Day of Atonement

The Day of Atonement and Forgiveness of Sins

The Day of Atonement originated during the time of Moses. When Moses came down from Mount Sinai, he saw the Israelites worshiping the golden calf. And he threw to the ground the two stone tablets God had given him. Seeing his outrage, the Israelites realized their wrongdoing and repented. 

“‘The tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement.’”

Leviticus 23:27

After the Israelites repented, God took pity on them. So He called Moses back up to Mount Sinai to receive a second set of Ten Commandments. Later, God appointed the day Moses came back down from the mountain the second time as the Day of Atonement. And God also made it an annual feast. 

“The Lord said to Moses, ‘The tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement. Hold a sacred assembly and deny yourselves, and present a food offering to the Lord. Do not do any work on that day, because it is the Day of Atonement, when atonement is made for you before the Lord your God. ... This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live.’”

Leviticus 23:27–31

Only on the Day of Atonement, the high priest entered the Most Holy Place in the sanctuary (Heb 9:7). There, he conducted a ceremony to transfer the sins that had accumulated on the sanctuary to a scapegoat. This ceremony led to the forgiveness of sins (Lev 16).

While Jesus was on this earth, He set the example of also keeping the Feasts (Jn 7:1–37). In fact, He was the reality of the sanctuary (Jn 2:19–21). So now, instead of offering animal sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins, Christ took upon Himself our sins. Thus, this Feast contains Christ’s sacrifice for the forgiveness of our sins.

Today, the World Mission Society Church of God commemorates this Feast by keeping worship service and offering prayers of repentance during the Feast of Trumpets, culminating on the Day of Atonement, when God forgives our sins committed over the year.

Learn more about the Day of Atonement and the Feasts of God.
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