Key Biblical Terms

 

  • The Day of Atonement
  • In Hebrew, this concept means the day of 'covering,' or 'reconciliation.' The most important day for the Jews was the Day of Atonement on the tenth day of the seventh month (Leviticus 23:27, 25:9). We can see in Leviticus 16 that even the High Priest could not enter the Most Holy Place except for the specified rituals on that day.

    The Most Holy Place itself needed atonement as well as the people of Israel; thus, the High Priest had to offer the sacrifice in order to pass on sins by laying his hands on the head of the sacrifice. The Israelites thought about the holiness of God and their sins on the Day of Atonement.

    At that time, as many as 15 offerings (including the scapegoat), 12 burnt offerings and 3 offerings of atonement were sacrificed to God (Leviticus 16:5-29, Numbers 29:7-11). If we count 'the other lamb' mentioned in Numbers 28:8, there are 13 burnt offerings and 4 offerings of atonement.

    The day when the Israelites used to atone for the year's sins was the tenth day of the seventh month. By the same token, the Day of Atonement for the whole world was the day Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist. It was actually the Day of Atonement for all mankind. It was the day God washed away all the sins of the world (Matthew 3:13-17). It was the Day of Atonement on which God "for thus... fulfilled all righteousness".

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