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Two Stages of Atonement. Adapted from: Roy Gane, Altar Call (Berrien Springs, MI: Diadem, 1999). Exodus 25:8. “And have them make me a sanctuary, so that I may dwell among them” (NRSV). Variety of Sacrifices (Leviticus 1-7).

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Two stages of atonement

Two Stages of Atonement

Adapted from:

Roy Gane, Altar Call (Berrien Springs, MI: Diadem, 1999)


Exodus 25:8

“And have them make me a sanctuary, so that I may dwell among them” (NRSV).



The multi-faceted magnificence of Christ’s sacrifice explainswhy there were different kinds of animal sacrifices at the Israelite sanctuary (Lev 1-7).



Purification Offering 9:25-28).(so-called “Sin Offering”)


Purification offering and forgiveness
Purification Offering and Forgiveness 9:25-28).

  • Blood was applied to horns (highest points) of outer or inner altar, so elevated and emphasized.

  • Christ’s blood ransoms/redeems human lives from deadly “debt” of sin (Lev 17:11; Matt 6:12; 1 Pet 1:18-19; Eph 1:7).


Purification offering and forgiveness1
Purification Offering and Forgiveness 9:25-28).

  • Blood on horns of an altar.

  • The more prominent the blood, the more powerful the atonement.

  • Two kinds of purification offerings:

    (1) For high priest or community (Lev 4:3-21): blood into “Holy Place.”

    (2) For other persons (vv. 22-35): blood only on outer altar.


Purification offering and forgiveness2
Purification Offering and Forgiveness 9:25-28).

  • Emphasis on blood, representing ransom for life (Lev 17:11).

  • Required for sin or serious physical impurity (Lev 4-5, 12, 15, etc.).

  • Token payment of obligation/debt.

  • So offerer couldn’t eat, and purification offering performed before burnt offering gift (Lev 9:8-14, 15-16).


Purification offering and forgiveness3
Purification Offering and Forgiveness 9:25-28).

  • Pointed to Christ’s sacrifice as the way for God to “forgive us our debts” (Matt 6:12).

  • Paid by blood, so debt for life = ransom.

  • Only Christ can pay this price (1 Pet 1:18-19), which we can never pay (Ps 49:7).


Purification offering and forgiveness4
Purification Offering and Forgiveness 9:25-28).

  • Lev. 6:27 ‘Anyone who touches its flesh will become consecrated; and when any of its blood splashes on a garment, in a holy place you shall wash what was splashed on.

  • Lev. 6:28 ‘Also the earthenware vessel in which it was boiled shall be broken; and if it was boiled in a bronze vessel, then it shall be scoured and rinsed in water.



God s forgiveness
God’s Forgiveness ritual altar, but on the cross.

  • Why can’t God forgive without sacrifice?

  • Love includes justice + mercy.

  • Mercy at the expense of justice would compromise love.

  • Having broken the law of love, we must die.

  • But love makes God want to save us (Jn 3:16; Judg 10:16)!

  • Christ’s sacrifice extends mercy with justice (Rom 3:26).


Day of Atonement Made Simple ritual altar, but on the cross.


Day of atonement made simple
Day of Atonement Made Simple ritual altar, but on the cross.

  • Purification offering (to the Lord) bull for priests.

  • Purification offering goat for laypeople.

  • Purification ritual (not a sacrifice) goat from everyone to Azazel.

  • Burnt offering ram for priests.

  • Burnt offering ram for laypeople.


Day of atonement made simple1
Day of Atonement Made Simple ritual altar, but on the cross.

  • Only the purification offering goat for laypeople had independent significance pointing to Christ’s sacrifice.

  • The bull and ram for priests were necessary because the priests were faulty.

  • The burnt offering ram for laypeople added to the quantity of their purification offering (compare Lev 5:6-7; Num 15:24-28).


Day of atonement made simple2
Day of Atonement Made Simple ritual altar, but on the cross.

  • Cleansing the sanctuary and camp all boils down to “a tale of two goats.”

  • Lord’s goat for laypeople carried meaning of Christ’s role for His people.

  • Nonsacrificial live goat for Azazel represented someone else.

  • That is the Day of Atonement made simple!


Two Goats ritual altar, but on the cross.


Two Stages Of Atonement ritual altar, but on the cross.

Evils came into the Israelite sanctuary throughout the year and were taken out of it on the Day of Atonement.

What goes in must come out!


Two stages of atonement1
Two Stages Of Atonement ritual altar, but on the cross.


Two stages of atonement2
Two Stages Of Atonement ritual altar, but on the cross.


Two stages of atonement3
Two Stages Of Atonement ritual altar, but on the cross.

  • Purging sanctuary on Day of Atonement removed all evils that had already been removed from persons by sacrifices throughout the year (Lev 16:16).

  • Reversal of blood applications in holy place.

  • Difference in purification of assistants.


Two stages of atonement4
Two Stages Of Atonement ritual altar, but on the cross.


High Priest sprinkling blood on ark cover ritual altar, but on the cross.


Two stages of atonement5
Two Stages Of Atonement ritual altar, but on the cross.


Two stages of atonement6
Two Stages Of Atonement ritual altar, but on the cross.

  • Disposing of purification offering carcasses on Day of Atonement makes assistant impure (Lev 16:28).

  • On other days such a task does not defile assistants (Lev 4:11-12, 21).

