DAY OF ATONEMENT
Leslie M. John
“Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD”. (Leviticus 23:27)
The feast of “Day of Atonement” was celebrated by Israelites on the tenth day of seventh month. This is the sixth feast of the seven feasts described in Leviticus Chapter 23. The great day of atonement was on the day when Jesus was crucified on the cross of Calvary bearing our sin outside the gates of the city. Gospel writers Matthew, Mark, and John used the word “Golgotha”, which means “place of skulls”. Luke used the word “Calvary” instead of “Golgotha” and Calvary means “Cranium” which again means the same as “skull”. (Matthew 27:33, Mark 15:22, Luke 23:33, John 19:17)
The picture drawn as shadow in the Old Testament in the Book of Leviticus Chapters 16 and 23 are fulfilled in the crucifixion of Lord Jesus. The feast of “Day of Atonement” is celebrated by Israelites as a memorial of the way the High Priest who went into the “Holy of Holies” and sprinkled of the blood of the goat on which the lottery fell as “for the Lord” (Leviticus 16:8-9) and also as memorial of the second goat on which the lot fell as for the “Scapegoat”. The two goats together were collectively the shadow of the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross and bearing the sins of the sinner.
“And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the LORD, and the other lot for the scapegoat” (Leviticus 16:8 – KJV)
Darby’s Translation of Leviticus 16:8 says: “And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats: one lot for Jehovah, and the other lot for Azazel”.
The meaning of the word “Azazel” is understood as “Scapegoat”, which bore the confessed sins and went into the wilderness and died, never to return to the camp of Israel. This “Scapegoat” is not Satan, which some believe it to be. The “Scapegoat” is the picture of Lord Jesus Christ, who bore our sins. This is highly misunderstood doctrine in Christian Theology. Satan did not carry the sins of any one nor does any one need to lay one’s sin on Satan to take away into wilderness. Some believe that it was Satan, who brought sin into the world and, therefore, Satan carries sin and dies in the wilderness, but this teaching is heresy. Jesus died for our sins and he bore our sins and died on the outskirts of city. Jesus is the salvation and his blood cleansed our sins.
“For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” 2 Corinthians 5:21.
The Old Testament sacrifices were not perfect in nature; yet it was not the mistake of Old Testament saints. It was ordained so by God. It was not the mistake of God either to say that He gave imperfect first or perfect later; but it was the way to show that neither the blood of bulls nor of goats saved any body, but only the blood of Jesus saved every one who believed in Jesus as Savior (Hebrews 10:4).
The atoning sacrifices in the Old Testament only covered sins, but the sins were not forgiven forever. They had to do it again the next year. That was a shadow of the things to come in future and the blood of Jesus Christ cleansed the sins of every one. In the New Testament period we are privileged that we do not need to offer sacrifices. Christ died for our sake once and for all; and that was enough. Our part is to believe Jesus as our Savior and repent of our sins to him. Jesus is the mediator for us and He is our High priest.
“But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us” (Hebrews 9:11-12)
“So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation”. (Hebrews 9:28)
The blood of Jesus Christ cleansed the sins of the Old Testament Saints, and also the New Testament saints. Lord Jesus became the High Priest, after the order of Melchisedec, thus setting aside the imperfect sacrificial offerings of the Old Testament. Jesus was the Savior in the past, He is the Savior now, and He will be the Savior in future. Hebrews Chapters 9, 10 and 11 detail the way Jesus became perfect sacrifice for all