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The Day of Atonement - Jorge Sedaca
September 18, 2018
By Jorge Sedaca, Executive Director

Tonight at sundown, Jewish people around the world will begin observing Yom Kippur, the holiest day in Judaism. According to Leviticus 16 and 23, this is the only day of the year when the High Priest could enter the Holy of Holies – initially in the Tabernacle and later in the Temple in Jerusalem.

Leviticus 16 tells us there were five animals involved in the ceremony: one young bull, two male goats, and two rams. Here is the order in which they were offered:

The young bull was slaughtered as a sin offering for High Priest and his family. Some blood was sprinkled once on the east side of the mercy seat, and seven times on the mercy seat.

  • Lots were cast on the two male goats: one was for the Lord and one was for Azazel:

       + The goat for the Lord was slaughtered as a sin offering for Israel in the same way as the young bull.

       + Azazel’s goat was kept alive; the High Priest would lay hands on its head and confess Israel’s sins. The goat was sent outside the city into the wilderness as a scapegoat, to jump off a cliff or precipice and die.

  • Then the High Priest offered the two rams as burnt offerings, one for himself and his family, and one for the people of Israel.

Of course, after all this he would wash himself, change his clothing and burn the animal remains.

Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus the Messiah), many centuries later, was sacrificed for our sins and in our place, fulfilling the Yom Kippur requirements, especially those related to the scapegoat (the goat for Azazel). Similarly, God’s provision in Yeshua has the same effect upon our lives:

  • He was sacrificed in our place (as the Lamb of God, John 1:29).
  • He was perfect in all His ways, without sin and without guilt.
  • His blood was applied to our lives.
  • He carried on Himself all our iniquities, transgressions and sins (Isaiah 53:6).
  • He was taken alive outside the city of Jerusalem and then nailed to a cross.

Jesus paid the ultimate price for the forgiveness of our sins, dying in our place, and paying the penalty you and I should have paid. He was the ultimate, sufficient, final and eternal sacrifice, made once and for all.  As it is expressed in the book of Hebrews:

But the Messiah has appeared, high priest of the good things that have come. In the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands (that is, not of this creation), He entered the most holy place once for all, not by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood, having obtained eternal redemption” (Hebrews 9:11-12).

Today on the Day of Atonement, let us remember the perfect sacrifice Jesus the Messiah made by His death on the cross and pray that others will receive His love, forgiveness and eternal redemption.

Filed under: Jewish Festivals, Special Days, Devotional Study


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