3 Bible Tips: What the Day of Atonement Foreshadows
1. The Old Testament rituals of the Day of Atonement foreshadow both the perfect sacrifice for sin, as well as the one being taken away who is ultimately responsible for all sin.
"He [Aaron, the high priest] shall take the two goats and set them before the Lord at the entrance of the tent of meeting; and Aaron shall cast lots on the two goats, one lot for the Lord and the other lot for Azazel. Aaron shall present the goat on which the lot fell for the Lord, and offer it for a sin offering; but the goat on which the lot fell for Azazel shall be presented alive before the Lord to make atonement over it, that it may be sent away into the wilderness…
"The goat shall bear on itself all their iniquities to a barren region; and the goat shall be set free in the wilderness" (Leviticus 16:7-10, 22, New Revised Standard Version).
2. Both the goat for the Lord and the high priest foreshadowed Jesus Christ's perfect sacrifice for our sins and our being made one with God. (Note: The high priest was only allowed in the Most Holy Place once a year, on Atonement.)
"But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption" (Hebrews 9:11-12).
3. The Azazel goat foreshadowed Satan, the deceiver of all mankind, being taken away.
"Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousands years" (Revelation 20:1-2).
For more about the meaning of the Day of Atonement (which will be Sept. 18, 2010), see "The Day of Atonement: Removal of Sin's Cause and Reconciliation to God."