“For the day of vengeance was in my heart, and my year of redemption had come.”[Isaiah 63:4]
As we discovered in my last post, the Lord Jesus partially fulfilled many of the specific elements of the Day of Atonement during His first coming. Yeshua is our Great High Priest who offered His own life as the atoning sacrifice for our sins and entered the heavenly tabernacle by His own blood, preparing the way for us to approach the throne of God with confidence.
It is Yeshua who now is the Mediator of a new and better covenant in His blood, as He is seated at the right hand of God the Father in the throne room of heaven, making intercession for His people. Yeshua effectively tore the veil that once separated Holy God from sinful man and provided direct access to God for all who believe in Him.
The richness of the redemptive work of Christ is profound, as books could be written about the depth of the atonement.
This post, however, will consider how the Lord Jesus will ultimately fulfill the Day of Atonement during His second coming. I believe you will find these connections just as significant and worthy of our attention.
MOSES and the SINAI CONNECTION
As mentioned in my last post, there is a traditional connection between the Day of Atonement and the Mosaic Covenant at Mount Sinai. Moses ascended the mountain met with the LORD for 40 days on two different occasions. Moses supposedly descended the second time — face a glow — with the tablets of stone on 10th of Tishrei, which is the Day of Atonement.
Keeping these two distinct mountain top events in mind, I do see a connection representative of the two comings of Jesus Christ. The first descent of Moses from the mountain found the nation of Israel rebellious sin and idolatry, which is synonymous with the condition of the Jews when Jesus came the first time.
At the second descent of Moses, the Israelites were not in rebellion, and Moses’ face shone with the glory of God. Moses also brought the instructions for the tabernacle at his second descent, which correlates with the Feast of Tabernacles. This second descent points to the events associated with the glorious coming of Jesus Christ in all His glory, lighting up the sky from east to west!
Interestingly enough, Jesus also experienced His own 40-day mountain experience. After being baptized by John, Jesus spent 40 days of temptation in the mountain wilderness. Immediately after His 40 days of temptation, Jesus retired to Galilee and began teaching in the synagogue of Nazareth, His home town.
Jesus was given the scroll of Isaiah and He read it before the people, saying that He was the fulfillment of that very prophecy [Luke 4:16-30]. But Jesus purposefully stopped reading the prophecy at a specific point.
“The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me,[Isaiah 61:1-2]
because the LORD has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor;
he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor,
and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn;
The Lord Jesus did not keep reading about the day of vengeance on this occasion because He came the first time to offer forgiveness and mercy through His own death on the cross. This dual prophecy in Isaiah contains elements of both His first and second coming, so Jesus was trying to make a point. He came the first time to offer grace. That’s why He stopped reading when He did. The Day of Vengeance is being reserved for His return to the earth.
The Day of Atonement — Yom Kippur — is the highest holy day of the year and therefore became known simply as “The Day.” Unlike all the other appointed feasts of the LORD, Yom Kippur is associated with mourning and judgment and affliction and repentance.
“For whoever is not afflicted on that very day shall be cut off from his people. And whoever does any work on that very day, that person I will destroy from among his people.”[Leviticus 23:29-30]
The future fulfillment of the Day of Atonement is directly connected to great ant terrible “Day of the LORD,” or Judgment Day. It will be both a Day of Vengeance and also a Day of Deliverance.
Vengeance on the Nations
When Yeshua Messiah returns in all His glory, He will judge and repay all of His enemies by treading the winepress of the fury and the wrath of Almighty God. All the nations who align themselves with the satanic forces of darkness and the armies of the Antichrist will be brought to nothing on that Day.
The Day of Vengeance is a Day of blood, and it is Jesus Himself who will be leading this great judgment of the wicked nations who will be united against God in the last days. Consider some of the primary passages that convey this coming “Day!”
Who is this who comes from Edom,
in crimsoned garments from Bozrah,
he who is splendid in his apparel,
marching in the greatness of his strength?
“It is I, speaking in righteousness,
mighty to save.”
Why is your apparel red,
and your garments like his who treads in the winepress?
“I have trodden the winepress alone,[Isaiah 63:1-6]
and from the peoples no one was with me;
I trod them in my anger
and trampled them in my wrath;
their lifeblood spattered on my garments,
and stained all my apparel.
For the day of vengeance was in my heart,
and my year of redemption had come.
I looked, but there was no one to help;
I was appalled, but there was no one to uphold;
so my own arm brought me salvation,
and my wrath upheld me.
I trampled down the peoples in my anger;
I made them drunk in my wrath,
and I poured out their lifeblood on the earth.”
“Hasten and come,
all you surrounding nations,
and gather yourselves there.
Bring down your warriors, O LORD.
Let the nations stir themselves up
and come up to the Valley of Jehoshaphat;
for there I will sit to judge
all the surrounding nations.
Put in the sickle,
for the harvest is ripe.
Go in, tread,
for the winepress is full.
