But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God - Hebrews 10:12


The wilderness - where the scapegoat was released

The wilderness - where the scapegoat was released

Now that the Yom Kippur as specified in the Bible no longer happens, there appears to be a large gap between the actions laid out in Leviticus 16 and what happens today.

Messianic Jews and Christians find the answer in the letter to the Messianic Jews / Hebrews Chapter 10.

1 The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming--not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship. If it could, would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins. But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins, because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.

Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said: "Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased. Then I said, `Here I am--it is written about me in the scroll-- I have come to do your will, O God.' " First he said, "Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them" (although the law required them to be made). Then he said, "Here I am, I have come to do your will." He sets aside the first to establish the second. And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool, because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy. The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says: "This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds." Then he adds: "Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more." And where these have been forgiven, there is no longer any sacrifice for sin.

“There is no longer any sacrifice for sin” The Rabbis would not, could not argue with this. There is no Tabernacle and no Temple and no Yom Kippur sacrifice.

God planned an end to Atonement sacrifices; they were temporary, foreshadowing Yeshua the Messiah; a better person, a better High Priest.

According to rabbi’s writing about the second Temple of Zerubabel, the people wept. Essentials were missing from the Holy of Holies – up to the time of Yeshua.

Yoma, in the Talmud, notes five manifestations that were missing (and still are)

The Ark

Heavenly fire


Ruach ha Kodesh (Holy Spirit)

Urim and Thumin

The cover on the missing Ark was the Mercy Seat, with the two Keruvim on which the blood was sprinkled to be to effect Atonement. The cover that was over the Torah (law)

We can-not make atonement for ourselves but God must see the blood covering our sin.

In the Second Temple, as built by Nehemia and Zerubabel and rebuilt by Herod, Atonement ritual was already a feint shadow of the original and after the time of Yeshua / Jesus the Scapegoat no longer provided evidence of the success of the sacrifice.

It is written in the Talmud that forty years before the Temple was destroyed the lot never came into the right hand of the priest and the scarlet wool never turned white – two signs of approval. The Romans destroyed the Temple in 70CE/AD and forty years earlier (30CE) would have been the year of Yeshua’s crucifixion. (subject to the uncertainty of the year of Yeshua’s birth according to the Gregorian calendar)

Note - Nehemia Gordon points out the illogicallity, even unacceptability of Christians quoting items like this from the Talmud when we would never accept its authority in other matters. His observations on the scarlet thread were given in Prophet Pearls on Devarim - Isaiah 1:1-27 (#44) forty one minutes in.

The Lot

To decide which goat was to be sacrificed and which was to be the scapegoat, the priest placed his hands into a box to draw lots. If the lot for the sin offering came out in his left hand it was not a good sign.

Crimson Wool

The scapegoat, the one for Azazel, had a piece of crimson wool tied to its horns and another piece was tied the gate of the Temple. When the goat died the thread on the Temple door miraculously turned “white as snow”

With the loss of these two signs at the time Yeshua died, the assurance of Atonement was taken away. We also know that the priests were no longer fit for the job, having become so corrupt that a group of pious Jews set up the Qumran community of the Essenes

What now?

Torah / Levitical Yom Kippur.

“There is no longer an offering for sin”

Messianic Judaism and Christianity

Many Jews trusted in Yeshua as Messiah and Atonement – the substance that the Levitical Day of Atonement foreshadowed – the fulfilment of their Judaism; not a new religion.

Rabbinic Judaism

However, the Rabbis who did not believe were forced to establish what was in effect a new religion in which there was hope but not confidence and grace was not through faith as in the Torah but based on merit. Atonement would be sought through individual actions.

Prayer, worship and study .

This is practiced in charity, prayers and repentance.

The new way was of commemorating Yom Kippur was to study the ritual, as the High Priest would have done.


In the Midrash there is the announcement of a new way; “lovingkindness” based on “I desire lovingkindness – not sacrifice.


Suffering also appeared as a component of the new Yom Kippur.

The Art scroll Tanakh on Psalm 73-150, Psalm 89 v33 teaches that Yom Kippur provided complete atonement for certain sins but capital sins require more; pain and suffering which cleanses the soul.

Some would ask, "Is Atonement the same as the pagan concept of human sacrifice?"

The reading on Rosh Hoshannah is the Akedah – the binding of Isaac – God commanding Abraham to sacrifice his son but at the last moment providing a substitute. Why? God did not want Human sacrifice but the Akedah gave a foreshadowing of the sacrifice of the Messiah, for whom there was no substitute.

Many sages accepted this concept of atonement through suffering and viewed the death of 24,000 in a plague as atoning for sin. (Numbers 25 v1-9) However, we should notice that the plague started in v3 "So Israel joined in worshiping the Baal of Peor. And the LORD's anger burned against them". and the plague ended after the guilty had been put to death. v8 "Then the plague against the Israelites was stopped." It was not the death of the plague victims that cleared up the sin but the death of the sinners.

There is also a rabbinic teaching that ordinary people who fall between being completely evil and completely righteous will descent to Hell (Psalm 116 interpreted as referring to the day of Judgment) until God heeds their screams of pain. (This seems difficult to understand but maybe hinges on verse 15) This is a Jewish form of the Catholic doctrine of Purgatory.

Precious in the sight of is the death of his saints .

The teaching also talks in terms of scales of merit and evil. The idea is that God will mercifully tilt the scales towards the side of merit.

Perhaps this explains why the Yom Kippur of present day Judaism is so different from Leviticus.

Could this doctrine about suffering also be the source of the Jewish contention that the "suffering servant" of Isaiah 53 refers to Israel rather than to the Messiah, as understood by Christians and Messianic Jews?

Until Rashi in the eleventh century the universal belief was that the Messiah is the subject of Isaiah 53 – to suffer and die for the sins of the community. Rashi brought in the idea of Israel being the subject and suffering to atone for the Gentiles but Mamonides disagreed. It is suggested that this revision was a reaction to the Messianic overuse of Isaiah 53 to represent Yeshua/Jesus the Messiah.

The demands of Yom Kippur

Torah Judaism – requires the Temple and priesthood and sacrifices. Not practicable.

Rabbinic Judaism – Do it Yourself righteousness. How ?

Messianic Judaism/Christianity – requires confessing our sins and trusting in the sacrifice of Yeshua (the only perfect, unblemished sacrifice) as being the substance of what was foreshadowed in the Torah Day of Atonement.

How to apply this lesson?

Back to Hebrews 10 – verse 19

Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.


Created 14/12/10 - from a sermon by Wayne Hillsden at King of Kings congregation in Jerusalem at Yom Kippur 2010

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