The Old Testament sheds light and provides context for God’s redemptive plan for us. And it includes bloodshed.
Sin has a penalty or price—death (Romans 6:23). Someone or something must pay the price for sin. The book of Leviticus sets up a system for this of payment and puts an emphasis on the Day of Atonement.
Atonement, within religious context is “reparation or expiation for sin” or “the act of making amends or reparation for guilt or wrongdoing.” The Day of Atonement from Leviticus 16 was one day per year the High Priest would carry out the rituals, per instruction from the Lord, to cleanse himself, and then the people of Israel. Take a moment to read through the chapter to get a picture of how the process looked for Aaron to complete the Day of Atonement.
This day happened once a year and reminded the people their sin needed to be atoned for, forgiven, to make amends for their wrongdoing. The sacrifices made would not be a permanent atonement. Nothing could permanently cover or pay for the sins of the people.
But a new covenant was coming.
In Jeremiah chapter 31, we’re told of this new covenant. It’s not like the covenant the Lord made in the past. Instead, the Lord says He will put His law within “them” (His people), and He will write it on their hearts.
The Lord goes on to say He will forgive their iniquity and will remember their sins no more. The annual Day of Atonement will be no more.
In the New Testament, Hebrews 10:16-18 reads much like the passage in Jeremiah, saying, “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws on their hearts, and write them on their minds.” Then he adds, “I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.”
Jesus is the one who fulfills the prophecy written in Jeremiah. He permanently paid the price for our sins by dying and then coming back to life.
Because of Jesus, the Day of Atonement is gone. There’s nothing left to be paid or covered.
We have a King willing to die for us, and that makes me want to live for Him.