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Lesson: The Day of Atonement

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SCRIPTURE READING: Leviticus 23:26-32.

GOLDEN TEXT: Hebrews 4:14-16

1. The Lord spoke to Moses and proclaimed holy convocations. Whose festivals are these? Leviticus 23:1-2.

2. Were the Israelites told to observe festivals at three times each year and what were the names of these festivals? Exodus 23:14-16, 34:18, 22-23, Deut. 16:16, 2 Chronicles 8:13.

(Note: These annual festivals were centered around the three harvests in Israel, the early spring harvest, the latter spring harvest and the fall harvest.)

In this Bible Study lesson we want to focus in on the Day of Atonement.

3. The Day of Atonement is observed on what day of the seventh month? Leviticus 23:27. (Note: The seventh month of the Biblical calendar would occur sometime during our months of September or October.)

4. Were Godís people to keep a holy convocation on this day and also to afflict their souls? Leviticus 23:27. What does the phrase "afflict your souls" mean? Ezra 8:21. (Note: To afflict your soul is to fast, to go without food and water. The idea of fasting before God is to humble yourself, repent and desire to obey God. If you have health problems or if you are on medication, consult your physician before fasting.)

5. Are people to work on the Day of Atonement? Is it commanded as a statute forever? Leviticus 23:28-31.

6. What time of the day would you begin fasting and keeping the Day of Atonement? Is this an annual day of rest - a Sabbath? Leviticus 23:32. (Note: "from evening to evening, you shall celebrate your Sabbath." In other words from sunset to sunset.)

7. God commanded Moses to build the Tabernacle so He could dwell among His people. The intricate details in how to build this tent sanctuary are revealed in Exodus chapters 25-31 and 35-40.

The Tabernacle stood in a court 150 feet long and 75 feet wide. It stood at the west end of the court and was a wooden structure 45 by 15 feet, divided by a heavy veil into two parts, a holy place and a most holy place.

The most holy place, or Holy of Holies, had in it only the ark of covenant, a small box-like structure of wood covered with gold in which there were the tablets of the law, a pot of manna, and Aaron's rod (Exodus 25:16, 22; Heb. 9:4).

There was an elaborate ceremony that took place on the Day of Atonement; it is described in detail in Leviticus 16:1-34.

The writer of Hebrews in chapters 8-10 gives a commentary on Leviticus 16.

Was the high priest allowed to come into the Holy of Holies any time he wished? Leviticus 16:2, 30. (Note: The high priest was allowed to come into this area only one time in a year, on the Day of Atonement - Hebrews 9:1-7).

8. What was the significance of his only being allowed entrance once a year? Hebrews 9:7, 8. (Note: It was necessary for Aaron to make an atonement for himself as the first step in this ceremony for a very important reason. He represented Jesus Christ as our High Priest throughout this ceremony. At the heart of this ceremony were two goats (Leviticus 16:8), one for the Lord and the other for the scapegoat = escape goat. The Hebrew word translated scapegoat in the King James Version is azazel. Itís a combination of two words in the Hebrew: aza for goat, and azal, which means to go away or to disappear. Roughly translated, azazel means the goat of departure.)

9. What was to be done with the first goat? Leviticus 16:15-17. What would New Testament writers have seen as the fulfillment of this atonement? Romans 5:6-11.

10. Was Jesus seen in the role of both High Priest and sin offering in this ceremony? Hebrews 9:11-14. (Note: The slain goat represented the crucified Jesus. The High Priest represented and did the work of the risen Christ. The High Priest going within the veil, into the Holy of Holies, symbolized Christís return to heaven. The work he did while in the Holy of Holies symbolized Christís work these 2000 years interceding for us, presenting His shed blood before the Mercy Seat in heaven.)

11. Letís notice what the returning high priest did next? Leviticus 16:18-26. (Note: Verse 21 says: All the iniquities were put upon the head of the live goat. The high priestís return from the sanctuary represents Jesusí second return to the earth and placing the sins of the world upon the head of the real author and father of all our sins, Satan the Devil.)

12. What event follows the return of Christ in Johnís prophecy? Revelation 19:11-16, Revelation 20:1-3. (Note: The very next event to follow Christís return and the ultimate defeat of His two key symbolic human enemies is the binding of Satan for a thousand years and his being taken away to the bottomless pit.)

13. How did the writer of Hebrews further explain the once and for all sacrifice symbolized in this ceremony? (Hebrews 9:24-28)

14. Did these sacrifices actually forgive sin? Hebrews 10:1-4.

15. Once forgiveness is achieved, is there any more need for sacrifice? Hebrews 10:18-25.

16. Did the Apostle Paul keep the Day of Atonement? Acts 27:9. (Note: The word "Fast" in this verse refers to the "Day of Atonement". It was called "the Fast" because this was a day of fasting. Luke wrote the book of Acts over 30 years after Jesusí crucifixion and he refers to the Day of Atonement by calling it "the Fast". This shows that the Apostle Paul and the New Testament Church continued to keep The Day of Atonement.) The Day of Atonement pictures being AT-ONE with God through Jesus Christ as our High Priest.



