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sermon: Atonement Through Christ

Day of Atonement

Given 26-Sep-12; Sermon #1123; 65 minutes

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Martin Collins, reflecting that Satan has been allowed to maliciously influence the nations for 6,000 years, reminds us that Jesus Christ has already qualified to depose Satan and the evil effects of his rule. Through Jesus Christ's sacrifice, we are enabled to have reconciliation with Almighty God, bringing an end to the estrangement we have experienced as a result of our sins. The Day of Atonement depicts five transactions: 1.) the bearing of sins of an innocent, humble Christ, 2.) a ransom paid for sinners, 3.) a substitute who willingly takes the place of sinners, 4) Christ's sacrifice satisfying the penalty, and 5.) a legal and juridical meeting of

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For six thousand years Satan has invisibly swayed the nations. He has guided human governments, influenced man’s civilizations, possessed powerful leaders, and inspired world wars. Satan's influence has had a significant part in causing the misery, hate, suffering, and violent death. He has plagued mankind since Adam and Eve disobeyed and lied to God.

Satan, our accuser, our adversary, our attacker, is the major hindrance of all of us and of all that can be good with regard to the potential for human beings to be at one with God.

God is not in competition with Satan; there is no great controversy; the question of who will rule the earth has already been decided. Jesus Christ has already overcome Satan and qualified to replace him, and we are glad of that. Thanks to Jesus Christ as our Intercessor, our Advocate, and our Defender, we have no need to face our accuser because we have best possible legal, spiritual representation.

I John 2:1-2 My little children, these things I write to you, that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.

In the case of an accuser and a defendant, atonement presupposes two party's that are estranged with the act of atonement being the reconciliation of them into a state of harmony. The theological meaning is the reconciliation between God and His tainted creation, especially between God and sinful human beings. Atonement is the solution. It is the only solution to the main problem of the human race—estrangement from God, beginning with the original sin of Adam and Eve.

The reason for atoning sacrifice is that the sins of humanity violate the holiness of the Creator God and brought the sentence of death—a sentence that can be averted only by the substitution of a sacrifice of debt.

Through the blood of sacrifice, sinful people are able to receive the blessing of God, instead of His condemnation, if they repent of sin, are baptized, and receive God's Holy Spirit. The Day of Atonement is the day of restoration, reunion, reconciliation between mankind and God. We will look at the command to keep the statute of the Day of Atonement forever.

Leviticus 16:29-34 This shall be a statute forever for you. In the seventh month on the tenth day of the month, you shall afflict your souls, and do no work at all, whether a native of your own country or a stranger who sojourns among you. For on that day the priests shall make atonement for you, to cleanse you that you may be clean from all your sins before the Lord. It is a Sabbath of solemn rest for you, and you shall afflict your souls. It is a statute forever. And the priest, who is anointed and consecrated to minister as priest in his father's place, shall make atonement, and put on the linen clothes, the holy garments. 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 congregation. This shall be an everlasting statute for you, to make atonement for the children of Israel, and for all their sins, once a year. And he did as the Lord commanded Moses.

This is something that we obviously are going to be keeping forever. The Israelites are commanded directly to keep it. Anyone who comes into the church, Israelite or Gentile, as a spiritual Israelite, is to keep it. There is no doubt there. That is why we are keeping it today.

The English word atonement is not a direct translation of the Hebrew word kipper, nor does the Hebrew word mean at one with, as some assume. Although an important part of the meaning of the day certainly means to become at one with God, as it is indicated in the English word atonement, the English word atonement is derived from the two words and indicates a state of togetherness, an agreement between two people.

The English word atonement is only an interpretation of the Hebrew word kippurim. It is a purely theological concept which refers to the process by which physical defilement and sin is covered or set aside. The English phrase Day of Atonement is used to represent the Hebrew phrase, yom kipper. Yom means day and kipper comes from the root phrase that means to cover up. It may also mean expiation, which is defined as the extinguishing of guilt by the suffering of a penalty.

