YOM TERUAH & YOM KIPPUR
Many of you may have heard of the day of Yom Teruah or Yom Kippur. Those of us who have been in Yahwshua's Kehila for long already know these meanings.
But what about those of you who have been recently called to repentace and to obedience to Yahweh's truth and, more especifically, to keeping the Holy Moedim commanded in Torah?
Do you know what these day mean? What does Atonement mean to you? What is the real meaning of the Day of Atonement -- or Yom Teruah? Should all followers of Yahwshua also celebrate these awesome and kodesh days of Yahweh's Holy Day Calendar?
What do they have to do with Judgment and Proclamation-- whose judgment or proclamation? What is the strange "Azazel" goat which is sent into the wilderness during Yom Kippur?
Why are trumpet blasts sounded on Yom Teruah? What does all this represent? What does all this have to do with the soon coming of the Messiah and Yahweh Elohim Himself to judge this world?
Here, therefore, for the first time for many of you, dear brethren and called-out, is NEW UNDERSTANDING concerning the Days of Yom Kippur /Atonement and the Day of Yom Teruah! We read in the book of Leviticus, concerning the High Kodesh Day of Yom Kippur:
"Yahweh said to Moses, 'The tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement. Hold a sacred assembly and deny yourselves, and present an offering made to Yahweh by fire. Do no work on that day, because it is the Day of Atonement, when atonement is made for you before Yahweh your Elohim. Anyone who does not deny himself on that day must be cut off from his people. I will destroy from among his people anyone who does any work on that day. You shall do no work at all. This is to be a LASTING ORDINANCE for the generations to come, wherever you live. It is a sabbath of rest for you, and you must deny yourselves. From the evening of the ninth day until the following evening you are to observe your sabbath" (Leviticus 23:26-32, NIV).
The Day of Atonement -- or "Yom Kippur" in the Hebrew -- is the fifth Holy Day of the year according to Yahweh's Kodesh Calendar. But what does this day represent? Why does Yahweh Elohim command its observance as an everlasting ordinance? What does it have to do with salvation and the Plan of Yahweh Elohim?
Most of us already know that Yahweh's Kodesh Calendar begins with Passover (Pesach) and the Moed of the Seven Days of Unleavened Bread occurring in the spring of each year, during the time of the beginning of the spring harvest. Passover represents not only the escape of ancient Israel out of Egypt during the time of Moses, but the sacrifice of Yahwshua the Messiah as the true "Passover Lamb" of the entire world, who gave his precious life for all our sins (I Cor. 5:7). The Days of Unleavened Bread picture our coming out of sin, eating the "hardtack" and flat bread that has no "leaven." Leaven pictures "sin" -- or corrupting influences -- during this season (I Cor. 5:6-8).
Beginning the day after the first annual holy day of Unleavened Bread, or Passover, we are commanded to "count the omer" -- that is, to number off the days, until the "Fiftieth Day" -- which is Pentecost, or "Shavuot" -- the "Feast of Weeks" (Lev. 23:15-16).
This period of time, during which the Israelites came out of Egypt and enduring the "wilderness" journey to Mount Sinai, pictures our coming out of sin, and the trials and experiences of the life of the believer in Yahwshua -- a life to be spent in overcoming, enduring the "wilderness" of this evil world, and being brought to "perfection" so that we can be in Yahweh's Kingdom at the return of the Messiah and Yahweh Elohim Himself.
Fifty days after the First Day of Unleavened Bread comes the annual Moed known as Pentecost, "Weeks," or "Firstfruits." This Holy Day is the day when Yahweh Elojim delivered the Ten Commandments to Israel on Mount Sinai, thus confirming the covenant which He began to make with them when He drew them out of slavery in Egypt. At Sinai Yahweh "married" Israel, and entered into a kodesh relationship with them as His people, and with Him as their true Elohim. But even further, Shavuot is the very Day on which Yahweh Elohim sent the holy spirit to the Renewed Covenant Kehilah, imbuing His people with internal spiritual power and resources thereby (Acts 2:1), and pictures the time when the Mashiach will return and confirm the "New Covenant" with his bride, the Kehilah.
Also, at this time, Yahweh Elohim the Father will return to Jerusalem in His Shekinah Glory form, and enter into the New Covenant relationship with Israel. Thus in antitype, Shavuot portrays the coming of the Bridegroom (the Messiah) for the Bride (the Kehilah), and the coming of Yahweh Elohim who will pour out His spirit upon repentant mankind.
As we see, the spring holy days therefore picture the plan of Yahweh Elohim -- from conversion to the Kingdom! But what about the Fall kodesh convocation days?
The High Holy Days or Annual Shabbatonot
In the seventh of the year, the High Holy Days of autumn begin. The first day of the seventh month is called "Yom Teruah". It is also called the Festival of Trumpets, or "Blowing of Trumpets" (Lev. 23:23). The shofar, or ram's horn, was blown to commemorate and inaugurate the day.
The Feast of Trumpets has a special relation to the coming "Day of Yahweh " in Scripture prophecy. The "Day of Yahweh," mentioned in many prophecies in the Tanak, is the time when Yahweh Elohim the Father will begin to intervene in world affairs, and to bring warnings and plagues upon the earth, because of the sins of mankind.
