The Day of Atonement or Yom Kippur is one of the Fall Feasts outlined in the book of Leviticus. Jews will celebrate with fasting, prayers, reading the Torah, repentance, and forgiving others. It is a solemn day to seek the Lord. But, does the Bible teach a ‘Day of Atonement for all people of the nations.
Do We Need To Be Atoned?
Hide Our Nakedness
The idea of atonement is as old as original sin. The first time we see a need is in the garden of Eden. Shortly after Adam and Eve partake of the forbidden fruit, they realize their nakedness and seek to cover or hide it. God even asks the question, “who told you that you were naked?”
Yahweh covered their nakedness with clothes of skins. (Genesis 3:21 NIV) Notice that their nakedness was covered. So, God demanded a covering of sins. He hates it and doesn’t like to be reminded of it. From that moment on, the plan was set in motion to restore mankind to his previous state of glory.
The Blood of Bulls And Goats
The age of the law came with Moses and the Ten Commandments. The path to having the people’s sins forgiven and covered now was marked with blood from animal sacrifice. Previously the Patriarchs had offered offerings of slain animals. They burned them, and God received these offerings. Job was one of the earliest mentioned. Then, of course, Abel was the first man mentioned to offer a burnt offering.
So, Moses and his brother Aaron set up the Levitical priesthood that would be in charge of making these various offerings for the sins of the people of Israel. Notice that the need for atonement has gone from two people to everyone, but one nation is setting the path to the future Messiah.
These offerings were required annually and could never satisfy the need to atone for the many individual and national sins committed. There would have to be a better solution, and God had planned that before He created the world.
What Is Atonement?
Simply put, to atone means literally to cover or make amends. The Jewish hat men wear is called a Kippur, the same as the name of the Day, Kippur. The day of covering. The best way to describe it is to admit wrongdoing when someone robs someone and gets caught.
Admitting guilt is the first step, but then they must say they are sorry or demonstrate remorse. Remorse is not repentance, but when we sin or come out of agreement with kingdom values, we repent by coming back into agreement with Kingdom values.
But now, there must be restitution. So they may have to pay back the money, tell the victim they are sorry, and now because they broke the law, face the penalty. That is where the court orders everything from probation to prison time.
The Kingdom Of God’s Requirements
So in the Kingdom of God, when we sin or break one of the commands or statutes that Jesus gave, what is the penalty? Well, we go back to the garden and see that God told them they would die. That is not physical death but spiritual.
That is why Jesus came, and that is the Good News. But what did He do? He became the penalty for us. His death was an atoning death. Hebrews 9:5 says that He literally became the Mercy Seat or propitiation. The mercy seat was in the Holy of Holies, and the High Priest entered once per year to offer the sacrifice there.
The author of the book of Hebrews tells us in 9:12 that Christ entered the Holy Place in heaven by His own blood, not with bulls and goats. Hebrews 9:25 says that he put away sacrifice and sin for all time. It doesn’t mean that people quit sinning, but now they have a way to escape, a way for atonement for all time. Christ literally became the punishment or penalty for us.
Christ’s sacrificial death did away with the need for bulls, goats, lambs, doves, and any other sacrifice that we could offer. He also provided a way to access the Father and enable us to live the glorious life we were intended to now and forever. His blood not only covers but washes away our sins.
That Day: The Lord’s Day
Yom Kippur reminds us that Christ not only paid our penalty but gives a blessed hope for this and every age to come. The Old Testament mentions ‘That Day’ and the Day of The Lord several times. There are indications that there are different Days of The Lord.
I previously discussed the various days of judgment day. This is where the atonement kicks in. There is the judgment seat of Christ where believers will be judged and receive crowns and rewards followed by a wedding and coronation of a KIng, Jesus.
There is the judgment where Jesus separates the sheep and goat nations at the end of the age. (Matthew 25:31-46) Finally, there is the Great White Throne Judgment where all who have rejected Christ or the wicked from every age whose names are not found in the book of Life will be judged by Yahweh and cast into the lake of fire and be eternally damned. This occurs at the end of the Millennial Kingdom and will usher in the time when Heaven comes down and meets earth, and we go in and out and live eternally there. (Revelation 20-22)
If not for atonement applied now and forever, we would have no future. There would be no one to stand as our advocate, no intercessor, and on judgment day, no one to say, “your sins are forgiven and washed away.” Therefore, be glad and rejoice that your name is written in heaven. Enter into the joy of His rest forever and forever, amen!!