Scripture Reading: Leviticus 23:26-32.


The Day of Atonement

(Lev 23:26-32 NKJV) "And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: {27} "Also the tenth day of this seventh month shall be the Day of Atonement. It shall be a holy convocation for you; you shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire to the LORD. {28} "And you shall do no work on that same day, for it is the Day of Atonement, to make atonement for you before the LORD your God. {29} "For any person who is not afflicted in soul on that same day shall be cut off from his people. {30} "And any person who does any work on that same day, that person I will destroy from among his people. {31} "You shall do no manner of work; it shall be a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. {32} "It shall be to you a sabbath of solemn rest, and you shall afflict your souls; on the ninth day of the month at evening, from evening to evening, you shall celebrate your sabbath.""


Golden Text: Hebrews 4:14-16.


Jesus is our compassionate High Priest: "Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. {15} For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. {16} Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need" (Heb 4:14-16 NKJV).


Feasts of the LORD

(Lev 23:1-2 NKJV) "And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, {2} "Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: 'The feasts of the LORD, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, these are My feasts."

Three Annual Feasts

(Exo 23:14-16 NKJV) ""Three times you shall keep a feast to Me in the year: {15} "You shall keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread (you shall eat unleavened bread seven days, as I commanded you, at the time appointed in the month of Abib, for in it you came out of Egypt; none shall appear before Me empty); {16} "and the Feast of Harvest, the firstfruits of your labors which you have sown in the field; and the Feast of Ingathering at the end of the year, when you have gathered in the fruit of your labors from the field."

(Exo 34:18 NKJV) ""The Feast of Unleavened Bread you shall keep. Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, as I commanded you, in the appointed time of the month of Abib; for in the month of Abib you came out from Egypt."

(Exo 34:22-23 NKJV) ""And you shall observe the Feast of Weeks, of the firstfruits of wheat harvest, and the Feast of Ingathering at the year's end. {23} "Three times in the year all your men shall appear before the Lord, the LORD God of Israel."

(Deu 16:16 NKJV) ""Three times a year all your males shall appear before the LORD your God in the place which He chooses: at the Feast of Unleavened Bread, at the Feast of Weeks, and at the Feast of Tabernacles; and they shall not appear before the LORD empty-handed."

(2 Chr 8:13 NKJV) "according to the daily rate, offering according to the commandment of Moses, for the Sabbaths, the New Moons, and the three appointed yearly feasts; the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Weeks, and the Feast of Tabernacles."

4. (Ezra 8:21 NKJV) "Then I proclaimed a fast there at the river of Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God, to seek from Him the right way for us and our little ones and all our possessions."

7. (Exo 25:16 NKJV) ""And you shall put into the ark the Testimony which I will give you."


(Exo 25:22 NKJV) ""And there I will meet with you, and I will speak with you from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are on the ark of the Testimony, about everything which I will give you in commandment to the children of Israel."


(Heb 9:4 NKJV) "which had the golden censer and the ark of the covenant overlaid on all sides with gold, in which were the golden pot that had the manna, Aaron's rod that budded, and the tablets of the covenant;"


