Day of Atonement

The Day of Atonement was an annual gift to the children of Israel where our forefathers would fast, sacrifice, release a scapegoat and pay half a shekel yearly to receive forgiveness  for their sins. With the advent, death and resurrection of Christ, how should the Children of Israel keep this feast day in present times? Let’s examine how we kept it before Christ.

Leviticus 23:26-32  And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, (27)  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. (28)  And ye shall do no work in that same day: for it is a day of atonement, to make an atonement for you before the LORD your God.  (29)  For whatsoever soul it be that shall not be afflicted in that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people.  (30)  And whatsoever soul it be that doeth any work in that same day, the same soul will I destroy from among his people. (31)  Ye shall do no manner of work: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. (32)  It shall be unto you a sabbath of rest, and ye shall afflict your souls: in the ninth day of the month at even, from even unto even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath.

Afflicting your souls means to fast so we fasted, rested and came together as a congregation.

Leviticus 16:5-10  And he shall take of the congregation of the children of Israel two kids of the goats for a sin offering, and one ram for a burnt offering. (6)  And Aaron shall offer his bullock of the sin offering, which is for himself, and make an atonement for himself, and for his house.  (7)  And he shall take the two goats, and present them before the LORD at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. (8)  And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the LORD, and the other lot for the scapegoat. (9) And Aaron shall bring the goat upon which the LORD’S lot fell, and offer him for a sin offering. (10)  But the goat, on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat, shall be presented alive before the LORD, to make an atonement with him, and to let him go for a scapegoat into the wilderness.

Two goats were used on the Day of  Atonement. One of the goats along with a bullock were sacrifices and the other was released as a scapegoat to take on the sins of Israel.

Exodus 30:10-16  And Aaron shall make an atonement upon the horns of it once in a year with the blood of the sin offering of atonements: once in the year shall he make atonement upon it throughout your generations: it is most holy unto the LORD. (11)  And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 12) When thou takest the sum of the children of Israel after their number, then shall they give every man a ransom for his soul unto the LORD, when thou numberest them; that there be no plague among them, when thou numberest them. (13)  This they shall give, every one that passeth among them that are numbered, half a shekel after the shekel of the sanctuary: (a shekel is twenty gerahs:) an half shekel shall be the offering of the LORD.  (14)  Every one that passeth among them that are numbered, from twenty years old and above, shall give an offering unto the LORD. (15) The rich shall not give more, and the poor shall not give less than half a shekel, when they give an offering unto the LORD, to make an atonement for your souls. (16) And thou shalt take the atonement money of the children of Israel, and shalt appoint it for the service of the tabernacle of the congregation; that it may be a memorial unto the children of Israel before the LORD, to make an atonement for your souls.

Every man that was at least 20 years old had to pay half a shekel to the sanctuary. In these present times, there is no sanctuary (it was destroyed in 70 A.D.), the Most High is not accepting animal sacrifice and through the sacrifice of Christ, we are granted forgiveness for our sins.

Hebrews 9:6-14  Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God. (7) But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people: (8) The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing: (9) Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience; (10) Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation. (11)  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; (12) 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. (13) For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: (14) How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

The rituals and ordinances that we read about under the old covenant were imposed on us until Christ came and died for us. We are now in the time of reformation.

Reformation – The act of changing to a better state, form, etc.; to improve by alteration, substitution, abolition, etc. 

We should not be sacrificing goats, bullocks or any other animals because Christ’s blood cleansed us from our sins so we no longer need animal sacrifice. This is the reformation that Hebrews 13:10 mentioned. We are now the living sacrifices through obedience to Christ’s teachings and service to the Most High.

Romans 12:1-2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.  (2)  And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

We no longer have to give a half a shekel to the sanctuary primarily because it does not exist in its physical form and we are now redeemed by the blood of Christ!

1 Peter 1:18-21 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; (19) But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:  (20)  Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, (21) Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.

Fasting – We should not fast on the Day of Atonement for forgiveness of sins because Christ and repentance is the only atonement the Most High is accepting in these last days.

Romans 5:10-11 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. (11) And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Remember that Christ was a gift to the Children of Israel. If it were not for his sacrifice, we would be dead for the sinful lives we lead prior to repentance. We are to keep the Day of Atonement as a Sabbath commemorating the marvelous works of repentance that Christ has wrought and focusing on repenting and sinning less as the day approaches.

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