by John M. Riddle
PROPITIATION AND GOD’S LOVE IN CHRIST
PROPITIATION AND THE BLOOD OF CHRIST
PROPITIATION AND FAITH IN CHRIST
PROPITIATION AND THE PRIESTHOOD OF CHRIST
PROPITIATION AND THE ADVOCACY OF CHRIST
Read: Luke 18.9-14; Romans 3.9-26; Hebrews 2.17,18; 1 John 2.1,2; 1 John 4.9,10
In His parable of the two men praying in the temple, Lk.18.9-14, the Lord Jesus referred to the publican as follows: “And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes to heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.” Unlike the Pharisee, who belonged to a class “which trusted in themselves that they were righteous”, the publican “went down to his house justified rather than the other”.
While the great Bible doctrine of justification by faith has been discussed in chapter 4 of this volume, and no detailed comment is therefore necessary on that subject, the Lord’s parable does emphasise the basis on which justification rests. The publican, who utterly surpassed the Pharisee in spiritual intelligence, was thoroughly aware that the blessing he sought and enjoyed, rested upon shed blood. This is conveyed by his words, “God be merciful to me a sinner” where the word rendered “merciful” (from hilaskomai) means ‘to be propitious’ (W. E. Vine) and occurs again in Heb.2.17, “to make propitiation (A.V. ‘reconciliation’) for the sins of the people.” (J.N.D.). The fact that the Lord Jesus Christ, as “a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God”, undertook this work, clearly alludes to procedure on the Day of Atonement when the blood “of the goat of the sin offering, that is for the people” was sprinkled “upon the mercy seat, and before the mercy seat” Lev.16.15. As C.I.Scofield points out, “As an instructed Jew, the publican is thinking, not of mere mercy, but of the blood sprinkled mercy-seat … His prayer might be paraphrased, “Be toward me as thou art when thou lookest upon the atoning blood”. The Bible knows nothing of Divine forgiveness apart from sacrifice.
Like the publican, we have come to realise that we could not hope to enjoy one shred of God’s blessing unless the claims of His righteousness had been fully met, causing us to sing:
- The blood of Christ, Thy spotless Lamb,
- O God, is all my plea;
- Naught else could for my sin atone;
- I have no merit of my own
- Which I can bring to Thee.
- (W.S.W. Pond)
The Pocket Oxford Dictionary defines ‘propitiation’ as “appeasement, a gift or act meant to gain the favour or tolerance of another.” According to this definition, the ‘favour or tolerance’ had to be earned. In the Old Testament, Jacob said, “I will appease (‘propitiate’, J.N.D.) him (Esau) with the present (‘gift’, J.N.D.) that goeth before me,” Gen.32.20. The idea of appeasement is illustrated in Prov.21.14, “A gift in secret pacifieth anger, and a reward in the bosom strong wrath.” But whilst in normal Greek use the word ‘propitiate’ means to conciliate or appease, this is foreign to the New Testament. The pagan idea of propitiation was that angry gods needed to be appeased before they would bestow favour upon their devotees. The Bible teaches differently: God’s love for sinful men provides the very sacrifice through which their sins can be righteously put away: “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins” 1 Jn.4.10. Propitiation does not mean that through the death of His Son at Calvary, God’s anger has given place to a favourable mind toward us, but that His love for us has provided the sacrifice on which our utmost blessing can be secured.
The death of the Lord Jesus Christ as “the propitiation for our sins:” is the foundation of our salvation. The Psalmist said, “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?” Ps.11.3, to which the ‘righteous’ can reply, “I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor anything taken away from it” Eccl.3.14.
With this in mind, it is most important to notice that while the New Testament passages dealing with propitiation allude to the Day of Atonement, there is an immense distinction between atonement and propitiation. While the word ‘atonement’ occurs once in the New Testament A.V., Rom.5.11, the word katallasso actually means ‘reconciliation’ and is elsewhere translated in that way. See, for example, 2 Cor.5.19. ‘Atonement’ is not a New Testament word, and it is not a New Testament subject. It is essentially an Old Testament word since it means ‘to cover’ and it involved repetition.
