Yom Kippur, Day of Atonement begins at sunset on Tuesday, October 8, 2019. Yom Kippur is the most solemn and holiest day in Judaism. Day of Atonement is the only day that God called the Israelites to a Corporate Fast (no food or water for 24 hours).
Day of Atonement completes the “ten days of awe” that began on Feast of Trumpets, when the books were opened. The days of awe are a time of self-reflection and repentance. Day of Atonement represents the day when a person’s fate is sealed and written either in the Lamb’s book of Life or the book of Death.
On this day (Yom Kippur) in His story, the Jewish high priest would go into the Holy of Holies to make atonement for himself and for the sins of Israel. The Holy of Holies is the innermost chamber of the Jewish Temple, hidden from the rest of the world by a thick veil. This day was an important reminder to Israel that all of their daily and weekly sacrifices and rituals were not enough to atone for their sin. Even in the Old Testament, living according to the law of Moses was never going to be enough to make a person righteous before a Holy God. All have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God (Romans 3:23). In this verse, the word sin means to “miss the mark”.
The Hebrew word for atonement means “covering” (kaphar), also matching the Greek word (hilastērion) for Propitiation in Romans 3:25, 1 John 2:2 and 1 John 4:10. Jesus’ shed blood is the propitiation or covering for our sins. A word that is closely associated with the word covering is the Hebrew word bitumen. Bitumen is a tarry pitch that was used to fill in (cover) the gaps and holes when Noah built the Ark.
The Jewish high priest was the only one permitted to enter the Holy of Holies, and only on Yom Kippur. In the Wilderness Tabernacle and in Solomon’s Temple, God’s presence… His Shekinah Glory dwelt inside of the Holy of Holies. Nowhere does the Bible indicate that God’s Glory dwelt n the 2nd Temple (Herod’s Temple), the one constructed during the days of Ezra and Nehemiah, UNTIL Jesus the Christ, filled with God’s Glory, stepped into that Temple. At one time, Jesus had called the 2nd Temple “His Father’s House, but after Israel totally and utterly rejected the Christ, the Son of God, Jesus then said “YOUR HOUSE” is left to you desolate.
God’s Glory left the 2nd Temple when Jesus the Christ pronounced THEIR house “desolate“. Israel was about to crucify her own MESSIAH, the Son of God! History tells us that 40 years after the crucifixion of Jesus (the number 40 represents testing, trial or probation), the Jewish Temple was burned to the ground by the Roman army in 70AD. Jesus’ words from Matthew 24 that not one stone of the Temple would be left upon another came to pass on that day.
Flashing back to the wilderness Tabernacle and Solomon’s Temple (1st Temple), the Bible tells us that God’s Shekinah Glory did dwell in those two houses.
Exodus 40:34: Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.
2 Chronicles 7:1: Now when Solomon had finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the LORD filled the house.
Because God’s Glory resided in the Tabernacle and Solomon’s Temple, the High Priest was given a very specific set of instructions that he had to follow on Yom Kippur in order to make the sacrifices for Israel. If he failed to follow the instructions exactly as given, he would surely die. If anyone other than the Jewish high priest attempted to step into the Holy of Holies at any time, they would immediately die. Man’s sinful flesh cannot come into contact with a Holy God because to do so would bring instant death. However, because of God’s great love for His people, He made a way for the Jewish high priest to enter the Holy of Holies once a year to make atonement for the sins of Israel. As we discover in the New Testament, the blood of bulls and goats never could forgive sins; however, the animal sacrificial system that God established in Israel kind of worked like a “temporary covering” pointing the way to the Messiah, who would eventually cover the sins of all mankind (Jew and Gentile) PERMANENTLY.
Isaiah 49:6: He says, “It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant To raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also make You a light of the nations So that My salvation may reach to the end of the earth.”
Hebrews 9:6: Now when these things have been so prepared, the priests are continually entering the outer tabernacle performing the divine worship, 7 but into the second (HOLY OF HOLIES), only the high priest enters once a year, not without taking blood, which he offers for himself and for the sins of the people committed in ignorance.
But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation; 12 and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.
Hebrews 10:4: For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
Before Jesus came to earth to fulfill all of the law and the Sacrificial system, God used the Jewish high priest to make a temporary atonement for the sins of Israel. The entire process that the high priest went through year after year on Yom Kippur is detailed in Leviticus 16.
Yom Kippur Ritual
- On this day, the high priest would remove his official priestly garments, he would bathe a ritual bath (purifying bath) in a Mikvah, and put on a pure white linen robe to symbolize repentance. This is very similar to the Christian Baptism.
- Next he would make a sin offering for himself and the other priests by sacrificing a young bull and a ram for a burnt offering.
- Then he would enter the Holy of holies with a pan of glowing coals from the alter of incense, filling the air with a smokey cloud and the aroma of incense. Spiritually, the incense represents the prayers of the Saints that go up to God’s Throne as a pleasing aroma. This was an important step in ensuring the safety of the high priest symbolizing the significance and precious nature of the prayers of God’s people. If you belong to Jesus Christ, your prayers are precious to God.
- The high priest would then sprinkle the blood of the bull on the mercy seat and on the floor before the ark of the Covenant. Once the high priest had made atonement for his sins and the sins of the priests, he would then make atonement for the sins of all Israel.
- The high priest would cast lots between two live goats who had been brought by the people. The Lord would choose which goat would become the sin offering and which goat would become the “azazel” (scapegoat).
- One of the goats was then killed as a sin offering for the nation. The high priest would sprinkle some of its blood where he had sprinkled the blood of the bull inside the Holy of Holies. With this act the high priest also made atonement for the Holy Place itself. Like the Passover Lamb, this goat represents the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
Passover and Yom Kippur are “mirror festivals”, one in the Spring and the other in the Fall, with the long, hot, dry summer separating them.
