Yom Kippur – The Day of Atonement

Yom Kippur was the second fall feast in Israel called the Day of Atonement, and the Day of Verdict.  In the fall harvest festal timeline God commanded three feasts:

1st day of the 7th month (Tishri) – Yom Teruah – Feast of Trumpets – also called Yom Hadin, Day of Judgment (Lev. 23:23-25)

10th day of the 7th month (Tishri) – Yom Kippur – Day of Atonement – also Day of Verdict (or we could say sentencing) (Lev. 23:26-32)

15th day of the 7th month (Tishri) – Sukkot – Feast of Tabernacles -also  Feast of Nations, Season of our Joy, and Feast of Ingathering (Lev. 23:33-44)

In this fall harvest timeline God has shown us the fulfillment of His plan of salvation for all people and all nations through His son, Yeshua / Christ Jesus.

27 `Only — on the tenth of this seventh month is a day of atonements; ye have a holy convocation, and ye have humbled yourselves, and have brought near a fire-offering to Jehovah;

28 and ye do no work in this self-same day, for it is a day of atonements, to make atonement for you, before Jehovah your God.

29 `For any person who is not humbled in this self-same day hath even been cut off from his people;

30 and any person who doth any work in this self-same day I have even destroyed that person from the midst of his people;

31 ye do no work — a statute age-during to your generations in all your dwellings.

32 It [is] a sabbath of rest to you, and ye have humbled yourselves in the ninth of the month at even; from evening till evening ye do keep your sabbath.'”  (Lev. 23:27-32, YLT)

Let’s look at some of the Jewish beliefs about the meaning of Yom Kippur.  Excerpt from Judaism 101 by Tracy R. Rich:

“The name “Yom Kippur” means “Day of Atonement,” and that pretty much explains what the holiday is. It is a day set aside to “afflict the soul,” to atone for the sins of the past year. In Days of Awe, I mentioned the “books” in which G-d inscribes all of our names. On Yom Kippur, the judgment entered in these books is sealed. This day is, essentially, your last appeal, your last chance to change the judgment, to demonstrate your repentance and make amends.

As I noted in Days of Awe, Yom Kippur atones only for sins between man and G-d, not for sins against another person. To atone for sins against another person, you must first seek reconciliation with that person, righting the wrongs you committed against them if possible. That must all be done before Yom Kippur.” Source: JewFAQ

And, from the post “What is the Deeper Meaning of Yom Kippur?” :

“The initial Hebrew meaning of the root ‘K-P-R’ {כ-פ-ר} – which ‘Yom Kippur’ comes from – actually means ‘to cover’ and can be found in the original Hebrew name for the ‘Mercy Seat’ of the ‘Ark of the Covenant’ which is called in the Hebrew Bible ‘Kaporet’ {כפורת} (‘covering’).

The concept of ‘covering’ in Biblical Hebrew can be understood also in an abstract way as ‘covering sins’ – meaning ‘to grant atonement.’ Precisely as the English name for the holiest day in the Jewish calendar – ‘ Day of Atonement’ (‘Yom Kippur’) and sheds light on the decision to translate into English the Hebrew word ‘Kapporet’ (the covering of the Ark) as ‘Mercy Seat.’…

This day is one of the SIX fast days in the Hebrew calendar. However, ‘Yom Kippur’ is different than the other FIVE fast days (FOUR are about the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem and one is the Fast of Esther) because in all of the other fast days we are fasting in order to commemorate events that took place in the PAST. However, on ‘Yom Kippur’ we are fasting for the FUTURE of ourselves.

Because this day is the ‘Day of the Verdict’ according to the Jewish tradition, this is the day that will determine what our lives will look like in the next year (until the next ‘Yom Kippur’).”  Source: Hebrewversity

And from My Jewish Learning, Yom Kippur 101:

“The overarching theme of Yom Kippur is repentance. During the holiday all thoughts are supposed to be centered on this theme. From Kol Nidrei to the repeated Viddui to Neilah, the day revolves around the theme of communal repentance for sins committed during the past year, in order that both the community and the individual be inscribed in the Book of Life for the coming year.”  Source: MyJewishLearning

The command as translated in the Complete Jewish Bible (CJB):

28 You are not to do any kind of work on that day, because it is Yom-Kippur, to make atonement for you before Adonai your God. 29 Anyone who does not deny himself on that day is to be cut off from his people; 30 and anyone who does any kind of work on that day, I will destroy from among his people.”  (Lev. 23:28-30)

The actions of the high priest on Yom Kippur were established earlier in Lev 16.  These were the sacrifices of the bull offering for himself and his family.  The goat offering was for the sins of the people.

