Sunday, September 27, 2020

Day of Atonement - a day to humble yourself before God!

Greetings Friends around the world! Greetings to Ethiopia, Egypt, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, and, of course, all our friends in the United States of America. Welcome to the Church of Jesus Christ Online Ministries on God’s annual holy day – the Day of Atonement. I’m your servant Leonard V. Johnson.

If you would turn in your Bible to the Book of Leviticus, chapter 23 – the only chapter in the whole of the Holy Bible which gives us all the LORD God’s holy days in order, giving us a thumbnail sketch about them. The greater majority of people who attend nominal Christianity type churches has never heard these concepts – because they are not taught. And that’s terrible on the leaders part who haven’t properly been feeding their people the Word of God, the Truth of God, and the Plan of God.

Verse 2 – “’Speak to the children of Israel [including the New Covenant Church of God – cf. Galatians 3:29], and say to them: ‘The feasts of the LORD, …’” – these are not Jewish feasts! “ … ‘ which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations [gatherings], these are My feasts.’” – FEASTS OF THE LORD! They belong to God! And He’s sharing the information with us – those of us who have ears to hear and eyes to see and a willingness to accept the truth of God as being our teacher!

Verse 3 – the Sabbath day. The SEVENTH DAY OF THE WEEK! Not the first day – Sunday.

Verse 4 – “’These are the feasts of the LORD, holy convocations [holy gatherings] which you shall proclaim at their appointed times.’”

Verse 5 – talks about the Passover. Now, if you would like more information on the Passover, please read our articles entitled “Passover Message – 2013” and “Passover Service – 2017.”

Verse 6 – talks about the Feast of Unleavened Bread. And again, if you would like more information on the Feast of Unleavened Bread, be sure to read “Christ In You (Unleavened Bread) – 2017 a seven-part series.” How the true understanding of the Days of Unleavened Bread is so much different than what most churches of God continues to teach.

Verse 9 through to verse 22 – talks about the Day of Pentecost. A phrase which means “count fifty.” So, fifty days after the Sabbath day in the middle of the Days of Unleavened Bread – always landing on a Sunday. So, seven weeks plus one day is the Feast of Pentecost. Again, we have a wonderful article “Pentecost – a seven-part series (Part I)” which has valuable information.

Verses 23 & 24 – the phrase, “ … ‘a memorial of blowing of trumpets, …’” And, just a few days ago was the Feast of Trumpets – 2020 – which truly represents the soon-coming kingdom of God!

Friends, the spring holy days have a specific meaning – the overall arching premise. And, of course, the fall holy days also have a specific meaning. Passover, the Days of Unleavened Bread, and Pentecost – are an outline to how a single individual becomes confirmed and to have his or her name added to the Book of Life. An outline for personal salvation.

Verse 26 – “And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: 27) ‘Also the tenth day of this seventh month shall be the Day of Atonement. It shall be a holy convocation [gathering] for you; you shall afflict your souls [your life], …’” – that word afflict is poorly translated. There are other translations that nail the proper translation perfectly. The Hebrew word is ‘ānâ, meaning “to be concerned about, to be worried; to be humbled.” 1 The New American Standard Bible (NAS) translates this verse – “’On exactly the tenth day of this seventh month is the day of atonement; it shall be a holy convocation for you, and you shall humble your souls …’” – sadly, many ministers today continue to threaten the congregation with a very serious maniacal undertone – “You shall afflict your souls!”

As Mr. Michael C. Garrett has pointed out – get out your concordance, get out your word studies, get out your different translations, and you too will discover that that phrase is supposed to say – “You shall HUMBLE yourself before the LORD.” It is the same thing that our Lord Jesus Christ teaches in the Book of Matthew, chapter 5

Verse 3 – “’Blessed are the poor in spirit, …’ – ‘poor in spirit’ means humility. To be humble before God.

Verse 5 – “’Blessed are the meek, …’ – the same idea. Humility before God and Jesus Christ. It’s willing to know and believe in your mind that you are more impressed with what Almighty God and Jesus Christ says than what any human being says – including yourself.

Now, if you would turn to 1st Peter, chapter 5

This is a Scripture which had a huge and profound influence on my life. And understanding these concepts has truly helped me to mature in my thinking and to gain much understanding.

Verse 5 – “Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with HUMILITY, for ‘God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.’” – the apostle Peter is saying, ‘all of you be submissive to one another.’ It’s a cooperative enterprise. Everyone should be able to sit down at a table and – if their hearts and spirits are right – be able to offer information or suggest a change.