Kippurim encompasses the means by which a person who is estranged from God is placed back into harmony with Him and the result of being in harmony with Him. That is the technical aspect of the meanings of the words.

We will look at the beginning of the detailed instruction of what was involved in the Day of Atonement in the Old Testament here in Leviticus 16:1-4:

Leviticus 16:1-4 Now the Lord spoke to Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron, when they offered profane fire before the Lord, and died. And the Lord said to Moses, Tell Aaron your brother not to come at simply any time into the Holy place inside the veil, before the mercy seat which is on the ark, lest he die. For I will appear in the cloud above the mercy seat. Thus Aaron shall come into the Holy place, with the blood of a young bull as a sin offering, and of a ram as a burnt offering. He shall put the holy linen tunic and the linen trousers on his body, he shall be girded with a linen sash, and with the linen turban he shall be attired. These are holy garments. Therefore he shall wash his body in water, and put them on.

We see a symbolism of the purity that was expected before God would appear. The Day of Atonement symbolism is all expressed in the account of the events of the Day of Atonement, as carried out in Leviticus 16, so we will continue on with verse 5.

Leviticus 16:5-8 And he [as Aaron or high priest] shall take from the congregation of the children of Israel two kids of the goats as a sin offering, and one ram as a burnt offering. Aaron shall offer the bull as a sin offering, which is for himself, and make atonement for himself and for his house. He shall take the two goats and present them before the Lord at the door of the tabernacle of meeting. Then Aaron shall cast lots for the two goats. One lot for the Lord and the other lot for the scapegoat.

The English word scapegoat is not a correct translation, here, as most of us are well aware of. It is not a correct translation of the Hebrew word God inspired. Most Bibles with marginal rendering show that the original word is azazel; it refers to Satan and is not found anywhere else in the Old Testament.

The modern word scapegoat carries an entirely wrong connotation with it. Today the English word scapegoat signifies one who bears blame or guilt for others, but scapegoat is an English word and is not a translation of the Hebrew word azazel. Therefore it is not the word originally inspired. Azazel, representing Satan, will bear his own guilt; Satan will bear his own guilt. These two goats were of course types. Now we will continue on here in Leviticus 16.

Leviticus 16:9-10 And Aaron shall bring the goat on which the Lord's lot fell, and offer it as a sin offering. But the goat on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat shall be presented alive before the Lord, to make atonement upon it, and to let it go as the scapegoat [azazel] into the wilderness.

Notice it was necessary to decide by lot which one was qualified to represent Christ and which one was qualified to represent the azazel, that is Satan. I want to take some time to talk about the casting of lots. Biblically, the casting of lots was a solemn appeal to God to decide a doubtful matter; it was a sacred religious ceremony that included a supernatural act of God. That is why monetary lotteries and gambling are of Satan and are wrong for Christians. They are an actual profaning of a holy act of appealing to God. Gambling and lotteries of today are a perversion.

The casting of lots was used in the Old Testament for selecting a goat offering, dividing the land of Canaan, and to determine the cause of a stormy sea, which in one case ended up being Jonah in the belly of the fish. It was also used by David to divide the Temple duties among the priests, as in I Chronicles 24:5, and to detect a guilty person, as in Joshua 7:14.

In the New Testament, Roman soldiers wrongly cast lots for Jesus garments, and the apostles rightly chose Mathias by lot. When the deacons were chosen as recorded in Acts 6, lots were not used, but the people chose men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit which produced good fruit and had wisdom. There was a lot of thought given into those deacons who were chosen. That is the way God has established for us today, to choose a leadership in the church.

Casting of lots was very common among the Jews on important and difficult occasions, and it was natural that the apostles resorted to it. Although it was an acceptable practice in the society of their day, it was not used on every occasion or very often. In this society today, the casting of lots is usually viewed as gambling or superstition. The Bible refers to this type of superstition as divination. By definition it is an attempt to decipher the will of God or the gods through the use of magical techniques; many times this involves manipulating the physical world.

