25. The Day of Atonement
Aaron KNEW that God had accepted the atonement, that sin was gone, that Israel was free. Aaron knew the acceptance of God BEFORE he turned around to go back out to the people. Aaron turned around because it was finished.
25. The Day of Atonement
What is the single most important action on the Day of Atonement?
The Day of Atonement is the most specified feast of the seven. It contains many of the same things as the others, such as being a Sabbath of no work and the offering of sacrifices. Alone among the feasts, however, the Day of Atonement has an entire chapter devoted to it, Leviticus 16.
Rather than list the specifics, I want to picture for us the various parts of this day in order to give the single most important action on the Day of Atonement its full context. That context includes the purpose of the Day, the role of the High Priest and his garments, the movement of the High Priest through the tabernacle, and the incredible picture to us of the scapegoat.
We must understand that the coming Feast of Tabernacles is a given, flowing freely out from the Atonement. The real issue of all things is this Day being fulfilled right now in the experience of the Church of Jesus Christ upon this earth. If you want to know what God is doing in your life, know this:
You and I are the fulfillment of the Day of Atonement in just the same way that those gathered in the upper room on the Day of Pentecost were the fulfillment of Pentecost, and the Lamb upon the cross was the fulfillment of Passover.
We think in terms of the story I shared of Charles Parham in Topeka, Kansas, 1901. Before that moment with that group of people, the elements of the Baptism of the Spirit had been known by many all through the centuries. Speaking in tongues was experienced by some in early Methodism and even in monasteries in the Middle Ages. The difference with the Topeka, Kansas group was that now the experience of Pentecost had re-entered the Church as something that multitudes could and did enter into. It was now an integral part of Christianity regardless of any misuse or lack of understanding.
In the same way, our experience of the completion of the Atonement in our lives does not make us “elite”; rather, it just means that the fullness of the Atonement is available to all and many across the earth can enter into that same completion of the Atonement. By that means the door of Tabernacles is flung wide open.
We know what the Atonement is and means; what we have not known is how it is completed in our lives or what we become as a result of living and walking in its completion.
What did Charles Parham do to open the door for the many to know the Baptism in the Holy Spirit as a normal part of the Christian experience?
He asked – and having asked, he believed that he had received.
Let it be to me according to Your word.
In complete contrast, here is an expression of the HOW that is considered to be the only way into the completion of the Atonement by everyone I have ever known or heard or read who has considered such a reality for humans on this earth.
– “Moving into the ministry of a living word does not come overnight in our lives. It is the sum total of all God’s dealings in us. We move from level to level in prophetic utterance as we grow in maturity. As the cross has its way in our lives, crucifying the Adamic flesh nature, the expression of Christ in us takes progressively higher forms.” –
“The cross has its way” means you getting that cross to do what it seems so reluctant to do.
The HOW expressed in this passage is not God's “how,” and the WHAT that comes out is the image of a super-Christ “nature,” not the image of a man on his knees to serve, that is, God Himself in Person. There is much truth in these words, but inside the truth is the lie, “crucifying the Adamic flesh nature.” That statement is gross unbelief, the unbelief that prevents most of our brethren from entering into the Holiest, the unbelief that rejects the clear words of Jesus upon which the primary action of the Day of Atonement takes place.
“It is finished.”
Let's compare the Old and New Testament versions of the purpose of the Day.
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 dwells among you. For on that day the priest 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. Leviticus 16:29-31
. . . the priests always went into the first part of the tabernacle, performing the services. But into the second part the high priest went alone once a year, not without blood, which he offered for himself and for the people’s sins committed in ignorance; the Holy Spirit indicating this, that the way into the Holiest of All was not yet made manifest while the first tabernacle was still standing. It was symbolic for the present time in which both gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot make him who performed the service perfect in regard to the conscience— Hebrews 9:6-9
The ongoing sacrifices throughout the year dealt with specific acts of sins committed by both individual people and by the nation of Israel as a whole. The sacrifice on the Day of Atonement dealt with the nature of sinfulness, not the particular acts of sin.
