The Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur)

Wendy Blight

Day: 23 | Plan: Leviticus-Hebrews

Today's Reading: Leviticus 16

Leviticus 16:2 (NIV)“The LORD said to Moses: ‘Tell your brother Aaron that he is not to come whenever he chooses into the Most Holy Place behind the curtain in front of the atonement cover on the ark, or else he will die. For I will appear in the cloud over the atonement cover.’”

Leviticus 16 continued a plan God had set in motion long before that day. It established the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), the annual day of purification for the Jews.

What was God’s plan that this special day became a part of? Before our Creator set the stars in the sky. Before He breathed life into Adam, He knew His created ones would rebel. To remedy that rebellion, He set a glorious plan in motion to redeem them. That plan required the shedding of blood. It began in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve confessed their sin to God. Out of His great mercy, “The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them” (Genesis 3:21). He covered their guilt and shame through the shedding of animal blood.

This plan continued to unfold in the wilderness with the Day of Atonement. God’s people continued to sin, and God again required the shedding of blood. But now He appointed an intercessor, the high priest, to take over the role of offering a blood sacrifice for the sins of the people.

God’s instructions were clear. One day a year, the Day of Atonement, the high priest must pass behind the veil, into the Holy of Holies, to offer a blood sacrifice on behalf of God’s people. A smoky cloud enveloped Aaron as he stood before the glory of the Lord and sprinkled animal blood on the mercy seat for the forgiveness of his sins and the sins of the people.

But God’s plan didn’t end there. Thousands of years later, God appointed a new high priest. The Great High Priest. Jesus. Jesus offered not animal blood, but His own. His blood offering established the last, final and ultimate Day of Atonement.

Jesus, the Great High Priest, fulfilled to perfection the role of the Old Testament high priest.

Aaron went behind the veil.
Jesus tore the veil.

Aaron offered his sacrifice once a year.
Jesus offered His body once and for all.

Aaron offered animal blood.
Jesus offered His own blood.

Aaron offered his sacrifice for the Jews.
Jesus offered His sacrifice for the world.

Jesus’ shed blood, shed once for all, means we are forever forgiven! It’s the ultimate Day of Atonement. God no longer sees our sin; He sees the blood of His Son, Jesus. Blood that washes our sin away as far as the east is from the west. Washes us white as snow. No more crimson stain! Hallelujah!

Prayer: Thank You, Father. The veil has been torn, and the day I accepted that gift as my own, my sin was forever forgiven. I have the incredible privilege to be in Your Presence as Aaron was with You in the Most Holy Place. But I have no legal requirements to meet. No clothes I must wear. No offerings I must bring. You made the way for me to meet with You anytime, anywhere. Thank You, Father. Keep me forever mindful of the great cost of this gift. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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More Moments:

Read Leviticus 16:5-22. God’s law required that on the Day of Atonement Aaron present two... Read More

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