16 and he hath made atonement for the sanctuary because of the uncleanness of the sons of Israel, and because of their transgressions in all their sins; and so he doth for the tent of meeting which is tabernacling with them in the midst of their uncleannesses.

17 `And no man is in the tent of meeting in his going in to make atonement in the sanctuary, till his coming out; and he hath made atonement for himself, and for his house, and for all the assembly of Israel.

18 `And he hath gone out unto the altar which [is] before Jehovah, and hath made atonement for it; and he hath taken of the blood of the bullock, and of the blood of the goat, and hath put on the horns of the altar round about;

19 and he hath sprinkled on it of the blood with his finger seven times, and hath cleansed it, and hath hallowed it from the uncleannesses of the sons of Israel.” (Lev. 16:16-19, YLT)

The first actions of the atonement sacrifices were for the cleansing of the sanctuary, which later became the temple in Jerusalem during Solomon’s reign.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown’s Commentary at Lev.16:16 includes:

“The sanctuary or holy place and the altar of burnt offering were in like manner sprinkled seven times with the blood of the bullock and the goat. The object of this solemn ceremonial was to impress the minds of the Israelites with the conviction that the whole tabernacle was stained by the sins of a guilty people, that by their sins they had forfeited the privileges of the divine presence and worship, and that an atonement had to be made as the condition of God’s remaining with them. The sins and shortcomings of the past year having polluted the sacred edifice, the expiation required to be annually renewed. The exclusion of the priests indicated their unworthiness and the impurities of their service. The mingled blood of the two victims being sprinkled on the horns of the altar indicated that the priests and the people equally needed an atonement for their sins.”  Source: Biblehub

After the high priest had ceased making the offering for the sanctuary, tent of meeting and the altar – cleansing them from the sins which all of the people had committed the previous year – that is purifying the temple of God for the next year’s service – then the “escape” goat, or the goat of departure (Lev. 16:10), was cast out into the wilderness.

20 `And he hath ceased from making atonement [for] the sanctuary, and the tent of meeting, and the altar, and hath brought near the living goat;

21 and Aaron hath laid his two hands on the head of the living goat, and hath confessed over it all the iniquities of the sons of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, and hath put them on the head of the goat, and hath sent [it] away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness;

22 and the goat hath borne on him all their iniquities unto a land of separation. `And he hath sent the goat away into the wilderness,” (Lev. 16:20-22, YLT)

The picture we need to see is that of making the atonement by the high priest, and the casting out of the sins of ALL the people into the wilderness.  The high priest first cleansed himself before entering the sanctuary, and then brought in the fire of incense to cover his sins before God in the holy of holies, and then cleansed everything in the temple of the contaminating sins of the people from the mercy seat out to the altar before the tent of meeting.

This cleansing was on behalf of the entirety of the people – all national Israel.  These sacrifices were not the cleansing of individual sins, but those of the whole of the nation.  The cleansing of the temple from the defiling sins of the nation of Israel involved fire and blood.  It was cleansing the temple before the Feast of Tabernacles on the 15th of Tishri, which is also called the Feast of Nations.  The Feast of Nations was the foreshadow of the everlasting kingdom of Christ, the ultimate goal of all of the Jewish feast days.

Can we see then the type and foreshadow of the final cleansing of that earthly temple in earthly Jerusalem in the fire of its destruction, and the blood of those who died during the siege of Jerusalem in AD 70?

It was national Israel that was under judgment during Yom Kippur, and unrepentant national Israel had to die because of their sins against the Most High, and the rejection of His gift to us – His Son, Yeshua, who became our High Priest.  That old temple had to be cleansed before God’s everlasting kingdom could be firmly placed in power during the Feast of Nations.