In connection with its meaning ‘to cover’, we should remember that in view of the death of Christ, God passed over sins in the Old Testament period: “Whom (Christ Jesus) God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission (‘passing by’, J.N.D.) of sins that are passed, through the forbearance of God;” Rom.3.25. J.N.D’s footnote here is helpful: “God had passed by, not brought into judgment, the sins of Old Testament believers.” But nevertheless those sins must be judged and therefore the value of Christ’s death extended backwards as well as forwards. In the Old Testament, God ‘passed by’ sins in view of the coming death of His Son. He has now dealt with those sins in exactly the same way that He has dealt with the sins of every believer today. Strictly speaking therefore, it is not appropriate to speak of “Christ’s atoning death”. Hymnology can be misleading on this point although, in their defence, it must be said that hymn-writers do use such expressions as “once atone” and “full atonement”.
In connection with the Old Testament repetition of atonement, the New Testament reminds us, “there is a remembrance again made of sins every year” Heb.10.3, but now, because “by one offering He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified” Heb.10.14, God can declare, “their sins and iniquities will I remember no more” Heb.10.17. Speaking of the death of Christ, we read, “Nor yet that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year (on the Day of Atonement) with the blood of others; for then must He often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world (‘in the consummation of the ages’, J.N.D.) hath He appeared, to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself” Heb.9.25,26.
In the New Testament, the subject of propitiation is presented in a range of different but complementary connections. The relevant words occur six times in the original text (Lk.18.13; Rom.3.25; Heb.2.17, Heb.9.5; 1 Jn.2.2; 1 Jn.4.10), and it might be helpful to consider the passages in the following chronological order, commencing with the source of propitiation and concluding with the blessings secured by propitiation:
- Propitiation and God’s love in Christ;
- Propitiation and the blood of Christ;
- Propitiation and faith in Christ;
- Propitiation and the priesthood of Christ;
- Propitiation and the advocacy of Christ.
Robert McClurkin draws attention to “the setting in the three epistles where the word ‘propitiation’ is found – Romans, Hebrews, and 1 John. Three great truths are expounded in these books: justification, sanctification, and spiritual relationship in the family of God. In Romans, propitiation enables God to justify and Christ to become Saviour. In Hebrews, propitiation enables God to sanctify and Christ to become Priest. In 1 John, propitiation enables God to become Father, and Christ to become Advocate to maintain the enjoyment of that relationship. In Romans, it is the sin-offering aspect of the propitiation that is prominent. In Hebrews, it is the burnt-offering aspect, while in 1 John it is the peace-offering aspect, reconciling God in a family relationship with all enmity destroyed.”
PROPITIATION AND GOD’S LOVE IN CHRIST
“In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent His only begotten Son into the world that we might live through Him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins” 1 Jn.4.9, 10.
The Lord Jesus was “manifested to take away our sins” 3.5, “manifested, that He might destroy (‘undo’, J.N.D.) the works of the devil” 3.8, and “manifested … that we might live through Him” 4.9. Since “love is of God” 4.7, and “God is love” 4.8, every blessing that we enjoy finds its source in His love for us. We never tire of repeating the precious words, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son” Jn.3.16. Divine love took the initiative in accomplishing our salvation, and it is worth pointing out that this becomes clear on the very threshold of the Bible. “And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?” Gen.3.9, not because He sought information, but to emphasise to Adam that sin had destroyed their fellowship and opened a vast gulf between them. The lesson is clear: recognition of alienation from God is the first step towards salvation. The love that sought fallen Adam in Eden ultimately brought the Saviour from heaven. He came “to seek and to save that which was lost” Lk.19.10, and in order to accomplish the salvation of the lost He became “the propitiation for our sins”.
In this connection we should notice three important matters.
