Christian Churches of God
(Edition 2.0 19951004-19990901-20070914)
The understanding of the Day of Atonement is also critical to an understanding of the role of Messiah in the process. The purpose of atonement in the Temple sacrifices is discussed, together with the function of atonement in the Jubilee system.
Leviticus 23:26-32 And the LORD said to Moses, 27 "On the tenth day of this seventh month is the day of atonement; it shall be for you a time of holy convocation, and you shall afflict yourselves and present an offering by fire to the LORD. 28 And you shall do no work on this same day; for it is a day of atonement, to make atonement for you before the LORD your God. 29 For whoever is not afflicted on this same day shall be cut off from his people. 30 And whoever does any work on this same day, that person I will destroy from among his people. 31 You shall do no work: it is a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. 32 It shall be to you a Sabbath of solemn rest, and you shall afflict yourselves; on the ninth day of the month beginning at evening, from evening to evening shall you keep your Sabbath." (RSV)
Thus the Day of Atonement is a Sabbath of solemn rest. If it is not kept, those individuals are cut off from their people. This removal is from the nation of Israel, which involves the elect as spiritual Israel. Thus failure to keep the Day of Atonement means removal from the elect.
Purpose of Atonement in the Temple Sacrifices
The atonement sacrifice was to consecrate the Temple on a yearly basis for the continual offerings of the congregation. This was done through the priesthood, who are commanded to offer no unholy incense upon the altar of God. Thus there can be no apostasy or profane teaching before the Lord. The atonement sacrifice was to reconcile spiritual and physical Israel to God through Jesus Christ. The atonement sacrifice was a charge against the High Priest.
Exodus 30:1-10 "You shall make an altar to burn incense upon; of acacia wood shall you make it. 2 A cubit shall be its length, and a cubit its breadth; it shall be square, and two cubits shall be its height; its horns shall be of one piece with it. 3 And you shall overlay it with pure gold, its top and its sides round about and its horns; and you shall make for it a molding of gold round about. 4 And two golden rings shall you make for it; under its molding on two opposite sides of it shall you make them, and they shall be holders for poles with which to carry it. 5 You shall make the poles of acacia wood, and overlay them with gold. 6 And you shall put it before the veil that is by the ark of the testimony, before the mercy seat that is over the testimony, where I will meet with you. 7 And Aaron shall burn fragrant incense on it; every morning when he dresses the lamps he shall burn it, 8 and when Aaron sets up the lamps in the evening, he shall burn it, a perpetual incense before the LORD throughout your generations. 9 You shall offer no unholy incense thereon, nor burnt offering, nor cereal offering; and you shall pour no libation thereon. 10 Aaron shall make atonement upon its horns once a year; with the blood of the sin offering of atonement he shall make atonement for it once in the year throughout your generations; it is most holy to the LORD." (RSV)
The veil stood perpetually as a barrier to the congregation of Israel. The perpetual incense was to represent the prayers of the saints as intercession for Israel. Atonement at this stage could be made only once a year.
The veil was torn through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ so that we could meet God in the Holy of Holies.
The altar was to have no unholy incense. More importantly, it was to be profaned by no other form of offering. The symbolism pointed towards Jesus Christ and the gift of the Holy Spirit in the purity of truth. Thus no priest can knowingly go to the Day of Atonement within or under a false system. All the elect are priests, offering incense through prayers and fasting (Rev. 5:8).
Revelation 5:8 And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and with golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints; (RSV)
No one can profane the Temple of God by contact with false systems or worship to other than God. Thus worship of the High Priest is correctly seen as idolatry. It is the High Priest that must atone for the congregation, and he alone, with his own blood. Christ entered once for all into the Holy Place on his resurrection (Heb. 9:11-28).
