Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Day of Atonement
26 The Lord said to Moses, 27 "The tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement. Hold a sacred assembly and deny yourselves, and present a food offering to the Lord..." (Leviticus 23:26-27, NIV).

Ten day s after the Feast of Trumpets comes the sixth of the seven Feasts of the LORD: the Day of Atonement. The Jewish name for this Feast is Yom Kippur. Again, you may have seen that on your calendar.

Coming ten days after the Feast of Trumpets, which is on the first of Tishrei on the Jewish calendar, this is, of course, the 10th of Tishrei. This year the Day of Atonement begins the evening of October 3 through to evening on October 4, 2014, on our calendar.

So far the seven Feasts have been building to a great crescendo and we are nearing the climax of what we've been building to. (Tweet that!)

The Day of Atonement is the one day of the year when the High Priest of Israel may enter the Holy of Holies. (Tweet that!) Other priests regularly tend to the Lampstand, the Incense Altar, and the Table of Showbread in the first room of the Temple known as The Holy Place. That's what Zechariah was doing in the Christmas story (see Luke 1:8-13*). But only the High Priest is ever allowed in the Most Holy Place—the back one-third of the Temple. And then only on one day of the year.

That one day of the year is the Day of Atonement.

It is on the Day of Atonement that the High Priest brings the blood of the sacrifice into the Most Holy Place and sprinkles it onto the Ark of the Covenant that holds the stones where the finger of God Himself wrote the Ten Commandments, which represents the entire Law of God. (Tweet that!)

But only the high priest ever entered the Most Holy Place, and only once a year. And he always offered blood for his own sins and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance (Hebrews 9:7, NLT).

With the blood of the sacrifice sprinkled onto the Ark, no longer could God look down from heaven onto His Law (which every person of all time has broken – including you, including me) without looking through the blood of the sacrifice and knowing the penalty of death for breaking His Law has been atoned for. (Tweet that!)

Of course the Temple no longer stands on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The Holy of Holies is no longer available to hold the Ark of the Covenant. Therefore the sacrifices can't be made, the blood can't be carried in, and the sprinkling of the blood can't be done. Right now this ceremony cannot take place.

The Temple was destroyed by the Roman in 70 A.D., approximately 40 years after Jesus was crucified (scholars aren't sure of the exact year the crucifixion took place). So the Day of Atonement ceremony has not been performed since 70 A.D.

There is also the issue of the location of the Ark of Covenant and whether or not it still exists. It would be needed along with the Temple to observe this ceremony. The theories of the whereabouts of the Ark will make another interesting series of posts, but too lengthy to cover now.

For the Jewish people who depend on the Day of Atonement for the forgiveness of their sins, the lack of the Temple on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem is a major problem. (Tweet that!) But in truth, the Temple is no longer needed because Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice for our sins. With Jesus’ blood to cover our sins, the Day of Atonement ceremony is no longer needed (but Jews don’t believe this). (Tweet that!)

God allowed the Temple to be destroyed in 70 A.D. because He didn't want this ceremony to take place year after year because it is no longer needed. It was a picture of what the Messiah came to perform once for all time and we are now to look to Jesus the Messiah for our atonement.
For it is not possible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins...
Then he said, "Look, I have come to do your will." He cancels the first covenant in order to put the second into effect. 10 For God's will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time. (Hebrews 10:4, 9-10, NLT).

This is what the Lord Jesus accomplished once for all time when he shed his blood on the cross.

If you would like to learn more about the Feasts of the LORD, the Temple and the sacrifices, and much more, please get my book Prophecies Fulfilled in the Life of Jesus.

*Learn more about the angel's visit to Zechariah and other incredible events in the Christmas story in my book Prophecies Fulfilled in the Birth of Jesus


  1. I agree with you. That Temple is no longer needed and God allowed it to be destroyed in 70 AD because His Son was the Last and Ultimate Sacrifice. In fact, we, as followers of Jesus Christ, are now referred to as His "temple" because His Holy Spirit dwells in us. I fail to understand why followers of Christ would ever support the rebuilding of a temple which would serve as the antithesis of what Christ came to accomplish.

    1. Hmm. Interesting thought, Cindi. Thank you for your thoughtful comments.

      I'm not sure how the rebuilt temple would be the antithesis of what Christ came to accomplish. I've never thought of it like that. To me, it pictures what Messiah came to accomplish. That picture of Messiah's work portrayed in the temple was God's way of communicating His plan to humankind and of teaching us what He was doing.

      The rebuilt Temple is also necessary to fulfill remaining End Times prophecies (Daniel 9:27, for example).

      I don't know about Christians supporting or not supporting the rebuilding of the temple. It's simply going to happen at some point. (And I think in the not-too-distant future.) I would probably be perceived as supporting it...and I guess I would be supporting it. It never occured to me to oppose it. Why would we when God says it will take place? Wouldn't that be like opposing part of His plan? When it happens, it will be the most amazing event in history since Jesus walked the earth. And we will know where we are on God's prophetic timeline at that point for sure, if we don't before.

      Also, I've always believed the rebuilt temple will be a significant event that will bring many Jews into the kingdom of Christ -- as they see how Jesus Christ fulfilled completely / spiritually the physical picture in the temple. I can't support that with a Scripture verse -- that's just my thought. We know that, according to prophecy, many Jewish people will understand Jesus is the Christ/Messiah and believe in Him in the End Times. Somehow my mind connects that beautiful event to the rebuilding of the temple and also to verses like Romans 11:11, 13-14, 25-26a.

      For me, that salvation of many Jewish people will be so beautiful, that is why I look forward to and would support the rebuilding of the temple.

      Thanks again for your comment. It has me thinking.