Summary: The Hebrew word Kippur or Kâpar literally means to cover-over or to cover-up. Yom Kippur points to the greatest cover-up in history.
THE GREATEST COVER-UP IN HISTORY: THE ATONEMENT
God established one day in the year to be set aside for Israel to observe that gave the most solemn representation of two facts – the sinfulness of men and God’s provision for a cover-up for men. That day is what we know today as Yom Kippur or the Day of Atonement, which Jews all over the world observed this past week. The Hebrew word Kippur or Kâpar literally means to cover-over or to cover-up. Yom Kippur points to the greatest cover-up in history. Before we can consider the means of the cover-up we must realize the necessity for a cover-up of monumental proportions.
I. The Necessity for a Cover-up of Monumental Proportions
A. God’s Holiness and Justice demands Judgment against sin.
1. God is holy with an absolute holiness that knows no degrees.
2. Zephaniah 3:5 "The just LORD is in the midst thereof; he will not do iniquity: every morning does he bring his judgment to light, he fails not…”
3. Job 34:12 "Yea, surely God will not do wickedly, neither will the Almighty pervert judgment."
4. Psalms 7:11 "God judges the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day."
B. Man’s sinfulness has alienated him from God placing him squarely beneath the judgment of God.
1. Romans 5:12 "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:"
2. Hebrews 9:27 "And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:"
3. A. W. Tozer (1897-1963) – “God’s justice stands forever against the sinner in utter severity. The vague and tenuous hope that God is too kind to punish the ungodly has become a deadly opiate for the consciences of millions. It hushes their fears and allows them to practice all pleasant forms of iniquity while death draws every day nearer and the command to repent goes disregarded. As responsible moral beings we dare not so trifle with our eternal future.”
4. There is a dynamic disease of sin operating within the soul of every man, woman, and child manifesting itself.
5. The only way to avoid the judgment of God is to have a way to cover-up our sinfulness.
II. The Means of Covering-up
A. There is a wrong way to cover-up
a. 1 John 1:8 "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us."
b. Denial of one’s sin protects, preserves, perpetuates that sin but in no way covers that sin up.
c. Bill Clinton’s adamant denial of his tryst with Monica Lewinsky is probably
2. Reformation and Religion
a. In John 15, Jesus Christ referred to men using a cloak for their sin. Many of the Pharisees were prime examples of this – religiously clean outward but inwardly filthy.
b. Jeremiah 2:22 “For though you wash yourself with niter, and take to yourself much soap, yet your iniquity is marked before me, saith the Lord GOD."
c. A whitewashed crow soon shows black again. – Chinese Proverb
d. 1 Samuel 16:7 “… the LORD sees not as man sees; for man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart."
3. Good Works
a. There are many who attempt to offset their actions with acts of benevolence and charity in the hope that each good deed will negate a bad deed.
b. Romans 3:12 “They are all gone out of the way; they are together become unprofitable; there is none that does good, no, not one."
c. Isaiah 64:6 "But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away."
B. There is a right or accepted way to cover-up
1. Involved the work of the right mediator – the High Priest
a. Someone with acceptability and accessibility to God
b. Acts 2:22 “… Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God …"
c. Acts 4:12 "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved."
d. 1 Timothy 2:5 "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;"
2. The Work of Two Goats
a. The Sacrificial Goat – to provide the covering for sin
1) Hebrews 9:22 “And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission."
2) Leviticus 17:11 "For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that makes an atonement for the soul."