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Atonement, Day of / Yom Kippur


Yom Kippur, which means Day of Atonement, is a Jewish holy day observed annually on the tenth of Tishrei (Lev 23:27). It is to ask forgiveness from God for sins of the past year, and thus cleanse (Kippur) the soul to prepare spiritually for the new year, according to the Hebrew calendar. On the Yom Kippur or Day of Atonement each year, the high priest went into the Holy of Holies in the Temple and sprinkled the mercy seat with the blood of a bull for the purification of the priests and the blood of a goat for the forgiveness of sins of all Israelites.

Jesus, the Lamb of God, had sacrificed himself as the perfect sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins of all who turn to him in faith. He offered himself to the Father as the sacrificed lamb and as the high priest. Jesus appeared to his disciples after the successful offering of himself as the Lamb of God, similar to the return of the high priest from the Holy of Holies on the Day of Atonement (Lev 16:34). Thus, Jesus established peace and communicated that to the world through his apostles.


The sacrifice of animals and sprinkling of their blood in the Holy of Holies was for the forgiveness of sins of Israel for a full year. However, Jesus had to shed his blood and offer that to the Father for the forgiveness of our original sin we inherited from the first parents. Those who have received the baptism have achieved it by the merit of Jesus’ sacrifice. However, like the Yom Kipur, we have to renew our lives by correcting our mistakes and seek forgiveness of God through the sacrament of reconciliation.


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