Today the casting of lots is usually perverted into a type of divination if trust or faith is placed in the person casting the lots, or if the lot itself is thought to have mystical power. Divination is specifically banned in Leviticus 19:26, which says, “nor shall you practice this divination.”

Isaiah 44:25 Who frustrates the signs of the babblers and drives diviners mad, who turns wise men backward and makes their knowledge foolishness.

The confidence put in divination reflects an unwillingness to trust God's revelation of truth. So also can the casting of lots be a lack of faith in God's power to inspire His ministers to make wise decisions after prayer and fasting.

Ezekiel 13:6-9 They have envisioned futility and false divination, saying, Thus says the Lord, but the Lord has not sent them. Yet they hope that the word may be confirmed. Have you not seen a futile vision, and have you not spoken false divination? You say, the Lord says, but I have not spoken. Therefore thus says the Lord God, "Because you have spoken nonsense and envisioned lies, therefore I am indeed against you," says the Lord God. "My hand will be against the prophets who envision futility and who divine lies. They shall not be in the assembly of My people, nor be written in the record of the house of Israel, nor shall they enter into the land of Israel. Then you shall know that I am the Lord God."

“Then you shall know that I am the Lord God” is the theme of all Ezekiel, and he drives it home over and over again in that book. Today it is not always known when a cast lot or the roll of the dice will turn up by chance or by miracle; almost all cases of doubt can be determined more satisfactorily in some way other than by lot. For example:

Proverbs 11:14 Where there is no counsel the people fall. But in the multitude of counselors there is safety.

Using the casting of lots to choose an apostle was not done blindly since the individuals whom the lots were cast for all appeared to be qualified for the position. The question was which one would be chosen for this unique position of service to complete the twelve. This was not setting a precedent for choosing replacements when apostles or deacons or ministers died.

Since Pentecost AD 31, God has given His church His Holy Spirit to enable us to make decisions with the wisdom from above, godly wisdom. The Holy Spirit helps us use the knowledge we receive from His Word and apply it in making decisions in our lives. This includes decisions on leadership.

I Timothy 3:2-7 lists qualifications of elders and verses 8-13 lists the qualifications for deacons. In choosing deacons, as in Acts 13:2, the apostles fasted and the Holy Spirit led them to separate out Barnabas and Saul for service.

When, in ancient Israel, men were unable to decide which goat was qualified to represent Christ, this involved an appeal to God to decide in a sacred religious ceremony one lot for the Lord and the other lot for azazel. This was the instruction they were given. The one lot for the Lord chose a goat to typify Christ, but the other lot was not for the Lord and did not typify Christ but Azazel, which represented Satan.

The goat that God selected through lot to represent Christ was slain, as Christ, its anti-type was slain, but the other goat selected by God to represent azazel was not slain but was driven alive into an uninhabited wilderness. So the goat that represented Christ was slain, and the goat that represented Satan was sent out into an uninhabited wilderness.

Azazel was not a resurrected goat symbolizing the resurrected Christ since it never died. The uninhabited wilderness to which this goat was driven cannot represent heaven where Christ went. Heaven is neither uninhabited nor a wilderness, so we are seeing the proofs against the world's explanation or interpretation of this, where they quite often got it wrong and got it backwards.

After God designated which goat represented Christ and which was azazel, the high priest killed the bullock for a sin offering for himself, and then took the burning coals of fire and the sweet incense into the Holy of Holies, also sprinkling the blood of the bullock before the Mercy Seat, which was a type of the throne of God and covering the tables of testimonies—the tables of the law. The high priest was required to do this in order to purify himself to officiate and to represent Christ as High Priest. Christ our High Priest had no need of this purification as the substitutionary priest had.

