The Day of Atonement (Num 29:7-29:11)

On the tenth day of this seventh month you shall have a holy convocation. You shall deny yourselves. You shall do no work. You shall offer a burnt offering to Yahweh, a pleasing odor. Is shall be one young bull, one ram, and seven male lambs a year old. They shall be without blemish. Their grain offering shall be of choice flour mixed with oil, three-tenths of an ephah for the bull, two-tenths for the one ram, and one-tenth for each of the seven lambs. Also one male goat for a sin offering, in addition to the sin offering of atonement, and the regular burnt offering and its grain offering, and their drink offerings.”

In Leviticus, chapter 16, there is a more complete description of the Day of Atonement. Here it only explains what the sacrifice should be. It should be on the 10th day of the 7th month.   They had to deny themselves and not work.  They had to offer a burnt offering to Yahweh with a pleasing odor.  Like above, it includes 9 animals, flour, and oil. It was in addition to the other offerings. The male goat is for a sin offering, but there is no further explanation like there was in Leviticus.

The Day of Atonement (Lev 23:26-23:32)

“Yahweh spoke to Moses.  ‘Now the tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement.  It shall be a holy convocation for you.  You shall deny yourselves and present Yahweh’s offering by fire.  You shall do no work during that entire day.  It is a day of atonement, to make atonement on your behalf before Yahweh your God.  For anyone who does not practice self-denial during that entire day shall be cut off from the people.  Anyone who does any work during the entire day such a one I will destroy from the midst of the people.  You shall do no work.  It is a statute forever throughout your generations in all your settlements.  It shall be to you a Sabbath of complete rest, and you shall deny yourselves.  On the ninth day of the month at evening, from evening to evening you shall keep your Sabbath.”

10 days after the festival of trumpets, the Day of Atonement or Yom Kippur takes place.  You have to deny yourselves and present Yahweh’s offering by fire.  You do not do any work on this day, but practice self-denial.  This punishment is very severe.  Yahweh would destroy you.   See chapter 16 for more details about the ritual with the scapegoat for this feast of atonement. This atonement Sabbath goes from evening to evening.

The Day of Atonement (Lev 16:1-16:34)

“Yahweh spoke to Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron, when they drew near before Yahweh and died.

Yahweh spoke to Moses, after the death of the two sons of Aaron that was mentioned in chapter 10.   It is obvious that they did something wrong with the incense that caused Yahweh’s fire to consume them.  There are consequences to actions.

“Yahweh said to Moses, ‘Tell your brother Aaron not to come just at any time into the sanctuary, inside the curtain before the mercy seat that is upon the ark, or he will die. I will appear in the cloud upon the mercy seat.   Thus shall Aaron come into the holy place, with a young bull for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering.  He shall put on the holy linen tunic.  He shall have the linen undergarments next to his body, fasten the linen sash, and wear the linen turban.  These are the holy vestments. He shall bathe his body in water.  Then put them on.  He shall take from the congregation of the people of Israel two male goats for a sin offering, and one ram for a burnt offering.”

Aaron is not to come as he pleases into the sanctuary or he will die.  This is pretty straight forward.  However, there is a time when he should come into the  holy place, with a young bull for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering.  He has to have on all the holy vestments and bathe beforehand.  He also needs to bring a bull, 2 male goats, and a ram for a sin offering and burnt offering for himself and his house.

“Aaron shall offer the bull as a sin offering for himself, and shall make atonement for himself and for his house.   He shall take the two goats, and set them before Yahweh at the entrance of the tent of meeting.  Aaron shall cast lots on the two goats, one lot for Yahweh and the other lot for Azazel.  Aaron shall present the goat on which the lot fell for Yahweh, and offer it as a sin offering.  But the goat on which the lot fell for Azazel shall be presented alive before Yahweh to make atonement over it.  It will be sent away into the wilderness to Azazel.  Aaron shall present the bull as a sin offering for himself, and shall make atonement for himself and for his house.  He shall slaughter the bull as a sin offering for himself.   He shall take a censer full of coals of fire from the altar before Yahweh, and two handfuls of crushed sweet incense.  He shall bring it inside the curtain.  He shall put the incense on the fire before Yahweh that the cloud of the incense may cover the mercy seat that is upon the covenant, or he will die.   He shall take some of the blood of the bull, and sprinkle it with his finger on the front of the mercy seat.  Before the mercy seat he shall sprinkle the blood with his finger seven times.”

