This leaning is the most vital thing we must do in this life. However, dependence does not feel natural to us, and true dependence is quite nearly always impossible to achieve. I know that I need this restful position. Like believing in the strength of a chair in which I sit, I ask God to help me put all myself on Christ. I must pursue Him and this position of leaning and dependence for myself because I am only promised all of Christ when I seek Him with all of my heart.

    Like(18)
    • Jesus Christ did what only He could do in atoning for our sins. To make His Atonement fully effective in our individual lives, we must have faith in Christ, repent of our sins, be baptized, receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, obey God’s commandments, receive sacred ordinances, and strive to become like Him. As we do these things through His Atonement, we can return to live with Him and our Heavenly Father forever.

      Like(4)
  4. I understand that the sacrifice for our sins was already done in the Calvary so we are calling to recognice that our sins are forgave by the Jesus blood at any moment when we come before Him, then the day of atonement exist since our Lord Jesus resurrected, thus we have access to the most Holy Place where our Lord High Priest is advocating for us not only to forgive our sins but also to clean us from our impurities.
    Beyond of forgiveness means to be reconciliated with our Father in heaven then He spread upon us His grace and mercy.

    Like(1)
  5. As human beings we tend to believe we can always get things done on our own. Even when we pray to God we still go ahead and try to fix the same problem we asked him to. It is so important that we learn to let go and let God. I think back to the Day of Atonement and a part of me feels sorrow for the animals who had to bear the sins of Israel and were sent out with such a load. I thank God that today we can beseech him anywhere, anytime on our own, to cleanse us from deep within and give us a second chance. I pray the love of christ will anoint each and everyone of us as we learn to totally and wholeheartedly depend upon him.

    Like(18)
  6. Let me see if I am understanding these concepts correctly. According to the sequence of the symbolic rituals in the sanctuary, we are learning the following concepts in current lesson studies:
    1) I steal an article of clothing from a store(intentional sin), bring it home to eventually wear.
    2) The act of my taking the Article of clothing without paying for it is recorded in the Book of Life in heaven under my name as a transgression under the cathegory (thou shell not steal).
    3) Two days later my conscience is so bothering me that I decide to return the item to the store rack where the item was hanging. Inventory was not performed so nobody was aware that it was missing for two days.
    4) I come home and ask the Lord for forgiveness for my stealing act.
    5) God forgives me, but does not remove the record of my transgression from the book of life. Therefore Even though I am forgiven, the record of my taking the clothing article (stealing) is still written in the records (book of life) that is kept heaven.
    7) Some time later I die of old age before Jesu's second coming.
    8) Some time after 1844 (when the 'day' of atonement began) my name comes before God to be judged and a verdict rendered for the record of my stealing of that article of clothing.
    9) Jesus says "My blood has covered that sin for Neven".
    10) The record keeper erases that stealing sin from the record under my name.
    11) The records under my name are clean, therefore Neven is then qualified to be resurrected when Jesus returns to reclaim his kingdom on this planet.

    Are these the practical sequence of events that the author of this lesson is trying to teach us from the rituals performed in the sanctuary during the old testament times?

    Like(7)
    • Neven, your outline is a little simplistic in that it neglects to demonstrate the full surrender of the soul to Christ. It's not just about individual sins, but it's about allowing Christ to be Lord of all of our lives, so that our lives are hidden in Him - so we are "in Christ," (1 Cor 5:17) as Paul puts it. With that addition, I believe the picture is correct. All those who are "in Christ" (Col 2:6) will not pass into judgment, because their sins will be blotted out.

      The concept of a record of sins being kept by God is implied in Ezekiel 3:20-21. Here the implication is that when the righteous turn back to sinning, the record of their "righteousness" will not be remembered, but their sins will be "remembered." Essentially, by turning their backs on the Lord, they are turning their backs on forgiveness and reclaiming their past life of sin. And God does not prevent them from doing so.

      Elder Frazee used to tell this story:
      An old farmer was addicted to his pipe, but he knew that it was a dirty habit not fitting for someone professing to be a follower of Jesus.

      So after praying for forgiveness in the morning, he threw his pipe out into the cornfield as far as he could fling it.

