THE FESTIVAL OF ATONEMENT DURING THE GOSPEL AGE OF SALVATION

The observance of the Day of Atonement during this age of  salvation  is very different from its observance under the original covenant  with  ancient  Israel.  Today, atonement is given through the redemptive power of Jesus Christ's sacrificial blood, which provides  perfect, complete, and final atonement for all types of sins.

Under  the first agreement with national Israel, only certain  types  of sin  could be atoned for by the blood sacrifices. Anyone who committed  a  sin for which there was no atonement had to be  put  to death.

Although certain sins such as  physical defilement and  spiritual and moral   violations of the  law could be atoned  for,  they were never absolutely removed or forgotten, because the blood of sacrificial  animals was of less value than the human life for  which it was substituted. Therefore, sin that was atoned for by the blood of animals was only temporarily set aside.

Under the new agreement, all sins, including capital crimes (except for  blasphemy), can be  forgiven, forgotten, and removed  forever through the application of the sacrificial blood of Jesus Christ.

For the elect of God, there is no need to be reconciled to God and have their past physical defilement and spiritual sin atoned for through the blood of an animal because they have been purged of all sin forever through the sacrificial blood of Christ.

Under  the first agreement with national Israel, the Day of  Atonement was a time when the nation of Israel was commanded to assemble together to worship God. On this day, they were also commanded to perform a physical fast in order  to humble themselves before God in anticipation of being  reconciled with him, having their  physical defilement removed from  the nation,  and having their punishment for their spiritual and moral sins  set aside, so that God would dwell among them for another year.

Contemporary Meaning

Under  the new agreement with the elect of God, the Day of  Atonement celebrates the fact that the elect of God are totally  reconciled to God the Father through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and they can  always  stand before him as righteous individuals who have the spirit  of  God dwelling within them.

Today, the Day of Atonement should be celebrated with the understanding that past  sins  are totally forgiven and  forgotten  through Christ's atoning blood, and that any present or future sin will automatically be forgiven  upon request  to  the Father, through the  application  of  Jesus' atoning blood. Moreover, the sinlessness and righteousness of the elect is  maintained before the Father through the  atoning blood of Jesus Christ.

A Holy Nation

The elect of God under the new agreement are called to be a  holy nation as were the Israelites:

"Now  therefore,  if you will obey my voice indeed, and  keep  my covenant,  then you shall be a peculiar treasure to me above  all people:  for the earth is mine: And you shall be to me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. . ." (Ex.19:5-6 KJV).

"But  you  are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood,  an  holy nation, a peculiar people: that you should show forth the praises of  him  who has called you out of darkness  into  his marvelous light" (1.Pet.2:9 Para.).

In  order to understand the meaning of the Day of Atonement  for those under the new agreement, it is necessary to review the Book of  Hebrews, chapters  9 and 10, and many other scriptures  that speak of the removal of sin—past, present, and future.

The Book of Hebrews

There are three basic ideas about reconciliation presented in the Book of Hebrews:

1. The  system of worship at the tabernacle and temple  was  only  a shadow, a replica, an imperfect imitation of heavenly things.  It was through these shadows and imperfect copies of  heavenly things that access to God could be made and maintained.

2. The sacrificial worship system provided a way  through  which people could be  brought back into fellowship with God after they had been found guilty of violating his law.

3. The Book of Hebrews was written to the elect of God  who  had been washed  clean  of all sin through the  sacrifice  of  Jesus Christ and stood as righteous individuals before God the  Father.

Note:

Hebrews chapters  nine and ten explain the process of  reconciliation  to God the Father through the sacrifice of Christ in the context  of the Day of Atonement.

Because of the extreme importance of the subject being discussed, the  writer to the Hebrews goes over the same points  many  times using different examples and analogies. Perhaps, he does this to make sure that there is no doubt about what he is saying about  the  atoning power of the blood of Christ in relation to justification, reconciliation, forgiveness of sin, and the purity and holiness of God's people.

