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Sabbath: The Day of Atonement — 25 Comments

  1. [Moderator note: Please always add your full name when commenting on SSNET as explained in the Comment Guidelines. Thank you.]

    Forgiven of sin is important. I thought Yom Kippur was for Jewish people only.

    • Art, we understand the rituals of the earthly sanctuary to pre-figure the work of Christ.

      The services during the rest of the year transferred sins from sinners to sacrifices which, in turn, transferred the sins to the priests and the earthly sanctuary.

      We understand that this prefigured Christ bearing our sins in His person. When He gave His life for us, His sacrifice was accepted as atonement for our sins. His death on the cross was the antitype of the sacrifices in the court of the sanctuary. And from there He ascended to heaven to act as our High Priest, as the book of Hebrews explains.

      In His role as priest, Christ bears the sins of humanity in the sanctuary above, just as the earthly priest bore the sins of the people until the Day of Atonement. On that day, the High Priest first offered a bullock to atone for his own sins, and then he offered "the Lord's goat" and used the blood of this goat was used to "cleanse" the sanctuary from the sins of the people.

      We understand this to prefigure the work of Christ in the antitypical day of atonement when He cleanses the heavenly sanctuary. He disposes of the record of past sins for those who have accepted His sacrifice in their behalf, and He cleanses the hearts and lives of His people on this earch in real time so that they may effectively demonstrate His power.

        • Larry, I know only what the Bible says, augmented by some Jewish tradition.

          Hebrews indicates that the sanctuary services were symbolic of the work of Christ. And the sanctuary services indicate that the High Priest in some sense "bore" the sins of the people until the cleansing of the sanctuary on the yearly Day of Atonement.

          Jewish tradition tells us that the Day of Atonement was a day of judgment during which the Lord examined the books of record.

          Keep in mind that humanity can only understand human analogies, and that's what the Lord gives us. But I think what we can take away from that is that there is some kind of examination of the record of persons who had professed faith in the Lamb to take away their sins. As I understand it, the examination determines the genuineness of the profession, and those who have accepted the sacrifice of the Lamb do not go into judgment. (As in our investigative hearings, the case against them is dismissed.) And the record of sins of those who accepted the sacrifice of the Lamb is erased.

          I'd like to turn your final question back to you:
          Why would Christ want to keep the record?

      • Inge, If the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses his people, through sacrifice, and He uses the Sanctuary as the storage place of sin (God's sin-laden meeting place with His people, as discussed earlier); then His blood cleanses the Sanctuary meeting place/sin storage, wouldn't that mean He is doing all the cleansing work from sin? So why is the sin then being carried into the wilderness, borne by Satan, so Satan dies for our sins, not by blood, but by starvation?

        • Yes, indeed, Christ is doing all the cleansing from sin.

          The cleansing work is completed before the priest (signifying Christ) comes out of the temple to figuratively place the sins on the scape goat.

          This is how I understand both the type and the antitype:

          The intelligent universe has been rocked to its foundations by the advent of sin and Satan's accusations against God's government which effectively puts the blame for sin back on God Himself. We can see the first inkling of this in Gen 3:9-13. Immediately after yielding to Satan's temptation to doubt God, both Adam and Eve, in self-justification blame the Creator, rather than taking responsibility for their sins.

          God devised the plan of salvation so He could save sinners and yet be just. Christ died in our place, AND He took the responsibility for our sins on Himself when He returned to heaven.

          By His plan to take sinners back to heaven, Christ made Himself responsible for them. He became a sort of "surety" in the presence of the unfallen universe. They might now be thinking, "This is all very well and good, but how do we know that these sinners will not begin sinning all over again in heaven?" The time of "investigative judgment" or "day of atonement," if you will, is intended to demonstrate that God can be just and still save sinners. It will be demonstrated that all those who will be saved have surrendered themselves unreservedly to the Lordship of Christ. And, as such, they will be safe to allow into heaven. (All who are found to be "in Christ" will not pass into judgment.)

          As part of this investigative phase, not only are the records of the past examined, but Christ does an active work of cleansing of the soul temples of His people on earth. The same attitude of unreserved surrender to His Lordship will allow His people to demonstrate His character on this earth.

