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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Derek Prince » Derek Prince - Accept The Scapegoat Or Become One Yourself

Derek Prince - Accept The Scapegoat Or Become One Yourself

Derek Prince - Accept The Scapegoat Or Become One Yourself
TOPICS: Hebrews Bible Study

Going on reading, and I'll make some comments from my note outline in a few minutes. Verse 25: "Then he shall offer up in smoke the fat of the sin offering on the altar". The fat of the sin offering was also offered. One of the very interesting things in the Old Testament sacrifices is God never allowed His people to eat fat, it always had to be burned. Without going into dietary principles, which some people would refer to today, and maybe rightly, I think it means that God will not accept anything that we do with an attitude of It's hard to describe what I'm picturing. An attitude of... "I've got it all, I have everything, I'm doing fine".

I think the fat represents something in the principles of God of self-sufficiency, arrogance, making one's own rules, being pretty well at home in this world. God says, "I will not accept any of that, it all has to be burned". There's a lot of interesting things. You know, for instance, that you're not allowed to offer honey with any of the sacrifices to God. Because, when you burn honey it becomes a sticky, black mess. But, on the other hand, frankincense, which is completely unattractive when you look at it, when you burn it, it gives off this most beautiful fragrance. You see? God says, "I only want things offered to Me that can go through the fire. If it can't stand the fire, don't offer it to Me. And fat I don't want under any conditions. It's got to be burned".

We're there at verse 26. "And the one who released the goat as the scapegoat shall wash his clothes, and bathe his body with water; then afterward he shall come into the camp". Notice everything associated with sin was defiling and they had to take the most elaborate precautions to escape from the defilement, and not to transmit it to others. I don't think any of us can picture how utterly unacceptable and unclean sin is in the sight of God. I don't know whether you've ever seen a leper, as I have a good many times in the streets of Jerusalem. Maybe with just a stump of a leg and open sores, maybe part of his face eaten away. I don't know how I could bring myself ever to go up to such a person and touch him. Yet I realize there's many things that are far worse than that. But that's just a little inkling of how sin appears in the sight of God.

Verse 27: "But the bull of the sin offering and the goat of the sin offering, whose blood was brought in to make atonement in the holy place, shall be taken outside the camp, and they shall burn their hides, their flesh, and their refuse in the fire". Anything whose blood was brought into the Holy of Holies to make atonement had to be totally burned, nobody could partake of it. This is referred to again in Hebrews 13, we'll find it later on.

Verse 28: "Then the one who burns them shall wash his clothes and bathe his body with water, then afterward he shall come into the camp". Notice again everybody that had any contact with anything to do with sin had to be cleansed from defilement. Then we come to three very important verses, verses 29–31. "And this shall be a permanent statute for you: in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall humble your souls, and not do any work, whether the native, or the alien who sojourns among you;... What day is that in the Jewish calendar? Yom Kippur. That's right. Or it's the tenth day of the first month in the modern Hebrew calender. Which we won't try to explain. It's too complicated. Where it says in verse 29 "you shall humble your souls," I suspect the NIV says waht? "deny your soul".

Even that isn't really sufficient. How have the Jewish people always interpreted humbling your soul or denying your soul? In what way? Fasting, that's right. It wasn't necessary for Moses to say fast because when he said, "humble your souls," they knew that's fasting. I am so glad that God showed me years ago there is a way to humble my soul. I don't have to try and feel humble, I don't have to reach around in the air and see if humility is there, but I can do something simple, practical and specific. If I do it with the right motives, I will be humbling my soul and that is fasting.

Verse 30: "for it is on this day that atonement shall be made for you to cleanse you; you shall be clean from all your sins before the LORD. It is to be a sabbath of solemn rest for you, that you may humble your souls as a permanent statute". Not merely did they have to fast, they had to abstain from all kinds of work. If you have ever been in Israel on the Day of Atonement it's a very sort of memorable day. At least in Jerusalem. I think right throughout the country. All vehicular traffic ceases, nobody moves around except for emergency vehicles. There's a strange hush that comes over the entire place. I don't think we in our modern civilization can realize how inundated we are with noise and what a difference it makes when a lot of the noise has ceased.

