by Epiphany Bible Students

No. 716

“And this shall be a statute for ever unto you: that in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, ye shall afflict your souls, and do no work at all, whether it be one of your own country, or a stranger that sojourneth among you: For on that day shall the priest make an atonement for you, to cleanse you, that ye may be clean from all your sins before the Lord.” (Lev. 16:29-30)

The Jewish civil year precedes our calendar year by about three months. Regulated by lunar time, its beginning usually falls near October 1st. Yet the first month of their civil year is referred to as the “seventh month,” since the first month of their religious year began with the new moon nearest the Spring Equinox. In the Divine arrangement for Israel, religion always stood first. These two year beginnings were prominently marked by their two chief religious ceremonies. We have already considered the Passover Memorial celebrated on the fifteenth day of the first month; we now consider the Atonement Day and its sacrifices celebrated on the tenth day of the seventh month.

The Atonement Day celebrated annually the inauguration by Moses of the Law Covenant, the covenant between God and the people of Israel, of which Moses was the Mediator. But it was more than a commemoration, more than a mere reminder. The provisions of the Law Covenant were that any person of the “seed of Abraham” who would keep that Law perfectly would have Divine favor and blessing to the utmost, including eternal life.

Knowing well that it would be impossible for any imperfect being to fulfill the requirements of the Divine Law, the Almighty made provision that the nation might remain in Divine favor from year to year by annual repetitions of the Atonement Day sacrifices. The sacrifices by which the Law Covenant was instituted were repeated annually thereafter. At the close of the year the Covenant did not cease, but the people were all under special condemnation and Divine disapproval as sinners until a new Atonement Day made satisfaction for the people’s sins and extended the Divine favor toward them for the new year – until the next Atonement Day.

Thus the people of Israel had a trial, a year at a time, and this continued with them for centuries. But during the entire period of their favor with God, not a single Jew was found able to keep fully the Divine Law – not one was counted worthy of eternal life. Nor could Abraham or anyone else have attained more under the Law Covenant, because all were imperfect – for the Law was the measure of a perfect man’s ability.

This manner of continuing sin-forgiveness with annual repentance and repetition of the sacrifices, with a fresh trial for each new year, lasted for sixteen centuries and more, until the miraculous birth of Jesus. His transfer from the heavenly glory produced the one man who could and who did keep the Law perfectly – “The man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.” (1 Tim. 2:5-6) In the end of this age He will apply the merit of His sacrifice on behalf of Adam and his entire race, and will seal the New Covenant with Israel for the blessing of every nation. (Jer. 31:31-34)


Both Jews and Christians have proclaimed that not one jot or tittle of the Divine Law given through Moses could fail. (Matt. 5:18) That is to say, each little particle of the Law must have its fulfillment. Moses himself was a type of the great Mediator or Atoner for sins, as he declares, saying, “A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people.” (Acts 3:22-23; Deut. 18:15)

As there is to be a greater Mediator for the New Law Covenant yet in the future, so there is to be a greater Day of Atonement than the one which Moses inaugurated. And that Day of Atonement will have “better sacrifices” than the Day of Atonement which Moses instituted as a type. (Heb. 9:23) But recall that no type could pass away, fail, without reaching its antitype. Next notice that Israel’s Atonement Day has passed away! This means one of two things:

(1) That the Law has failed; or,

(2) That the antitypical Atonement Day has come without Israel knowing about it.

Our Jewish friends might say: Israel’s Atonement Day has not passed away – we observe it every year, just as our fathers did. For more than three thousand years we have kept it up! Not one jot or tittle of our Law can pass without fulfillment.

But our Jewish friends are mistaken. However honest they may intend to be in making their claims, we can disprove them from their own Law. And the sooner they realize the true state of the case the sooner they will be ready to rectify the mistake – for surely there are many who are honest and sincere.


