SBS Sermon Notes

SBS     Sermon Notes     Note 775A

The Day of Atonement

Reading: Leviticus 16


The Oxford dictionary defines the word 'atone' as 'to make amends, to make up for some error or deficiency. '

When Adam and Eve were first created and placed in the Garden of Eden they as were as sinless and innocent as new born babes. Though fully grown, they had absolutely no idea whatsoever of evil - or even of good. Of God's commandments they knew nothing, accept that they were not to eat of a certain Tree in the garden of Eden. But doubt (which is the parent of sin) entered the mind of Adam and Eve. Doubt matured into disobedience (sin) and atonement became necessary. The Creator's command to not eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was disobeyed and Adam and his wife Eve became guilty. That fearsome verdict of 'death' hung over them and they immediately became aware that they had done something terribly wrong. They became afraid of God and, realising that they were naked, they hid themselves from Him.

Gen:3:22 And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever.
23: Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.
24: So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.


We thank the LORD God that He didn't wipe out mankind there and then in Eden. Instead He made a way of escaping the death penalty. In this sermon I'll call it the Way of Atonement. To be sure it's important to know what sin is. But, because we have all sinned and face the death penalty, its far more important to know the Way of Atonement:

Anyone who studies the book of Leviticus will see that 'atonement for sin' was made on a daily basis. Every time an ancient Israelites sinned, whether through ignorance or not, he/she was guilty; and was required to bring a sin offering (bullock, ram, lamb, goat, turtledove, pigeon etc.) to make atonement, to make amends, to make up for the deficiency of sin. This procedure, which involved 'blood sacrifices,' went on day after day for thousands of years; from the days of Adam to the days of Jesus Christ. It only stopped after Yeshua, the Lamb of God, the reality to which all blood sacrifices pointed, was slain on mount Calvary and when the Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed.

CALVARY:   Most modern Bible translations have removed the name Calvary. This name appears only once in Scripture, in Luke 23:33. Check out the version you are using. If it has no Calvary, you can be certain that it's a counterfeit Bible; because Calvary is central to the whole plan of salvation. Removing it is a serious error. See article on Bible Versions... Which is the Real Word of God?

The Almighty's purpose in requiring sin offerings was to instruct His people concerning certain spiritual facts:

All these sin offerings pointed to Yeshua the Messiah's death on Mount Calvary. He is the reality - the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.


It was the duty of the priest to make the atonement. This fact comes through in verses after verse. (Lev.4:20,26,31,35; 5:6,10,13,16; 6:7; 7:7 etc) On the Day of Atonement the High Priest Aaron made atonement once a year for himself, his family and the people of Israel.

Exo.30:10 And Aaron shall make an atonement upon the horns of it once in a year with the blood of the sin offering of atonements: once in the year shall he make atonement upon it throughout your generations: it is most holy unto the LORD.
Num:8:19 And I have given the Levites as a gift to Aaron and to his sons from among the children of Israel, to do the service of the children of Israel in the tabernacle of the congregation, and to make an atonement for the children of Israel: that there be no plague among the children of Israel, when the children of Israel come nigh unto the sanctuary.
Num:8:21 And the Levites were purified, and they washed their clothes; and Aaron offered them as an offering before the LORD; and Aaron made an atonement for them to cleanse them.

Aaron makes Atonement through Prayer

Besides officiating in the atonement ceremony, priests also made amends for Israel's sins by various other actions. Examples are:

Num:16:44 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
45: Get you up from among this congregation, that I may consume them as in a moment. And they fell upon their faces.
46: And Moses said unto Aaron, Take a censer, and put fire therein from off the altar, and put on incense, and go quickly unto the congregation, and make an atonement for them: for there is wrath gone out from the LORD; the plague is begun.
47: And Aaron took as Moses commanded, and ran into the midst of the congregation; and, behold, the plague was begun among the people: and he put on incense, and made an atonement for the people.
48: And he stood between the dead and the living; and the plague was stayed.

