The Day of Atonement and Israel's Forgiveness
By Timothy R. Test, Sr., Ph.D.
Presented by Saint Luke Evangelical School Of Biblical Studies

The Day of Atonement, which took place in the fall of the year, was the most sacred and solemn of all the Israelite festivals. In it we most clearly see the typology or symbolism of Christ's work for Israel. It was a day of national fasting and one that signified that the sins of Israel had been atoned for and that the nation and its people were restored to a state of fellowship with God. The feat included the following major items (see Leviticus 16 where the details are given):

The apostle Paul in the book of Hebrews drew heavily on the typology of the Day of Atonement to teach the mission of Christ. In that epistle he made the following points:

Notwithstanding the symbolic significance of the ritual of this holy day, the ritual did have the power to bring about a forgiveness of Israel's sins. The sacred writings of ancient times, the inspired utterances of latter-day prophecies, the traditions of mankind, the rites of sacrifice, and even the sacrileges of heathen idolatries, all involve the idea of vicarious atonement. God has never refused to accept an offering made by one who is authorized on behalf of those who are in many ways incapable of doing the required service themselves. The scapegoat and the altar victim of ancient Israel, if offered with repentance and contrition, were accepted by the Lord in mitigation of the sins of the people.

copyright 2000 Rev. Timothy R. Test, Sr., Ph.D.
Used by permission