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THE EIGHT RUDIMENTS OF CELEBRATION

THE EIGHT FEASTS OR FESTIVALS OF ISRAEL

The Day Of Atonement

Leviticus 23:26-32

(festiv7.doc)

166:  The Priceless Gift

        In a Gospel tract, A. J. Pollock referred to the will of the famous financier J. Pierpont Morgan.  He said it contained about 10,000 words and incorporated 37 different articles, all of which were necessary because a vast fortune had to be properly disbursed.  What Morgan valued most, however, was indicated by the opening statement of that legal document.  It read: "I commit my soul to the hands of my Savior, full of confidence that, having redeemed it and washed it with His most precious blood, He will present it faultless before the throne of my Heavenly Father.  I entreat my children to defend, at all hazard...the blessed doctrine of complete atonement for sin through the blood of Jesus Christ once offered, and through that alone."

       We come now to the festival of the Day of Atonement.

        I am preaching a nine message series on the rudiments, skills, or principles of celebration.

  God has been showing me that humanity needs celebration.

  He has been showing me that celebration is a very important part of the Christian life!

  He has been showing me that celebration is of special significance and importance to African-American Christians.

        Life is a struggle for everybody, no matter what your color or nationality, but for African-American people life is even more of a struggle because of the residual effects of slavery.  Therefore, it is important that we take a time out from the futility of the world and plug into the meaning of life, the dignity of life, and the vibrancy of life that is provided through a worship celebration.  The importance of celebration is illustrated in the Old Testament in Leviticus the 23rd chapter.

        My purpose in looking at celebration from various cultural perspectives is not to embarrass or alienate anyone, but to educate both Blacks and Whites about the similarities and differences between us.  We are an integrated church that is becoming more integrated.  Our church is becoming a microcosm of heaven, and I love it.  But we must learn to acknowledge, accept, and appreciate our similarities and our differences.

        Seven messages ago, we began to deal with the eight feasts or festivals which God commanded Israel to celebrate.  These festivals were holy convocations, conventions, or celebrations which God invoked upon His people.  There is a major rudiment or skill which is taught in each festival, which will yield a principle that we can learn and apply to our own modern worship celebrations.

        In the first two messages, we covered the feast or festival of the Sabbath.  The major rudiment, skill, or principle of celebration that we covered was resting from our worldly labors.

        In the third message, we studied the festival of the Passover.  The major rudiment of celebration that we covered was remembering God’s redemption.

        In the fourth message, we studied the feast or festival of unleavened bread.  The major rudiment of celebration that we covered was removing all sin, worldliness, and filthiness of the flesh from our lives.

        In the fifth message, we studied the Feast of First Fruits.  The major rudiment of celebration that we covered was rendering sacrifice to thank God for His blessings.

        In the sixth message, we studied the feast or festival of Pentecost.  The major rudiment of celebration that we covered was rejoicing over the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and the harvest of the Church.

        In the last message, we covered the Feast of Trumpets.  The major rudiment, skill, or practice of celebration that we covered was regathering.  When we gather for worship celebration on the Lord’s Day, we should look forward to the gathering of The Rapture.

(The next major feast in Leviticus 23 is found in Leviticus 23:26-32.  Would you turn there with me please.  Would you follow along, as I read aloud for us?  The next major rudiment of celebration is:)

VII.   REPENTING.

The next festival that is covered in Leviticus 23 is The Day of Atonement.  "The elaborate ritual for the Day of Atonement as observed in the Tabernacle and the Temple is described in Leviticus 16."[1]  The ritual is so elaborate that we can in no way cover it in one Sunday message, but let’s review a few of its highlights.

        "This was the most important of all the feasts, and the most solemn day of the year; a day when, by special sacrifice, a whole year's sins were covered.”[2]

        “It could be said that the Passover was the manward aspect of the Cross, and the atonement was the Godward aspect of the Cross."[3] God passed over, hovered over, or protected Israel from the destroyer, because of the blood of the lamb which pointed forward to the true Lamb of God¾slain before the foundation of the world.  But the atonement, at-one-ment, covering, or forgiveness of the Israelites sins was dependent upon the literal sacrifice of the true Lamb of God.  The Israelites were spared, because Jesus was to be crucified!!!


