Day of Atonement
Most people who observe Yahweh's Special, or Holy, Days know that the Day of Atonement is the Holy of Holies, the most solemn day of the year. Before we go into Yahweh's word, let's look up basic meanings of a few very important words using both Webster's Dictionary and the Complete Word Study Dictionary:
"Atone" - [at and one]; at one; together.
"Atonement" - A verb meaning to cover, to forgive, to expiate, to reconcile. This word is of supreme theological importance in the Old Covenant as it is central to an understanding of the remission of sin. At its most basic level, the word conveys the notion of covering but not in the sense of merely concealing.
"afflict" - (1) to give to the body or mind pain which is continued or of some permanence; to grieve or distress; as, one is afflicted with the gout, or with melancholy, or with losses and misfortunes; to afflict oneself by fasting (to go without food or water).
"scapegoat" - the word translated "scapegoat" in the Bible is actually "azazel" which is a masculine noun referring to a scapegoat. It is taken as a designation of the goat on which the sins of the nation were laid (meaning of "scapegoat") on the Day of Atonement.
Now, let's read along and perhaps discover the importance of this day from His word, the Bible. We will start with Leviticus 23:26-32:
YAHWEH said to Moses, 'The tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement. Hold a sacred assembly and deny yourselves, and present an offering made to YAHWEH by fire. Do no work on that day, because it is the Day of Atonement, when atonement is made for your before YAHWEH your Elohim. Anyone who does not deny himself on that day must be cut off from his people. I will destroy from among his people anyone who does any work on that day. You shall do no work at all. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live. It is a sabbath of rest for you, and you must deny yourselves. From the evening of the ninth day of the month until the following evening you are to observe your sabbath.
Remember that for most special days, Yahweh says to do no regular work; for this day, He is pretty clear that you are to do NO work, isn't He?
Prior to Yahweh giving Moses the list of special days in Leviticus 23, He told Aaron, who was the High Priest back then, how to enter the sanctuary area including how to dress all the way down to his undergarments. And then our Father gave Aaron instructions on how he was to make atonement for himself, his household and the rest of the Israelites. We can read this in Leviticus 16:6-15:
Aaron is to offer the bull for his own sin offering to make atonement for himself and his household. Then he is to take the two goats and present them before YAHWEH at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting. He is to cast lots for the two goats--one lot for YAHWEH and one for the scapegoat. Aaron shall bring the goat whose lot falls to YAHWEH and sacrifice it for a sin offering. But the goat chosen by lot as the scapegoat shall be presented alive before YAHWEH to be used for making atonement by sending it into the desert as a scapegoat. Aaron shall bring the bull for his own sin offering to make atonement for himself and his household, and he is to slaughter the bull for his own sin offering. He is to take a censer full of burning coals from the altar before YAHWEH and two handfuls of finely ground fragrant incense and take them behind the curtain. He is to put the incense on the fire before YAHWEH and the smoke of the incense will conceal the atonement cover above the Testimony, so that he will not die. He is to take some of the bull's blood and with his finger sprinkle it on the front of the atonement cover; then he shall sprinkle some of it with his fingers seven times before the atonement cover. He shall then slaughter the goat for the sin offering for the people and take its blood behind the curtain and do with it as he did with the bull's blood: He shall sprinkle it on the atonement cover and in front of it.
We have learned that ALL of Yahweh's special days, from His weekly Sabbath to His seven annual High Days, have a meaning to them. That meaning will ultimately save us from the fiery grave and will cause us to have eternal life. This day, the Day of Atonement, represents something very important to us in the days to come. We know that Messiah will one day return - will He make the final atonement for us?
As a practical matter, on this Day of Atonement, we reflect. We reflect on the blessings He has given us for the past year; we reflect on the occasions we may have strayed from His truth; we reflect on the meaning of His words and we pray for a coming year of strength in His word. We have one activity for you to consider seriously before doing and use it as a family project as well.
WHAT ARE YOU THANKFUL FOR?
List at Least 10 Things You are Thankful for:
A much harder exercise and you do not need to write these down, but think about how you went against Yahweh's words this past year? Did you disobey your parents? Did you argue with a brother or a sister? Did you think bad thoughts? All these are ways to think about NOT doing in the coming year.
May Yahweh make each and every one of you stronger in your mind and body the coming year!
Day of Atonement Quiz
Let's see how much you remember about the Day of Atonement. As always, try to answer all the questions without checking back first. If you get too many wrong, you may have to go back and read it again! We're certain that you will do real well! As with most of our quizzes, get someone to assist you in grading so you can see how well you did and to see how much you have learned.
1. When is the Day of Atonement?
a. The 21st day of the first month.
b. The 15th day of the third month.
c. The first day of the seventh month.
d. The 10th day of the seventh month.
2. What type of day is the Day of Atonement?
c. Very solemn.
3. What did Yahweh say we are to do on this day?
a. Afflict yourselves (fast; do not eat or drink anything).
d. Enjoy His world and His creations.
4. What is meant by "scapegoat"?
a. Someone who acts like an animal.
b. A type of goat, such as a pygmy goat.
c. To put the sins on something to take the place of us, the ones who sinned.
d. A goat that escaped.
5. Aaron offered the bull for a sin offering to make atonement for who first?
a. All the prophets.
b. The Israelites.
c. For himself and his family.
d. All Yahweh's people living today.
6. How was the scapegoat presented to Yahweh?
7. How long is the Day of Atonement to be observed?
a. Just the one time back in Old Covenant days.
b. Lasting ordinance for the generations to come.
c. For seventeen years.
d. Just until Messiah Yahshua was killed.
8. What was done with the other goat?
a. Sacrificed for a sin offering.
b. Let go to keep the scapegoat company.
d. Became a pet.
9. What does the word "atonement" mean?
a. Hate or annoy.
b. Covering; forgive; expiate; reconcile.
10. What may Yahshua do for us after He returns?
a. Send us away.
b. Tell us to start sacrificing animals again.
c. Get us dinner.
d. Make a final atonement on our behalf.