The Day of Atonement pictures an essential additional step in God’s salvation plan, which must take place before humanity can experience true peace on earth.
All people suffer the tragic consequences of sin. But sin doesn’t happen without a cause, and God makes this cause clear in the symbolism associated with the Day of Atonement. The Day of Atonement involves not only the forgiveness of sin; it pictures the removal of the primary cause of sin --- Satan--- and symbolizes the reconciliation of God and all humanity.
Although our human nature has a part to play in our sins, Satan the devil bears great responsibility for influencing mankind to disobey God, beginning with tempting Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden. If God does not remove the original instigator of sin, mankind will continue to fall back into disobedience and suffering.
Even though many people doubt the existence of a devil, the Bible reveals Satan as a powerful, invisible being who can sway all mankind. Revelation 12:9 tells us his influence is so great he “deceives the whole world,” blinding people to the understanding of God’s truth. The apostle Paul also warned us to beware of the deceitful methods of the devil: “But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:3, NIV).
Paul further explains Jesus Christ will deliver us from the influence of the devil (Ephesians 6:13-18), but we must do our part by actively resisting him and the pulls of the flesh (James 4:7). The Day of Atonement looks forward to the time when Satan’s deception will be removed, and he will no longer be free to influence and deceive mankind (Revelation 20:1-3).
We are given specific instructions as to when and how we are to keep this festival. “Also the tenth day of this seventh month shall be the Day of Atonement,” God says. “It shall be a holy convocation for you; you shall afflict your souls …” (Leviticus 23:27).
To ‘afflict your soul’ means to go without food and water and God instructs us to fast during this specific 24 hours, expressing our humble desire to draw closer to God and looking forward to the time when Satan will be banished. Fasting helps us remember how temporary our physical existence is, and how much we need God as the giver and sustainer of life.
The Day of Atonement serves as a vital preparatory step in anticipation of the next milestone in God’s glorious Holy Day plan, beautifully depicted by the Feast of Tabernacles.
This year the Day of Atonement falls on Monday, September 28, beginning the evening before at sundown.Biblical advice on choosing friends
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