Hebrews 9:1-28 KJV

"Then Truly the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service,  and  a worldly sanctuary. For there  was  a  tabernacle made; the first, wherein was the candlestick, and the table,  and the showbread;  which  is called the sanctuary.  And  after  the second  vail, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of  all; Which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron's rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant;  And over it the cherubims of glory shadowing the mercyseat; of  which we cannot now speak particularly. Now when these things were thus ordained,  the  priests went always into  the  first  tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God" (vs.1-6).

The tabernacle and all the things in it were for the purpose of being able to  fellowship with and formally worship God.

"But  into the second [the Most Holy Place, behind the vail]  went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood,  which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people" (v7).

Verse 7 clearly shows the two major aspects of the Day of Atonement concerning  the Most Holy Place for which the blood of  atonement was necessary:

1. The blood was used to  cover and remove  physical  defilement (ceremonial and physical impurity) from the Most Holy Place within the  tabernacle,  the tabernacle itself, the altar, the priesthood, and the nation as a whole.

2. The blood was also used to  set aside spiritual and moral defilement (sin) that was done unintentionally or through ignorance.

In  verse  7,   the writer to the Hebrews uses  the Greek  word 'agnoema', which can mean 'to make an error'  or 'to err  unintentionally  or through ignorance'. He uses this word to distinguish  the type of sins that were atoned for under the first agreement with national Israel from  the  ones that were totally forgiven and erased under  the  new agreement, through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

It  is important to know that, throughout the new  agreement  when the word 'sin' is used, it almost always refers to spiritual sin rather than physical defilement (ceremonial and physical  impurity).

"The  holy spirit thus signifying, that the way into the  holiest of  all was not yet made manifest, while as the first  tabernacle was yet standing:" (v8).

While  the  sacrificial system of worship was  still  in  effect  together  with  the existence of the tabernacle and temple,  no  one except  the high priest could come before the glorified  presence of God. The way was closed to all others until the  manifestation of Jesus Christ as the spiritual high priest.

"Which  was  a figure for the time then present,  in  which  were offered  both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him  that did  the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience;  Which stood only in meats and drinks, and diverse washings, and  carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation" (vs.9-10).

The  tabernacle and the temple that came after it were a type of substitute. They were a prophetic and symbolic representation to be used until the reformation of God's worship  system under the terms and conditions of the new  agreement.

Although sacrifices were performed in exact  detail,  the person  offering  these sacrifices could not be made  perfect  by them.  The reason for this is that all humans live in an  impure  world (i.e., a world  full of physical impurity). By virtue of their physical existence, all humans are subject to physically impurity and all humans sin (i.e., violate the law of God). Therefore, anything that is imperfect to begin with cannot be made  perfect by something that is only symbolic of perfection.

"But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come,  by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building;" (v11).

Jesus  is the spiritual high priest who administers God  the  Father's worship system through the heavenly temple. Therefore, during the gospel age of salvation, the worship system that required a priesthood to be in attendance at  a specific  physical location on earth is no longer necessary  for the elect of God.

"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" (v12).

Once  a year on the Day of Atonement, the high priest would  bring the  blood of the bull and the goat into the Most Holy Place  to make  atonement for the nation of Israel. However,  through the sacrifice of his own blood, Jesus Christ entered the Most Holy Place  in heaven to make the final atonement for the sins of all humanity.

"For  if  the blood of bulls and of goats, and the  ashes  of  an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies to the purifying of the flesh:  How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through  the eternal spirit offered himself without spot to God,  purge  your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?" (vs.13-14).

An  animal sacrifice could only temporally atone for physical  impurity  that placed a barrier between God and man, but the perfect  sacrifice of  Jesus  Christ  totally eliminated the need  for  any  further sacrifice. Thereby, his sacrifice  opened the way for direct worship, contact, and  fellowship with God the Father. Because Jesus was sinless, having the presence of the holy spirit dwelling within him (Jn.3:34), he had no need to come before  God with  a sacrificial animal to expiate physical impurity. Additionally,  because he was ceremonially pure and spiritually sinless, he  could present himself before God the Father as the  perfect  sacrifice for the forgiveness of all sin.