Firstly, God’s love has been “manifested” His love is not theoretical. It is not a piece of abstract theology. It is not a nice heart-warming idea. His love has been demonstrated in history. It is factual: “Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and … was buried. And … He rose again the third day according to the scriptures; and … He was seen …” 1 Cor.15.3-5. Salvation is based on well-attested facts!
Secondly, God’s love was displayed in His “only begotten Son”. This expression is a term of deepest affection, and this can be demonstrated from Heb.11.17: “he that received the promises, offered up his only begotten son”. Abraham did have other sons, but only Isaac is called “his only begotten son”, and it was of him that the Lord said, “Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest …” Gen.22.2. God’s love has been displayed in the death of the very Son Whom He loved infinitely and eternally.
Thirdly, the Lord Jesus did not become the Son of God in incarnation: He was sent as the Son.
To think that God should ever love us is amazing. But to think that His love towards us has been manifested in the death of His beloved Son, causes us to exclaim, “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it” Ps.139.6. But even this is exceeded when we read, “He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” The word “propitiation” here is a noun (hilasmos) and refers to the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus. He is “the propitiation” signifying that “He Himself, through the expiatory sacrifice of His death, is the personal means by whom God shows mercy to the sinner who believes on Christ as the One thus provided” (W. E. Vine). As the ‘propitiation’, He met in full the wrath of God against our sin. All this out of God’s love for us, causing us to sing:
- How helpless and hopeless we sinners had been
- If He never had loved us till cleansed from our sin!
- (A. T. Pierson)
We must not leave this aspect of propitiation without noticing the fact that the death of the Lord Jesus in this way is not only “the great expression of God’s love toward man”: it is also “the reason why Christians should love one another” (W. E. Vine) The latter is expressed as an exhortation, “let us love one another” 1 Jn.4.7, as an obligation, “we ought also to love one another” 1 Jn.4.11, where the word “ought” means ‘to owe it’, and as a commandment, “And this commandment have we from Him, That he who loveth God love his brother also” 1 Jn.4.21. Since God’s love has been factual and tangible, our love for each other should be “in deed and in truth” 1 Jn.3.18.
PROPITIATION AND THE BLOOD OF CHRIST
“But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested … even the righteousness of God, which is by faith of Jesus Christ, unto all and upon all them that believe … being justified freely by His grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth (manifested) to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins which are past through the forbearance of God; to declare, I say, at this time His righteousness: that He might be just and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus” Rom.3.21-26.
If in 1 Jn.4.9,10 we are taught that propitiation finds its source in the love of God, then here we are taught that propitiation is displayed in the presence of God. This is clear from the fact that in this case the word “propitiation” (hilasterion) alludes to the mercy-seat which covered the ark of the covenant. The same word occurs in Heb.9.5, “And over it the cherubims of glory shadowing the mercy seat”, and according to W. E. Vine it is used frequently of the mercy-seat in the Septuagint Version of the Old Testament. It should be remembered that the mercy-seat was not the place where expiation for sin was made. That was accomplished at the brazen altar, Lev.16.9, but the blood of the victim was sprinkled on and before the mercy-seat to demonstrate that propitiation was complete, prefiguring the presentation of Christ’s finished work in the presence of God, for “neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood, He entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us” Heb.9.12. Reference is made to the blood in more than a literal and physical sense. It stands for the life of the victim. His blood was shed under Divine judgment. As W. E. Vine points out, “By metonymy, ‘blood’ is sometimes put for ‘death’, inasmuch as, blood being essential to life, Lev.17.11, when the blood is shed life is given up. The fundamental principle on which God deals with sinners is expressed in the words “apart from shedding of blood”, i.e., unless death takes place, “there is no remission” Heb.9.22.
