The Day of Atonement
“And the 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, 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. For whatsoever soul it be that shall not be afflicted in that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people. And whatsoever soul it be that doeth any work in that same day, the same soul will I destroy from among his people. Ye shall do no manner of work: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. It shall be unto you a sabbath of rest, and ye shall afflict your souls: in the ninth day of the month at even, from even unto even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath” (Lev. 23:26-32).
Yom Kippur, or the Day of Atonement, begins at sundown at the end of the ninth day of Trishir, the seventh month of the Jewish Year. This is the most solemn of the Holy Sabbath. It is a day of confession of sin and individually to “afflict their souls.” Further they were to be aware of national sins also.
The Day of Atonement lasts for twenty-four hours from sunset to sunset. Today Jews all over the world of all ages gather in their synagogues and places of prayer to seek atonement and forgiveness for their sins. Between the Feast of Trumpets and the Day of Atonement is ten day and is referred to as the “Ten Days of Repentance”, or “Awesome Days.” Five Days after Yom Kippur some the Sukkoth or Feast of the Tabernacles which last eight days.
This was the highest Sabbath day and no work was to be done. For the slightest violation of this law God said the violator would be cut off from Israel. For twenty-four hours the Israelite was not to sleep and was to confess his sins.
On this day alone the High Priest would enter the Holy of Holies and sprinkle the blood of a spotless lamb on the Mercy Seat which was on top of the Ark of the Covenant and between the two cherubims.
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The Tabernacle in the Wilderness
The Day of Atonement is a picture of salvation. It was the day that the innocent spotless lamb would be slain and its blood sprinkled on the Mercy Seat.
The Ark of the Covenant
1 Peter 1:2 “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.”
1 Peter 1:13-23 “Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear: Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God. Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.”
1 John 1:7 “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.”
The strict prohibition against even the slightest work pictures that salvation the work of God alone. Man can do nothing to atone for his sins and God made it crystal clear in His instructions for the keeping of the Day of Atonement.
The Lord through Jeremiah prophesied that Israel will actually saved at His second coming.
“And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn” (Zech. 12:9-10).
“In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness”. . .And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends” (Zech. 13:1, 6).
In that day the remnant of Israel who survive the seven year Great Tribulation will believe and accept Jesus as their Messiah.
“For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins” (Rom. 25-27).
To because the Jewish people have no Temple, priest or sacrifice, the rabbis have provided substitutes for the atoning sacrifice. This involves prayer, charity, preparation of wrong done and fasting. Another unbiblical practice is the practice of the Kapporot in which a rooster is sacrificed for a man and a hen for a woman. Charity is also offered as a sacrifice which falsely seems to suggests atone can be earned.