Fundamentals Of True Christianity: Lesson 15
The Day Of Atonement
Sermons for this lesson:
2008 (Sermon 0199): Christ's Atonement: The Offering Of Reconciliation
2007 (Sermon 0139): The Christ Of The Day Of Atonement
2006 (Sermon 0083): The Day of Atonement
2005 (Sermon 0025): The Day Of Atonement
What Does The Day of Atonement Mean To Christians?
The tenth day of the seventh month (Tishri) on the Bible Calendar (see also Bible Months) is the Day of Atonement. Jews call it Yom Kippur. In Hebrew Yom means day, (marked from sunset to sunset, as instructed by God) and Kippur means to pardon, or condone. The word atonement carries the meaning to English-speaking people. It means to make amends or to reconcile - to become "at one."
The observance of the Day of Atonement originates all the way to the time of Moses:
"And The Lord [see YHVH, Adonai, Jehovah, LORD] spake unto Moses, saying, Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls [see Where Is Your Soul?], and offer an offering made by fire unto The Lord. And ye shall do no work in that same day: for it is a day of atonement, to make an atonement for you before The Lord your God." (Leviticus 23:26-28 KJV)
The Lord commanded the Day of Atonement as a solemn annual observance of the Israelites (see also Physical and Spiritual Israel), past and future - as plainly evidenced by the example of the Christian apostle Paul, who wrote much of the New Testament that Christianity is based upon, and who never stopped observing the Day of Atonement (e.g. Acts 27:9). It's unique in that it's the only of the annual God-commanded Biblical Holy Days in which fasting was required. The fast was such a strict requirement that anyone who failed to do so would be cut off from the community.
All of the Biblical Holy Days are significant to Christians because they individually symbolize the steps in God's Plan of Salvation (the very purpose of Christianity) for all humanity. There is only one God, and only one Way (see The Way) to eternal life. Just as, for example, the Passover's slain lamb symbolizes the sacrifice of Jesus Christ (the "Lamb of God"), or The Feast Of Trumpets which pictures the future return Of Jesus Christ, the Day of Atonement also has its significance to the Christian world - so much so that many Christians observe the Day of Atonement as a Holy Day, including the fast.
The fact that the Biblical Holy days will all be observed by everyone, not just Jews or other Israelites, in the future after Christ's return, or face God's wrath (e.g. "the punishment of all nations that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles," see below) is proof that the Biblical Holy Days were not "done away" by Jesus Christ. What will be done away is all of the pagan "Christian" holidays that have replaced the actual Holy Days in the lives of many Christian-professing people.
"And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, The Lord of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles. And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, The Lord of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain. And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, that have no rain; there shall be the plague, wherewith The Lord will smite the heathen that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles. This shall be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all nations that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles." (Zechariah 14:16-19 KJV)
There are 3 elements of the Day of Atonement that apply directly to Christians:
The first Christians, those closest to the Messiah, including the apostle Paul himself (e.g. Acts 27:9) who wrote much of what became the New Testament, observed the fast of the Day of Atonement as a Christian (Acts 27:9).
The second element involved the high priest. Only once per year, on the Day
of Atonement, the high priest (Aaron, the brother of Moses, was the first high priest, Aaron's descendants thereafter) entered the Most Holy Place of The Tabernacle to offer ceremonial sacrifices for the forgiveness of the people (Hebrews 9:7). That Old Testament observance was a direct fore-picture of Jesus Christ, our High Priest (Hebrews 9:11), Who, after His Sacrifice, entered the very Throne Room of God The Father in heaven to make atonement for all humanity (Hebrews 9:11-12) (see What Is Jesus Christ Doing Right Now?).
The third element during the Day of Atonement involved the Azazel goat, or scapegoat (see The Escape Goat) which was taken out into the wilderness after having had all of the sins of the Israelites ceremonially placed on it (Leviticus 16:10, 21-22). The scapegoat symbolized the condemnation of Satan for the sins of all humanity, and his being put away in an eternal wilderness from which he will never return (Revelation 20:10). The sending of the azazel goat out into the wilderness as done by the Old Testament high priest after he returned from inside The Most Holy Place of the Tabernacle is a ceremonial preview of Jesus Christ sending Satan into the abyss which will be done after His Return from the
Throne Room of God The Father.
The Day of Atonement signifies the 3 most vital aspects of Christianity:
1. Willing repentance on the part of those to be saved (see also Your Pardon).
2. The completed sacrifice of Jesus Christ formally presented to God The
Father to make atonement for the sins of humanity.
3. The final guilty verdict upon Satan as the source of all evil, and the
sentencing of him to eternity in the abyss.
Fact Finder: Does the Word of God plainly warn that faith alone is a dead faith?
See also Faith and Works