Bible Study – The Day of Atonement

July 17 – 23, 2022

Key Text

“Also the tenth day of this seventh month shall be the Day of Atonement. It shall be a holy convocation for you; and you shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire to the Lord.” Leviticus 23:27

Study Help: The Great Controversy, 479–491


“Once a year, on the great Day of Atonement, the priest entered the most holy place for the cleansing of the sanctuary. The work there performed completed the yearly round of ministration.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 355



1.a. What gracious provision was made to atone for Adam’s sin? Genesis 3:15, 21

Note: “The instant Adam yielded to Satan’s temptation, and did the very thing which God had said he should not do, Christ, the Son of God, stood between the living and the dead, saying: ‘Let the punishment fall on Me. I will stand in man’s place. Give him another trial.’ Transgression placed the whole world under the death sentence. But in heaven there was heard a voice saying, ‘I have found a ransom.’ He who knew no sin was made sin for fallen man.” The Signs of the Times, June 27, 1900

1.b. What system was ordained by God after man sinned? Galatians 3:19. How did Adam feel when he had to offer the first sacrifice for sin?

Note: “As he [Adam] slew the innocent victim, he trembled at the thought that his sin must shed the blood of the spotless Lamb of God. This scene gave him a deeper and more vivid sense of the greatness of his transgression, which nothing but the death of God’s dear Son could expiate.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 68



2.a. What was the daily duty of the common priests in the sanctuary? Numbers 28:4; Hebrews 10:11

Note: “The ministration of the earthly sanctuary consisted of two divisions; the priests ministered daily in the holy place, while once a year the high priest performed a special work of atonement in the most holy, for the cleansing of the sanctuary. Day by day the repentant sinner brought his offering to the door of the tabernacle and, placing his hand upon the victim’s head, confessed his sins, thus in figure transferring them from himself to the innocent sacrifice. The animal was then slain.” The Great Controversy, 418

“Every morning and evening a lamb of a year old was burned upon the altar, with its appropriate meat offering, thus symbolizing the daily consecration of the nation to Jehovah, and their constant dependence upon the atoning blood of Christ. God expressly directed that every offering presented for the service of the sanctuary should be ‘without blemish.’ Exodus 12:5. The priests were to examine all animals brought as a sacrifice and were to reject every one in which a defect was discovered.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 352

2.b. Before the priests would enter the sanctuary, what were they ordained to do? Exodus 30:18–21; 40:30–32

Note: “Between the altar and the door of the tabernacle was the laver, which was also of brass, made from the mirrors that had been the freewill offering of the women of Israel. At the laver the priests were to wash their hands and their feet whenever they went into the sacred apartments, or approached the altar to offer a burnt offering unto the Lord.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 347, 348

“So the priests were not to enter the sanctuary with shoes upon their feet. Particles of dust cleaving to them would desecrate the holy place. They were to leave their shoes in the court before entering the sanctuary, and also to wash both their hands and their feet before ministering in the tabernacle or at the altar of burnt offering. Thus was constantly taught the lesson that all defilement must be put away from those who would approach into the presence of God.” Ibid., 350



3.a. What separated the two apartments, and what object was placed in the most holy place? Exodus 26:31–34; Hebrews 9:3–5

Note: “The gorgeous curtain which formed the ceiling, inwrought with figures of angels in blue and purple and scarlet, added to the beauty of the scene. And beyond the second veil was the holy Shekinah, the visible manifestation of God’s glory, before which none but the high priest could enter and live.” The Great Controversy, 414

“All the furniture of this [first] apartment looked like purest gold, and reflected the image of the one who entered that place. The curtain which separated these two apartments looked glorious. It was of different colors and material, with a beautiful border, with figures of gold wrought upon it, representing angels.” Spiritual Gifts, Vol. 1, 159

3.b. How did God manifest His presence among the children of Israel, especially in the sanctuary? Exodus 40:34, 35; Leviticus 16:2