        “The word Yom Kippur itself, meaning the Day of Atonement, comes from a Hebrew word Kapper, `to cover'.  According to this meaning, God covers the sin of His people by the blood of the sacrifice.  Thus seeing only the penalty paid and the people covered with the blood, they appears sinless before God.”[4] This was acceptance before God on the basis of Him covering the sins of His people.

        "This was the day of at-one-ment.  The claims of God that man could not meet, and the needs of man that could not be satisfied, were both settled on this day, creating a oneness.”[5]

        “However this still remained a temporary provision.  It was an atonement, it was a temporary covering for sin, it was incapable of removing sin.  For this reason it must always be borne in mind that the insufficiency of the atonement brought the Lord into the world.  If atonement had been sufficient, Christ need not have died.  Atonement only covered sin.  Redemption, through the blood of Jesus Christ, removes sin and leaves man justified."[6]

        “This expresses perfectly the idea of substitutionary death and propitiation.  It points to the heart of the Gospel:  `Christ died for our sins' -- 1 Corinthians 15:3).

        Another interpretation of the root of the word Kapper is `Kofer', which means a ransom.  The ransom in this case is the blood of Jesus Christ."[7]

        Not only have we been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, but we have been ransomed!!!  He took our place upon the cross of calvary!

(I would love for you to fully understand the tremendous benefits of Christ’s atonement on our behalf, but we only have time to dip our toe into the ocean of the typical meaning of the ritual of this solemn day.)

        From Leviticus 16 and 23, we see two major aspects of the redemption of man;  the affliction of souls and the restriction on work.

        The affliction of soul is to be compared with the contrite heart.  All that God requires of the sinner, is to know himself to be a sinner.

Psalm 34:18 (KJV), "The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart, and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit."


        What Moses and David are talking about is brokenessOne of the major activities of this day was repentance and the brokeness that goes along with repentance!!!

There are three kinds of repentance:

       “First, there can be repentance that either has no relation to eternal salvation, or at least does not result in salvation."[8]  A person may be caught shoplifting and exhibit a genuine change of mind.  He is repentant, not about his crime but about the faulty method which got him caught.  This kind of repentance may not be superficial, but it does not lead to eternal salvation.

        "Second, there is a repentance that is unto eternal salvation.  The only kind of repentance that saves is a change of mind about Jesus Christ.  People can weep; people can resolve to turn from their past sins; but those things in themselves cannot save.  The sense of sin and sorrow because of sin may stir up a person's mind...so that he or she realizes the need for a Savior, but if there is no change of mind about Jesus Christ there will be no salvation."[9]

        Repent is a synonym for the word believe.

        "A third category of uses of the word repent concerns repentance within the experience of Christian living.  Christians need to repent.  A particularly instructive passage of Scripture is 2 Corinthians 7:9-11.  Repent in this instance means that the church should change its mind about its wrong attitude towards a brother who should have been restored to the church.

        In the letters to the seven churches of Asia Minor, in the book of the Revelation, there is a cluster of exhortations to repent.  So, clearly individual Christians and local churches need to repent about any number of sins."[10]

        This is one of the missing ingredients of the modern Church and it comes about through brokeness!!!  Brokenness that is illustrated in

·        The veil in the temple torn from top to bottom.

·        The Potter And the Clay

·        Alabaster Vial

·        Jesus on the cross.

·        Paul’s Thorn In The Flesh

·        The lampstand being beaten out of one lump of gold.

·        The oil for the lampstand being made out of crushed olives.

·        The fine flour of the meal offering.

·        The perfume for sacrificial offering.

·        The Curse (Genesis 3:8-24) (The Cross).

·        The Flood (The Cross) (Genesis 6:14-7:24).

·        The breaking of the five loaves.

Oh that God would break us in the modern church!

·        That He would break us from our self-centeredness!

·        That He would break us from our self-consciousness!

·        That He would break us from our self-directedness!

·        That He would break us from our self-righteousness!

        We can say then, that one of the major activities of this day was repenting, i.e. to recognize one’s humility or brokeness and change one’s mind away from one’s sin and in faith toward’s one’s Savior!!!

       This can be further seen in the terminology that is used here and in other places of the Bible.  The Day of Atonement was a day to humble their souls (Leviticus 16:29).  This meant a day of sorrow, repentance, confession of sin, a period of brokeness and contriteness of spirit.  They celebrated their cleansing from sin predominantly by repenting!

