Celebrating the Day of Atonement

The Jewish holiday celebrating the Day of Atonement is one that should cause believers to cling even more tightly to our Lord and Savior. Although many believers and followers of the Lord Jesus Christ understand that he is our Passover Lamb, and that he gave his life to die on the cross for our sins, the Jewish holiday should inspire a tremendous level of gratitude in our hearts. 2Corinthians 5:21(NLT) tells us, “For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.” Because of what God has accomplished through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, we now know how God feels about us. He gave the life of His most precious treasure so that you and I could have the kind of relationship with Him that He wanted.

Those living in Old Testament times were under a different administration and covenant than we are. Jesus Christ had not yet come, and therefore, those living during that time were servants of God and not sons and daughters of God like us. Our Heavenly Father is holy. He is the Most Holy of Holies, and so that He could have a relationship with people back then, they had to be ceremoniously clean. To meet this requirement, God instructed their leader, Moses, to lead their priests in practices of feasts, festivals, and sacrificial offerings that would atone for the people’s sins. Numbers 29 tells us a little bit about this.

Numbers 29:7-11(NLT) says, “7Ten days later, on the tenth day of the same month, you must call another holy assembly. On that day, the Day of Atonement, the people must go without food and must do no ordinary work. 8 You must present a burnt offering as a pleasing aroma to the Lord. It will consist of one young bull, one ram, and seven one-year-old male lambs, all with no defects. 9 These offerings must be accompanied by the prescribed grain offerings of choice flour moistened with olive oil—six quarts of choice flour with the bull, four quarts of choice flour with the ram, 10 and two quarts of choice flour with each of the seven lambs. 11 You must also sacrifice one male goat for a sin offering. This is in addition to the sin offering of atonement and the regular daily burnt offering with its grain offering, and their accompanying liquid offerings.”

There were many other laws and customs associated with the Day of Atonement, as well as other ceremonies that the people living in Old Testament times were commanded to observe. The mind can easily slip back into old habit patterns and old ways of thinking if it is not stimulated to stay renewed. These sacrificial offerings and festivals that God commanded His people to observe were continual reminders to them. They reminded God’s people who they were and, most importantly, who He is.

Sin is the refusal to obey the Word of God. It’s a refusal to believe, trust, and be guided by what God says. Sinful actions and behaviors tell a lie about our identity in Jesus Christ. Through Christ, we can have God’s nature, and there’s no sin or wrongdoing in God. Throughout the entire existence of humanity, He has been teaching us to walk in His nature, because we were created for this very purpose. We are God’s children, and He made us in His own image. Many of us hear this truth and breeze by it very quickly. We don’t take the time to allow the heft of it to sink deeply within. We are God’s spiritual children, and we are on this earth to do His Will.

As challenging as it is for some of us to contemplate, our flesh and blood body is not the sum total of all that we are. God beautifully and meticulously crafted our bodies, and they are like a suit that operates as efficiently as a machine. Oddly enough, God made our bodies from dirt. And when we pass from this life and enter the next, this brilliantly made mechanical suit of dirt will return to the ground from which it was made.

The body is temporary housing for our soul and spirit, and this is one of the reasons God spends a lot of time in His Word teaching us not to place our focus on pleasures of the flesh, because that really isn’t where the action is. The action is in Jesus Christ! It’s living and walking by his example of love, unselfishness, and compassion. We get it wrong a lot of times, and we don’t follow the example of Christ as closely as we should, but God doesn’t punish us for getting it wrong. He tells us to repent. To repent requires that we recognize our wrongdoing and change our hearts and minds, so that we don’t continue doing the things that do not honor God or ourselves.

Remembering the Day of Atonement should remind us that we have a new covenant with God through Jesus Christ. Because of what Jesus Christ accomplished on the cross, those of us living today do not have to offer sacrifices continually. Those of us who follow Christ do not have to live a life where we’re the devil’s punching bag, with no sign of victory in sight. No, this is not our reality because of Christ. We will never see hell and experience the continual and excruciating suffering of its damnation. Colossians 1:13-14(NLT) tells us, “For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins.” Through our Lord and Savior, our Passover Lamb, God has saved us and transferred us out of darkness. We are God’s spiritual children, and we can stand in His wonderful, glorious, and holy presence with no sense of guilt, sin, or condemnation. Thankfulness for this should not only be celebrated on the Day of Atonement each year, but we should celebrate it every day of our lives. ■

Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.

“Celebrating the Day of Atonement”, written by JMack, theChristianMan.com© 2021. All rights reserved. All praise and honor to God through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

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