For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect.
A picture of the Lord's Supper being served at the Garden Tomb in Jerusalem.
Photo by James Emery. Click on the photo to take you to his other photos.
And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: “Also the tenth day of this seventh month shall be the Day of Atonement. It shall be a holy convocation for you; you shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire to the LORD. Leviticus:23:26,27
Many people who study the Old Testament have found wonderful pictures of the coming Christ in it. This page will deal specifically with Leviticus 23:26-32, the Feast of the LORD known as the Day of Atonement or Yom Kippur. The rituals of this feast are described in detail in Leviticus 16. There've been many books or commentaries about the Leviticus 23 feasts; however, I’ve yet to see any state that Yom Kippur has been fulfilled and how the symbolism used in the Old Testament is found in the New Testament. Normal analysis of these feasts state that only the Passover/Unleavened Bread, Firstfruits (Bikkurim), and the Feast of Weeks (Shavuot/Pentecost) have been fulfilled by Christ’s first Advent and that Rosh Hoshanna (Yom Teruah/The Feast of Trumpets,) Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement,) and Tabernacles (Sukkot) have yet to be fulfilled. Also, these analyses will often state these are Jewish feasts. There are several inaccuracies that need to be corrected in all of this.
(1) These feasts are not “Jewish” feasts, but the Feasts of the LORD as indicated in Leviticus 23:2, 4, and 44.
(2) The Sabbath is also a Feast of the Lord which found its fulfillment in the first advent of Jesus Christ. Note: Understanding this is especially important when dealing
with cults and legalistic, Sabbath-observing denominations. We worship Christ Jesus in the Rest provided by His work - Hebrews 4:3.
(3) All of the Feasts of the Lord have been fulfilled as directly evidenced in the New Testament with the exception of the Feast of Trumpets – Rosh Hoshanna.
I’m providing this page is to show you how wonderfully our Lord fulfilled the Day of Atonement and why it is entirely unnecessary to look for some “future” fulfillment of this day in the “cleansing of
Israel” during the tribulation. The only way I can see to do this is to take you directly to Leviticus 16, quote several pertinent passages and then show their parallel in the New Testament and provide some explanatory comments. It’s quite difficult to not use most of this chapter, but I have removed the first few verses and the last line. Read the account below and see how Christ Jesus jumps off the page at you!
“Thus Aaron shall come into the Holy Place: with the blood of a young bull as a sin offering, and of a ram as a burnt offering. He shall put the holy linen tunic and the linen trousers on his body; he shall be girded with a linen sash, and with the linen turban he shall be attired. These are holy garments. Therefore he shall wash his body in water, and put them on. And he shall take from the congregation of the children of
Israel two kids of the goats as a sin offering, and one ram as a burnt offering. “Aaron shall offer the bull as a sin offering, which is for himself, and make atonement for himself and for his house. He shall take the two goats and present them before the LORD at the door of the tabernacle of meeting. Then Aaron shall cast lots for the two goats: one lot for the LORD and the other lot for the scapegoat. And Aaron shall bring the goat on which the LORD’s lot fell, and offer it as a sin offering. But the goat on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat shall be presented alive before the LORD, to make atonement upon it, and to let it go as the scapegoat into the wilderness. “And Aaron shall bring the bull of the sin offering, which is for himself, and make atonement for himself and for his house, and shall kill the bull as the sin offering which is for himself. Then he shall take a censer full of burning coals of fire from the altar before the LORD, with his hands full of sweet incense beaten fine, and bring it inside the veil. And he shall put the incense on the fire before the LORD, that the cloud of incense may cover the mercy seat that is on the Testimony, lest he die. He shall take some of the blood of the bull and sprinkle it with his finger on the mercy seat on the east side; and before the mercy seat he shall sprinkle some of the blood with his finger seven times. “Then he shall kill the goat of the sin offering, which is for the people, bring its blood inside the veil, 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. So he shall make atonement for the Holy Place, because of the uncleanness of the children of
Israel, and because of their transgressions, for all their sins; and so he shall do for the tabernacle of meeting which remains among them in the midst of their uncleanness. There shall be no man in the tabernacle of meeting when he goes in to make atonement in the Holy Place, until he comes out, that he may make atonement for himself, for his household, and for all the assembly of
Israel. And he shall go out to the altar that is before the LORD, and make atonement for it, and shall take some of the blood of the bull and some of the blood of the goat, and put it on the horns of the altar all around. Then he shall sprinkle some of the blood on it with his finger seven times, cleanse it, and consecrate it from the uncleanness of the children of