It's like an immediate rest to your nervous system. It's something very, very memorable and that's how God intended it to be. He intended it to be a unique day that would be indelibly imprinted on their minds once they had experienced it. We'll go to the end of the chapter, then I'll make some comments. "So the priest who is anointed, and ordained to serve as priest in his father's place shall make atonement: he shall thus put on the linen garments, the holy garments, and make atonement for the holy sanctuary; and he shall make atonement, for the tent of meeting and for the altar. He shall also make atonement for the priests and for all the people of the assembly. Now you shall have this as a permanent statute, to make atonement for the sons of Israel for all their sins once every year".

Notice it only was valid for one year. When the Day of Atonement came around the next year they had to repeat the whole procedure, which is what the writer of Hebrews is emphasizing. Let me go to my note outline and just amplify some of what we've been talking about. I hope this is not too heavy for some of you. It's just kind of how you react. For me, interpreting this is like taking a journey into a country to which there is no ordinary access. Either you go this way or you don't get there. I personally have tremendous excitement and pleasure in taking this journey. I can understand if it hasn't reached you that way; it seems rather strange and what's the use of it all? Why bother about some strange ceremony that was enacted 3400 years ago? What does it have to say to us today?

What to me is remarkable about all that is that Moses and the children of Israel had the faith to make that tabernacle, make all the furniture, do all these things not knowing the real meaning of what they were doing. Then surely it's a miracle that something that was done in a remote desert 3400 years ago is known all over the world today and has been interpreted by countless millions of Christians to their own blessing. If there was no other evidence, I would have to say that makes the Bible a unique book, there's no other book like it. Let's go to our note outline, 9/2. I've put there "Truths Illustrated by the Day of Atonement". I've listed five.

First, its purpose: to propitiate God's holiness and to make the worship of God's people acceptable. In a sense, God's continuing presence with Israel was dependent upon their propitiating His holiness and making their worship acceptable. The altar had to be cleansed. That speaks of the channel through which the worship of all the people came up to God.

Second, the high priest laid aside his glory and was clothed only in the linen of personal righteousness. There was no sound of bells, signifying His life laid down. Three, the two goats both picture Jesus. I am giving you my interpretation. First, as the slain sin offering. That's a very familiar picture for many of us. The second is unique as the one who bore away sin in His own person. I want to dwell on that for a moment because, as I say, I believe it's a unique truth which is not really unfolded in the same way anywhere else in Scripture. I want you to think of that poor goat led off into a completely barren, uninhabited place without any kind of living creature to keep it company, without sustenance, without drink; just doomed to wander till it fell, and could not rise again. It's surely a pathetic picture, but I want you to have it in mind. Let's look at the words in Leviticus again for a moment.

Leviticus 16:7–10. "And he shall take the two goats and present them before the LORD at the doorway of the tent of meeting. And Aaron shall cast lots for the two goats, one lot for the LORD, and the other lot for the scapegoat. [Verse 10:] But the goat on which the lot for the scapegoat fell, shall be presented alive before the LORD, to make atonement upon it, to send it into the wilderness as the scapegoat". Then continuing in verses 20–22: "When he finishes atoning for the holy place, and the tent of meeting and the altar, he shall offer the live goat. Then Aaron shall lay both of his hands on the head of the live goat, and confess over it all the iniquities of the sons of Israel, and all their transgressions in regard to all their sins; and he shall lay them on the head of the goat and send it away into the wilderness by the hand of a man who stands in readiness. And the goat shall bear on itself all their iniquities to a solitary land; and he shall release the goat in the wilderness".

No one ever saw the goat again but they were glad. Do you know why? Because the goat carried their sins. Then let's look in Hebrews 9 The same chapter we're in but right at the end of the chapter. Hebrews 9:28: Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, shall appear a second time, not to bear sin, to those who eagerly await Him, for salvation. Notice, Christ bore the sins of many and that's emphasized throughout Hebrews. He bore away sin. He removed it. That's pictured by the goat.

