Great Day of Atonement

by Gertrude Battle (Used by permission)


l. First Promise of a Saviour

A. Where do we find the first promise of a Saviour in the Bible? Gen. 3:15

God was speaking to Satan in the presence of Adam and Eve saying, 'Satan, I am going to put enmity between you and My church; and between your followers and her followers; and the seed of the woman, or Christ, and His followers is going to bruise your head, or destroy you; and you and your followers are going to bruise His heel, or do everything you can to prevent this Gospel from going to all the world.'

II. Sacrificial Service Established to Keep this Promise in Mind

A. What did God do to keep man from forgetting this promise?

He established the sacrificial service. The first record we have is of Cain and Abel. Abel recognized that he was a sinner under the penalty of death. The wages of sin is death. Rom. 6:23 His only hope was in the Saviour who was to come and die for his sins. When he laid his hands upon the head of the lamb and confessed his sins, he was by faith laying them on Jesus. When he killed the animal he was showing that he was responsible for the death of the Son of God. By faith he was looking into the future and seeing Him dying on the cross. All the fat was cut away and burned separately. Fat was a type of sin in the sanctuary service. Lev. 3:17 ; Compare Ps. 17:10 ; Ps. 119:70. We have to be separated from our sins. When Abel laid the animal on the altar, God sent fire down from heaven and consumed the offering, signifying that his sins were forgiven.

Cain's offering in turn was not accepted because there was no blood shed, and 'without the shedding of blood there is no remission' for sins. Heb. 9:22

This simple service was practiced up until the time the Israelites left Egypt; the father acting as the priest of each household until the children became of age.

III. Earthly Sanctuary

A. What did God tell his people to do after they came out of Egypt? Ex. 25:8, 9

God told them to build Him a sanctuary in which He would dwell among them. Explain the daily service. Lev. 4:27-31 When a man came into the court bringing his offering, the priest met him with a knife and basin. After the sinner confessed his sins over the head of the animal, (not to the priest) he took the knife and killed it. The priest caught some of the blood in the basin. Some of this blood was smeared upon the horns of the altar of burnt offerings and the remainder poured out at its base. Verse 30 The priest then ate a portion of the flesh of the sacrifice. Lev. 6:26 In certain instances which involved either the sin of a priest or of the entire congregation, the flesh was not eaten, but instead some blood was sprinkled toward the inner veil of the sanctuary and also smeared on the horns of the golden altar of incense. Lev. 4:1-21 Blood was a symbol of the life. The blood of the sacrifice was a symbol of the precious life of Jesus, who gave His life as a substitute in payment for our sins. To show their faith in this fact, the people went through this ritual. Symbolically a record was made of the sins confessed and forsaken and recorded in the holy place.

As the priest approached the altar to intercede for the sinner, he put some sweet incense on the hot coals of the altar which caused a smoke to ascend with the prayers. ; Rev. 8:3 margin After the priest finished interceding for the sinner, he went out of the sanctuary and assured him that his sins were forgiven. Then the sinner went on his way rejoicing. This was called the daily service. Every time the blood was taken into the sanctuary it was as if one owed a debt and when it was paid it was recorded in the book as paid.

IV. Day of Atonement

A. What happened on the Day of Atonement? Lev. 15:5 , 7-10 , 15 , 20-22

Two goats were chosen; one to represent Christ, and the other Satan, the scapegoat. The one representing Christ was killed. The blood was taken into the Most Holy Place and sprinkled before the Mercy Seat. Only the high priest was allowed in the Most Holy Place and only once a year, on the Day of Atonement, which was the 10th day of the 7th month. It was a judgment day for the Jews, and still is, now call Yom Kippur.

Illustrate using an accounting ledger. On this ledger is a debit side and a credit side. On the debit side are all the expenses--the cost of the equipment, overhead, etc. On the credit side is the income. At the end of the year, an auditor checks the ledger to see what the profits are for that year. This is similar to the book of life in heaven, but not exactly. On that book is a record of each life, a record of all the sins committed and a record of all the sins confessed and forsaken. If all the sins I committed are confessed and forsaken, they will be blotted out and the record balanced. Satan will have to pay for these sins at the end of the millennium. If this ledger, the book of life, is not balanced, if my sins are not confessed and forsaken, I will have to pay for these sins myself, at the end of the millennium.

There is another book in heaven mentioned in Mal. 3:16, 17. The good deeds and works that by the grace of God we have done for Him could be likened to the profits in a business. Our sins are all imputed to Christ, and He has paid for them. However, none of our sins have been imparted to Him. He was our Substitute and took our place, an innocent Victim.

After the high priest finished his work in the Most Holy Place, he came to the door of the sanctuary where they met him with the live goat. All the confessed sins of the people were laid on this goat and he was taken into the wilderness into a land uninhabited. This represents Satan during the millennium.

