Then Aaron shall cast lots for the two goats: one lot for the Lord and the other lot for the scapegoat. (Leviticus 16:8)
While there are certain elements of the Yom Kippur service that occurred frequently throughout the year, there are other elements that were performed only on this day and at no other time of the year. These unique particulars included the casting of lots for the two goats. One lot fell on the goat that would be offered upon the altar for the LORD and the other was to be assigned as the scapegoat. Furthermore, because this was a day that had ramifications for the entire nation, these particular elements were to be performed exclusively by the High Priest. Consequently, Yom Kippur came to be regarded as the most sacred day of the year.
Rabbinical literature accentuates the sanctity of the day by pointing out that the Hebrew spelling of the word השטן ha’satan — literally “the Adversary” — has a numerical value of 364. Throughout the year, the Adversary goes about making accusations against God’s people. In fact, it is the New Testament that identifies Satan as the one who brings accusations against “our brethren” before God night and day (Revelation 12:10). Seeing that a year contains 365 days and the value of the name Satan is 364, the rabbis surmise that there is one day that the Adversary is silenced and unable to make accusations against God’s people — that day is Yom Kippur.
It is on this day that atonement for sin is accomplished and the transgressions of the people are forgiven. Likewise, all of their iniquities are symbolically placed upon the scapegoat who is then led out into the wilderness carrying the presence of sin with him. In short, the belief is that, on Yom Kippur, God refuses to listen to the Adversary’s accusations and that, in fact, he is powerless to present a case against us.
As followers of Messiah, every day is Yom Kippur in the sense that we can petition the Father for forgiveness and find solace from our adversaries. At the same time, it is important that we do not continue in a lifestyle or mindset that would give the accuser of the brethren ammunition to use against us. In other words, having been forgiven of the guilt of sin, let us make certain that the presence of sin stays far away so that Satan has nothing in us. Let’s do our part to make sure his mouth stays shut.
Blessings and Shalom,