Leviticus 16:11-19 And Aaron shall bring the bull of the sin offering, which is for himself, and make atonement for himself and for his house, and shall kill the bull as the sin offering which is for himself. Then he shall take a censer full of burning coals of fire from the altar before the Lord, with his hands full of sweet incense beaten fine, and bring it inside the veil. And he shall put the incense on the fire before the Lord, that the cloud of incense may cover the mercy seat that is on the Testimony, lest he die. He shall take some of the blood of the bull and sprinkle it with his finger on the mercy seat on the east side. And before the mercy seat he shall sprinkle some of the blood with his finger seven times. Then he shall kill the goat of the sin offering which is for the people, bring its blood inside the veil, do with that blood as he did with the blood of the bull, and sprinkle it on the mercy seat and before the mercy seat. So he shall make atonement for the Holy Place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions, for all their sins. And so he shall do for the tabernacle of meeting which remains among them in the midst of their uncleanness. There shall be no man in the tabernacle of meeting when he goes in to make atonement in the Holy Place, until he comes out, that he may make atonement for himself, for his household, and for all the congregation of Israel. And he shall go out to the altar that is before the Lord, and make atonement for it, and shall take some of the blood of the bull and some of the blood of the goat, and put it on the horns of the altar all around. Then he shall sprinkle some of the blood on it with his finger seven times, cleanse it, and sanctify it from the uncleanness of the children of Israel.

So now the Levitical high priest was ready to go out and officiate, after performing these rituals to cleanse the Temple and to put the blood on the Mercy Seat. Next the goat that God selected by lot to represent Christ as the sin offering of the people was killed. Thus the sins of the people were borne by the goat, even as Christ died and rose again from the dead, and ascended to the throne of God in heaven.

Christ at the right hand of the throne of God is called our High Priest. The earthly type of God's throne is not the uninhabited wilderness. The uninhabited wilderness is where the live goat went, representing azazel, Satan. The earthly type of God's throne was the Mercy Seat in the Holy of Holies. After Christ died He went to the heavenly mercy seat and took seating for us as our High Priest.

Hebrews 6:19-20 This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the presence behind the veil where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.

In the Levitical ceremony of the Day of Atonement, temporarily reenacted year by year, the Levitical high priest typified the risen Christ as our High Priest, who went within the veil to God's throne in heaven.

The one goat that was slain represented the slain Christ; that goat could no longer represent the risen Christ. The slain Christ was not our High Priest because the Levitical priesthood with its high priest did not end until Christ rose from the dead and ascended to heaven as a High Priest, after the order of Melchizedek. The risen Christ is our High Priest.

As soon as the slain goat was dead, the high priest went within the veil and presented the blood of this goat before the archetypal throne of God, the Mercy Seat.

Leviticus 16:15-16 Then he [the high priest] shall kill the goat of the sin offering, which is for the people [the high priest himself typified the work of the risen Christ], bring its blood inside the veil, do with that blood as he did with the blood of the bull, and sprinkle it on the mercy seat and before the mercy seat. So he shall make atonement for the Holy Place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions, for all their sins. And so he shall do for the tabernacle of meeting which remains among them in the midst of their uncleanness.

So the high priest took blood within the veil to the Mercy Seat and typified the risen Christ, figuratively taking His blood once for all within the veil to the very throne of God in heaven there to intercede for us as High Priest. The slain goat represented the crucified Christ. The high priest, in taking the blood of the slain goat into the veil to the Mercy Seat and the Holy of Holies—a type of God's throne—represented and did the work of the risen Christ who ascended to the right hand of God the Father, there interceding as our High Priest.

The right of entrance into the most holy place depends entirely on our vital union with Christ, and in this sense He fulfills the second duty of His High Priestly office as intercessor (with the added idea drawn from the legal advocacy of the Roman court).

So Christ is both our Intercessor and our Advocate. The term translated advocate in I John 2:2 is parakletos in the Greek, which in John 14:16, is translated comforter. It has that dual meaning; the word is a familiar use in Greek for the legal advocate or petronis who appeared on behalf of his clients and thus in the double sense of priestly and legal representative, Jesus Christ is our intercessor in heaven.

The intercessory work of Christ can be represented in this way: He represents imperfect man before God in His perfect nature, His exalted office, and His completed work. The scriptural phrase for this is to appear before the face of God for us, which is found in Hebrew 9:24.

