“This is what he is to do with the bull — he must do the same with this bull as he does with the one for the purification offering. Thus the cohen will make atonement for them, and they will be forgiven.”-Leviticus 4:20
There is only one difference between the HATTA-AT or Purification Offering procedures when it is done for the sins of the High Priest and when it is done for the sins of the whole congregation of Israel.
The only difference is the age of the bull.
Other than that, the ritual is the same.
This demonstrates the near equality and extreme seriousness and responsibility of the sins for both entities (High Priest and all Israel).
Now notice the portion of the verses above that I have bolded and highlighted.
“….thus the Priest will make atonement for them, and they will be forgiven”
This is sad to say, but unfortunately the modern gentile church is practically unanimous in its misunderstanding of this verse.
Probably because of a combination of anti-Semitism, not having a proper understanding of the Hebrew language, and adhering to this idea that “the Law has been done away with”.
Let’s take a look at the Hebrew word for to “make atonement”.
The Hebrew word is KIPPER and its meaning is very clear.
It means to “disinfect”, “cleanse” or “wipe clean”.
Hebrew originally descended from Akkadian.
In the Akkadian, the cognate word would be KUPPURU.
And again, it also means to “make clean” or “wipe clean”.
Now here is where we butt heads with a major doctrine of Western Christianity prevalent since the time of Constantine.
Have you ever heard a pastor or seminary professor make the claim that “in the Old Testament, sins were NOT atoned for, rather they were only COVERED by the blood of an animal sacrifice”?
In fact, gentile scholars who have edited Hebrew-English dictionaries have even gone so far as to redefine the word “KIPPER” as meaning “covered over”.
The church maintains that in the “Old” Testament, a man’s sins could only be “covered over”, but they weren’t “wiped clean”.
Or that a man’s sins weren’t really forgiven, they were just “covered over”.
Well, let me make it very clear.
NOTHING and I mean NOTHING could be further from the truth.
When we read over and over again in the Torah that if a priest atones or makes KIPPER for the worshipper, he will be FORGIVEN, that is exactly what it means.
It is NOT a lie.
It means he will be forgiven or SALACH in Hebrew.
Let me say that again.
When an Israelite performed the proper sacrifice with a sincere heart, not only were his sins WIPED CLEAN but he was also FORGIVEN.
And I’m not talking about some kind of inferior Old Testament kind of forgiveness.
I’m talking about a full-blown, having your relationship with the Lord fully restored kind of forgiveness.
The Israelite in question was completely relieved of his guilt and did not have to face it again.
So let’s not be harboring the false assumption that somehow these animal sacrifices were ineffective.
They were 100% effective for what their purpose was, which was to provide a means of forgiveness for unintentional sins.
However, as I’ve said before, the one thing the Levitical sacrificial system could NOT do was provide forgiveness for any and all sins a man could possibly commit.
Recall that those sins classified as “intentional” or “high-handed” could NOT be forgiven.
Those were the types of sins that were turned over to that part of the Hebrew justice system known as the “curse of the Law”.
The person who committed a “high-handed” or “intentional” sin lived with the terrifying possibility that when he died, he would be permanently separated from God.
That is where Yeshua’s sacrifice comes in.
For the one who trusts in Yeshua, even his intentional or high-handed sins can be atoned for!
His sacrifice was once and for all and fulfilled all the terms and conditions of the sacrificial system.
Another sacrifice is NOT needed (nor available).
By means of His death, our natures are made clean so that we can stand in the presence of the Father in heaven.