During the "Day of Yahweh" -- a "day" equals a "year" in fulfillment, so this "Day of Yahweh" will most likely last about one literal year -- Yahweh Elohim Himself will begin to "judge" the nations and send plagues upon the earth. These plagues will be introduced by seven trumpets which will be blown by angels, introducing seven plagues which will be poured out on the world (see Rev. 8-9). Notice -- there are many trumpets blown -- each one being a "call to repentance," as it were -- and a warning that Yahweh Elohim is sending another plague upon the earth! There are six trumpet plagues announced.
The start of each of the Hebrew months was officially introduced or announced by the blowing of trumpets -- notice!
"...at the beginnings of your months, you shall blow the trumpet over your burnt offerings and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings..." (Numbers 10:10).
Since the kodesh convocation period in which all seven of Yahweh's Moedim are found is SEVEN MONTHS LONG, the last month -- Tishri -- was the last month for a trumpet introduction. This is one of the reasons that the day was called "the Day of Trumpets." The last trump in the seven months' series was always sounded on this Kodesh New Moon day. This made it the final trumpets' day -- notice Leviticus 23:24:
"Say to the people of Israel, In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall observe a day of solemn rest, a memorial PROCLAIMED WITH A BLAST OF TRUMPETS..."
Each of these New Moon Crescent (Mooladot/Rosh Hodesh) trumpet blasts equates with the trumpet plagues of Revelation, as you can verify below:
1) Nisan 1 -- first trumpet plague
2) Iyyar 1 -- second trumpet plague
3) Sivan 1 -- third trumpet plague
4) Tammuz 1 -- fourth trumpet plague
5) Ab 1 -- fifth trumpet plague
6) Elul 1 -- sixth trumpet plague
7) Tishri 1 -- Feast of Trumpets, seventh trumpet plague
The seven-day long Moedim of Trumpets, therefore, pictures Yahweh's seventh and final trumpet plague and the return of Yahwshua the Messiah to this earth. Notice Revelation 11:15
"Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdo Yahweh Elohim of and of His Mashiach, and he shall reign for ever and ever."
Some scholars state that this was the EXACT DAY that many of the ancient kings and rulers of Judah reckoned as their inauguration day of rule. This procedure was followed consistently in the time of Solomon, Jeremiah, and Ezra. The Day of Trumpets was acknowledged as the time for counting the years of their kingly rule. Indeed, it was customary that the final ceremony in the coronation of kings was THE BLOWING OF TRUMPETS. For Solomon:
"Blow ye the trumpet, and say, Yahweh save king Solomon" (I Kings 1:34). For Jehu: "And blew with trumpets, saying, Jehu is king" (II Kings 9:13). At the enthronement of Jehoash: "The people of the land rejoiced, and blew with trumpets" (II Kings 11:11).
The Day of Trumpets was the time for the start of the seventh month (Tishri) and the time for the "last trump" for introducing festival months. In the language of the Berit Hadasha, this clearly shows the time of the coronation of Yahwshua our Mashiach -- and it happens at the seventh (or last) trump in the Book of Revelation -- the Day of Trumpets.
The main theme of the Day of Trumpets is KINGSHIP! The blowing of trumpets was the sign that kings could then begin to rule -- see I Kings 1:34. Torah, as well as hebrew authorities, have long conceded this royal association with the Day of Trumpets.
The main thrust of the synagogue services for the Day of Trumpets in early first century Judaism was the fact that Yahweh Elohim rules over all and that He is the King of kings. On this day it was common to quote Zechariah 14:16:
"Then every one that survives of all the nations that have come against Jerusalem shall go up year after year to worship the King, Yahweh Elohim of hosts, and to keep the feast of booths."
Many scholars believe that in ancient Israel Yahweh was crowned annually at the Yom Teruah Feast of Yahweh. Clearly, the major theme of the Day of Trumpets is that of enthronement and the commencement of Yahwshua the Messiah's and Yahweh Elohim's reigns on this earth.
The angelic "trumpets" blown on the "Day of Yahweh" are the spine-tingling fulfillment of the "trumpets" which were blown on the seven New Moon days leading up to, and including, "Yom Teruah" -- the Day of Blowing," meaning the blowing of the shofar. These trumpet plagues are warnings from Yahweh Elohim to REPENT and prepare for the return of the Messiah Yahwshua and the commencement of his reign on the day of the last and final trumpet -- the first day of the Moed of Yom Teruah, which is a Kodesh Convocation Day!
These trumpets lead up to and picture the return of the Messiah! Thus the "Feast of Trumpets" pictures the commencement of the Messiah's reign and the final return of the Yahwshua and Yahweh Elohim to judge the nations, and his people!
The themes of the Feast of Trumpets are evident in the seven trumpets of Revelation which serve to announce Yahweh's final judgment like the blowing of the shofar during the feast in Tanak times. The blowing of the seven trumpets in Revelation corresponds to the blowing of trumpets at the seven New Moon festivals (Abib/Nisan-Ethanim/Tishri) in the Tanak. Each 'new moon' trumpet blowing was understood by the Israelites as a day of judgment in miniature -- which warned people to prepare for the final judgment ushered in by the Feast of Trumpets.
