“At One” with God
The Feast of Yom Kippur (the Great Day of Atonement) does not appear on Christian calendars, but it was one of the three great pilgrim festivals in Old Testament times and is still observed in Judaism today.
The fullest description of God’s instructions for this solemn day can be found in the 16th chapter of Leviticus. A young bull, a ram, and a goat were ritually killed and the blood sprinkled. The sins of the nation were ceremonially placed on the head of a second goat (the “scapegoat”), and it was driven out alone into the desert to die, symbolizing the removal of sin from the Israelite camp.
The entire drama was to be reenacted each autumn. “On this day [yom] atonement [kippur] will be made for you, to cleanse you. Then, before the Lord, you will be clean from all your sins” (Leviticus 16:30).
You may never have observed Yom Kippur per se. But in a sense, there is a great day of atonement in the Christian church year—we call it Good Friday. On that awe-filled day, God struck his Son with all his force, pouring out his wrath for all human sin on the innocent Lamb hanging on a cross. On that day atonement was made—and all who believe in Christ are once again “at one” with the Father.
There is no more need for the shedding of blood—Christ’s great “Kippur” has made the final payment. The atonement is yours to believe; it is yours to share.