The Day of Atonement

Open Your Bible

Leviticus 16:1-34, Leviticus 17:1-16, John 1:29, Mark 15:33-39, Romans 3:25-26

“Vasovagal syncope” is typed at the top of my friend’s chart. This tongue-twisting term warns medical personnel that she faints at the sight of blood. If she gets a blood draw or even a finger prick, her vision fades and she breaks into a cold, clammy sweat. You know where this is going. Loss of consciousness and collapse. How curious that the sight of blood causes such intense, visceral reactions.

Let’s follow this curiosity into the center of the book of Leviticus where we find God’s plan for the Day of Atonement. To understand this annual holy day, we remember that Israel had a big problem—sin. Ever since humans rejected attachment and relationship with God by disobeying Him (Genesis 3), there had to be separation between God and His people. As darkness is destroyed by light, so sinful people cannot survive in the presence of a perfect God. Sin had to be dealt with—atoned for—if God was going to dwell among His people in the tented temple. 

Here’s the good news that weaves through the Bible: God had a plan to conquer sin. He knew it was impossible for the Israelites to overcome this deadly dilemma on their own. But God made the way. “Atonement will be made for you on this day to cleanse you, and you will be clean from all your sins before the LORD” (Leviticus 16:30). God established the annual Day of Atonement to heal His people’s sin sickness so they could abide with Him. 

The Day of Atonement was full of grace, but it was also full of blood. God instructed the high priest to perform specific rituals: multiple animal deaths, blood drained, blood sprinkled, blood-smeared. The stark reality could not be missed: reckoning with sin required bloodshed and death. 

I may not faint at the sight of blood, but I recoil at the thought of these bloody rituals. But we dare not gloss over the gruesome scene. We’re meant to experience a visceral reaction; we’re meant to feel the horrific truth about the effects of sin. There is nothing small or subtle about it. Conquering sin calls for an all-out assault. “For the life of a creature is in the blood…it is the lifeblood that makes atonement” (Leviticus 17:11). Do I realize what sin causes and costs? What a bloody mess. 

You know where this is going. The bloody sacrifices performed every year on the Day of Atonement culminate in Jesus offering Himself and pouring out His own lifeblood to cleanse us from our sins. His sacrifice did not need to be an annual endeavor. Jesus, the perfect sacrifice who rose to life despite suffering a bloody death, was the only One who could destroy sin and say, “It is finished” (John 19:30).

Jesus’s gruesome crucifixion transformed into His glorious resurrection and leads us to grateful praise as we declare, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29).

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38 thoughts on "The Day of Atonement"

  1. Sydney Scott says:

    Loved this. I was bored in Leviticus and now I love Leviticus bc it shows me how great Jesus is.

  2. Susan Lincks says:


  3. Mercy says:

    How I love the Bible and the sharp sword that it is. No compromise. No political correctness. The nice thing about the Bible is that it does NOT need updating either, that is such an amazing thing about God’s Word. His Word cuts into the part that was dulled by sin through sharp conviction. Thank you Bailey for another wonderful devotional! I love it. I too struggle with little sweet children fighting over their rights, and I see myself as a mom having to step up as their judge. The sinful nature of human shows clearly in our innocent children, as the Word says humans born into sin (john 3:3), “Folly is bound up in the heart of a child” (Proverbs 22:15), hence, all must be born again. Praise God for this privilege of being born again. Leviticus 18 and 19 are so detailed and very practical to our daily living for personal conduct, forbidden immoral acts and more living laws, to sum up in the Law of Love. Above all things be earnest in your love among yourselves, for love covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8). Thank you to a dear she who posted this from HRT with a question: “But what about those sins that they didn’t even notice? How could they be rescued from the wickedness that escaped their conscious minds?” I read this and I saw the solutions all in the Word of God. The entrance of Your words gives light. It gives understanding to the simple (Psalm 119:130). God’s Word is a mirror in which we look into, to see His reflection and our reflection to better align ourselves daily, with consistent course correction of our thoughts/heart intentions/micro shifts in behavior and to bring about a compound shift in our total identity and awareness. As water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart (Proverbs 27:19 NIV). May God help us to embrace the changes to become Him.

