the day of atonement

Today is the jewiish holiday of Yom Kippur, or the day of atonement. The day of atonement is described in detail in Leviticus 16.
  • only Aaron (or later, the high priest) can enter the most holy place at a certain time
  • he puts on the sacred linen garments (after having a bath first)
  • he offers a bull for his own sin
  • he casts lots to decide on the scapegoat and the sacrifice
  • he takes coals and incense and to make smoke that covers the cloud of god's presence, so he wont die!
  • he sprinkles the bull's blood around
  • he sacrifices the goat
  • he sprinkles some more blood
  • he lays hands on the scapegoat, confesses the people's sin and then sends it off
  • he takes of the sacred clothes, leaves them in the most holy place, bathes and puts on his normal clothes
  • he comes out and does another burnt offering for himself and for the people and burns the fat of the sin offering
  • the man who let the scapegoat go needs to wash his clothes and bathe
  • the hide and guts of the sin offering are taken outside of the camp and burnt, and the man who does that needs to wash his clothes and bathe afterwards
Why all the detail? Why all the bloody rituals? Because something needs to take our sin away. Blood needs to be shed for our sin. This sounds disgusting and terrible, that's because sin is terrible before God. These accounts of these sacrifices make us feel sick, that's because sin should make us feel sick. All of that was needed to take away the people's sin. But only for a year, they had to do the whole thing again a year later.

Why don't we do that now? Because of Jesus.

Read Hebrews 9

We don't continually offer sacrifice because Jesus was sacrificed once for all. He fulfilled the law. He completed it.
He lived the perfect life we could not live and died the death we should have died so that we can be forgiven and restored to the relationship with Him that we were designed for.