What is the Day of Atonement? (Leviticus 16 & 17}

Today we have a guest writer – Mandy!

I am headed to New York to see my cousin graduate from Colgate University.  I’ll be traveling with my parents and my sister all weekend and spending time with extended family. I will be off-line most of the weekend.

View More: http://kimdeloachphoto.pass.us/allume-headshots2014Mandy is passionate about two things: The Word of God and the Souls of Men (and Ladies!). She is a married to her best friend, and gets the privilege to love on their three blessings (who lost their biological momma leaving her husband widowed).

She loves that the Lord has let her life be an example of delighting in Him and watching Him mold her life to make her desires match His. She spent 9 years in an early childhood classroom, and 4 years in an “in house” seminary program at her home church.She loves to bring God glory through her roles as Christ-follower, Wife and Mother (in that order!)

She enjoys women’s ministry, cooking, crafting, and traveling the world. Her greatest desires are to have her marriage bring God ultimate glory, see her children walk in truth, to lead others to the feet of Jesus, and to lead women into deeper and intimate relationship with their Savior through study of the Word of God.

Mandy is part of the Good Morning Girl Leadership team where she encourages leaders to get into God’s Word each day and invest in the lives of women all over the world. She also blog about living a life of Worship through all aspects of her life at Worshipful Living.


The day of atonement was the only day that the high priest could enter the holy of holies. How does the Day of Atonement correlate with Jesus' sacrifice?  #Biblestudy #Leviticus #WomensBibleStudy #GoodMorningGirls

Mandy writes:

We often think of Christmas as an important day, celebrating the birth of our Savior.  Easter is important -as it celebrates the resurrection of our Savior.

Those who are Jewish have a high and holy day that they celebrate – The Day of Atonement or Yom Kippur.

Let’s take a look at Leviticus 16.

We must start with a little history of the day in order to understand the significance of it. God had told the priest that they should only enter the Holy of Holies one day a year and that was on the Day of Atonement. Consider it a divine appointment with God.

If this was not obeyed – if you entered at another time – the priest would die.

The appointed day was on the 10th day of the 7th month.  On the first day of the seventh month, the trumpets were sounded, announcing the beginning of the new year. We know this as Rosh Hashanah.

The trumpets announced the beginning of the new year but only a blood sacrifice could give remission of sin and give a true new beginning. This ritual would be repeated year after year.

The death of Christ on the cross has fulfilled the Day of Atonement.

Kapar is translated atonement and means to ransom or remove by paying a price.  Atonement means that a price is paid – and the price would be blood. Life must be given for life.

The high priest would place his hand on the sacrifice, symbolizing the transferal of sin from the nation to the victim.

Leviticus 17-11[1]

The Day of Atonement shows that sin has to be paid for by blood.  It isn’t works based but by the cleansing of blood.

Jesus’ blood had to be shed.

“Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” Matthew 26:28

Cleansing had to happen – for the nation, for the priest, and for the tabernacle of God.

The Day of Atonement was known as a Sabbath, no matter what day of the week it feel on. This meant that no work was to be done.

The fact that no work was to be done reminds us that we can not work to earn our salvation.

We are saved wholly by faith. God called the people to deny themselves and be serious about their sin.

We live in a culture that isn’t serious about our sin. We are so focused on doing things for God…going to church, going on mission trips, being busy…that we don’t spend time being Christ-like.

Repentance isn’t preached- instead, we send a luke warm message to the masses that God loves us as we are. He does. But He can not fellowship with us as we are.  We must be cleansed- repentance must happen.

“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you doubleminded. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord and He will lift you up.” James 4:8-10

We like James 4:10 – but we don’t like verses 8 and 9 so much. To admit we are wrong. To even say we are sinners.

As I look at the Day of Atonement, I am also reminded about how orderly my God is.  That He has a procedure for how to do things.

The High Priest was to prepare.

The high priest was to make sure he had the proper sacrifice. Then, he took off his beautiful garments, and put on ordinary priest clothes. What a beautiful picture of Christ, who took off his glory and put on the cloak of man to come and save the lost world.

The High Priest offered his own sin offering.

The priest was not perfect, so he sacrificed for his own sin before he dealt with the sins of the the people.

The High Priest offered the sin offering for the people.

Two goats were together for one sin offering. The High Priest cast lots over the goats to determine which one would die. He took some of its blood into the Holy of Holies and sprinkled it on the Mercy seat seven times.

