Summary of passages: Leviticus 16:29-34: The Day of Atonement is to be a lasting ordinance made once a year for all the sins of the Israelites. The people are not to do any work and are to fast and the high priest is to make atonement for you.
Leviticus 23:26-32: The Day of Atonement is to be a fasting and an offering made of fire. No work is to be performed and if you do, you will be cut off from your people and destroyed. This is to be a lasting ordinance.
11a) Once a year forever
b) It was to be on the tenth day of the seventh month. All were to gather together and fast and do no work and offer sacrifices to God.
12a) Jesus made one sacrifice–himself and his blood–to take away the sins of the people completely. The Day of Atonement had to be done once a year and only covered the people’s sins–never truly eliminated it–because the blood of goats and lambs and bulls would never be sufficient. Only the blood of Our Savior cleanses us forever and makes us holy to be with God–justified–and gives us the Holy Spirit.
The blood of animals was a holding pattern per se, a temporary solution or a “shadow” as Hebrews calls it until Jesus was sent. It was what would do for now until the goal (Jesus) arrived.
b) Personal Question. My answer: By living God’s way and not mine or the devil’s. By doing His work here on earth. By sharing the gospel with others. By preparing my heart and the hearts of those around me for Jesus’s second coming and being prepared for life everlasting. Constantly pray and thank Him for sending His son, for choosing me, for forgiving me. Having a heart of gratitude continually and trusting Him with everything.
c) Personal Question. My answer: Oh, Lord, thank you for sending your Son to die for my sins once and for all. To cleanse me, to forgive me, to justify me, to reconcile me to you. Thank you, Jesus, for bearing a burden that was not yours to bear, for loving me enough to bear it, and for doing so without any regrets. Words will never be enough so I pray my heart is.
Conclusions: Ever wonder why God even did the Old Covenant. Why not just send Jesus? Why not just institute the New Covenant straight away? Why make His people go through all of this elaborate rituals that never really did the job in the first place? My instinct is to say because God was testing man–testing his will, his desire, his strength, his dedication, his faith. Growing man to be ready to receive Christ. Making sure man’s heart was right for Jesus and not just going through the motions for a temporary fad or new religion.
One scholar says if God had created Christianity first, man would not have known he needed a Savior. He would have thought he’d be alright himself as long as he performed the sacrifices and be saved. That didn’t work, now did it?
God instituted the Old so we could understand the New such as the need for sacrificial blood. Basically, man was not yet ready for Jesus; he slowly had to be led to him. Great article HERE on this topic.
I liked this lesson. The Hebrews passages (and I’d read all of Hebrews from 7-10 to get the full argument) paired with the Day of Atonement passages really is what hit home with me in terms of how much Jesus did for us with one sacrifice and how grateful we should be to him for his mercy and grace. I’ve never read the Day of Atonement along with the Hebrews passages before and this was brilliant to me. All around good stuff!
End Notes: Most of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy are about the tabernacle and the sacrifices and offerings for sin. It’s the largest single subject in the Bible. Yet, Jesus eliminates all of that with the cross. Powerful!
The Day of Atonement or Yom Kippur is still celebrated today by Jews and included a period of rest and fasting. It falls on the tenth day of the seventh month of the Jewish calendar. It is the holiest day of the year for the Jewish people. Usually no sacrifices are made as the Jews believe either good works, charity, or sufferings are a suitable sacrifice.
Interesting Fact: The Old Covenant was only ever binding on the Jews, which they say ended at the fall of the temple in 70 AD and not at Jesus’ death. Gentiles did not have to become Jews first and then Christians–they were merely Christians first and always. This is why in Acts we see some of the apostles still practicing the Old Covenant rules and regulations and debating them. Thus, scholars say the Old Covenant was binding upon the Israelites until 70 AD. After that, the New Covenant was instituted for all. This is cool to me because as a Gentile I never really considered how and when the Old Covenant faded since it never affected me. Neat stuff!