The Day of Atonement

(Lev 16 NKJV) "Now the LORD spoke to Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron, when they offered profane fire before the LORD, and died; {2} and the LORD said to Moses: "Tell Aaron your brother not to come at just any time into the Holy Place inside the veil, before the mercy seat which is on the ark, lest he die; for I will appear in the cloud above the mercy seat. {3} "Thus Aaron shall come into the Holy Place: with the blood of a young bull as a sin offering, and of a ram as a burnt offering. {4} "He shall put the holy linen tunic and the linen trousers on his body; he shall be girded with a linen sash, and with the linen turban he shall be attired. These are holy garments. Therefore he shall wash his body in water, and put them on. {5} "And he shall take from the congregation of the children of Israel two kids of the goats as a sin offering, and one ram as a burnt offering. {6} "Aaron shall offer the bull as a sin offering, which is for himself, and make atonement for himself and for his house. {7} "He shall take the two goats and present them before the LORD at the door of the tabernacle of meeting. {8} "Then Aaron shall cast lots for the two goats: one lot for the LORD and the other lot for the scapegoat. {9} "And Aaron shall bring the goat on which the Lord's lot fell, and offer it as 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 atonement upon it, and to let it go as the scapegoat into the wilderness. {11} "And Aaron shall bring the bull of the sin offering, which is for himself, and make atonement for himself and for his house, and shall kill the bull as the sin offering which is for himself. {12} "Then he shall take a censer full of burning coals of fire from the altar before the LORD, with his hands full of sweet incense beaten fine, and bring it inside the veil. {13} "And he shall 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. {14} "He shall take some of the blood of the bull and sprinkle it with his finger on the mercy seat on the east side; and before the mercy seat he shall sprinkle some of the blood with his finger seven times. {15} "Then he shall kill the goat of the sin offering, which is for the people, bring its blood inside the veil, do with that blood as he did with the blood of the bull, and sprinkle it on the mercy seat and before the mercy seat. {16} "So he shall make atonement for the Holy Place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions, for all their sins; and so he shall do for the tabernacle of meeting which remains among them in the midst of their uncleanness. {17} "There shall be no man in the tabernacle of meeting when he goes in to make atonement in the Holy Place, until he comes out, that he may make atonement for himself, for his household, and for all the assembly of Israel. {18} "And he shall go out to the altar that is before the LORD, and make atonement for it, and shall take some of the blood of the bull and some of the blood of the goat, and put it on the horns of the altar all around. {19} "Then he shall sprinkle some of the blood on it with his finger seven times, cleanse it, and consecrate it from the uncleanness of the children of Israel. {20} "And when he has made an end of atoning for the Holy Place, the tabernacle of meeting, and the altar, he shall bring the live goat. {21} "Aaron shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, confess over it all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions, concerning all their sins, putting them on the head of the goat, and shall send it away into the wilderness by the hand of a suitable man. {22} "The goat shall bear on itself all their iniquities to an uninhabited land; and he shall release the goat in the wilderness. {23} "Then Aaron shall come into the tabernacle of meeting, shall take off the linen garments which he put on when he went into the Holy Place, and shall leave them there. {24} "And he shall wash his body with water in a holy place, put on his garments, come out and offer his burnt offering and the burnt offering of the people, and make atonement for himself and for the people. {25} "The fat of the sin offering he shall burn on the altar. {26} "And he who released the goat as the scapegoat shall wash his clothes and bathe his body in water, and afterward he may come into the camp. {27} "The bull for the sin offering and the goat for the sin offering, whose blood was brought in to make atonement in the Holy Place, shall be carried outside the camp. And they shall burn in the fire their skins, their flesh, and their offal. {28} "Then he who burns them shall wash his clothes and bathe his body in water, and afterward he may come into the camp. {29} "This shall be a statute forever for you: In the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall afflict your souls, and do no work at all, whether a native of your own country or a stranger who dwells among you. {30} "For on that day the priest shall make atonement for you, to cleanse you, that you may be clean from all your sins before the LORD. {31} "It is a sabbath of solemn rest for you, and you shall afflict your souls. It is a statute forever. {32} "And the priest, who is anointed and consecrated to minister as priest in his father's place, shall make atonement, and put on the linen clothes, the holy garments; {33} "then he shall make atonement for the Holy Sanctuary, and he shall make atonement for the tabernacle of meeting and for the altar, and he shall make atonement for the priests and for all the people of the assembly. {34} "This shall be an everlasting statute for you, to make atonement for the children of Israel, for all their sins, once a year." And he did as the LORD commanded Moses."


The Earthly Sanctuary

(Heb 9:1-7 NKJV) "Then indeed, even the first covenant had ordinances of divine service and the earthly sanctuary. {2} For a tabernacle was prepared: the first part, in which was the lampstand, the table, and the showbread, which is called the sanctuary; {3} and behind the second veil, the part of the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of All, {4} which had the golden censer and the ark of the covenant overlaid on all sides with gold, in which were the golden pot that had the manna, Aaron's rod that budded, and the tablets of the covenant; {5} and above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat. Of these things we cannot now speak in detail.


Limitations of the Earthly Service

{6} Now when these things had been thus prepared, the priests always went into the first part of the tabernacle, performing the services. {7} 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;"


8. (Heb 9:7-8 NKJV) "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; {8} 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."

9. Christ in Our Place

(Rom 5:6-11 NKJV) "For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. {7} For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. {8} But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. {9} Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. {10} For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. {11} And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation."


10. The Heavenly Sanctuary

(Heb 9:11-14 NKJV) "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. {12} 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. {13} For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for 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, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?"


12. Christ on a White Horse

(Rev 19:11-16 NKJV) "Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. {12} His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. {13} He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. {14} And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. {15} Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. {16} And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS."


Satan Bound 1000 Years

(Rev 20:1-3 NKJV) "Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. {2} He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; {3} and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while."

13. (Heb 9:24-28 NKJV) "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; {25} not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another; {26} He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. {27} And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, {28} so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation."


14. Animal Sacrifices Insufficient

(Heb 10:1-4 NKJV) "For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect. {2} For then would they not have ceased to be offered? For the worshipers, once purified, would have had no more consciousness of sins. {3} But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. {4} For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins."


15. (Heb 10:18-25 NKJV) "Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin. {19} Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, {20} by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, {21} and having a High Priest over the house of God, {22} let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. {23} Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. {24} And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, {25} not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching."

16. Paul's Warning Ignored

(Acts 27:9 NKJV) "Now when much time had been spent, and sailing was now dangerous because the Fast was already over, Paul advised them."