Hebrews 9:11-28 But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) 12 he entered once for all into the Holy Place, taking not the blood of goats and calves but his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. 13 For if the sprinkling of defiled persons with the blood of goats and bulls and with the ashes of a heifer sanctifies for the purification of the flesh, 14 how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify your conscience from dead works to serve the living God. 15 Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred which redeems them from the transgressions under the first covenant. 16 For where a will is involved, the death of the one who made it must be established. 17 For a will takes effect only at death, since it is not in force as long as the one who made it is alive. 18 Hence even the first covenant was not ratified without blood. 19 For when every commandment of the law had been declared by Moses to all the people, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, 20 saying, "This is the blood of the covenant which God commanded you." 21 And in the same way he sprinkled with the blood both the tent and all the vessels used in worship. 22 Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. 23 Thus it was necessary for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these rites, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24 For Christ has entered, not into a sanctuary made with hands, a copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. 25 Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the Holy Place yearly with blood not his own; 26 for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the age to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27 And just as it is appointed for men to die once, and after that comes judgment, 28 so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him. (RSV)
The payment at Atonement was for the numbering of the elect of Israel. This was paid for at the price of half a shekel based on the Hebrew and Phoenician shekel, not the Babylonian. Thus the payment is by the correct weight and price, and not through foreign systems. It is a set weight per person by offering and is not to vary by circumstance of the individual. This numbering of Israel was done by God at the foundation of the world (Rev. 17:8) and the weight by set fee was paid once and for all by Jesus Christ. The set fee indicates that salvation is paid for, not according to the physical circumstance of the individual, but by the sacrifice of Christ once and for all. Thus the taking up of a collection at Atonement strikes at the very adequacy of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. It is for this reason that there are three collections only specified in Exodus 23:14-18.
Exodus 23:14-18 "Three times in the year you shall keep a feast to me. 15 You shall keep the feast of unleavened bread; as I commanded you, you shall eat unleavened bread for seven days at the appointed time in the month of Abib, for in it you came out of Egypt. None shall appear before me empty-handed. 16 You shall keep the feast of harvest, of the first fruits of your labor, of what you sow in the field. You shall keep the feast of ingathering at the end of the year, when you gather in from the field the fruit of your labor. 17 Three times in the year shall all your males appear before the Lord GOD. 18 "You shall not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leavened bread, or let the fat of my feast remain until the morning. (RSV)
Atonement is thus specifically excluded from the category of offerings that are related to bounty and individual blessing. So also is Trumpets. That is because neither is related to human activity or endeavour. Atonement is specifically a census.
Exodus 30:11-16 The LORD said to Moses, 12 "When you take the census of the people of Israel, then each shall give a ransom for himself to the LORD when you number them, that there be no plague among them when you number them. 13 Each who is numbered in the census shall give this: half a shekel according to the shekel of the sanctuary (the shekel is twenty gerahs), half a shekel as an offering to the LORD. 14 Every one who is numbered in the census, from twenty years old and upward, shall give the LORD's offering. 15 The rich shall not give more, and the poor shall not give less, than the half shekel, when you give the LORD's offering to make atonement for yourselves. 16 And you shall take the atonement money from the people of Israel, and shall appoint it for the service of the tent of meeting; that it may bring the people of Israel to remembrance before the LORD, so as to make atonement for yourselves." (RSV)
Thus the census of Israel as reported in Numbers 1 was for military purposes. The transgression of David in 2Samuel 24 was because it was done not in accordance with the Law but for the purposes which struck at the concept of the payment for Israel by Messiah.
There had to be a payment by blood (signified by the half shekel) for the numbering of Israel as there was a spiritual significance to the census. Also the protection and strength of Israel was not measured in numbers. It was not measured in might, or in power, but by my spirit says the Lord of Hosts (Zech. 4:6).
Declaration of the Jubilee
Atonement is also used to declare the Jubilee, for the Jubilee is the basis of God's system for regulating human affairs on Earth. The spiritual significance of the Jubilee will be examined at a later date.