Difference between the goat that was sacrificed and the scapegoat

The goat that was sacrificed had already atoned for the sins of the people, before they were laid on the scapegoat. Here is a good illustration of what happened on that day. Suppose a man 45 or 50 years old were to lead a young boy of fourteen or fifteen into a crime, perhaps rob a service station. They were both caught and convicted. the man is sentenced to the penitentiary to atone for his part of the crime. But someone steps up and tells the judge that he will pay the fine for the young boy and be responsible for him if the judge will turn him over to him. This is what Christ did for the human race. Satan is responsible for leading us into sin and will be held responsible for this. The other goat, the one that was sacrificed, pays to redeem us from sin. All the sins that have been confessed and forsaken are laid on Satan. He will be responsible for them. they will be laid on him. Lev 16:21 This is the difference between the function of the two goats. It is very important for us to understand this.

B. What was this called? Lev. 16:30

The cleansing of the sanctuary.

V. Cleansing of the Heavenly Sanctuary

A. Where do we find a prophecy concerning 'the cleansing of the sanctuary'? Dan. 8:14

In prophecy symbols are used. In prophetic time a day was one year. Eze. 4:6 ; Num. 14:34 2300 days or years would take us beyond the time of Christ, as this prophecy was given to Daniel about 600 years before Christ. There is no sanctuary on earth today. Therefore, it has to refer to the one in heaven. See Heb. 8:5 In order to establish the beginning date of the 2300-year prophecy, let us go back into the history of the city of Jerusalem.


B. What warning was given the Israelites through the prophet Jeremiah concerning the city? Jer. 17:27

Cities were built with walls for protection. The gates of the cities were their downtown business districts where all their business and trading was carried on. Strangers would come into the gates and trade with them and afterwards go on their way. The Jews were supposed to close these gates before sundown on the sixth day of the week in preparation for the Sabbath and were not to open them before the Sabbath was over the next evening. Evidently they were not obeying this command, and God warned them that if they continued to break the Sabbath He would destroy their city.

C. When was this fulfilled? 2 Chron. 36:14-21

Then Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the city of Jerusalem (586 B.C.) and took the Jews into captivity to Babylon for 70 years.
D. Who was chosen as the first king to help give them their freedom again? Isa. 44:28 ; 45:13

Cyrus, King of Persia. This prophecy was given in 712 B.C. That was before the city was destroyed. See Isa. 45:4

E. When was this prophecy fulfilled? Ezra 1:1, 2

536 B.C. or 176 years later. It must have been a thrill to this heathen king to see his name in the Hebrew writings naming him by name before he was born as the first king to help free the Jews.

F. Under what three kings was the city rebuilt? Ezra 6:14

Cyrus, Darius and Artaxerxes.

G. What was the last decree: by whom was it given and when? Ezra 7:11-26

The final decree giving the Jews their full freedom to set up their own government once again was given by Artaxerxes in 457 B.C. (It is not necessary to read this whole decree, but I would read at least the first three verses-- 11, 12, and 13.) See date at top or bottom of the page in your Bible--457 B.C. v. 25, 26. Whatever Daniel saw in the eighth chapter of the book of Daniel, it made a strong man faint, and he was sick for a while. Dan. 8:27 He did not understand the vision. The first part of the ninth chapter is his prayer in behalf of his people. The angel is sent to help him understand the vision.

VI. Vision Explained to Daniel

A. What was the interpretation? Dan. 9:24-27

Check your chart as you go. How much time was allotted to the Jews? 70 weeks or 490 years. We have to remember that the Jews had the gospel and were to take it to the world, but they had failed. God had punished them severely, and now they had their freedom once more. He told them He would give them 490 more years, and that would be all. This 490 years is cut off from the 2300 years.

B. When was the commandment given to restore and to build Jerusalem? Ezra 7:11-26
457 B.C.

C. When was the Messiah announced to the world?

At His baptism in A.D. 27. It took the Jews seven weeks or 49 years to finish rebuilding the wall. They finished it in the year 408 B.C.

C. How long was it until the baptism of Jesus?

62 more weeks, or 434 years.

E. What was to take place after the 62 weeks or 434 years?

The Messiah was to be cut off. Three and one-half years after the baptism of Jesus He was crucified. How many weeks are left of the 70 up to the baptism of Jesus? One week is left.

F. What was to happen in the midst of this final week?

The sacrificial system was to end. Dan. 9:27, first part Use a pencil to show how the sacrificial service was just a shadow of the cross. Stand the pencil upright on the cross. Even as the shadow of the pencil ends at the pencil, so the whole sacrificial service ended when Jesus died on the cross.