Now I want to turn to what I believe is a prophetic picture of this in the book of Psalms. Psalm 88 and I think I'll read it in the NIV, which is very vivid in some passages. This is an almost unique psalm. It is totally unrelieved by any light or relief or joy. It is totally dark, there is no other psalm that I know of, no other passage in Scripture. Even the book of Lamentations has some light moments in it. I'm not going to read the whole psalm but I suggest you would perhaps benefit from doing so. Keep your finger in Psalm 88 and I want you to turn to 1 Peter. 1 Peter 1:10–11. I'm reading this to bring out a principle which will help us.

1 Peter 1:10–11. Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that [would] come to you [that's you believers], searched intently and with the greatest care, trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. There's a principle of how many Old Testament prophecies about the Spirit of Christ, that's the Spirit of the Messiah, was in them and through them testified of two things: the sufferings and then the glory that was to follow, both of the Messiah. But the particular point is that they spoke in the first person. They said "I" and "me" but they said things that never happened to them. No wonder they were baffled.

When you think of David saying, "They pierced my hands and my feet, they divided my garments and cast lots for them. They gave me vinegar to drink". It never happened to David. How would you feel if the Holy Spirit moved upon you to make statements about yourself that never happened to you? No wonder they were baffled, no wonder they searched, no wonder they said, "What is this I'm saying"? The answer is, they're not speaking of themselves, they were speaking to us, and it was the Spirit of the Messiah speaking in them in the first person revealing the sufferings and the glory. You'll find in many, many passages, many of the psalms, many of the prophets the person speaking starts out in his own experience. He's having a hard time, his enemies are pursuing him, he's sick, whatever it may be.

And he's dealing with his own situation but then he goes on to say things about himself that are no longer true of himself. They're only true and they're only fulfilled in Jesus. The Holy Spirit didn't just put the person in a totally isolated, artificial situation but used the situation of the person to project them into a prophecy which went beyond their own situation and unveiled the sufferings of Christ and the glory that was to follow. If you can accept that principle, then I think you'll understand Psalm 88 which is one conspicuous example of this, as I see it. I'll start at the beginning and read through verse 7. O LORD, the God who saves me [the God of my salvation], day and night I cry out before you. May my prayer come before you; turn your ear to my cry.

That is purely or could be purely a human situation. But the next words go beyond that. For my soul is full of trouble, and my life draws near to the grave [I prefer to say Sheol, the place of departed spirits]. I am counted among those who go down to the pit; I am like a man without strength. There's one translation that says "I am like a man without God". I am set apart with the dead, like the slain who lie in the grave, whom you remember no more, who are cut off from your care. That, I don't think, happened to the psalmist. He's gone beyond his own experience. "I'm like the slain who lies in the grave".

Verse 8 is clearly beyond his own experience. You have put me in the lowest pit,... All this is speaking about the other world, the world down below the earth. the darkest depths [the darkest of all the pits]. Your wrath lies heavily upon me; "You have overwhelmed me with all Your waves. Another translation: all your waves have gone over me". What a picture! Then we could read more but I'll move on to the end of the psalm, verses 15–18. From my youth I have been afflicted and close to death;... Always ready to die. That was certainly true of Jesus. He was born to die.... I have suffered your terrors and am in despair. Your wrath has swept over me; your terrors have destroyed me. This is not in this world, this is what the soul of Jesus went through in completing the atonement for our sins.

This is part of the penalty of sin: to be banished from God, for all his waves of wrath to go over you. And if Jesus was to pay the price of sin He had to pay the full price. Verse 17: All day long they surround me like a flood; they have completely engulfed me. You have taken my companions and loved ones from me; the darkness is my closest friend. What a vivid translation. Now, in this passage the psalmist asks six questions. Psalm 88:10–12, you'll see there are six questions. I suspect that when the psalmist asked the questions he assumed the answer was no to each one: Will Thou perform wonders for the dead? Will the departed spirits rise and praise Thee? Will Thy lovingkindness be declared in the grave, Thy faithfulness in the place of destruction? (Hebrew word, abaddon, which you'll find in Revelations 9.) Will Thy wonders be made known in the darkness and Thy righteousness in the land of forgetfulness?