Three great Bible words stand before us in Rom.3.24-25, “being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth (to be) a propitiation …”. If redemption stresses the effect of Christ’s work towards sinful men and women, then propitiation stresses the effect of Christ’s work towards a righteous and holy God. Sin has a twofold effect: it is, first of all, dishonouring to God. “Sin outraged His holiness, insulted His majesty, defied His righteous government’ (W. R. Newell). Secondly, it ruins the sinner. God’s claims must be met before sinful men and women can be cleared of guilt, and the death of the Lord Jesus made this possible. As W. R. Newell observes, “We should learn to look at the cross as first of all glorifying God; and not solely from the viewpoint of the blessed and eternal benefits accruing to us thereby!” We can only be redeemed because God has been propitiated, and as we have noted above, Romans chapter 3 emphasises the place in which propitiation is displayed.
It is most important to remember that on the Day of Atonement, it was the blood of the goat on “which the Lord’s lot fell” Lev.16.9, that made the “mercy seat” effective. No blood was sprinkled upon the people: it was all sprinkled in the presence of God. Unlike the other sacrifices for sin, this sacrifice was not charged with the personal sin of the offerer. This is why it is called “the goat upon which the Lord’s lot fell.” This sacrifice did not require faith to make it effective. It was not applied to any man, not even the high priest himself. The blood of the slain goat bore witness that death had taken place, and that the claims of God against sin had been fully met. God and man could only meet at the mercy seat when it had been sprinkled with shed blood. Otherwise, it spelt instant death to all who dared to approach. But God had said, “There I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat” Ex.25.22, reminding us that God, Who alone knew the requirements of His own righteousness, has met them in full through the death of His Son.
The Lord Jesus has become the true “mercy seat”, not through incarnation alone, neither by His perfect life alone, but by His death. Hence we read, “Whom God hath set forth (to be) a propitiation … in His blood.” Through His shed blood, He has become the meeting-place between God and man. This provision is unlimited. None is excluded from benefit. “He gave Himself a ransom for all” – whether any avail themselves of it or not. God is in a position to save all men. See 1 Jn.2.2, “And He is the propitiation (hilasmos) for our sins; but not for ours alone, but also for the whole world” (J.N.D).
We must emphasise again that the death of the Lord Jesus Christ is the only ground on which God has ever dealt with human sin. In Rom.3.25, Paul looks at the position of men and women before His death, and in v.26, he looks at the position of men and women since His death.
The death of the Lord Jesus declares “His righteousness for the remission (passing over) of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God” v.25. But this did not mean that God had “forgotten or abated His wrath against sin” (W. R. Newell). Those sins must be punished, but God withheld punishment at the time, and it was met in full by the Lord Jesus. God has now “set forth” (made perfectly clear) the ground on which He had withheld judgment, and displayed that He was perfectly righteous in “the passing over of the sins done aforetime” (R.V.). Very clearly, the forgiveness enjoyed in Old Testament times did not rest on animal sacrifice: “It is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins…sacrifice and offering and burnt-offerings and offering for sin Thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein” Heb.10.4-8. The Old Testament sacrifices, including the sin-offering on the Day of Atonement, had no intrinsic value. But they did have an extrinsic value inasmuch by offering the sacrifices required by God, men and women put themselves in a position to benefit from the future work of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The death of the Lord Jesus declares “at this time His righteousness: that He might be just and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus” Rom.3.26. Very clearly then, sins committed prior to the cross, and sins committed after the cross, have been dealt with on precisely the same basis: the death of the Lord Jesus at Calvary. His death enables God to deal righteously with the question of sin. Without the death of Christ, justification would have been unjust and impossible. But through the death of the Lord Jesus, “God is (a) just, and (b) the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus”. Faith in the Lord Jesus enables God, because of the shed blood of His beloved Son, to pronounce the guilty sinner righteous. Unlike court rulings today, which are liable to reversal or alteration, this can never be overturned. God is the “Judge of all the earth” and He sits in the highest and most righteous court of the universe.
