The Atonement in Type and Antitype 1 Sacrifices and High Priests

The Divine Word, as already noted, expresses much of its teaching in symbolic language, such as parables and figuratively expressed prophecies. But, besides these, there is a deal of typical incident and arrangement intended to assist God’s people to a better understanding of His purposes. That is certain persons and companies of persons have been caused to do various actions illustrative of God’s dealings in respect to the promised salvation from sin, though the typical arrangements thus carried out were not in themselves able actually to take away sins, but rather by their constant repetition showed their inability to do this.

Nebukadnessar II.jpg

An engraving on an eye stone of onyx with an inscription of Nebuchadnezzar II. Anton Nyström, 1901.

Many persons were used as types; even some not recognised as God’s people, as Nebuchadnezzar, seem to have been used. (Daniel 4.) It is not wise, however, to suppose that every incident and personage in the Old Testament and New was in some sense typical of greater things to come. The safe way is to seek what the inspired writers of the Scriptures were instructed to set forth as typical, and to base our thoughts on that information.

God used Israel very much in this illustrative manner, and a very elaborate system of types is found in their arrangements and ceremonies under the Mosaic Law. Some of their experiences and the purport of them are referred to in 1 Cor. 10: 10.

“All these things happened unto them for ensamples; and they are
written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages are come.”

That is to say, we may hope to get from these types more actual instruction and benefit than did the participators in the typical incidents.

Yet types are never to be considered illustrations of doctrine without the sanction of plain statements of Scripture; and whoever bases a teaching on an interpretation of a type that is not authorised by the Word, prepares for himself confusion of face. As William Tyndale wrote, centuries ago, in his quaint language:

Allegory proveth nothing, neither can do. For it is not the Scripture, but an ensample or similitude borrowed of [by the?] Scripture, to declare a text or a conclusion of the Scripture more expressly, and to root it and grave it in the heart. For a similitude or an ensample doth print a thing much deeper in the wits of a man than doth a plain speaking, and leaveth behind him [it] as it were a sting to prick him forward and to awake him withal. Moreover, if I could not prove with an open text that which the allegory doth express, then were the allegory a thing to be jested at, and of no greater value than a tale of Robin Hood.”

“In many places, where the text seemeth at the first chop hard to be understood, yet the circumstances before and after, and often reading together, make it plain enough.”—Biography, by Demaus, pp. 198, 363.

In his “Preface to Leviticus,” Tyndale wrote,

“We had need to take heed everywhere that we be not beguiled with false allegories, whether they be drawn out of the New Testament or the Old, . . . but namely [ especially | in this book [Pentateuch |. Here, a man had need to put on all his spectacles, and to arm himself against invisible spirits. . . . Beware of allegories; for there is not a more handsome or apt thing to beguile withal than an allegory; nor a more subtle and pestilent thing in the world to persuade a false matter, than an allegory. And, contrariwise, there is not a better, vehementer, or mightier thing to make a man understand withal, than an allegory. For allegories make a man quick-witted and print | imprint | wisdom in him, and make it to abide where bare words go but in at one ear, and out at the other.”—
Demaus, pp. 230-232.

Our Lord’s sacrifice in various aspects was represented in the typical sacrifices offered for Israel, the
typical people. He was foreshadowed by the Passover Lamb, and so accurately did He fulfil this type that He died on the very day of the sacrifice of the Passover.

“Christ, our Passover, is sacrificed for us.”

His sacrifice was also foreshadowed by the Atonement Day offerings for sin. and so accurately did He fulfil this type that the beginning of His ministry, when He presented Himself as a sacrifice (Heb. 10: 5-10), was at or about the time of the offering of the typical Atonement Day sacrifices.*

The sin offerings of the typical Day of Atonement are fully described in Leviticus 16. A bullock was slain; [tortious of the carcase were burnt on the altar in the court of the Tabernacle, and some of the blood was carried into the Holiest, and was sprinkled upon and before the mercy-seat where the divine Presence was represented by the supernatural light. The remainder of the carcase, with the hide, hoofs, etc., was burned outside the camp, the body of the bullock being thus completely destroyed.
Two goats were presented before the Lord at the gate of the Court. One was chosen by lot, and was dealt with in precisely the same manner as the bullock had been before it. Some of the blood of the bullock and of the goat was put upon the altar in the court to cleanse it. The bullock was for the sins of the priest and his house; the goat was for the sins of the people; that is, the other eleven tribes. The second goat was called a “scapegoat.” Over it the high priest confessed “all the sins of the children of Israel,” and then sent it away by the hand of a “‘fit man” (“a man that is in readiness”—H.V.) into the wilderness.

“And the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities into a land not inhabited”;

that is, a region “cut off,” whence it would not readily find its wav back.**

After completing the sacrifices, the typical High Priest donned his garments of glory and beauty, and came forth to pronounce the blessing upon the waiting people, thus reinstating them for another year in the divine favour. These ceremonial sacrifices and blessings were repeated “year after year continually.”

Concerning the actual atonement for the sins of the whole world, we are informed that through our Lord Jesus Christ “we have now received the atonement”;

“and He is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” (Rom. 5: 11; 1 John 2: 2.)