Leviticus 25:8-12 "And you shall count seven weeks of years, seven times seven years, so that the time of the seven weeks of years shall be to you forty-nine years. 9 Then you shall send abroad the loud trumpet on the tenth day of the seventh month; on the day of atonement you shall send abroad the trumpet throughout all your land. 10 And you shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants; it shall be a jubilee for you, when each of you shall return to his property and each of you shall return to his family. 11 A jubilee shall that fiftieth year be to you; in it you shall neither sow, nor reap what grows of itself, nor gather the grapes from the undressed vines. 12 For it is a jubilee; it shall be holy to you; you shall eat what it yields out of the field. (RSV)
Sacrifice for Atonement
The sacrifice for Atonement was a sequence of animals. These are listed in Numbers 29:7-11.
Numbers 29:7-11 "On the tenth day of this seventh month you shall have a holy convocation, and afflict yourselves; you shall do no work, 8 but you shall offer a burnt offering to the LORD, a pleasing odour: one young bull, one ram, seven male lambs a year old; they shall be to you without blemish; 9 and their cereal offering of fine flour mixed with oil, three tenths of an ephah for the bull, two tenths for the one ram, 10 a tenth for each of the seven lambs: 11 also one male goat for a sin offering, besides the sin offering of atonement, and the continual burnt offering and its cereal offering, and their drink offerings. (RSV)
The animals were nominated on a composite, which was equated to the whole as an ephah of flour. The total sacrifice was divided into ten but weighed to twelve-tenths of the whole. There are also ten animals.
Atonement by sacrifice generally is dealt with in Exodus 29:36; Leviticus 1:4; 4:13-18,20,22-35; 5:6-10; 6:7; 9:7; 10:17; 12:6-8; 14:12-32; 16:6,10-34; 17:11; 19:22; Numbers 15:22-28; 28:30; and Hebrews 9:22. It is a concept of the expiation of sin by substantive offering and relates also to the human need to perceive expiation as a process related to price and consequence. No doubt the mental health of the individual is also connected with this process.
The sacrifice of the High Priest was also related to human sin and appointment. Hebrews 5:1-14 shows the problems that arose in relation to the perfection of Christ and the offering up of himself after his designation by God. The High Priest was himself beset with weakness and thus deals gently with the ignorant and wayward. For this reason God gives the weak and the base to Christ so that they might be perfected and pronounce judgment in mercy. Christ himself was heard for his Godly fear.
Hebrews 5:1-14 For every high priest chosen from among men is appointed to act on behalf of men in relation to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. 2 He can deal gently with the ignorant and wayward, since he himself is beset with weakness. 3 Because of this he is bound to offer sacrifice for his own sins as well as for those of the people. 4 And one does not take the honour upon himself, but he is called by God, just as Aaron was. 5 So also Christ did not exalt himself to be made a high priest, but was appointed by him who said to him, "Thou art my Son, today I have begotten thee"; 6 as he says also in another place, "Thou art a priest for ever, after the order of Melchiz'edek." 7 In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard for his godly fear. 8 Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered; 9 and being made perfect he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, 10 being designated by God a high priest after the order of Melchiz'edek. 11 About this we have much to say which is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. 12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need some one to teach you again the first principles of God's word. You need milk, not solid food; 13 for every one who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a child. 14 But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their faculties trained by practice to distinguish good from evil. (RSV)
The ability to distinguish good from evil and to consume solid meat is the mark of the elect, whose faculties are trained by practise to endure sound doctrine and to deal with and correct error, no matter what its source. This is the power of the Holy Spirit in truth. The High Priest offered atonement for himself and the errors of the people (Heb. 9:7). Christ learned obedience through what he suffered and was heard for his Godly fear.
The sacrifice of Jesus was as an atonement which was divinely ordained (Lk. 2:30-31; Gal. 4:4-5; Eph. 1:3-12,17-22; 2:4-10; Col. 1:19-20; 1Pet. 1:20; Rev. 13:8). This atonement was to accomplish a plan and was in accordance with a secret and hidden wisdom decreed before the ages for our glorification (1Cor. 2:7).
