Day of Atonement

Introduction

The Day of Atonement represents a series of event in the salvation of man-kind. What makes this Holy Day so important?

God describes His holy days in the following verse:

Lev. 23:2 “Say to the people of Israel, The appointed feasts of the LORD which you shall proclaim as holy convocations, my appointed feasts, are these.

The above verse should lay to rest any questions regarding whether the holy days are still in effect In the New Testament church. These are the feast days of the Lord, not some feast day given by or some ceremony instituted by Moses. The first of God’s feast days is the Sabbath.

Lev. 23:27 “On the tenth day of this seventh month is the day of atonement; it shall be for you a time of holy convocation, and you shall afflict yourselves and present an offering by fire to the LORD.
Lev. 23:28 And you shall do no work on this same day; for it is a day of atonement, to make atonement for you before the LORD your God.
Lev. 23:29 For whoever is not afflicted on this same day shall be cut off from his people.

God shows us how important the Day of Atonement is, and how strictly God wants the day, kept.

Lev. 16:29 ¶ “This shall be a permanent statute for you: in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall humble your souls and not do any work, whether the native, or the alien who sojourns among you;
Lev. 16:30 for it is on this day that atonement shall be made for you to cleanse you; you will be clean from all your sins before the LORD.
Lev. 16:31 “It is to be a sabbath of solemn rest for you, that you may humble your souls; it is a permanent statute.

All the other holy days say that we should do no servile work, but like the seventh day Sabbath, God says that believers should do no work on the day of the Day of Atonement. The use of the words “permanent statute” reminds us that God expects his people to keep that day permanently each year.

Notice it says, the Day of Atonement is a means of cleansing us, to cleanse us from all of our sins. This is significant when we consider the Day of Atonement in the light of the New Testament.

Let us now examine the root sounds connected with atonement.

Make Amends for Sin by Affliction (Fasting)

3725. rÚUp;Ik kippur, kip-poor«; from 3722; expiation

Kippur comes from the root kaphar, which means to cover and cancel. What is canceled? The verse says our sins are covered and canceled.

3722. rAp;Dk kaphar, kaw-far«; a primitive root; to cover (specifically with bitumen); figuratively, to expiate or condone, to placate or cancel:
3722. rAp;Dk kaphar, kaw-far«; a primitive root; to cover (specifically with bitumen); figuratively, to expiate or condone, to placate or cancel:

The Day of Atonement is about covering and canceling sins.

When we checked the English dictionary for atonement, we find this:

“The making of reparation for a sin or a mistake (Greek for sin is ‘making a mistake or missing the mark’).

“(The Atonement in) Christian Theology is the reconciliation of God and humankind through Jesus Christ.”

The Day of Atonement has very much do with this important aspect: “re con-cilia ti on of God and humankind through Jesus Christ.”

“Reparation noun:

“The making of amends for a wrong one has done, by paying money to or otherwise helping those who have been wronged.

“Reparations:

1. The compensation for war damage paid by a defeated state.
2. (archaic) the action of repairing something

The word of reparation is repair. The Day of Atonement is concerned with the repairing of things gone wrong. What is it that needed repair? Adam rejected God as the Creator and Ruler, thereby sinning against God. All man-kind followed Adam by sinning against God. This estrangement and sin needed repair.

“Reparative, adjective,
ORIGIN late Middle English : from Old French, from late Latin reoperating-), from reparare ‘make ready again’ (see repair 1).

“Fix or mend (a thing suffering from damage or a fault
_ make good (such damage) by fixing or repairing it : an operation to re-pair damage to his neck.”

The definitions of Atonement, quite properly show the nature of the Holy Day that Jesus repaired and restored mankind’s relationship with God.

“_ put right (a damaged relationship or unwelcome situation.

The action of fixing or mending something.
_ a result of such fixing or mending_ the relative physical condition of an object
“Origin late Middle English : from Old French reparer, from Latin reparare, from re- ‘back’ + parare ‘make ready.’

Atonement allows man to go beyond his original relationship with God before sin and makes him ready for eternal life.

Affliction

Atonement regards our afflicting ourselves

The Greek word for affliction is:

Tribulation: 2347. qli&Mac195;yiß thlipsis; from 2346; tribulation:

2346. qli÷bw thlibo; a prim. vb.; to press, afflict: —afflict(1), afflicted(5), crowd(1), distress(1), narrow(1), suffer affliction(1).

When Adam sinned against God, he did not choose to do the hard thing, did not choose to put himself under difficulties. Athletes and knights of yore, readily put themselves under restraint and affliction relating to their training and experiences in order to become an athlete or a knight of merit. Punishment also has a sense of affliction, as a parent must do when the child commits a wrongdoing, that is, things that will eventually hurt him. Tribulation and affliction help a person achieve what they would want or need.