    Praying for our beloved sisters, Jennifer loves Jesus (may God’s hand cover your mom and your whole family in this time), Rhonda J (love your strength and positivity, continuing to pray for you/family/community), dear Taylor, Victoria E for grace to get through, Lawren GW (for your husband). Be strong and of good courage. Do not be afraid, neither be dismayed: for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go( Joshua 1:9). Happy Canadian Thanksgiving to all! I am thankful for God and our lovely SRT family. Be blessed dear sisters.

  4. Kimberly Z says:

    Praying for all of you tonight. @Taylor I’ve been thinking of you this week. As hard as it is to surrender yourself to God keep doing it. As a

  5. Lauren GW says:

    Unrelated to this study, thank you for your prayers for my husband. We’ve had a calmer week. I know it’s not forever, and there are still a lot of unknowns in the long term plan. As I pray about it, I’ve been feeling god tell me to look each day for “manna from heaven,” trusting that god will provide for me today, and then tomorrow, he’ll provide again anew. The planner in me finds this hard, but I’m working on trusting god!

  6. Jennifer Loves Jesus says:

    Yes and Amen GramsieSue!

  7. GramsieSue says:

    Hoping and praying that your mom’s surgery went well @Jennifer loves Jesus!
    Praying for your anxiety and your relationship with your boyfriend @Taylor

  8. Jennifer Anapol says:

    I’m so glad we don’t have to sacrifice animals to make atonement for our sins. Although, because we don’t have that visual, I believe we can forget how ugly and destructive sin can be. I pray we would still understand the depths of our sin and what it truly costs.

  9. Grayson Chatfield says:

    Praying over all of you!

  10. Corallie Buchanan says:

    If you gals want to go even deeper with Leviticus, can I suggest checking out Chuck Missler’s Leviticus series on YouTube. My journaling bible is so full of notes now.

  11. Dorothy says:

    My version of Chapter 16 verse 10 reads, “10 The other goat, the scapegoat chosen by lot to be sent away, will be kept alive, standing before the Lord. When it is sent away to Azazel in the wilderness, the people will be purified and made right with the Lord.” I wonder if this is where they get the phrase “a person is the scapegoat” from. The way we use it isn’t the way it’s used in the Bible.
    BUT GOD… You are the One and Only and I don’t need a scapegoat any longer. I don’t need a sacrifice either because You, Lord sent Your One and Only Son to die for me/us, for our sins. Then You sent the Holy Spirit to live within us. May I never forget this. May I have faith, love, hope, and joy enough to shine for You each and every day. Amen.
    Sisters, be blessed and let light shine and your joy come through.

  12. Cee Gee says:

    What a powerful devo! Thank you Jesus!!!
    TAYLOR, in those hard situations, I have learned in my old age to ask God what He is trying to teach me through the particular situation. I am praying for your heart and mind.
    Celebrating your victory, GRAMIESUE!

  13. Traci Gendron says:

    The goat chosen by lot for an uninhabitable place is to be presented alive before the Lord to make atonement with it by sending it into the wilderness for an uninhabitable place. I love seeing the connection between the Old and New Testaments. It helps as you are reading all the repetitive laws.

    For the life of the creature is in the blood. That lifeblood makes atonement. As Jesus Christ did for us. I feel so unworthy of this sacrifice when I think of it. Why is sin so hard to conquer??

    Gramsiesue – Thank God!!

  14. Foster Mama says:

    I am praying for all the requests, missing names by the time I get to my own comment….
    ASH H., VICTORIA E, TAYLOR, JENNIFER LOVES JESUS…each one as I read your comments…God bless you SEARCHING, KELLY(NEO) who always remember each of us ♥️❤️

    Praising with you GRAMSIESUE.

  15. Marissa Pettit says:

    Jennifer- praying for a successful recovery for your mom. May you all feel peace as she is in surgery today. Taylor- praying for clarity and peace for you. ♥️♥️

  16. Jennifer Ficklen says:

    I am forever thankful and grateful that my savior, my best friend, and my king laid down His life so that I could be reconciled to the family of God! Thank you Jesus for you gave it all! Amen!

  17. Mia Faith says:

    Jennifer, praying for your mom, your family and her team of caregivers/docs.

  18. Peggy Pappas says:

    Interesting that Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement just ended last night for the Jews. As I read this morning, it reminds me to pray for their eyes to be open to see their Messiah has come, perfectly fulfilled the requirements and there is no need for the 25 hr fasting, resting from work, wearing white, refraining from certain pleasures and other outward rituals to fulfill their outward obligations. I am so thankful that my Savior Jesus came, sacrificed His precious life blood for me. That I am forgiven and I am His.

