The Day of Atonement in the Book of Revelation
Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Arts, Nursing & Theology
Dr. Steve Thompson
Dr. David Tasker
Dr. Wendy Jackson
ANZSRC / FoR Code
220401 Christian Studies (incl. Biblical Studies and Church History)
The Levitical Day of Atonement (DA) was a day of penitence, confession and restoration for Israelites of loyal character and a day of covenant renewal for Israel. On this day, sin was removed from the sanctuary through sacrificial blood and the dismissal of the goat for Azazel which carried all sin away and rendered the people of Israel "clean before the Lord" (Lev 16:30).
As it became ingrained in the Jewish consciousness, the DA continued to reverberate in the Jewish pseudepigraphal literature making its way into the writings of the NT, where its typology is illuminated by "the Christ event." Surprisingly, despite its central place in the life of Israel and its impact on the NT, almost no scholarly attention has been dedicated to exploring the intersection of the DA and the book of Revelation. By utilizing a coherent inner-biblical hermeneutical method, this study explores how the themes surrounding the DA helped shape Revelation's message. In Revelation 1 , Jesus is introduced as a high priest wearing DA clothing; the visions then move to the theme of holiness vs. uncleanness which suffused the DA's rituals and provide a framework for the letters to the seven churches (Revelation 2-3); the DA blood of the Lamb (Revelation 4, 5) whitens the robes of the saints (Revelation 7, 14); the intercession at the altar of incense (Revelation 8-9) protects the followers of the Lamb while unleashing judgement on defiant mankind (Revelation 6, 15, 16); the ritual of the goat for Azazel functions as a type of the eschatological judgement on the dragon and his minions (Revelation 17-20) and the final eradication of sin. Finally, the descent of the new Jerusalem (Revelation 21) - whose square shape parallels the earthly Most Holy Place - inaugurates a new earth free from sin where, like the high priest on the DA, "his servants will worship him", dressed in white before the heavenly "mercy seat" and "reign for ever and ever" (Rev 22:3, 5).
Reis, A. (2018). The day of Atonement in the Book of Revelation (Doctoral thesis, Avondale College of Higher Education, Cooranbong, Australia). Retrieved from https://research.avondale.edu.au/theses_phd/11/