There is also an act of intercession, and this is the office of Jesus Christ as advocate or parakletos; it conveys some connection to the aid and support that a law breaker receives from an advocate. Christ's intersession as an advocate is connected with the passages that refer to justification and its associated ideas.

The high priest going inside the veil, into the Holy of Holies, symbolized Christ returned to heaven. The work He did while in the Holy of Holies symbolized Christ's work these last two millennium interceding for us, representing His shed blood before the Mercy Seat in heaven.

Then coming back out, symbolizing Christ return to earth, the action of the high priest is recorded here in Leviticus 16.

Leviticus 16:20-28 And when he has made an end of atoning for the Holy Place, the tabernacle of meeting, and the altar, he shall bring the live goat. And Aaron shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, confess over it all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions, concerning all their sins, putting them on the head of the goat, and shall send it away into the wilderness by the hand of a suitable man. The goat shall bear on itself all their iniquities to an uninhabited land, and he shall release the goat in the wilderness. Then Aaron shall come into the tabernacle of meeting, shall take off the linen garments which he put on when he went into the Holy Place, and shall leave them there. And he shall wash his body with water in the Holy Place, put on his garments, come out and offer his burnt offering and the burnt offering of the people, and make atonement for himself and for the people. The fat of the sin offering he shall burn on the altar. And he who released the goat as the scapegoat [Azazel] shall wash his clothes and bathe his body in water, and afterward he may come into the camp. The bull for the sin offering and the goat for the sin offering whose blood was brought in to make atonement in the Holy Place shall be carried outside the camp. And they shall burn in the fire their skins, their flesh, and their offal. Then he who burns them shall wash his clothes and bathe his body in water, and afterward he may come into the camp.

So the azazel goat is not our sin bearer. Jesus took our guilt, our sins, upon Himself as an innocent substitutionary sacrifice. The real cause, the actual author of those sins, is Satan. It would not be justice for Christ to bear guilt that is not His while Satan goes free. God's great plan will finally work full justice by placing that original blame and guilt where it belongs.

Christ bore our guilt. We have been guilty even though Satan was the original cause of all sin, but justice defiantly demands that God place right back on the head of Satan, his own guilt—not our guilt, but his own guilt—for leading us into sin. We were guilty, too, and our guilt Christ bore, yet all our sins belong back on Satan as his own guilt.

The azazel goat carries away the sins of all the people already forgiven; these sins were already fully paid because of Christ's substitute sacrifice, symbolized by the killing of the innocent goat before those same sins were finally laid on the live goat. They had been previously paid for by the death of the slain goat, representing Christ.

Satan is the real author of all sin. Can we then be finally made at one with God as long as this instigator of sin is with us? There would not be justice with God unless Satan's own guilt is put right back on his head. It would not be justice for Christ to bear Satan’s guilt as well as our own guilt for our sins.

Christ has carried our sins so that we do not have to continually carry them. They must be removed from us entirely and from the presence even of God because sin separates us from God.

Isaiah 59:1-2 Behold the Lord's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save nor His ear heavy, that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear.

The prophet Isaiah was inspired to record that sin separates a person from fellowship with God; it is because of the separation that God devised a method by which this barrier of sin between Him and His people could be removed. The removal of this barrier makes it possible for communication and fellowship between God and humans. Scriptures show that when the presence of God comes into contact with impurity, the impurity is destroyed. Therefore the Israelites were given very strict rules as to how to perform the necessary rituals to remove physical contamination in order to be protected from destruction while being in close contact with God's presence.

Through this sacrificial system and the rituals of purification, God was able to alter, transform, and shield people and things from the power of His presence in order to dwell or commune with them in His spirit form. Thus the killing and sprinkling of blood of the first goat visibly set forth the means of reconciliation with God through the substituted sacrifice of an innocent victim.

