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Yom Kippur and the Sacrifice of Jesus

No other Feast in the Jewish calendar more clearly anticipates the future, complete atonement of Israel’s Messiah – the One the New Testament identifies as Jesus the Christ. No other Old Testament sacrifice so clearly points to the superiority and finality of Christ’s atoning work on the cross.

The writer of Hebrews makes it clear that in the eyes of God, there can be no atonement without the shedding of blood.

Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. (Hebrews 9:22)

In the Old Covenant, the High Priest had to make this sacrifice in a very specific way within the Holy of Holies of the Temple once a year on the Day of Atonement. There was no end to this ritual, because the blood of bulls and goats was not sufficient to cover the sins of the people beyond the prescription of the Law.

The writer of Hebrew confirms that after Jesus died and rose again, he ascended into heaven and:

…entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. (Hebrews 9:24-26)

Jesus became our High Priest and poured out his blood in the heavenly Holy of Holies once, for all time – and for all of mankind.

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