Israel. “And when he has made an end of atoning for the Holy Place, the tabernacle of meeting, and the altar, he shall bring the live goat. Aaron shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, confess over it all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions, concerning all their sins, putting them on the head of the goat, and shall send it away into the wilderness by the hand of a suitable man. The goat shall bear on itself all their iniquities to an uninhabited land; and he shall release the goat in the wilderness. “Then Aaron shall come into the tabernacle of meeting, shall take off the linen garments which he put on when he went into the Holy Place, and shall leave them there. And he shall wash his body with water in a holy place, put on his garments, come out and offer his burnt offering and the burnt offering of the people, and make atonement for himself and for the people. The fat of the sin offering he shall burn on the altar. And he who released the goat as the scapegoat shall wash his clothes and bathe his body in water, and afterward he may come into the camp. The bull for the sin offering and the goat for the sin offering, whose blood was brought in to make atonement in the Holy Place, shall be carried outside the camp. And they shall burn in the fire their skins, their flesh, and their offal. Then he who burns them shall wash his clothes and bathe his body in water, and afterward he may come into the camp. “This shall be a statute forever for you: In the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall afflict your souls, and do no work at all, whether a native of your own country or a stranger who dwells among you. For on that day the priest shall make atonement for you, to cleanse you, that you may be clean from all your sins before the LORD. It is a sabbath of solemn rest for you, and you shall afflict your souls. It is a statute forever. And the priest, who is anointed and consecrated to minister as priest in his father’s place, shall make atonement, and put on the linen clothes, the holy garments; then he shall make atonement for the Holy Sanctuary, and he shall make atonement for the tabernacle of meeting and for the altar, and he shall make atonement for the priests and for all the people of the assembly. Leviticus 16:3-33
Did you see it all? Let’s go over some of it together and observe how Christ’s time on earth fulfilled it perfectly! First, you’ll notice the High Priest was to enter the Most Holy place with the blood of a young bull for a sin offering and a ram as a burnt offering. And their fulfillment -
The bull is used for the sins of the High Priest. Before he could sacrifice for the people of
Israel, he needed to be cleansed of his own sins. Only then could he perform the duties for others. The bull, as I will demonstrate at the end of this page, is a picture of Christ Jesus. He was sinless and therefore needed no sacrifice for Himself.
For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. 2 Corinthians 5:21
For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, Romans 8:3 (NIV) (Sin offering)
And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma. Ephesians 5:2 (Burnt offering)
Next he was to take to goats from the congregation of Israel and present them at the door of the tabernacle – later the Temple in
Jerusalem. Lots were to be drawn for one goat to be sacrificed as a sin offering and the other was to be made a scapegoat (azazel) and to be released in the wilderness. At this point, I want to let you know that all four Gospel accounts record the following. I’ve selected the account from Matthew alone for brevity, but to study this in its entirety illuminates one of the most interesting parallels in the Bible:
Now at the feast the governor was accustomed to releasing to the multitude one prisoner whom they wished. And at that time they had a notorious prisoner called Barabbas. Therefore, when they had gathered together, Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to release to you? Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?” For he knew that they had handed Him over because of envy. While he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent to him, saying, “Have nothing to do with that just Man, for I have suffered many things today in a dream because of Him.” But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitudes that they should ask for Barabbas and destroy Jesus. The governor answered and said to them, “Which of the two do you want me to release to you?” They said, “Barabbas!” Pilate said to them, “What then shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” They all said to him, “Let Him be crucified!” Then the governor said, “Why, what evil has He done?” But they cried out all the more, saying, “Let Him be crucified!” When Pilate saw that he could not prevail at all, but rather that a tumult was rising, he took water and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, “I am innocent of the blood of this just Person. You see to it.” And all the people answered and said, “His blood be on us and on our children.” Then he released Barabbas to them; and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered Him to be crucified. Matthew 27:15-26
It couldn’t be clearer what’s going on here. Two men, both probably very close in age, stand before Pilate and the congregation of
Israel. Both are named Jesus (see UBS GNT Dictionary - #2954 lists the following possibilities for the name of Jesus – (a) of the Lord; (b) Jesus Barabbas; (c) Jesus Justus #Col 4:11.) And more interestingly, both have the same title – Barabbas is Aramaic for “Son of Abba.” One of Christ Jesus’ titles is the Son of God – whom He called Father. Abba is translated as father. Therefore, you have two men, like named, standing awaiting a decision, a lot, if you will….
At this point, the Leviticus account says: Then he shall kill the goat of the sin offering, which is for the people, bring its blood inside the veil, 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. (v. 15).
And the New Testament - But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. Hebrews 9:11, 12
Christ Jesus became the sin-bearer for mankind. Just as the innocent goat was killed once a year, becoming the temporary appeasement for God’s wrath, Christ became the eternal appeasement.
