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The Day Of Atonement


"Also the tenth day of this seventh month shall be the Day of Atonement. It shall be a holy convocation for you; you shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire to the LORD. And you shall do no work on that same day, for it is the Day of Atonement, to make atonement for you before the LORD your God. For any person who is not afflicted in soul on that same day shall be cut off from his people. And any person who does any work on that same day, that person I will destroy from among his people. You shall do no manner of work; it shall be a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. It shall be to you a sabbath of solemn rest, and you shall afflict your souls; on the ninth day of the month at evening, from evening to evening, you shall celebrate your sabbath." Lev 23:27-32

Yom Kippur is the Day of Atonement. It is the holiest day of the year! Celebrated on the tenth of Tishri, it is the day of humbling one’s soul to seek atonement for sin.

The high priest played a key role in the Day of Atonement. He began preparing for this day a week earlier. He stayed in the high priest's chamber in the temple court and studied the laws about the Day of Atonement. It was of utmost importance that he did not make any mistake. An error could cost him his life and the atonement of the whole nation of Israel.

On The Day, the high priest would conduct a special ceremony to purge defilement from the priesthood, the people and the place of worship. The high priest would bring and offer a bull and two goats as a special offering unto the Lord to make atonement for:

  • The Priesthood
  • The People
  • The Place (the Tabernacle)

There were four basic steps involved in offering animal sacrifices to the Lord:

  • Bringing to the Tabernacle
  • Presenting before the Lord
  • Sacrificing at the Entrance
  • Burning at the Brazen Altar or other specified places

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Event Scripture
The high priest would bring a young bull for a sin offering, and a ram for a burnt offering. Lev 16:3
He would bathe himself and put on the sacred garment of linen coat, trousers, belt and turban. Note that this was not the same elaborate garment that the high priest wore on other regular days. It was plain white linen without any golden threads to bear any trace of the golden calf worship. Lev 16:4
The people of Israel would then bring to the high priest two male goats for their sin offering and a ram for their burnt offering. Lev 16:5
The high priest would first present to the Lord at the Entrance the young bull as a sin offering for himself, making atonement for himself and his household. Lev 16:6
He would then present the two goats before the Lord at the Entrance, making atonement for the people of Israel. Lev 16:7
Lots were cast to determine which goat was the Lord’s, and which was to be sent away. Lev 16:8
The goat allotted to the Lord would be sacrificed as a sin offering for the people. Lev 16:9
The other goat would be kept alive and placed before the Lord. The rite of atonement was performed over it, and it would later be sent out into the wilderness as a scapegoat. Lev 16:10
The high priest would then sacrifice and kill the young bull at Entrance as a sin offering for himself and his household. All its blood would be poured beside the bottom of the Brazen Altar in the Outer Court. Lev 16:11,
Exo 29:11-12
To prepare for his three entries into the Holy of Holies, he took a censer full of burning coals from the Altar Of Incense, which was before the Veil, and two handfuls of finely ground fragrant incense. Lev 16:12
He went inside the Veil. Lev 16:12
Before the Ark of His Presence, the high priest would pour the incense unto the burning coals. A cloud of incense would cover the Mercy Seat so that he would not see the Lord and die. This was his first entry to the Holy of Holies. Lev 16:13
He exited the Most Holy Place and went to the Brazen Altar to bring some of the bull’s blood into the Holy of Holies. He would then sprinkle the blood of the young bull upon the east side of the Mercy Seat, and then seven times in front of it. This was his second entry to the Holy of Holies. Lev 16:14
He went out again to the Entrance and sacrificed the goat for the sins of the people. All its blood would be poured beside the bottom of the Brazen Altar in the Outer Court. Lev 16:15
He went back into the Veil, and sprinkled the blood of the goat upon the Mercy Seat and in front of it, just as he did for the bull sacrifice. This was his third entry to the Holy of Holies. Lev 16:15
He then made atonement for the Holy of Holies because it was defiled by the sins of the people of Israel, and for the Tabernacle as it was located right among the tribes of Israel and was surrounded by their defilement. Lev 16:16
Not another soul would be inside the Tabernacle when the high priest entered to make atonement in the Holy of Holies – not until he came out again after making atonement for himself, his household and all the people of Israel. Lev 16:17
Then he went out to the Altar of Incense and made atonement for it. He would smear both bloods of the young bull and the goat on the horns of the Altar of Incense. Lev 16:18
The high priest sprinkled blood upon the Altar of Incense seven times with his finger, thus cleansing it from the sinfulness of Israel and making it holy. Lev 16:19,
Exo 30:10
When he had completed the rite of atonement for the Holy of Holies, the entire Tabernacle, and the Altar of Incense, he would go out to the Entrance of the Tabernacle. Lev 16:20
He would bring the live goat and lay both hands upon its head. He confessed over it all the sins of the people of Israel. He would lay all their sins upon the head of the goat, and send it into the desert, led by a man appointed for the task. Lev 16:21
So the goat would carry all the sins of the people into a land where no one lived, and the man would let it loose in the wilderness. Lev 16:22
Then the high priest would go into the Tabernacle again and take off the linen garments he wore when he went behind the Veil, and leave them there in the Tabernacle. Lev 16:23
Then he would bathe in a sacred place and put on his regular garments again. Lev 16:24
He would go out to the Entrance and sacrifice the two rams – the burnt offering for himself and the burnt offering for the people to make atonement for himself and for the people. Their blood would be sprinkled around about upon the Brazen Altar. The rams were cut in pieces. Their inwards were washed. The rams were then burnt upon the Brazen Altar. The details of the two rams, one by one, are found in Exodus 29:15-28. Lev 16:24,
Exo 29:15-28
He would also burn upon the Brazen Altar the fat for the sin offering. Lev 16:25
The man who took the goat out into the desert would afterwards wash his clothes and bathe himself and then come back into the camp. Lev 16:26
The young bull and the goat used for the sin offering would be carried outside the camp and burned, including the hides and internal organs. Lev 16:27
Afterwards, the person doing the burning would wash his clothes and bathe himself and then return to camp. Lev 16:28