Sinfulness is living in ignorance of all of God in Person filling us full with Himself now in a symbiotic relationship of union, communion, and mutual expression. Those who want to hold “the fullness of God” off to a future time after they have accomplished something or other (they never really know what) prefer to live in sinfulness regardless of their outer actions.
Only by living in the knowledge of the presence of God all through one's self, Person inside of person, does sinfulness not exist. Since God is invisible, that knowledge must be by faith alone and not by outward appearance. Yes, outward appearance will change, but that new outward appearance cannot be God Himself for God is forever invisible. Rather, the new outward appearance will be our appearance, that is, us revealing God.
Three evil things break that knowledge of God. The first is acts of sin, the second is sinfulness, or the consciousness of sins, and the third is the consciousness of other people's sins. All three of these evil things are eliminated by particular elements inside the Day of the Atonement.
The acts of sins are all actions coming out from sinfulness, that is, the absence of the knowledge of God in full union with us. Thus the performance of the law is, itself, sinfulness, because it is a rejection of Christ; the performance of the commandments of the law exists only in the consciousness of sins and increases that consciousness to a fevered pitch. The more one performs the commands, the more one is driven to be self-righteous and thus empty of God.
Let's put the actions of the High Priest on the Day of Atonement into a numbered list so that we can see the order of those actions.
1. Aaron, dressed in his regular High Priestly garments, offers as sacrifice a bull and a ram.
2. Aaron takes a small portion of the blood of those two animals into the Holy Place; the Scripture does not say what he does with the blood.
3. Once in the Holy Place Aaron removes his regular garments and washes his body with water.
4. Then, having cleansed himself with blood and water, Aaron puts upon himself the garments for that day alone – linen tunic, linen trousers, linen sash, linen turban. Only now can the actual events of the Atonement begin.
5. Next Aaron goes back out to the people, all the way outside of the outer court. There he obtains a bull, two goats, and a ram and brings those animals back into the outer court.
6. Aaron offers the bull as a sin offering for himself and for his family. This sacrifice takes place on the altar of burnt offering in the outer court.
7. Aaron then takes the blood from that bull, probably in a small bowl, into the Holy Place. He also carries with him a censor, that is a stone tray on a handle into which coals of fire are placed.
8. Aaron scoops coals of fire from the altar of incense into his censor.
9. Next, Aaron stoops down to take hold of the bottom of the veil. He lifts up the veil, putting the censor into the Holiest first, thus filling the Holiest with the smoke of the incense.
10. Aaron then leans down, steps under the veil, and drops it back into place. He turns to face the Ark of the Covenant with the Mercy Seat upon it. He has two things in his hands, the bowl of blood from the bull, and the censor of incense coals. There is almost total darkness, now, in the Holiest. The only light comes from the dull glow of the incense coals, giving Aaron the faintest outline of the Mercy Seat before him.
11. Aaron dips his finger into the blood of the bull and sprinkles that blood seven times upon the Mercy Seat and before the Mercy Seat.
12. Then Aaron does the most wonderful thing in the human experience; he turns around. Remember that this first blood is for himself. Aaron will be coming back into the Holiest again in an hour or so. Aaron turns around and walks back out of the tent.
13. Back out in the outer court, Aaron takes the two goats he had received from the people and brings them before the door of the Holy Place. That means he and the goats are in-between the laver of washing and the cloth draped over the opening into the Holy Place.
14. Aaron casts lots over the two goats in order to choose one to die and one to live.
15. Next, Aaron takes the goat chosen for sacrifice to the altar of burnt offering and offers it there as a sacrifice. This second offering is for all the people of Israel.
16. Aaron takes the blood from that goat into the Holy Place in a bowl, just like the blood of the bull, and obtains more coals of fire from the altar of incense for his censor.
17. Aaron then stoops down again, picks up the bottom of the veil, thrusts the censor into the Holiest, stoops down himself and passes into the Holiest, dropping the veil behind him.
