Yom Kippur and Christ

[Yom Kippur ended at sundown last night.]


On the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur, the priest entered the Holy of Holies with the blood of the sacrifice. It was a place visited only once per year, only by the high priest, and only for the purpose of seeking forgiveness of sins for all of Israel. (Leviticus 16.)

If the priest afterward emerged from the innermost room of God’s holy temple, the people of God knew the sacrifice was accepted and their sins were forgiven. They also knew that if ever he did not emerge, their sins remained with them and they were then an unforgiven people.

In all the centuries of temple sacrifice the priest always emerged, a living symbol of God’s acceptance of the sacrifice and forgiveness of all his people’s sins for the past year.

Yet this temple sacrifice – as grand and wonderful and full of grace as it is – is merely a symbol of the sacrifice to come, a sacrifice for all sin for all time, one presented by a high priest who never dies.

Jesus and the Final Sacrifice

Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur. (Hebrews 10:1-18.)

He is the sacrifice on the cross, he is the one who entered the tomb, and he is the one who then emerged from it giving proof that his sacrifice is completely acceptable for the forgiveness of all sin.

There is no need for any further sacrifice, not from you, not from me, not even from Jesus. (Hebrews 7:27, 9:12.)

The Day of Atonement is past.

The Day of Life is here.

Live it in Christ.

I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:10.)


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8 Responses to Yom Kippur and Christ

  1. Laura Droege says:


    I remember trying to explain to an international student about Jesus’ death and why it was necessary. She was a new Christian, recently converted from Buddhism, and she was terribly distressed that Jesus actually died and his dying was painful. “Couldn’t there have been another way? With the sheep or some other animal?” she asked. No, I said gently, that wouldn’t have worked.
    As I had grown up in church and become a Christian at a young age, I was almost oblivious to how horrible the idea of God dying must seem to those outside Christianity; it’s such a familiar idea to me that it can almost lose its power. Explaining it to her, though, made me realize anew the NEED for full atonement and the crucifixion of Christ, and the hope and life found in Christ’s resurrection.

    Thanks for another reminder.

    • Tim says:

      Those conversations with people who are new to faith can be really eye opening for me too, Laura. What a blessing God gave you in speaking with that new believer.

  2. Beth Caplin says:

    I remember my first thoughts as a new Christian from Judaism being, “So this means I don’t have to fast to atone for my sins anymore? Awesome!” But sometimes I do feel a twinge of guilt for not doing it. As some kind of lacking in self control, discipline, I don’t know.

    • Tim says:

      That transition must have been, and continue to be, a big one at times, Beth. Have you read any of Michelle Van Loon’s writings on how she has found the change to be for her? She covers it occasionally on her blog.

  3. Ruth says:

    Having to explain ‘why the cross’ is very hard, sometimes even for those of us who have been Christians for decades. I prayed about this one, and found the answer for me was…because God couldn’t…….couldn’t accept sin, and this was the only answer, even thought Christ went through this for us, we can see the joy it brought him and us. It was disconcerting to think God couldn’t anything, but it works to see His plight in winning back mankind. Heavy stuff for a Monday morning! 🙂

  4. Elizabeth-Anne says:

    Unfortunately for me as an animal lover and vegetarian, the day of atonement never ends as I long as I remain where I am ( thru necessity not choice ), as chickens are sacrificed every year right out in the open streets of Boro Park every year. Before they are killed, they are spun around by their feet over and over to ‘absorb’ the recipient’s sins, then they are killed, some discarded in a pile while still alive. A nightmare for me.

    • Tim says:

      That would be heart-wrenching for me to be around too, Elizabeth-Anne. The pain inflicted on the animals and the darkness in those who do not know that Jesus has done everything necessary to wash them clean of all their sins forever.

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