The Day of Atonement


Luke 16:21-24:

"And the son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.' But the father said to his servants, 'Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' "

This article will be on the next feast listed in Leviticus 23; the Day of Atonement.

Leviticus 23:26-29:

"And the Lord spoke to Moses saying, 'Also on the tenth day of this seventh month shall be the Day of Atonement. It shall be a holy convocation for you; you shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire to the Lord. And you shall do no work on that same day, for it is the Day of Atonement for you before the Lord your God."

In order to gain a proper understanding of this feast, let us review. As stated in previous articles, the feasts are the days commanded by the Creator for His people Israel to celebrate. They are the Holy days of the Lord.

Leviticus 23:1-2:

“And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘The feasts of the Lord, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, these are My feasts.’”

We have gone through the first five. The feasts were given to the people of Israel so they may know the plan of God for mankind. There is no need to guess as to what our future holds for it is shown to us when we keep these feast days.

The first is the weekly Sabbath, which points to the true rest which is to come. The next is the Passover and days of Unleavened Bread.  The Passover commemorates the death of the Messiah, and the shedding of His blood for the remission of our sins; while the days of Unleavened Bread, show our coming out of sin through His grace. The Feast of First Fruits celebrates the resurrection and victory over death, by Yahoshua, while The Feast of Weeks, or Pentecost, is the beginning of the Spiritual Body of Christ or as some call it, the church.

These feasts are in sense prophecies, for they pointed to a time which had not occurred when they were instituted. They have now been fulfilled and have become memorials. We are now in the time of the Spiritual Body of Christ. This is the time when the New Testament church is upon the earth. I stated before that this means the events, which the next feasts point to, have not occurred. They begin with the Feast of Trumpets. As shown in my last article this Feasts points to the time our Messiah will return to the earth. This brings us to The Day of Atonement. Whatever this Feast represents must occur in the time after the physical return of Christ.

Like the other feast days, this day is a Holy convocation, or a required meeting. In today's vernacular we would call it going to church. It is also a Sabbath Day, or a day of rest. We are to do no manner of work on this day. In the days before the ultimate sacrifice of our Savior, the people were to offer animal sacrifices and burnt offerings, just as it was commended for the other Holy Days. Yet there are three very different things that they were, and we are, to do, on this feast day, and to understand the meaning of this day we must look at those differences.  

The first difference is that we are commanded to afflict our souls. Before we go on we must understand what this phrase means. Let us start with the word "soul". According to Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible the word soul is translated from the Hebrew word "nephesh" which means: a breathing creature, ie: beast, body, breathing, and creature. It comes from the word "naphash" which means: to breath, to be breathed upon.

Genesis 2:7:

"And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul{King James Version}

So we see that the word soul simply means body, or person, or creature, depending upon the context. So whatever we are to do on this day we are to do to our bodies or persons. The next word to understand is "afflict".  According to Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible the word afflict used in Leviticus is translated from the Hebrew word "anah" which means: to debase self, chasten self, defile, humble. So when we put these together we are to chasten, defile, or humble our bodies. I am sure there are many ways people can come up with in their imagination to humble themselves, but we do not have to guess what we are to do to our bodies in order to fulfill this command, the answer is in the scriptures.

Isaiah 58:3:

“‘Why have we fasted;' they say, 'and You have not seen? Why have we afflicted our souls, and you take no notice?' "

Isaiah 58:5:

"Is it a fast that I have chosen, a day for a man to afflict his soul?"

So we can now understand, without any question, what we are required to do on the Day of Atonement, we are to fast. There are many types of fasts in the world, but the type of fasting the bible speaks of is to not consume any food or water for the appointed time of the fast.

Esther 4:16:

“Go, gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!”

In the case of this feast, the Day of Atonement, we must abstain from any form of food or drink from sunset to sunset. 

To understand the next two items which differs from the other feast days we must turn to the sixteenth chapter of Leviticus. The sixteenth chapter is dedicated to the Day of Atonement and the specific rituals which the priests were to perform. The first thing the High Priest was to do was wash himself and then change into Holy Garments, he then must take two goats as a sin offering. Now this isn't too much different except he must let one goat go.

Leviticus 16:7-10:

"He shall take the two goats and present them before the Lord at the door of the tabernacle of meeting. Then Aaron shall cast lots for the two goats; one lot for the Lord, and the other lot for the scapegoat. And Aaron shall bring the goat on which the Lord's lot fell, and offer it as a sin offering. But the goat on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat shall be presented alive before the Lord to make atonement upon it and to let it go as the scapegoat into the wilderness."

He was then to kill the first goat as a sin offering for the people, but the second goat was different.

Leviticus 16:20-21:

"........he shall bring the live goat; and Aaron shall lay both his hands on the head of the goat, confess over it all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions, concerning all their sins, putting them on the head of the goat, and shall send it away into the wilderness by the hand of a suitable man."