      By evening, he was back in the corn field searching for His pipe.

      "If you were God," he asked, "would you prevent the old farmer from finding his pipe again?"

      Just so, those who turn from Christ, are reclaiming their lives of sin.

      Like(5)
      • Thank you very much for your reply Inge. I wrote that simple but practical outline with the general understanding that I have surrendered to Christ. When we are in "Christ" it would be delusional to think of our selves as having stopped sinning (intentionally or unintentionally). I am thinking of how God sees in me, not what my neighbor sees in me.

        I have personally met elder Frazee but do not remember that story that seems so well illustrating the struggles of those who are in "Christ"

        Like(1)
        • Hi Neven,

          While it may be possible to apply the illustration the way you do, Elder Frazee meant his story to illustrate a very different point:
          When we renege on our commitment to God and want our old bad habits back, should God prevent us from getting our sins back? The implicit answer was "No," thus illustrating how previous sins are not just erased on confession but are there for the record in case we want them back, so to speak.

          The record of sins will be erased when it becomes clear that we are so settled into Christ that we will not go back on our commitment.

          Like(1)
      • Oh, one more thought. a few lessons earlier we learned that that God throws away our sins into deepest depth of the sea to be for ever forgotten. Of course I do not remember where in the scriptures that is written. May I safely assume that this symbolic imagery is applicable to the time of atonement after 1844 and not to the moment when I ask for forgiveness and the forgiveness is granted?

        Like(0)
  7. As I read Vanessa and Jackie comment it's good to know others that are putting their trust in the Lord.When it come to sacrifice and atonement I like what David wrote in Psalm40:6,7,8. It,s a heart thing that only the Lord can give.Ending with PS.40:16 Let the Lord be magnified,Jesus Christ is Lord.yesterday,today,and forevermore. Trust Him the atoneing Lamb.

    Like(2)
  8. When I think of "beyond forgiveness" the question, "What happens next?" comes to my mind. After the atonement, after all my sins are forgiven and cleansed, then what? In my life, the most precious sense of freedom, acceptance and belonging come. Not that God didn't already love and claim me as His child, it's an experience of freedom just for me. Beyond forgiveness I'm able to trust His love for me, no matter what I've experienced in relationships and circumstance on earth. With forgiveness I have the opportunity to grasp the fact that God's love for me goes way beyond just what I do. God's forgiveness makes me want to please Him, even if I don't like or understand exactly what or why He asks me to do what He asks me to do. My love for Christ deepens when I accept forgiveness through His sacrifice. I depend on more of His strength as I recognize more of my weaknesses.

    Like(5)
  9. God's justice system is unique, he delights in forgiveness to the extent that it seems endless because he desires that everyone should be saved and none should perish. However, God's long-suffering has finality: " He that is just, let him be unjust still, he which is filthy, let him be filthy still, and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still, and he that is holy, let him be holy still (Rev 22:11). Our probation will soon be closed, God will no longer do the work of intercession. Please seek his forgiveness now and be covered with his righteousness.

    Like(12)
    • I was looking for the definition of the word "probation" ... 1.A period of time when a person occupies a position only conditionally and may easily be removed for poor performance.
      2.A type of sentence where convicted criminals are allowed to continue living in the community but will automatically be sent to jail if they violate certain conditions.

      Do you think the term "probation" is really applicable to Rev 22:11?

      Like(1)
      • Hi Neven,

        I think the text means that right close to the Second Coming (mentioned in the next verse, will come a time when probationary time is over, and individuals will be judged according to their decisions:
        Those who chose to "hide" themselves in Christ - i.e. accept His robe of righteousness with its resultant transformation of life - will be judged to be righteous.

        Those who have not accepted Christ, demonstrating the resultant sinful focus, will be judged "filthy" or unrighteous.

        The text tells us that there is a cut-off point beyond which a change of heart is no longer possible.

        Like(0)
  10. I just have some questions and perhaps some readers can help with the answers:

    I always thought that the actual (the anti-type) day of Atonement was the day Jesus was crucified. So, was that also the day when the sins of the world was transferred to the Azazel goat (Satan)? And so, Satan as the Azazel goat, is now waiting for the final annihilation of Sin which will be when Jesus and the saved remnant, and the holy city, descend from Heaven after the 1,000 years. Correct? And this event is not called atonement anymore, correct?