"And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions  that were  under  the  first testament, they which  are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance" (v15).

Because  Christ was both physically and spiritually sinless,  he could offer the perfect sacrifice; thereby, he replaced the Aaronic priesthood with a spiritual priesthood of a higher order.

Jesus Christ is the  spiritual high priest, mediator, and  administrator of the agreement between God the Father and the sons  of his new creation.

Another  extremely important point in verse 15 is that  all those who were  called by God to salvation prior to  Christ's death  and resurrection and lived a righteous life will also participate in the benefits of  the new agreement between the elect and God the Father. Those people have retroactively received the total  forgiveness of sin and reconciliation with God the  Father that was promised to them  concerning the Messiah. Therefore, they have also received salvation through Christ's sacrificial blood:

"For  where a testament is, there must also of necessity  be  the death of the testator. For a testament is of force after men  are dead:  otherwise it is of no strength at all while  the testator lives" (vs.16-17).

The old and  new  agreements and  the death of the one making the testament are all connected. Under the first agreement, an animal's life was used as the symbolic death of the   one who  made the will (i.e., the Creator God), and through this death,  the testament was purified and sealed as a holy document:

"Whereupon  neither  the first testament  was  dedicated  without blood. For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the  people according  to the law, he took the blood of calves and of  goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both  the book  and the people, Saying, This is the blood of the  testament which God has enjoined unto you. Moreover he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry" (vs.18-21).

Here, the writer mentions blood, water, scarlet wool, and hyssop. This  is important because it is the only place  in  the scriptures  where  these are mentioned together in  reference  to Moses  and the ratification of the covenant (Ex.24:8). Moreover, all of these items were used in the atonement and purification  rituals that were done to set people and things  apart  for holy use (Lev.14:4,49-52; Num.19:6).

The Scarlet Wool

The scarlet wool is particularly interesting,  because it is used in the rituals of purification and the designation  of  heirs; moreover, it is symbolic of  the  promise  of  salvation. See Gen.38:28-30; Josh.2:18-21.

Although it is not recorded in the scriptures, there were three  uses of  a  red wool thread in the Day of Atonement rituals which are recorded in the Babylonian Talmud and the Mishna.  One red thread was tied  around  the neck of the goat to be slain, one was tied  on  the head of the goat to be set free, and one was tied to the door of  the sanctuary.  It is said that, when the goat that was set free entered  the wilderness, the red thread tied to the sanctuary  door turned white. It is also recorded that, after 30 A.D. (the year of the  death  and resurrection of Jesus Christ),  the  red  thread that was placed on the door of the sanctuary never  again  turned white. See Yoma 39b  Babylonian Talmud  and pages 166, 170 Mishna, by Danby.

The Prophet Isaiah records that God would remove sins that are  the color of scarlet and crimson, a deep, blood-red color:

"Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings  from before  my eyes; cease to do evil; Learn to do well;  seek  judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for  the widow. Come  now,  and let us reason together,  says  the  Lord: though  your  sins be as scarlet, they shall be  white  as  snow; though  they  be  red  like  crimson,  they  shall  be as wool" (Isa.1:16-18 KJV).

Clearly, the red thread represents sin and the atonement for sin that was symbolically placed upon the two goats and symbolically atoned for by each goat. The turning white of the thread  tied to  the sanctuary was a sign that the sin of  Israel  had  been removed from God's sight.

After  the  death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, there  was  no need  for the sacrificial system to remove  spiritual and moral  sin, because  a  new agreement had been established that  removed  the necessity  for  the  sacrifice of an animal  life  to  atone  for moral and spiritual  sin. Now, the blood of Jesus  Christ  purges away all sin. Therefore, the sign of the red thread  turning  white, which pictured Israel's sin being completely  atoned for through the sacrificial system, ceased.

"And  almost  all things are by the law purged  with  blood;  and without shedding of blood is no remission" (v22).

Verses 18-22, clearly show that it is by the blood of atonement  that  all  things are purified from ceremonial, spiritual, and moral defilement and made holy to God. Clearly, the  punishment for sin is death; therefore, without the loss of  life, the penalty for sin cannot be paid. This is why the writer to the Hebrews says "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" (v23).