The atoning sacrifice of Christ was noted as being for a salvation ready to be revealed in the Last Days.
1Peter 1:3-21 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy we have been born anew to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and to an inheritance which is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God's power are guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while you may have to suffer various trials, 7 so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold which though perishable is tested by fire, may redound to praise and glory and honour at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 8 Without having seen him you love him; though you do not now see him you believe in him and rejoice with unutterable and exalted joy. 9 As the outcome of your faith you obtain the salvation of your souls. 10 The prophets who prophesied of the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired about this salvation; 11 they inquired what person or time was indicated by the Spirit of Christ within them when predicting the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glory. 12 It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things which have now been announced to you by those who preached the good news to you through the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look. 13 Therefore gird up your minds, be sober, set your hope fully upon the grace that is coming to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, 15 but as he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in all your conduct; 16 since it is written, "You shall be holy, for I am holy." 17 And if you invoke as Father him who judges each one impartially according to his deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile. 18 You know that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your fathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. 20 He was destined before the foundation of the world but was made manifest at the end of the times for your sake. 21 Through him you have confidence in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God. (RSV)
It was not the intention of the Lord that sacrifice be continued.
Psalm 40:6-8 Sacrifice and offering thou dost not desire; but thou hast given me an open ear. Burnt offering and sin offering thou hast not required. 7 Then I said, "Lo, I come; in the roll of the book it is written of me; 8 I delight to do thy will, O my God; thy law is within my heart." (RSV)
The concepts here are that sacrifice is expiation for sin, but sin offerings are not required where the Law is kept from desire. The roll of the book is kept so that the keeping of the Law is from the heart, and those who do so are recorded among the elect.
The sacrifice of the atonement was understood from Isaiah 53:4-12 and for removal of wickedness from Zechariah 5:5. The atonement opened the fountain to the House of David prophesied in Zechariah 13:1 for sin and uncleanness, and was fulfilled in Christ (Mat. 26:28; Lk. 22:20; 24:46ff.; Jn. 1:29; Jn. 6:51). John 11:49-51 shows the level of understanding of the priesthood of the day through prophecy.
John 11:49-51 But one of them, Ca'iaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, "You know nothing at all; 50 you do not understand that it is expedient for you that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation should not perish." 51 He did not say this of his own accord, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus should die for the nation, (RSV)
Judah understood that its sin – personified by a woman in an ephah – would be sent to Babylon and there worshipped (Zech. 5:5-11; see also footnote to Annotated Oxford RSV). Thus the Church corruption by the Babylonian system was prophesied from Zechariah.
Acts 17:2 shows that the Scriptures declared the necessity of the sacrifice. Thus the penalty for not overseeing the flock purchased with the blood of Christ is serious indeed (Acts 20:28). Christ was sacrificed and raised for our justification (Rom. 3:24-26; 4:25; 5:1-21). We are thus reconciled to God (2Cor. 5:18-19). We are delivered from this evil world (Gal. 1:3-4) so that we might have the adoption of sons (Gal. 4:4-5). By this reconciliation, Christ tore in two the Temple veil which stood as a boundary between God and us.
Ephesians 2:13-18 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near in the blood of Christ. 14 For he is our peace, who has made us both one, and has broken down the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by abolishing in his flesh the law of commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby bringing the hostility to an end. 17 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near; 18 for through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. (RSV)
The “law of commandments and ordinances” abolished by the flesh of Christ were the sacrificial laws relating to flesh.
Atonement has another significance which relates to the Plan of Salvation in the Last Days. The sequence of the Feasts in Tishri shows a set sequence in the Last Days. The Day of Trumpets heralds the arrival of Jesus Christ as Messiah of Israel in the Last Days; he is to subjugate the world. There is a gap between Trumpets and Atonement, and between Atonement and Tabernacles. These gaps have significance. There is no gap between Tabernacles and the Last Great Day. That also has significance. The gaps between Trumpets and Atonement and between Atonement and Tabernacles represent the fact that the sequence covers a period of time, which requires a sequence of activity. The major factor is that the millennial system represented by Tabernacles cannot be introduced until there is a restoration through the subjugation of the planet, and then a reconciliation of the planet to God. The subjugation is depicted by Trumpets, and the reconciliation is depicted by Atonement. The reconciliation to God is attendant upon the binding of Satan for the thousand years referred to in Revelation 20:4.
