The Day of  Atonement

Today we will focus on the symbolism revealed in  The Day of Atonement as we continue to discuss Tishri, the seventh Jewish month.  According to the law, the Day of Atonement was to be observed on Day 10 of month 7. It was a day of rest, convocation and affliction of the soul.

Modern Jews observe Ten Days of Atonement:

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)

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 (Leviticus 23: 28)

What is atonement?

Kippur (H3725), the Jewish word for atonement, occurs 8 times in 8 verses in the Hebrew concordance of the King James Version of the Bible. The direct usage shows reveals elements of an atonement under the law:

  • offering for sin
  • animal sacrifice
  • shedding of animal blood
  • cleansing with blood
  • anointing after the cleansing
  • sanctification after the cleansing
  • atonement money – Exodus 30: 15 & 16)
  • recompense to the Lord

Further understanding of the atonement by the root word

However, I had to examine kaphar  (H3722) in order to fully understand the doctrine of atonement. God commanded Israel to make atonement with animal sacrifices and financial gifts or offerings in order to:

  • pitch or cover over sin (Genesis 6: 14)
  • appease God (Genesis 32: 20)
  • receive forgiveness and pardon of sins (Leviticus 4: 20, 26, 31 & 35)
  • be consecrated and sanctified or set apart as holy to God  (Exodus 29: 33 & 36)
  • purge sin (1 Samuel 3: 14).
  • receive pardon from God (2 Chronicles 30: 18)
  • to pacify God (Proverbs 16: 14)
  • receive mercy and forgiveness from God (Deuteronomy 212: 8)

Be merciful, H3722 O LORD, unto thy people Israel, whom thou hast redeemed, and lay not innocent blood unto thy people of Israel’s charge. And the blood shall be forgiven H3722 them

  • to disannul  sin

And your covenant with death shall be disannulled, H3722 and your agreement with hell shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by it (Isaiah 28: 18)

The mediator of the atonement

A human priest was the mediator of the atonement, standing between God and the people, and presenting their sin offerings to the Heavenly Father. If the offering was pleasing to God, a reconciliation would be made

the priest shall make an atonement H3722 for her, and she shall be clean (Leviticus 12: 8)

And the priest shall make an atonement H3722 for him before the LORD: and it shall be forgiven him for any thing of all that he hath done in trespassing therein (Leviticus 6: 7)

And he slew it; and Moses took the blood, and put it upon the horns of the altar round about with his finger, and purified the altar, and poured the blood at the bottom of the altar, and sanctified it, to make reconciliation H3722 upon it (Leviticus 8: 15)

And I have given the Levites as a gift to Aaron and to his sons from among the children of Israel, to do the service of the children of Israel in the tabernacle of the congregation, and to make an atonement H3722 for the children of Israel: that there be no plague among the children of Israel, when the children of Israel come nigh unto the sanctuary (Numbers 8: 19)

And Moses said unto Aaron, Take a censer, and put fire therein from off the altar, and put on incense, and go quickly unto the congregation, and make an atonement H3722 for them: for there is wrath gone out from the LORD; the plague is begun (Numbers 16: 46)

What happened on the Day of Atonement?

On this yearly event, the High Priest was commanded to enter into the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle in order to seek pardon for his sins and those of his household and the nation (Leviticus 16).


  • special robes
  • a young bull as a sin offering, and of a ram as a burnt offering.
  • two goats for a sin offering and a ram as a burnt offering on behalf of the nation
  • fire
  • sweet incense

The procedure

The High Priest would first offer the bull as a sacrifice for his sins and that of his household.

He would then take two goats for a sin offering and present them to the Lord at the door of the tabernacle. He would cast lots over the two goats and offer the Lord’s goat as a sacrifice and let go the other one, or scapegoat, into the wilderness.

He would then enter behind the veil of the Holy of Holies carrying incense and a censer full of burning coals of fire from the altar.

Once inside, he would put the incense on the fire before the LORD, that the cloud of incense may cover the mercy-seat that is on the Testimony, lest he die.

He first offered an atonement for his and his family’s sins by taking some of the blood of the bull and sprinkling it  on the east of the mercy-seat. He then sprinkled the blood seven times at the front of the mercy-seat.

The High Priest would then kill the goat of the sin offering. He would take the blood into the Holy of Holies via the veil and repeat the procedure on behalf of the sins of the nation.

The High Priest then went out to the altar that is before the LORD, and made an atonement for it by sprinkling some of the blood of the bull and some of the blood of the goat. He also put blood on the horns of the altar as an atonement.

The High Priest then laid both his hands on the head of the live goat and confessed over it all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions and sins,  putting them on the head of the goat. He then sent it away into the wilderness by the hand of a suitable man.

The bullock and the goat slain as sin offerings were burnt outside the camp.

How the Day of Atonement is a picture of Christ

The blood of the atonement – there is no remission of sins without the shedding of blood. A life must be given for a life. Jesus shed His blood on the Cross and gave Himself as a substitute for the sins of the world. God then cleanses the spirit of those who seek pardon and forgives them from all unrighteousness


The tabernacle – represents the Holy Tabernacle in heaven, not made with hands.  There is a Holy of Holies in that tabernacle into which Jesus entered after His resurrection and laid down His blood as an offering for the sins of the world:

Now this is the main point of the things we are saying: We have such a High Priest, who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens

a Minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the Lord erected, and not man

For every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices. Therefore it is necessary that this One also have something to offer (Hebrews 8: 1 – 3)

Because finding fault with them, He says: “Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah

“For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people (Hebrews 8: 8 – 10)

For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second

But into the second part the high priest went alone once a year, not without blood, which he offered for himself and for the people’s sins committed in ignorance

the Holy Spirit indicating this, that the way into the Holiest of All was not yet made manifest while the first tabernacle was still standing…

But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation

Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption

For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh

how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? (Hebrews 9)

The High Priest – Jesus is the sinless High Priest who offered Himself once for the sins of world. He laid down His blood on the altar of heaven. The earthly Jewish high priests were subject to possible judgment and death if they were displeasing to God. They had to wear bells on the hem of his garments in the event that they died in the Holy Place:

For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens

who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people’s, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself

who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people’s, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself

For the law appoints as high priests men who have weakness, but the word of the oath, which came after the law, appoints the Son who has been perfected forever (Hebrews 7: 25 – 28)

Therefore it was necessary that the copies of the things in the heavens should be purified with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these

For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us (Hebrews 9: 23 & 24)

The sacrifices – the blood of bulls and goats cannot become an eternal substitute for sins. Jesus came to fulfill the law and His blood cleanses us from all unrighteousness as we read in the previous texts.

The incense – represents the prayers and sweet smelling savor of the believer’s life (Revelation 8: 4).

The sprinkling with blood

Represents the sprinkling with the blood for spiritual purging and cleansing. The picture that comes to mind is the sprinkling that the priests did with hyssop:

God the Father knew you and chose you long ago, and His Spirit has made you holy. As a result, you have obeyed him and have been cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1: 2)

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin (1 John 1: 7)

And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood (Revelation 1: 5).

The scapegoat and the sin sacrifices – Jesus is sacrifice who took punishment for our sins. The scapegoats are those who escape when they believe in Him for salvation and confess that with their mouths. He was crucified outside the camp at Golgotha for the sins of the planet:

For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp

Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate (Hebrews 13: 11 & 12)

And he is the propitiation (atonement) for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2: 2)

More coming on  The affliction of the soul and  The sanctification that follows atonement. Angelic blessings and prosperity.



More On The Priesthood Of Christ

Fasting and the High Priestly Ministry of Christ (for the Jews especially)