PROPITIATION AND FAITH IN CHRIST
It is important to rightly understand the words “Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past …” Rom.3.25 (A.V.). The insertion of additional commas makes the meaning clearer: “whom God set forth to be a propitiation, through faith, by His blood, to shew His righteousness, because of the passing over of the sins done aforetime…” (R.V.). W. E. Vine points out that the rendering “faith in His blood” is incorrect. “Faith is never said to be in the blood. Faith rests in a living Person. Faith is the means of making the pardon ours; the blood is the means of its effect.”
Even so, it is important to remember that it is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ that brings us into the good of His work at Calvary. The words “through faith” occur here as part of the emphasis in the passage upon the means of justification. It has been pointed out that the words, “the propitiation for our sins”, are the language of faith and that all may cry “God be merciful to me a sinner”.
PROPITIATION AND THE PRIESTHOOD OF CHRIST
“Wherefore in all things it behoved Him to made like unto His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation (‘propitiation’, J.N.D.) for the sins of the people: for in that He Himself hath suffered being tempted, He is able to succour them that are tempted” Heb.2.17,18. The word rendered ‘reconciliation’ (A.V.) is the verb hilaskomai. The distinction between reconciliation and propitiation is that persons are reconciled and sins are propitiated.
If in Romans chapter 3, propitiation is the basis of our justification and in 1 John chapter 2 it is the basis of Christ’s advocacy, then in Hebrews chapter 2 it is the basis of His priesthood. It is important to remember that Hebrews presents two aspects of the high priestly work of the Lord Jesus, and both of these are present here. The Lord Jesus is “a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God”, firstly, “to make reconciliation (propitiation) for the sins of the people” and, secondly, “to succour them that are tempted.” The first is complete: the work will never be repeated. The second is continuous: the work goes on day by day. The implications of ‘succour’ can be illustrated with reference to the ministry of Melchisedec to Abraham. He refreshed and strengthened the battle-weary warrior, and enabled him to resist the king of Sodom (Genesis chapter 14). In the Old Testament, the high priest sprinkled the blood on the Day of Atonement, thus laying the basis of approach to God, and on that basis he was able to represent them before God. The propitiatory work of the Lord Jesus is the foundation of His high-priestly ministry on our behalf. He has dealt with the question of our sin and unrighteousness, and we can rightly sing:
- Jesus, my great High Priest,
- Offered His blood, and died:
- My guilty conscience seeks
- No sacrifice beside:
- His powerful blood did once atone,
- And now it pleads before the throne.
- (I. Watts)
PROPITIATION AND THE ADVOCACY OF CHRIST
“My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world” 1 Jn.2.1,2.
In 1 John, the word “sin” translates, not two different words, but two different tenses. For example, in 3.9 the words, “whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin;” mean that believers do not practise sin. But here, in 2.1, the words, “if any man sin,” mean sin at a given point in time. “It is not a question of the practice of sin, but of some definite failure” (H. A. Ironside). It is important to understand the difference between these two examples. People who are saved “walk in the light”. They hate sin, and love holiness. Sin really does grieve them when it occurs in their lives: they certainly don’t practise sin. People who say they are saved, but continue without change in their lives, are unsaved. They “walk in darkness.”
When a believer sins, confession is required: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” 1 Jn.1.9. But the Lord Jesus is involved in our restoration: “If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:” 1 Jn.2.1. The word “Advocate” is rendered “Comforter” in Jn.14.26; 15.26; 16.7. According to W. E. Vine, the word “was used in a court of justice to denote a legal assistant, counsel for the defence, and advocate; then generally, one who pleads another’s cause, intercessor, advocate, as in 1 Jn.2.1.” While the wider meaning of the word – “one called alongside to help” – is better suited to John’s gospel chapters14-16, where the Lord Jesus refers to the work of the Holy Spirit, it is important to remember that Bible words must always be understood by their context. In 1 John, the context is most certainly legal – sin has been committed – and so the strict legal implications of ‘advocate’ are applicable. The passage does not say, “If we confess our sins, we have an Advocate with the Father”, but “if any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father”. The Lord Jesus acts on our behalf immediately we sin: He takes up our case at the very moment of failure. He acts, not before God, but before the Father. “We have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous”. This distinction is most important. When we sin, our position before God is unaltered, and therefore we do not need an Advocate with God. If this verse said, “we have an Advocate with God, it would imply that the question of sin was not settled. But, thank God, it is settled. “The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin” 1 Jn.1.7. The question of sin before God has been dealt with righteously and judicially. If we need an “Advocate with God”, we can no longer talk about salvation through the “finished work of Christ”. On the human level, a father may have erring children, but they remain his children and, to quote Wm. Lincoln, “there is all the difference in the world between our Father seeing our sin, and God seeing our sin.” Sin grieves our Father, but it is eternally settled before God. When believers sin, their relationship with God has not been disturbed, but their relationship with the Father has been disturbed. To put it another way, our union with God cannot be broken: but our communion with the Father can be broken. It has been nicely said that the purpose of Christ’s advocacy is not to bring children into the family, but to maintain them in the family.