Correspondingly, the blowing of the first six trumpets in Revelation warns people to prepare for the final judgment inaugurated by the blowing of the seventh trumpet! This final judgment will be presided over by Yahwshua our Mashiach who also returns at this seventh and last trump!
The sound of the seventh or last trumpet will herald the descent of the Messiah from heaven to gather the faithful of His Kehilah and judge the living and the dead:
"For the Master himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the archangel's call, and with the sound of the trumpet of Yahweh. And the dead in Mashiach will rise first; then we who are alive..." (I Thessalonians 4:16-17).
"And he [the Messiah] commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that he [the Messiah] is the one ordained by Yahweh to be the JUDGE OF THE LIVING AND THE DEAD." (Acts 10:42).
As the Jewish people have been taught for millennia, and they have it right, this day pictures the return of the Mashiach and "the kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Elohim and of his Annointed, and he shall reign for ever and ever" (Revelation 11:15).
The Feast of Trumpets begins the "Days of Repentance" or "Awe," leading up to the "Day of Atonement" -- or in hebrew, "Yom Kippur." These ten days are days of self-examination, and introspection -- days of reviewing our acts, works, deeds, thoughts, and words, of the past year -- and preparing ourselves, through repentance and confession of our sins, to meet Yahweh Elohim, the Father Himself, when He returns on a future first Kodesh Day of the Feast of Tabernacles!
As you can see, all of these wonderful Kodeshim Days are linked with one another! They are phases or stages of the Plan of Yahweh for mankind! Let's understand these wonderful events from a traditional hebrew perspective!
One day a year jews attempt to serve Yahweh as if they were angels, not mortals. Angels neither eat nor drink; their sole daily task is to praise Yahweh. So on Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) they neithe eat nor drink anything at all, observing the strictest of fasts, spending every waking hour in prayer and introspection. On that day, which is the conclusion of the "Ten Days of Awe" or Repentance, the fate of each human being is finally decided, and this continues every year.
The ten days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur have special significance because in Jewish traditas during this period Yahweh passes judgment over every individual, but RESERVES FINAL JUDGMENT UNTIL YOM KIPPUR.
Therefore it is commonly thought that the Ten Days of Penitence are regarded as man's LAST CHANCE, through his actions, to influence Yahweh to reconsider an unfavorable decision. For this reason, the holiday greeting which until Yom Kippur was leshana tova tikatevu, which means 'May you be inscribed in the Book of Life for good,' is changed, as Yom Kippur approaches, to g'mar chatima tova, which means 'May you be sealed in the Book of Life for good".
Many believe that on Yom Teruah the trials open, the Judge [the Messiah] enters and takes his bench. The evidence is reviewed. Individuals hasten forward to plead their cases. Yahweh as Creator and Ruler is the central focus of the prayers. The divine qualities of awesomeness and judgment stand out in the human mind. By the time of Yom Kippur the primary focus shifts to the TRIAL ITSELF and to Yahweh's mercy, which more than anything else sustains people in the process of the judgment!
Yom Kippur is liberation day: It brings FREEDOM from the crushing isolation of guilt....on that day our Mashiaj rids the world of all sins and of Satan's presence itself. This is the day of atonement, which means RESTORATION to the wholeness of community and roots. It means a NEW RECONCILIATION and a new unification of impulses and values that lead to purification, of the individual and the community, and of a perfect relation between Yahweh and the human.
Yom Kippur is a day of dazzling paradoxes. His Chosen people, Israel, stands before Yahweh, united as a community of sinners, publicly admitting the universal evil in all yet expecting and experiencing forgiveness and the purging of guilt through confession and mutual acceptance.
These hebrew insights into the meaning and significance of the days of Moedim are valuable and assist us in ascertaining a deeper and more profound understanding of each day. However, when we put the Berit Hadasha record together with the Tanak, we come to see even clearer and more radiantly the full meaning and significance of these vital Holy Days.
At the conclusion of the "Days of Repentance" or "Awe," following the Moed of Trumpets, which depicts the final WARNING BLAST that Yahweh Elohim sends to warn the wicked nations to repent and confess their sins, and to change their ways, comes the "Day of Atonement." Notice, now, what happens on this day!
Exactly ten days after the Feast of Trumpets -- which symbolizes Yahweh's final call to the nations of the world to repent of their sins -- and the trumpet plague of the Day of Yahweh, picturing Yahwshua Ha Mashiach's return and the beginning judgments of the nations -- comes the Day of Atonement -- the Day of final Judgment!
Before the Feast of Tabernacles -- that great festival of the second havest and thanksgiving -- could take place, Israel, as a nation, had to be reconciled to Yahweh Elohim, because only a people AT PEACE WITH YAHWEH could rejoice before Him in the blessing with which He had crowned the year. On the Day of Atonement "the slate was wiped clean" and the Israelites could begin their lives anew.
It was on this day that the Kohen Ha Gadol (high priest) was allowed to enter the Holy of Holies, dressed in the pure white clothing that symbolized the perfect purity which was sought by the atonement of that day. In the Book of Zechariah the removal of Joshua's "filthy garments" and the clothing of him with a "change of raiment" is epitomized by the verse that says "See, I have removed your iniquity from you" (Zechariah 3:4). Yahwshua the Messiah, in his redemptive work on behalf of mankind, was typified by Israel's high priest and by the animals used in connection with the ceremony. In his letter to the Hebrews, the apostle Shaul/Paul shows that Yahwshua our Messiah is the great antitypical Kohen Ha Gadol or High Priest -- notice!