The Spring Feasts represents Jesus’ first coming, His death, burial, and resurrection.
The long hot summer with the Holy Spirit guiding God’s Church represents the 2000 year “age of the Gentile” where God is calling His Gentile Church (MYSTERY OF THE CHURCH – PENTECOST). As we briefly detail the wilderness journey of the Israelites, consider the WAY IN WHICH THE ISRAELITES’ JOURNEY FORESHADOWS our current “wilderness journey” … our lives on planet earth.
Very brief synopsis of Israelite journey in the wilderness..as a type of our wilderness journey on planet earth. Israel’s time in the wilderness is also a representation or “type” of the 2000 year age of Grace, Mystery of the church that began at Pentecost, 50 days after the Resurrection. The bold, capitalized words below in parenthesis symbolize the final spiritual fulfillment of the foreshadowing or “types” that were in the Old Testament.
Israel had spread the blood of the Passover Lamb (Yeshua) over their doorposts and lintels (hearts), and were therefore able to leave Egypt (sin). In the Wilderness, they received the Mosaic Covenant at Sinai (NEW COVENANT) to prepare them for the promised land (KINGDOM OF GOD). However, due to their human nature, they were disobedient and had to wander in the wilderness (planet earth) until they had completed a 40 year period (trial/testing – a human LIFESPAN). God ensured that the entire ADULT generation who had seen His Miracles in Egypt and still turned to Idolatry would “die-off”(PUT OFF OLD SELF), and not be permitted to enter the Promised Land….(only NEW SELF can ENTER THE Kingdom of God). During this 40 year wilderness experience, the Israelites had the Pillar of fire/pillar of smoke (Holy Spirit) to guide and comfort them. Once the generation that had witnessed the Miracles of God when He brought His Children out of Egypt had died (TRANSFORMED/OLD MADE NEW), God brought them into the Promised Land (Kingdom of God) through His Chosen Instrument Joshua (Yeshua).
The fall Feasts represent the events that transpire before Jesus’ SECOND coming
- But what about the second goat? With a grand ceremony, the high priest would then place his hands on the head of the live goat, confessing and pressing the sins of the whole nation, before the burnt alter of offering. This act was done in view of the people and not behind the veil of the Holy of Holies. Finally, a red scarf was tied around the goat’s neck and it was released into the wilderness.
The Tabernacle and veil are a picture of how our sin separates us from a Holy God. A THICK veil separated the Holy of Holies from the rest of the Tabernacle or Temple. The High Priest was the only one permitted to walk through that thick veil, and only once a year with the appropriate incense and with blood for the sacrifice. At the moment of Jesus’ death on the Cross, there was a great earthquake and the veil that separated the Holy of Holies was torn in half from top to bottom. This was a picture of how Jesus entered into the Heavenly Tabernacle by His own precious blood to become our High Priest forever.
Why the two goats? There are many possible answers to this question. Some believe the two goats represent the two natures or offices of Jesus, Priest and King….Messiah ben Joseph (suffering servant) and Messiah ben David (Victorious King). It is also true that the Jewish Rabbis are still waiting for two Messiahs who they THINK come ONCE (Messiah ben Joseph/Messiah ben David). They missed the time of their visitation! The truth is that God only has ONE MESSIAH who comes TWICE (YESHUA HAMASHIACH). This is why many Jewish people will be deceived by the evil combo of two individuals who are prophesied to come in the last days…antichrist/false prophet. Thank God Jesus has a plan to send two witnesses to Jerusalem during the Tribulation to preach the truth to the Jewish people so that a remnant will be preserved.
Whenever I consider the two “offices” of Messiah, I also think of Jew and Gentile, one in Messiah (Ezekiel 37). Messiah ben Joseph points to Ephraim, also foreshadowing the Gentile Bride….Messiah ben David points to King David (Judah), and is a foreshadowing of the Jewish Remnant. These TWO are also pictured in the two wave loaves of Leviticus 23, both baked with fine flour and leavening, firstfruits to the Lord. So when I see two goats, my mind goes back to Jew and Gentile, one in Messiah.
The first goat who was sacrificed on the alter on Yom Kippur represents Jesus’ shed blood on Passover that ATONES (COVERS) the sins of ALL PEOPLE. The MYSTERY of the Gentile Church began 50 days after the Resurrection on PENTECOST. God’s primary focus has been on saving as many GENTILE CHRISTIANS as He has chosen during these past 2000 years of the “Church Age” or Age of Grace.
The second goat, who was sent into the wilderness, perhaps represents how Jesus has been making intercession from the Heavenly Tabernacle, for the Jewish people since the time of His crucifixion and Resurrection, a picture of the Jewish remnant. Jewish Legend tells us that the 2nd goat (azazel) was sent into the wilderness with a red scarf tied around its neck symbolizing the sins of Israel, but the goat returned much later, and the scarf was white. Though your sins be as scarlet, they will be white as snow. Perhaps this is representative of how Jesus will remove the scales from His Jewish Remnant’s eyes when HE RETURNS and when they say “Blessed is HE who comes in the NAME of the LORD”….
Jesus is currently serving as our High Priest forever after the priestly order of Melchizedek. He intercedes inside of the True Tabernacle that is in Heaven through the power of His shed Blood. Both the Tabernacle and 1st Temple were merely REPLICAS or MODELS of the TRUE TABERNACLE in HEAVEN.
Not wanting to make this post too long, we will discuss the identity of MYSTERIOUS MELCHIZEDEK in our next post as it has everything to do with Jesus as the High Priest forever.