So finally, the sending away of the second goat laden with those sins, the expiation of which had been signified by the first goat, no less vividly sets forth the effect of that sacrifice in complete removal of expiated sins from the presence of God. Satan is the accuser of the brethren; his power over human beings is founded on sin, and when these sins on which he is the author are laid back on him after being removed from us by Christ, then Satan will have lost his claim on us and can no longer can accuse us.

Thus finally, as the acceptance of the blood of the first goat, Christ symbolized complete propitiation and pardon of Israel’s sins. So the sending of the azazel, bearing away those expiated sins, symbolizes the complete removal of all sins. Deliverance by the atonement from the power of the adversary, the sacrifice of the first innocent victim was the means of reconciliation with God, but not yet complete justice.

The driving away of the second live goat shows the final atonement by placing the sins on the author, where they belong, and the complete removal of the sins and their author from the presence of God and His people. As a result—the complete deliverance of the people from the power of Satan.

Webster says, to atone means to set at one, to join in one, to form by uniting. We will not be completely joined in one and united with God until this is done. Remember after laying both his hands on the live goat, azazel, Aaron had to wash and cleanse himself before coming in contact with the people. Because he had been in contact with those sins—the representation of those sins.

The fit [suitable] man also had to wash his clothes and bathe himself after coming in contact with the azazel oat before he came to the presence of the people. The symbolism is certainly that of having come in contact with Satan, azazel was driven away from the Holy of Holies, a symbol of God's presence. This act of putting these already expiated and forgiven sins on the head of this live azazel goat does not take place until after the High Priest returns from the Holy of Holies within the veil. Therefore this typified an act to take place after the second coming of Jesus Christ to this earth.

The first goat represented the innocent Christ, who died for our sins. The high priest represented the risen Christ going within the veil to the Mercy Seat or the throne of God in heaven for almost two thousand years. The high priest returning to place the sins finally upon the head of the live goat represents the return of Christ to place the sins He bore on their author, Satan. Christ will send him away alive into a desolate uninhabited wilderness, the bottomless pit, or abyss as it is called.

The bottomless pit or abyss was pictured by the desert wilderness where azazel was banished. Satan and his demons will be completely restrained by Christ from further leading mankind into sin. No longer will Satan be able to broadcast his evil attitudes into people’s minds. The eternal Christ who is symbolically the fit or suitable man will chain Satan, at which time the minds of people which were formally kept spiritually closed by Satan, will be open by the Spirit of God.

Leviticus 16:21-22 And Aaron shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, confess over it all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions, concerning all their sins, putting them on the head of the goat, and shall send it away into the wilderness by the hand of a suitable man. The goat shall bear on itself all their iniquities to an uninhabited land. And he shall release the goat in the wilderness.

A suitable man literally means a timely man or a man at hand. Tradition says that the man was appointed for this work the year before in the Temple worship in ancient Israel. For the first time, humanity will be able to understand God's master plan of salvation. People will then want to repent and receive forgiveness for their sins through Christ's sacrifice. Only then will people become at one with Christ and the Father, as pictured by this Day of Atonement.

Revelation 19 prophesied the second coming of Christ, and then at the beginning of Revelation 20, we find exactly the same thing happening as is described in Leviticus 16. Satan is sent away. The symbol used here is the bottomless pit; it is the symbol of a uninhabited desolate wilderness, and he is sent there by a fit or suitable man—a spirit being from heaven. Satan is not killed at this time; he does not die; he is still alive one thousand years later after the Millennium.

Revelation 20:1-3 Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. And he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he would deceive the nations no more till the thousands years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while.

Revelation 20:7-8 Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea.

Now turn to Luke 8:30. The bottomless pit is also known as the abyss in the New Testament; the abyss is the abode of the imprisoned demons. Many of these evil spirits whom Jesus expelled in His earthly ministry dreaded being sent to the abyss, especially before their predetermined time.

Luke 8:30-33 Jesus asked him, saying, What is your name? And he said, Legion, because many demons had entered him. And they begged Him that He would not command them to go out into the abyss [The Greek word is abusson; it must already exist]. Now a herd of many swine was feeding there on the mountain. And they begged them to enter them. And He permitted them. Then the demons went out of the man and entered the swine, and the herd ran violently down the steep place into the lake and drowned.

