The Day of Atonement is a solemn and most important holy day. This holy day is a fast day not a feast day. In the first covenant, the Day of Atonement was the day the Levitical High Priest made an atoning sacrifice for the sins of the people. This act of atonement brought forgiveness and reconciliation between the Israelites and YHWH.
The title “Day of Atonement” is the English translation of the Hebrew “Yom Kippur”, which means a day of expiation. Expiation is the act of making amends or reparation for guilt or wrongdoing. In Hebrew “Kippur” is plural, which would more accurately render this holy day as “Day of Atonements” or “Day of Amends”, or “Day of Reconciliations”.
The word “Atonement” is a concatenation of “at one”. It is not an original Hebrew word. William Tyndale (circa 1484 – 1536 CE) originally used “Atonement” to describe “Kippur” in his translation of the Bible into English. Tyndale wanted to, as accurately as possible, describe Messiah’s role in establishing restoration and reconciliation between YHWH and new believers during the Protestant Reform. The word “at-one-ment” seemed to best describe this objective. In 1611 the King James translation project team derived a significant portion of their new rendering from Tyndale’s original work, including the use of the word “Atonement”. Today, the word “atonement” is found in most dictionaries and means “satisfaction or reparation for a wrong or injury; amends”. In Hebrew, Atonement (Kippur) literally means “covering” (or forgive, pardon, purge).
The Day of Atonement was the only time during the year when the High Priest would enter the Holy of Holies, the innermost chamber of the Temple. While in the Holy of Holies, he would make a blood sacrifice for the collective sins of Israel.
This solemn day pictures undeserved forgiveness by YHWH of our sinfulness and wrongdoing as well as our reconciliation to Him through repentance. The Day of Atonement is focused on covering, forgiving and forgetting our transgressions.
The Day of Atonement, like Passover, teaches us about forgiveness of sin and our reconciliation with YHWH through Yahushua’s sacrifice. In the spring time, Passover spotlights salvation being made available through Yahushua’s onetime blood sacrifice. During the fall, Atonement pictures forgiveness of sin and reconciliation to YHWH through Yahushua’s onetime blood sacrifice.
The Day of Atonement represents:
- Forgiveness of our transgressions – covering our guilt
- Reconciliation through Yahushua
This day celebrates Yahushua, as our High Priest, tearing down the Temple Veil and replacing the first covenant with His onetime blood sacrifice that has no expiration date. The Day of Atonement also is a reminder of the sacrifice of Yahushua, not only for individual believers in this age, but for the forgiveness and reconciliation of all who repent upon His second coming. Atonement is remembered with deep humility as a solemn occasion.
- Lev. 23:26-32 – Day of Atonement, afflict your soul, make amends and ask to have your debts cancelled.
And YHWH spake unto Moses, saying, Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement H3725: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto YHWH. And ye shall do no work in that same day: for it is a day of atonement H3725, to make an atonement H3722 for you before YHWH your Eloah. For whatsoever soul it be that shall not be afflicted in that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people. And whatsoever soul it be that doeth any work in that same day, the same soul will I destroy from among his people. Ye shall do no manner of work: it shall be a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. 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. (Lev 23:26-32 KJV)
|Strong’s translation of “Atonement”||Dictionary|
kip-poor’ = from H3722=expiation, (only in plural), atonement
|Expiation – the act of making amends or reparation for guilt or wrongdoing|
kaw-far’ = to cover (specifically with bitumen), figuratively to expiate or condone, to placate or cancel, appease, make an atonement, cleanse, disannul, forgive, be merciful, pacify, pardon, to pitch, purge away, put off, make reconciliation
|Disannul = annul or cancel
Reconcile – restore friendly relations, make compatible, make one account consistent with another
The instructions declare what the day’s purpose is (it is a Day of Atonement) and what we are supposed to do (make an Atonement).