          When the judgment is completed, it will have become very clear to the onlooking universe that the Father and the Son are not responsible for sin. Thus the heavenly temple is "cleansed" from sin. It is clear that Satan is responsible for sin. This recognition is typified by confessing the sins over Azazel (or scape goat) who is sent out into the wilderness, which typifies the desolate earth during the 1000 years after the Second Coming.

      • I thought the death of the animal was to remind of how terrible sin is. I ddn't think that there was a forensic aspect of the service. How are the sins transferred?

        • Larry, I suggest you review last week's lesson which demonstrates that the offerings sinners brought to the sanctuary effectively transferred their sins to the sanctuary. Here's a distraction-free link to all of last week's lesson.

          In light of the teachings of the sanctuary as well as the teachings of the NT, I believe it is simplistic to view the sacrifice of animals only as a way to see `how terrible sin is.` The substitutionary atonement is so clearly taught in Scripture (For instance, besides the sanctuary services, see Galatians 3:13 and Isaiah 53:1-12), that it is a foundational tenet of Christianity and teachings that deny the substitutionary atonement have historically been regarded as heresies. It is only in recent years that it has become fashionable in some Christian circles to deny this model of the atonement.

          However, the legal substitutionary model of atonement is only one aspect of the atonement. There are others taught in Scripture: There is the loving example model or moral influence, the healing model, the redemption model, the adoption model, the teaching model, the liberation model (Jesus as victorious champion as in Revelation) and many more. Each gives us a glimpse into the mystery of redemption which will take eternity to fathom.

          Fanaticism and/or heresy is generally based on an aspect of truth distorted to become the whole. (It is a bit like the current distortion of love to the point that the union of sexual organs is seen as love when, in fact, a sex act may be the very antithesis of love.) Thus any teaching of the atonement that focuses solely on a single model will misrepresent God`s plan of salvation to some degree - some more so than others.

  2. I am impressed with the Holy character of our God and Saviour. While the Day of Atonement was once per year, the Atonement of the cross of Jesus was once for all. The record of our Sin, being erased at Calvary by the Blood of the Lamb ought to be the most central theme of Adventist teaching and practice. Do you agree? Disagree? Or are undecided?

      • Larry, remember that redemption is a process. Lesson # 6 nicely shows the stages of atonement; an innocent animal becomes a victim for the repentant sinner. The sinner lays his hands on the sacrifice, symbolically transferring his sins to the sacrifice. He kills the animal, then the blood of the sacrifice is placed on the horns of the altar. Now the sins are transferred to the sanctuary.

        At the cross, Christ becomes our ultimate sacrifice, but the records of our sins remain in the books of record in the heavenly sanctuary. Thus it becomes necessary for the sanctuary to be cleansed. "Unto two thousand three hundred days, then shall the sanctuary be cleansed" (Dan 8:14). Cleansing oh the sanctuary has already begun in 1844 - the end of this prof ethic period. Soon Christ will come, not as an officiating High Priest, but as our King and Savior for a people who have already been atoned by the blood of Christ.

      • As I understand, the death of Christ at the cross is different from the day of atonement.

        At the cross, God provided a sacrifice for the forgiveness of our sins. The Day of Atonement is the blotting out of sins in the sanctuary.

        There are no sins to be blotted out in the heavenly sanctuary if there are no sins confessed. Only the sins confessed are transferred in the typical sanctuary through the blood of the sacrifice and those sins that were accumulated in the sanctuary were the subject of cleansing in the day of atonement.

        The same in heavenly sanctuary. The sacrifice (Christ) was already provided and slain for us but if there is no confession of sins, our sins will not be erased in the day of atonement (which is now going on in heaven).

  3. [Moderator's note: Please remember to use your full name.]

    It is real a thing of comfort to know through the bible that the Lord God does not remain agry forever but delights in unchanging love! Thank you my Saviour.

  4. @Larry, Jesus has the records of our sins including all other activities but He has paid for our sins and took upon Himself our death so as the priest atoned for the people and if the atonement is accepted and comes out alive so Jesus has entered and came out meaning that His sacrifice on our behalf is accepted. Praise God for His wondrous love.

  5. [Moderator's Note: Please use full names when commenting. Thank you.]

    Inge, can you explain your statement "Jewish tradition tells us that the Day of Atonement was a day of judgment during which the Lord examined the books of record." Where can I find this explanation in Leviticus?