No Jew will dispute that the Scriptures declare that there is no remission of sin except by a blood atonement. (Lev. 17:11) No rabbi will deny that the Day of Atonement sacrifices could be offered only by a priest. And not one of them surely will deny that in the millions of Jews today there is not one who could authenticate himself as a priest – as a son of Aaron. There is not one, therefore, who would attempt a reproduction of the Tabernacle or Temple, with its Court, its Holy and its Most Holy, and its Atonement Day sin-offerings, even if the Jews had the land of Israel completely in their possession.

If a Tabernacle or Temple were restored on the sacred Mount Moriah, not one of Israel’s millions would venture to offer the Atonement Day sacrifices – knowing that according to the Law it would mean death for him to pass into the presence of the Ark of the Covenant and the Mercy-Seat where the blood of atonement must be sprinkled “to make an atonement for the children of Israel for all their sins.” (Lev. 16:34)

What does it mean then, some may ask, that Jews all over the world still reverently observe the tenth day of the seventh month of their year as the Day of Atonement? What does it mean that even those who would do business on the Seventh Day, in violation of the Law, will religiously abandon all business and all pleasure on his Day of Atonement? What does all this mean if God’s Chosen People no longer have a Day of Atonement?

If Christian people could really appreciate the situation, their hearts and eyes would overflow with sympathy towards God’s Chosen People! Devout Jews still have some confidence in Abraham, in Moses, the Law and the Prophets. Whatever may be the motives of sin in their flesh, whatever may be their selfish propensities in common with other men, nevertheless they know the meaning of reverence and veneration. Intelligent Jews realize the situation, yet if they mention it at all, it is with bated breath, with fear, with the realization that this really explains why they had no favor from the Almighty as a people for eighteen centuries. They try to forget the marks of Divine disfavor – the fulfillment of the prophetic declaration that they would be without priest and without ephod many days – many years. (Hos. 3:4)

If at any time Christians should have the opportunity of speaking to God’s Chosen People about this great matter and the fact that his annual celebration of the Atonement Day has been a farce, the matter should be mentioned in full sympathy. It should be done solely with the desire to call attention to the fact that where the type ceased the antitype began. In other words (as their Talmud and the Bible instructs them), everything that Israel possessed in the way of a Priesthood and Sacrifices and a Holy and Most Holy have higher and spiritual antitypical parallels or duplications.

Not one jot or tittle of the Law has failed. The priesthood did not cease – it merely passed from the typical Aaron to his great antitype, Messiah. Of Messiah, God through the Prophet David said, “The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou [Messiah] art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedek” (not after the order of Aaron). (Psa. 110:4; Gen. 14:18)

Until recently Christians have not been able to give to God’s Chosen People any help along these lines, and only a few do so now. They have instead hindered them. So called Christian nations, devoid of the Spirit of Christ, have black-listed and tabooed and defrauded and persecuted Jews in nearly every nation of Europe. They have called them Christ-killers and told them that God would everlastingly torment them, unless they ceased to be Jews and joined some Christian sect or party. Is it any wonder that the Jew classes the Christian as his enemy? Is it any wonder that he is suspicious, and prefers to believe that the unfulfilled promises and Oath of God must yet be fulfilled to his nation? It is no wonder!

The true explanation of matters, however, is this: As not everyone who is circumcised in the flesh and calls himself a Jew is really recognized of God as such, so likewise not everyone called a Christian who names the name of Jesus is accepted of the Father. On the contrary, the Scriptures assure us that the true Church of Christ is not any of the sects of Christendom; they tell us that the Church of the First-born have their names written in heaven. Hence the church rolls furnish no criterion whatsoever respecting sainthood or relationship to God. To apply the word Christian to them is a misnomer. The cause of Christ would be far better off without their adherence or support. They have helped to deceive both Jews and heathen as respects the true Christianity set forth by Jesus and His Apostles. They are of the world, and have neither part nor lot with Christ.

We are glad, however, that neither they, nor the Jews whom they denounce are destined to eternal torment, but, on the contrary, that for them God’s great provision is a full opportunity for eternal life as perfected human beings in a world-wide Eden. All of these blessed opportunities will be secured for mankind through the antitypical Day of Atonement and its higher priest and better sacrifices for sin.