"And one does not take the honor upon himself, but he is called by Yahweh, JUST AS AARON WAS. So also Yhawshua did not exalt himself to be made a high priest, but was appointed by him who said to him, "Thou art my Son, today I have begotten thee"; as he also says in another place, "Thou art a priest for ever, after the order of Melchizedek." In the days of his flesh, Yahwshua offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard for his godly fear. Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered; and being made perfect he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, being designated by Yahweh a HIGH PRIEST after the order of Melchizedek." (Hebrews 5: 4-10).
The apostle Shaul also reveals that the high priest's entry into the Holy of Holies one day a year (Yom Kippur) with the blood of sacrificial animals foreshadowed the entrance of Yawhshua the Mashich into heaven itself with his own blood, therefore making atonement for those exercising faith in his sacrifice. Writes Shaul:
"...but into the second [Holy of Holies] only the high priest goes, and he but once a year, and not without taking blood which he offers for himself and for the errors of the people....For Mashiach has entered, not into a sanctuary made with hands, a copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of Yahweh on our behalf....And just as it is appointed for men to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Mashiach, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin BUT TO SAVE THOSE WHO ARE EAGERLY WAITING FOR HIM." (Hebrews 9:7-8; 24, 27).
We can see from Shaul's writings that Yom Kippur is a generator of hope and confidence because it reassures us that the Messiah has opened up for us a free and direct access to Yahweh when he entered into the presence of Yahweh Elohim.
Paul, in the Book of Hebrews, assures those of us who follow the Messiah that on the strength of TWO immutable, ironclad and unchangeable propositions -- Yahweh's promise in Hebrews 6:15 and His oath in Hebrews 6:17 -- we are guaranteed free approach to Yahweh Elohim through Yahwshua the Messiah. Paul calls this assurance "a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul" (Hebrews 6:19). This anchor is "a hope that enters into the inner shrine behind the curtain where Yahwshua has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek" (Hebrews 6:19-20).
The theme of judgment figures prominently on the Day of Atonement. The Book of Hebrews indicates that the Messiah's work of judgment and cleansing will occur shortly after his return to this earth. The following verses make this evident:
"And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, 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" (9:27-28).
In this passage Paul associates human death -- which is followed by the final judgment (see Hebrews 10:26-27) with Yahwshua's atoning death which is followed by his second appearance. In this association the judgment is placed concurrently with (or shortly after) his second appearance -- why? Because, at his coming, Yahwshua will execute judgment typified by the cleansing of the Day of Atonement. It is a judgment that brings salvation to true believers and punishment to unbelievers. This is explained by Hebrews 9:28 which says the Messiah "will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him."
The reason Yahwshua does not deal with sin at his Second Coming is because He comes, like the Kohen Ha Gadol on Yom Kippur, not to atone for sin BUT TO EXECUTE THE FINAL JUDGMENT, which is to save believers and punish unbelievers.
When the High Priest returns from the Holy of Holies at the end of Yom Kippur, the verdict becomes apparent. Those of the Israelites who had repented of and confessed their sins, offering the sacrifices specified by Yahweh Elohim, saw their sins completely removed and figuratively placed on the Azazel goat which was led away to perish in the wilderness.
Those of the Israelites who had not repented of their wrong-doings and refused to repent and humble themselves before Yahweh Elohim were "cut off" from Yahweh's people and executed. So it will be when the Yahwshua our Mashiach pronounces judgment at the end of the antitypical Yom Kippur. Those "who eagerly wait for Him" (Hebrews 9:28) will be saved, but those who "sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth" (Hebrews 10:26) will experience "a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries" (Hebrews 10:27).
In view of the prospect of the above judgment, the Apostle Shaul admonishes true followers to "hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering... exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching" (Hebrews 10:23, 25). "The Day" that Shaul mentions here as approaching is the antitypical Day of Atonement because this was its common designation among the Jews -- a designation which would have been most familiar to the Jews that the Book of Hebrews was directed to. (By the way, not that it matters much, but both the Mishnah and the Talmud refer to the Day of Atonement as Yoma, which means "The Day.")
The Day of Atonement is the most abstemious, painful, afflictive day of the whole year. It is the day the Yahweh's people invoke Yahweh (at the evening or beginning of the Day of Atonement) in a moving prayer in which the people together confess sins of every kind, and beg Yahweh Elohim for forgiveness. The entire service is one of confessing sins, singing hymns of repentance and contrition, and seeking Yahweh Elohim to "wipe the slate clean" forever or at least for the coming year if He still does not return. It is an impressive, solemn, and can be a very emotional and moving spiritual experience.
The Day of Atonement is a day of fasting, affliction of the flesh, doing without food and water. We should spend much time meditating on our lives, confessing our sins, and repenting and looking to the sacrifice of the Machich as atonement for us, that we might be truly reconciled to Yahweh Elohim.