The atonement sacrifice depicts the binding of Satan in the period prior to the Millennium depicted by Tabernacles. The sacrifice is found in Leviticus 16:1-34.
Leviticus 16:1-19 The LORD spoke to Moses, after the death of the two sons of Aaron, when they drew near before the LORD and died; 2 and the LORD said to Moses, "Tell Aaron your brother not to come at all times into the holy place within the veil, before the mercy seat which is upon the ark, lest he die; for I will appear in the cloud upon the mercy seat. 3 But thus shall Aaron come into the holy place: with a young bull for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering. 4 He shall put on the holy linen coat, and shall have the linen breeches on his body, be girded with the linen girdle, and wear the linen turban; these are the holy garments. He shall bathe his body in water, and then put them on. 5 And he shall take from the congregation of the people of Israel two male goats for a sin offering, and one ram for a burnt offering. 6 "And Aaron shall offer the bull as a sin offering for himself, and shall make atonement for himself and for his house. 7 Then he shall take the two goats, and set them before the LORD at the door of the tent of meeting; 8 and Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats, one lot for the LORD and the other lot for Aza'zel. 9 And Aaron shall present the goat on which the lot fell for the LORD, and offer it as a sin offering; 10 but the goat on which the lot fell for Aza'zel shall be presented alive before the LORD to make atonement over it, that it may be sent away into the wilderness to Aza'zel. 11 "Aaron shall present the bull as a sin offering for himself, and shall make atonement for himself and for his house; he shall kill the bull as a sin offering for himself. 12 And he shall take a censer full of coals of fire from the altar before the LORD, and two handfuls of sweet incense beaten small; and he shall bring it within the veil 13 and put the incense on the fire before the LORD, that the cloud of the incense may cover the mercy seat which is upon the testimony, lest he die; 14 and he shall take some of the blood of the bull, and sprinkle it with his finger on the front of the mercy seat, and before the mercy seat he shall sprinkle the blood with his finger seven times. 15 "Then he shall kill the goat of the sin offering which is for the people, and bring its blood within the veil, and do with its blood as he did with the blood of the bull, sprinkling it upon the mercy seat and before the mercy seat; 16 thus he shall make atonement for the holy place, because of the uncleannesses of the people of Israel, and because of their transgressions, all their sins; and so he shall do for the tent of meeting, which abides with them in the midst of their uncleannesses. 17 There shall be no man in the tent of meeting when he enters to make atonement in the holy place until he comes out and has made atonement for himself and for his house and for all the assembly of Israel. 18 Then he shall go out to the altar which is before the LORD and make atonement for it, and shall take some of the blood of the bull and of the blood of the goat, and put it on the horns of the altar round about. 19 And he shall sprinkle some of the blood upon it with his finger seven times, and cleanse it and hallow it from the uncleannesses of the people of Israel.
This sacrifice represents the hallowing of the people through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. The process marks the atonement of Israel. No person can enter the Tabernacle until the atonement of the High Priest has been made.
The next process occurs after the atonement has been made. Thus the second goat does not represent, in any way, the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. The use of two goats depicts the judgment of like-beings and the success and failure of like-beings. The atonement has already occurred and is complete, as the next verse (Lev. 16:20) depicts.
Leviticus 16:20-22 "And when he has made an end of atoning for the holy place and the tent of meeting and the altar, he shall present the live goat; 21 and Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the people of Israel, and all their transgressions, all their sins; and he shall put them upon the head of the goat, and send him away into the wilderness by the hand of a man who is in readiness. 22 The goat shall bear all their iniquities upon him to a solitary land; and he shall let the goat go in the wilderness.