Yeshua (Jesus) had been anointed as our high priest at the transference of that function from his cousin John, the Immerser at Jesus’ baptism (immersion) in the river Jordan (Matt. 3:17).   John was the son of Zacharias, a priest of the division / course of Abijah (Luke 1:5) and his mother Elizabeth was a daughter of the sons of Aaron.  Yeshua, Christ was a cousin by blood to John through their mothers who were cousins.  Jesus’ lineage was of both the Davidic and Aaronic Zadok line, both of king and priest. (1)

Christ’s death and resurrection fulfilled the promise, and He ascended into heaven (Acts 1:9) to take His place at the right hand of our Father to rule with Him.  It was His role and function (job) as High Priest to make that atonement for the sins of His people, not as another sacrifice of Himself, but the blood that would be required of those who crucified Him, both literally (Rev. 1:7) and spiritually by those who had rejected His offer of peace between God and themselves.

Under the Mosaic law, after cleansing and purifying the sanctuary, the high priest then transferred all of the sins of the people of Israel – the entire nation – with both hands onto the head of the scapegoat, which was then cast out of the camp into the wilderness, a land of separation and darkness.  This casting out into the wilderness foreshadowed the casting out of those goats (rebellious souls) which Christ separated out of Hades on His left hand as He prophesied would happen in Matt. 25: 31-33 after the “day of his coming”.

The day of His coming was the day of judgment against Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple which He had prophesied in Matt. 24 and which continued in Matt 25.  The destruction of the temple was fulfilled by the 1st of Tishri on Yom Teruah in AD 70. (See The Signs of the Feasts Parts I – III at the right margin.)

That sentencing day, or day of atonement on the 10th of Tishri in AD 70 was necessary to clean out the dead sins of the old covenant people and old sacrificial system of the earthly temple in order to make way for the true spiritual sanctuary under the new covenant, and new kingdom of Christ in the spiritual temple in heaven.

Does that mean that the saints who had been immersed into Christ after His crucifixion circa AD 30 – 31, from the moment they first believed, were barred from entering into heaven until AD 70?  Does that mean that those saints who had been baptized into Christ could not have forgiveness of sins until Yom Kippur in AD 70?

NO!  That is not a proper understanding of the symbolism of the fall feast days.

Remember the time of transition between the old covenant and the new covenant; between the old heaven and earth temple, and the new spiritual temple of Christ’s body in heaven.  That forty years transition period between Christ’s death on the cross (AD 30-31) and the destruction of the earthly Jerusalem temple (AD 70)  allowed for the new covenant promises to be carried out for the newly converted saints while waiting for the broadcast of the new covenant throughout the lands, and for the old covenant conditions of the earthly, Mosaic animal sacrificial temple to be completed.  The new overlapped the old for forty years.

Before His death on the cross, Christ prayed in the garden that all whom God had given to Him, including those who would thereafter believe on Him, would be with Him where He was so they could see His glory (John 17:24).  As He was about to be in heaven in just a few short days, then His prayer was for His disciples and all His believers, all those who had been immersed into His death and resurrection, to also be with Him in heaven – after their bodily death.

Paul knew this and expected it. Phil 1:23,

23 for I am pressed by the two, having the desire to depart, and to be with Christ, for it is far better,”  (YLT)

Revelation – the prophesy of the destruction of Jerusalem – confirmed it.

“And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given to them, and the souls of those who have been beheaded because of the testimony of Jesus, and because of the word of God, and who did not bow before the beast, nor his image, and did not receive the mark upon their forehead and upon their hand, and they did live and reign with Christ the thousand years;” (Rev. 20:4, YLT)

Those who were living and reigning with Christ had been beheaded.  They had experienced physical bodily death in the persecutions of both the Jews and the Romans during that generation of the 1st century AD.  They were not living on earth anymore.  They were in heaven with Christ, where He was seated by His Father.  God granted Christ’s prayer for His saints to be with Him where He was!  They were not waiting temporarily held in Hades.

