THE DAY OF ATONEMENT
BY: ELAINE COOK
On the Feast of Passover, Jesus Christ made a full and complete atonement for the whole human race, on the cross. Even though this is TRUE, the history of the church shows us that we have never appropriated any real measure of Christ’s great atoning work. There has been some measure of deliverance from sin, but there have been many cries of, “O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
What is the reason for this? It cannot be that Christ’s sacrifice was not sufficient for us! I believe the answer lies in a little-known fact that sin is to be dealt with TWICE: once at Passover, at the beginning of the year, and again on the Day of Atonement, which is a part of the Feast of Tabernacles. When we understand why sin is to be dealt with again at the end of the age, in the third Feast, we shall be encouraged.
At our initial salvation, our sins were COVERED, which is what atonement means. This covering gives us an IMPUTED RIGHTEOUSNESS only. That is, God’s righteousness is “considered as belonging” to us, as “credited or charged to us.” This is the same way in which Adam’s sin was imputed unto us and every man born had Adam’s sin charged to his account. When Jesus paid the debt for sin, then he IMPUTED unto us His own righteousness, releasing us from the sin that had been reckoned as ours from Adam.
Now that we have a clean slate, why do we not have more victory over sin in our lives? Why are we still “leavened bread”, a MIXTURE of flesh and spirit? Why do we still “bring forth wind” instead of bringing forth deliverance in the earth? It is because we have not yet entered into the SECOND PROVISION for dealing with our sin that is portrayed in the Day of Atonement. [It is sandwiched between the Blowing of Trumpets and the Feast of Tabernacles]. On this day, sin is finally and completely dealt with!
Although He was the Passover Lamb, Jesus was also the two Goats of the Day of Atonement, which deals with the “goat nature” once and for all. Having at one time kept both sheep and goats, we understand their natures. When we took a load of sheep to town, we heard not a sound from them, but when we carried goats, the air would be resounding with the sound of horns butting and the sides of the truck would rock from the conflict within. The goat nature is quite opposite to the lamb nature. It is always set “to defend self.”
On the great Day of Atonement, the goat nature was to be fully dealt with. Aaron, the High priest, chose two goats for the atonement of the people. Lots were cast upon the goats, the one being set apart for sacrifice, and the other as the scapegoat. [“Scapegoat” signifies “the goat that went away.”] The blood of the first goat was taken within the veil in the Holy of Holies and sprinkled upon the Mercy Seat. Then, Aaron laid his hands upon the head of the scapegoat and confessed over it all the iniquities of Israel, and sent it away into the wilderness.
How was this fulfilled in Jesus’ Life? He played the part of both Lamb and Goat. It is proven historically that Jesus presented Himself to John for baptism on the Day of Atonement. While the priests in the Temple were carrying out the rituals of the two goats, Jesus came to John for baptism. John was the true High Priest, chosen of God. Jesus presented Himself as the first goat which was to be “killed” for the cleansing of the sanctuary. Baptism represents DEATH [Rom. 6:4]. His baptism was the time of His legal death.
Mal 4:1 says, “Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.” In so doing, He fulfilled the pattern of the second goat, which was led “by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness.” “Fit” here means “seasonal, timely or ready.” That is the Holy Spirit who always appears at the appointed time to do the work!
In God’s timing, it would not be until His three and a half years of ministry were over that He would perform the role of the Lamb of God in Passover of that year.
What does all this mean to us? In simple terms, it means that God is going to deal with our sinful, rebellious nature once-and-for-all. The Goat was not only killed, it was completely removed. This we have not seen, but it is an integral part of the Feast of Tabernacles, even the Day of Atonement that precedes the fullness of that great Feast.
We see the HISTORICAL fulfillment, but what would the PERSONAL fulfillment be in our lives? I believe we can understand it from the brief, but powerful instructions given for its observance.
1] Afflict [cause pain to] your soul.
2] Do no work
In a nutshell, the Lord is saying: bring your soul into submission to the Spirit; deny it a place of rulership in your vessel: in a word, death-to-self. “Do no work” is to enter into His rest — ceasing from our own works as God did from His, doing as Jesus did, “Only those things that He saw with His Father.” This is the “goat nature” subdued and the Lord is able to inwork or impart unto us His righteous nature. It is not only imputed, as charged to our account, it is inworked in us so that His nature is ours and there is no more struggle with self.
Martha Wing Robinson experienced a taste of this in her life, as a forerunner of these things. For three days and three nights, this prayer ascended from her heart, “LET ME DIE.” At the end of the third day, the prayer ceased and she found her whole being was enveloped in the great silence of God. She had “prayed through, believed through, obeyed through, loved through.” She was now “all obedience”, so Jesus could reveal Himself to her and fulfill His presence in her very body and reign there as king. She had passed over into a change, which was not like anything she had ever heard of. “In a moment,” she said, “I was gone and a greater One was there. Entire spirit, soul, and body were in a new divine control. I walked out of the natural into the spiritual in the body as well as in the soul.
In the change, she was delivered from many illnesses that had hindered her. She says further, “I felt my God had moved in and had eliminated me. Christ was living in me, and yet I did not seem to live at all. It was more wonderful than anything I had ever dreamed of. I would say it was just Himself.”
The Lord told her it was “the mystery of the indwelling Christ,” and it was a taste of something God is going to do in the last days. From that point on, she did nothing from self, but moved always by the Spirit of the Lord. She surely tasted the experience of the reality of the Day of Atonement!
DAY OF ATONEMENT, THE [Elaine Cook] 1