The tabernacle and later, the temple  of the sacrificial system were  representations of what is in heaven and these  representations had to be kept  in  a purified  condition through the blood of animals, which  was  also prophetic  and  symbolic  of the blood of  Christ.  However,  the things  in heaven, which  these earthly things represented had to be presented  with a perfect sacrifice in order to permanently seal  the  breach between God and humanity.

There  could be no entry into the heavenly temple where  God  the Father dwells unless a perfect life that originated from  heaven was sacrificed to purge away the sin of humanity.

"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 us: Nor yet  that  he should offer himself  often, as the high priest enters  into  the  holy place every year with blood of others; For then must he   [Jesus] often  have suffered since the foundation of the world:  but  now once  in the end of the world has he appeared to put away sin  by the sacrifice of himself" (vs.24-26).

The  sacrificial blood of Christ was not brought into  a  temple, his  sacrifice was offered outside the temple and it was  possibly offered at  the  place on the Mount of Olives where  the  sacrifices  for purification  were  burnt. His sacrifice was  accepted  into  the heavenly temple of God the Father as the perfect and final sacrifice for the purging of both physical and spiritual defilement (sin); therefore, anyone who becomes the Father's son can come before him pure and sinless without defilement of any kind.

Everyone must die once, but some people will die again in the resurrection to the  second death; however, those who come under the  sacrificial blood of Christ are judged worthy of eternal and immortal life:

"And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this  the judgment: So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and to them that  look  for him shall he appear the second time  without  sin unto salvation" (vs.27-28).

Hebrews 10:1-23

"For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not  the very  image of the things, can never with those sacrifices  which they  offered continually year by year make the offerer perfect" (v1 Para.).

The law of the sacrifices was only a shadow, a pale reflection of the reality that was to come in the person of Jesus Christ. These sacrifices  were imperfect; therefore, they could not  remove  sin or its penalty. They were imperfect, because they were only prophetic and symbolic shadows of the real thing. They were worth  less than the human life for which they were to atone; therefore, the penalty for sin still remained unpaid, waiting for perfect  redemption through the Messiah.

Only through a perfect sacrifice could a sinner have sins  purged away,  forgiven, and forgotten; thereby, the sinner is made righteous  (without sin), pure, and perfect before God. This  kind  of atonement was not possible through animal sacrifices:

"For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because  that the worshipers once purged, should have had no more conscience of sins.  But  in those sacrifices there is a remembrance  of sins every year" (vs.2-3 Para.).

If  it  had  been possible for these substitutes  of  human  life (animal sacrifices) to pay the penalty for a guilty person's sin, no  more sacrifices would have been necessary. If animal sacrifices were sufficient to pay the penalty for sin, the  sinner would not have been guilty  because  the punishment for sin would have been exacted, which would have made the person sinless. Therefore, there would be no sin to  bring to remembrance.  However, animal sacrifices could  not  pay  the penalty for sin because they were not of sufficient value:

"For  it  is not possible that the blood of bulls  and  of  goats should take away sins" (v4 KJV).

Because the sacrifices on the Day of Atonement were only  substitutions (prophetic  and symbolic shadows  of  the  real thing) they could not be a perfect remedy for sin.

"Wherefore  when he comes into the world, he says, Sacrifice  and offering you would not, but a body have you prepared me: In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin you have had no pleasure" (vs.5-6 KJV).

It is clear from the scriptures that there had been a  heavenly plan before human existence to replace the sacrificial system with  a far better system in order to allow humanity  to  commune with  God. The sacrificial system itself did not give God  pleasure; it was the result of the process in which he took pleasure, which was the dwelling and communing with his people:

"Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do your will, O God. Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin you would  not, neither  had  pleasure therein; which are offered  by  the  law;" (vs.7-8 KJV).

The  Creator  God personally came to eliminate the  system  that prevented  direct  communication and fellowship between  the  God family and the children of God. He came to fulfill the  prophetic and  symbolic meaning of the Day of Atonement. What the blood  of animals could not do, his blood would do.

Because  Jesus Christ was perfect physically and spiritually,  he was  the  perfect  sacrifice through which all  past  and  future violations of the law could be totally forgiven and their penalty totally eliminated and forgotten.

Then  he said, Lo, I come to do your will, O God. He takes  away the first that he may set up the second" (v9 Para.).

Jesus  Christ  came to replace the first  agreement  with  national Israel with a new one that does not require a sacrificial system or an attending priesthood to atone for the spiritual and moral sins  of humanity. Because his sacrifice was worth more than all human  or animal life, it was the ultimate and final atonement for all sin. Therefore,  animal sacrifices that were of less value than  human life became unnecessary for the sons of God. See our study papers, The New Creation and The First Resurrection.

"By  which we are set a part through the offering of the body  of Jesus Christ once for all" (v10).

It  is through the sacrifice of Christ that those called by  God the Father under the new agreement are set apart for a holy purpose and purged of all their physical and spiritual defilement, in order to become sons of the Father's new creation and a temple of the living God.

"And  every priest stands daily ministering and  offering  oftentimes  the same sacrifices, which can never take away  sins:  But this  man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;" (vs.11-12 KJV).

It  is clear that the sacrificial system could  restore  and maintain the relationship between God and man. However, this  was an ongoing physical process in which the results were only temporary despite the diligence  of a  physical priesthood and a dedicated people.  But, Christ's  sacrifice  did not depend  upon the diligence or dedication of people, because  it  was perfect  in  every way; therefore, it only needed to  be  offered once in order to guarantee eternal results:

"From  henceforth  expecting till his enemies be made  his  footstool.  For by one offering he has perfected for ever  them  that are sanctified"  (vs.13-14 KJV).

Never again will it be necessary for one man to offer sacrifices for  another's violation of God's law. Anyone who comes  under the blood of Christ is purged from all sin and  made righteous before God the Father for eternity. However, a child of God must have a serious desire to remain righteous forever, in order for God to maintain them in a righteous condition.

"Whereof the holy spirit also is a witness to us: for after  that he  had said before, This is the covenant that I will  make  with them  after those days, says the Lord, I will put my  laws  into their hearts, and in their minds will I write  them;"  (vs.15-16 KJV).

The promise God makes to place his law within the innermost being of an individual can only be kept if the person receiving the law is sinless. This is because the law of God is holy, eternal, and spiritual in nature and it must be placed within a person through the power of God's holy spirit.  And the holy spirit can only dwell and continue to dwell where there is an absence of sin. Therefore, perfect redemption was necessary in order for the law to be placed within the heart, mind, and spirit of man. This perfect redemption of the spirit of man  and the separation from physical and spiritual defilement could only  be  accomplished through Christ's sacrificial blood:

"And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin" (vs.17-18 KJV).

Under  the  terms and conditions of the new  agreement, which  was ratified and sealed through the blood of Christ, the elect of God have perfect forgiveness of sin—past, present, and future. As the elect of God continue their daily lives, the atoning power of Christ's  sacrificial blood continues to wash away their sins  as they  avail themselves of its cleansing and redemptive power. In  this way, the life of a child of God, the atoning blood of Christ, and the  prophetic  and symbolic  meaning of the Day of Atonement is continually fulfilled on a daily basis.

"Having  therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the  holiest by  the  blood of Jesus, By a new and living way,  which  he  has consecrated for us, through the vail, that is to say, his flesh;" (vs.19-20 KJV).

Only the  high priest could enter the Most Holy Place, where the Creator God's presence was once a year to make an atonement for the people's sins. Now, through the blood of Christ, the elect of God can enter into the presence of  God the Father any time they want to and communicate  and fellowship with him, because they  stand  before him as righteous and sinless individuals.

"My  little children, these things write I to you, that  you  sin not.  And  if any man sin, we have an advocate with  the  Father, Jesus  Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation  for our sins:  and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the  whole world" (1.Jn.2:1-2 KJV). See also 1.Jn.1:5-9.

Made Holy Through Blood and Water

"And  having  a great priest over the house of God; Let  us  draw near  with  a true heart in full assurance of faith,  having  our hearts  sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies having been washed with pure water" (Heb.10:21-22 Para.).

Christ  was the promised Messiah whom Isaiah foretold would  come to atone for the sins of all humanity.

"So  shall he sprinkle many nations; the kings shall  shut  their mouths  at him: for that which has not been told them shall  they see;  and  that  which they had not heard  shall  they consider" (Isa.52:15 KJV). See also Heb.12:23-24; 1.Pet.1:2.

Both the sprinkling of blood and the washing with water were acts of purification and removal of impurity and unholiness.

Through  the sprinkling of blood and the washing with water, objects were cleansed of  their physical impurity, made holy, and set aside for holy use. Moreover, through these two rituals, people were cleansed of physical impurity, had their  spiritual and moral sins set aside, were made holy, and set aside for holy use.

Under  the new agreement, it is the blood of Jesus Christ and  the water  of  baptism  through which total  purification  is  accomplished.  In fact, it is through the sacrificial blood of  Jesus that our sin is forgiven and we are washed clean of the  defilement  that  prevents us from coming before  the Father  to receive his spirit.

Although baptism is symbolic of a physical death and a resurrection, it actually means much more. During this ceremony, the  person  is washed  clean  from  all physical defilement and  purged  of  all sin  by the power of God's  spirit  through  the sacrifice of Christ. Moreover, the baptized person becomes devoid of sin, is righteous before God the Father, and is ready to receive the indwelling of his holy spirit.

Verses 21-22, clearly show that those who have the blood  of Christ applied to them and are washed in the baptismal waters are indeed  purged  of all sin, whether it is  physical  or  spiritual defilement. In addition, they are transformed into a  condition  of  holiness before God the Father.

Paul,  Titus, and John all spoke about the washing  away  of sin by pure water, the blood of Jesus, and the cleansing power of God's spirit:

"And  now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and  wash your sins away, calling on his name" (Acts 22:16 NIV).

"Do  you not know that the unjust ones will not  inherit  the kingdom  of God? Do not be led astray, neither  fornicators,  nor idolaters,  nor  adulterers, nor abusers,  nor  homosexuals, nor thieves,  nor  covetous ones, nor drunkards,  nor  revilers,  nor plunderers shall inherit the Kingdom of God. And some of you were these  things, but you are washed; but you were sanctified;  but you were justified in the nature of the Lord Jesus, and  in  the spirit of our God" (1.Cor.6:9-11 Para.).

"But  when  the kindness and love of God our  Savior  toward  man appeared,  Not by works in righteousness which we had  done,  but according  to his mercy he has saved us, through the washing  of regeneration, and the renewal of the holy spirit; Which he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior" (Tit.3:4-6 Para.).

"And  from  Jesus Christ, who is the faithful  witness,  and  the first  begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings  of  the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood"  (Rev.1:5  KJV).  See  also   Psa.51:1-12;   Rom.5:9; Eph.2:13; Heb.13:12; 1.Jn.1:1-7; 3:5-6; Rev.5:9; 7:13-14.

The  elect  of God are made holy through the sacrifice  of  Jesus Christ, by having their sins forgiven and washed away through  the redemptive  power of his blood; therefore, they can be close  to God because they are people who are holy and set apart for his  holy  purpose.

Comment

Chapters 9 and 10 of Hebrews show the following reasons for the  tremendous  importance of Jesus Christ's perfect sacrifice:

THE SINLESS

The Festival of Atonement is a time for the elect of God to  give thanks  and celebrate their ongoing condition of sinlessness  and righteousness  before  God  the Father, which was made possible through the sacrificial blood of Jesus Christ.

"For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. As far as the east is from the  west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us" (Psa.103:11-12 KJV).

In this psalm, King David foretold the time when Christ would come and  offer  the perfect sacrifice to forgive sin and  remove  its penalty forever.

"Who has delivered us from the power of darkness, and has  translated  us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we  have  redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: Who  is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every  creature" (Col.1:13-15 KJV).

