Bible Commentary: “Yom Kippur: The Day of Atonement”

September 22, 2015 at 12:50 am | Posted in Bible Commentary | Leave a comment
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“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. (Leviticus 16:30)

Leviticus chapter 16, specifies the tenth of Tishrei as the date on which the high priest shall conduct a special ceremony to purge defilement from the shrine and from the people. The heart of the ritual
is that the high priest shall bring a bull and two goats as a special offering. First, the bull is sacrificed to purge the shrine from any defilement caused by misdeeds of the priest himself and of his household (Leviticus 16:6). Secondly, one of the goats is chosen by lot to be sacrificed to purge the shrine of any similar defilement stimulated by misdeeds of the whole Israelite people (Leviticus 16:7-8). Finally, the second goat is sent away, not sacrificed, to cleanse the people themselves. The goat is marked for Azazel and is sent away to wander in the wilderness (Leviticus 16:10). Before the goat is sent out, the high priest lays both his hands upon its head and confesses over it all the iniquities and transgressions of the Israelites, whatever their misdeeds, and so putting them on the head of the goat. Thus, the Bible adds, “The goat shall carry on it all their iniquities to an inaccessible region…” (Leviticus 16:20-22).

The Hebrew word for scapegoat is Azazel. Azazel was seen as a type of satan. The sins of the people and thus the punishment of the people were laid upon Azazel the scapegoat. He would bear the sins of the people and the punishment of the people would be upon him. Azazel being sent into the wilderness is understood to be a picture of satan being cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 19:20). Let’s take a closer look at this ceremony found in Leviticus 16:7-10. In Leviticus 16:8, the
first lot said, “La Adonai” (To the Lord). The second lot said, “La Azazel” (To the scapegoat). The high priest took the two golden lots, one marked La Adonai and the other marked La Azazel, and placed one upon the head of each animal, sealing their fate.

God gave this ceremony of the casting of lots during Yom Kippur to teach us how He will judge the nations of the world prior to the Messianic age known as the Millennium. The nations of the world will be judged according to how they treated the Jewish people. Those nations who mistreated the Jews will be goat nations and they will go into the left hand. Those nations that stood beside the Jewish people will be sheep nations and will enter into the Messianic kingdom or the Millennium.
Jesus taught us about this in Matthew 25:31-46. Jesus was a type of the goat marked La Adonai. Jesus was a sin offering to us as God laid upon Him the sins of the whole world (Isaiah 53:1-6; 1 Corinthians 15:3; Galatians 1:3-4; Hebrews 2:17; 1 John 2:2; 4:10). In the ceremony of the two goats, the two goats were considered as one offering. A crimson sash was tied around the horns of the goat marked Azazel. At the appropriate time, the goat was led to a steep cliff in the wilderness and shoved off the cliff. A portion of the crimson sash was attached to the door of the temple before the goat was sent into the wilderness. The sash would turn from red to white as the goat met its end, signaling to the people that God had accepted their sacrifices and their sins were forgiven. This was based upon Isaiah 1:18.

Child of God – Why is this day important to us who are not Jewish? By the blood of Jesus we have been grafted into the vine and are now joint heirs with Him. As Jesus was Jewish and we are now all brothers and sisters then our roots are part of this rich and vibrant spiritual heritage. Let us join with our Jewish family and celebrate a tradition that God Himself originated with Moses. Jesus has atoned for our sins and we are washed clean by His precious blood. No longer do we have to sacrifice the blood of animals. We are now the temple of the Living God and we present ourselves as living sacrifices to Him so that we may be constantly changed into the image of Jesus. Look at the work that Jesus has done for you and take the time to draw closer to Him, and give Him all the praise, all the honor and all the glory for He is worthy.

Our prayer:
Lord, thank you for what you did on the cross for me. That you washed away my sins and you were the perfect and eternal sacrifice that brought life for those who believe in you. Amen.

If you want to have a personal relationship with Jesus as your Lord and Savior pray: “Dear Jesus, I know that I am a sinner and that out of love for me you willingly sacrificed your life so that I may live. I repent of all my sins and open my heart to you as my Lord and Savior. Amen.

If you prayed this prayer for the first time or if you have any questions please contact us. We would love to hear from you.


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