By Bob Barney
I know many Christians in the world understand that Jesus Christ, a Jew, followed the Old Testament (Mosaic) holidays. Probably fewer comprehend that for nearly 100 years after the death and resurrection of Jesus, His followers still observed the same holy days.
One of these annual Holy Days is called in English "The Day of Atonement." It is a very solemn 24-hour period of time over 2 calendar days, when we are to "deny ourselves." This means to fast- or abstain from food and water for the 24 hour period. The Day of Atonement does not occur on one day, as the Jews, and most of the observant Christians think it does! Just a simple reading of scripture proves this. Many have read Leviticus 23:27 "The tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement. Hold a sacred assembly and deny yourselves, and present a food offering to the LORD." and assume that it is. However, when one understands that God's day begins at dawn, the next few verses become very clear. "It is a day of sabbath rest for you, and you must deny yourselves. From the evening of the ninth day of the month until the following evening you are to observe your sabbath.”
Clearly, if the day began in the evening, the writer would not say that the fast starts on the evening of the 9th! It would have been, the evening of the 10th! NOWHERE ARE EVENING DAYS JUSTIFIED IN YOUR BIBLE! Any honest biblical scholar knows that the Bible shows the day beginning with LIGHT. "Let there be light"- and the first day began!
Clearing up the misconception of the true calendar, why do Christians observe this Holy Day? The answer is simple. They are following the example of Jesus Christ, His apostles, and the true Church of God of the first century! The church of the Apostles continued to observe the annual holy days established by God in the Old Testament, including the Day of Atonement for over a hundred years, until a great FALSE CHURCH in Rome changed it! They claimed the right to do so! "The Pope has the power to change times, to abrogate laws, and to dispense with all things, even the precepts of Christ." "The Pope has the authority and often exercised it, to dispense with the command of Christ." -Decretal, de Tranlatic Episcop. Cap. (The Pope can modify divine law.) Ferraris' Ecclesiastical Dictionary.
On the Day of Atonement, Christians humble themselves before God by fasting, remembering the awesome sacrifice of the Lamb of God, the Messiah, Jesus Christ, whose blood atoned for our sins. The Hebrew word for Atonement literally means “to cover over.” Our death penalty has been paid for us, and our sins have been buried, or “covered over.” In ancient times, the high priest enacted a fascinating, meaning-laden ritual of purification and atonement for his sins and the sins of the people. Study Leviticus the 16th chapter to understand all the types. Two goats were to be presented by the priest before God. One was "for the Eternal," and the other an Azazel, called a "scapegoat." The Azazel goat was to have all the sins of Israel symbolically placed upon its head, and then was to be led in the hands of a "fit man" who would not allow the goat to turn back into the distant wilderness, where it would be released. Contrary to popular belief, this goat represent Satan and NOT CHRIST! God's gracious act of love toward us, is taking our sins (forgiving them through the blood of Christ-the first goat) and placing them on our scapegoat--- SATAN! Yes, we blame Statn for our sins, but in reality, most of our sins are OUR SINS, not Satan's! Satan just gets the punishment fore them, hence Satan is our scapegoat!
In the New Testament we read, "Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood He entered once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us..." (Hebrews 9:7-12).
Paul wrote, "Moreover He sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry.
"And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.
"It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.
"For Christ is not entered into the holy place made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:
"Nor yet that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year [on the Day of Atonement!] with blood of others...but now once in the end of the world [age] hath He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself" (Hebrews 9:21-28).
As you can see from Paul's example, to understand Christ's mission for us, we have to understand the Holy Days that Christ Himself created! Christ is the LORD of the Old Testament, not God the Father! These Holidays were made to show the way to HIS EARTHLY MISSION! Without these days, we cannot understand the gift of God!
We are to follow this day, like all of the Holy Days, not in remembrance of ancient Israel, but as a tribute to the God who freed our souls from death!
This is way we do the Fast CHEERFULLY and with a solemnity as well.
Atonement 2020 starts Thursday Night on the 9th and ends Friday night on the 10th of the 7th Month in God's Holy Calendar