Historically, what is the answer to those six questions? Yes or no? Yes, that's right. The psalmist didn't know it, but when Jesus went down into the grave, and came up every one of those questions received the answer yes. That's why He went down. He went and preached to the spirits that were in prison. He released the righteous dead who were in Abraham's bosom. Every one of those things that the psalmist asked in unbelief was answered by the atonement of Jesus. To me, that's pictured by the scapegoat led off into a land bearing the iniquities of all God's people; without hope, without any way out. I say again to everybody here, you either accept the scapegoat or you become one. It's not God's will that that should be the lot of any person here, but the only way to escape is through the sacrifice of Jesus.

We're still on Page 9/2, are you with me? The fourth point about two-thirds of the way down the page: After atonement the high priest resumes his glory and offers the burnt offerings [or holocaust]: total commitment to God. Let's look at that for a moment again, Leviticus 16:24–25. "And he shall bathe his body with water in a holy place and put on his clothes, and come forth and offer his burnt offering and the burnt offering of the people, and make atonement for himself and for the people. Then he shall offer up in smoke the fat of the sin offering on the altar". Notice that their burnt offering was required to complete the atonement but there are two principles which God has made so vivid to me this time, I've never seen them so clearly.

First of all, let me say that the holocaust, the total burnt offering, represents total commitment to God. You're just there and it's over, you're consumed, there's nothing left. That's commitment. That's God's picture of commitment. You're on the altar, and there's nothing there to be taken back. It all goes up to God. There's two principles. First of all, you can't make commitment till you've offered your sin offering. Sin has to be dealt with before you can make a commitment. Some of you people said, "I made a commitment and God didn't seem to accept". Maybe He didn't because you can't make a commitment until sin has been dealt with. God sets the terms. I've seen a lot of people try to make commitment which didn't work. You can't commit until sin has been dealt with. The sin offering comes first, then the burnt offering. But, if you want a complete atonement it's not enough to have the sin offering, you have to make the burnt offering.

God says, "I want you, all of you. Without reservation, just the way you are. No bargaining, I want you. I want you to be the burnt offering". It's interesting, if you go back in Leviticus, we won't do that, but everything in Leviticus when it's dealing with the tabernacle and furniture and the priesthood starts from God's end, not from man's. So the first item of furniture is the ark and then it moves outwards. Another thing, the first sacrifice described in Leviticus is the burnt offering. Why? Because Jesus was the first burnt offering. He didn't need a sin offering, but He had to be the burnt offering before we could have a sin offering. See that?

Just meditate on that. Think of the burnt offering in terms of your total life given to God, consumed in the fire of the Holy Spirit, ablaze with a fragrant odor that's acceptable to God. And then bear in mind the relationship of that to the sin offering. One more point from the Day of Atonement, the bottom of Page 9/2. The fifth point, atonement was only effective when accompanied by the people's self-humbling or repentance. You remember they had to humble their souls by fasting. In other words, God does His part but that's never a substitute for our response. The high priest could have done everything but if the people had not fasted, their sins would not have been covered. I think we need to look at that because it's so specific.

Leviticus 16:29 and following. "This shall be a permanent statute for you: in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall humble your souls, and not do any work, whether the native, or the alien who sojourns among you..." God wants repentance, but you can do nothing to purchase your salvation. "...for it is on this day that atonement shall be made for you to cleanse you; you shall be clean from all your sins..." Being clean depended on meeting God's requirements. I think it's very important to see that because there's a kind of sacramental version of Christianity which is sometimes interpreted to mean that as long as the sacrament is performed, you're all right. I don't believe that's true, and I don't believe there's any responsible church which actually teaches that, but it's been interpreted that way millions of times. You can be baptized, christened, confirmed, or whatever; but something in you has got to respond to what's done by the sacrament or it's of no avail.