The worldly-wise of today, Christians and Jews alike, are aligning themselves with the Higher Critics and Evolutionists, telling us that if there was an Adam and Eve, at least there has been no fall and that we should put our trust in Evolution. We should believe neither in the Atonement Day for sin nor in a coming Messiah and His glorious Empire of Righteousness, nor should we think it necessary to have such aid. Indeed, they doubt if there is a God, or if they acknowledge one, they deny His love for mankind or His interest in human welfare. They believe the blind laws of Evolution decree the survival of the fittest, and working through Trust, Syndicate and Labor Unions crush out the happiness and life of the less fit instead of helping them.

But the word of God stands sure. There is a great malevolent influence at work among mankind, and Sin and Death reign. Despite all the increased skill of humanity along the lines of science and social reform, the death rate among infants remains high, physical and mental illness is rampant and crime and immorality are abounding.

Every fact agrees with the declaration of Scripture that our race is under the dominion, under the rule, of Sin and Death, and not under the reign of righteousness and life-everlasting, its reward. We therefore should be deeply interested, Christians and Jews, in Sin-Atonement. If any­thing can be devised or done to release our race from present conditions of sorrow, pain and death – to joy and harmony with God and everlasting life, surely every member of the race should be deeply, intensely interested.

The Bible, that wonderful Book so sadly mis­understood and misrepresented both by its friends and its enemies, gives the only key of hope. It tells us of a great Day of Atonement in which, by Divine provision, better sacrifices for sins will make complete atonement for the original sin of Adam and grant complete relief from its death sentence, “Thou shalt surely die.” (Gen. 2:17)

Israel’s great Covenant, its Atonement Day, with its sacri­fices, the Priests and Levites who served, and the people who were blessed, were all typical of this great arrangement which God purposed in Himself from before the foundation of the world. (Eph. 1:9-10; 1 Pet. 1:19-20) He pur­posed that all the families of the earth shall be blessed through the Seed of Abraham. The blessing comes through the Spiritual Seed, the glorified Messiah and His Bride, who are “as the stars of the heaven.” It also comes secondarily through the earthly seed, fleshly Israel who, ultimately joined by all nations, are “as the sand which is upon the sea shore.” (Gen. 22:17-18)


In the type the consecration of the priests came first. The bullock, representing the High Priest, was slain and subsequently the Lord’s goat, representing the under-priests, was also slain. Thus was indicated the great fact that the sacrifice of Christ and of His followers, their renunciation of the earthly nature, was necessary for their attainment of the kingly priesthood (typified in Melchisedek). (Lev. 8:14-33)

Next in turn, the Atonement Day sacrifices (Lev. 16:3-34) show the same bullock and the same goat; typical of The Christ, Head and Body, whose sacrificial death not only served for the consecration of the real priesthood, but also will be acceptable by God as the price of the world’s At-one-ment with God. These “better sacrifices” (Heb. 9:23), more than fully rewarded in the exaltation of the sacrificers to glory, honor and immortality in the Kingdom, are applicable for the sins of “the whole world,” “all the people.” (1 John 2:2; Lev. 16:33)

Thus did Israel’s bullock of the Day of Atonement and bullock of the priest’s consecration represent the consecration and death of Jesus the great Sin-bearer, who died, the Just for the unjust, to bring us back into harmony with God. (1 Pet. 3:18) His high exaltation by resurrection to the highest plane of spirit being has been a reward not only to His own sacrifice, but has qualified Him to be the great King of kings and Lord of lords. Through Him God will fulfill all the gracious promises made to Abraham and reiterated to Isaac, Jacob and through the Prophets – that in his Seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed.

As the Lord’s goat was taken from among the people, so the Little Flock, the Royal Priesthood, the followers of Jesus gathered from every nation, Jew and Gentile, will constitute Messiah’s associates on the spirit plane. As the Lord’s goat in the type underwent all the experiences of the bullock, so of the footstep followers of Jesus it is declared that they must walk in His footsteps, must suffer with Christ, must be dead with Him, must go with Him “without the camp,” must with Him bear the reproaches of those whose eyes of understanding are still blinded by the great Adversary and who therefore know them not, even as they knew Him not. (Heb. 13:13) The sacrifice of the antitypical bullock was accomplished at Calvary nearly two centuries ago.

