The Day of Atonement. I think that most people would not begin to understand what this day is all about.
If you are Jewish or have studied the Old Testament, you would be the exception. At least that is my perception of this topic.
Here is what I do know. On this day, an Israelite could be free from sin. Forgiven.
It all revolved around sacrifice.
The penalty of sin must be paid.
Just like a speeding ticket must be paid.
Just like fighting on the playground results in detention.
Just like being late one too many times could get you fired from a job.
There are consequences to our actions.
Sin needed to be addressed.
In God’s economy in the Old Testament, animals were sacrificed daily. There were several types (sin being only one type) of sacrifices and the occasions varied throughout the year.
But on the day of Atonement, the high priest took the sacrifices one step further. Literally.
This is a diagram of the Old Testament tabernacle.
On the left, there is the Holy of Holies. This little room had only one object in it. The ark of the covenant. Yes, Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark comes to my mind as well.
This ark, which was essentially a box covered in gold, was where the physical presence of God rested. It was the center of the entire Israelite community both socially and spiritually.
And was here that the high priest would offer the blood of the sacrifice for the sins of the people.
But he only did it once a year. On a specific day. On the day of Atonement.
And so while this day was a celebration it was also a mournful one.
Coming to grips with one’s sin was not a joyful occasion. It was painful.
But the outcome was worth it all.
When God saw the blood being sprinkled on the ark of the covenant, he smiled.
The price had been paid for sin. And that is why I (or anyone) can have a double birthday.
But that was the Old Testament.
Jesus changed everything. He always does.
More on that next week.