06: Day of Atonement – Thought Starters
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[Thought questions for The Day of Atonement November 6, 2013]

Image © Pacific Press from GoodSalt.com

Image © Pacific Press from GoodSalt.com

1. Our High Priest.  Who were the only two human participants in the Day of Atonement? Why were the other priests required to leave the immediate area? Can you think of at least one reason why the priest performed every ritual alone? What did the laying aside of his ornamental and symbolic clothing stand for? Is there a spiritual significance to his garment being made of linen? See Revelation 19:8. How was linen used in those days?

2. Jesus and the atonement. What connection in Jesus’ life do we see in the actions of the atonement? See John 13:14 and 2 Corinthians 5:4. How much did the people depend on the priest’s success in the Atonement ceremony? How much should we rely on Jesus’ work in our behalf in determining our salvation?

3. Azazel. Why are we fascinated by the role of the “second goat” in the atonement ceremonies? What if anything did the ritual of dealing with Azazel, the second goat, have to do with the ritual cleansing for leprosy as described in Leviticus 14:1-7. Why do you think the goat was selected by lot rather than by an act of judgment on the part of the earthly priest. See Leviticus 16:9.

4. No blood shed by the second goat. Of the two goats, Azazel remained alive. None of his blood was shed for the sins of the people. Why is this significant? How did the ritual transfer of sin by laying hands on the head of the goat differ from the sinner’s laying his hands on his sin offering throughout the year? Another goat is offered in Leviticus 4:24. How is this different from Azazel bearing the sins of the people? Azazel is led into the wilderness never to return. Whom does Azazel represent? See Revelation 20:1-3. Could we have salvation without Azazel? Does Azazel fill a vital role in the ending of sin? Discuss.

5. Consequences. Our lesson guide contains this strong statement: “Satan never, in any way, bears sin for us as a substitute. Jesus alone has done that, and it is blasphemy to think that Satan had any part in our redemption.” Have you ever heard someone hint that Azazel played a key, although disgusting, role in our salvation? How would you respond to such a comment?

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