The bottomless pit or the abyss is translated from the Greek word abusson, abussos, or abusso. It is therefore different from the Hebrew word, sheol, and the Greek word, hades, which is the seen world; the world that we see. Sheol, hades refers to the grave. The abyss, which is in the unseen world, is revealed as a place of restraint for Satan and his demons.

In Revelation where the King James and New King James version renders it invariably the bottomless pit, abussos denotes that abode of evil spirits, but not the place of final punishment; therefore it should be distinguished from the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and false prophet were and into which the devil is to be finally cast.

Revelation 19:20 Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone.

The abyss is different from the Lake of Fire or the final instrument of punishment for the eradication of all wicked unrepentant creatures, including Satan, demons, and humans.

Revelation 21:8 But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.

Revelation 20:10 [ESV] And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were [Most translations have are, as if they are still burning in the hell fire, but the ESV is correct. It is were].

As soon as they entered that fire, the beast and false prophet are burned up instantaneously and completely, as soon as the fire reaches them; it is an all-consuming fire.

That goes directly against the Protestant belief of hell fire. What they have is a perversion of the original, and it is not the truth. We thank God that He has revealed this to us.

What will atonement mean to this world? Satan will be imprisoned in the bottomless pit for a thousand years, but before that he tries to destroy mankind. Over the long term, he has always tried to destroy mankind; he especially steps up his effort as his imprisonment draws near.

Daniel 9:27 Then He [Christ] shall confirm a covenant with many for one week, but in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering and on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, even until the consummation, which is determined, is poured out on the desolate.

The word translated desolate there in various versions of the Bible should be translated or shown as desolator. The prime desolator of the earth is Satan, also called Abaddon and Apollyon, meaning destroyer.

Revelation 9:11 And they had as king over them the angel [Satan] of the bottomless pit, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, but in Greek he has the name Apollyon.

Daniel was told it would take three and half years for the returned Christ to complete the task of bringing the world into atonement or at-one-ment. All through this very familiar prophesy, which predicted the exact year of the first coming of Jesus the Messiah preaching to the Jews in 27 AD, the year for a day principle was used. A week becomes seven years in fulfillment.

Christ was to confirm the covenant for one week—seven years. But the prophesy also states he was to be cut off in the midst of the week leaving another three and half years to be fulfilled after His second coming.

Christ spent three and half years from autumn 27AD to the Passover in 31AD confirming the covenant by personally teaching and training a first group of true Christians who are to be given the overlordship of the world the covenant promised.

At Christ's return, He will continue what He began by actually putting the true Christians in power over the nations, bringing them into subjection into the government, the Kingdom of God. The apostle Peter proclaimed that when Jesus Christ returns to earth, the government of God is to be restored.

Acts 3:19-21 Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began.

A whole new way of life needs to be restored to mankind. It was once offered to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, but they quickly rejected it, being taken in by the serpent’s subtle deception.

The world needs submission to God's revealed will, faith instead of skepticism; relying on superior wisdom and experience of our Creator instead of human wisdom; obedience instead of human reasoning, feelings, desires, and emotions based on the temptation of the flesh. The first step for restoration of a perfect world is re-institution of God's authority, which will come at Christ's second coming.

There will be a worldwide system of mayors and judges, lesser and greater kings, and other leaders. Jesus referred to these offices in the parables; one will be given rule of ten cities and another rule over five, and so on, as rewards for faithfulness.

Revelation 5:10 And have made us kings and priests to our God, and we shall reign on the earth.

God's government is to be restored at the same time that Satan's part in sins is to be transferred to his own head. Atonement will not be complete with merely putting Satan away. The greatest work will still remain; people will be hating and killing each other. Man’s mind and nature has to be retaught, his character reshaped and remolded, until it becomes at one with God. Then the fully confirmed New Covenant will be completed.

