Do you realize that sometime in the very near future – in the 7th month (Hebrew)-- a massive intervention will occur from God in the affairs of mankind? On the 3rd day of this year in the 7th month we (the Church of God) observed the Feast of Trumpets (which symbolized the return of Jesus Christ), but do we realize that if this day doesn’t become a reality, we would never be given eternal life.
There is an astounding prophecy recorded in the 7th chapter of the Book of Daniel revealing a mighty religious power which persecutes God’s Church. This power is symbolized by a little horn:
“And he shall speak great words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints (to wear out the saints means to afflict, to cause pain, torment, to kill and to perish) of the Most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until time and times and the dividing of time” (Daniel 7:25).
Now over in the Book of Revelation it is pictured again as a great whore, an apostate church which rules over nations and deceives the whole world. Read the 17th chapter of Revelation.
This great church (the Roman Catholic Church) has caused the nations to change time in every possible manner. It has changed the day, the week, the month and the year.
Mankind must realize that God is the author of time, and He gave man the Sabbath as a day of rest and as a memorial of His creation.
The reason God’s people (the Church) keep the 7th day – the Sabbath-- is because it was designed to keep us continually in the knowledge and the true worship of God.
But Rome changed that day! Rome substituted a counterfeit day of worship (Sunday – as the Lord’s Day). Rome also fastened on a deceived world many pagan holidays (such as Christmas, Easter, New Year’s Day) and these are also counterfeit as well.
Members of God’s true Church know that the Sabbath was created for man (not just for the Jewish people, there were no Jewish people when God brought the Sabbath into existence), but centuries later God also called out a church as His instrumentality in the midst of Satan’s realm. When did God do this?
“This is that Moses, which said unto the children of Israel. A prophet shall the Lord our God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me, him shall he hear. This is he that was in the church in the wilderness” (Acts 7:37-38).
So the Church began in the wilderness before Mount Sinai. The Church of God is God’s instrument for carrying out His great plan.
Just as man must be kept in knowledge of the true God, so the Church must be kept in the knowledge of God’s plan.
As God gave the Sabbath to man, so He gave annual Sabbaths to the Church to keep us in the understanding of this great plan. These annuals Sabbaths commenced before the Old Covenant was made. You can read about that in Exodus 12.
These annual Sabbaths that the Church is required to keep picture different steps in God’s Great Master Plan. In fact, the whole story of redemption is re-enacted each year by hallowing these holy days. (If you would like to know more about these Holy Days and God’s Master Plan of Salvation enroll today in our series, God’s Master Plan of Salvation.)
The Church of God knows that the first step or event in redemption is the death of the Lamb of God – so the first of the annual days is the Passover (not Easter).
Our complete deliverance from sin and our obedience to the Ten Commandments is pictured by the second festival – the Days of Unleavened Bread. Any Church that has forgotten this festival, has departed from God’s law.
The Apostle John tells us – “He that saith, I know him, and keeps not his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (that includes the 4th commandment – remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy) (I John 2:4).
Exodus 13:7 says that unleaven bread shall be eaten seven days. Verse 9, “and it shall be for a sign unto thee upon thine hand, and for a memorial between thine eyes, that the Lord’s law may be in thy mouth: for with a strong hand hath the Lord brought thee out of Egypt (which was a type of sin).
Now, so that we would never forget that God is choosing only a few in this age to whom He has imparted His Holy Spirit, God gave a third festival, Pentecost or Feast of Firstfruits. The coming of the Holy Spirit, and the first small spiritual harvest of souls.
But God’s plan of redemption does not stop here, Jesus Christ must return to resurrect the saints and to establish the Kingdom of God. If Christ does not return we could never finally be saved.
Next step in found in Lev. 23:23-25; “And the Lord spake saying, in the 7th month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a Sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation, ye shall do no servile work therein.’
Here is pictured to us the next blessed event in God’s redemptive plan. Christ shall come again, in clouds, with a shout, with the voice of the archangel with the trump of God (I Thess. 4:14-17).
Unless Jesus Christ returns to resurrect the dead and give eternal life to those who are alive – all that the prophets did, the apostles did and what we are doing today in God’s service will have been for nothing. We would never gain eternal life, if there is no resurrection.
“For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain, and yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished” (I Cor. 15:16-18)
Jesus Christ is alive today – sitting at His Father’s right hand and he will directly intervene in world affairs at the 7th or last trump – you can read about that in Revelation 11:15-19.
The trumpet is a symbol of war; Jesus Christ comes in a time of world-wide war.
When the work of gathering in the firstfruits is completed at the end of this present age, what will Jesus Christ begin to do?
“After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down, and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up” (Acts 15:16).
Christ will also set His hand again the second time to recover the remnant of His people: “And it shall come to pass in that day (in the future), that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people” (Isa. 11:11) Isaiah goes on to explain where the modern descendants of the ancient House of Israel was held in captivity.
But exactly when will this take place? “And it shall come to pass in that day, that the great trumpet shall be blown, and they (Israel – America and Britain) shall come which were ready to perish and shall worship the Eternal in the holy mount at Jerusalem” (Isa. 27:13).
