My Page Day of Atonement 

What is atonement and how does it relate to me?  Why is it a feast of God?


The Day of Atonement, also known as Yom Kippur, occurs on the tenth day of Tishri. The number ten represents: law, government, restoration, perfect holiness.  Let’s see how the symbolism of this day fits.


Jesus Christ is our atonement and the Day of Atonement symbolizes this broken but soon restored relationship.

Leviticus 16:29 "This is to be a lasting ordinance for you: On the tenth day of the seventh month you must deny yourselves [b] and not do any work—whether native-born or an alien living among you- 30 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. 31 It is a sabbath of rest, and you must deny yourselves; it is a lasting ordinance. 32 The priest who is anointed and ordained to succeed his father as high priest is to make atonement. He is to put on the sacred linen garments 33 and make atonement for the Most Holy Place, for the Tent of Meeting and the altar, and for the priests and all the people of the community.


Afflict Your Soul

Although the day is a sacred assembly, the people are required to perform two duties.  The first command is to afflict the soul.  The second command will be described later.  In the description of the Day of Atonement, the phrase, “afflict your soul” repeats three times in Leviticus:

Leviticus 23:27 “Also the tenth day of this seventh month shall be the Day of Atonement. It shall be a holy convocation for you; you shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire to the LORD. 28 And you shall do no work on that same day, for it is the Day of Atonement, to make atonement for you before the LORD your God. 29 For any person who is not afflicted in soul on that same day shall be cut off from his people. 30 And any person who does any work on that same day, that person I will destroy from among his people. 31 You shall do no manner of work; it shall be a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. 32 It shall be to you a sabbath of solemn rest, and you shall afflict your souls; on the ninth day of the month at evening, from evening to evening, you shall celebrate your sabbath.” [NKJV]

The word in Hebrew is “anah” and means “to afflict, oppress, humble, be afflicted, be bowed down”.  This occurs through fasting.  God requires a fast to be humbled and afflicted on the Day of Atonement.


Consider our composition: Spirit, Soul, and Body.

1 Thessalonians 5:23May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The word soul can also mean: mind or heart.

Psalm 10:17LORD, You have heard the desire of the humble; You will prepare their heart; You will cause Your ear to hear,

Those desiring “oneness” with God will desire to be humble before Him.  Fasting afflicts the soul and prepares the heart by suppressing the desires of the flesh. On the Day of Atonement, people will fast, no food and no drink, for 24 hours.  People will prepare their heart, their mind, their soul to more clearly hear and be lead by the Spirit of God on this important day.  This is the first part of the Day of Atonement.

2 Corinthians 12:9But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. 10That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.




In order to establish peace, provide atonement and bring two warring parties, man and God, together, the “troublemaker” must be removed.

2 Corinthians 4:4The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

Revelation 12:9
The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.

Revelation 12:10
Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: "Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser [Satan] of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down.

Job 1:9
"Does Job fear God for nothing?" Satan replied. 10 "Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. 11 But stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face."

Zechariah 3:1
Then he showed me Joshua [a] the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan [b] standing at his right side to accuse him.

Isaiah 14:13
You said in your heart, "I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain. [c] 14 I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High."

John 8:44
You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

2 Corinthians 11:14
And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.

1 John 4:1
Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

Revelation 12:9
The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.


Removal of Satan 

Now that Christ has returned, symbolized in the Feast of Trumpets, He will rule the earth and the old king must be removed.  Also He wants an exclusive relationship with His bride as He leads His Kingdom.


From the very beginning in the Garden of Eden, Satan has been a stumbling block to all humans:

Genesis 3:1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?"

As we have learned, Israel’s history is full of adulterous behavior when considering the pure relationship God desired.  Israel, though blinded, could not remain faithful to their God.  As a result, they suffered continual hardship as they pursued other gods which were a front for worshipping Satan and his demons.

John 12:40"He has blinded their eyes and deadened their hearts, so they can neither see with their eyes, nor understand with their hearts, nor turn—and I would heal them."