  19. GramsieSue says:

    “No evidence of disease progression”
    Yessss! The wonderful words we wanted to hear! Steve’s scan was clear! So thankful! So two more months from now we go again, but in the meantime we praise God and live life. Hhhmmmmm
    That sounds like we only praise God when things go well. Which isn’t true. He walks with us through the darkest days as well. God is teaching me so much through this journey. Thank you for your prayers, ladies. Hugs to all ❤️

  20. Jane K says:

    Jennifer Loves Jesus, praying for your mom today and in the following days for complete healing and strength.

  21. Charlie says:

    TAYLOR: I’m so sorry for your heartbreak. It is so hard to navigate relationships period, long-distance ones even more so. Maybe this will work out ultimately, or maybe not, but right now, I pray you will find rest, insight, and relief from your anxiety. Breathe deeply and take a few walks if you can. I find Psalms to be tremendously comforting, too. Love will come.

  22. Kathy says:

    Jennifer, I’m praying for your mom. Keep us posted.

  23. Sarah Ritchie says:

    Jennifer I am praying for your mom this morning over here in California.

  24. Maria Baer says:

    Reading Leviticus, the “I love a spotless home” in me just thinks about all this blood everywhere. And is it clean afterwards, or let to dry? All the crazy questions have come to mind, but reading today’s devotional has brought it full circle. Yes my questions still come but they’re not that important because of the significance of the blood and sacrifices— how it all brings it forward to Jesus: the price to forgive sin is blood. And what an amazing love that, God knowing we couldn’t do this alone, made himself human in the form of His son Jesus, to be the sacrificial lamb to the sins of the world. And with his action “the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.” This is one of my most favorite verses in the Bible. Many people gloss over it, but it always stops me in my tracks because at that moment Jesus opened a direct line of communication with God for all of us. How wonderful is God’s love. Thank you Father, thank you Jesus, for loving us so much.

  25. Sarah Ritchie says:

    Amen Churchmouse, AMEN!

  26. Taylor says:

    Hi ladies. I’ve had some pretty rough days of anxiety the last few days. It’s exhausting. My long-distance relationship is the biggest contributing factor to my anxiety and sadly my boyfriend has told me he cannot support me in the way that I need him too, which really hurts. We’re taking a break until Saturday, but I don’t think this relationship is serving or benefitting either of us in this season. I’m surrendering it at the feet of Jesus. My heart is broken. I’m angry with God why He would bring someone who seemed so good into my life just to have it end like this. But even in my hurt and my anger and my sadness, God still meets me here. He never leaves me nor forsakes me. He will provide. He is the only hope I have. I truly appreciate your prayers <3

  27. Tera HensleyFleming says:

    How beautiful that “on this day, atonement will be made for you” (Lev. 16:30) was as much a prophecy as it was an instruction, since Jesus was crucified as our perfect sacrifice on the Day of Atonement.

  28. Angie Mills says:

    How the Day of Atonement reminds me of Jesus’ sacrificial death:

    1. On the Day of Atonement, only one person (the High Priest) could perform the sacrifices to make atonement for himself and the people of Israel. Jesus is our Great High Priest. He is the only acceptable sacrifice to make atonement for us.

    2. The High Priest had to be clothed in the holy garments and bathe before making atonement. Jesus Christ was holy and innocent, clothed in righteousness, when He made atonement for our sins.

    3. A young bull was sacrificed as a sin offering for the High Priest. No sacrifice was needed to make Jesus holy. He is holy. He is perfect, without any sin.

    4. A young goat was sacrificed as a sin offering for the people. Jesus, who knew no sin, became sin to make atonement for us.

    5. A live young goat was a offered as a scapegoat for the people. The High Priest laid his hands on the scapegoat and confessed all the people’s sins. The scapegoat was released outside of the camp. Our modern word “scapegoat” meaning “one that bears the blame for another” comes from this ritual. Jesus died for our sins outside of the city of Jerusalem. He is our Scapegoat, carrying our sins, and dying the death we deserve.

    6. The blood of the sin offering was sprinkled to make atonement for the mercy seat, the altar of incense, and the altar of burnt offering. Jesus’ blood makes atonement for us. He provided the way for us to fellowship freely with the Father. He sanctifies our prayers.