The placement of the sins of the people on the goat is a depiction of the judgment of the Host under Satan or Azazel, which was the name that he was known by in the Hebrew period. The solitary land is translated a land which is cut off (see Soncino). The process of being cut off is to be removed from the presence of God. This could never be ascribed to Christ, other than to construe from the comment on the cross that God had forsaken him, which from Psalm 22 we know He did not do. Isaiah 14:12 shows that it was the Day Star or Lucifer and thus Azazel who was cut down to the ground and brought down to the depths of the pit. Satan's system – i.e. the Babylonian – is that which is cut off from all prosperity. Rashbam holds that to be the meaning of the land being cut off in the text in Leviticus 16:22.
Leviticus 16:23-28 "Then Aaron shall come into the tent of meeting, and shall put off the linen garments which he put on when he went into the holy place, and shall leave them there; 24 and he shall bathe his body in water in a holy place, and put on his garments, and come forth, and offer his burnt offering and the burnt offering of the people, and make atonement for himself and for the people. 25 And the fat of the sin offering he shall burn upon the altar. 26 And he who lets the goat go to Aza'zel shall wash his clothes and bathe his body in water, and afterward he may come into the camp. 27 And 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 forth outside the camp; their skin and their flesh and their dung shall be burned with fire. 28 And he who burns them shall wash his clothes and bathe his body in water, and afterward he may come into the camp.
We see that the Azazel goat is despatched to the wilderness or the pit prior to the atonement. The entity charged with despatching the goat must be bathed in water and then afterwards he may come into the camp. This depicts the reconciliation of baptism by water after the binding of Satan. The sequence is done so that the elect participate in the binding after the Advent, and as necessary to the reconciliation.
Leviticus 16:29-34 "And it shall be a statute to you for ever that in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall afflict yourselves, and shall do no work, either the native or the stranger who sojourns among you; 30 for on this day shall atonement be made for you, to cleanse you; from all your sins you shall be clean before the LORD. 31 It is a Sabbath of solemn rest to you, and you shall afflict yourselves; it is a statute for ever. 32 And the priest who is anointed and consecrated as priest in his father's place shall make atonement, wearing the holy linen garments; 33 he shall make atonement for the sanctuary, and he shall make atonement for the tent of meeting and for the altar, and he shall make atonement for the priests and for all the people of the assembly. 34 And this shall be an everlasting statute for you, that atonement may be made for the people of Israel once in the year because of all their sins." And Moses did as the LORD commanded him. (RSV)
The phrase, ye shall afflict your souls, when used in Scripture, denotes fasting (Abraham ibn Ezra, Nachmanides; Soncino). The process of fasting is to release the bonds of wickedness that Satan or Azazel had placed upon the planet. Azazel, as stated, was the name that was applied to one of the fallen Host associated with Satan. Azazel is depicted as one of a number of fallen angels. A major figure was Semyaza in the Ethiopic Book of Enoch. Enoch 6:7; 8:1,13 shows Azazel was the term for the chief of the fallen angels, synonymous with Satan (see also Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, Vol. 1, p. 315). The association of the demons with this goat is reflected in the satyrs or goat demons of Isaiah 13:21; 34:14 and Leviticus 17:7.
Sacrifice to demons or satyrs was also newly noted from Deuteronomy 32:17 and 2Chronicles 11:15. This apostasy resulted in the removal of the priesthood from Israel to Judah (2Chr. 11:13-15).
The concept that Christ was given to Satan in the desert, and hence the goat was also destroyed by him here, might be advanced. However, the atonement had already been made when the goat was sent to the wilderness. Moreover, the concept of defilement of the goat does not arise with Christ. That the sins of the world were placed on his shoulders did not cut Christ off from God, as we see from Psalm 22:24.