Satan’s spirit is strong, impatient and forceful and is similar to “tuning in a radio station”.  His perverse spirit of the air affects our mind and our flesh.

1 Ephesians 2:1 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, 3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.

Today, the church is not blinded, but still struggles in the flesh because of Satan’s “power of the air”.

Romans 7:22 For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24 O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.

The Day of Atonement also symbolizes the removal of Satan.

Revelation 20:1And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. 2He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. 3He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free for a short time.

John 12:31
Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out.

Once Satan is removed and bound for 1,000 years, true peace, God’s Holy peace will fill the earth.  We will learn more about this incredible peace and His Kingdom in the next section on the Feast of Tabernacles.



Our Atonement Through Christ 

On this important day, the first command from God was to “fast”.  The second command from God symbolizes the sacrifice of Christ and His power being alive through animal offerings in Leviticus 16.  But to fully understand the offerings, we must learn about the temple.


Holy of Holies 

The Holy of Holies or Most Holy Place is the most respected location within the temple.  It is here that God’s Glory, His Shekinah Glory radiated when He filled the temple.

Exodus 25:8 "Then have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them. 9 Make this tabernacle and all its furnishings exactly like the pattern I will show you.

The word dwell in Exodus 25 is “shakan” and from this word we get Shekinah or “one who dwells” or “presence”.


2 Chronicles 7:1 When Solomon finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the LORD filled the temple. 2 The priests could not enter the temple of the LORD because the glory of the LORD filled it. 3 When all the Israelites saw the fire coming down and the glory of the LORD above the temple, they knelt on the pavement with their faces to the ground, and they worshiped and gave thanks to the LORD, saying, "He is good; his love endures forever."

Leviticus 16:2
The LORD said to Moses: "Tell your brother Aaron not to come whenever he chooses into the Most Holy Place behind the curtain in front of the atonement cover on the ark, or else he will die, because I appear in the cloud over the atonement cover.

From Wikipedia, here is a reference of the Holy of Holies: 

“The Most Holy Place was a place where the high priest would go in, once a year, on the Yom Kippur, to sprinkle the blood of sacrificial animals (a bull offered as atonement for the Priest and his household, and a goat offered as atonement for the people) and offer incense upon the Ark of the Covenant and the mercy seat which sat on top of the ark in the First Temple (The Second Temple had no ark and the blood was sprinkled where the Ark would have been and the incense was left on the Foundation Stone). The animal was sacrificed on the Brazen Altar and the blood was carried into the most holy place. The golden censers were also found in the Most Holy Place.” 

The Holy of Holies contained the Ark of the Covenant.  Contained between the wings of the Cherubim was the mercy seat.  It is here that God’s Presence, His Shekinah Glory radiated and fill the temple.

Exodus 25:10 "Have them make a chest of acacia wood—two and a half cubits long, a cubit and a half wide, and a cubit and a half high. [b] 11 Overlay it with pure gold, both inside and out, and make a gold molding around it. 12 Cast four gold rings for it and fasten them to its four feet, with two rings on one side and two rings on the other. 13 Then make poles of acacia wood and overlay them with gold. 14 Insert the poles into the rings on the sides of the chest to carry it. 15 The poles are to remain in the rings of this ark; they are not to be removed. 16 Then put in the ark the Testimony, which I will give you. 17 "Make an atonement cover [c] of pure gold—two and a half cubits long and a cubit and a half wide. [d] 18 And make two cherubim out of hammered gold at the ends of the cover. 19 Make one cherub on one end and the second cherub on the other; make the cherubim of one piece with the cover, at the two ends. 20 The cherubim are to have their wings spread upward, overshadowing the cover with them. The cherubim are to face each other, looking toward the cover. 21 Place the cover on top of the ark and put in the ark the Testimony, which I will give you. 22 There, above the cover between the two cherubim that are over the ark of the Testimony, I will meet with you and give you all my commands for the Israelites.

2 Kings 19:15 And Hezekiah prayed to the LORD : "O LORD, God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, you alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth.

