THE RELIGIOUS LIFE OF THE ANCIENT JEW AS PRESENTED IN THE BOOK OF LEVITICUS
The Offerings And The Feasts
Part 11 – The Day of Atonement
Leviticus 23:26-32; Leviticus 16
Today we come to examine the most sacred day in the Jewish calendar. While all these feasts were equally sacred in value there were none that brought together such a weight of solemn ceremonies and induced such holy fear as the Day of Atonement undoubtedly did. It is significant that the Jewish spiritual year was brought to a climax with two feasts which first plunged the people into deep grief on the Day of Atonement before lifting them into the heights of joy during the Feast of Tabernacles, which commenced five days later on the fifteenth day of the seventh month. Surely the lesson is clear; before we will experience joy we must first be filled a sense of penitential grief because of our sins. This day was all about acceptance with God therefore the primary lesson is Reception with Christ.
1: Timetable for the Day of Atonement
i. Aaron bathes himself and dresses in his plain ordinary garments, v4.
ii. Aaron offers a bullock for himself and his house for a sin offering, v6.
iii. Two kids of goats are selected for a sin offering and lots are cast, v7-10.
iv. Aaron brings a censor and the blood of the bullock into the holy place for himself, v11-14.
v. Aaron kills the goat that is for Jehovah and makes atonement for the people by entering the Holy Place and sprinkling the blood upon the mercy seat, v15.
vi. Aaron makes atonement for the Holy Place in the same manner, v16.
vii. Aaron makes atonement for the altar, v18.
viii. Aaron confesses the sins of the people over the head of the scapegoat and sends it into the wilderness, v20-22.
ix. Aaron dresses in his glorious garments, v23-24.
2: The Purpose of the Day of Atonement
i. That man might have fellowship with God. The Holy of Holies was the place of God’s holy presence, Exodus 25:18-22.
ii. That the people might be humbled on account of their sins, v29.
iii. That the sins of the people might be cleansed or atoned for, v30. The word atone means to cover or to reconcile. By having their sins covered on this day the people were reconciled to God.
3: Typical Significance of the Day of Atonement
i. The priest in his ordinary linen garments – Christ accomplishing redemption in his humanity.
ii. The cleansing of the priest – Christ was absolutely holy.
iii. The sacrifice of Jehovah’s goat – God demands that his law must be vindicated and sin must be punished.
iv. Sprinkling of the mercy seat – the blood must be presented to God before the offering can be accepted, Hebrews 9:7-12.
v. Sanctifying the holy place – Heaven requires the blood of Christ if sinners are to be allowed access there, Hebrews 9:23.
vi. Sanctifying the altar – Christ bore our sins but he himself was holy.
vii. The confessing of sin over the scapegoat – our sins were individually laid upon Christ, Isaiah 53:4.
viii. The driving out of the scapegoat – our sins have been removed and put away from us in Christ, Psalm 103:12.
ix. The priest dresses in his glorious dress – the exaltation of Christ after his atoning work, Hebrews 9:24. This exaltation proves that his work of atonement has been accepted.
x. Throughout the process Israel needed a priest. We constantly require the work of Christ our Great High Priest.
xi. The entering into the Holy Place once a year foreshadowed the rending of the veil giving us access through Christ to God’s presence continually, Hebrews 9:8.
xii. Christ’s work of atoning for our sins ought to cause deep sorrow as well as bringing us to peace and satisfaction.