Psalm 22:24 For he has not despised or abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; and he has not hid his face from him, but has heard, when he cried to him. (RSV)
The affliction of fasting is seen in Isaiah 58. Israel will not turn to Messiah at the Advent. The nations will fight against him and the world will be subjugated in absolute misery, through their own iniquity and rebellion. This period must follow the warning of the Last Days. We will look at the text in Isaiah 58:1 to 60:22.
Isaiah 58:1-14 "Cry aloud, spare not, lift up your voice like a trumpet; declare to my people their transgression, to the house of Jacob their sins. 2 Yet they seek me daily, and delight to know my ways, as if they were a nation that did righteousness and did not forsake the ordinance of their God; they ask of me righteous judgments, they delight to draw near to God. 3 `Why have we fasted, and thou seest it not? Why have we humbled ourselves, and thou takest no knowledge of it?' Behold, in the day of your fast you seek your own pleasure, and oppress all your workers. 4 Behold, you fast only to quarrel and to fight and to hit with wicked fist. Fasting like yours this day will not make your voice to be heard on high. 5 Is such the fast that I choose, a day for a man to humble himself? Is it to bow down his head like a rush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? Will you call this a fast, and a day acceptable to the LORD? 6 "Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? 7 Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? 8 Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you, the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard. 9 Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, Here I am. "If you take away from the midst of you the yoke, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness, 10 if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. 11 And the LORD will guide you continually, and satisfy your desire with good things, and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters fail not. 12 And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to dwell in. 13 "If you turn back your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure on my holy day, and call the Sabbath a delight and the holy day of the LORD honourable; if you honour it, not going your own ways, or seeking your own pleasure, or talking idly; 14 then you shall take delight in the LORD, and I will make you ride upon the heights of the earth; I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father, for the mouth of the LORD has spoken."
The counsel of the Lord is here directed at the interrelationship of the people of God and the nation that is Israel. Thus it is impossible to divorce one’s conduct within the elect from that of the nation. The same standards are required in personal activity. This activity is the cause of separation from God.
Isaiah 59:1-21 Behold, the LORD's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, or his ear dull, that it cannot hear; 2 but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you so that he does not hear. 3 For your hands are defiled with blood and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue mutters wickedness. 4 No one enters suit justly, no one goes to law honestly; they rely on empty pleas, they speak lies, they conceive mischief and bring forth iniquity. 5 They hatch adders' eggs, they weave the spider's web; he who eats their eggs dies, and from one which is crushed a viper is hatched. 6 Their webs will not serve as clothing; men will not cover themselves with what they make. Their works are works of iniquity, and deeds of violence are in their hands. 7 Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood; their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity, desolation and destruction are in their highways. 8 The way of peace they know not, and there is no justice in their paths; they have made their roads crooked, no one who goes in them knows peace. 9 Therefore justice is far from us, and righteousness does not overtake us; we look for light, and behold, darkness, and for brightness, but we walk in gloom. 10 We grope for the wall like the blind, we grope like those who have no eyes; we stumble at noon as in the twilight, among those in full vigour we are like dead men. 11 We all growl like bears, we moan and moan like doves; we look for justice, but there is none; for salvation, but it is far from us. 12 For our transgressions are multiplied before thee, and our sins testify against us; for our transgressions are with us, and we know our iniquities: 13 transgressing, and denying the LORD, and turning away from following our God, speaking oppression and revolt, conceiving and uttering from the heart lying words. 14 Justice is turned back, and righteousness stands afar off; for truth has fallen in the public squares, and uprightness cannot enter. 15 Truth is lacking, and he who departs from evil makes himself a prey. The LORD saw it, and it displeased him that there was no justice. 16 He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no one to intervene; then his own arm brought him victory, and his righteousness upheld him. 17 He put on righteousness as a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation upon his head; he put on garments of vengeance for clothing, and wrapped himself in fury as a mantle. 18 According to their deeds, so will he repay, wrath to his adversaries, requital to his enemies; to the coastlands he will render requital. 19 So they shall fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun; for he will come like a rushing stream, which the wind of the LORD drives. 20 "And he will come to Zion as Redeemer, to those in Jacob who turn from transgression, says the LORD. 21 "And as for me, this is my covenant with them, says the LORD: my spirit which is upon you, and my words which I have put in your mouth, shall not depart out of your mouth, or out of the mouth of your children, or out of the mouth of your children's children, says the LORD, from this time forth and for evermore."
