The Feast of Tabernacles begins on Thursday, September 19th, and runs seven days through September 25th. We will have opening night services at 7:30 p.m. Eastern Time on Wednesday, September 18th. This year, the Last Great Day falls on Thursday, September 26th. We will broadcast live services online and by teleconference each day.
Today is the Day of Atonement. It is one of the Feasts of the Lord listed in Leviticus 23.
“These are the Feasts of the Lord, even holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their seasons.” (Leviticus 23:4)
“On the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a Day of Atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls.” (Leviticus 23:27)
By “afflict your souls” is meant that Atonement is a day of fasting where we are not to take any nourishment – neither food nor drink. Atonement is a spiritual Feast.
What is the meaning of this Day of Atonement? Jesus proclaimed the Good News of the coming Kingdom of God to be established over the entire earth – but that cannot take place just yet because this world is still locked in sin.
True Christians have been reconciled to God the Father through Jesus Christ. But the people of the world are separated by sin from the Father. Everyone in the world is in bondage to Satan. That is not a popular fact and no one wants to believe it. The people of Jesus' day argued back when He explained to them that they were not free and that they were cut off from God in heaven. They retorted, "We are Abraham's seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how can you say, Ye shall be made free?" (John 8:33)
The Feast of Atonement pictures the release and freedom of humanity from the subjugation and suppression of Satan. Let’s realize that everyone is hopelessly bound in Satan's clutches – unless Christ frees them.
Thankfully, we who are baptized and have received a token of God's Holy Spirit have been reconciled to God the Father. We are no longer cut off from God. At one time, our sins stood between us and the Father, preventing a right relationship with Him, but Jesus Christ has resolved that breach through His blood.
"Now in Christ Jesus you who sometimes were far off [from God the Father] are made near [to Him] by the blood of Christ." (Ephesians 2:12-13)
That is the story of Passover and the process of reconciliation of the Church brethren. How will the world escape the bondage of Satan?
Sin has cut man off from God (Isaiah 59:2). But Leviticus 16 shows us that God’s placing of guilt and responsibility for mankind’s sins squarely on Satan’s head is an integral part of the Atonement process – allowing for salvation to come unhindered to all mankind.
This Feast of Atonement tells the story of how mankind was separated from God at the foundation of the world, and how all mankind will be set free from captivity to sin and be reconciled to God. Atonement will take place after Jesus returns and prior to the millennial rule of Jesus Christ – making it possible for all mankind living during that time to have a direct relationship with God their Father. The entire world will be reconciled to the Father. Atonement will make it possible for all mankind – for a thousand years – to enjoy God’s justice, His Law, His love – and eternal redemption. This is the beautiful meaning of the Day of Atonement for all mankind.