This is tantamount to saying April 15 (in the USA) is tax day and be sure to pay your taxes. The declaration of “tax day” is a noun, the admonition (pay your taxes) is a verb requiring action. Inherent in “its tax day” is paying your taxes. The same is true with the statements in Lev 23:26-32. The “day of Atonement” is a noun; the admonition to “make an Atonement” is a verb, requiring action. Inherent in the Day of Atonement is doing your part to be reconciled to YHWH.
- While Atonement is a day of reconciliation, we are to reconcile
- Reconciliation requires 2 active participants
- While Atonement is a day of making amends, we are to make amends
- Making amends requires 2 active participants
- While Atonement is a day of repairing wrong doing, we are to repair our wrongdoing
- Repairing our wrongdoing starts with me
When we do this:
- Our debts are annulled by YHWH
- We are restored to a pure state
- Friendly relations are renewed with YHWH
- Our account is in good standing
It should be clear that action is required on our part. We are being told that on this day we are intended to take an inward look at ourselves and initiate the necessary steps to change our behavior and ask YHWH to forgive us.
- Ps 79:9 – “purge away” is same as make an atonement
- Ez 45:17 – “to make reconciliation” same as make an atonement
- Ps 35:13 – humbled with fasting
- Isa 58 all – acceptable and unacceptable fasting, vs 8 – YHWH will be your rear guard (NKJV)
On this day, in the first covenant, a unique ritual sacrifice instruction was given by YHWH to the Israelites.
- Lev 16:1-34 – once a year, 2 goats, one sacrificed, one released into wilderness, carrying the sins of the people.
Two goats were selected by lot for a sin offering to YHWH (Lev 16:5). The first goat would be selected as the blood sacrifice to YHWH. The second goat was selected as the “scapegoat” or “goat of departure” (Lev 16:8 KJV). The Hebrew word translated “scapegoat” in Lev 16:8,10,26 is H5799 (in Strong’s) and means “goat of departure”. The Hebrew word for scapegoat is pronounced “Azazel”. Some modern translations have incorrectly assumed the goat of departure’s name (scapegoat in KJV) is “Azazel, which leads to an erroneous association with Satan. The goat of departure (scapegoat) carries the burden of sins of the people and is led away into the wilderness, forgotten and never to return. Both goats point directly and specifically to Yahushua.
- Purification of Priest, Temple and people – meticulous preparation
- Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil (Isa 1:16 KJV)
- Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of YHWH. (2Co 7:1 KJV)
- Both goats were perfect, no defects – Lev 16:5
- Both goats were selected for a sin offering – Lev 16:5
- Both goats were presented to YHWH – Lev 16:7
- The goat of departure was presented alive to YHWH – Lev 16:10
- Before release, the goat of departure was brought to the Temple after the purification ceremony – Lev 16:20
- Sacrificed goat represents Yahushua’s shed blood
- The Israelites’ sin and guilt were transferred onto the goat of departure and completely removed from their presence, erasing the memory of sin
- Live goat represents the sin transferring to Yahushua and the debt forgiven and forgotten
- New Covenant Changes
- Changed from physical process to spiritual process
- No more Goats, Yahushua is our only focus
Two goats were specified in this ritual sacrifice in order to reconcile the iniquity of the Israelites. This ceremony looks forward to Yahushua giving His blood to cover our transgressions and completely erase them from the record, never to reappear.
In order for our transgressions to YHWH’s law to be “covered”, we must first acknowledge the offense and ask forgiveness. Once we ask forgiveness, shed blood is the only remedy that can purge our sin. Once blood purges our sin, the pardon takes place. This is really a three step process:
- Ask for forgiveness
- Blood is shed to cover the transgression
- The transgression is pardoned, we are forgiven
And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission. (Heb 9:22 KJV)
- Remission = G859 = freedom, pardon, deliverance, forgiveness, liberty
In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace (Eph 1:7 KJV)
The two goats in Leviticus 16 are the forerunner of Yahushua’s Passover sacrifice in 30 CE.
For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. (Matt 26:28 KJV)
The first goat was sacrificed and his blood covered the sins of the Israelites. The first goat that was sacrificed cancelled the penalty of sin and reconciled the relationship between the Israelites and YHWH.
