Absence of Atonement in the Hebrew Scriptures
A discussion relevant to the absence of true regenerative atonement for sin in the Hebrew Scriptures i.e. The Adamic Covenant; The Noahic Covenant; The Covenant of Law encompassing the Sinai Commandments – the Law of Moses – the Prophets – the Psalms and the repercussions of same for those who reject Jesus Christ-Yeshua as Lord and Mediator for their sin…
From the creation of Adam forward, God the Father has permitted mankind to attain a state of righteousness (a right standing) with Him by faith, alone (Hebrews 11); unfortunately, righteousness by faith in the Hebrew Scriptures did NOT provide atonement for sin; therefore, every Old Testament saint, upon death of the body in Time, their disembodied spirit was relegated to the region Messiah describes in Luke 16 as Sheol/Hades-Paradise or Abraham’s Bosom (Luke 16:19-31). King David also spoke of this region, Sheol, that harbored disembodied spirits of God’s faithful from Adam to Messiah’s atoning death and David exclaimed that his soul at death of the body would not be abandoned in Sheol and that Messiah, the Holy One, would not suffer decay.
“For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol; Nor will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay.” Psalm 16:10 (NASB)
Today, many observant Jews, Israelite’s, Hebrew Roots advocates, Black Hebrew Israelite cultists, will insist that atonement was achieved for the sins of the people on the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 4:20–35) but an exegesis relevant to Leviticus (Chapter 4) concerning the root of the Hebrew word translated “atonement” in the Old Testament (v.35) is kaphar (wə-ḵip-per) which suggests a “covering” (to pacify) NOT complete removal. The Hebrew “kaphar” is also relevant in God’s command to Noah as God instructed Noah to cover the ark with pitch.
“Make yourself an ark of gopherwood; make rooms in the ark, and cover it (wə-ḵā-p̄ar-tā) inside and outside with pitch.” (Genesis 6:14)
Hebrew: Leviticus 4:35, see: https://biblehub.com/text/leviticus/4-35.htm
Hebrew: Genesis 6:14, see: https://biblehub.com/text/genesis/6-14.htm
“atonement” = kaphar: to appease
Original Word: כָּפַר
Part of Speech: Verb Transliteration: kaphar
Phonetic Spelling: (kaw-far’) Definition: to cover over, pacify, make propitiation
Concerning the Day of Atonement,
The Day of Atonement in the Covenant of Law, the Ark, the Mercy Seat, the Scapegoat, the ceremonial cleansing, all pointed to the coming Messiah, the Lamb of God (John 1:29) who would give Himself as a true and lasting atonement for sin (Hebrews 10; Matthew 10:28) as the blood of animals could NEVER take away sin or sufficiently appease God’s wrath concerning mankind’s sin (Hebrews 10:4); therefore, those Old Testament saints who died during the Adamic-Noahic-Mosaic periods could not enter into the Kingdom of God as their sin had not been sufficiently atoned for but only “covered” temporarily awaiting Messiah’s pure, complete and lasting blood atonement for the sins of the whole World (1 John 22; John 3:16-17).
Sin and God’s Kingdom,
It is eternally important to note that the Holy Spirit has clearly articulated that NOTHING impure will enter the Kingdom of God; therefore, unrepentant sin, sin not having been atoned for by Messiah’s sinless blood, will not be permitted to enter God’s presence subsequent to the death of the body in Time (Revelation 21:27); therefore, every Old Testament saint, upon death of the body in Time, their disembodied spirit was relegated to the region of Sheol-Paradise/Abraham’s Bosom and these saints patiently waited there until Messiah entered the Realm of Time and provided acceptable atonement for sin; once Messiah had shed His blood as atonement for sin and while His body laid in the tomb, Jesus Christ, in His Spirit, entered Sheol-Hades/Paradise and proclaimed freedom to the captives held there and escorted them into the Kingdom of God (John 3:16; Hebrews 10; Mathew 26:28; 1 Peter 3:18-20; Ephesians 4:8-9; Luke 16).
Today, in the Age of Grace established by the shed blood of Messiah (Matthew 26:28), everyone who dies in the body having repented of sin and sincerely believed in their heart, confessed with their mouth that Jesus Christ is their God who died to pay their sin debt, that person so believing and confessing Jesus as Lord is instantaneously translated into the presence of the Lord at their last exhalation in the Realm of Time (2 Corinthians 5:8; Romans 10:9-10).
Atonement in the Law of Moses?
There is no atonement for sin for the one seeking obedience to the Commandments or the 613-Levitical Laws as per Leviticus and reiterated in Deuteronomy. Though one “could” find righteousness (a right standing) with God the Father by pursuing the Law through faith in God’s holiness and righteousness as demonstrated by said Law, atonement remains absent; again, the blood of animals sprinkled upon an altar, including the Mercy Seat, could never take away the sin of the people but this ritual was a temporary covering offered annually by the High Priest as these animal sacrifices foreshadowed the coming Messiah as the ONLY acceptable Lamb of God who would take away the sins of the World (John 1:29).
The Holy Spirit testifies in this manner concerning the Law and atonement via the Epistle to the Hebrews,
It is written,
For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things, can never, by the same sacrifices which they offer continually year by year, make perfect those who draw near. 2 Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, because the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have had consciousness of sins? 3 But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins year by year. 4 For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. 5 Therefore, when He comes into the world, He says,“Sacrifice and offering You have not desired, But a body You have prepared for Me; 6 In whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You have taken no pleasure. 7 “Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come(In the scroll of the book it is written of Me) To do Your will, O God.’”8 After saying above, “Sacrifices and offerings and whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You have not desired, nor have You taken pleasure in them” (which are offered according to the Law), 9 then He said, “Behold, I have come to do Your will.” He takes away the first in order to establish the second. 10 By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.11 Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins; 12 but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God, 13 waiting from that time onward until His enemies be made a footstool for His feet. 14 For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified. 15 And the Holy Spirit also testifies to us; for after saying, 16 “This is the covenant that I will make with them After those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws upon their heart, And on their mind I will write them,”He then says,17 “And their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”18 Now where there is forgiveness of these things, there is no longer any offering for sin.19 Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; 24 and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, 25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near. Hebrews 10:1-25 (NASB)
Those who seek righteousness and atonement for sin through attempted obedience to the Law of Moses and the Commandments given at Sinai will NOT enter the Kingdom of God because there is no atonement available in seeking same through obedience to a Law that only condemns as it defines sin void a provision for attaining forgiveness through atonement (Romans 3:20); therefore, those who seek life in Eternity through the Law and reject Jesus as Lord for the atonement of sin, these will die in their sin (John 8:24) as that sin will follow them in death and at the point of death, the Age of Grace offering imputed atonement/righteousness by faith in Jesus Christ as Lord will end and only Judgment in condemnation will be forthcoming ultimately culminating in the “second death” in Hell (Hebrews 9:27; Revelation 20:11-15). Without Jesus Christ as our Lord for the atonement of sin paving the way to life in the Kingdom, mankind dies in sin and dies in Hell in futility (Matthew 16:26; John 14:6).