That’s the meaning of the Day of Atonement - internally speaking! To “be clothed with humility, for God resists the proud, …”

Verse 6 – “Therefore HUMBLE yourselves under the mighty hand of God, …”– Humility.

What does that mean!? Does it mean joining a monastery and taking a vow of silence, walking around in a robe and looking all pious!? Is this what God is talking about!?

No, humility is not what people can see – humility is what God sees. Truly becoming submissive to God, and His will, and the will of Jesus Christ.

“ … that He may exalt you in due time.” – at the blowing of the SEVENTH TRUMP – at the resurrection of the saints! That’s when you will receive your glory.

Verse 7 – “casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” – this verse is so very important to all of us.

Verse 8 – “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” – Satan the devil is real, his demons are real. And, if you let down your guard, and the Spirit of God within you begins to drain – and you do not have that protective covering – Satan and his demons will find ways to mess up your life. And if they can, they will totally take you off the path of salvation. And, it’s happened to people that I know – tragically. And there’s nothing I can do about it, but ask God to have mercy on them.

Verse 9 – “Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced [or has happened] by your brotherhood [your church members] in the world. 10) But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while …” – after you have gone through this human life with its ups and downs and sufferings –

He will make you “ … perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.”

Verse 11 – “To Him [Jesus Christ] be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.”

Let’s turn to the Book of James, chapter 4. It’s very similar to what we just read.

Verse 6 – “But He gives more grace. …” – we read that phrase over in 1st Peter, chapter 5. Now, as for me, “Dear Father, dear Brother, pour out all the grace You can manage on me! Because I need Your grace, Your forgiveness, Your help, Your love, Your kindness, Your support!” “ … Therefore He says: ‘God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.’ – again, we should humble ourselves before God.

Verse 7 – “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” – recall the apostle John in his first letter writes, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God.” – 1 John 4:1 NKJV. Also, resist the distorted truth - and God’s living truth will surface in your understanding!

Verse 8 – “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.”

This is the TRUE MEANING of the Day of Atonement – on a personal level!

“ … Cleanse your hands you sinners; …”

Now, in Revelation 2 & 3: Messages to the Churches, Mr. Garrett spoke about how often God uses the phrase repent. And all repent means is to CHANGE – to ‘cleanse your hands you sinners.’ To go a different direction.

“ … and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” – and truly the only way that you can purify your heart is to ‘with all your heart, mind, and soul’ seek the Word of God, the Truth of God, and the Plan of God.

Verse 9 – “Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10) HUMBLE yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.”

Now friends – that’s the meaning of the Day of Atonement! That’s the spiritual personal meaning of the Day of Atonement!

Indeed, in the Old Covenant on the Day of Atonement the high priest would go into the temple and sprinkle blood for the sins of the people. And, he was the only one who was allowed to go into the Holy of Holies – the inner sanctuary of the temple. Now, if you want to continue to live in that system with its symbolism – you the individual – will never have access to God Almighty or Jesus Christ! However, in the New Covenant ANYONE ANYTIME ANYWHERE has access to Jesus Christ if they will only humble themselves before the mighty throne of God Most High! And seek in changing their lives and submit to God!

Also friends, there are some prophetic meanings of the Day of Atonement – that many church leaders have never considered. And I’d be willing to say that probably most do not have a clear understanding of what prophetically the Day of Atonement – the DAY TO HUMBLE YOURSELF BEFORE GOD – symbolizes. On a personal level it truly means getting ever-closer to God, repenting, and humbling yourself before God – but on a prophetic level it is directly linked to the end-time trauma, what our Lord Jesus calls the end-time ‘tribulation.’ – Matthew 24:21-22.

And certainly the Day of Atonement is a somber day.

But the Day of Atonement is a somber day because it looks forward to a time when on this earth hundreds of millions of people are going to die by the hand of the returning Jesus Christ! It looks forward to a time when we’re told that the blood in and around the streets of Jerusalem will be up to a horses’ bridle – allegorically speaking.

It’s also a day that looks forward to a time where all of the individuals throughout history who had been called by God the Father and Jesus Christ, and had come to a level of knowledge and repentance and had their names written in the Book of Life – at some point their life turned sour, turned bitter, they turned their backs on God – and thereby they have had their names removed from the Book of Life. And sometime in the not-so-distant future on the return of Jesus Christ, those people will be brought back to life again, and then executed in the lake of fire. That’s why it’s a somber day.