There's nothing automatic that bypasses the human will and the response of the human heart to God. We're going back now to Hebrews 9. You remember that I said Hebrews is the Leviticus of the New Testament and Leviticus is the Hebrews of the Old? I think as we go on with this in the next chapter you'll see that time and time again. I'm just going to go through my outline and I'll use the NASB translation for the sake of simplicity. Verse 7 where it says "not without taking blood," is the first occurrence of blood. It's one of the key words. I think we might turn back for a moment, keep your finger on Page 9/2 and turn to Pages 0/4 and 5. You'll find there the key words that we analyzed, high priest, promise, swear, covenant, offer, sacrifice, and, number seven, blood.

Interestingly enough, it doesn't occur till chapter 9 and in chapter 9 it occurs twelve times. This is one of the major themes of this chapter. Going back now to your outline, 9/2. Verses 7–10, God's end purpose is perfection, which includes direct access to God. The Levitical sacrifices could not provide this, since they could not change the heart. You remember the essence of the Old Covenant was an external law which didn't change the heart. A changed heart is required for access to God. The theme of this, in a sense, the goal of Hebrews is perfection, completeness, maturity. Together with that there are two other words, how many of you can remember the other two words? I remember! Inheritance and rest. You remember the three goals: perfection, inheritance and rest. They're all wrapped up together. Anything that doesn't produce perfection is insufficient. And perfection, in turn, requires direct access to God. If we stop short of the second veil we have not attained to perfection.

Now looking in Hebrews 9. "...both gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot make the worshiper perfect in conscience..." Okay. That's the problem, they cannot make the worshiper perfect. Look at some other Scriptures in Hebrews for a moment. Going back to Hebrews 6:1. Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about Christ [or the Messiah], let us press on to maturity. But I would prefer that they say perfection because it's that word. You remember it's got three different translations: perfection, maturity, completeness. But it's all one and the same word; it's the goal: perfection. So, let us press on to perfection, let us not stop short. Let's not stay outside that second veil.

Then in chapter 7:19: ...(for the Law made nothing perfect), and on the other hand there is the bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God [through which we have access to God]. So notice, being made perfect includes having access to God. Anything that stops short of that is not perfect. Then in Hebrews 10:19–22: Since therefore, brethren, we have confidence to enter [into] the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience...

You notice where it says "perfection" it also implies "inside the second veil". Let us draw near into the Holy of Holies. In other words, in a certain sense, the theme of Hebrews is how to get into the Holy of Holies. That's all contained, in a certain sense, in my outline called "The Way into the Holiest". Now we have just a little longer so let's continue with verse 10. We're in Hebrews 9:10. ...[the sacrifices and ordinances of the Levitical covenant] relate[d] only to food and drink and various washings, regulations for the body imposed until a time of reformation [or of setting things right].

That time of reformation or of establishing a new order is referred to in 2 Corinthians 5. 2 Corinthians 5:16–18. Therefore from now on we recognize no man according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer. We are no longer interested in the historical Jesus, that's the essence of it. We are concerned with the eternal, divine, unchanging Christ who doesn't just speak Aramaic but can understand all languages. Verse 17: Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature [I much prefer new creation]; the old things have passed away;... new things have come. That's the new order. It comes through the knowledge of Christ, through direct access to Christ.

And in Revelation 21:4–5 we have the same picture. We'll begin in the middle of verse 4. "...there shall no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away". All those belong to the old order, thank God! Are you glad they belong to the old order? No more mourning, no more crying, no more pain. There was a man who had a serious illness which gave him tremendous pain, and he ultimately died of it. But, he was a believer so he ordained that on his tombstone they should write, "There shall be no more pain".

I think there are many people that will be glad of that. The first things have passed away. And then it says: "And He who sits on the throne said, 'Behold, I am making all things new.'" So, there's going to be a totally new order brought about by a divine, creative act of God who's on the throne, who carries out His own edicts. Then I'm sure John paused, and thought, Could that be true? That's surely too much. And the one on the throne said: "Write, for these words are faithful and true". We did succeed in getting to the top of Page 9/3. God helping us, we'll continue there.
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