Jesus came to redeem us from the consequences of the fall – Part 10
The Solution: Jesus freely offered His life for us, dying on the cross in our place, taking all our wrongdoing upon Himself, and saving us from the consequences of sin–including God’s judgment and death.
The Results: Jesus took our past, present, and future sins upon Himself so that we could have a new life. Because all our wrongdoing is forgiven, we are reconciled to God. Furthermore, Jesus’ resurrection from the dead is proof that His substitutionary sacrifice on the cross was acceptable to God, and His resurrection has become the source of a new life for whoever believes that Jesus is the Son of God. All who believe in Him may have this new life and live it in union with Him.
The Day of Atonement: An overview
“then he shall make atonement for the Holy Sanctuary, and he shall make atonement for the tabernacle of meeting and for the altar, and he shall make atonement for the priests and for all the people of the assembly.” (Lev 16:33)
The Need for Atonement. The word “atonement” (Heb kippurim, from kaphar, meaning “to cover over”) has the idea of covering over sin by making an equivalent payment (i.e., a “ransom”), so that adequate recompense is made for the offense ( note the “ransom” principle in Ex 30:12; Num 35:31; Ps 49:7; Is 43:3).
(1) The need for atonement arose from the fact that Israel’s sins (Lev 16:30), if not atoned for, would subject them to God’s wrath (cf. Rom 1:18; Col 3:5-6; 1 Thes 2:16). Thus, the purpose of the Day of Atonement was to provide a comprehensive sacrifice for all sins that may not have been atoned for in the sacrifices offered throughout the preceding year. Thereby, the people would be cleansed from their sins of the past year, avert God’s wrath toward them, and maintain God’s fellowship with them (Lev 16:30-34; Heb 9:7).
(2) Because God desired to save the Israelites, forgive their sins and reconcile them to Himself, He furnished a way of salvation by accepting in their place the death of an innocent life (i.e., the animal that was sacrificed); this animal bore their guilt and penalty (Lev 17:11; cf. Is 53:4,6,11) and covered over their sins by its shed blood.
The Ritual of the Day of Atonement. Lev 16 describes the Day of Atonement, the most important holy day of the Jewish year. On this day, the high priest, clad in sacred garments, first prepared himself by bathing with water. Then, before making atonement for the sins of the people, he had to offer a bull for his own sins.
Next, he took two goats and cast lots: one became the sacrifice; the other became the scapegoat (Lev 16:8). He killed the first goat, took its blood, entered the Most Holy Place behind the curtain, and sprinkled the blood on the mercy seat, placing the blood between God and the tablets of the Law that were inside the ark (laws they had broken but that were now covered by the blood), thus making atonement for the sins of the entire nation (Lev 16:15-16).
As a final step, he took the live goat, laid his hands on its head, confessed over it all the unforgiven sins of the Israelites, and sent it away into the wilderness, symbolizing that their sins were being carried out of the camp to disappear in the wilderness (Lev 16:21-22).
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