18. There, in the dim glow of light, the outline of the Mercy Seat is once again before Aaron. He dips his fingers into the bowl of goat's blood and sprinkles that blood seven times upon and before the Mercy Seat.
19. Then Aaron does the most incredible thing in the experience of the entire universe; he turns around.
20. Having turned around, Aaron goes back out into the outer court. There he takes more of the blood from both the offered bull and the offered goat and sprinkles that blood on the altar of burnt offering seven times.
21. What Aaron does next, however, though not as momentous as the action of turning around in the Holiest of All, is to us the most incredible and the most precious. Aaron takes the living goat, there in the outer court, places his hands upon the head of that living goat, and speaks into the goat all the iniquities of the people.
22. Next, a suitable man takes that goat out into the wilderness, outside the gates of the Tabernacle, to an uninhabited land. There the living goat bears in its own being all the sins of Israel; yet it lives, carrying those sins as a living sacrifice. For the next year, all the people of Israel will think in their hearts: “There is a living goat, out there somewhere, carrying all of my sins.”
23. Aaron then returns into the Holy Place, takes off his linen garments, and washes his body again with pure water.
24. Back out in the outer court, Aaron takes the fat from both the offered bull and the offered goat and burns it upon the altar of burnt offering, making atonement first for himself and second for all the people.
25. Then, the remaining part of both bull and goat, the skin, the flesh, and the guts, are carried outside the perimeter of the camp of Israel. There a fire is built and the remainder of the carcasses are burned there outside the camp.
26. Finally, the man who took the living goat into the wilderness, after he returns, also removes his clothes and washes his body with pure water. This action completes the atonement for the sins of the people.
Oh brethren, let the testimony of God stand in your heart. There were two goats that bore the sin of Israel, two not one.
Just as surely as Jesus died for you, so surely does He live for you. Just as He bore your sins in His dead body upon the cross, so does this same Jesus, now alive, but living as you, bear all of your present sins, carrying them entirely inside Himself, carrying you all the way out of death into life.
What about sin? – What about Jesus!!!
For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. 2 Corinthians 5:21
For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. Romans 5:10
It's not enough that Jesus died for you to purchase from you all of your sin. That is only the first part of the picture, reconciliation. Salvation, however, is known only as we allow Jesus to live as us. We are saved, not by His death, but by His life.
To be saved is to be filled with God. Until we know that we are filled right now with all the fullness of God in Person, we are not yet saved – reconciled, yes, but not yet saved.
I know that I am filled right now with the Person of God all through every particle of my being – spirit, soul, and body. I know that God fills my flesh, that is, His flesh. I know that I live in total and perfect union with this Person, God, who fills me full. I know that I enjoy perfect communion with this Person, God, every time my thoughts tend His way, regardless of what I feel at that moment. I know that all the ways of my life, all the doings of my being, are God and me flowing in the full expression of the two of us together. I know that all of my outward appearance is the image of God. I live without consciousness of sin.
You want proof of this claim? Here is the proof, the only proof anyone will ever have.
– My faith in what God says.
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.Hebrews 11:1
God is invisible. My faith that God fills me full and flows out from me by all the ways of my life as a present human, as the image and likeness of God, is the evidence and proof of God. My faith is the only evidence there will ever be of an invisible God. (When I say “my,” I am putting that word in your mouth as you. Speak Christ.)
Certainly, God and I together, Christ Jesus living as me, will do wonders. But those wonders are neither me nor God. Those wonders are simply the visible impacts of the expressions of our Holy Spirit flowing out from us, as those expressions bless and heal and give life to all inside the outward appearances of the creation.
Now, let's go back through the actions of the High Priest on the Day of Atonement and relate them to their final fulfillment in our lives right now today, for the first time in the history of the Church.