Since this part of the prophecy deals with the Jewish nation, we still have three and one-half more years to the end of the 490 year period. For three and one-half years Jesus preached to the Jews. For three and one-half years after His ascension the disciples preached to the Jews until the stoning of Stephen, the first Christian martyr in the year A.D. 34. This also marked the rejection of the Jewish nation as God's chosen people. See Acts 13:46, 47 Add the 490 year period up, first in weeks and then in years. Here is a chart to help. We have accounted for 490 years of the 2300 years. By subtracting 490 from 2300 we have 1810 years left of the prophecy. Sine the 490 years ended in A.D. 34, just add 1810 years to this date and you have the year 1844. Here is another Chart. This brings us down to our day.
          7 wks.         49 yrs.        2300 yrs.
         62 wks.         434 yrs.       -490 yrs.
          1 wk.           7 yrs.        1810 yrs.
         70 wks.         490 yrs.        +34 yrs.
                                        1844 A.D.

G. What happened in the year 1844? Dan. 8:14

The cleansing of the Heavenly Sanctuary. What does this term mean?

VII. Type and Antitype Seen In the Sanctuary Service

If there was a ship out in the bay and you made a model of it in your home, the greatest difference between the two would be that the model has no power. So it was with the earthly sanctuary. there was no power in the blood of a lamb to cleanse us from sin. The priests were men just as we are. Everything in the whole service was symbolic of the real:

The Court           -    The earth were Jesus was crucified
The Lamb            -    Christ the Lamb of God
The Altar           -    The cross where He died
The Blood           -    The Life of Christ
The Priest          -    Christ our Intercessor
Candlesticks        -    Christ the Light of the world
Lampstand           -    The church through whom the Light shines
Table of Shewbread  -    Christ the Bread of Life
Sweet Incense       -    The righteousness of Christ from which
                         ascended the prayers (see Rev. 8:3
                         margin) or which was added to the prayers
The Altar of Incense-    The altar of prayer and intercession
The Veil            -    It was through the veil that the high
                         priest entered the Holiest of all.  So it
                         is through Christ that we have access to
                         the Father.  Because of sin we were
                         denied this privilege. Heb. 10:19,20
The Mercy Seat      -    Christ our merciful High Priest
Two Tables of Stone -    The Standard of judgment.  God's great
                         Constitution. Eccl. 12:13,14
When the high priest entered the Most Holy Place, he had to be covered with the smoke from the sweet incense, as none may enter the presence of God without being covered with the righteousness of Christ.

VIII. Christ Our High Priest - Our Judge

A. After Christ made the sacrifice on the cross, and after spending 40 days with His disciples, where did He go? Heb. 8:1, 2 ;Heb. 9:24

He entered into His intercessory work as our High Priest in the Heavenly Sanctuary. There is no longer a true priesthood on earth.

B. What did Christ do in 1844?

He entered into the work of the judgment, even as the high priest did on the Day of Atonement. 'Thus began the work of examining the accounts of those whose names are in the Book of Life, in order to determine if they have a right relationship with Christ, or have on the wedding garment, His righteous character.'

Judgment is not for the benefit of God who knows all things. Rather, it is for the benefit of His intelligent creatures so they may see and understand fully the mercy and justice of God and the rightness of all His dealings with the sin problem and with sinners. See Peter's reference to the interest angels have in the plan of salvation. 1 Peter 1:12 The scene that took place at that time is found in Dan. 7:9, 10and 13. What kind of a scene is this? It is a court scene. The Father is there and all the angels as witnesses. The Son also is there. See Rev. 20:12 (the books of heaven.)

C. Who is our Judge? Acts 17:31 ;John 5:22

Jesus is our Judge.

D. What is the standard of judgment? Eccl. 12:13, 14

The Ten Commandments. That is why they where in the Most Holy Place of the earthly sanctuary, for it was there that the work of the judgment was performed.

IX. The Wedding Supper Parable

A. Which parable illustrates this work of judgment? Matt. 22:2-14

Parable of the wedding supper.

B. How many classes of people are in this parable? Rev. 19:7, 8

Three. One class refused to accept the invitation and insulted the king by not coming. Two classes came to the supper and their names were on the guest book, but only one of these was accepted, the ones who had on the wedding garment.

This is all illustrated in Zechariah 3:1-4. Joshua represents the people of God. Joshua was clothed with filthy garments. God tells us to come to Him just as we are in all our filthiness and sins. We are not to try and make ourselves presentable. The command was given to take away Joshua's filthy garments, the first step. Then He said He would cause all his iniquity to pas from him. This is when we are washed from all our sins that we have committed. We stand before God just as clean as if we had never been dirty, like taking a bath. Then God clothes us with His own righteousness, a change of raiment, or the wedding garment mentioned in Revelation 19:7, 8. Justification is received when we are accepted by God, washed clean of our past sins, and given the wedding garment. This is imputed righteousness. Sanctification is keeping the wedding garment clean and white. See Isaiah 1:16 ;Revelation 19:7, 8. Both are daily experiences. Each day we commit our life to Christ and walk in His footsteps. Each day more and more we are cleansed of our sins and grow in peace and knowledge of the Bible, through our sweet relationship with Christ.

