This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. You may be familiar with this verse from Psalm 118. I think I have quoted it a thousand times. However, I never realized the significance of it until Beth Moore taught about the Passover meal one January at the Passion conference. In Matthew 26:30 we are told: When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. Wow! If you read Psalm 118 with the thoughts of Jesus leading His disciples through the last Passover He would observe on earth, it is eye-opening. Jesus fulfilled that Psalm on that Day. It was The Day that God chose for that hour when every sin would be wiped away. On The Day, every knee will bow before Him. Some will rejoice in it; others will mourn for they didn’t recognize Him as the Messiah who came to take away their sins.
God set certain days into His calendar which have great significance. He called every Sabbath holy. He set times of festivals for the coming together as His people to remember all He has done. Three of those festivals are significant and must be honored in Jerusalem. The men were supposed to make the trip to Jerusalem. I must say I know very little about these festivals. I didn’t really know much about these fall festivals until this year when the emphasis was on the Blood Moons falling on the festival days.
One day stands out among these fall festivals. The Day of Atonement. Today is the observance of the Day of Atonement. The significance is found in Leviticus 16. If you are like me, you might have breezed through Leviticus when reading through the Bible. There are just too many rules to follow about cleansing and such; do this not that type of thing in this particular book. However, God put Leviticus in the Bible for all of us to understand the depths of sacrifice which must be made for our relationship with Him. We can’t do it by ourselves. There must be atonement for our sins before we can approach His Holiness.
A sin offering must be made on the Day of Atonement. Aaron had to make himself clean before he went in to present the offerings before the Altar of the Lord. Aaron was to cast lots for two goats – one for the Lord and the other for the scapegoat (Lev 16:8). The Lord’s goat would be sacrificed as a sin offering. The goat chosen as a scapegoat would be brought to Aaron. He would then lay his hands on the head of the live goat and confess over it all the wickedness and rebellion of the Israelites – all their sins – and put them on the goat’s head. He shall send the goat away into the desert in the care of a man appointed for the task. The goat will carry on itself all their sins to a solitary place; and the man shall release it in the desert (Lev 16:21-22). Does this sound familiar to you?
God told Moses “this is to be a lasting ordinance for you. Because on this day atonement will be made for you, to cleanse you. Then before the Lord, you will be clean from all your sins. It is a Sabbath of rest, and you must deny yourselves; it is a lasting ordinance. (Lev 16:29-31) With Jesus, He fulfilled every detail of this Atonement. We no longer have to have a scapegoat with the sins of the people on its head. Our sins were nailed to the cross once and for all. However, there is significance in the observance of this Holy Day. God said – this is to be a lasting ordinance for you. Deny yourself – a day of rest. Fasting and prayer. A holy day.
There must be significance in this Day. It is God’s holy day. It is the Day the Lord has made; we must rejoice and be glad in it! We celebrate Jesus’ birth and we observe His death at special times, but do we deny ourselves anything on those days? Do we set them aside as holy days? This is the one that God calls us to be set aside; to remember all He has done for us. He has taken away all our sins so that we can have a relationship with Him through Jesus. This is the Day the Lord has made – Rejoice! Be glad for all He has done! Take the time today to remember and honor Him in some way. Fast. Pray. Whatever the Holy Spirit leads you to do today. Do it in the Name of the Lord Jesus – our scapegoat, our perfect Lamb sacrificed for your sins.
The Lord is God, and he has made his light shine upon us. With boughs in hand, join in the festal procession up to the horns of the altar. You are my God, and I will give you thanks; you are my God, and I will exalt you. Give thanks to the Lord, for his is good; his love endures forever. Psalm 118:27-29