- Debt covered, penalty rescinded
- Relationship restored
The second goat was the “goat of departure” and was released into the wilderness. The goat of departure (scapegoat) carried the burden of guilt and accepted the blame for the sins of the Israelites. The goat of departure wiped the slate clean of guilt by carrying the sins of the people away into the wilderness (Lev 16:21-22). The sins were forgotten, the memory was erased and the goat of departure never returned.
As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. (Ps 103:12 KJV)
I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins. (Isa 43:25 KJV)
The next day John seeth Yahushua coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of YHWH, which taketh away the sin of the world. (John 1:29 KJV)
For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of YHWH in him. (2Co 5:21 KJV)
For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more. (Heb 8:12 KJV)
This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith YHWH, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. (Heb 10:16-17 KJV)
- Burden transferred
- Sin removed
- Debt forgotten
I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins. (Isa 43:25 KJV)
The combination of the offering attributes of the two goats, covering the debt and forgetting the debt, was a forward looking type of a sinless Yahushua who accepts unwarranted blame for all iniquity and yet offers forgiveness and no memory record of our sins.
Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. (1Pe 2:24 KJV)
Note: Some commentaries speculate the second goat (the goat of departure) represents a type of Satan. The assumption is the Hebrew word “Azazel”, which is translated as “goat of departure” or “scapegoat”, is also the proper name for Satan. This theory banishes Satan into the wilderness with the sins of mankind, where he will be bound for 1000 years during the Millennium and eventually consumed by the Lake of Fire (Rev 20:3-15).
Although the correlation is interesting, the association of Azazel with Satan comes from a variety of sources, none of them Biblical and include:
- 1 Enoch 2:8, 1 Enoch 8:1-3, 1 Enoch 10:8
- Apocalypse of Abraham 13:4-9, 14:6, 20:6
- The Mishnah (Yoma 39a)
- Origen (“Contra Celsum,” vi. 43) identifies Azazel with Satan
- Puck Fair – Irelands oldest festival
This study paper associates both goats as a preview looking forward to the onetime sacrifice of Yahushua Messiah.
- Only Yahushua is our sin bearer
“The Greek translators did not regard Azazel as a proper name, but connected it with, ‘a z’zel a verb that does not appear in the Old Testament. The meaning they gave it was “to send away.” Hence the full meaning of the Hebrew expression would be “in order to send away.” The Latin translation followed this same understanding. The most adequate explanation is to view the term ‘aza’zel as being composed of two words: the first part, ‘ez, meaning “goat,” and the second part, ‘azel, meaning “to go away.” With recent evidence from the Ugaritic (the language of ancient Canaan from which Hebrew is derived), compound names such as this one are turning up more frequently than what we had expected based on evidence from the Hebrew alone. This is how the rendering “scapegoat” came to be… Originally, however, the King James translators meant “the goat that was led away.” Hard Sayings of the Bible by Walter C. Kaiser Jr. Peter H. Davids, F.F. Bruce and Manfred T. Brauch INTER VARSITY PRESS, Downers Grove, Illinois.