The sacrifice of the antitypical goat class has been in process from the Day of Pentecost until the end of the Gospel Age. According to our understanding of the Scriptures, therefore, this Gospel Age has been the antitypical Day of Atonement in which “the better sacrifices” have been offered. (Rom. 12:1; Heb. 9:23)

The privilege and opportunity of joining in this sacrificial work has been limited to a certain number who must have certain characteristics, character-likeness to the Great High Priest. We understand that this elect Church and saintly few is complete or almost complete, and that the nominal church systems have no part in the matter, being unrecognized of the Lord, unauthorized.

In the past, however, there have been saints included in all of them, and in proportion as these saintly ones were therein, “the light of the world” (Matt. 5:14) was in them; proportionately as there were fewer therein there was grosser darkness. All the time, however, God recognized the few only as His Church: “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom.” (Luke 12:32) “Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice.” (Psa. 50:5) “They shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels.” (Mal. 3:17)

The non-elect, instead of being doomed to an eternity of torture, are to have glorious privileges and opportunities for attaining eternal life and eternal harmony with God in the Millennial Kingdom, if they are willing.


The word atonement (at-one-ment) refers to two parties out of harmony becoming reconciled. Original sin brought humanity under the condemnation of the Divine sentence of death. The real Atonement Day sacrifices will fully accomplish the satisfaction of Divine Justice, but still more will remain to be done. And it is for this great work that Messiah’s Kingdom has been promised and will be inaugurated. Man will still need to be reconciled to God, not that man has any real grievance against his Creator, but because his fall brought him into a condition of “enmity against God” and righteousness. (Rom. 8:7)

Love, peace, joy and goodness were originally part of man’s character when created in the image and likeness of his Maker. Man now finds himself full of an opposite spirit – selfishness, envy, hatred, strife – works of the flesh and of the devil. Man now needs to be reconciled to God – to be brought back again to the place where he can properly appreciate Divine Justice, Wisdom, Love and Power. He will then be able to live acceptably to God and therefore be permitted to live forever and to enjoy his Creator’s blessings fully.

The great work of the Day of Atonement, therefore, may in this sense of the word be considered as including the thousand years of Messiah’s reign, during which He will make atonement with God for all the willing and obedient of Adam’s race, assisting, encouraging, uplifting, correcting, reproving, blessing every nation, people and kindred. Ultimately we are assured that all who decline this free gift of God’s love will be completely and everlastingly destroyed, annihilated in the Second Death, from which there will be no recovery. (Acts 3:23)

In the type, the blessing of the world was represented as being accomplished by the high priest on the Day of Atonement after he had made satisfaction to Justice. He then came out of the Most Holy and laid aside the sacrificial garments and put on the robes of glory and beauty. This foreshadowed the great work of the Mediator of the New Covenant between God and the World.


God’s Chosen People have been under Divine supervision and care for more than thirty-five hundred years so that they have been kept separate from all the nations of earth and are thus a standing miracle testifying to the truthfulness of the holy promises of the Scriptures. This teaches us to look to the Scriptures respecting their future. The same Scriptures which testify to their solidarity as a people inform us that they will become a nation at the close of this Gospel Age when “the set time” for God to remember Zion shall come. (Psa. 102:13)

St. Paul explicitly points out that Divine favor will return to natural Israel just as soon as the “call” of this Gospel Age to the Heavenly Kingdom class shall have reached fulfillment. Then “through your mercy they also may obtain mercy” – through the saintly few who, during this age, become identified with the glorified Messiah as His Bride and joint heir. (Rom. 11:25-32)

Hence it was evidently not the Divine intention that the Jew should be amalgamated into the Christian systems of today. Indeed, this separateness from the masses of Christendom is to work to the advantage of the Jews in that they will be the better prepared for the earthly blessings that are then to come to them.