    Thank you for any explanation. I need this for my own understanding, and also for my teaching material in my SS class this Sabbath.

    Like(1)
    • [Moderator note: please use first and last names when commenting on this site. Thanks!]

      Hi Ben
      In actual fact, the ant-typical day of atonement started in the year 1844, as opposed to the day Jesus was crucified. Daniel 8:14 tells us that the cleansing of the Sanctuary, which happened on the day of atonement, will commence at the end of 2300 prophetic days, which we know ended in 1844 on October 22.

      Therefore, from 1844 up to a time when Christ will return, Christ will be our High Priest, ministering in the Most Holy Place.

      Like(3)
    • Ben, I understand that the crucifixion of Jesus was typified by the altar of sacrifice.

      Note that there is more to the sanctuary services. The daily sacrifices on the altar that typify Christ's crucifixion also bring the sins of the people (in type) into the sanctuary. And the sanctuary is "cleansed" from these sins in the antitypical Day of Atonement.

      These services teach us that Christ carried the responsibility for our sins into heaven itself. He made Himself responsible for our sins in the eyes of the onlooking universe.

      That is also taught by the priests' eating of some of the sacrifices. By this act, they "bore" the sins of the people until the Day of Atonement. And these priests typified the priestly ministry of Christ in heaven.

      When the antitypical "cleansing of the sanctuary" began (Dan 8:14), Christ began the work that will eventually cleanse the heavenly sanctuary from sin or, to put it in other words: The intelligent beings of the universe will finally be utterly convinced that God is not responsible for sin, that He is righteous and that Satan, the arch-rebel is responsible for sin. This understanding is typified by pronouncing the sins of the people over Azazel, the scape goat, which represents Satan.

      Like(1)
  11. We have neglected the most significant verse of scripture that tells us the meaning of the sanctuary services: Heb. 9:8 - " The Holy Ghost this signifying…..".

    The holy place or tent of meeting service was the first or old covenant administration under law which could not take away sin but magnified sin, and the day of atonement service is the new covenant service of faith administered by Christ our Lord which broke down the walls of separation between heaven and earth and between jews and gentiles(Eph.1&2; Col.2)- the jews having been brought 'near'-the Holy Place, and the Outer Court " far off" the Gentiles( Mk 10:33,34; Rev.11:2).

    The goat for Azazel is the casting out of the first or old covenant the bond woman and her son (Gal.4:21-31).

    Like(0)
    • Kenny, it seems to me that the sanctuary services demonstrate that Azazel, or the scape goat, is some powerful being with free will (goats are notoriously free-willed) who is in opposition to Christ.

      I believe that the choice of a goat for this particular offering is significant in that Christ died in our place of His own free will. He said he laid down his life of His own free will. (John 10:17-18)

      Satan chose to rebel of his own free will, and when it is clearly seen that the Creator is not responsible for sin, the responsibility for sin will be rolled back upon Satan.

      Paul explains the meaning of the bond woman and her son ((Gal.4:21-31)in the context. The bond woman, in this context, are those who seek to be saved by the keeping of the Law. (Gal 4:4) Those who put their faith in Christ are children of Abraham (Gal 3:29; Gal 4:4-7)

      By mixing analogies, we can come to false conclusions.

      This week's lesson is quite well presented. Please review the whole lesson for clarification of this issue.

