Day of Atonement

“This is to be a permanent statute for you: In the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month you are to practice self-denial, and do no work, both the native and the foreigner who resides among you. Atonement will be made for you on this day to cleanse you, and you will be clean from all your sins before the Lord. It is a Sabbath of complete rest for you, and you must practice self-denial; it is a permanent statute.” Leviticus 16:29-31

“Perhaps the heart of the Old Testament teaching on atonement is found in Leviticus 16, where the regulations for the Day of Atonement occur. Five characteristics relating to the ritual of the Day of Atonement are worthy of note because they are generally true of atonement as it is found throughout Scripture: (1) the sovereignty of God in atonement; (2) the purpose and result of making atonement; (3) the two goats emphasize two different things, and the burning another, about the removal of sin; (4) that Aaron had to make special sacrifice for himself; (5) the comprehensive quality of the act.” (Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology, s.v. atonement).

Yom Kippur or Day of Atonement begins sunset October 11, 2016  (Tuesday) and goes through nightfall October 12, 2016 (Wednesday).  Do you remember how the blowing of trumpets (or shofar) is represented as a summons, a war-cry, a warning to prepare, or a wake up call from slumbering.  Maybe you imagine it as your summons?

Atonement in the Old Testament we have kippur which means “covering”.  Sacrifices made on this day ‘covered’ the sins of the people for one year.  At the same time the following year, the people’s sins had to be ‘covered’ again.  This was no permanent remedy.   Atonement in the New Testament is represented by the word reconciliation, which for Christians we know that through the cross of Christ we are ‘reconciled’ to God.  God and the sinner “at one” (at-one-ment).  This was God’s remedy for a permanent solution to sin.

The New Testament presents the work of Christ as God’s ultimate provision for our atonement.  This atoning work of the Cross of Christ offers 9 exchanges/results for every believer:

~The New Man~

Paul refers to the Day of Atonement as the Fast in Acts 27:9.

Yom Kippur is celebrated with fasting because it was commanded by God in the Old Testament for the Israelites.  Isaiah 58:6-7 speaks of fasting in this way, “The kind of fasting I want is this: Remove the chains of oppression and the yoke of injustice, and let the oppressed go free.  Share your food with the hungry and open your homes to the homeless poor. Give clothes to those who have nothing to wear, and do not refuse to help your own relatives.”  I have always seen fasting as the quickest way to humble myself.  What about you?  Another benefit of fasting is it centers our thoughts on what the Eternal is doing.  Do you desire knowing what the Eternal is doing and being part of it?

Reflection Questions:

1.  Are you coming to the Lord’s table and partaking of His provision?  How can you appropriate this?

2.  Have you ever considered fasting on Yom Kippur with the intent of making it a day of self-examination and thanksgiving to the One who provided reconciliation for you?

In His grace,


One Comment on “Day of Atonement”

  1. Lord thank You for At-one-ment. Give us all the courage to take these days of Yom Kippur to to examine ourselves, and come before You with thankful hearts. Thankful for Your atoning sacrifice that covers us, and gives us right standing with God. That we would come to Your table for our provision, and extend that provision out to our neighbors and brothers and sisters. Thank You for Your atoning grace at work in our lives. Amen.

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