These statements are plain and clear, and if we were left without specific information as to the interpretation of the typical sacrifices, it would be our duty to explain them in harmony with the teaching of these plain statements, which can be reinforced by many others. But God’s Spirit has not left His people without help in respect to these things, for the bullock and the two goats of the ceremonial Day of Atonement are clearly referred to in Scripture, and the explanations there presented are to be received as given by authority.

Meeting of abraham and melchizadek.jpg

Meeting of Abraham and Melchizedek – by Dieric Bouts the Elder, 1464–1467

One of these explanations is given in Heb. 7 : 26, 27. Here our Lord is referred to as the great High Priest, not according to the Aaronic order under the Law Covenant, but according to the order of Melchisedec, under a New Covenant. (Vss. 12-14.) He is Priest “after the power of an endless life”; and inasmuch as not without an oath he was made priest, by so much was Jesus made surety of a better covenant,” that is, the New Covenant. (Vss. 16, 20. 22.) Then, referring to the typical Atonement sacrifices, the Apostle explains that Jesus, our High Priest, has not the daily or continuous need “to offer up sacrifice, first for His own sins and then for the people’s,” as those high priests did annually on the Day of Atonement, ‘”for this he did once, when He offered up Himself.” (Vs. 27.) Being Himself the sacrifice, it is manifest that
our Lord did not require an offering to be made for Himself; but those who were to become members of His “house” (Heb. 3: .1, 6) required an offering to be made for their transgressions, just as Aaron’s house required an offering on account of its sins.

The text in Heb. 7: 27 is very explicit. It refers to the typical atonement sacrifice in both its parts, and then in no uncertain words, describes their antitype, idling what was done, who did it when it was done, and what it was that was represented by the bullock and the goat;

“this He did once, when lie offered up Himself.”

Analyse these last words, comparing them with that which they explain, and note the explicitness with which the Apostle states himself on this subject.

“THIS” — Offering sacrifice for His house and for the people — for the Church and for the whole world.
“HE” — Jesus, Himself, our High Priest.
“DID” — Past tense; action completed some time before A.D. 64, when the Book of Hebrews is supposed to have been written.
“ONCE” — Once for all, no repetition required.
” WHEN HE OFFERED UP HIMSELF” — No supplements or additions required.
He is Himself the “Ransom for All,” and is the antitype in His own Person of the typical bullock and
goat. It was “finished” on Calvary, as intimated by the miraculous rending of the temple vail at the time of our Lord’s death, this showing that the typical usefulness of that veil and of the typical mercy-seat behind it were now past.

A further explanation is given in Heb. 9: 12, where the Apostle, again mentioning the blood of the typical goats and calves (bullocks), shows that the blood of Christ, the High Priest, is the antitype of these, and that by it, He went into the Divine Presence, “having obtained eternal redemption.” The words “for us,” being in italics in the Authorised Version, were supplied by the translators, and were not in the original. They really impose a limitation not authorised by the preceding words or the explanation in Heb. 7: 27, where it is made plain that His sacrifice was not only “for us,” Believers of the Gospel Age, but also for the whole world, typified by all the people, for whom the goat sacrifice was offered.

In Heb. 9 : 13, 14, reference is again made to the typical bullocks and goats, and to them are added the ashes of an heifer, used to accomplish the typical cleansing that might be required by individuals from time to time after the atonement for past sins has been made. The blood of Christ, who offered Himself (note again the past tense and the reference to Jesus’ finished offering), is set forth as the antitype of all these; thus showing its efficacy not only to atone for past sins, but also to cleanse from present transgressions. — 1 John 1: 7-9.

In Heb. 10: 1-4 is found another reference to the typical atonement offerings, and the impossibility of
sin being removed by them.

“Wherefore, when He [Jesus] cometh into the world, He saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared Me . . . Lo, I come to do Thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that He may establish the second. By the which will we are sanctified
through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once. … This Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God. . . . By one offering He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.” (Heb. 10: 5-14.)

Thus again is the one sacrifice of Jesus affirmed to be the antitype of both bullock and goat.

In Heb. 13: 11, 12, the teaching is repeated, more emphatically, if possible, than before.

“The bodies of those beasts [bulls and goats] whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin are burned without the camp. Wherefore, Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered without the gate.”

It has already been noted that the sacrifice offered “for the people” was a goat.
In this passage, the Apostle refers to it direct — “that He might sanctify the people with His own blood” — thus showing that Jesus is to be regarded as the antitype of the offering for the people. Again, as in Heb. 7: 27, is the action placed in the past tense, as referring to what He did — “suffered without the gate.”
This and the preceding references by the inspired writer to the typical sacrifices and their antitype are clear, plain and straightforward, leaving no doubt as to his meaning, and as to the mind of the Spirit that Jesus Himself should be regarded as the antitype of the several typical sacrifices for sin. Doubtless, this is why the reference to His one sacrifice is put in the plural, in Heb. 9: 23. Various phases and views of His one sacrifice were foreshadowed by the bullock, the goat, the ashes of the heifer, and by other sacrifices, and from that standpoint each phase of the one sacrifice would be regarded as a separate and distinct sacrifice, though all were consummated at one time and in one person.