These people once had the truth of God, the spark of God, and His knowledge, and then they allowed Satan to get into their mind, or little petty differences, or bitterness - and their lives will never attain the potential that could have been theirs. They were potentially eternal sons or daughters to God the Father. They were potentially eternal brothers or sisters to Jesus Christ. They potentially had eternal life in their game plan. And only to have all that fall short, because of their contrariness, their lack of faith, their lack of pursuing the truth of God.

If you would turn in your Bible to the Book of Revelation, chapter 1

Verse 1 – “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, [not ‘the revelation of John’], which God gave Him to show His servants – things which must shortly take place. …” – and I pray that’s you. Indeed, if you are reading this – God the Father is certainly calling you through Jesus Christ! “ … And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John.”

Now, the Book of Revelation was not relevant in the first century. It was probably written by the apostle John on Patmos – a small Greek island in the Aegean Sea – around 95 AD. It wasn’t relevant in the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th centuries. It wasn’t even relevant when Stanley Horton, in 1991, wrote his exposé of the Book of Revelation in his book The Ultimate Victory! But now that we’re living in the time our Lord Jesus called ‘this generation’ and are getting ever-closer to the end-time trauma – now much of the revelation of the Book of Revelation can be understood. Now, there are still some dark and fuzzy edges where we don’t quite know what it means – but someday we will. Like what the apostle Paul wrote, “For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.” – 1 Corinthians 13:12 NKJV.

Verse 2 – “who bore witness to the Word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, to all things that he saw.”

Just as Jesus Christ – ‘One like the Son of Man’ – says in verse 19 – “’Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after this.’ – ‘things which must shortly take place.’ In the last book of the Holy Bible – “’These words are faithful and true.’” – Revelation 22:6 NKJV.

So, the Book of Revelation contains an outline.

Let’s turn now in our Bibles to chapter 6 of the Book of Revelation.

Remember He said, “things which must shortly take place.”

Verse 1 – “Now I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals; and I heard one of the four living creatures [an archangel] saying with a voice like thunder, ‘Come and see.’” – almost like an invitation.

Verse 2 – “And I looked, and behold, a white horse. …” – this is the famed ‘Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.’ The word apocalypse is a Greek word meaning “unveiling.” It doesn’t mean death and destruction. “ … He who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer.” - Now, I think this has a DOUBLE MEANING. I think it may be partially referring to Jesus Christ in unleashing the end-time ‘great tribulation’ upon the people of the world. But, it’s also talking about FALSE RELIGION. You could possibly say that this is false religion in the guise of the Mother Church of Europe plunging the world into another world war! And as a side note – last night I was watching Mega Disaster: It Happened Before, It Will Happen Again – Volcanoes and I had never realized that Mt. Stromboli was only 311 miles from Rome - a volcano which has been in almost continuous eruption for the past 2,000–5,000 years! Friends, do not buy a condo in Rome! Bad investment! Or, if you do, know when to sale and get out! That city will become dust! And, it’s just my own personal thought, what if the place of Satan’s Abyss, is under the ocean, under the ruins of Rome! Right down with all the dead bones of all the dead popes down through all the ages! Maybe it’s a perfect place to put them!? And all of his demonic beings!

Verse 3 – “When He opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, ‘Come and see.’” – again, a type of invitation of coming attractions.

Verse 4 - “Another horse, fiery red, went out. …” – and I don’t think there’s any question what this represents. It’s talking about war! The shedding of massive amounts of blood, pain, and suffering! “ … And it was granted to the one who sat on it to take peace from the earth, and that people should kill one another; and there was given to him a great sword.”

It is certainly a scary time in which we live – and I’m willing to accept the possibility that this is Jesus Christ suggesting about the prophecy of Daniel 11. A direct reference to the final holy-war between the end-time ‘king of the South’ and the ‘king of the North’ (cf. Daniel 11:40; Revelation 9:13-16).

Verse 5 – “When He opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, ‘Come and see.’ So I looked, and behold, a black horse, …” – referring to famine. “ … and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand.”

Verse 6 – “And I heard a voice in the midst of the four living creatures saying, ‘A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not harm the oil and the wine.’” – of course these are major food items. Items which we need to live.

Verse 7 – “When He opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying, ‘Come and see.’ 8) So I looked, and behold, a pale horse. …” – emblematic of disease, death. “ … And the name of him who sat on it was Death, and Hades [the grave] followed with him. And power was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword, with hunger, with death, and by the beasts of the earth.” – just a massive amount of death!

