Yom Kippur and Jesus Christ An Exposition of Leviticus 16:1-34 -- By: S. Lewis Johnson, Jr.

Journal: Emmaus Journal
Volume: EMJ 20:1 (Summer 2011)
Article: Yom Kippur and Jesus Christ An Exposition of Leviticus 16:1-34
Author: S. Lewis Johnson, Jr.

Yom Kippur and Jesus Christ
An Exposition of Leviticus 16:1-341

S. Lewis Johnson, Jr.

Lewis Johnson served as a teaching elder and regularly ministered the Word at Believers Chapel in Dallas, Texas for more than thirty years. During his academic career he held professorships in New Testament and Systematic Theology at Dallas Theological Seminary and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois. At the time of his death in 2004, he was Professor Emeritus of New Testament Literature and Exegesis at Dallas Seminary. Both MP3 files and printed notes of Dr. Johnson’s sermons and theological lectures may be downloaded from the website of the SLJ Institute «www.sljinstitute.net».


The Day of Atonement, or יוֹם כִּפּוּר (yôm kippûr), to use the Hebrew name of the day,2 was the most important day in the Jewish ritual calendar. It was the greatest feast day, occurring once a year and looking forward to her future national day of atonement. The Talmud’s treatise

on the day was simply called (יוֹמָא, yômāʾ), or “The Day,” which expressed its importance.3

There were seven feasts in the festal calendar. The first was Passover, which occurred in the fourteenth day of the month of Nisan. The second was the Feast of Unleavened Bread, on the fifteenth day of Nisan. The third was First Fruits, occurring on the sixteenth. The fourth was Pentecost, which occurred seven weeks later, at about the time of our May to June. The fifth was Trumpets, occurring in the seventh month, or on the first of Tishri. The sixth was the Day of Atonement, on the tenth of the same month, and the final feast was Tabernacles, which occurred on the fifteenth day of Tishri.

The lessons of the Day of Atonement are many and varied. It was first and foremost a ceremony that taught that all the sacrifices composing the Levitical system, faithfully carried out through the year, did not avail for the removal of sin. If the system’s many sacrifices removed sin, why was this day necessary (cf. Heb. 10:1-3)?

Second, the ceremony, in which the high priest was enjoined to enter the Holy of Holies for the only time during the year, taught that the true goal of worship is not reached until the worshipper, in his representative, the high priest, has free access into the presence of the...

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