Report From The Tower
Last night, I was involved in an in depth study regarding the Day of Atonement, and it’s fulfillment by our Lord Jesus Christ. I have been provoked to this by several recent articles in Watchmen Prophets Assembly, as well as many private communications that I have received in response to these articles.
I have recently received many private communications from people who have been in agreement with Bob Neumann, in one facet or another, to the defense of the proposition that the Day of Atonement festival is an unfulfilled Old testament type. I vehemently disagreed with this proposition from the start, but I wanted to buttress my argument rather than to raise my voice, and so I resolved to pray, to seek the Lord, and to study the matter out before Him.
As I studied, the Lord spoke to me. He said: “Revelation knowledge can never replace scholarship and study”.
I pondered for a few minutes on that thought, and on how I have, at times been intensely devoted to seeking out revelation knowledge, and at other times, intensely devoted to study. Sometimes, the two have intensely intertwined.
Initially, it seems right to disclose that I am an oddity. I do not do things in such a way that people are pleased with me. Some today are politically incorrect. I suppose that I could be termed religiously incorrect. I’ll give some examples.
My primary scriptural study reference is a 1917 Scofield Study Bible, King James Version. I have experienced the raised noses and eyebrows of more than one substantial prophet regarding my choice of a primary text. “Scofield?”, they have said, with upward lilting voice, raised eyebrows and a condescending gaze. I am quick to perfectly understand their complete disapproval of my choice. Certainly, I conclude, they regard me as not being much of a prophet at all if I choose to read from Scofield. But, I have benefited many, many times from C. I. Scofield’s study tools, notes and helps.
My secondary study bible is the NIV Study Bible. I have taken my lumps for this one too. I defended it one night to Stan Johnson while we were swimming in his pool. Stan is a King James only man. I must confess that I did not make a very vigorous defense at that juncture. Now, I have read Gail Riplinger’s book on “New Age Versions” that I bought from “The Prophecy Club”, and I am of the opinion that my King James Version is the most trusty version that I walk with, but I value the scholarship that went into the production of that NIV Study Bible, and God has shown me things from it many, many times. I am very thankful to the Lord that I have it, have read it, and can refer to it often.
Somehow, through all of my involvement in computer based ministry and resources, I have not found anything that rivals my books and texts.
All of this leads me back to the Day of Atonement issue. Revelation knowledge can never replace scholarship and study. Let’s take a look at what C.I. Scofield discovered regarding the atonement almost 100 years ago:
Scofields Notes on Romans 3:25
Lit., a propitiatory (sacrifice), through faith by his blood; Greek. “Hilasterion”, “place of propitiation.” The word occurs in 1 John 2:2, and 4:10, as the translation of “hilasmos”, “that which propitiates”, “a propitiatory sacrifice.” Hilasterion is used by the Septuagint, and in Hebrews 9:5, for “mercy-seat”. The mercy-seat was sprinkled with atoning blood on the day of atonement (Leviticus 16:14), in token that the righteous sentence of the law had been typically carried out, so that what must else have been a judgment-seat could righteously be a mercy seat (Heb 9:11-15, 4:14-16), a place of communion (Ex 25:21,22). In fulfillment of the type, Christ is Himself the hilasmos, “that which propitiates,” and the hilasterion, “the place of propitiation’—the mercy seat sprinkled with His own blood—the token that in our stead He so honoured the law by enduring its righteous sentence that God, , who ever foresaw the cross, is vindicated in having “passed over” sins from Adam to Moses (Rom 5:13) and the sins of believers under the old covenant (Ex 29:33), and just in justifying sinners under the new covenant. There is no thought in propitiation of placating a vengeful God, but of doing right by His holy law and so making it possible for Him righteously to show mercy.
I wonder if you, the reader, catch the import of what Scofield has discovered here?
Romans 3:25 calls Christ the “hislasterion”, or “the place of propitiation”, which is also used in Hebrews 9:5 and translated there as “mercy seat”. 200 years before Christ atoned for our sins on the cross, Leviticus 16:14 was translated into Greek by those who worked on the Septuagint. They chose this word “hilasterion” as the Greek word that should be used to accurately express what Leviticus 16:14 called the “kapporeth” in Hebrew. This is the “mercy seat”, or “atonement cover” in the English. So, it follows very clearly that Christ IS the mercy seat, sprinkled with the blood of atonement. It cannot be otherwise argued before me, and I stand totally convinced. While it is very interesting to consider Ron Wyatt’s hypothesis that the blood of Christ may have trickled down through a crack and been splattered upon the actual mercy seat, this event is not necessary for a fulfillment of the type to be considered totally finished. Indeed, Christ said, “It is finished.” He is the blood sprinkled mercy seat. He is the complete sacrificial atonement hinted at by the first type and shadow.
