Summary: The Day of Atonement Fulfilled in the New testament
What a blessing for the Body of Christ to share with one voice on a particular day the glorious message of the resurrection. While so much of the world looks for answers to life that coexists on a planet somewhere in the universe, the Church has already found the source of all life in God. As we look into the story of redemption, the first need of the human race is to know that God sent His Son to rescue us from the tragedy of a sinful nature: SIN, the power of evil that inhabits every human being. Guilt and shame haunt the human race. There is nothing in the arsenal of human effort that can rid us of it. That is, nothing but the sacrifice of Christ.
One of the most amazing teachings on the day God would forgive us for our attempted independence from Him is known as the Day of Atonement. From the time of Moses to Christ attendance on this feast day in Jerusalem was required fby all male Jews. They would come from all over the world to observe this most solemn time to have a sense of the forgiveness of sin. It was only a sense of forgiveness and not the reality of it. Hebrews 10:4 says, “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins.” This must have been obvious to them since the day after the Day of Atonement the daily routine of sacrifices started all over again until it reached its culmination a year later.
Leviticus 16 gives us the Biblical view as to when this most precious truth when God forgave our sins. The service on that day began when God told Moses to instruct Aaron how He wants to be approached in the Most Holy place where the Ark of the Covenant was stored. In verse 11 Aaron had to first sacrifice an animal for himself, he had to become acceptable to God before he could offer a sacrifice for the people.
Lev 16:11, “And Aaron shall bring the bullock of the sin offering, which is for himself, and shall make an atonement for himself, and for his house, and shall kill the bullock of the sin offering which is for himself.” Notice the emphasis on who this sacrifice was made for; himself, himself, himself. He goes into the Most Holy for himself and in 16:15, he repeats this action for the people. “Then shall he kill the goat of the sin offering, that is for the people, and bring his blood within the vail, and do with that blood as he did with the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it upon the mercy seat, and before the mercy seat.”
The animal was sacrificed on the altar but its death was not accepted by God until the animals blood was presented to Him on the mercy seat. For years I had believed that Aaron wore the special regalia that we often see in pictures or drawings of that wonderful dress wear God commanded for the high priest. However, when he entered the Most Holy on the Day of Atonement, he dressed with different garments.
Lev 16:4, “He shall put on the holy linen coat, and he shall have the linen breeches upon his flesh, and shall be girded with a linen girdle, and with the linen mitre shall he be attired: these are holy garments; therefore shall he wash his flesh in water, and so put them on.” The clothing was referred to as “holy garments.”
The meaning is more than referring to the whiteness of the garments as representing purity. Aaron had on a pair of linen trousers then he was to rap strips of linen around his chest and around his head. The Church makes much of comparing types with antitypes and rightly so. Aaron was a type of Christ who was made our High Priest before the Father. Let’s take the type and antitype of the Day of Atonement and see what comes out of this which would have helped the believers in New Testament times recognize that Jesus was the Messiah.
In a series titled The Call of the Torah, Rabbi Elie Munk tells us what the holy garments of Aaron meant to the Jews as they observed Yom Kippur. “The words in this context remind us of the inevitable day of final judgment that each man must face. Accordingly, there is a custom for each man to wear a white garment [commonly called the kittel] during the Yom Kippur services. He is aware that this very same garment will become his shroud when death finally claims him.” Page 175 in Munk’s commentary of Leviticus. However, even without this explanation there is ample description to help us reach a conclusion as to the meaning of this service.