    • Inge,
      If I can't remember in heaven what I did here on earth, how can I have a love for Jesus and what he did for me?

      • Hi Larry,

        I think we will most certainly have a memory of who we were and what we did on this earth - without the pain that is attached. It is part of who we are. It will enable us to have a testimony for those who did not have an experience on this planet. We shall have reason for deeper gratitude than those intelligent beings who never fell into sin.

        But that doesn't mean that Jesus needs to keep a record of sin standing against us. The record in our own minds (without the pain) will be record enough.

        • I agree, in fact aside from the scars that we will see in the hands and feet of Jesus, it is the reminder of our memory of the effect of sin that assures us that sin will not arise again for the second time in heaven.

    • Pedja, I said "Jewish tradition tells us." That is a record outside of Scripture. You can find mention of it in the Jewish Encyclopedia online.

      If you will study Leviticus 23:27-32 and Lev 16:29-31, you will find this implied in Scripture. Being "cut off" from the congregation was a serious judgment, similar to Christ's referring to being cast "into outer darkness." (Matt 22:12-14)

      It helps to remember that the Bible gives us only a bare skeleton outline in the books of Moses. The rest of Scripture and history can fill in some of the details.

      I also suggest reviewing the explanation of the Hebrew sanctuary and its meaning for us today in Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 343-358

  6. It is perhaps interesting to see how modern Jews perceive Yom Kippur. The following is a quote from www.jewfaq.org.

    "The name "Yom Kippur" means "Day of Atonement," and that pretty much explains what the holiday is. It is a day set aside to "afflict the soul," to atone for the sins of the past year. In Days of Awe, I mentioned the "books" in which G-d inscribes all of our names. On Yom Kippur, the judgment entered in these books is sealed. This day is, essentially, your last appeal, your last chance to change the judgment, to demonstrate your repentance and make amends.

    As I noted in Days of Awe, Yom Kippur atones only for sins between man and G-d, not for sins against another person. To atone for sins against another person, you must first seek reconciliation with that person, righting the wrongs you committed against them if possible. That must all be done before Yom Kippur."

    It is interesting that there is much more focus on the preparation for Yom Kippur than we have given in this discussion. Looking back at the Biblical description I find that preparation is given quite a bit of space there as well. While our focus is on the symbolism and its realization, and the importance of that for our own identity, I wonder if in fact we have missed a very important personal application to our own lives.

  7. The Day of Atonement highlights two aspects of the sin problem, the penalty for sin and the blame for sin. Jesus, as the Lord's goat, took care of the penalty for sin by his death, but that did not take care of the question, "Who's to blame for sin?" Prior to the Day of Atonement, God, Himself, temporarily took the blame for sin symbolized by the sin being placed in the sanctuary through the blood. (After all, He is sovereign and nothing in this universe happens without His permission.) However, in the Day of Atonement, the blame for sin is finally removed from God (in the eyes of the universe) and placed on Satan, symbolized by the scape goat. Satan claims that the blame for sin lies in God's government, and thus, that sin is inevitable. To disprove this claim, God will have a people in the Day of Atonement, who are, through God's grace, living without sin. This will take the blame off God's government and place it back on Satan's head (the scape goat) where it belongs.

  8. To me the day of atonement helps me understand that salvation is 100% from God. There is nothing I can do to save myself. It is all about the lamb. Without the lamb we are all doomed to die in our sins. No one will ever go to heaven on the basis of his or her works.

    • There is something that we MUST DO to be saved. In the most popular verse John 3:16 says, "...that whosoever BELIEVES IN HIM should not perish but have everlasting life. Yes it's true that our salvation is purely dependent on the grace of God but do not expect for God to just pick us up anytime and bring us to heaven. God will never save somebody who does not want to be saved. We must do something to be saved, we must accept Him as our personal Savior and have our lives completely and totally surrendered to Him all the time.

  9. If we have nothing to do but accept or believe on Jesus as our Messiah then why does Peter in the first message after Christ’s ascension say, “save yourselves from this untoward generation”, if those who asked the question, “what shall we do” accepted the fact that Jesus was their Messiah, why would not have pleaded for instructions and why would Peter have proceeded to give instructions if they were already added to the Church?
    Then they that believed his word, obeyed his instructions by repenting and being baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sin.
    By believing on Jesus and obeying instructions they were added to the Church.


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