From “Feast of Tabernacles,” Chapter 7- The Day of Atonement
“Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be a holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord…” (Lev. 23:27).
That full and complete Atonement was made for the whole human race by Jesus Christ on the Cross, there is no doubt whatsoever. But it is only too evident, as we consider our own individual lives, as well as that of the historical Church, that we have never really appropriated any real measure of the great atoning work of the Cross. And it is this experimental appropriation of the Atonement that the Church must now enter into. As there is a historical Pentecost, as well as an individual Pentecostal experience for all who will believe for it, so it is with the Atonement. All through the ages men have, by faith reached out and appropriated some measure of deliverance from sin; but as a Body and as a Church we have never really done so. But the Church’s deliverance from sin, as a Body, is just ahead–in the fulfillment of the great Day of Atonement by way of experience. The sin and carnality of the Church’s long career must be taken away from her midst before she can enter into the full blessing and power of the Feast of Tabernacles. Thank God for the Passover, in the first month, in virtue of which God has “passed over” the saints, not imputing their trespasses unto them. But the Church has been groaning with the apostle Paul for about two thousand years: “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Rom. 7:24). God has certainly heard our cries, and soon He shall bring His people into a glorious liberty in the Spirit, wherein they shall be completely delivered from their sins and their carnal nature. This shall be the experimental fulfillment of the Day of Atonement for the Church.
ON THE TENTH DAY
The Day of Atonement was observed on the tenth day of the seventh month. The seventh month is the sabbath month–the month of rest. Even now the saints who are entering into the unfolding plans and purposes of God for this hour, and are becoming established with gifts and ministries in the Spirit–they are experiencing a rest which they have never known in the past, despite all the perplexing problems which might arise from time to time. And we may rest assured, there will be many more problems and trials arising in the near future. The Day of Atonement will be a time of great trial and sifting for God’s people. The number “ten” signifies trial and testing. The greatest test ever submitted to man, the Law of Moses, was written on tablets of stone and comprised ten commandments. Then we find that Daniel made this request, “Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days” (Dan. 1:12). And again, Jesus promised the Church in Smyrna (which signifies “bitterness”), “Ye shall have tribulation ten days; be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life” (Rev. 2:10). Then you will remember how the early disciples tarried for the Holy Spirit from the Ascension until Pentecost, a period of ten days–and what times of trial and sifting they must have been, knowing practically nothing of what they were to expect. There is no doubt, therefore, that from now till the fulfillment of the Day of Atonement in the Church, God’s people are going to be subjected to great times of testing and trial–with a view to perfecting them, and rewarding them as overcomers. The hour has come for judgment to “begin at the house of God” (1 Pet. 4:17). God is sifting, sifting, sifting His people as never before, in preparation for the Day of Atonement and the Feast of Tabernacles. GHW
In Luke 22:31-32, Jesus tells Peter that Satan has asked for him, to sift him as wheat. But Jesus says He has prayed for Peter that his faith fail not. There is a difference between Satan’s sifting and God’s sifting. God sifts His people for purity and refinement. Satan attempts to sift us for our destruction.
In Hebrews 12:4-12 we read, “4 You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin; 5and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons,
‘My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
Nor faint when you are punished by Him;
6For whom the Lord loves He disciplines,
And He punishes every son whom He accepts.’
7It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. 9Furthermore, we had [earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much more be subject to the Father of [e]spirits, and live? 10For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. 11For the moment, all discipline seems not to be pleasant, but painful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterward it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. 12Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, 13and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is impaired may not be dislocated, but rather be healed.”