      Like(1)
      • The word definitively states “...he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from Mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar”(Gal. 4:23,24). Abraham had asked of God “Oh that Ishmael might live before You!”. God said, “No, but Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his seed after him.”(Gen. 17:18,19). Before the realization of the ‘freewoman’ covenant(new covenant) God established a ‘bondwoman’ covenant with ‘Israel according to the flesh’- being related to Abraham through the flesh. When the time came for the true heir to inherit what was created and prepared through him and for him, the ministration of the bondwoman or first covenant came to its end. Of course the administrators of this covenant decided to kill the Son so that they would gain the inheritance.(Math.21:33 -40). Of course the last legitimate judge or prophet of that covenant said differently:”He must increase and I decrease....The Father loves the Son and has given all things into His hand. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life...(John 3: 30-36). Now the basis of the covenant was the Law and the Law is not made for a righteous man but for servants or slaves of sin.(Rom.2-9 chps).
        We were all under sin and to gain eternal life we must die and be resurrected. The resurrected life being the new life, eternal life. The Lord’s goat is killed bearing sin in its flesh and the blood, the resurrected life is taken and used to sanctify and consecrate and purify. ( He that is dead is freed from sin.(Rom. 6: 7; 1Pt. 4:1)). “And for this cause he is the mediator of the New Covenant that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first covenant they which are called might receive the promise of eternal life(Heb.9:15). The other goat remains alive in the flesh enslaved to sin staying under the first covenant. That goat representing Ishmael and Hagar, the first or bondwoman covenant is cast out into the "wilderness". The Lord Jesus said "the servant abideth not in the house forever: the Son abideth ever. If the son therefor shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed"John 8:35,36. Heb.9:10 states that the first covenant "stood only in meats and drinks,… and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation-the New Covenant, the day of atonement.

        Like(0)
      • Inge, great insight with the concept of freewill and self-determination in choices made (two goats, two different choices). I also think you captured a clear concept of Satan as Azazel with good use of language: "the responsibility of sin will be rolled back on Satan." One goat representing Jesus Christ is crucified, to save. One goat representing Judas/Lucifer who betrays the Son of God and God's sons and daughters wanders till it discovers it has no sustenance of its own, no life of its own, no eternity of its own. These are the gift of God.

        The concept of "atonement" has been in a tug of war between more modern definitions and the original definition. Tyler did an excellent job in identifying the original definition, using the Hebrew word: reconciliation, restoration, covered by Him. Atonement results in "at-one-ment"; but the "atonement" of Leviticus is a process with several significant steps, defined in the Sanctuary procedures and in the Life of Jesus Christ, that eventuate in God's being reunited with His children,on one hand, and sin and the responsibility of sin eradicated, on the other.

        Getting rid of sin from His universe is God's final step in restoration; and it too is made possible by the covering of Jesus Christ, by death and by Life (righteousness, holiness, purity.... )

        Romans 6:23
        Sins wages (not the man's wages; nor the devil's culpability) is death.
        God's gift is eternal life.
        Incredible distinction in the choice.

        Like(1)
  12. Thanks to a suggestion that the reality of the day of atonement will dawn on us the day in which the devil and his followers will be cast into the lake of fire. i hope the same would not happen to us.

    The importance of this subject was to point the children of the most high into following keenly on the work which He is doing on their behalf. we can see the implication of the same in the book of Revelation 3:7, 8. "These things saith He that is holy, He that is true, He that hath the key of David, He that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth; I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it." And the words of the spirit of prophecy:

    " It is those who by faith follow Jesus in the great work of the atonement who receive the benefits of His mediation in their behalf, while those who reject the light which brings to view this work of ministration are not benefited thereby. The Jews who rejected the light given at Christ's first advent, and refused to believe on Him as the Saviour of the world, could not receive pardon through Him. When Jesus at His ascension entered by His own blood into the heavenly sanctuary to shed upon His disciples the blessings of His mediation, the Jews were left in total darkness to continue their useless sacrifices and offerings. The ministration of types and shadows had ceased. That door by which men had formerly found access to God was no longer open. The Jews had refused to seek Him in the only way whereby He could then be found, through the ministration in the sanctuary in heaven. Therefore they found no communion with God. To them the door was shut. They had no knowledge of Christ as the true sacrifice and the only mediator before God; hence they could not receive the benefits of His mediation.

    The condition of the unbelieving Jews illustrates the condition of the careless and unbelieving among professed Christians, who are willingly ignorant of the work of our merciful High Priest. In the typical service, when the high priest entered the most holy place, all Israel were required to gather about the sanctuary and in the most solemn manner humble their souls before God, that they might receive the pardon of their sins and not be cut off from the congregation. How much more essential in this antitypical Day of Atonement that we understand the work of our High Priest and know what duties are required of us. (the great controversy pages 340,341)

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