Before we do that, however, remember how the book of Hebrews makes use of the symbols God gave to Israel. This is like that, this is the opposite of that. The actions of the High Priest reveal to us the actions of our High Priest, and they reveal to us our own place and actions as the Day of Atonement is fullfilled in our lives. However, our High Priest is after the order of Melchizedek, not the order of Aaron. And the Covenant by which God binds Himself to us and we to Him is an everlasting Covenant, not the temporal covenant of the old, which God did not like and which God cast aside.
Because our priestly order is the order of Melchizedek and because we ourselves are priests in that order, the elements of our atonement operate not only at a far higher level, a level that includes complete perfection, but also in realities that could not be known by any Old Testament ritual. Yet because we live always in the Spirit, those same rituals speak volumes to us, volumes unheard by those who cannot hear Christ.
But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified. Hebrews 10:12-14
Just as Aaron prepared himself by removing his regular garments, washing his body with pure water, and putting on himself garments of linen representing righteousness, so Jesus prepared Himself through His ministry for the walk of the Atonement. This picture is our picture as well. Notice the washing with pure water in the sixth most important verse in the Bible.
Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Hebrews 10:19-22
Put on the Lord Jesus Christ.
Next, Aaron offers the bull as an offering for himself before he offers the goat as an offering for the people. Both times he takes the blood into the Holiest to sprinkle upon the Mercy Seat. Both times he turns around inside the Holy of Holies, there, before that same Mercy Seat.
I want to look further at the two goats before coming back to the significance of the two separate offerings and the incredible reality of that action of the High Priest, performed twice, that changes the universe.
One goat died and one goat lived. Both the dead goat and the living goat bore the sins of the people.
The dead goat represents Jesus dead upon the cross, carrying our sins in His body into an empty grave where no body is found. But after that first goat had been sacrificed and its blood sprinkled upon the Mercy Seat in the Holy of Holies, then the exchange between the High Priest and the living goat occurred.
Aaron, the High Priest represents Jesus, our High Priest after the order of Melchizedek. We are speaking of the resurrected, living Jesus, seated at the right hand of the Father, that is, in our hearts. The High Priest represents Jesus alive today and filling us with His glory; the living goat represents Jesus alive today living as us, having been planted in our earth.
How can I say that I have no consciousness of sins? A sociopath has no consciousness of sins. One who hardens his heart against God has no consciousness of sins because he refuses to acknowledge that anything he does could be “wrong.”
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. My little children, these things I write to you, so 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. 1 John 1:8-2:2
Here is my relationship with sin.
Jesus, my High Priest, seated upon my heart, filling me with His glory, continually, every moment, not by unending acts of sacrifice, but by one eternal act, takes all of my sin placing it into Jesus dead upon the cross that my every sin might vanish into the empty grave, into the forgetfulness of God. Then this same Jesus as High Priest, speaks me into Himself as the living sacrifice, that He might live as me, bearing my present state of living in ignorance of God filling me full, that He might live me into the full knowledge of God in Person living in a symbiotic relationship with me.
One sacrifice for sins forever.
Here is how I live in no consciousness of sin – Blood!
Because Blood fills my consciousness, sin cannot. Therefore, at no time do I impute to myself the existence of any sin or sinfulness regardless of what I feel like or the mistakes that I make.
This reality does not create for me a “license to sin” for a very simple reason. God is real.
I put on the Lord Jesus Christ. That includes, as one glory among many, that I put upon myself the intention of righteousness.
Christ Jesus, having been planted into this earth as His Church on the Day of Pentecost, now living as us in all we find ourselves to be in this world is at the core of the gospel from Passover to Tabernacles. The gospel has never been anything else.
The regular garments of the High Priest had a series of little bells attached to the bottom of his robe. These bells tinkled every time he moved as he performed his priestly duties. The purpose of the bells was so that all around, including those outside the tent, could hear them and know that all was well, that God was pleased with the performance of the sacrifices and the duties of the entire priesthood.
The problem for the Day of Atonement was that the High Priest removed that robe and donned a simple linen robe without bells for his actions that day. Thus when the High Priest entered the Holy of Holies, no one could hear whether he was still alive or not.