But Yom Kippur does not just picture our personal and individual repentance, remorse, and deep contrition, and confessing of sin. It pictures the Day the sins of the ENTIRE NATION -- and, by extension, THE ENTIRE WORLD -- are going to be "put away," and "covered over," wiped away, and "atoned for," by Yahwshua our Priest!
Yom Kippur can to this day be the regenerator of our lives, making us at-one with our Creator and bringing us nearer to the ideal from which we have departed. Life demands continual effort and self-sacrifice, for these things ennoble and purify. It is an effort that the day exacts. Understood and observed in this spirit, it will help us to acquire 'a new heart and a new spirit,' helping us to usher in the age when wickedness will be removed from the earth, like smoke before the gusts of health-giving winds
The rituals of the Day of Atonement picture Judgment very clearly. Not only will mankind be judged on this day after the Messiah's return, but even Satan and his demon hordes also will be judged. Notice the amazing picture as it is portrayed in the 16th chapter of the book of Leviticus.
What is the full symbolism of the Day of Atonement? To understand it in full, we must study the Day as it was observed anciently, while the Tabernacle of Yahweh Elohim still stood. The Scriptural account giving the regulations for the nation of Israel during this day, and the Aaronic priesthood, is found in Leviticus 16. Notice this!
"Yahweh spoke to Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron who died when they approached the Lord [when they offered "strange fire" which Yahweh Elohim had not commanded]. Yahweh said to Moses: 'Tell your brother Aaron not to come whenever he chooses into the Most Holy Place behind the curtain in front of the atonement cover on the ark, or else he will die, because I appear in the cloud over the atonement cover.
"'This is how Aaron is to enter the sanctuary area: with a young bull for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering. He is to put on the sacred linen tunic, with linen undergarments next to his body; he is to tie the linen sash around him and put on the linen turban. These are sacred garments; so he must bathe himself with water before he puts them on. From the Israelite community he is to take two male goats for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering.
"Aaron is to offer the bull for his own sin offering to make atonement for himself and his household. Then he is to take the TWO GOATS and present them before Yahweh at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting. He is to cast lots for the two goats -- one lot for Yahweh and the other for "Azazel". Aaron shall bring the goat whose lot falls to Yahweh and SACRIFICE it for a sin offering. But the goat chosen by lot for Azazel shall be presented alive before Yahweh to be used for making atonement by SENDING IT INTO THE DESERT as Azazel " (Lev. 16:1-10).
The second "sin offering" on the Day of Atonement consisted of a male goat, chosen by drawing lots from TWO IDENTICAL animals. The High Priest was to "kill the goat of the sin offering, which is for the people, bring its blood inside the veil [of the Holy of Holies], do with that blood as he did with the blood of the bull, and sprinkle it on the mercy seat and before the mercy seat" (Leviticus 16:15).
The daily transference of the atoned sins of Israel into the Holy of Holies resulted in the defilement of the Holy of Holies. The Day of Atonement was the annual day of CLEANSING of the sanctuary (Holy of Holies) from the sins of Israel that accumulated throughout the year. With this is mind it is important to realize that ALL the sacrifices for sins offered throughout the year were intended to atone for the individual -- NOT for the Holy of Holies! There is absolutely no mention of daily sacrifices offered to atone for the sanctuary. The atonement of the daily sacrifices is always for the individual, as indicated by the following verse found throughout the Book of Leviticus: "The priest shall make atonement for him, and he shall be forgiven" (Leviticus 4:31, 35; 5:6, 10, 13; 12:6-8).
Now, by contrast, the sacrifice and blood ritual of the first male goat offered on the Day of Atonement served to CLEANSE the sanctuary or Holy of Holies. The cleansing was accomplished by the High Priest sprinkling the blood seven times, first upon the mercy seat in the Holy of Holies and upon the altar of burnt offering in the court (Leviticus 16:16-19). This ritual cleansed the sanctuary with respect to the uncleanness of the Israelites that had been transferred to the sanctuary throughout the year during the daily services. In the daily sacrificial rituals, the sins and impurities of individuals were atoned for and transfered to the sanctuary. The Day of Atonement now focuses upon the cleansing of that sanctuary. Summing it up we can say that the daily rituals transferred sins TO the sanctuary, while the yearly ritual of Yom Kippur removed the accumulated sins away from the sanctuary.
Yom Kippur plays a vital role in the consummation of redemption because it typifies the final cleansing and complete disposition of sin to be accomplished by the Messiah at his return.
Note that there is no mention either of laying on of hands or confession of sins over the goat for sin-offering. Yahweh's goat did not serve as a transfer victim to bring sin into the sanctuary [Holy of Holies], but as a CLEANSING AGENT to remove sins from the sanctuary.
While the sacrifice of Yahweh's goat served to remove from the sanctuary the sins accumulated during the year, there is no reason to doubt that the people were forgiven and cleansed also of those sins repented of on that day. This is implied by the offering of regular and additional sacrifices on the Day of Atonement and also by the command that all, including the stranger, were to "afflict" themselves on the Day of Atonement (Lev. 16:29). There would have been no point to expect all to humble themselves and repent on the Day of Atonement, if no forgiveness was granted on that day.
The purpose of the sacrifice and blood ritual of Yahweh's goat is clearly stated in Leviticus 16:16 -- notice again!
