BibleAsk Team

How did the Day of Atonement symbolize the judgment?

The Day of Atonement

Satan and his angels rebelled against God, bringing the deadly consequences of sin into the universe. The Day of Atonement in ancient Israel taught, through symbols, that God will deal with the sin problem and bring harmony back to the universe through the atonement. (Atonement means “at-one-ment,” or “to bring all things into total divine harmony.”)  

In the earthly sanctuary, the symbolic steps for the day of atonement were:

A. The Lord’s goat was slain to cover sins of the people. 

B. The high priest ministered the blood before the mercy seat. 

C. The judgment took place in this order: 

(1) the righteous were confirmed, (2) the unrepentant were cut off, and (3)the record of sin was removed from the sanctuary

D. The record of sin was then placed on the scapegoat. 

E. The scapegoat was sent into the wilderness. 

F. Sin was cleansed from the people and the sanctuary

G. All began the new year with a clean slate. 

Let us see how God has symbolized these atonement events:

These symbolic steps represent the literal atonement events that are instituted from the heavenly sanctuary. The first point above is the symbol of the event of the first point below and so on.

A. Jesus died a sacrificial death as mankind’s substitute. “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3 also 5:7).

B. Jesus, as our High Priest, restores people to God’s image. “Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:14-16 also Romans 8:29). 

C. The judgment provides records to confirm lives—good and bad—and then removes the records of sin from the heavenly sanctuary. “And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books” (Revelation 20:12 also Acts 3:19–21). 

D. Satan bears ultimate responsibility for originating sin and for causing people to sin. “He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8 also Revelation 22:12). 

E. Satan is banished into the “wilderness” (1,000 years of Revelation 20). “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” (Revelation 20:1).

F. Satan, sin, and those who cling to sin are eradicated. “The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever” (Revelation 20:10 also 21:8; Psalm 37:10, 20; Nahum 1:9). 

G. A new earth is created for God’s people. All good things lost by sin are restored to the Lord’s saints. “Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells” (2 Peter 3:13 also Acts 3:20, 21). 

The atonement is not completed until the universe and all in it are restored to pre-sin condition—with the assurance that sin will never rise again. 

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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