The Day of Atonement

Bible Book: Leviticus  16 : 18-19
Subject: Atonement; Salvation; Forgiveness of Sin

Leviticus 16:18-19

The Day of Atonement was an important day for the Israelites. It is known today as Yom Kippur. At the present time, the Jews do not have a temple and do not practice sacrificing animals. Still Yom Kippur remains the holiest day on their calendar. For the Israelites, the Day of Atonement was a day of confessing and cleansing from sin. Our attention shall be given to the two goats mentioned in this chapter.

On this day, the High Priest would enter the holies of holy.  The High Priest was permitted to enter the most holy place once a year. (v. 2) Before he could enter, he had to wash himself and put on the holy garments. (v. 4) The High Priest had to offer a ram for a sin offering for himself and his family. (v. 5) After he had made atonement for his sin, he could offer the sacrifice for the nation of Israel.


Two goats were taken from among the congregation. Aaron, the High Priest, would cast “lots upon the two goats: one lot for the LORD, and the other for the scapegoat.” (Lev. 16:8)

A. LORD’S GOAT. (Lev. 16:15-19)

The priest would lead the LORD’S goat to the altar to be killed as a sin offering for the people. This goat was offered as a sacrifice and its blood was presented to God. The priest would sprinkle the blood on the mercy seat and before the mercy seat.

In verse 16, we are told that this offering was made because of the uncleanness, transgressions, and sins of the people. Even the holy place had to have the blood applied because of the pollution of the sin of the people.

B. LIVING GOAT. (Lev. 20-22)

The living goat was known as the scapegoat. The priest placed both his hands on its forehead and confessed the sins of Israel.

1. Iniquity means “bent or crooked.” It refers to the bent in human nature toward sin.
2. Transgression means “rebellion, or to step over a boundary.”
3. Sin means “to miss, or to fall short.” We miss the mark of God’s righteousness. “There is none righteous.” (Rom. 3:10)

This goat was a substitute. The goat was led out into the desert and turned loose. This symbolically pictures Israel’s sins being removed. The people were reconciled to God for another year.

The blood of bulls and goats could never take away their sins. This ceremony had to be repeated every year.


The two goats represented two truths: sacrifice and substitution. The two goats were a symbol of what the Lord Jesus did for us on the cross.

 A. JESUS IS OUR SACRIFICE FOR OUR SIN. (Heb. 9:26) “sacrifice of himself”
 1. Sacrifice of Jesus satisfied the justice of God.
 2. Sacrifice of Jesus paid the price for sin.
 3. Sacrifice of Jesus turned away the wrath of God.
 4. Sacrifice of Jesus made God’s mercy and grace available.

“For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” Matthew 26:28

“And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savor.” Eph. 5:2

“Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” Titus 2:14

“Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father.” Galatians 1:4

B. JESUS IS OUR SUBSTITUTE FOR OUR SIN. (Heb. 9:28) “bear the sins of many”

“But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”  Isaiah 53:5 “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” 2 Cor. 5:21

“Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.” 1 Peter 2:24

“But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God.”  Heb. 10:12

“For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.” Heb. 10:14  “And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.” Heb. 10:17


Jesus gave Himself as our sacrifice and as our substitute. The Communion service is a reminder of Jesus’ broken body and shed blood for us. As we partake of the meal, it should humble us and cause us to examine our lives. It should lead us to confess our sins and be cleansed by His blood. (1 John 1:7, 9) The only way for a sinner to be forgiven is by the blood of Jesus. He must repent and receive Jesus as His Lord and Savior.