So, this fourth horsemen’s ride begins just prior to the Day of the LORD – what the prophet Jeremiah called ‘Jacob’s trouble’ - Jeremiah 30:7. The majority of the Anglo-Saxon nations – the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Canada will be effected.

Verse 9 – “When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls [the lives] of those who had been slain for the Word of God and for the testimony which they held.” – throughout history many people were martyred doing God’s true work. In the future there will be more. Yet, there are people out there who have a little of God’s Spirit, but are not doing much with it – it’s just sort of sitting there, spoiling. And they’re probably going to be thrust into some severe tribulations in this end-time. A group of end-time prophets (and this is not a biblical phrase) – the New Testament Church began with twelve apostles, will the end of this age end with twelve end-time prophets!? Individuals hand-picked by Jesus Christ to go into ‘all the world as a witness to all nations and preach this gospel – the kingdom of God’ – cf. Matthew 24:14 NKJV. Taking the gospel message before legislative branches, world leaders, presidents, and even before a European civil leader and a religious leader. So, the fifth seal talks about the martyrdom of God’s true servants.

Verse 10 – and this is allegorical language – “And they cried with a loud voice, saying, ‘How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?’”

And, in verse 11 – the very near future – “Then a white robe [will be] given to each of them; …” – meaning signs of immortality and eternal life. “ … and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, …” – to wait, be quiet, be easy for a little season. “ … until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed.” – and this is talking about the end-time prophets (cf. Revelation 11).

Verse 12 – “I [the apostle John] looked when He opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood.” – logically, the moon appears ‘like blood’ or reddish – when it appears in an atmosphere full of dust, smoke, or smog! The atmosphere will be thick with volcanic ash towers from a great number of volcanoes erupting around the globe, possibly caused by the massive ‘great earthquake.’ The prophet Jo-El speaks of this same event – cf. Joel 2:31.

Verse 13 – “And the stars [Satan and his demons] of heaven [the atmosphere] fell to the earth, as a fig tree drops its late figs when it is shaken by a mighty wind.”this is talking about the removal of Satan and his demons from the atmosphere. It’s the same thing talked about in Revelation 12, where Michael the archangel is to – as it says, “And war broke out in heaven.” And Satan and his demons were cast out of the atmosphere onto the earth. What’s happening here is the atmosphere of the earth is being prepared for the soon arrival of Jesus Christ and God the Father and the portable throne of God! And this is going to be quite a light show.

Verse 14 – “Then the sky [the atmosphere] receded as a scroll …” – the earth will be covered in a large amount of pollution from the earthquakes, the volcanoes, the fires. One time I had watched a time-lapse film. And it was a camera set up in one of the hills overlooking Los Angeles, and the ocean breeze came in and the smog cloud was being rolled up – and it looked just like you were taking a giant carpet and rolling it up as the wind blew in from the ocean it just pushed the smog out of the area. “ … and every mountain and island was moved out of its place.” – a lot of earthquake activity!

Verse 15 – “And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every [bond man] and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, 16) and said to the mountains and rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him …” – with all the dust and pollution swept out of the area, human beings will literally be able to look up and see the returning God the Father and Jesus Christ! And the image is so frightening to them, they will initially think it’s some invasion from outer space – they start crying out “fall on us mountains and rocks! Kill us!” “ … hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb!” – Again, that even makes two allusions. One more indication that God the Father and Jesus Christ are indeed returning at the same time.

Verse 17 – “For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?”

Again, the first four seals is often called the “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.” Then the fifth seal talking about the martyrdom of God’s true servants. The sixth seal talking about earthquakes, volcanoes, massive pollution in the atmosphere, and Satan the devil and his demons being thrown down to earth.


Now, we go over to Revelation 8 – and it picks up this outline again.

Verse 1 – ““When He opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. 2) And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and to them were given seven trumpets.” - So the seventh seal is equivalent to the beginning of the SEVEN TRUMPETS.

So, the true meaning of the Day of Atonement isn’t about God wanting you to hurt. It’s about God wanting you to HUMBLE yourself before Him, His will, and His word. But, it’s also talking about end-time events of the most dramatic effect that the earth will ever experience. Remember Jesus said, ‘except these days should be shortened, no flesh would be saved.’ – Matthew 24:21-22 NKJV.

Friends, this is the overarching premise of the Day of Atonement! □ 

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