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From Here to Forever

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    The Great Day of Atonement

    Once a year, on the great Day of Atonement, the priest entered the most holy place for the cleansing of the sanctuary. Two kids of the goats were brought and lots were cast, “one lot for the Lord, and the other lot for the scapegoat.” Verse 8. The goat for the Lord was slain as a sin offering for the people, and the priest was to bring his blood within the veil and sprinkle it before the mercy seat and also upon the altar of incense before the veil.HF 258.2

    “And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness: and the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited.” Leviticus 16:21, 22. The scapegoat came no more into the camp of Israel.HF 258.3

    The ceremony was designed to impress the Israelites with the holiness of God and His abhorrence of sin. Every man was required to afflict his soul while this work of atonement was going forward. All business was laid aside, and Israel were to spend the day in prayer, fasting, and searching of heart.HF 258.4

    A substitute was accepted in the sinner's stead, but the sin was not canceled by the blood of the victim; it was transferred to the sanctuary. By the offering of blood the sinner acknowledged the authority of the law, confessed his transgression, and expressed his faith in a Redeemer to come; but he was not yet entirely released from the condemnation of the law. On the Day of Atonement the high priest, having taken an offering from the congregation, went into the most holy place. He sprinkled the blood of this offering upon the mercy seat, directly over the law, to make satisfaction for its claims. Then, as mediator, he took the sins upon himself and bore them from the sanctuary. Placing his hands upon the head of the scapegoat, he in figure transferred all these sins from himself to the goat. The goat then bore them away, and they were regarded as forever separated from the people.HF 258.5

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