        "Between New Year's Day and Yom Kippur (The Day of Atonement) are ten days which are called `THE TEN DAYS OF REPENTANCE", or "THE AWESOME DAYS".  Every Jew during this period searches his heart and seeks to be reconciled with God and his neighbor."[11]

(There is also the ritual of the two goats.)

        "At this solemn ceremony, described in the 16th chapter of Leviticus, two goats were presented by the high priest as a sin offering for all the people.  Lots were cast, and one was dedicated to Jehovah, the other to Azazel.  The Authorized Version renders this latter word `scapegoat,' while the Revised Version retains the Hebrew original, but the true meaning and significance of this mysterious word never has been discovered.  As the ritual proceeded, the `Jehovah' goat was sacrificed for the sin offering, after which, in the words of the Bible, `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:  and the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited:  and he shall let the goat go in the wilderness."[12]


        Jesus represented both the “Jehovah Goat,” which was the sin offering and the “Scape Goat,” which was to make atonement for the people.  The “Jehovah Goat” fulfilled its name by satisfying Jehovah by its death.  But it is the “Scape Goat” which we want to look at briefly, because it was used in making atonement for the people.

·        1st, Aaron laid both of his hands upon the head of the live goat.

·        2nd, Aaron confessed all the iniquities and sins of the children of Israel over that goat, putting them upon the head of the goat.

·        3rd, that goat was to be taken to a wilderness.

·        4th, that goat was to be released and never seen again.

        When Aaron laid his hands on the head of the “scapegoat,” “This was an act of identification and imputation.”[13] From a human perspective Aaron identified all the people with this goat.  Aaron identified all the sins of the people of Israel with or upon this “scapegoat.”  From the divine perspective, God imputed the innocence of the “scapegoat” to the children of Israel.  There was divine substitution that took place here.  The children of Israel, who knew no innocence, were accorded the innocence of the goat, while the goat, which knew no sin, was accorded the sins of the people.  That goat was taken far from the camp and released in the wilderness never to be seen again.

        The terminology is quite striking and yet very clear to those who have the light of the Holy Spirit shining in their innermost beings:  Jesus Christ is our “Scapegoat.”  We, who knew no righteousness, became righteous and He, who knew no sin, became sin for us, on our behalf.

        He then bore our sins away from us and we shall never see them again!!!

Hebrews 9:11-14, “And not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.  For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled, sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”

The joy felt by those Jews once a year is the Christian's privilege every day because Christ bore our sins in His own body on the cross.


240: "The Lamb of God"

        In a small Oriental town several men were working on a scaffold high above the street.  Suddenly one of them lost his footing and fell to the pavement below.  Horrified, his companions quickly descended, expecting to find his body broken and mangled.  To their surprise they discovered that their friend was unhurt!  At the exact moment of his fall some sheep were passing through the street beneath him, and he had landed on the back of one of the animals.  There it lay, crushed and dead, but the man was saved.  As he gazed upon that lifeless creature, he was heard to say, "It died for me!"

(We have already stated that one aspect of the redemption of man represented herein is the humbling or affliction of the souls, the second is the restriction on work.)

        “And you shall do no work.”  We know that their restriction on work tells us that man could do nothing to attain or speed up his salvation. Salvation is totally apart from man's work!!!  Salvation is totally accomplished by God alone.  It says in

Titus 3:5, "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost."

        "God had nothing to do with the making of man's first covering (aprons of fig leaves); man had nothing to do with the making of the second covering (which was skins of animals probably who were sacrificed on man’s behalf)."[14]

        We must learn to include repenting in our celebration. We must learn to think and to say, “Thank you Jesus for cleansing me of my sins and I celebrate that cleansing by repenting of all my sins.”

        We must learn to celebrate the cleansing effect of the blood of Jesus in our lives.

        We must learn to look forward to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb and celebrate the time when we will be finally cleansed and rewarded.  "The Day of Atonement reminds me of that time when I am going to stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ.  It shall be a time of cleansing and a time of rewarding."[15]  “While there will be much to humble the saints at Christ’s judgment-seat, there will be nothing to condemn us, for the blood of the atonement, the memorial of the ever-precious death of the Lamb of God, will speak forth its value, and cover all the sins and failures of the Lord’s redeemed.”[16]

        “And thus the three features of the Day of Atonement¾acceptance, humiliation, and rest¾will be fulfilled in the risen saints.”[17]

        As was stated in the first message, "These festivals make up God's calendar."[18]

·        God began His calendar with the shedding of blood during the Passover.