The redemption is thus of Messiah in the Last Days, and that redemption will be in power under direction from God. The process will be worldwide and complete. All nations will then turn to Israel for illumination and guidance. The restoration following on from this redemption is continuous.
Isaiah 60:1-11 Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you. 2 For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the LORD will arise upon you, and his glory will be seen upon you. 3 And nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising. 4 Lift up your eyes round about, and see; they all gather together, they come to you; your sons shall come from far, and your daughters shall be carried in the arms. 5 Then you shall see and be radiant, your heart shall thrill and rejoice; because the abundance of the sea shall be turned to you, the wealth of the nations shall come to you. 6 A multitude of camels shall cover you, the young camels of Mid'ian and Ephah; all those from Sheba shall come. They shall bring gold and frankincense, and shall proclaim the praise of the LORD. 7 All the flocks of Kedar shall be gathered to you, the rams of Nebai'oth shall minister to you; they shall come up with acceptance on my altar, and I will glorify my glorious house. 8 Who are these that fly like a cloud, and like doves to their windows? 9 For the coastlands shall wait for me, the ships of Tarshish first, to bring your sons from far, their silver and gold with them, for the name of the LORD your God, and for the Holy One of Israel, because he has glorified you. 10 Foreigners shall build up your walls, and their kings shall minister to you; for in my wrath I smote you, but in my favour I have had mercy on you. 11 Your gates shall be open continually; day and night they shall not be shut; that men may bring to you the wealth of the nations, with their kings led in procession.
The restoration is achieved through the nations that then willingly work for the establishment of Israel as a Holy Nation. The reason is clear. Anti-semitism towards Zion as the city of Judah and Israel is anti-God.
Isaiah 60-12-22 For the nation and kingdom that will not serve you shall perish; those nations shall be utterly laid waste. 13 The glory of Lebanon shall come to you, the cypress, the plane, and the pine, to beautify the place of my sanctuary; and I will make the place of my feet glorious. 14 The sons of those who oppressed you shall come bending low to you; and all who despised you shall bow down at your feet; they shall call you the City of the LORD, the Zion of the Holy One of Israel. 15 Whereas you have been forsaken and hated, with no one passing through, I will make you majestic for ever, a joy from age to age. 16 You shall suck the milk of nations, you shall suck the breast of kings; and you shall know that I, the LORD, am your Saviour and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob. 17 Instead of bronze I will bring gold, and instead of iron I will bring silver; instead of wood, bronze, instead of stones, iron. I will make your overseers peace and your taskmasters righteousness. 18 Violence shall no more be heard in your land, devastation or destruction within your borders; you shall call your walls Salvation, and your gates Praise. 19 The sun shall be no more your light by day, nor for brightness shall the moon give light to you by night; but the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory. 20 Your sun shall no more go down, nor your moon withdraw itself; for the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your days of mourning shall be ended. 21 Your people shall all be righteous; they shall possess the land for ever, the shoot of my planting, the work of my hands, that I might be glorified. 22 The least one shall become a clan, and the smallest one a mighty nation; I am the LORD; in its time I will hasten it. (RSV)
We are dealing with a progression in these texts. Firstly, there is the concept of oppression and the use of the Faith to further oppression and, secondly, the appeal to the Lord in self-righteousness, using fasting as a weapon. The inevitable result of self-righteousness is oppression, and the Lord deals with that in this Scripture on fasting. The destruction of the people and the Advent and restoration are seen in the three chapters mentioned above. We fast to reconcile ourselves to God and to bring the system under Messiah to us more rapidly. Be diligent and fast in love and hope.