Yom Kippur – Israel’s Day of Atonement
By David L. Cooper
Just a week after the celebration of Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year’s Day, there comes the beautiful and significant Yom Kippur, or Day of Atonement. This is the climax of the ten days of penitential heart-searching engaged in by those of Jewish faith. IT is a day which has been observed ever since its ritual was first laid down in the sixteenth chapter of the Book of Leviticus.
The offerings of the Day of Atonement were different from the individualistic offerings which had already been prescribed, for they were nationalistic in scope.
“Of all the offerings that were brought by the children of Israel, those of the great Day of Atonement stand out most conspicuously. This was the sin offering par excellence of the Mosaic system. Of all days in the year the Day of Atonement is most important. It occurs on the tenth day of the seventh month (Tishri). The ritual of this day was most impressive and meaningful. The ceremonies are not to be confused with the offerings about which we have already been studying. They refer to the individual who was guilty of sin or who was grateful for blessings and favors. In contrast with these personal offerings, let us remember, were those of the Day of Atonement which have a national aspect. This thought cannot be emphasized too strongly. Unless one realizes this fact, he cannot see clearly the full import of this ritualism and understand its prophetic significance.”
The above quotation is taken from Dr. Cooper’s book, What Men Must Believe. In Chapter XII, under the title, “The Atonement,” he gives a thorough analysis of this great doctrine. Pages 316-443 are devoted to it. Over 15 pages of this chapter are given to a discussion of the ritualism of the ritualism of the great Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) itself.