The class represented by the man who did not have on the wedding garment presume to think they are good enough without the righteousness of Christ. Their own filthy garments are suitable. But even on this earth everyone who attends a wedding reception dresses in their very best, especially the bride. It is even more important for us to be dressed suitable to attend that wedding reception in heaven. However, this little bride is a peasant girl marrying a prince and cannot afford anything that would be suitable for a royal wedding. Her Bridegroom and His Father have to provide this wedding garment. It is Christ's own righteousness imparted to me that fits me to enter the kingdom of heaven.

Both good and bad came to the wedding supper, the tares and the wheat, but only one class was accepted. It is these two classes who are being judged in heaven today, not the ones who refuse the invitation.

X. None of the Sins of the Righteous Mentioned in the Judgement

A. Will the sins of the righteous be mentioned in that judgment? Eze. 18:21-24

No. One of the most beautiful texts in the Bible is that mentioned above. The thief on the cross who accepted Christ as his Saviour will be covered with the imputed righteousness of Christ. If he had lived and developed a Christian character, this would have been imparted righteousness. None of his sins will be mentioned. If I won a contest, I would be judged by my good points, but if I were caught speeding and stood before the judge, he would not be interested in any of the good things have ever done. So it will be in the judgment in heaven. What a wonderful God we have!

B. Where will our sins be cast? Micah 7:18, 19

Into the depths of the sea.

XI. Either Our Names or Our Sins are Blotted Out

Either one of what two things will happen when my name comes up in that judgment? Acts 3:19 ; Rev. 3:5

In this judgement phase of Christ's ministry in the heavenly sanctuary, He is not only in one sense our Judge John 5:22 , but He is also our High Priest and Advocate Heb. 7:25 ; 1 John 2:1 . This is His final ministry in behalf of all those who have truly put their trust in Him. Either one of two things will happen whenever our names come up in this judgment: (1) Jesus, standing in our behalf, will acknowledge before God and the angels that we are His true children; therefore, we should have our names retained in the Book of Life and the record of our sins blotted out. Luke 12:8 ; Rev. 3:5 (2) The records will indicate that we are only professed followers and have no personal relationship with Christ. In that case our names will be blotted out of the Book of Life. We will have to give account for our own sins at the end of the millennium.

Either my name or my sins will be blotted out. If my name remains on the book of Life, all my sins will be laid on Satan. If my sins remain on the book and my name is blotted out, I will have to account for my own sins at the end of the millennium.

XII. Probation for Man Closes

What decreed goes forth when this work is finished? Rev. 22:10-12
Probation for man will close.

XIII. Judgement Hour Message

What is the first of the three angels' messages? Rev. 14:6, 7

The judgement hour message. The judgment is here now and has been since 1844. Since 1844 the records of all whose names are written in the Book of Life will be checked to see if they have a right relationship with Christ, their robes washed clean and white, which means that they are in harmony with His righteous law.

1. Their filthy garments will have been removed.
2. Judgment during the millennium
3. They will have the wedding garment on. Zech. 3:1-4

We are living in the great Auditing Day when the Auditor of heaven is checking our accounts. Are we going to be like Belteshazzar was when the handwriting appeared on the wall? Dan. 5:27 Thou art weighed in the balances and are found wanting!'

We are also living in the days when the King is examining the guests to see if they have on the wedding garment. Are we going to be like the man who was turned away from the wedding supper because he was not presentable? Isa. 64:6 ,as compared to Rev. 19:7, 8

This is the most solemn time in earth's history, and this message should be preached from every pulpit in the land today. We have no idea how much longer we have to get ready, but surely it can't be much longer.

Three Phases of the Judgment

1. The Investigative Judgment--1844
2. Judgment during the millennium
3. Executive Judgment at the end of the millennium

God wants to make sure that every free moral agent in the universe is satisfied with his justice, that sine can never rise again.

A. He permits unfallen beings to satisfy themselves that earthlings who are to be their companions throughout eternity are safe for heaven.

B. He permits the redeemed to investigate the books of records and verify the fact that the lost have forfeited eternal life through their own choice.

C. God presents before the universe a panoramic review of the great controversy in which each individual sees how his life fits into the history of sin and the unsaved see that God has been in no way responsible for their terrible loss.

'Even Satan bows down and confesses the justice of his sentence.'(Great Controversy, p. 670)

The whole world will bow down and confess that God has been just and righteous. Phil. 2:10 ; Rev. 5:13 ; 15:3

With everyone satisfied with God's justice is it any wonder that affliction shall not rise again the second time? Nahum 1:9


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Updated 6/16/2006 by Kim Rollins