32. The Day of Atonement
DA

1. WHAT IS JESUS DOING RIGHT NOW?

1DA Hebrews 8:1, 2 Jesus is making atonement for us in the heavenly sanctuary. The work of the sanctuary service that took place in the tabernacle that Moses made in the wilderness mirrors Jesus’ making atonement for us in Heaven.

This is the first of four lessons that present the work of Jesus in the heavenly sanctuary. They are:

      • The Day of Atonement
      • The Most Wonderful Prophecy in the Bible
      • Christ, Our High Priest
      • The Judgment Day

2. WHAT TOOK PLACE EVERY DAY IN THE TABERNACLE SERVICE?

2DA Exodus 29:38-41 A sacrifice of a 1-year-old lamb in the morning, and one in the evening. These sacrifices were made for all Israel. These offerings represent the sacrifice Messiah, the Christ, made for all mankind when He died on the cross. Jesus was the "lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world." (John 1:29)

  • "The earthly sanctuary, where God chose to dwell with His people, centered around the sacrifice of the animals. Yet, the service did not end with the death of these creatures. The priest ministered the blood in the sanctuary on behalf of the sinner after the sacrifice itself was killed.

  •        "The whole service, however, was only a shadow, a
           symbol, of what Christ would do for the world. Thus,
           just as the symbols (the sanctuary service) did not end
           with the death of the animal, Christ's work for us did not
           end with His death on the cross, either." Sabbath School
           Lesson Quarterly
    March 12, 2003

    3. WHAT HAPPENED WHEN A PERSON SINNED?

    3DA Leviticus 4:22-26 When a person sinned, he brought the prescribed animal to the door of the Tabernacle, and confessed his sins on the head of the animal. Then the animal was killed. The priest caught some of its blood in a dish and wiped it on the horns of the altar. He poured the rest of the blood out at the base of the altar. The animal's fat was burnt upon the altar of burnt offering. When the person followed this action as the Lord required, he trusted that God would forgive his sin. He did not receive forgiveness because he sacrificed the animal, but because he believed in the coming Messiah Who would die for his sins—just like the innocent lamb had died for them. The act of slaughtering the animal and leaving it in the tabernacle represented the transference of the person's sin to the tabernacle.

    Many Different Sacrifices

    There were many different kinds of sacrifices, each requiring a different ritual. The morning and evening sacrifices were burned upon the altar in the tabernacle/ temple courtyard. The treatment of other sacrifices were different. Sometimes the innards of the animal were burned on the altar and the body burned outside the camp. Sometimes the flesh of the animal was given to the priests who ate it in the Sanctuary courts.

    But in every case, a part of the blood was sprinkled, wiped, or poured at a designated place in the tabernacle—on the altar of burnt offering; on the horns of this altar; on the altar of incense that stood in front of the veil between the holy and most holy places; and sometimes on the ground in front of the veil. Thus the sins of the people were figuratively transferred all through the year onto the tabernacle.

    Once each year, on the Day of Atonement, all the sins that had accumulated in the Tabernacle throughout the year were taken away, and in this way the Sanctuary was cleansed. This awesome event occurred on the tenth day of the seventh month.

    Read Leviticus 16

    The priests offered the sacrifices required to make atonement for themselves—making it possible for them, then, to intercede for the people. Then they were able to act as intercessors between God and man as atonement was made for God's people.

    4. WHAT WAS THE FIRST TASK IN PREPARATION FOR THE WORK OF ATONEMENT?

    4DA Leviticus 16:4, 5, 7, 8 The high priest bathed and put on his sacred attire. Two goats were brought to him, and he led them to the entrance of the tabernacle. The high priest then cast lots for the goats—a method similar to putting the names in a hat, or drawing straws. One of the goats was chosen for the Lord, the other became the scapegoat.

    5. WHAT DID THE HIGH PRIEST DO WITH THE LORD'S GOAT?

    5DA Leviticus 16:9 The Lord's goat was slain as a sin offering. This goat represented God's Messiah—Christ— who would die for the sins of all the people everywhere and everywhen. The regular offeringsmorning and evening sacrifices, were offered as usual. But the Lord's goat is the crucial offering in making atonement for God's people.

    The Lord's goat is killed.

    6. HOW DOES THE HIGH PRIEST HANDLE THE BLOOD OF THE LORD'S GOAT?

    6DA Leviticus 16:15 The high priest takes blood from the Lord's goat in a bowl and enters the most holy place. There he sprinkles blood on the cover of the Ark of the Testament, and on the ground in front of it. When he does this, the sins of the people, that they have confessed to God during the past year, are symbolically taken upon himself.

    7. NOTICE WHAT THE HIGH PRIEST DOES WHEN HE COMES OUT OF THE MOST HOLY PLACE:

    7DA Leviticus 16:18, 19 The altar of incense was one of the most important pieces of furniture in the holy place. It stood before the veil of the most holy place, and was sometimes considered as actually being in that apartment. (See Hebrews 9:3, 4)

    Incense was kept burning upon this altar, symbolizing the prayers of God's people, and the altar was central in acting as a conduit through which prayers for forgiveness went heavenward.

    When the high priest left the most holy place, he put blood on the horns of the altar, and then sprinkled blood on the altar seven times. This symbolically removed all the sins that had accumulated there throughout the year.

    Now, after carrying out this work in the most holy place and in the holy place, the high priest symbolically carried all the sins of the congregation upon himself as he left the tabernacle. In this way he represented Christ who took upon himself the sins of the whole world. (1 Peter 2:24)

    8. WHAT HAPPENED TO THE LIVE GOAT?

    8DA Leviticus 16:20-22 The high priest laid his hands upon the head of the live goat and confessed all the sins of all the people for all the year—the sins that he carried upon himself when he left the tabernacle.

    The goat was then taken by a strong man into the wilderness, there to wander about until it died of natural causes.

    The live goat is not killed.

    The sanctuary had now been cleansed of all the sins that had accumulated there throughout the past year.

    9. WHAT OTHER IMPORTANT EVENT IS PICTURED AS TAKING PLACE ON THE DAY OF ATONEMENT?

    9DA Leviticus 23:27-29 The Day of Atonement was also a symbol of the Day of Judgment. "Anyone who did not deny himself on that day must be cut off from his people." He will be exiled, separated from his family and friends.

  • The Hebrew word for "deny" can also be translated: "abase self," "afflict self," "chasten self," "humble self," "submit self." (Adapted from Strong's Concordance) So the Day of Atonement was also a day of judgment.

  • We will study about the judgment part of the Day of Atonement in a future lesson.