"And he shall make atonement for the holy place [Holy of Holies], because of the uncleanesses of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions, all their sins."
The blood ritual performed inside the Holy of Holies (Leviticus 16:17), and on the altar in the court (Leviticus 16:18-19; Exodus 30:10) had the express purpose of cleansing the uncleanness of the Israelites by removing their sins away from the sanctuary in a complete and permanent way.
The purification rites which cleansed the Holy of Holies and resulted in a cleansed people (Leviticus 16:30, 33) symbolically vindicated Yahweh Elohim who in His infinite mercy had assumed accountability for the sins of His penitent people. The sacrifice of the Yahweh's goat on the Day of Atonement was in favor of the sanctuary and was an act of vindication for it. In this manner, the Day of Atonement was an affirmation of innocence so far as the sanctuary itself was concerned, because the sanctuary was in reality a representation of the throne and government of Yahweh. The One who took on the responsibility of all the sins that were deposited therein by sacrifice was the Elohim who lived in it, and now He was being vindicated.
As solemn as the services of the Day of Atonement were, the Old Testament worshippers would chiefly think with awe of the High Priest going into the Holy of Holies and the immediate presence of Yahweh Elohim, finally coming out alive and securing for them, by the blood of the goat, the continuance of the Old Testament privileges of sacrifices and of access to Yahweh Elohim through them.
The goat that was sacrificed represents Yeshua the Messiah, who offered himself as a sacrifice for our sins. As Paul wrote, "God made him who had no sin to be sin for us [that is, our sin offering], so that in him we might become the righteousness of God" (II Cor. 5:21).
The apostle Peter wrote of Yahwshua's offering for our sins: "When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls" (I Pet. 2:23-25).
The apostle Paul writes about the services of the Day of Atonement, saying: "It was necessary, then, for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these sacrifices, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Yahwshua did not enter a manmade sanctuary that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in Yahweh's presence. Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year [on Atonement] with blood that is not his own. Then Mashiachwould have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But now he has appeared ONCE FOR ALL at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Mashiach was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him" (Heb. 9:23-28).
The offering of the goat "for Yahweh" on Yom Kippur, then, was a figure of the sacrifice of the Messiah for our sins! The goat that was sacrificed for a sin offering of the people represented Yahwshua Ha Mashiach, who shed his blood for us.
"He [Aaron] shall then slaughter the goat for the sin offering for the people and take its blood behind the curtain and do with it as he did with the bull's blood: He shall sprinkle it on the atonement cover and in front of it. In this way he will make atonement for the Most Holy Place because of the uncleanness and rebellion of the Israelites, whatever their sins have been. He is to do the same for the Tent of Meeting, which is among them in the midst of their uncleanness. No one is to be in the Tent of Meeting from the time Aaron goes in to make atonement in the Most Holy Place until he comes out, having made atonement for himself, his household and the whole community of Israel" (Lev. 16:15-17).
The blood of this goat, representing the Messiah, not only atoned for the sins of the people, and their spiritual uncleanness and rebellion, but also cleansed all those physical things that came in contact with human beings -- the physical Tabernacle, Tent of Meeting, and the Holy Place itself! To use an analogy, it is as if sin is like "radiation." Whatever it touches also becomes "irradiated." For example, if a man working in a nuclear facility comes in contact with radiating nuclear rods, and then goes outside, he would very likely be contaminated by radiation -- too much of a dose could even be lethal! A Geiger counter could detect the radiation emitting from his own body or clothing. He would have to be stripped, cleansed, bathed, and the clothing burned or properly disposed of, depending on its level of contamination.
Even so, since man sins, everything he comes in contact with is contaminated by his sin, rebellion, evil thoughts and deeds. Therefore, EVERYTHING -- even the most holy things of the Sanctuary and Temple -- had to be "purified" and "cleansed" by the blood of the goat, symbolizing the blood of the Messiah. Sin contaminates like "radiation" -- but the blood of the Messiah can purify and cleanse ALL sin and spiritual contamination!
Yahweh continued in His instructions to Moses: "Then he [Aaron, or the high priest descended from him] shall come out to the altar that is before Elohim and make atonement for it. He shall take some of the bull's blood and some of the goat's blood and put it on the horns of the altar. He shall sprinkle some of the blood on it with his finger seven times [the number of "perfection" or "completion"] to cleanse it and to consecrate it from the uncleanness of the Israelites" (Lev. 16:18-19).
According to scholars, he [the high priest] killed the goat set apart for Yahweh, and, entering the Most Holy Place a third time, sprinkled as before, once upwards and seven times downwards, and again deposited the bowl with the blood of the goat on a second golden stand before the veil...
By these expiatory sprinklings the high priest had CLEANSED the sanctuary in all its parts from the defilement of the priesthood and the worshippers. The Most Holy Place, the veil, the Holy Place, the altar of incense, and the altar of burnt-offering were now clean alike, so far as the priesthood and as the people were concerned; and in their relationship to the sanctuary both priests and worshippers were atoned for. So far as the law could give it, there was now again FREE ACCESS for all; or, to put it otherwise, the continuance of typical sacrificial communion with Yahweh was once more restored and secured. Had it not been for these services, it would have become impossible for priests and people to offer sacrifices, and so to obtain the forgiveness of sins, or to have fellowship with Yahweh. But the consciences were not yet free from a sense of personal guilt and sin. That remained to be done through the "scape-goat".
