The Beauty of Jesus Revealed in the Feasts
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Chapter 6 – The Day of Atonement
Once a year, on The Day of Atonement, the high priest went into the temple to make atonement for sin. What or who was he making atonement for?
Atonement for himself and his family.
Atonement for the nation of Israel.
Atonement for the tabernacle.
Why did this ceremony have to be repeated every year? And, has this changed?
This was a yearly reminder (just as daily sacrifices were) that man is sinful and in need of a Savior.
Jesus Christ has paid for our sins once and for all. There is no need for Him to go into the temple year after year to atone for our sins as we have been saved from the penalty of sin. As long as we’re walking this earth, however, we’ll constantly struggle to overcome the power of sin, which is why it’s important that we continue to ask for forgiveness and turn away from our sin.
What took place during the seven days leading up to the ceremony?
In preparation for Yom Kippur, the high priest left his home and took residence at the temple. The reason this was done was to ensure that he didn’t come into contact with anything in the outside world that might have made him unclean and unable to perform his duties on the Day of Atonement.
During the 7 days leading up to the ceremony, the high priest studied the Torah, practiced the ceremonial ritual, and was instructed by the elders of the Sanhedrin to ensure that every detail of this holiest of days was performed without error.
What was different about the way that the high priest dressed himself on The Day of Atonement? What symbolism if any do we find here?
After completely immersing himself in a bath, he put on the sacred garments as God commanded in Leviticus 16:4: a linen tunic, linen undergarments, a linen sash, and a linen turban.
The symbolism we see here is a shadow of the return of our Lord in Revelation 19:
And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. – Revelation 19:13-14
What was another name for the scapegoat?
What do we learn about the scapegoat in this chapter? And, what does the scapegoat represent?
The goat with the scarlet ribbon tied around his neck symbolically carried the sins of the nation outside of the camp and into the wilderness. Laying his hands on the head of the goat, the high priest transferred the sins and the judgment of the people onto the scapegoat, confessing all of the iniquities and the transgressions of the nation of Israel. The goat was then led out into the wilderness and set free.
This is a picture of the substitutionary atonement that could only truly be fulfilled through the blood of our Lord. These goats were a foreshadow of the two-fold redemption of Christ—both the atonement and the removal of sin. And so we see that the moment Jesus took away our sin, He also took away the penalty of our sin so that we who believe would be justified.
Why is it important that Christ shed His blood for mankind?
The blood of Christ was the life-giving atonement that bridged the gap between God and man. The blood of bulls, and that of goats, which we read about in the Old Testament, didn’t have the power to take away sin. They didn’t have the life-giving power that would reconcile God and man. No, it simply pointed the way to Christ and illustrated the importance of the shedding of blood. The substitutionary sacrificial atonement of Christ is the only solution for man and the only way to salvation.
What do you learn about both the Holy of Holies in this chapter and the curtain that divided it from the Holy Place?
This holiest of places was exactly 15 feet wide, 15 feet long, and 15 feet high. It was within this room that the shekinah glory (a pillar of cloud or fire) rested above the ark of the covenant signifying the presence of God.
Although the Bible doesn’t specify the thickness of the veil, we find it’s believed to have been the thickness of the palm of one’s hand:
The Veils before the Most Holy Place were 40 cubits (60 feet) long, and 20 (30 feet) wide, of the thickness of the palm of the hand, and wrought in 72 squares, which were joined together; and these veils were so heavy, that, in the exaggerated language of the time, it needed 300 priests to manipulate each. (The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, Alfred Edersheim)
Where is the ark of the covenant today? And what is resting in its place?
After the Babylonian captivity, the Israelites returned to Jerusalem, but the Ark of the Covenant did not. And, in fact no one knows it’s location to this day. What we find in its place on the temple mount where the Holy of Holies once stood, is a rock, known as the foundation stone. Also known as the “Pierced Stone,” this rock continues to rest on the floor within the Dome of the Rock in the Old City of Jerusalem.
How is The Day of Atonement different from that of The Passover?
In much the same way that the Exodus from Egypt was different from the entrance into the Promised Land, Passover is different from the Day of Atonement. One marks the beginning of our redemption through the blood of Jesus Christ on the cross, while the other marks its completion when Jesus returns to this earth.
If we’ve been redeemed by the blood of Christ at the cross, then what is the “final redemption” we’re waiting for?
The salvation of our sin-stained souls was purchased and redeemed fully through the blood of Jesus, yet the redemption of this earth, with all the effects of sin that are placed upon it, still groans and waits eagerly for its own redemption.