You see, Moses gave to Aaron the instructions for the Day of Atonement the very afternoon that Aaron's two sons, Nadab and Abihu, had died before God because they had offered to Him the wrong fire.
The great concern of Israel on the Day of Atonement was this. Will God accept the atonement for Aaron, our High Priest? Will God then accept the atonement for us?
Is the atonement complete? Will we be okay for another year?
I heard someone share once that the Levites adopted a custom which they added to God's arrangements for the Day of Atonement. Before the High Priest took the blood of the bull and then of the goat into the Holiest, they tied a small rope to his ankle. That way, if they waited awhile and the High Priest did not come back out, they could pull his dead body out of the Holiest and not be zapped themselves by the close contact of a sinless God and their un-atoned sin.
The people, looking on from afar, knew that if the High Priest came back out from the Holiest, their sacrifice had been accepted by God for another year. Their sins were gone, and they were clean.
This was not salvation, of course, for the Holy of Holies, the Presence of God in Person, was not inside of them. That's why a dead Jesus 2000 years ago cannot be our Salvation. That Jesus is our redemption, yes, and by that Blood the living Jesus buys from us all of our sins. But the removal of sins is not Salvation.
Salvation is God in Person in us.
But let's put ourselves into Aaron's mind, not the people's. We have the right to do that, for we were certainly in the mind of our High Priest as He walked the path of the Atonement.
Aaron is standing there in the dim glow of the coals inside that darkened Holy of Holies. Before him is the Mercy Seat with the winged cherubim looking right at him. He knew that he was toast if he did anything wrong or offered the wrong sacrifice or in any way failed in the atonement. Once he had sprinkled the blood seven times, he continued standing there for a few moments, facing the Mercy Seat.
Aaron KNEW that God had accepted the atonement, that sin was gone, that Israel was free.
Aaron knew the acceptance of God BEFORE he turned around to go back out to the people. Aaron turned around because it was finished. He did that twice. The first time he turned around he did so because he knew that he was clean and pure and holy before God. The second time he turned around he did so because he knew that all Israel was clean and pure and holy before God.
He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.
Twice Aaron turned around. Twice Jesus turned around. Twice we turn around.
There is a difference, however. Aaron's two times of turning around, first for himself and then for all the people in Israel is the same as our two times of turning around. But Jesus' two times of turning around were slightly different for the simple reason that He had no sins of His own to atone for. Thus Jesus turned around once for us and once for the entire creation.
He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.
That word “world” is cosmos, that is, the entire creation, both heaven and earth.
The first time Jesus “turned around” was as He rose to His feet in Gethsemane, having drunk His Father's cup, having drunk into Himself all of our dregs, our stupidity, our failure, our sin. “I will drink Your cup.” As Jesus rose to His feet, He was turning around; the Sorrow that had filled His soul became Joy, you and me, alive inside of Him.
This action of Jesus, rising to His feet, turning from Sorrow to Joy, is the most meaningful moment to us in the history of the universe. Everything that followed was simply the necessary outflow of that one precious, precious action. Here is the faith of the Son of God; it was not for another nine hours before Jesus said, “It is finished,” concerning the completion of the Atonement. Yet it was in Gethsemane that He turned around for us in full expectation that His atonement was already accepted by God.
But Jesus turned around a second time, clearly for the entire creation.
But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool.
Just before Jesus sat down, however, He had sprinkled His blood upon the Mercy Seat, upon the very Heart of God.
But Christ came as High Priest . . . Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption . . . how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? Hebrews 9:11-14
Jesus could not sit down upon the throne of heaven without first turning around. Turning around is the fullest measure of the faith of the Son of God. That faith is based entirely on substance and not on appearance.
The King James words it in this way: From henceforth expecting – .
Jesus EXPECTS all things to come into submission to Himself. Jesus turned around.
Now we come to us and to the completion of the Atonement in the experience of the Church.