What, then, does this second goat -- or the "scape-goat" -- represent? Notice the symbolism of the Azazel goat!
"When Aaron has finished making atonement for the Most Holy Place, the Tent of Meeting and the altar, he shall bring forward the LIVE GOAT. He is to lay both hands on the head of the live goat and confess over it all the wickedness and rebellion of the Israelites -- all their sins -- and put them on the goat's head. He shall send the goat away into the desert in the care of a man appointed for the task. The goat will carry on itself all their sins to a SOLITARY PLACE; and the man shall release it in the desert" (Lev. 16:20-22).
What does this "live goat" represent? We have already seen that the sacrificed goat represented the Messiah himself. But this goat was NOT "sacrificed." Yet the "sins" of the people were confessed over it, and put on its head. That is, it was made to be RESPONSIBLE for the people's sins -- it was to carry the BLAME! What person, or individual, does this goat represent, who is made to bear responsibility for the sins of the people?
The KEY to answering this question is found in Leviticus 16:5, which says: "And he [Aaron] shall take from the congregation of the children of Israel two male goats for A [singular] sin offering and one ram for a burnt offering."
The origin of the two goats themselves may very well be found in the famous episode when Jacob is persuaded by his mother to dress up like his brother. Rebecca instructs him, in Genesis 27:9, to "go now to the herd and bring me two good goats..."
How do we know that it was in the merit of Jacob [that we take the two goats]? These are the goats that his mother referred to "Go now to the herd and bring me two good goats..." Why are they called "good"? The original hebrew word can mean "adequate."
Jacob's entrance into his father may be paralleled with the once-yearly entrance of the High Priest into the Holy of Holies. Jacob prepared for this appearance with THE TWO GOATS, as his descendants would in the future.
The most important point concerning the Azazel goat is found in Leviticus 16:10, which says --"But the goat on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat shall be presented alive before Yahweh, to make reconciliation upon it, and to let it go as the scapegoat into the wilderness."
In ancient religious rituals, reconciliation was made to apeace Gods by removing sins from their presence. Azazel was cast out into the wilderness, or desert, a hot, arid and inhospitable territory where bad spirits dwell.
Justice demands that Yahweh place right back on the head of the devil his guilt -- not our guilt, but his own guilt -- for leading us into sin. Our sins have been covered by Yahswshua, but He did not and will not cover the sins of Satan. Satan has to be responsible for his own sins sometime, and this is what Azazel represents. Driving away of the second live goat shows the final atonement, by placing the sins on their author where they belong, and the complete removal of the sins and their author from the presence of Yahweh and His people -- and thus the complete removal of the holy people from the influence and power of Satan"
An angel comes down from heaven -- at a later date -- to bind Satan. This ANGEL is the ONLY ONE who lays hands on Satan to cast him into the bottomless pit after he has been made guilty of mankind's sins!!
On the other hand, Scripture paints a beautiful picture of the fulfillment of Yawshua the Messiah as the goat that was sent away bearing the sins of Israel. Notice Leviticus 16:22 -- "The goat shall bear on itself all their iniquities to an uninhabited land; and he [the "fit man"] shall release the goat in the wilderness." Now consider the following passages, often used to prove that Azazel represented Yahwshua.
ISAIAH 53:6 -- "And Yahweh Elohim has laid on him [the Messiah] the iniquity of us all." The sins of Israel were laid on the Messiah. They were placed on him, and him ALONE. Yahwshua does not bear the sins of Satan. Those are placed on the second goat, the one for AZAZEL.
ISAIAH 53:11 -- "For he [the "righteous Servant" -- the Messiah] shall bear their iniquities." He bears OUR iniquities, He DOES NOT cover Satan's sins to make him pure!
ISAIAH 53:12 -- "And he [the Messiah] bore the sin of many..." Yahwshua the Messiah is the ONE who bore our sins. He carried them away upon his own head -- which is what the Hebrew "cabal " (bare) means. Again, he carried OUR sins, the sins of HIS PEOPLE, not the sins of REBELLIOUS MALAKIM DESTINED FOR DESTRUCTION!
ISAIAH 53:4 -- "Surely he [the Messiah] has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows;" Yahwshua Ha Mashiach is the sin-bearer on behalf of mankind. Satan is the sin bearer for his own sins--which cannot be erased!
HEBREWS 9:28 -- "So Mashiach was offered once to bear the sins of many." The "many" are people, not demons.
I PETER 2:24 -- "...who himself bore our sins in his own body on the tree..." There is NO OTHER sin-bearer! Only one goat bears our sins...the other goat bears Satan's sins!
JOHN 1:29 -- "The next day John saw Yahwshua coming toward him, and said, "Behold! The Lamb of Yahweh who takes away the sin of the world!" He takes away the sins of the human world, NOT OF THE SPIRITUAL REALM!
I JOHN 3:5 -- "And you know that he [the Messiah] was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin.
Yahwshua the Messiah is the goat that carried away the sins of Israel. He took them upon himself and "was made to be sin for us" (2 Corinthians 5:21). He therefore does not fulfill the antitypical "azazel" goat. There is no need for Yahwshua to bear Satan's sins -- he has his own sins to bear and they will prove to be unbearable!