Verse 19 says: Then he shall sprinkle some of the blood on it with his finger seven times, cleanse it, and consecrate it from the uncleanness of the children of
This is a picture of the seven points from which Christ Jesus’ body bled at His crucifixion: In the garden as sweat drops of blood and from the thorns of the crown; from His back when whipped; from His hands when nailed; from His feet when nailed; from His side when pierced. This precious blood is what cleanses us from all our sin. Taking communion (the Lord's supper) is a reminder of His shed blood and suffering to restore us to a right relationship with God. Make sure you go to church each week, fellowship with other believers, and particpate in the Lord's supper. For by this -
The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? 1 Corinthians 10:16
Concerning the scapegoat, in verse 22 it says: The goat shall bear on itself all their iniquities to an uninhabited land; and he shall release the goat in the wilderness.
As displeasing as this is going to sound to many, the fulfillment of this verse is found here - And all the people answered and said, “His blood be on us and on our children. Matthew 27:25. National Israel made their choice and Barabbas was returned to them. They carried their sins to an “uninhabited land.” For almost 2000 years,
Israel was homeless and cast among the nations as God said would occur in Leviticus 26. Christ’s return is coming and the surest way to tell is by looking to the nation of Israel – back after being punished “seven times” for their sins (Leviticus 26:18).
Back in verse 14, we learned that the blood of bulls and goats was sprinkled on and before the mercy seat of the ark. The ark is described in Exodus 25 and there are countless books which detail the symbolism of it and the rest of the Tabernacle, but I’d like to direct you to this one verse: Make one cherub at one end, and the other cherub at the other end… Exodus 25:19. John made a concerted effort to show us what this ark actually pictured - But Mary stood outside by the tomb weeping, and as she wept she stooped down and looked into the tomb. And she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. John 20:11, 12 The Ark of the Covenant, where God met with His people, was a picture of Jesus Christ. The law, as recorded on the tablets inside the ark, reflect His sinless perfection. The mercy seat with the cherubim, where the blood was sprinkled, was a picture of His own grave – the place where His own precious blood soaked through the linen and sprinkled the earth which He created. There where two heavenly angels sat vigil - and I imagine stunned at the perfection of what God had accomplished for the seed of Adam – yes, it was there that God’s wrath for the sins of mankind was appeased. Mercy had come.
There are those in cults who claim only blood descendants of
Israel are a part of the covenant community. However, verse 29 – along with so much of the Bible - demonstrates that to be a falsity: whether a native of your own country or a stranger who dwells among you. It is through faith in the atoning work of Jesus Christ that man is saved. He alone suffered and died for the sins of the world. He alone is the sin-bearer. Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. Acts 4:12. Be sure that Buddha; Mohammed; Confucius; Tao; Gandhi – all of them - died in their own sin and apart from God. There was no righteousness in any of them that could bring appeasement to the Creator whose anger for our sins is as unlimited as His love for us. Jesus alone bridged that eternal gulf between God’s holiness and our sinfulness. I would ask you to consider well if you have truly accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. If you haven’t, there is no time like the present. By clicking this link, you will find a prayer which you can use to give your life to Jesus Christ.
Toward the beginning of this page, I promised that I'd demonstrate a pattern that I believe shows that the Day of Atonement's sacrificial bull is a picture of Jesus Christ.
Genesis 1:1 says B'reshit bara elohim eth ha'shemayim v'eth ha'eretz. - In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The middle word of these seven Hebrew words is "eth." The eth is spelled with an Aleph and a Tav. These are the first and last letters of the Hebrew alephbet. Just as the last chapter of Revelation says Jesus is the Alpha and Omega (the first and last letters of Greek), I believe the first chapter of Genesis is telling us the same thing. The Hebrew characters have changed since they were originally penned. Here is what they looked like originally:
Notice the Aleph is a bull and the Tav is a cross. I just can't think it's only a coincidence that there, in the middle of the first sentence of the Bible, is a word with the first and last Hebrew characters and that they represent a Bull and a Cross. Further, Aleph spelled backwards is Pela - wonderful. Tav spelled backwards is v'eth, or "and eth." If you think of this as a never ending circle - it says, "The Wonderful Cross... and the Wonderful Cross... and the Wonderful Cross" - into eternity. These characters were obtained from http://www.ancient-hebrew.org/. He released the copyright on Wikipedia, but if you use them you should still acknowledge his efforts by linking to his site.
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If you conduct Bible study classes, you’re welcome to use the verses below as a guide, or print them out and let people read through them and see if they can find the patterns I’ve alluded to above. Then the next time you’re together, you can discuss them and rejoice in the wonderful Lord who fills our hearts with joy!
Ok class, here's a nifty Bible study. This is an example of the Old Testament making a picture of something coming in the Person of Jesus Christ.
Leviticus 23:26-32, & 16:1-34
Matthew 27:11-26, 27:50-51
Mark 15:6-15, 15:38
Luke 23:13-23, 23:44-45
John 18:39, 40 & 20:12
Hebrews 2:17, 6:19-20, 9:24-28,10:1-4, & 10:19-22
1 John 2:2, 4:10
This is a lot of reading, but you will appreciate more fully one of the many roles of our Lord Jesus Christ.
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.
Hebrews 9:27, 28
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