The day of atonement … shall be a holy convocation for you, and you shall humble your souls … it is a day … to make atonement on your behalf before the Lord your God. – Leviticus 23:27-28 NASB
Clean. Spotless. Pure. These are more than just words for high priests. Once a year on the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), the sacred duty of the Jewish High Priest was to enter the Holy of Holies – the presence of Almighty God – all alone.
This is part of one of three “appointed times” instituted by God Himself (v. 2, 4). On these days, there were to be holy convocations. Special offerings were to be made. Specifically, the Day of Atonement was to be set aside for prayer, soul searching, confession, and repentance. It was so serious that no one could work or eat.
After the high priest made a sacrifice to atone for himself and other priests, he sacrificed a goat as a sin offering for the people. Then another goat was sent into the wilderness, symbolically taking with it the sins of the people.
Through this symbolism, we are reminded of all that Jesus has done for us. He sacrificed Himself that we might be forgiven. Jesus also became our high priest. Like the scapegoat, He took our sins away “as far as the east is from the west” (Psalm 103:12).
The Day of Atonement, celebrated beginning at sundown today, still has special meaning. Remember, this is one of “the Lord’s appointed times.” Humble yourself before Him. Seek to be clean in His sight. Receive His forgiveness, freedom, and victory!
PrayerFather, I humble myself before You. Thank You for sending Jesus to die for me. I confess my sins and accept Your forgiveness. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Extended ReadingLeviticus 23