·        After salvation came remembering God’s redemption.

·        After salvation comes sanctification by removing the leaven of sin.

·        After sanctification comes consecration to God through rendering sacrifice, and

·        After consecration comes rejoicing over the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

·        After the outpouring of the Holy Spirit comes the gathering of the church in heaven and the regathering of Israel on earth.  We now eagerly await the trumpet of God to announce our rapture.

·        After the gathering of the church will come The Marriage Supper of the Lamb.  There we will experience the final cleansing and our rewarding.

        So, I pray that you can see the importance of celebration to humanity, to the Children of Israel, to the New Testament local church, and to African American Christians in particular.  I pray that you see the importance of celebrating what God has done for us.  I pray that you see the importance of celebrating what God has done for us.  I pray that you will become familiar with the rudiments of celebration, which are resting from worldly labors, remembering God's deliverance, removing sin, the flesh, and the world from our midst, rendering sacrifice to God for His spiritual and physical blessings unto us, rejoicing because of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, to be reminded of our regathering through the preaching of the Gospel and Christian Eschatology, and to repent in celebration of the ongoing, cleansing effect of the blood of Jesus Christ.

Celebration adds vibrancy to life!

Celebration adds meaning to life!!

Celebration adds dignity to life!!!

O come and magnify the Lord with me in joyous celebration through giving, singing, teaching, preaching, praise, etc., with reverence, awe, excitement, festivity, and thanksgiving!!!

(Now is the day of Salvation.  Come to Jesus, now!)

Invitation

Call to Discipleship


----

[1] Victor Buksbazen, The Gospel In The Feasts Of Israel, The Friends of Israal, W. Collingswood, New Jersey, 1954, p. 32.

[2] C. W. Slemming, Thus Shalt Thou Serve, Christian Literature Crusade, Fort Washington, Pennsylvania, 1974, p. 128.

[3] C. W. Slemming, Thus Shalt Thou Serve, Christian Literature Crusade, Fort Washington, Pennsylvania, 1974, p. 128.

[4] Victor Buksbazen, The Gospel In The Feasts Of Israel, The Friends of Israal, W. Collingswood, New Jersey, 1954, p. 36.

[5] C. W. Slemming, Thus Shalt Thou Serve, Christian Literature Crusade, Fort Washington, Pennsylvania, 1974, p. 129.

[6] C. W. Slemming, Thus Shalt Thou Serve, Christian Literature Crusade, Fort Washington, Pennsylvania, 1974, p. 129.

[7] Victor Buksbazen, The Gospel In The Feasts Of Israel, The Friends of Israal, W. Collingswood, New Jersey, 1954, p. 36.

[8] Charles C. Ryrie, So Great Salvation, Victor Books, Wheaton, Illinois, 1989, pp. 92-93.

[9] Charles C. Ryrie, So Great Salvation, Victor Books, Wheaton, Illinois, 1989, pp. 94-96.

[10] Charles C. Ryrie, So Great Salvation, Victor Books, Wheaton, Illinois, 1989, pp. 98-99.

[11] Victor Buksbazen, The Gospel In The Feasts Of Israel, The Friends of Israal, W. Collingswood, New Jersey, 1954, p. 32.

[12] Alastair I. MacKay, Farming and Gardening in the Bible, Pyramid Books, New York, New York, 1950, p. 242.

[13] C. W. Slemming, Thus Shalt Thou Serve, Christian Literature Crusade, Fort Washington, Pennsylvania, 1974, p. 130.

[14] C. W. Slemming, Thus Shalt Thou Serve, Christian Literature Crusade, Fort Washington, Pennsylvania, 1974, p. 131.

[15] Warren W. Wiersbe, Be God's Guest, Back to the Bible, Lincoln, Nebraska, 1982, p. 69.

[16]John Ritchie, Feasts Of Jehovah, Kregal Publications, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1982, p. 64.

[17]John Ritchie, Feasts Of Jehovah, Kregal Publications, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1982, p. 64.

[18] Warren W. Wiersbe, Be God's Guest, Back to the Bible, Lincoln, Nebraska, 1982, p. 7.

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