"This is to be a lasting ordinance for you: On the tenth day of the seventh month you must deny yourselves (fasting) and not do any work-- whether native-born or an alien living among you--because on this day atonement will be made for you, to cleanse you. Then, before the LORD, you will be clean from all your sins. It is a sabbath of rest (Sabbath of Sabbaths), and you must deny yourselves; it is a lasting ordinance. The priest who is anointed and ordained to succeed his father as high priest is to make atonement. He is to put on the sacred linen garments and make atonement for the Most Holy Place (Holy of Holies), for the Tent of Meeting (Tabernacle) and the altar (Altar of Incense), and for the priests and all the people of the community. This is to be a lasting ordinance for you: Atonement is to be made once a year for all the sins of the Israelites." And it was done, as the LORD commanded Moses. Leviticus 16:29-34

How did the people know that the Lord had accepted their atoning sacrifices? One indication was that the high priest was still alive. The other indication was the crimson sash. A scarlet or crimson sash was tied unto one of the horns of the scapegoat. A portion of the same crimson sash would be hung to the temple door. If God accepted these atoning sacrifices, the scarlet sash hanging on the temple door would turn into white (Isaiah 1:18). This is a prophetic picture of Jesus’ atoning work on the Cross. He shed His blood to pay the penalty for our sins, removing the stains and guilt away from us. He is the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29).

Jesus shed His blood at Passover outside the Temple but the blood is only applied unto the Mercy Seat on Yom Kippur. Full redemption was provided at Passover but it is fully appropriated at Yom Kippur. Jesus was the propitiation by His blood (Rom 3:25). Hereby propitiation means "mercy seat". The price for His Bride was paid on Passover but He will fully redeem His Bride on Yom Kippur when He comes back to take Her home.

Jesus will physically return to earth as the fulfillment of Yom Kippur (Rev. 19:11 – 20:6). It is called Yom Ha Peduth - The Day of Redemption. He will bring the full manifestation of His redemption at Yom Kippur. This will lead us into the Millennial Reign of Jesus Christ (Joel 3:9-21).