“For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year, make perfect those who draw near (Hebrews 10:1).”
The Day of Atonement is the shadow that proves the substance of the true form; in this case, the “true” being the sacrificial death of Jesus. A great study is to read how the writer of the book of Hebrews looks back upon the Day of Atonement, in particular chapters 7-10. A quick summary below highlights some of the “shadow” and how we see the “true form” in Christ.
Aaron brought the blood of animals
Jesus brought his own blood (9:12)
Aaron entered an earthly tent
Jesus entered a more perfect tent, a heavenly tabernacle (9:11, 24)
Aaron offered a sacrifice for his own sins,
Jesus was without sin (9:14 – the perfect sacrifice without “blemish”)
Aaron offered a sacrifice for the sins of a nation,
Jesus offered himself for all (9:26)
Aaron offered sacrifices repeatedly because of the persistence of sin,
Jesus was the final, one-time, for all, for eternity, sacrifice (9:12, 25-26; 10:11-12)
The Day of Atonement prefigured Christ’s crucifixion. As his flesh was torn, so also was the veil once separating us from the very presence of God. We see the efficacy of his atoning work through God’s precious invitation, now, such that we can say, “we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is through his flesh, since we have a great priest over the house of God (Heb. 10:19).”
Christ is our perfect High Priest, bringing a perfect sacrifice, effecting a perfect faith (he being the author and perfecter of our faith – Heb. 12:2), allowing us to draw near to God with confidence.
1 Peter 3:18
“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit”