IMPORTANT HAPPENINGS ON THE DAY OF ATONEMENT

There  are a number of events that occurred on the Day of  Atonement that are very interesting from both a historical and  prophetic  point of view. Moreover, these events show the  importance that God places on this day.

SIMON THE RIGHTEOUS

In the third century B.C., there was a high priest named Simon. This man was considered to be a very honorable person  and he continued  in the office of High Priest for 40 years. During  his 40 years as High Priest, there were two distinct occurrences, while he officiated on the Day of Atonement, that seem to have been prophetic of subsequent events that  occurred  after the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The Lot for the Lord

Each of the 40 years that Simon drew the lots to determine  which of  the goats would be slain and which would be set  free, the white lot for the slain goat would appear in his right hand. The symbolism of the white lot appearing in Simon's right hand is clear. The slain goat was symbolic of the perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Moreover, after Christ was raised as the first of the sons of the Father's new creation, he would sit down in his throne at the Father's his right hand of authority.

The Old Man

Each  of the 40 years that Simon entered the Holy of Holies,   an  old man dressed in white would join him upon entering and leaving. However, on the 40th year Simon said that the old  man appeared as usual, but was dressed in black  instead  of white. And as usual, the old man joined him as he entered the Holy  of Holies, but this time, the old man did not leave with him.

Simon  took  this as a sign that he would die,  and he told  others about it. After the Festival of Shelters/Ingathering that year, Simon became ill and died 7 days later.

The following are four significant symbolic meanings that can be found in the events that transpired during Simon's service as high priest on the Day of Atonement:

1. The number 40 is symbolic of a time of testing, probation, and punishment.

2. The number 7 is symbolic of spiritual perfection and the division of time.

3. The color white indicates righteousness.

4. The color black indicates spiritual darkness and it is a harbinger of bad things to come upon the enemies of God.

THE CASTING OF LOTS

The Babylonian Talmud lists four major signs that foretold the destruction of the temple after the advent of  Jesus Christ. The first sign concerned the choosing of the two goats on  the Day of Atonement:

"And  Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot  for  the Lord, and the other lot for the scapegoat" (Lev.16:8 KJV).

There is much debate over exactly  what kind of objects the lots were. However,  the information found in the Babylonian Talmud  and the  Mishnah indicates that the lots were two  stones—one white  and one black. The white stone had the words  "For the  Lord" written on it, and the black stone had the  words "For Azazal" (i.e., the goat that is sent away or banished) written on it.

These  two stones were placed into  a container and it was shaken;  then, without looking into the container, the high priest would put his right hand into the container and draw out one of the lots.

The  Babylonian Talmud shows that, for two hundred years before  30 A.D., the first stone to appear in the right hand of the high priest randomly fluctuated each year between the white and black stone. One  would  expect this  type  of randomness, because God selected the more  perfect  goat to be slain for the sins of the people. But,  beginning with  the  Day of Atonement in 30 A.D. (the year of the  death  and resurrection  of Jesus Christ), the black  stone appeared in the right hand of the high priest for the next 39 years.

The  chances  of the black stone (For Azazal)  appearing 40 consecutive times in the right hand of the high priest is over  a trillion to one according to Pascal's table of numerical odds.

The continual appearance  of the black stone in the right hand of the high priest was surely a sign of God's  displeasure with Israel and  a warning for them to repent.

The  fulfillment  of the prophetic black stone came  after  forty years of continuous warning when Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed in 70 A. D. by the Roman Empire.

THE SCARLET THREAD

On the Day of Atonement, a scarlet wool thread was placed on the door of the sanctuary. It was said that this thread turned white when the live goat was set  free. But, beginning the Day of Atonement in 30 A.D.,  this thread never turned  white again. See Yoma 39b, Babylonian Talmud and  pages 166, 170 Mishnah, by Danby.

Clearly,  the failure of the scarlet thread to turn white was another sign of God's disapproval of Israel's worship of him and their impending punishment if they did not repent.

AN END AND A BEGINNING

Every seventh Festival of Atonement signaled the  Year of Release and  the  Land Rest. At the end of the  forty ninth year  of  this seven year cycle, the Year of Jubilee  was also announced.

These periods of time had great physical  and  spiritual benefits and they had great prophetic meaning attached to them. Their announcement  on the Day of Atonement ended physical and economic bondage in the nation  of  Israel and began a period of physical  and  economic freedom.

The Year Of Release

Every  seventh year, debts were commanded to be forgiven and  all indentured and purchased servants were to be released. This meant that  everyone  who was indebted to another person could have  a fresh start the next year.

Deuteronomy 15:1-2; 12 Paraphrased

"At the  end of every seven years you shall make a release.   And this  is  the manner of the release: Every  creditor  that  lends ought unto his neighbor shall release it;  he shall not exact  it of  his neighbor, or of his brother; because  it is  called  the Lord's  release. . .  And  if your brother, an Hebrew  man,  or  an Hebrew  woman, be sold to you, and serve you six years; then  the seventh year you shall let him go free from you."

Notice that the period of indebtedness or servitude ended at  the completion  of the seventh year—an end to bondage and  a  new beginning.

The Land Rest

Every  seventh year, the land was to rest from intensive  agricultural  production. This land rest was to be a time of renewal  of the land as well as a time of rest for those who farmed the land.

"But in the seventh year shall be a sabbath of rest to the  land, a  sabbath  for the Lord: you shall neither sow your  field,  nor prune  your vineyard. That which grows of its own accord of your harvest  you  shall not reap, neither gather the grapes  of  your vineyard  undressed:  for it  is a year of  rest  to  the  land" (Lev.25:4-5 KJV).

With  the land rest came the prospect of a greater  harvest—a new beginning.

The Jubilee

The announcement  of  the Year of Jubilee, which came with the forty-ninth Festival of Atonement was a special  blessing  to  the entire nation of Israel .

The  Jubilee  Year ensured that economic  equilibrium  could  be maintained  in the nation. All indebtedness was to  be  released, indentured  or purchased servants were to be released from  their debt and/or servitude, and all lands were to be returned to their rightful  owners, which allowed the economy to be brought   back  into balance:

"And you shall number seven Sabbaths of years to you, seven times seven years; and the space of seven Sabbaths of years shall be to you forty and nine years. Then shall you cause the trumpet of the jubilee  to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month,  in  the day  of atonement shall you make the trumpet to sound  throughout your land" (Lev.25:8-9 Para.).

Every  seventh  year,  the Day of Atonement signaled  the  end  of physical and economic bondage and the beginning of a new sabbatical cycle of years. Every forty-ninth year of this sabbatical  cycle of years, God declared the next year a year of jubilee. The  fiftieth  year was a sacred year that was set apart as a year of physical and spiritual freedom and renewal:

"And  you  shall hallow the fiftieth year, and  proclaim  liberty throughout all the land to the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubilee  to you; and you shall return every man  his possession, and you shall return every man to his family. A jubilee shall that fiftieth year be to you: you shall not sow, neither  reap  that which grows of itself in it, nor  gather  the grapes in it of your vine undressed. For it is the  jubilee;  it shall  be holy to you: you shall eat the increase thereof out  of the field" (Lev.25:10-12 Para.).

A Prophetic Meaning

All of these periods of time that were announced on the Day of  Atonement prophetically foretold the time of  humanity's  release  from physical and spiritual bondage through the  sacrifice of Jesus Christ. These three periods also pictured the  beginning of  blessings for those who would hear the announcement of  their salvation  and obey the voice of God to enter into his  rest  by allowing  him to purge away their sin and make them holy  through the blood of Christ.

By B. L. Cocherell, file b5w64