While Adam, for example, took the easy way out, believers choose to keep the Day of Atonement, which is the more difficult way out. We choose not to open up the refrigerator or turn on the stove. We choose the hard way; we choose the afflicted way.

Fasting

The Old Testament does talk about the Day of Atonement and fasting in several places, but does the New Testament continue the practices of the Day of Atonement?

Acts 27:9 ¶ When considerable time had passed and the voyage was now dangerous, since even the fast was already over, Paul began to admonish them,

Note that the verse says, “The fast was already over.” This verse shows that Paul kept the fast,i.e., the Day of atonement. Paul, by his keeping the fast, shows that the Day of atonement is a holy day meant for Christians to continue to keep.

Psa. 35:13 But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth; I humbled my soul with fasting, And my prayer kept returning to my bosom.

David was praying and fasting for something that God did not wanted him to have. We can fast for the wrong reasons.

God makes it abundantly clear that people can, and perhaps often do, fast for all the wrong reasons. James gives a very powerful example of people doing the right thing for the wrong goals. Like fasting for the wrong reason, James says, people also pray for selfish and vain reasons.

God prefers that people fast to help them do good to others, such as sharing bread and clothing the naked. When we fast on Atonement, we must remember to fast to show lovingkindness to others.

One of the significant things about fasting is that it humbles a person. Arrogance, for most humans, is a natural demeanor. Most people feel that they are better than someone else in some, if not many ways. It would appear that only a handful of people are truly humble. Fasting is a significant way to humble oneself. Whether a person will be humbled psychologically by fasting, certainly the body is humbled.

Fasting enables a person to have more power because when the Holy Spirit is poured down to a humbled person, then the Spirit can work miracles.

Matt. 17:21 [“But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”]

Matt. 6:18 so that your fasting will not be noticed by men, but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.

Thus, we see that fasting gives us the ability to use the power at work within, which is available only to the humbled person.

Affliction

We also need to recognize the effect of sin as in the tribulation. For example, we can see the effects of sin from Adam to Noah, by God’s destroying almost all of mankind by the flood.

During the tribulation, which is akin in many ways to the flood, we see the effect of sin. Revelation talks about the seven angels with the seven trumpets.

The first trumpet brought hail, fire and blood. A third of the earth was burned up. This is radical tribulation.

With the second angels blowing, a third of the ocean became blood.

A great star fell from the heavens with the blowing of the third trumpet. It was like a burning torch that fell into the river. Men died from the poisoned waters.

The fourth angel sounded: a third of the sun, a third of the moon and a third of the stars were struck and that part became darkened and would not shine.

The fifth angel sounded: a star from heaven fell to the earth. The key to the bottomless pit was given to that angel.

Revelation 8 and 9 show, the devastations connected with these tribulations, which are greater and more fearsome than anything before or after.

Rev 9:13 Then the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God,

Rev 9:15 And the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour and day and month and year, were released, so that they would kill a third of mankind.

Rev 11:15 Then the seventh angel sounded; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever."

However, the previous six trumpets delineate the gruesome tribulations, leading to the Kingdom of God. This has very much to do with Atonement, because Atonement has to do with tribulation – we afflict ourselves. And, this is going to be a tribulation that will be visited upon the earth at the sounding of the trumpets, at the time of Jesus’ return.

But, Jesus already had done something, which is very important and is also connected with the Day of Atonement. This day commemorates the reconciliation by Jesus blood on the cross. But, didn't we do this in Passover? Yes, we did, but there is a little bit more to it.

To Commemorate Reconciliation by Jesus’ Blood on the Cross

Col. 1:20 and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.

In the old days when they did the sacrifices, they use the blood of animals. These sacrifices were replaced by Jesus’ sacrifice. Thus, we are no longer antagonistic to God when we believe in Jesus, to believe God’s promises and to do what He asks us to do. Passover reconciled men to God.

Rev. 7:14 I said to him, “My lord, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

Jesus’ blood cleanses their clothing, which covers us like righteousness. They are the ones that come out of the great tribulation. This is what Jesus did; this is the reconciliation, represented by the Day of Atonement as well as Passover.

1John 1:7 but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellow-ship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.

The Day of Atonement, talks about being cleansed from sin. Fasting does not cleanse us, unless Jesus cleanses us first then we are cleansed. Atonement represents that cleansing.

Rev. 12:11 “And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death.

So they didn't overcome the tribulation by themselves, but by the blood of the Lamb, Jesus. It all goes back to the blood of the Lamb; it goes back to Passover.

Is not fasting a kind of dying, because we are not eating, and if we continue not eating, we will eventually die. By keeping this day, we are showing that we love Jesus and his way more than life itself.

Luke 14:26 “If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.

This is what the fasting is about: remember that James reminds us that faith needs works to prove the faith, and keeping the Day of Atonement is our works based on our faith.