- Nu 29:7 – Day of Atonements, holy convocation, fast day
- Heb 9:2-15– only High Priest, once a year, it was an imperfect service
- Referring to Day of Atonement
- Rituals abolished, not the base law
- The first covenant – Temple required
For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.’ (Lev 17:11 NKJV)
- The new covenant – Yahushua required
And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission. It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Messiah is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of YHWH for us: Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: So Messiah 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. (Heb 9:22-28 KJV)
- Daniel prophesizes the transition from 1st to 2nd covenant
Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. (Dan 9:24-26 KJV)
- Messiah would come
- He would Atone for wickedness
- He would bring everlasting peace
- He would be cut off
- Temple would be destroyed – no longer needed
- Mt 27:50-53 – veil of the temple was torn, the earth quaked, the rocks were split when Yahushua died on the stake/cross, saints rose from the dead
- Mk 15:37-38 – curtain of the temple was torn in two providing direct access and personal communion with YHWH
- Jo 17:11-23 – at one with Yahushua – reconciliation brings us to oneness
- Acts 3:19-21 – prepare for time of restitution – rebuilding, restructuring, put back to the original condition
- Rom. 3:20-31 – Yahushua is our atonement, justified by grace, knowledge of sin by the law
- Eph 2:13-22 – Veil broken down by Yahushua
- Heb 4:14-16 – our High Priest is accessible, sympathetic
- Heb 6:17-20 – Yahushua replaces the High Priest, anchor of the soul, forerunner. Order of Melchisedec, not Aaronic (Levitical) priesthood. Yahushua entered behind the veil, directly to YHWH’s throne
- Gen 14:17-20, Heb 7:1-4, order of Melchisedec
- Heb. 8, 9, 10 – Yahushua is our High Priest, the fulfillment of The Day of Atonement, the final atonement for sin
- Heb 8:1-13 – at the right hand of YHWH, Yahushua’s blood, a new covenant, Yahushua is our mediator
- Heb 9:7-28 – once a year, the High Priest only may enter the Holy of Holies, once for all by His own blood, Yahushua is our mediator, eternal redemption
- Heb. 10:12 – one sacrifice for all
- Lev 16:4 and Rev 19:7-9 – white linen = righteousness of acts
The 50th year Jubilee is announced with the blowing of the trumpet on the 10th day of the 7th month, on the Day of Atonement. The entire 50th year is sacred time. This is the year when all debt is forgiven, slaves are freed and land is returned to the original owner. All matters, physical and spiritual are reconciled on this anniversary. Could the Jubilee year be the year of Yahushua’s return?
- Lev 25:9-13 – on Atonement, reconciliation for all, blow the Jubilee (Yobel) trumpet
- Isa 61:1-3 – liberty for all – reset, restructuring and rebuilding
- Luke 4:18-19 – Yahushua proclaims liberty
- Acts 3:21 – restitution of all things
- Lev 23:26-32 – our debts are forgiven, day of reconciliation, liberty for all
For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciledG2644 to YHWH by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled,G2644 we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in YHWH through our Master Yahushua Messiah, by whom we have now received the atonement.G2643 (Rom 5:10-11 KJV)
And all things are of YHWH who hath reconciledG2644 us to himself by Yahushua Messiah, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;G2643 To wit, that YHWH was in Messiah, reconcilingG2644 the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.G2643 Now then we are ambassadors for Messiah, as though YHWH did beseech you by us: we pray you in Messiah’s stead, be ye reconciledG2644 to YHWH. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of YHWH in him. (2Co 5:18-21 KJV)
|Strong’s translation of “Atonement”||Dictionary|
kat-al-lag-ay’ = from G2644= exchange, figuratively adjustment, restoration to the divine, favor
|Exchange – the act or process of substituting one thing for another, IE. blood for sin
Restoration – the act or process of returning something to its original condition by repairing it, cleaning it, the act of bringing back something that existed before, the act of returning something that was stolen or taken
kat-al-las’-so = to change mutually, to compound a difference
|Reconciled or reconciling – restoring friendly relations, making compatible, making one account consistent with another|
What Yahushua accomplished on Passover in 30 CE is of no use today if we do not reconcile to Him. The Day of Atonement provides a memorial of the original reconciliation event in Leviticus 16. The Day of Atonement is a major milestone in YHWH’s revealed plan of salvation. He did His part, we must do our part. He paid the penalty for our iniquity, but we must make amends for our iniquity and guilt. There are two participants required to reconcile two parties. Obviously, one party alone cannot reconcile to a second party.
Reconciliation costs us nothing. Yahushua took the punishment and paid the penalty we deserve – death. Yahushua is the atonement covering that allows us to be reconciled to YHWH.
In response to our genuine display of humility to YHWH, He then provides an Atonement covering for us. Atonement is a day of deliverance and liberty.