    7. The High Priest offered incense before he entered the Most Holy Place with the blood of the sin offerings to sprinkle on and before the mercy seat. On the night before He was crucified, Jesus prayed for His disciples and all of His followers to come.

  29. Cindy Christopher says:

    Praise God for he works all things for good

  30. Jessica Fehland says:

    Praying for your mom Jennifer ❤️

  31. Churchmouse says:

    “It is finished.” How grateful I am for this proclamation, this absolute fact. No more desperate, and failing, efforts to earn God’s forgiveness. No more lingering bloody stench from the sacrifices required. Instead I walk free in righteousness and breathe in the sweet fragrance of the indwelling Holy Spirit. All because of “It is finished.”

  32. Elaine Morgan says:

    I’m so grateful for the atoning blood of Jesus. For I am but a lowly sinner not worthy of His mercy and grace. But my Lord has unconditional love for me. My savior gave His life for me. The blood of Jesus washes me clean and I am forgiven. So astounding no words can describe the value of His sacrifice. How can I not want to follow Him? I’m so convicted of my sin this morning. How can I continue in my sin knowing all that has been done on my behalf?

  33. Aimee D-R says:

    Jennifer I join you in lifting your mom in prayer, covered by the perfect restoring blood of Jesus! In His healing name, Amen

  34. Searching says:


    And SHARON JERSEY GIRL – praying for your family

  35. Searching says:

    Those who don’t believe the truth of God and of Christ’s sacrifice and resurrection would likely view this book as nonsense.
    I believe! And for me, the seriousness of sin and the holiness of God are becoming more real each day. Not that I didn’t already know how God views sin, but I am thinking more about the awareness needed to recognize sin and avoid it as much as humanly possible. So many little ways it can sneak in. I cringe at how accepting and embracing the world is of sin.


    SUSAN LINCKS – praying for your surgery, I think that’s today.

    DIANE MOM – praying for you and your husband

    LINDA – thank you for the praise report on your rent situation!

  36. Jennifer Loves Jesus says:

    I come in humility and bow before the Lamb of God in prayer this morning for my mom. Lifting her to Jesus our Healer as she goes into surgery for ovarian cancer. She’s been so strong during her chemo and I’m praying for a successful surgery and full recovery. Praying for the peace of Jesus over her. May he calm her anxiety and fill her with His supernatural power to bring joy and hope to her and all of people we encounter at the hospital. In Christ. Amen.

  37. Kelly (NEO) says:

    From HRT:
    “But what about those sins that they didn’t even notice? How could they be rescued from the wickedness that escaped their conscious minds? Enter the annual Day of Atonement. On this day, the high priest would enter the holiest place, where the ark of the covenant rested, and he would make a sacrifice for all the sins of Israel. In this way, God’s people could be set at ease with the confidence that every ounce of sin had been covered. This was the promise: “Atonement will be made for you on this day to cleanse you, and you will be clean from all your sins before the LORD” (Leviticus 16:30).

    There were many sacrifices in Israel throughout the year, but this one had the greatest reach and sanctifying effect. Through this one sacrifice, the sins of the many were forgiven, which is why the apostle Paul would take up this very same image to explain the death of Jesus Christ (Romans 3:25–26). In Christ’s death, every one of your sins is covered over—past, present, and future.

    Whenever you wonder whether God could forgive you for something you’ve done, the answer is a resounding, “Yes!” And the reason for such confidence is that Jesus has once for all atoned for your sins by His sacrifice. There is nothing beyond His saving reach. There is peace of mind in Jesus. He is “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). Whatever fears you have that something in your past might keep you from the loving embrace of God the Father, you may put those fears to rest. The sacrifice of Jesus on your behalf is perfect and complete. You are forgiven.”

    Also wanted to point out that Aaron did not wear his normal clothing while making these offerings, but was dressed in just the linen like the other priests. This is a shadow of the things to come…our Perfect HigHigh Priest took on flesh and looked like us to make the final atonement for sin-stained humanity. Thank You, Jesus!

  38. Jo says:

    I was reminded of this scripture in Hebrews:
    “Therefore, brothers and sisters, 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 and with the full assurance that faith brings, 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. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:19-25
    It is our hearts that are sprinkled with the blood of Jesus not our heads, as it is in our heart that we must be changed, not just in our minds. Then our whole body is cleansed by that pure and life giving water. And then, having that cleansing from our sin we should encourage one another in the faith for our lives are just a speck in eternity.