Who worked on Atonement
Who worked HARD on the Day of Atonement?
Why? What does it mean?
Yah’s rule for the Day of Atonement – Yom Kippur (actually Yom Kippurim in the scriptures) – was that there be no work at all. Nobody was to do any work on this day. This day was for the purification and atonement of the nation. Passover in the spring was more a personal expiation and cleansing, but Atonement in the FALL was more for the entire nation. I discuss the ramifications of this in the sermon about this Day of Atonement.
You can read Leviticus 23:27-32. In those few verses, God repetitively says not to work and it comes across like this: “There is to be NO work on this day! NO work! You get it? NO work. Anyone who works is in deep trouble! It’s a total of total rest, a sabbath of sabbaths (Shabbat shabbaton). Don’t work!”
And YHVH spoke to Moses, saying: "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 YHVH. And YOU shall do NO work on that same day, for it is the Day of Atonement, to make atonement FOR you before YHVH your God. 29 For any person who is not afflicted in soul on that same day shall be cut off from his people. And any person who does ANY work on that same day, that person I will destroy from among his people. YOU shall do NO manner of work; it shall be a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. 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."
However, ONE person DID do a lot of work. In fact a lot of attention was placed on this one hard working individual. Do you remember the story? And did you get the central point of that story?
Click on “continue reading” to the right to learn the identity of the one who worked hard on this day and who and what it all pictured. And WHY are we told not to do any work –but to rest-- on THIS day? It’s very important to grasp this very deep meaning. You may be in for a revelation.
The Day of Atonement is explained in great detail in Leviticus 16. The one who worked VERY hard that day was the High Priest. (But more importantly: remember who the High Priest pictures!) He had to kill a bull and take its blood into the Holy of Holies. Then he had to do the ceremony of the two goats and one was the goat for YHWH and the other was the goat of separation – the Azazel. Lots were cast and the goats were identified. Yah’s goat was killed and its blood also taken into the Holy of Holies (Lev. 16:11-19). But on the other goat was placed all the sins of the nation and it was taken out into the wilderness, away from the camp of Israel, hopefully never to return.
There was more. It takes a lot of work to kill and dress a bull. Then to deal with the 2 goats – and to sacrifice the one for YHWH. What was the point of so much blood? And why several times? Could that be one reason why in the Hebrew this day is actually in the plural – the Day of Coverings (Yom Kippurim, not Yom Kippur)?
It struck me this year as I was studying all this that Yah wants to make sure we understand that the work of cleansing us, the work of saving us, the work of atoning for us, the work of reconciling us, the work of expiation and propitiation – is the work of His Son, Yeshua of Nazareth. It’s solely his work. Abba in heaven does NOT want us thinking WE are our own saviors. He does not want us thinking we can save ourselves except to take the steps of answering HIS call for us to repent, turn from our former ways, be immersed in water and receive the Holy Spirit, as we accept His Son as our Savior and King, and to walk with him.
But the actual cleansing, atoning, reconciling are all things Yeshua does.
"This shall be a statute forever for you: In the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall afflict your souls, and do no work at all, whether a native of your own country or a stranger who dwells among you. 30 For on that day the priest shall make atonement for you, to cleanse you, that YOU may be CLEAN from ALL your sins before YHWH. 31 It is a sabbath of solemn rest (actually: a “Sabbath of sabbaths”) FOR you, and you shall afflict your souls. It is a statute forever.”
Remember “Shabbat” – sabbath – MEANS “rest”. The day of Atonement is a “REST OF RESTS”, a sabbath of sabbaths, from the Hebrew “shabbat shabbaton”. Just as the Most Holy Place was called the “Holy of Holies”, THIS day is called the SABBATH OF SABBATHS – the rest of rests.
“For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; 25 not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another — 26 He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, ONCE at the end of the ages, He has appeared to PUT AWAY sin [not just cover it] by the sacrifice of Himself. 27 And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, 28 so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.”
Those who accept His one-time sacrifice have had their sins wiped away – not just covered -- and their judgment is to be eagerly awaited, for salvation. Much like 1 John 4:17 says, that in Him we come boldly to judgment day. Read it. He took our judgment upon himself!
“And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But this Man, after He had offered ONE sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, 13 from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. 14 For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.” [read v 14 a couple times!]
Yeshua (Jesus), our High Priest, is going to go to work saving Israel when he returns, and then we know from many prophecies in Isaiah and Zechariah that all nations and all peoples everywhere will eventually also be redeemed. His sacrifice is done. But he will work HARD to draw everyone back into the family, back into the Garden, if you will. The Day of Atonement is all about that cleansing, atoning and reconciliation and forgiveness of our sins as a nation – that Yeshua does -- and eventually humanity everywhere will be part of it.
The day is coming when everyone will know YHWH. Everyone. Jeremiah 31 is very clear about that. The day is coming when all will learn what it means to REST in Him. Let HIM do His work. You – rest in him.
So why do we REST – and do none of our own work on this day? Because this day of ATONEMENT pictures the nation being cleansed, forgiven and reconciled back to YHVH – all of it done by HIS hard work. The work of saving is not our work. The work of atoning for our sins is not our work. We rest. HE works. By resting on the DAY of Atonement, we should remember that we rest in Him and have faith in His perfect sacrifice and His perfect life being lived all over again as HE covers us, and covers us and covers us. Yom Kippurim. The Day of coverings – plural. Wow, Lord and Savior. Wow.
Joshua brought Israel into the Promised Land as a TYPE of rest, but scripture pointed to yet a future rest. The reality is how we must rest in Yeshua, the son of God. When we enter into God’s rest, we cease from our own works and rest in HIM. Most of us don’t like the idea of resting and letting someone else do all the work, but in this case, we’re told to really try to rest in Him. Part of the meaning of the resting – is that we cease from our old sinful ways and works. We cease from trying to work it all out ourselves, but understand now that even the desire to work good works comes from God (Philippians 2:12-13, read v 13). As a friend pointed out, we are likened to a fetus being carried in its mother’s womb, until Christ is fully formed. We rest in Him, in this analogy.
“For if Joshua had given them rest, then He would not afterward have spoken of another day. “There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. 10 For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from HIS works as God did from His. Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience.”
So yes, one person works very hard on the Day of Atonement. It pictures Yeshua and that the work of salvation is HIS. His name after all MEANS “Salvation”. That’s who He is – the Savior. That’s what He does, and does so well: he saves even the worst of us. Yes – even you, even me. And now, when we understand what HE has done, we REST in him. We rest from our sins. We rest in the joy of reconciliation.
This day is not about sins and Satan so much as it is about our Savior – who cleanses, who kills the power of sin and who defeats Satan. So I focus on my older brother, my best friend, my Beloved, my King. I know you do too. Together let’s praise our Master and Lord.
Hallelu YAH! And praise you Yeshua. We open the doors of our hearts, your living temple, to you and invite you to shine in our lives. Come, Master. Shine your shekinah glory in our thoughts, our deeds and our lives. Cleanse us, our Savior. Cleanse us. Let us be living, walking, breathing Temples of your glory as we rest in your salvation and cleansing. Thank you, thank you for the powerful meaning of your holyday, the Day of Atonement.