The  apostle Paul also spoke of this  reconciliation to  God  the Father  by the blood of Christ. He said that we shall  be  saved from  death  through Christ, we are  made  innocent before God the Father by the death of his Son, and  because  Jesus lives, we are saved.

Christ, the Lamb of God

"Because  it is written, Be you holy; for I am holy. And  if  you call on the Father, who without respect of persons judges according to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:  Forasmuch  as  you know that you 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:  Who truly was foreordained  before the foundation  of  the world,  but was manifest in these last times for you, Who by  him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory;  that your faith and hope might be in God"  (1.Pet.1:16-21 KJV). See also Isa.53:4-6,12; Jn.3:16; 1:29.

"Behold the Lamb of God which takes away the sin of the world" (Jn.1:29 Para.).

1. John 3:7-10 Paraphrased

The  apostle  John also speaks of the purity and  sinlessness  of those  who  have been reconciled to God the  Father  through  the blood of Christ:

"Little children, let no one lead you astray; the one  practicing righteousness,  is righteous, even as the One is  righteous.  The one who practices sin is of the Devil, because the Devil sinned  from the beginning. For this reason the Son of God was revealed, so that he would destroy the devil's work" (vs.7-8).

The work of the Devil spoken of here refers to the deception  of Eve and Adam, which resulted in humanity being placed under the death sentence for the violation of God's righteous law. Christ has destroyed  the  Devil's  work by his righteous  life  and  perfect sacrifice. Thereby, he removed the death sentence for those who obey God and he provided a way for them to continually stand before God the Father as righteous individuals.

The Seed

"Everyone  being begotten of God does not sin, because  his  seed [the spirit of God] abides in him, and he is not able to sin, because he has been born of God" (v9).

It  is impossible to understand what John is saying here  unless one  understands  that the holy spirit that  resides  within  the  children of God keeps them in a sinless condition before God  the Father. This sinless condition is made possible through the blood of  Christ by which all sin is forgiven and washed away, in order to make  the elect of God holy and a fit place for the spirit of God to dwell.

As long as a child of God is seeking to live a righteous life and does not willfully and habitually practice sin, no sin is  imputed.   This is so, because Christ lives in the children of God through the spirit of God. Therefore, his righteous qualifications as the sacrificial Lamb of God are also attributed to the children  of  God, which keeps  them in  a  sinless  condition.  See Rom.8:33-34, 1.Jn.1:1-7, 2:1-2; 5:18, and our study  paper concerning the indwelling of God the Father's holy spirit:

"By  this the children of God and the children of the  Devil  are revealed:  Every one not practicing righteousness is not of  God" (v10).

In the following scripture, John's words can be applied to the meaning of the Day of Atonement for the elect of God:

"But  if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we  have fellowship  one  with  another, and the blood of  Jesus  his  Son cleanses  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" (1.Jn.1:5-9 Para.).

The Living Temple

Everything used in the service of God and in the place where  his presence  resides must be clean, pure, and sinless. God will  not dwell  where there is sin, nor will he allow anything  impure  or sinful to  come into his presence.  See  Ex.29:36-46;  Lev.19:2; Deut.23:14; 1.Pet.1:15-16.

Chapters 8 and 9 of Leviticus show that preparation and  purification  of the priesthood  was necessary in order for  them  to serve  God in the Tabernacle. It is important to read both of these chapters in  order to gain a clear understanding of the  importance  that God places upon the purification process.

Many do not realize that God has not changed and that, under the new agreement with national Israel and the elect of God today, he still requires all things that come into close contact  with him to be free from physical impurity and spiritual sin.  This is  why the sacrificial blood of Christ was necessary. And it is through Christ's blood that the elect  may  become  and remain  pure  and sinless before God the  Father.  See  Mal.3:6; Heb.9:22-28.

The Temple of Flesh

"And  what agreement has the temple of God with idols?   For  you are  the temple of the living God; as God has said, I will  dwell in them and walk in them, and I will be their God and they  shall be my  people.  Wherefore come out from among them,  and  be  you separate, says the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and  I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and you shall  be my  sons and daughters, says the Lord  Almighty"  (2.Cor.6:16-18 LBP).