The vats overflow,
for their evil is great.
Multitudes, multitudes,[Joel 3:11-14]
in the valley of decision!
For the day of the LORD is near
in the valley of decision.”
“The great day of the LORD is near,[Zephaniah 1:14-15]
near and hastening fast;
the sound of the day of the LORD is bitter;
the mighty man cries aloud there.
A day of wrath is that day,
a day of distress and anguish,
a day of ruin and devastation,
a day of darkness and gloom,
a day of clouds and thick darkness.”
“This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering—since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed.”[2 Thessalonians 1:5-10]
“Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.”[Revelation 19:11-16]
To summarize, Jesus is our Faithful High Priest, dressed in fine linen, is coming from heaven to earth in wrath, but as He comes to judge the nations, His pure white vesture is spattered in the blood of His enemies. This is a picture of the high priest entering the Holy of Holies and sprinkling the blood on the altar, which would have spattered on his all white garments.
The Day of Atonement will not be completely fulfilled until the Lord returns on that DAY.
Vengeance on Azazel — the Scapegoat
There is another connection that must be worth mentioning here, and it is associated with the scapegoat that was banished on the Day of Atonement. The Hebrew word for scapegoat is Azazel, which is also associated with the name of the devil himself.
The prophetic shadow picture is that once the guilt of Israel was transferred to Azazel, then he was banished to the wilderness to die, removing the guilt from God’s people. This is connected to God’s final judgment of Satan and the principalities of evil who are forever guilty for introducing sin and rebellion to mankind.
According to the Book of Enoch, Azazel is one of the leaders of the rebellious Watchers in the time preceding Noah’s flood [Genesis 6:1-5]. Azazel taught men the art of warfare and weaponry and revealed to the people the secrets of witchcraft and corrupted their manners, leading them into wickedness and impurity until at last he was bound hand and foot by the archangel Raphael and chained to the rough and jagged rocks of [Ha] Dudael (= Beth Ḥadudo), where he is to abide in utter darkness until the great Day of Judgment, when he will be cast into the fire to be consumed forever.
“The whole earth has been corrupted through the works that were taught by Azazel: to him ascribe all sin.”[1 Enoch 10:8]
The Bible confirms the Enoch account in 2 Peter and the Epistle of Jude.
“For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment.”[2 Peter 2:4]
“The devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.”[Revelation 20:10]
The condemnation of the scapegoat, or Azazel, was a reminder to God’s people year after year that the LORD would ultimately judge the devil and the spiritual forces of wickedness on that Day.
Time of Jacob’s Trouble
The day of Atonement is known for ‘the affliction of the soul’. Thus the Israelites would fast on this day and abstain from anointing their body and from cohabitation. The true affliction of the soul will come during the time of Jacob’s Trouble — the Great Tribulation — when God’s people will suffer persecution and affliction at the hands of Antichrist.
“But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has come near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, and let those who are inside the city depart, and let not those who are out in the country enter it, for these are days of vengeance, to fulfill all that is written.”[Luke 21:20-22]
Although it is my firm conviction that all the saints (the church) will be present through this Great Tribulation, it will be a unique time of testing and trouble for the Jews. Historically, the Jews have suffered more than any other people group in the world, and the time of Jacob’s trouble will be one final period of testing for the Jews. God, however, will use this great tribulation to bring them to true repentance so that they will never again rebel against the LORD.
“Behold, I am about to make Jerusalem a cup of staggering to all the surrounding peoples. The siege of Jerusalem will also be against Judah. On that day I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples. All who lift it will surely hurt themselves. And all the nations of the earth will gather against it … And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn.“[Zechariah 12:2-3, 10]
The time of Israel’s affliction will end when all the tribes of the earth see Yeshua coming on the clouds in great glory and realize that they have rejected their own Messiah.
All Israel Will be Saved — National Redemption
The Day Atonement more specifically is associated with the redemption and restoration of the entire nation of Israel. Whereas Passover emphasizes individual salvation, Yom Kippur is the Day of corporate salvation, as the high priest would offer an atoning sacrifice for the sins of all the people.
The future fulfillment of the Day of Atonement will also be a national salvation of all the survivors of Israel. As the Jews endure the Great Tribulation and God begins to bring them repentance through the time of Jacob’s trouble, all of Israel will be saved in the end at the second coming of Christ.
Romans 11, Zechariah 12, Jeremiah 30,
“At that time shall arise Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time. But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone whose name shall be found written in the book.”[Daniel 12:1]
Alas! That day is so great, there is none like it; it is a time of distress for Jacob; yet he shall be saved out of it.”[Jeremiah 30:7]
“And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, 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.”[Hebrews 9:27-28]
Lest you be wise in your own sight, I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written,
“The Deliverer will come from Zion,[Romans 11:25-27]
he will banish ungodliness from Jacob;
“and this will be my covenant with them
when I take away their sins.”