So, how were those souls in Hades released? When was the prophesy of the separation of the goats and the sheep fulfilled?

When Christ was crucified, Hades still existed.  We know this because He told the thief on the cross that he would be with Christ in Paradise that same day (Luke 23:43).  As Paradise (Abraham’s Bosom) was that part of Hades (the grave) where the righteous were held or gathered, then the prison gates of Hades had not yet been opened.

All those souls in the section of Paradise (Luke 16) who had been placed there upon their bodily death were still waiting to be released so they could join with Christ and His saints in heaven, to be gathered where they already were.  The old covenant body of Moses, and the new covenant body of Christ had to be united in heaven.

Christ told them when this would happen in Matt. 25, after the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem.

31 `And whenever the Son of Man may come in his glory, and all the holy messengers with him, then he shall sit upon a throne of his glory;

32 and gathered together before him shall be all the nations, and he shall separate them from one another, as the shepherd doth separate the sheep from the goats,

33 and he shall set the sheep indeed on his right hand, and the goats on the left.”  (Matt. 25:31-33, YLT)

Further confirmed in Matt 22:1-14 that the judgment would happen during the wedding feast immediately after the city was burned.  The wedding feast typically lasted 10 days, and was also a reference to the Feast of Trumpets on the 1st of Tishri ( See Signs of the Feasts – Part III at the right).

Therefore, when Christ came in judgment against Jerusalem for their sins (1st of Tishri, Feast of Trumpets), He then opened the gates of Hades (Rev. 20:12-15), separated out those that had been placed in Paradise (the sheep) from those that had been consigned to the place of torment (the goats).  He took those from Paradise home to heaven, and cast out the rebellious goats to outer darkness (2 Pet. 17). Sentencing – Day of Atonement, 10th of Tishri.

The escape goat with all the sins of the nation of Israel was led out of the camp on the Day of Atonement, also known to the Jews as the Day of Verdict.  Therefore, we can know that the rebellious goats who had been held in Hades until the judgment day of the earthly Jerusalem temple were then separated out of Hades on their Day of Verdict on the 10th of Tishri in AD 70,  and were likewise cast out into the wilderness / darkness.

It was the custom for the high priest to tie half of a scarlet cord or ribbon to the horn of the escape goat, and the other half to the door of the temple.  If the scarlet ribbon turned white, the people would know the sacrifices of Yom Kippur had been accepted.  The rabbis recorded that for forty years before the destruction of the temple in AD 70, the scarlet ribbon never turned white on the Day of Atonement. (2 ) (3) (4)

The meaning is clearly stated in Heb. 10:4, that no blood of bulls and goats could forgive sins; that after Christ’s once for all sacrifice (Heb. 9:7, 12, 26), no other sacrifice would ever be acceptable to God.

After Christ’s crucifixion and ascension in. 30 – 31 AD, all those who had been immersed into His name, and who remained faithful unto death were taken home to heaven when they passed from this mortal, earthly realm into everlasting life in heaven. The saints who died after Yeshua’s crucifixion in the 1st century AD were forgiven of their sins, covered by the blood of Christ, and did not have to wait for the Day of Atonement in AD 70 to go home to Him.

Yom Kippur in AD 70 was the final cleansing and casting out of the old covenant sacrificial temple in Jerusalem, the old earthly sanctuary.  Yeshua, our High Priest carried out that verdict on the remnant of national Israel in Judea on the 10th of Tishri in AD 70.

Thereafter, ever since the 15th of Tishri in AD 70 every generation has been enjoying the Feast of Tabernacles, the Feast of the Nations, the Season of our Joy under His new covenant and everlasting kingdom.  It is not limited to a land nation called “Israel”.  The doors to His temple are now open, and every one of every earthly nation is welcome to tabernacle with Him in His everlasting kingdom, if they will only answer the call.

(All bold emphasis is mine.)


1)  How Were Mary and Elizabeth Related?  ApologeticsPress

2) Yoma 39  JudaismAnswer

3) Miracles of Yom Kippur  Myetzchayim

4) The Azazel Scapegoat and the Goat Dedicated… TheAleph-TavProject




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