This is to be a lasting ordinance for you: On the tenth day of the seventh month you must deny yourselves and not do any work– whether native-born or an alien living among you–because on this day atonement will be made for you, to cleanse you. Then, before the LORD, you will be clean from all your sins. (NIV) Leviticus 16:29-30
The Day of Atonement, was the tenth day of the seventh month on Israel’s calendar. It was set aside as a day of public fasting and humiliation, a day when the nation of Israel sought atonement for its sins. On the Day of Atonement, the whole community gathered at the tabernacle to fast. The high priest, very carefully followed God’s prescribed steps, bringing the blood of the sacrifice into the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle and sprinkled the blood on the cover (the mercy seat) of the ark of the covenant. This annual sacrifice, made before the Lord, was an “atonement . . . to be made once a year for all the sins of the Israelites” (16:34). Following it, Israel was told, “You will be clean from all your sins” (16:30). Each year the same ritual had to be repeated.
Just before Jesus died on the cross, He said: “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit (John 19:30). . . At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split (Matthew 27:50). Israel’s high priest could never make such a statement as “it is finished,” his work was never finished. But, when Jesus offered His life for all time as a sacrifice for all sins, “he sat down at the right hand of God” (Hebrews 10:12). His work was finished! The tearing of the temple veil indicated that God’s demand for justice was finally satisfied.
God’s Gift to the Israelites, the Day of Atonement, demonstrated God’s graciousness in response to the helplessness of His chosen people. It was given to them as a means of providing reconciliation with God. But, the Day of Atonement was only a shadow of what was to come. . . it was Jesus life, shed on the cross that provided a new and living way for us to God.
We have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. Hebrews 10:10
Have you accepted God’s offer of reconciliation through faith in Christ? If not, why not investigate the work that was done on the cross?