The High Priest would also put both hands on the goat that stayed alive, and confessed over it.  Then, it was led out of the camp and released into the wilderness, as a scapegoat, never to be seen again. Our sins are covered with the blood as well, and our sins, once taken away, are never to be seen again. God says he places them as far as the east is from the west.

The High Priest returned to his garments-

After the scapegoat was given, the priest returned, bathed, and placed his official robes back on.  Just as the Lord returned to heaven and put His glory back on.

The High Priest offered the burnt offering.

Worship took place.  A ram was offered as a sign of total devotion to the Lord.   Jesus was totally obedient, even unto death. We should do no less.

Jesus is coming again.

Israel will come back to Christ, they will see Him for who He is. It will cause repentance. Creation will be delivered from the bondage of sin, and Jesus Christ will reign as the King He is!

We don’t know when that day is coming.

Every day, it seems closer than the day before. Our High Priest has taken care of the sin offering but we need to repent, accept the payment for our sins and surrender to His Lordship of our lives.

Worshiping With My Life,

Mandy, WorshipfulLiving.com

**Chime In**

Now that we have taken an in-depth look at the Day of Atonement – what does it mean to you personally?  

How did your study in Leviticus go this week?  Did you learn anything new? Share it in the comments! We’d love to hear.

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  1. Is there a list of the books that have already been completed. I think I missed some in the very beginning and wanted to catch up before we start Proverbs? I’ve searched the site but haven’t found it yet. Thanks!

    1. If you go up to the top of the page, where it says Good Morning Girls- then resources there are links to each of the books we have done! <3 Mandy (Good Morning Girls Leadership Team)

  2. Great post, now let’s dig a little deeper. In Exodus 12, God tells Moses that the month of Nisan will be the first month of the year (March-April time frame). Rosh Hashanah is actually a Babylonian tradition that was picked up during the captivity. The God-given Biblical name for that feast is Yom Teruah – the Day of the Shout or the Day of the Blowing of the Shofar. It is funny how many people don’t catch what is being said: the 1st day of the 7th month is the beginning of a new year? 7th month = the beginning? Simply put, this is a MAN-made tradition not a GOD-proclaimed truth. Also, Jesus has fulfilled the Spring feasts of Passover, Unleavened Bread, and Firstfruits. The Holy Spirit was given at Shavuot (Greek-taught people know this as Pentecost). Jesus has yet to fulfill the Fall Feasts – this will be done at His return. Yom Teruah – He will return with a shout and a shofar (trumpet = shofar) blast. Yom Kippur has to do with judgment, and Sukkot is when He will tabernacle (dwell together) with us again. God has laid out His plan within His feasts (NOT the Jewish feasts but HIS feasts for all HIS people) and yet the church denies them and chooses man-made pagan traditions over God’s chosen set-apart days. The church is missing out on SO MUCH because they have chosen to tell God what is right and what is wrong rather than simply obeying His Word. The church denies the Old Testament saying that it only pertains to the Jews, yet Galatians tells us that, as believers, we are grafted in to God’s family. Yet the church denies it. If your family adopted a baby from China, would you adopt the speech, dress, foods, rules, religion, etc. of China? Or would you teach that child your family’s language, dress, food, rules, religion, etc.? God has a chosen family and when we accept Jesus as our Savior, we are adopted into HIS FAMILY. But instead of learning God’s family’s way of life, we think we get to make Him and His family adopt our ways. By doing so, we have denied ourselves so very much. His feasts hold so much more for us than the ones that the church teaches. Be willing to learn His true heart. Be willing to allow Him to take you deeper into His truth and to stretch you as He reveals His heart to you. Be willing to question what you have been taught by man. Be willing to not fit into this world’s traditions of what church is and what the Bible says. Dig deeper and be willing to see and hear what He is saying.

    1. Thank you for sharing more clarity, Lisa. These are feasts that I would like to learn about and honor, but we are so absorbed in pagan holidays in our society, it is hard to be part of society and not feel like I am being reclusive if we do not observe society’s holidays as well. Again, I REALLY appreciate you bringing more to light in your response!

  3. Your post was so beautifully written, and it gave me a clearer understanding of the Day of Atonement and an amazing insight into the role of the Old Testament priest in relation to Jesus. Thanks so much.

  4. I think of Yom Kippur as one of many feasts God actually ordains and mandates that we observe. These are the ones where He tells us He will meet us. I celebrate Yom Kippur as most Christians celebrate Easter. Jesus is the Yom Kippur Atonement. He shed His blood that I might live. His fulfillment of this mandate is what I remember and celebrate. I spend this high holy day praying and thanking him for His sacrifice.

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