We turn around twice, first for ourselves, and second for every other person in the Body of Christ. Our second turning around is the very action that flings the doors wide open for the fulfillment of Tabernacles itself in the life of the Church upon this planet.
We cannot turn around towards all other believers in Christ until we have first turned around fully for ourselves, turned around without one thought of ever turning back.
What would Aaron have been doing if he had turned back “to God”? He would have been declaring to all that he was not certain of the atonement, that maybe, just maybe, something more was needed.
Look at these words again: “crucifying the Adamic flesh nature.” They are the words of someone who will not turn around, but insists on hovering there, going up to the Mercy Seat, trying again, over and over, to approach God, to make it somehow, to be, by some human means, that which is pleasing to God.
There is one thing only more sinful than sin, and that is a Christian attempting to deal, in any way, with sin.
What does it mean to turn around? It means to walk, not just with no consciousness of sins, for no consciousness of sins is, by itself, entirely sinful.
It means to walk in all ways at all times in the certain knowledge that God, this God who has bound Himself as an equal with me in an absolute and eternal bond of Covenant, that this God fills me full with all of Himself in Person in every conceivable way. It means to walk in all ways and at all times in the certain knowledge that there is absolutely nothing shadowing or hindering the total fusion of God with me and me with God.
It is to walk knowing that I am the expression of God in all of my ways and doings, even though my mind, programmed so long by an angelic definition of God, imagines foolishly that I do not look like God.
Here is the surrender.
All that I am, all that I experience, all that comes my way, all that goes out from me, is God and me together, God living in perfect union with me and I with Him, God revealing Himself exactly as He wishes through all the circumstances of my life. Accepting that reality is the greatest surrender I have ever known.
If I live and walk in this way, however, every moment of my life, just as David did, just as Jesus did, that way of living is not what will fling the doors wide open for the fulfillment of Tabernacles.
I must turn around a second time.
I must turn around towards all other believers in Jesus.
You see, now that I have turned around, I think like Jesus thinks right now. That means that I share the unbridled passion of His Heart planted now in mine. That means that the most important thing to me is His bride now upon this earth facing her hour of greatest need. It doesn't matter if I don't “feel” such a passion; if this Jesus lives in my heart then my heart can be filled with no other reality, in substance, though not necessarily in appearance.
It means that everything I am, everything I go through, every circumstance of my life is for her sake. None of it has any need to be for my sake, for I am already complete in Christ.
But it means something far more. It means that I impute righteousness to every other Christian on this planet. You see, now I think only by the mind of Christ.
David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works. Romans 4:6
To turn around for you means that I consider that all of your actions, all of your intentions, all of your words are right and true, coming out from Christ living as you, both those words and actions directed towards me as well as those words and actions directed towards others.
I impute rightness to you; I see Christ alone when I see you, in every connection you make with me.
I do not see sin, I do not see wrongful intent, I do not think, “You are wrong.”
I think, in all things, “You are right.”
Understand, this imputation of rightness does not place us under bondage to foolishness; it does not mean that we accept bullying or falseness attempting to manipulate us. It simply means that we KNOW that Christ lives as all, regardless of their foolishness, and carries each one all the way out of death and into life.
As a general idea, imputing rightness to you is not difficult. Rather, the full reality of God's redemption through me is found in my imputing rightness to all believers in Jesus with whom I come into direct contact, especially when they appear to me to be doing me great wrong. Especially when they do not “measure up” to my expectations. It means that I have no “expectations” of you. It means that I live ignorant of both Adam and Eve.
I can do this only as I know first that God and I walk together, Person inside of person in a Covenant of complete union.
I can do this only as I know that God and I are one.
Knowing that God and I are one is the thinking of Jesus, the mind of Christ.
Let this same mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.
But before we explore how we think exactly like Jesus thinks, I have discovered one more thing, one more assurance, one more bold and graphic statement of God by which He swears to us by word and by oath that our redemption is finished and now we ARE only one with Him.
The obedience of God.