Now the act of laying on of hands (Leviticus 16:21; also Leviticus 1:4; 3:2; 4:4, 15, 29 33) symbolizes the TRANSFERENCE OF SINS from the guilty party (Satan) to the GULTY party -- the azazel goat. The GUILTY then becomes finally the sin-bearer. Satan is finally JUDGED. Undeniably, Satan fulfills the type. Satan fulfills the type because he is not guiltu until judged! His judgement is pending until now. Yahweh Elohim will do justice and transfer the sins of the guilty to the guilty party. Since lots were used to decide which goat was "for Yahweh," it meant that BOTH GOATS had to be originally perfect---as Satan was when he was created!
Azazel was thrown out to the wilderness, to the un-inhabited. The Hebrew word for "not inhabited" is gezerah -- meaning "a desert (as separated)." It comes from the root word gazar, meaning "to cut down or off." The act of sending Azazel to the wilderness represents to cut him off and separate him from not only the kindgom of the eternally living, but also from Yahweh Elohim. Isaiah wrote: "But your iniquities have separated you from your Elohim; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear" (Isaiah 59:2). Satan's sins cannot be erased by Yahwshua. They are put on Him and he is cast out forever from the presence of the Holy ones!
Philo, a leading Jewish historian and writer of the first century, who was a friend of the apostle Peter, wrote of the Azazel goat, "The one goat is persecuted, expelled, and driven far away by wisdom" (Hastings Dictionary of the Bible, "Feasts and Fasts," p. 862). What a perfect picture of Yahweh's divine and righteous justice!
This Gehenna fire is going to be the final fate of ALL the incorrigible wicked -- not only Satan and his demons, but all the wicked among mankind as well who do not repent of their sins and do not have them covered by the blood of the Messiah! (Rev. 20:11-15).
Matthew's gospel records, "Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal [aion or "age-lasting"] fire prepared for the Devil and his angels. " (Matt. 25:41).
Those whose sins are covered by the blood of the Messiah will inherit eternal life, by the grace and mercy of Yahweh Elohim, through the Messiah our mediator. But those who refuse the love of Yahweh, who refuse to obey Yahweh and keep His commandments, who refuse to repent of their sins, an awesome day of Judgment lies in store for them: the same judgement illustrated by the Azazel goat!
The Day of Atonement pictures Yahweh's forgiveness for all who come to Him. It pictures the sacrifice of the Messiah for our sins, and the coming day of Judgment and Salvation of Yahweh's people. As Paul wrote, "I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited. Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. And so ALL ISRAEL WILL BE SAVED, as it is written: 'The deliverer will come from Zion, he will turn godlessness away from Jacob. And this is my covenant with them when I put away their sins" (Rom. 11:15-27).
But those who refuse to repent of their sins, and to come to the Messiah for mercy and pardon, those who harden their hearts in iniquity and lawlessness, will suffer eternal condemnation -- death in the lake of fire. John writes, "If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire" (Rev. 20:15). John went on, "But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars -- their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulphur. This is the SECOND DEATH" (Rev. 21:8).
There is one fate awaiting all the incorrigible wicked. The prophet Malachi declared:
"Surely the day is coming; it will burn like a furnace. All the arrogant, and every evildoer will be stubble, and that day that is coming will SET THEM ON FIRE, says Yahweh Almighty. Not a root or a branch will be left to them. But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings. And you will go out and leap like calves released from the stall. Then you will trample down the wicked; they will be ASHES under the soles of your feet on the day when I do these things, says Yahweh Elohim " (Malachi 4:1-3).
The whole lesson of the Day of Atonement is twofold: First, judgment is coming. As the apostle Peter wrote, "For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of Yahweh; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of Yahweh? And, 'If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?' So then, those who suffer according to Yahweh's will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good"(I Pet. 4:17-19).
This great day of judgment will begin shortly after the second coming of the Messiah! As John wrote in Revelation: "And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle. And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe. And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped" (Rev. 14:14-16).
All will be judged, according to their works. As Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes, "For Yahweh will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil" (Eccl. 12:14).
But in that coming judgment, there is forgiveness and mercy and grace through Yahwshua the Messiah our Master and Savior, who died for us on the tree, who gave his life as a ransom for us! "Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have PEACE with Yahweh through our Master Yahwshua Ha Mashiach, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand" (Rom. 5:1-2).
Paul goes on, "Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from Yahweh's wrath through him! For if, when we were Yahweh's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in Yahweh through our Master Yahwshua Ha Mashiach, through whom we have now received reconciliation" (Rom. 5:9-11).
What about you? Where do you stand? The Day of Atonement represents forgiveness and pardon for some -- and wrath and eternal judgment for others! Do you stand with the righteous? Or with the wicked? Are your sins covered by the blood of Yahwshua, the Messiah and Redeemer? Or are you still covered with the scars and sins of rebellion and wickedness?
Have you had your own personal "Day of Atonement" yet? Have you made peace with Yahweh Elohim? Have you accepted, and confessed, Yahwshua the Messiah as your own personal Saviour, Redeemer, Annointed, and coming King and Sovereign and Master, and given your life over to him completely, as his servant, to use as he sees fit?