1 Chronicles 13:6
David and all the Israelites with him went to Baalah of Judah (Kiriath Jearim) to bring up from there the ark of God the LORD, who is enthroned between the cherubim—the ark that is called by the Name.

Psalm 80:1
Hear us, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock; you who sit enthroned between the cherubim, shine forth

Psalm 99:1
The LORD reigns, let the nations tremble; he sits enthroned between the cherubim, let the earth shake.

Isaiah 37:16
"O LORD Almighty, God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, you alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth.

Hebrews 9:2
A tabernacle was set up. In its first room were the lampstand, the table and the consecrated bread; this was called the Holy Place. 3Behind the second curtain was a room called the Most Holy Place, 4which had the golden altar of incense and the gold-covered ark of the covenant. This ark contained the gold jar of manna, Aaron's staff that had budded, and the stone tablets of the covenant.

Hebrews 9:7
But only the high priest entered the inner room, and that only once a year, and never without blood, which he offered for himself and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance. 8The Holy Spirit was showing by this that the way into the Most Holy Place had not yet been disclosed as long as the first tabernacle was still standing.

Today, as Christians, God dwells directly within us through His Holy Spirit.  We are the temple of the Lord!

Psalm 51:11 Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.

Romans 8:9
You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.

1 Corinthians 3:16
Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you? 17If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him; for God's temple is sacred, and you are that temple.

1 Corinthians 6:19
Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.


Lots Are Cast

A very symbolic act is performed on the Day of Atonement with two goats.  A box containing two ballots or two lots is created, one for each of two goats.  One lot is selected and applied to one of the goats:

Leviticus 16:6 "Aaron is to offer the bull for his own sin offering to make atonement for himself and his household. 7 Then he is to take the two goats and present them before the LORD at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting. 8 He is to cast lots for the two goats—one lot for the LORD and the other for the scapegoat. [a] 9 Aaron shall bring the goat whose lot falls to the LORD and sacrifice it for a sin offering. 10 But the goat chosen by lot as the scapegoat shall be presented alive before the LORD to be used for making atonement by sending it into the desert as a scapegoat.


The Sin Offering

The goat which was the sin offering is symbolic of the sacrifice of Christ.  This is an offering for God and is sacrificed in the temple.  However, this sacrifice is unique and the blood is sprinkled on the mercy seat once each year and this happens on the Day of Atonement.

Leviticus 16:15 "He shall then slaughter the goat for the sin offering for the people and take its blood behind the curtain and do with it as he did with the bull's blood: He shall sprinkle it on the atonement cover and in front of it. 16 In this way he will make atonement for the Most Holy Place because of the uncleanness and rebellion of the Israelites, whatever their sins have been. He is to do the same for the Tent of Meeting, which is among them in the midst of their uncleanness. 17 No one is to be in the Tent of Meeting from the time Aaron goes in to make atonement in the Most Holy Place until he comes out, having made atonement for himself, his household and the whole community of Israel.


The Azazel

The other goat is called the Azazel.  This goat is symbolic of the Christ who bears our sins, Christ who was resurrected, and Christ who is now alive. 


Translators use the word “scapegoat” which is a mistranslation of “escape goat”. 


Additionally, Satan does not bear our blame.  We are guilty of our sins but Christ through His love for us bore our sins on the cross.




1.              One that is made to bear the blame of others.

2.              Bible. A live goat over whose head Aaron confessed all the sins of the children of Israel on the Day of Atonement. The goat, symbolically bearing their sins, was then sent into the wilderness.

Leviticus 16:20 "When Aaron has finished making atonement for the Most Holy Place, the Tent of Meeting and the altar, he shall bring forward the live goat. 21 He is to lay both hands on the head of the live goat and confess over it all the wickedness and rebellion of the Israelites—all their sins—and put them on the goat's head. He shall send the goat away into the desert in the care of a man appointed for the task. 22 The goat will carry on itself all their sins to a solitary place; and the man shall release it in the desert.


The sacrifice of Christ is fully exemplified on the Feast of Atonement.  His death is symbolized by one goat and His life is symbolized by the other! 


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