(27) "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. (28) And you shall do no work on that same day, for it is the Day of Atonement, to make atonement for you before the LORD your God. (29) For any person who is not afflicted in soul on that same day shall be cut off from his people. (30) And any person who does any work on that same day, that person I will destroy from among his people. (31) You shall do no manner of work; it shall be a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. (32) It shall be to you a sabbath of solemn rest, and you shall afflict your souls; on the ninth day of the month at evening, from evening to evening, you shall celebrate your sabbath."
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This is probably the least understood and least appreciated of all God's holy days. The world looks upon it as a curiosity. The Jews keep it as the most solemn day of the year. They, at least, realize that this day has solemn implications, but they do not know what they are.
There is an interesting interpretation within this verse in the word "atonement." The Hebrew word underlying it, kippur, does not literally translate into "atonement," but as "covering." The translators have interpreted the concept of covering and inserted a word that instead describes the effect of being covered. The covering of our sins causes atonement. This is the implication and meaning that we derive from other verses. The forgiveness of sin—the covering by the blood of Jesus Christ—enables us to be reconciled to God.
Had this not been done, there would be no opportunity for us to be at one with God; our sins would still be a barrier separating us and God. Because there was an atonement made by the blood of Jesus Christ, this gaping divide is bridged. Thus, the word kippur is interpreted as "atonement."
That this is a festival implies the act of eating and drinking in a convivial atmosphere. Though this Day of Atonement is a festival, there is no eating or drinking permitted—at least physically. The reason we have trouble relating to this day is because of the Adversary, who is, above all others, striving to hide its meaning behind a smokescreen of disinformation. He has tried to obliterate its significance from the minds of those who are aware of his existence.
If we were to mention the Day of Atonement to most Protestants or Catholics, they would likely give us blank stares or shrug their shoulders. To them, the day has been literally obliterated. They would have no clue what we were talking about.
Satan has also obliterated its significance to the Jews. They are aware of the day, of course, knowing it as Yom Kippur, and realize that it has solemn significance and is most holy. But they do not understand what it means. It does not mean the same thing to them that the Bible teaches us it means, mainly because they do not believe in Christ nor in His atoning blood. Therefore, they cannot make the proper connection between the blood of Christ and the blood of the goat that is slain during the symbolic ceremony on the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16).
— John W. Ritenbaugh
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