First Aaron offers up a bull as a sin offering for his own atonement.  The goats are a different story.  They cast lots for the goats; one gets sacrificed to Yahweh, while the other goes to Azazel, who is an ancient goat demon who haunted the desert, who might have been a fallen angel.  Aaron slaughters the bull as a regular sin offering.  This time Aaron will make sure the correct incense is put into the censer.   Aaron will take the blood from the bull and the goat and sprinkle it 7 times before the mercy seat with his finger.

“He shall slaughter the goat of the sin offering that is for the people and bring its blood inside the curtain.  Then he shall do with its blood as he did with the blood of the bull, sprinkling it upon the mercy seat and before the mercy seat.  Thus he shall make atonement for the sanctuary, because of the uncleanness of the people of Israel and because of their transgressions, all their sins.  So he shall do for the tent of meeting, which remains with them in the midst of their uncleanness.  No one shall be in the tent of meeting from the time he enters to make atonement in the sanctuary until he comes out and has made atonement for himself and for his house and for all the assembly of Israel.   Then he shall go out to the altar that is before Yahweh and make atonement for it on its behalf.  He shall take some of the blood of the bull and of the blood of the goat, and put it on each of the horns of the altar.  He shall sprinkle some of the blood on it with his finger seven times, and cleanse it and hallow it from the uncleanness of the people of Israel.”

Aaron kills the goat also and brings its blood inside the curtain.  He makes atonement as he did with the bull’s blood.  All this is to make amends for the uncleanness of the people of Israel.  No one should be with Aaron when he is in the tent of meeting.  When he comes out he sprinkles blood 7 times on the altar of holocausts and on its horns.

“When he has finished atoning for the holy place and the tent of meeting and the altar, he shall present the live goat.  Then Aaron shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat.  He shall confess over it all the iniquities of the people of Israel, and all their transgressions, all their sins, putting them on the head of the goat, and sending it away into the wilderness by means of someone designated for the task.  The goat shall bear on itself all their iniquities to a barren region.  There the goat shall be set free in the wilderness.”

Aaron then lays both his hands on the head of the live goat.  He confesses all the iniquities, transgressions, and sins of the people of Israel.  He puts this all on the head of the goat and sends it away into the wilderness.  Someone leads the goat into a barren region where the goat is set free.   The sins of the people are put on this goat to go into the wilderness to Azazel.  Thus we have the origin of the term ‘scapegoat.’ Blame it on the goat.

“Then Aaron shall enter into the tent of meeting.  He shall put off the linen vestments that he put on when he went into the holy place, and shall leave them there.  He shall bathe his body in water in a holy place, and put on his vestments.  He shall come out and offer his burnt offering and the burnt offering of the people, making atonement for himself and for the people.  The fat of the sin offering he shall turn into smoke on the altar.  The one who sets the goat free for Azazel shall wash his clothes and bathe his body in water.  Afterward he may come into the camp.  The bull of the sin offering and the goat of the sin offering, whose blood was brought in to make atonement in the holy place, shall be taken outside the camp.  Their skin and their flesh and their dung shall be burned in fire.  The one who burns them shall wash his clothes and bathe his body in water.  Afterward he may come into the camp.”

Now Aaron takes off his sacred linen clothes and bathes himself and puts on his regular clothes. He used the fat of the sin offering on the holocaust altar.  Someone has to bring the skin, the flesh, and the dung of the bull and the goat outside the camp and burn it. Both he and the person who took the goat into the wilderness have to wash their clothes and bathe their bodies.

“This shall be a statute to you forever.  In the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall deny yourselves.  You shall do no work, neither the citizen nor the alien who resides among you.  For on this day atonement shall be made for you, to cleanse you.  From all your sins you shall be clean before Yahweh.   It is a Sabbath of complete rest to you.  You shall deny yourselves.  It is a statute forever.  The priest who is anointed and consecrated as priest in his father’s place shall make atonement, wearing the holy linen vestments, the holy vestments.  He shall make atonement for the sanctuary. He shall make atonement for the tent of meeting.  He shall make atonement for the altar.  He shall make atonement for the priests and for all the people of the assembly.   This shall be an everlasting statute for you, to make for the people of Israel once in the year for all their sins.  Moses did as Yahweh had commanded him.”

This became a permanent statute for the Israelites.  In the 7th month, on the 10th day of the month, they have to deny themselves.  They do not work on that day.  For Jewish people today, this is the Yom Kippur, the  holy day of atonement, which usually occurs in September.  This is like the Sabbath.  The high priest will make atonement for the sanctuary, the tent of meeting, the altar, the priests, and all the people of the assembly.  The high priest makes atonement for the people of Israel once in the year for their sins.  Moses did this because Yahweh had commanded him to do so.