The blessings of the new dispensation about to be ushered in will be earthly blessings, and the Jew knows that all of the promises of God contained in the Mosaic Law and writings of the holy Prophets of old tell of earthly blessings, not of heavenly or spiritual favors. The Jew will be more ready to respond to the new order of things than his Christian or Gentile neighbors will be.

Moreover, according to the Scriptures, the princes or rulers seen among men will be of Jewish stock, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and all the Prophets raised from the dead in full human perfection to be the “princes in all the earth” and representatives of Messiah’s invisible spirit Kingdom. (Psa. 45:16)

Before leaving this subject, we note the prophesy of old which tells us that at the time Messiah manifests the glories of His power and begins His intervention in human affairs in favor of the right and against the wrong, there will be a time of “Jacob’s trouble,” a time when the Jews will be in special tribulation from their foes. Then the Lord will manifest His power on their behalf as in olden times, giving them a miraculous deliverance which they will recognize. (Jer. 30; Zech. 14:2-3)

As a result of this, the Prophet declares, “They shall look on him whom they pierced” – not by seeing the glorious Messiah with their natural sight, but by recognizing Him with the eyes of their understanding. (John 19:37; Zech. 12:10)

At that time of favor toward them on the part of Messiah, “the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people” (Dan. 12:1), they shall discern that the glorious time of opportunity and blessing for which they so long waited has come. Then their sorrow will be great, as they will fully recognize their national mistake in the rejection of Jesus, but the Lord will pour upon them the spirit of prayer and of supplication, and their mourning will be but the beginning of their blessing and time of rejoicing.

Although they will then recognize Messiah, this prophesy proves decidedly that it is not the Divine intention that the Jews as a race should become Christians, or become associated with the Christian systems of this age, which have so seriously misrepresented the Great Teacher and the glorious truths which He and His Apostles taught.

(This paper is drawn from What Pastor Russell Wrote for the Overland Monthly, pages 103-107 and page 116)



“For, lo, thine enemies make a tumult: and they that hate thee have lifted up the head. They have taken crafty counsel against thy people . . . They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance.” (Psa. 83:2-5)

Israel’s “Friend” Is Not Obama-Kerry (excerpts)by Cal Thomas, December 28, 2016:

By instructing his U.N. ambassador not to veto a resolution condemning Israel for building so-called “settlements” on disputed land, the president has aided and comforted that nation’s enemies. The U.S. abstention will inevitably invite stepped-up attacks against Israelis, as well as calls for more boycotts by the European Union, whose ugly anti-Semitic past and present is well documented.

In the Middle East, symbols can be more important than substance, and this symbolic act will send a strong message to Israel’s enemies. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the resolution a “shameful ambush” and “distorted,” noting, “It states that the Jewish quarter and Western Wall (in Jerusalem) are occupied, which is absurd.” . . . Netanyahu likes to cite history to show how the Jews were in the land long before Arab peoples showed up and started rewriting the past to the point that it belongs in the fiction section of bookstores.

What makes anyone think that what Israel does, or does not do, has any effect on the behavior and declared religious mandate of those dedi­cated to eliminating the country and killing and/or expelling every Jew from it? Did unilaterally relinquishing Gaza bring Israel closer to peace? It did not. Instead, it invited Hamas to use the region as a launching pad for terrorist attacks . . .

Only the self-deluded think the estab­lishment of a separate Palestinian state will result in peace. Such a state would most certainly be used as a base for a modern “final solution” against Israel. What kind of state would the Palestinians establish? Their leaders have already said it would be one without Jews. Netanyahu noted that in any other scenario this would be seen as “ethnic cleansing,” but because much of the world hates Jews and is embarrassed by Israel and its prosperity, it applies a different standard to the Palestinians.

The prophet Isaiah wrote: “Speak tenderly to Jerusalem” (Isaiah 40:2). The Psalmist said: “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem” (Psalm 122:6). In his final insult to Israel, President Obama has spoken harshly and ensured there will be more war, not peace. The Nobel committee should demand he return his prematurely awarded Peace Prize.

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