The last difference on this Holy day was that the High Priest was to go into The Holy of Hollies. Remember this was the sacred compartment in the tabernacle, which was hidden from view by the veil. This was only to be done once a year, on this particular feast day, and only by the High Priest. 

Leviticus 16:1-3:

"Now the Lord spoke to Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron, when they offered profane fire before the Lord, and died;  and the Lord said to Moses: “'Tell Aaron your brother not to come at just any time into the Holy Place inside the veil, before the mercy seat which is on the ark, lest he die; for I will appear in the cloud above the mercy seat. Thus Aaron shall come into the Holy Place: with the blood of a young bull as a sin offering, and of a ram as a burnt offering.'"

So now that we see what was to be done and still is to be done, what  does this all mean? We know that whatever event is to take place it  must take place after the advent of Christ. So let us begin.

We shall start with the High Priest entering the Holy of Holies. The High Priest had to wash and change into holy garments prior to entering.

Leviticus 16:4:

"He shall put the holy linen tunic and the linen trousers on his body; he shall be girded with a linen sash, and with the linen turban he shall be attired. These are holy garments. Therefore he shall wash his body in water, and put them on."

What is the meaning of this? Why must he adorn himself in linen, and why is it considered holy.

Revelation 19:7-8:

"Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His wife has made herself ready. And to her was it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the linen is the righteous acts of the saints."

The high priest had to wash himself because he was dirty with sin. He then placed on the linen clothing which represents the righteous acts of the people. Remember he is entering the Holy of Hollies. He was there to intercede for the people. He was presenting himself as an advocate, and by wearing the linen, showing the Creator that the people, through his acts, were righteous.

The fine linen was also the marriage garment. This is the union between the Messiah and the church. This event during the feast is a symbolic reminder that the church is to be the bride of the Messiah at His return.

The next act was the separation of the goats.

Leviticus 16:10:

"But the goat which the lot fell to be the scapegoat shall be presented alive before the Lord to make atonement upon it, and to let it go as the scapegoat into the wilderness."

As stated earlier he was then to lay both his hands on the head of the goat, and confess all the sins of the people over it; thus making the goat the bearer of the people's sins.

Leviticus 16:22:

"The goat shall bear on itself all their iniquities to an uninhabited land; and he shall release the goat into the wilderness."

After the high priest has interceded for the people, the sins of the people are placed squarely on the head of the goat. This would represent that the cause of sin belongs on the head of Satan and his angels.

Revelation 12:10:

"....Now salvation and strength and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down."

Who is the accuser of the brethren?

Revelation 12:9:

".......that serpent of old called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world......."

This scapegoat was not killed, because Satan will not be killed. The goat is let go into the wilderness as Satan will be cast into the lake of fire.

Revelation 20:10:

“And the Devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone......and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever." 

The next and last difference of this feast is fasting. I said that biblical fasting is the not taking of any food or beverage for an appointed time. The time taken is then dedicated to the Creator. In this case the appointed time is on the day of the feast from sunset to sunset. Fasting is a sacred event not to be taken lightly. It is a way of being totally submissive to God. It is the way of showing complete faith.

When Yahoshua was almost done fasting for forty days and nights the very first thing that happened was Satan tempted Him with food. 

Matthew 4:3:

"Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, 'If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.'”

His response:

Matthew 4:4:

"But He answered and said, 'It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”

When we fast we are trusting that the Creator will take care of our physical bodies, because Yahoshua is the “Bread of Life”. 

John 6:48:

"I am the bread of life."

He is also the "Living Water". 

John 4:13-14:

"Yahoshua answered and said to her, 'Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.'”

When we fast we are completely relying on God to take care of us; throwing away any physical desire or need, and relying on Him for everything. So what does this Feast represent? The name almost says it all "Atonement" or           "At-one-ment" This day points to the day we are to prepare for our marriage, to become part of the family of God.  The High Priest who represents our Messiah is clothed in righteousness{linen} and presents himself to God, just as Yahoshua is doing today; presenting Himself for our sake. Satan, the goat, is then held to account for his sins, and cast into the lake of fire, or the wilderness. The church then becomes one with God; which is represented by the fasting. We shall be Spirit in the Kingdom; there would be no need for food or drink.

Since the Messiah is the actual High Priest and has died for our sins the animals are no longer needed. The high priest does not have to go into the holy of holies, for Yahoshua sits at the right hand of His Father. 

Mark 16:19: 

"So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God."

We still must fast, because it shows our dedication and belief that He will sustain us.  We are living in a time of confusion, anger, fear, and hate. The majority of the people of this world know nothing of these Feast days and it seems that those who do ignore them as old and irrelevant. Yet these days were put here for us so we may know each year what is to come. The good news of the coming kingdom is man's only true salvation, and the feasts point the way to this salvation. They are the road map to eternal life.

Well my friends as always I pray this article has helped you in some small way in understanding the future of mankind. Many troubled days lay ahead. Evil has become too common place in this world. Trust in the Lord, keep the feasts, and remember the Gospel. The Good News of the coming Kingdom. Until next time my friends please take care.