Because God will not allow his spirit to inhabit an impure place, a physical and a spiritual change must be made in  order for him to dwell within the elect of God. This transformation  is possible because of the perfect sacrifice of Christ, which has the power to erase physical and spiritual defilement in  preparation for the indwelling of the spirit of God.

In  the  baptismal water, the Father purifies  the  physical  body through  his  spirit-power, so that his holy spirit (his spirit-presence)  can  dwell within the  repentant  believer's  physical body.  See 1.Tim.5:22;  Tit.1:15-16;  Heb.10:14-22;  1.Pet.1:22; 1.Jn.3:1-3; 4:4.

"Haven't  you yet learned that your body is the home of the holy spirit God gave you, and that he lives within you?  Your own body does  not  belong to you.  For God has bought you  with a  great price.   So  use every part of  your body to give glory  back  to God, because he owns it" (1.Cor.6:19-20 LPB).

"Do you not know that you are a temple of God, and the spirit  of God  dwells  in you? If anyone destroys God's  temple,  God  will destroy him; for God's temple is sacred, and you are that temple" (1.Cor.3:16-17 NIV).

"Now  therefore  you are no more strangers  and  foreigners,  but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God;  And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ  himself  being the chief corner stone; In  whom  all  the building  fitly framed together grows into an holy temple in  the Lord:  In whom you are also built together for an  habitation  of God through the spirit" (Eph.2:19-22 Para.).

The  writings  of the apostles leave no doubt that  the  physical body of a child of God is a temple of God; it is a sacred place where the holy spirit dwells.

"No  one  has seen God at any time. If we love one  another,  God abides  in us, and his love having been perfected in us. By  this we know that we abide in him, and he in us, because of his spirit that he has given to us" (1.Jn.4:12-13 Para.). See  Lk.24:46-49; Acts 5:32.

The Most Holy Place and the  Day of Atonement

Within the heart of the tabernacle and the temple that came after it, was the Most Holy Place where the high priest met with God once a year on the  Day of Atonement. In this most sacred place was the  ark  of the covenant  where the presence of God resided. Within the ark  of  the covenant were the Ten Commandments written in stone by  the finger  of God, Aaron's rod that signified the high priest's authorization  to meet with God and intercede for the people of Israel, and some of the  food that God sent from heaven to sustain the Israelites as  they traveled in the wilderness.

Today, the Father's name rests upon his children and his presence dwells within the innermost part of their flesh through the power of  his  holy spirit. All those who have the name and presence  of the Father dwelling within them are a temple of God on earth.

Within  this  temple of flesh, the law of God is written  in  the hearts  of his children. As long as they live within this  temple of  flesh,  they  have the authority to  communicate with,  serve,  and worship the  Father, and receive daily spiritual  nourishment  to sustain them as they journey through life. Moreover, the Most Holy Place on earth is within the children of God;  it is where  the spirit of God resides and where God the  Father  and Jesus Christ meet with those who are called to salvation.

SUMMARY

Under the original covenant with national Israel, the blood of animals was offered so that God could remain in  the presence  of his people. The blood of Jesus was offered  so  that people  could have their sins forgiven, be made a part of  the Father's  family,  live in   his  presence,  and have his presence within them.

The elect of God are reconciled to the Father through  the  blood of Christ, repentance, and baptism and they are God's temple on earth with his spirit dwelling within them.

The children of God are kept continuously righteous and undefiled through  the  sacrificial  blood of Jesus Christ,  so  that  God's spirit can continuously remain within them.

There  are  two  very important things the elect  of  God  should always remember, celebrate, and thank the Father and Jesus Christ for on the Day of Atonement:

1. As children of God, we are  a holy and righteous beings  in which the presence of God dwells.

2. As children of God, we have a promise that  his  presence will always remain within us.

"For he has said, I will never leave you, nor forsake you. So that we may boldly say that the Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do to me" (Heb.13:5-6 KJV).

By B. L. Cocherell, file b5w60