“Atonement - A Day of Liberty”


Lev. 23:26 Day of Atonement

This was a momentous day - a special day - a unique day in the course of the year…the only day in the year when the High Priest was allowed to enter the Holy of Holies.

This was a very special day.

But when we study the Day of Atonement, we need to do more than just read about what the High Priest did.

Every action that God commands has meaning. Every action God commands has a result.

Here’s an example…

Exodus 12: …Passover

When they obeyed the command, something happened…they were protected from the death angel.

In Exodus 13:39, they were told not to wait for their bread to rise, but to bake it “unleavened”.

In the years after that, when they followed the command to remove the leaven from their homes…the nation, the people became a “special people”, a “sanctified”, “set apart” people - through their obedience to that command. Physically, they were different - and it “set them apart”. It reminded them of their difference from the nations around. And it reminded them of their responsibility to remove that symbol of sin from their homes. ( And I believe they understood that).

When the Day of Atonement came, this solemn day, their very physical actions also led to certain results. Again, it set them apart from the nations around.

Much like the Passover, it reminded the people of their fallibility, and how they depended on God’s mercy for their sin to be “atoned”, or “covered”.

Lev. 16:1- Specific instructions re: the Day of Atonement

This was a very solemn, very special time…

But, as I said, every action that God commands has very specific results…physical, as well as spiritual results!


What was the RESULT of the actions that took place on this special day.

What did the people learn? What did the people have the opportunity to experience?

There was a specific lesson that they learned on this day - and it was more than just how to go without food.

Let’s focus our attention on this lesson today - because that lesson is at the heart of what the Day of Atonement is all about…

A. Liberty is the Lesson

First…let’s review the actions…

1. Special sacrificial offerings - for the sins of the people, and the priest.

2. The people fasted - “afflicted their souls”.

3. A special offering of two specific goats.

What was the meaning of these three actions? What did they result in?

In order to clearly see the answer to that question, we need to go to another place where the Day of Atonement is mentioned…

Lev. 25:1 -- first, the seventh year land Sabbath…to, the Year of Jubilee…

Why was this action taken on the Day of Atonement? Was this by accident? Of course not!

The fundamental lesson of the Day of Atonement is that it is the day of LIBERTY

When the actions taken on the Day of Atonement were finished, the people had been reconciled to God, through the blood sacrifices. But they had also been given …Liberty.

Liberty means freedom. Liberty means independence.

And liberty means “liberation”.

The year of the Jubilee gave “liberation”. (review).

When this was carried out, this “spirit” pervaded life…

Lev. 25:18 - Provisions for the 7th year.

Lev. 25:23 Redemption of property.

(…continue through the rest of Lev. 25, showing how the “philosophy” of independence, and liberty pervaded God’s system - an “economic system”!)

And it all began with the Day of Atonement. God taught the people that being clean before Him…being reconciled to Him, then further obedience to Him, brought LIBERTY.

Lev. 26:1-8 A peaceful, harmonious, independent liberty…

Isn’t that what we wanted as a nation? Weren’t those the principles that the revolutionary war was fought over? An independence from the taxation and heavy hand of our British big brothers?

Just like any little brother wants from a big brother!

Isn’t that why Patrick Henry said, “Give me liberty or give me death” - and liberty and freedom became the battle cry of our feeble military efforts - that toppled THE MOST POWERFUL NATION ON THE EARTH.

And isn’t this the same liberty - the same freedom that ALL mankind desires.

Romans 8:18 The whole creation groans…

…groans for liberty from the bondage of suffering…human suffering…

…suffering from hunger, from drought, famine, pestilences, war…

Lev. 26:9-13 …I have broken the bonds of your yoke…

GOD is the one who provides FREEDOM. God is the one who can give us liberty!

2 Cor. 3:7-17-18 … on the holy mountain, they came face to face with the glorious PHYSICAL liberty that God was willing to give them, just as WE are, with SPIRITUAL liberty…

But they made a decision - over time, as a nation - to reject the liberty that God was offering them.

I’m not going to read you all the verses that show how that decision was made - person by person, family by family, town by town…

I’m just going to read you - again - how that decision was made - in a nutshell by the forefather/mother of all humanity…

Gen. 3:

Adam and Eve were OFFERED FREEDOM by God. Do you realize that?

But instead of choosing FREEDOM from deceit, they chose to be bound by it.

Instead of choosing God-given health, they chose the appearance of what was good to eat - and became enslaved to backbreaking systems of agricultural that have consumed the lives of much of mankind - and now threaten do do so again - through what we’ve done to our soil, water, even our genetic stock of our plants and animals.

Instead of choosing the love of God, they CHOSE the hatred and bitterness of Satan. And the first man was murdered - before even ONE person lived to see a natural death - at least from what we read.



They CHOSE to disobey God - and they CHOSE BONDAGE!

Lev. 26:14---

In life, we all know the rules, don’t we.

Part of what life is all about is learning the rules, the other part is trying to live by them.

When we know the rules, and defy them, WE CHOOSE the consequences.

No matter how many excuses we have, no matter how enticing and attractive another way is, we usually still know that it is wrong.

AS humans, we’re strangely WILLING to put ourselves into BONDAGE -

  • Food
  • Drinking, smoking, drugs.
  • Physical lusts, passions
  • Covetousness
  • Anger - hatred
  • Pride

We CHOOSE to take actions where we KNOW we’ll be in misery. BUT WE CHOSE IT! Isn’t that strange?

See Satan injects the “poisons” into us that keep us “drugged”…

ie, “addicted” - not good for us, but we’re just too used to the feel in us…we just can’t get it off our mind.

…and then, we’ve chosen to put ourselves through bondage.

Israelites…. Let us back to leeks & garlice…


Israelites were BOUND by feeling like they HAD what they had in Egypt…

Now, Satan’s had his part, and that’s why God will remove him.

But we have to be willing to sacrifice as well - (ie. Atonement sacrifices). We sacrifice our pride. OUR authority to determine right and wrong.