Phinehas makes Atonement through Action

Num:25:6 And, behold, one of the children of Israel came and brought unto his brethren a Midianitish woman in the sight of Moses, and in the sight of all the congregation of the children of Israel, who were weeping before the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.
7: And when Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, saw it, he rose up from among the congregation, and took a javelin in his hand;
8: And he went after the man of Israel into the tent, and thrust both of them through, the man of Israel, and the woman through her belly. So the plague was stayed from the children of Israel.
9: And those that died in the plague were twenty and four thousand.
10 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
11: Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, hath turned my wrath away from the children of Israel, while he was zealous for my sake among them, that I consumed not the children of Israel in my jealousy.
12: Wherefore say, Behold, I give unto him my covenant of peace:
13: And he shall have it, and his seed after him, even the covenant of an everlasting priesthood; because he was zealous for his God, and made an atonement for the children of Israel.


The top section of the Ark of the Covenant, which contained the Ten Commandments, is called the 'Mercy Seat.' Jehovah the Almighty God of Israel communed with His people from 'above the Mercy Seat.' The Mercy Seat reminds us that between the law of God, which was inside the ark, and the justice of God, there is mercy! Thank God for the Mercy Seat! Without it none of us sinners would ever make it to the Kingdom. The ark represents Yahweh's throne and His government. His Kingdom is based on law, mercy and justice. The ark of the covenant pictures all these things. And yet, strange as it may seem, the New International Version has no Mercy Seat. Instead we read of a 'cover.' As for the Good News for Modern Man, it refers to the Mercy Seat as 'the lid.' What tragic mistranslations these two versions are!

Exodus 25:17 And thou shalt make a mercy seat of pure gold: two cubits and a half shall be the length thereof, and a cubit and a half the breadth thereof.
18: And thou shalt make two cherubims of gold, of beaten work shalt thou make them, in the two ends of the mercy seat.
19: And make one cherub on the one end, and the other cherub on the other end: even of the mercy seat shall ye make the cherubims on the two ends thereof.
20: And the cherubims shall stretch forth their wings on high, covering the mercy seat with their wings, and their faces shall look one to another; toward the mercy seat shall the faces of the cherubims be.
21: And thou shalt put the mercy seat above upon the ark; and in the ark thou shalt put the testimony that I shall give thee.
22: And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubims which are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel.


The Hebrew name for the Day of Atonement is Yom Kippur. It is the most solemn day in the sacred calendar. It occurs on the 10th day of the sventh month of Ethanim.

Lev.23: 26 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
27: Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD.
28: And ye shall do no work in that same day: for it is a day of atonement, to make an atonement for you before the LORD your God.
29: For whatsoever soul it be that shall not be afflicted in that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people.
30: And whatsoever soul it be that doeth any work in that same day, the same soul will I destroy from among his people.
31: Ye shall do no manner of work: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.
32: It shall be unto you a sabbath of rest, and ye shall afflict your souls: in the ninth day of the month at even, from even unto even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath.

Cleansing the Sanctuary

Besides the above, certain other rituals took place on the Day of Atonement. They were:

The Jubile Trumpet

It was on the Day of Atonement of each 49th year that the Jubile, the 50th year, was to be announced by the shofar blast on a ram's horn - a 'yobel.' This signifies the time when the Almighty will give the signal for the real Jubile, when mankind is to be freed from Satan's slavery. That year will be highlighted by signs in the sun, moon and stars. Wait for it, because it is near.

Lev:25:8 And thou shalt number seven sabbaths of years unto thee, seven times seven years; and the space of the seven sabbaths of years shall be unto thee forty and nine years.
9 Then shalt thou cause the trumpet of the jubile to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month, in the day of atonement shall ye make the trumpet sound throughout all your land.
10: And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubile unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family.
11: A jubile shall that fiftieth year be unto you: ye shall not sow, neither reap that which groweth of itself in it, nor gather the grapes in it of thy vine undressed.
12: For it is the jubile; it shall be holy unto you: ye shall eat the increase thereof out of the field.
13: In the year of this jubile ye shall return every man unto his possession.

The Jubile year is still awaiting fulfilment. When it finally arrives, the following will happen:


In the New Testament the word 'atonement' appears only once; and then it refers to the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the High Priest of the Melchisedec Priesthood and he makes atonement for his people with his own blood.

Romans 5: 1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:
2: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
3: And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
4: And patience, experience; and experience, hope:
5: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
6: For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
7: For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.
8: But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
9: Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
10: For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.
11: And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.



Elder: David B Loughran

SBS Home   Module 77   The Everlasting Gospel

October 1999
Stewarton Bible School, Stewarton, Scotland