It is not stated in so many words that our Lord’s ministry began at the Atonement Day time; but if lie was “out off” in the midst of the week of years, His ministry was of three-and-a-half years’ duration. Counting back from the Passover, when He died, this length of time would bring us to the Atonement season, as the time of year when His ministry began. Thus is our Redeemer‘s death, which began when He presented Himself, and was “finished” three-and-a-half years later on Calvary, beautifully indentified with both the great sacrifices which particularly typified it.


According to Neviri’s “Biblical Antiquities,” the total number of sacrifices offered yearly, in the stated services of the sanctuary for the whole congregation of Israel, was 114 bullocks, 40 rams, 1103 lambs, and 32 goats. To these must be added the probably far larger numbers of various animals which were brought by individuals as peace-, thank- and trespass-offerings. Present day sceptics look back at this with disgust; for them the law is “turned to blood,” and it is abhorred by them. They forget that few of these animals were totally destroyed in the ceremonies: most of them were eaten by the priests who did the service (Lev. 6: 24-30), and they were thus provided with a portion of their food.
The voluntary offerings were mostly eaten by the donors thereof. Would not those who look upon the Law with disgust on account of its sacrifices do well to consider the economy of administration thus arranged?

  • The New Covenant Advocate April, 1909 pp. 11-13


Preceding articles:

A Ransom for all 1 Eternal torment

A Ransom for all 2 Corresponding price

A Ransom for all 3 Seeing Him as He is

Atonement And Fellowship 6/8

To be continued with

The Atonement in Type and Antitype 2 Going forth to Jesus


Additional reading

  1. Creation purpose and warranty
  2. Jesus begotten Son of God #5 Apostle, High Priest and King
  3. Redemption #2 Biblical solution
  4. Redemption #4 The Passover Lamb
  5. Omniscient God opposite a not knowing Jesus
  6. Elul Observances
  7. 2017 September – Upcoming Days of Awe
  8. 14 Nisan a day to remember #1 Inception
  9. Review: What happened at the cross?


Further reading

  1. A Cruel Tyrant
  2. The Golden Image
  3. Daniel 3:16-17: “…He Will Deliver Us Out Of Your Hand…”
  4. Jeremiah 43: No one listens to Jeremiah
  5. Not Alone in the Fire
  6. Jeremiah 44: But we need a goddess
  7. Faithful to the End
  8. May 23, 2017- God Provides the Lamb- Genesis 22:6-14
  9. Thirsty
  10. Passover
  11. Passover and Jesus
  12. Behold the Lamb of God!
  13. The Lamb of God
  14. Our Passover Lamb
  15. Christ, the Passover Lamb (Part One)
  16. Christ, the Passover Lamb (Part Two)
  17. What the crucifiers didn’t understand
  18. In God’s light
  19. Ransomed by a Lamb?
  20. Our Passover Lamb
  21. Jesus And Jerusalem
  22. Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God
  23. Hymn of the Day: Lamb of God
  24. How to Understand the Once for All Sacrifice of Jesus Christ
  25. The Love His Death Shows
  26. He is Risen 
  27. His Glory will be Revealed
  28. The Lamb and the Seals
  29. Facets Of Redemption
  30. Jesus: Our redeemer
  31. How Is Christianity Different than Other Religions? The Test of True Christianity
  32. The Melchizedek Priesthood
  33. Jesus very own son (Gal. 4:29)
  34. Triune Atonement in Westminster
  35. The necessity and nature of the Atonement
  36. Day of Atonement
  37. About Atonement..
  38. ”Moksha With Jesus Christ”
  39. Gift from God
  40. 31 Days of Feasting on Theology: Atonement
  41. Celebrating Yom Kippur aka The Day of Atonement
  42. Mimesis and atonement
  43. The Atonement of God in Christ: Covenant Theology, Penal Substitution, Ontology Atonement, Brian Zahnd, and Life Everlasting – Though there is said “The saving significance of Christ’s death cannot be adequately understood” it is a pity they still do not see that it was really somebody who could die who gave himself away by fulfilling the will of God. Those who keep to the trinity and keep teaching Jesus is God nullify his action because man can do nothing to God and God cannot die.
  44. You cannot repay God with your guilt [572a]
  45. My God, My God, Why Have You Forsaken Me?’: Why King David Did Not Believe God Turned Against or Away from Him | New Humanity Institute
  46. Review: What happened at the cross?
  47. A better way to view the atonement of Christ: Christus Victor
  48. Athanasius as Interpreter of the Trinity: Why the Nicene Creed and Penal Substitution Are Incompatible, Part 2 | New Humanity Institute
  49. Thinking Outloud: Atonement
  50. Penal Substitutionary Atonement Exemplified In Film
  51. Irenaeus and the Problem of (Greater) New Testament Wrath
  52. Penal Substitution is good news
  53. Penal Substitutionary Atonement – a myopic narrative.
  54. Why you should read Ian McEwan’s ‘Atonement’
  55. Review: Tom Wright on the Crucifixion
  56. 15/01/2018: Atonement 101


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