1 John 2:2 calls Christ the “hilasmos”, or “that which propitiates”, “a propitiatory sacrifice”. So, he is not only the instrument of the sacrifice, but he is also the sacrifice itself. He is all in all!
Now, given that it is scripturally proven that Christ is ALL with respect to the type and shadow of Yom Kippur, what possibly may be left to be fulfilled of this type? Excellent scholarship is done, in this respect, in the notes of my NIV Study bible, regarding Leviticus 16. The elements of the feast, and that which was accomplished by them, were these:
1) “The high priest went to the basin in the courtyard, removed his regular garments, washed himself, and went into the Holy Place to put on special garments for the Day of Atonement.” These garments were white, whereas the other priestly garments were many colored and dominated by gold. Edersheim notes the contrast in his work “The Temple”, and connects the change of garment with that which was seen by Zechariah with respect to Joshua’s change of garments, the dirty garments being replaced by clean ones. I see this type as being in progress as each saint represents an undivided part of the bride of Christ, who is clothed in white, without spot or blemish. Our sanctification is in view here, but also, in God’s sight, it is already fulfilled in that we were made whiter than snow at the cross.
2) “He went out to sacrifice a bull at the altar of burnt offering as a sin offering for himself and the other priests.” So here we have the high priest making atonement for himself, and the other priests. We have been made a royal priesthood, a holy nation, according to the NT. This is certainly fulfilled.
3 & 4) “He went into the Most Holy Place with some of the bull’s blood, with incense and with coals from the altar of burnt offering. The incense was placed on the burning coals, and the smoke of the incense hid the ark from view. He sprinkled some of the bulls blood on and in front of the cover of the ark.” So, the way to the ark was being prepared. John the Baptist’s ministry, with it’s heraldic cry of “Prepare Ye The Way Of The Lord”, is in view.
5 & 6) “He went outside the tabernacle and cast lots for two goats to see which was to be sacrificed and which was to be the scapegoat. At the altar of burnt offering the high priest killed the goat for the sin offering for the people, and for a second time he went into the Most Holy Place, this time to sprinkle the goat’s blood in front of and on the atonement cover.” This is certainly fulfilled by Christ, who is “hilasmos” and “hilasterion”.
7) “He returned to the Holy place and sprinkled the goat’s blood there.”
8) “He went outside to the altar of burnet offering and sprinkled it with the blood of the bull (for himself) and of the goat (for the people).”
9) “While in the courtyard, he laid both hands on the second goat, thus symbolizing the transfer of Israel’s sin, and sent it out into the desert.”
10) “The man who took the goat away, after he accomplished his task, washed himself and his clothes outside the camp before rejoining the people.”
11) “The high priest entered the Holy Place to remove his special garments.”
12) “He went out to the basin to wash and put on his regular priestly clothes.”
13) “As a final sacrifice he went out to the great altar and offered a ram as a burnt offering for himself, and another ram for the people.”
14) “The conclusion of the entire day was the removal of the sacrifices for the sin offerings to a place outside the camp, where they were burned, and there the man who performed this ritual bathed and washed his clothes before rejoining the people.”
As I look at these 14 points, I do not see any possible way that this feast remains unfulfilled. The only possible way to regard it as unfulfilled, in my view, is to see those things that involve process before they are appropriated by the bride of Christ. Such things are in view here as her garments, that are without spot or blemish, and the purification of the assembly. Some of you have made your arguments concerning these points to me privately, but it cannot be otherwise stated that the purification that we wait to SEE on the earth was ACCOMPLISHED by Christ on the cross. We do not wait for some future event, or additional sacrifice. He is the hilasmos. He is the hilasterion.
Hebrews 10:26 is emphatic in this regard: “FOR if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins.” The “FOR” which I have capitalized for emphasis indicates a connection with the previous thought in verse 25. It has to do with those who desert the Christian assembly, and who return to their former practice of the Jewish sacrifices. They began to trust in the atonement of Christ, but abandoned that trust and went back to trusting in the atonement value of the sacrificed bulls, goats and lambs.
After all, this is a letter to THE HEBREWS. The word “FOR” is not an English invention, but it is present in the underlying Greek word “gar” at the opening of verse 26. There is no sacrifice for sins left. Christ has performed the final sacrifice. The Jewish sacrificial system, which had it’s highest holy day on Yom Kippur, IS TOTALLY FULFILLED. Any shedding of the blood of lambs, bulls and goats, subsequent to Christ’s atonement on the cross, is totally without effect. As a result, any latter day reconstruction of a temple of the Lord on the temple mount, with a reinstitution of animal sacrifice would not be pleasing to God and would not be regarded by God as efficacious. Such sacrifice will be an abomination unto God.
Stephen L. Bening
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