The Day of Atonement commemorates the High Priest, Jesus, entering the Holy of Holies by his blood. Note well, that only on the Day of Atonement does a high priest enter into the Holy of Holies. This is the day that Jesus enters the Holy of Holies by his blood. The Old Testament high priest enters by sacrifices and blood of animals.

Lev. 16:30 On that day offerings of purification will be made for you, and you will be purified in the LORD’s presence from all your sins.

The New Testament purification relates to Jesus’ blood poured out for sin.

Lev. 16:32 In future generations, the purification ceremony will be performed by the priest who has been anointed and ordained to serve as high priest in place of his ancestor Aaron. He will put on the holy linen garments
Lev. 16:33 and purify the Most Holy Place, the Tabernacle, the altar, the priests, and the entire congregation.
Lev. 16:34 This is a permanent law for you, to purify the people of Israel from their sins, making them right with the LORD once each year.” Moses followed all these instructions exactly as the LORD had commanded him.

Remember, Jesus is not of the tribe of Levi, but of Judah. The new purification demands a better high priest, Jesus.

Heb. 9:7 but into the second, only the high priest enters once a year, not without taking blood, which he offers for himself and for the sins of the people committed in ignorance.
Heb. 9:11 ¶ But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation;

As we know, Jesus entered by his blood, died for our sins and was resurrected. He entered into the Holy of Holies, into a more perfect tabernacle, not the one made by hands but by God. Thus, Jesus entered the Holy of Ho-lies in heaven, not by the blood of animals, but by his own blood, untainted by sin. This day also represents Jesus’ going into heaven as the high priest, and saying to God: they are purified by what I have done as you have demanded of me.

The Day of Atonement represents our participation in the reconciliation provided by Jesus and is part of the reconciliation process, beginning with Passover, continuing through Pentecost and the Feast of Trumpets – all seven trumpets.

While not necessarily time oriented, these Holy Days represent the how, the extent and the process of our salvation.

There is more.

Reconciliation

The Day of Atonement, as well celebrates Satan’s removal due to reconciliation of the saints through Jesus.

Satan could not be removed unless he were defeated, and the proof of Jesus’ victory and the defeat of Satan is the faith and reconciliation of the saints, those who repent, get baptized and receive the Holy Spirit. The proof of their, our, faith is, in large part, the keeping of the holy days, the Day of Atonement, as well.

For example, you could not have a government without people voting for the government to give it legitimacy. I was reading lately about how the people of the United States ratified its constitution by their vote. The same way with us, as we see in our own history here, unless there are people joining the government as its citizens, you have no government. The one or two people that existed as God’s people before the flood that ended up with Noah were minimally a government, a patriarchy. Then you had Israel, which had a government.

Now you have people in the Kingdom of God. While the kingdom has not yet been established on earth, it nonetheless exists as a kingdom, as it were, in exile similar to the Vichy government. You need to have people being under a government of their choice; the government cannot rule without the agreement of the people within the nation. Tyrannical governments may be an exception, or may not be. Believers consent to being under the government called the Kingdom of God.

That we have a government ruled by Jesus under God, which we have consented to be in, removes us from the authority of Satan, from the kingdom of evil to the kingdom of God.

Therefore, Jesus’ victory over Satan permanently wrests the demons’ rule of evil over Earth, which is now ruled by Jesus under God and those followers of Jesus. Obviously, almost all the earth is ignorant of this dramatic change and still gives obeisance to the demon. At Jesus’ return, all of this will change.

What happened back then relates to what happens now:

Azazel Goat

Lev. 16:21 He will lay both of his hands on the goat’s head and confess over it all the wickedness, rebellion, and sins of the people of Israel. In this way, he will transfer the people’s sins to the head of the goat. Then a man specially chosen for the task will drive the goat into the wilderness.

After Jesus died to pay the death penalty for mankind sins, these sins are quite rightly put on the head of the goat representing Satan, who brought the sins onto mankind, which is interred in the depths of the earth, a real wilderness.

Lev. 16:22 As the goat goes into the wilderness, it will carry all the people’s sins upon itself into a desolate land.

Rev. 12:9 And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.

This refers back to the Azazel goat above which is cast into the wilderness.

All of these things are represented by the Day of Atonement.

Rev. 12:10 Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying,
¶ “Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night.

Rev. 20:2 And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years;

This is what the Day of atonement represents: it makes amends for sin, in part, by fasting; it has to do with affliction and tribulation that the saints come out of; it further has to do with fasting, which gives a person humility and power; it has to do with recognizing the effects of sin as noted by the period of the seven trumpets; it commemorates the reconciliation provided by God through Jesus, by the blood on the cross; it commemorates Jesus as the high priest entering the holy of holies by his blood; and it celebrates Satan’s removal due to the reconciliation of the saints through Jesus.

Amen.

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