Here is a phrase to remember: in that time. In that time according to Jeremiah chapters 31 and 50, the attitude of Israel and Judah will be one of repentant weeping, and everyone will know of God wanting to join with Him. God places much of the blame on the shepherds, their ministers, for their past sins and wrong attitudes. This is azazel's doing through his counterfeit ministers, but in that time Israel and Judah will have no more sin.

Jeremiah 50:5-6 They shall ask the way to Zion, with their faces toward it, saying, “Come and let us join ourselves to the Lord in a perpetual covenant that will not be forgotten.” My people have been lost sheep, their shepherds have led them astray. They have turned them away on the mountains, they have gone from mountain to hill. They have forgotten their resting place.

Jeremiah 50:18-20 Therefore thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel. “Behold, I will punish the king of Babylon and his land, as I have punished the king of Assyria. But I will bring back Israel to his habitation, and he shall feed on Carmel and Bashan. His soul shall be satisfied on Mount Ephraim and Gilead. In those days and in that time,” says the Lord, “the iniquity of Israel shall be sought, but there shall be none. And the sins of Judah, but they shall not be found. For I will pardon those whom I preserve.”

God says He will pardon those He preserves, those who He brings back alive through the great Tribulation, and then they will be able to be at one with God. That is, God and Israel will find atonement.

Zechariah 3:9 “For behold, the stone that I have laid before Joshua. Upon the stone are seven eyes. Behold, I will engrave its inscription,” says the Lord of hosts, “and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day.”

It appears that cleansing of Israel after the Tribulation will done in one day. Whether a day is as a year or not, I do not know. But it is in a short period of time compared to the Millennium.

Israel will have been brought to her knees and to repentance by the terrible national punishment that is to be inflicted on her. This will produce the contrite attitude pictured by fasting on the Day of Atonement. The Day of Atonement is a vivid illustration of the state of mind necessary for salvation—an attitude of humility, godly sorrow, and earnest seeking for the right way.

It is also a warning of the state to which God will be forced to reduce Israel by war, captivity, and deportation, slavery and persecution. Fasting on the Day of Atonement is for the purpose of humbling oneself to be in the right attitude for drawing closer to God and His righteous way of life. Israel will have to come to that same point.

The imagery surrounding the Bible’s teaching on Atonement is overwhelmingly rich and abundant in its importance to the salvation of mankind.

Much of the biblical explanation of the Day of Atonement can be summed up in five main conditions or transactions. As you know five is the number of grace.

First, the bearing of sins by an innocent humble Christ so that upon repentance sinners can be freed from the penalty they have incurred.

Second, the financial image of a ransom that is paid in exchange for sinners.

Third, the substitute who takes the place of sinners, suffering the punishment that stems from God's justice in their place. With the emphasis on Christ as the second Adam, the representative of the human race who effects redemption for it.

Fourth, the Old Testament sacrifices and Christ as the fulfillment of those sacrifices are a satisfaction, not simply a wavering of the offense that the human race has committed against God, by virtue of its sinfulness and appeasement of the just anger of God against the human race for its offense.

Fifth, Atonement is a legal and juridical meeting of the requirements of the law so that sinful people can stand acquitted before God the judge.

The result of all these transactions, finally, is reconciliation between an offended Holy God and a sinful rebellious humanity.

II Corinthians 5:18-20 Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Therefore we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us, we implore you on Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God.

For the New Testament church, the Day of Atonement pictures Christ deposing Satan from His present position as world ruler and Satan's removal to a place completely away and apart from mankind. He will be bound for a thousand years, no longer able to deceive the nations and influence humans to sin. After Satan's imprisonment, the rest of humanity will begin to be reconciled—made at one with God. God the Father has reconciled us to Himself thanks to the sacrifice and intercession of our Savior Jesus Christ, our High Priest and Advocate.

We are blessed beyond our wildest imagination. Remember the words of the apostle Paul: “Eyes have not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things that God has prepared for those who love Him.”

MGC/cdm/cah



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