The Lord Jesus can act as our “Advocate with the Father”, first of all, because He is “Jesus Christ the righteous” and, secondly, because “He is the propitiation for our sins”. Our Advocate has been here: His perfect righteousness was demonstrated in a sinful world, and He is therefore perfectly qualified to act on our behalf. He does this, not by pleading mitigating circumstances or vain excuses, but as “the propitiation for our sins”. Who better to plead our cause before the Father than the very One who met the wrath of God against sin? He pleads His own death as the ground on which the Father can show mercy to His erring child. It is most important to notice that John does not say, “He was the propitiation for our sins:” but that “He is the propitiation for our sins:” This emphasises the abiding efficacy of His work at Calvary. As in 4.10, John uses the word hilasmos, emphasising that He is Himself the very sacrifice through which God can show mercy.
In summary, it can be said that whilst the Lord’s priesthood is dependent, amongst other things, on His likeness to us, His advocacy is dependent on His unlikeness to us. His priesthood is designed to strengthen us: His advocacy is designed to restore us.
We must address another most important matter here. The A.V. reads, “He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” but the R.V. (with J.N.D.) contains a significant alteration, “He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the whole world.” Only the believer can say, “He is the propitiation for my sins.” If Christ is the propitiation “for the sins of the whole world” then the whole world is saved and bound for heaven. But that is not stated. Rather, “He is the propitiation … for the whole world.” This is best illustrated by further reference to the procedure on the Day of Atonement recorded in Leviticus chapter 16. As we have seen, the first of the two goats was “for the Lord”: it was “the goat on which the Lord’s lot fell vv.8,9. Its blood was sprinkled “upon the mercy seat, and before the mercy seat” v.15. No sins were confessed over this goat: the blood met God’s claims against sin. No sins could be remitted until that blood was in the presence of God and His name had been vindicated and honoured. The blood of the Lord Jesus has fully met God’s claims, so that the servant of God can “beseech and intreat even His enemies to be reconciled to God” (Wm. Kelly). Propitiation is the basis of the gospel: it tells us that God is in a position to save: “whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord”. None is excluded from the scope of that message. “No one is, by divine pre-determination excluded from the scope of God’s mercy” (W. E. Vine). The doctrine of ‘limited atonement’ is totally foreign to Scripture.
The Lord Jesus did not die on behalf of the elect alone. But only those who come to Christ, confessing their sins, and relying upon Him in faith for salvation, can say, “He is the propitiation for my sins”. That is, by taking the position described in connection with the second goat (the scapegoat) in Lev.16.21, “And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, in all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them on the head of the goat.” In the words of Count N. L. von Zinzendorf:
Lord, I believe Thy precious blood,
- Which, at the mercy seat of God,
- Forever doth for sinners plead,
- For me, e’en for my soul was shed.
- Lord, I believe were sinners more
- Than sands upon the ocean shore,
- Thou hast for all a ransom paid,
- For all a full atonement made.
We can confidently proclaim the grand Gospel message that “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” Jn.3.16.