Note: “Within the second veil was placed the ark of the testimony, and the beautiful and rich curtain was drawn before the sacred ark. This curtain did not reach to the top of the building. The glory of God, which was above the mercy seat, could be seen from both apartments, but in a much less degree from the first apartment. Directly before the ark, but separated by the curtain, was the golden altar of incense. The fire upon this altar was kindled by the Lord Himself, and was sacredly cherished by feeding it with holy incense, which filled the sanctuary with its fragrant cloud day and night. Its fragrance extended for miles around the tabernacle. When the priest offered the incense before the Lord, he looked to the mercy seat. Although he could not see it, he knew it was there; and as the incense arose like a cloud, the glory of the Lord descended upon the mercy seat, and filled the most holy place, and was visible in the holy place; and the glory often so filled both apartments that the priest was unable to officiate, and was obliged to stand at the door of the tabernacle.” The Spirit of Prophecy, Vol. 1, 273, 274

“Above the ark, and forming the cover to the sacred chest, was the mercy seat, a magnificent piece of workmanship, surmounted by two cherubim, one at each end, and all wrought of solid gold. In this apartment the divine presence was manifested in the cloud of glory between the cherubim.” The Great Controversy, 412



4.a. What special event took place on the tenth day of the seventh month? Leviticus 16:29–31; Numbers 29:7

Note: “Once a year, on the great Day of Atonement, the priest entered the most holy place for the cleansing of the sanctuary. The work there performed completed the yearly round of ministration.” The Great Controversy, 419

“On the tenth day of the seventh month the high priest entered the inner apartment, or most holy place, which he was forbidden, on pain of death, to enter at any other time. The cleansing of the sanctuary then performed completed the yearly round of service.” The Spirit of Prophecy, Vol. 4, 263

“Under the Mosaic system the cleansing of the sanctuary, or the great Day of Atonement, occurred on the tenth day of the seventh Jewish month (Leviticus 16:29–34), when the high priest, having made an atonement for all Israel, and thus removed their sins from the sanctuary, came forth and blessed the people.” The Great Controversy, 400

4.b. Before entering the most holy place, what was the high priest commanded to do? Leviticus 16:2–6, 16

Note: “Before the mercy seat God conversed with the high priest. If he remained an unusual time in the most holy, the people were often terrified, fearing that because of their sins or some sin of the priest, the glory of the Lord had slain him. But when the sound of the tinkling of the bells upon his garments was heard, they were greatly relieved. He then came forth and blessed the people.” The Spirit of Prophecy, Vol. 1, 275

“In the holy of holies the great I AM took up His abode, and no human being was permitted to enter there except by divine appointment. There, above the mercy seat, overshadowed by the wings of the cherubim, dwelt the Shekinah of His glory, the perpetual token of His presence; while the breastplate of the high priest, set with precious stones, made known from the sacred precincts of the sanctuary the solemn message of Jehovah to the people. Wonderful dispensation, when the Holy One, the Creator of the heavens and the earth, thus manifested His glory, and revealed His will to the children of men!” The Review and Herald, March 2, 1886



5.a. What was the meaning of the two goats taken on the Day of Atonement, and what was done to the goat chosen to be a sin offering? Leviticus 16:7, 8, 16

Note: “On the Day of Atonement two kids of the goats were brought to the door of the tabernacle, and lots were cast upon them, ‘one lot for the Lord, and the other lot for the scapegoat’ (Leviticus 16:8). The goat upon which fell the lot for the Lord was to be slain as a sin offering for the people.” The Great Controversy, 419

5.b. What happened to the scapegoat—Azazel—that was left alive? Leviticus 16:20–22. What did each of the two goats symbolize?

Note: “Christ’s work for the redemption of men and the purification of the universe from sin will be closed by the removal of sin from the heavenly sanctuary and the placing of these sins upon Satan, who will bear the final penalty.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 358

“When the ministration in the holy of holies had been completed, and the sins of Israel had been removed from the sanctuary by virtue of the blood of the sin offering, then the scapegoat was presented alive before the Lord… . In like manner, when the work of atonement in the heavenly sanctuary has been completed, then in the presence of God and heavenly angels and the hosts of the redeemed the sins of God’s people will be placed upon Satan; he will be declared guilty of all the evil which he has caused them to commit. And as the scapegoat was sent away into a land not inhabited, so Satan will be banished to the desolate earth, an uninhabited and dreary wilderness.” The Great Controversy, 658



1    Explain the atonement in type and antitype.

2    Name some facts showing the sacredness of the sanctuary service.

3    What was in the second apartment of the sanctuary, the holiest of all?

4    What reveals the great mercy of God in the sanctuary service?

5    What did the two goats represent?

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