  • Due to opposite function: sacrifices carrying evils in (Lev 4; compare 6:27) and out (Lev 16).


Forgiving guilty people
Forgiving Guilty People ritual altar, but on the cross.


Forgiving guilty people1
Forgiving Guilty People ritual altar, but on the cross.

  • God’s headquarters are at His heavenly sanctuary/throne (Ps 11:4; Jer 17:12).

  • God’s throne/sanctuary represents His character, authority, and reputation.

  • God’s “name” at sanctuary (Deut 12:5, 11).

  • His “name” involves His reputation (Ezek 20:9).


Forgiving guilty people2
Forgiving Guilty People ritual altar, but on the cross.

Evils cleansed out of earthly sanctuary on Day of Atonement (Lev 16:16), clearing His reputation:

  • Physical ritual impurities

  • Rebellious sins (“transgressions”)

  • Forgivable “sins”


Forgiving guilty people3
Forgiving Guilty People ritual altar, but on the cross.

  • Why would forgivable “sins” be handled twice at the sanctuary?

  • After forgiveness, what need for atonement could remain?

  • The woman of Tekoa to David: “The blame is on me, my lord the king, and on my father’s house, but the king and his throne are clean” (2 Sam 14:9; translation by Roy Gane).


Forgiving guilty people4
Forgiving Guilty People ritual altar, but on the cross.

  • God is like David: morally responsible for His judgments, including forgiveness of guilty people.

  • Having paid our ransom (Matt 20:28), God is just when He justifies those who have faith in Jesus (Rom 3:26).

  • God balances justice and mercy, the two sides of love (Ps 85:10).


Cleansed through judgment
Cleansed Through Judgment ritual altar, but on the cross.

  • Judgment between loyal and disloyal (Dan 7).

  • = Justifying/cleansing God’s (heavenly) sanctuary (Dan 8).

  • Justifying God’s sanctuary through judgment clears God’s reputation.

  • Like Day of Atonement: judged when sanctuary cleansed (Lev 23:29-30).


Cleansed through judgment1
Cleansed Through Judgment ritual altar, but on the cross.

  • How can judgment justify God’s sanctuary?

  • God’s throne represents His justice (Ps 89:14; compare 2 Sam 14:9).

  • God’s justice must be vindicated because He forgives guilty people.

  • He also must be vindicated when He condemns rebels who defame Him, illegitimately defiling His sanctuary (Lev 20:3; Num 19:13, 20).


Sanctuary and God’s Reputation ritual altar, but on the cross.


Sanctuary and god s reputation
Sanctuary and God’s Reputation ritual altar, but on the cross.

  • God’s reputation matters.

  • By forgiving guilty people, God lays Himself open to a charge of injustice.



Sanctuary and god s reputation1
Sanctuary and God’s Reputation repentant people.

  • God is vindicated when He justifies those who have faith (Rom 3:26).

  • But Satan continues to accuse (Rev 12:10) by saying that people do not really have faith.


Sanctuary and god s reputation2
Sanctuary and God’s Reputation repentant people.

  • God is not fully justified until an end-time judgment because He cannot save a person who does not have (present tense) faith (Col 1:21-23).

  • The question is: Who has faith in Jesus?

  • The question is not: Who has sinned? (Rom 3:23).


Sanctuary and god s reputation3
Sanctuary and God’s Reputation repentant people.

  • Only God can read thoughts (see Ps 139:23; Lk 7:39-40).

  • So the judgment considers records (Dan 7:10) of works (Eccl 12:14) showing whether true faith exists (James 2:26; Gal 5:6).

  • The judgment reaffirms assurance of those who are forgiven (Dan 7:22).


Sanctuary and god s reputation4
Sanctuary and God’s Reputation repentant people.

  • Having faith and receiving forgiveness means receiving Christ and the transformation He brings to our lives through the Holy Spirit (Rom 8).


Sanctuary and god s reputation5
Sanctuary and God’s Reputation repentant people.

“God’s forgiveness is not merely a judicial act by which He sets us free from condemnation. It is not only forgiveness for sin, but reclaiming from sin. It is the outflow of redeeming love that transforms the heart.


Sanctuary and god s reputation6
Sanctuary and God’s Reputation repentant people.

David had the true conception of forgiveness when he prayed, ‘Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.’ Psalm 51:10.” (Ellen G. White, Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, p. 114).


Sanctuary and god s reputation7
Sanctuary and God’s Reputation repentant people.

  • We can look forward to God’s judgment as deliverance (Ps 26:1; 35:24)!

  • Unlike the woman of Tekoa, we need not bear responsibility for pardon (Isa 55:1).

  • We can leave to God the cost of mercy!


“Steadfast love and faithfulness will meet; righteousness and peace will kiss each other” (Ps 85:10; NRSV).


Books by roy e gane dealing with ritual activity systems and the character of god
Books by Roy E. Gane dealing with Ritual Activity Systems and the Character of God

  • Altar Call. Berrien Springs, MI: Diadem, 1999.

  • Leviticus-Numbers. NIV Application Commentary series;Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2004.

  • Ritual Dynamic Structure. Piscataway, NJ: Gorgias Press, 2004.

  • Cult and Character: Purification Offerings, Day of Atonement, and Theodicy. Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2005.

  • Who’s Afraid of the Judgment? Nampa, ID: Pacific Press, 2006.

  • “Leviticus.”In The Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary on the Old Testament; Grand Rapids: Zondervan, forthcoming.


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