When Jesus Christ sets His feet on the Mount of Olives, the earth has been devastated, plant and aquatic life are almost nonexistent, the human population is reduced to a small fraction of its former size by the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord. Everywhere there is destruction, but there is also hope, as we have said Christ has intervened in world affairs, but there remains an obstacle, the presence of Satan the Devil, mankind’s enemy for 6,000 years, and that brings us to the Day of Atonement – the day that the world is set free.
So let us turn back to Leviticus the 23rd chapter and read of this day:
“And the Lord spake, saying also on the 10th day of this 7th month there shall be a day of atonement; it shall be an holy convocation unto you; ye shall afflict your souls (that is to fast – going without food or water).
“Ye shall do no manner of work: it shall be a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. It shall be a Sabbath of rest, and ye shall afflict your souls: in the 9th day of the month at even, from even unto even, shall he celebrate your Sabbath.”
At-one-ment with God. Man at last will be made at one with his Creator. The Day of Atonement pictures a wonderful and great event to take place after the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, which the world has entirely lost sight of.
The symbolism is all expressed in the account of the events of the Day of Atonement, as carried out before the crucifixion, in the 16th chapter of Leviticus.
Aaron’s sons have died when they offered wrongly before the Lord. Moses is now telling Aaron when he is to appear in the holy place, We pick up the story in verse 5: “And he (Aaron, the High priest) shall take of the congregation of the children of Israel two kids of the goats for a sin offering. The high priest offered a sin offering for himself and his house. And he shall take the two goats, and present them before the Lord at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats: the one for the Lord, and the other for the scapegoat (or Azazel).”
The word Azazel does not occur elsewhere in the Old Testament. The English word scape-goat 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. The word scapegoat does not appear in the Jewish translation at all.
But these two goats were types. It was necessary to be decided by lot, which one was qualified to represent Jesus Christ and which Azazel. A lot is a solemn appeal to God to decide a doubtful matter. It is a sacred religious ceremony. It includes a supernatural act of God.
Men were unable to decide which goat was qualified to represent Christ. This involved an appeal to God to decide.
Now, one lot was for the Lord, this goat typified Christ, but the other lot was not for the Lord, it did not typify Christ, but Azazel – Satan. The goat which God selected to represent Christ was slain. The other goat selected by God to represent Azazel was not slain, but was driven into uninhabited wilderness.
Notice: “And Aaron shall bring the bullock of the sin offering, which is for himself, and shall make an atonement for himself, and for his house, and shall kill the bullock of the sin offering which is for himself” (Lev. 16:11).
Then Aaron took the burning coals of fire and sweet incense into the Holy of Holies also sprinkling the blood of the bullock before the Mercy Seat, typical of the throne of God.
Why did the high priest do this? To purify himself to officiate, and to represent Jesus Christ as High Priest.
In the ante type, this was not done for Christ, our High Priest. He had no need of this purification as the typical substitutionary priest did.
Now the Levitical high priest is ready to go out and officiate. The goat which 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 this goat even as Christ, finally, once for all, bore ours sins on the stake. This goat represented Christ the Lamb of God, but Christ rose again from the dead, and ascended to the throne of God in heaven.
In the Levitical ceremony of the Day of Atonement, typified the risen Christ our High Priest, who went within the veil of God’s throne in heaven. The slain goat also represented the slain Christ, the slain Christ was not our High Priest, as 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 Melchisedec.
“Then shall he (the high priest) kill the goat of the sin offering, that is for the people bring his blood within the veil and sprinkle it upon the mercy seat and he shall make an atonement for the holy place” (Lev. 16:15).
So it was the high priest taking the blood within the veil to the mercy seat, which typified the risen Christ figuratively. The high priest going within the veil, into the Holy of Holies was a type of Christ going to heaven. When the high priest was finished with his work, and returning back from the Holy of Holies symbolized Christ’s return to this earth.
What did the high priest do when he came from the Holy of Holies? “And when he hath made an end of reconciling the holy place, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar, he shall bring the live goat; and Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness” (Lev. 16:20-26).
Is there justice with God? Is not God a God of justice, as well as of compassion and mercy? Who is the real author of sin? Satan is the author of sin, just as Christ is the author of salvation.
Jesus Christ took our guilt, our blame, and our sins upon Himself as an innocent substitutionary sacrifice. Christ was an innocent victim, but He loved us and was willing to die for us. Our guilt, our sins were borne by Him and Him alone.
But, if we stop here, is that full justice? Is it justice for Christ to bear guilt that is not His, while Satan gets off scot-free?
So why is Christ coming back to this earth? To complete the Day of Atonement.
Satan is the real author of all sin. Can we, then, be finally made at one with God as long as Satan, the author of sin, is still with us?
“And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the devil, and Satan and bound him a thousand years. And cast him into the bottomless pit and shut him up and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more” (Rev. 20:1-3).
Also on the Day of Atonement we are required to fast. What connection is there between the removal of Satan and our fasting?
Satan works in humans by appealing to the lust of our flesh and the pride of life. Fasting denies our fleshy lust and humbles us thus fasting should diminish Satan’s influence in our personal lives, picturing in each of us Satan’s eventual complete suppression and removal from all mankind.
What a blessing it will be when Satan is bound. Freed from their spiritual captivity, the whole world will be taught God’s way to real peace, harmony and salvation. The world will finally be set free!