“Seventy weeks are decreed about your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to put an end to sin, and to atone for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness …” (Daniel 9:24)
Once sin has been conquered, there is no need for atonement, so including the Day of Atonement on Israel’s yearly calendar indicates there was NO WAY the rituals of that day, repeated each year, could put an end to sin (Lev. 16; 23:26–32). The reality is that something more would have to be done to achieve final atonement and the age of righteousness.
The prophet Daniel points to that something in chapter 9. Daniel is living in exile in Babylon, and while reading the book of Jeremiah, he discovers that the 70-year period of exile is about to end and that the Israelites will soon be restored to their land (Dan. 9:1–2; also see Jer. 25:1–14). Knowing the law of Moses, Daniel also understands that the return of Israel to their land and their victory over the kingdoms of this world is dependent on their repentance for the sins that brought them into exile in the first place (Lev. 26:14–46). Yet Israel has not repented. So, Daniel prays, asking the righteous Lord to restore the people in keeping with Jeremiah’s prophecy without overlooking their sin (Dan. 9:3–19).
God sends the angel Gabriel to answer His servant (vv. 20–23) and explain to Daniel that he has not seen the whole picture. Due to the people’s failure to repent, which the Lord knew would happen from the very beginning, the exile is going to be extended, and the restoration is not going to be achieved until a later time.
According to the revelation, sometime between 483 and 490 years after the Jews go back to Canaan, the death of an anointed one will establish a strong covenant that will end sacrifices, put an end to sin, and bring in everlasting righteousness (Dan. 9:24–27). Clearly, this refers to a final atonement offered by the Messiah, whose death renders all sacrifices, including those offered on the Day of Atonement, obsolete.
Hebrews 9:22 says, “… without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sin.”
The Bible says in Romans 6:23 “… the wages for sin is death …” In other words, sin earns death.
In the Old Covenant system, the animal died at the hands of the High Priest, as a substitute in the place of the sinful people.
Now, here’s the problem: The Bible is clear that “… it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins” (Hebrews 10:4).
All of this is pointing to the ultimate Sacrifice--the one true Sacrifice.
The perfect and satisfactory blood of the Lamb of God who would take away the sin of the world.
All throughout the Old Testament, God is making a way for Jesus--the One who would bring grace upon grace.
→ An animal would not be sufficient. No animal can fully and rightly pay for the sin of sinful man.
No sinner can fully and rightly pay for the sin of sinful man.
Only the God Man, only the Word who “… became flesh and dwelt among us …” (John 1:14);
Only the God Man, only the One “… who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15);
Only the Lamb of God.
When Peter, another eyewitness of Jesus, described how the Lamb of God would take away our sin by using this language, He said, “… you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot” (1 Peter 1:18-19).
Jesus is the Spotless Lamb. This is what is required.
WE NEED A SPOTLESS LAMB. Therefore, one of us CANNOT BE THE LAMB!
Now, in John 1:29, John says, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”
Again, as Hebrews 9:22 says, “… without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sin.”
Praise God for the fact that “God presented Christ [Jesus] as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith” (Romans 3:25, NIV).
2 Corinthians 5:21 (NASB) He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf
He became sin on our behalf!
He paid our price. He atoned our sin.
We only have new life in Christ because of Christ’s perfect atonement. This is what Daniel and all of the early prophets were pointing to as our ultimate hope. May we continue to point many to Christ, who is our only hope and healing.
May God be glorified, and may many come to saving faith as a result of our testimony of this life-changing gospel.