At sundown, we begin Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. In the Scriptures, the Israelites were commanded by the Lord to fast and pray and bring their sacrifices to the Temple in Jerusalem, and then to ask for the Lord’s forgiveness for all the sins they and their nation had committed that year. Only the sacrifice of a perfect animal, done with a humble, repentant heart, and with faith in God’s mercy and grace, would bring about forgiveness of sins.
“For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life.” (Leviticus 17:11)
“In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” (Hebrews 9:22)
The problem is: What does one do to receive atonement in the modern age, without a Temple? How can one make sacrifices and receive forgiveness of sins — and thus the right to enter the holiness of heaven and live with the Lord in heaven forever and ever — without being able to sacrifice a perfect lamb at the Temple in Jerusalem, where the Lord designated all sacrifices to occur? The destruction of the Temple by the Romans in 70 A.D. was a huge blow to Judaism, because it deprived Jews of the place to receive atonement from God.
The good news is what the Hebrew Prophet Daniel told us in Daniel 9:24-26. He told us that:
the Messiah (or “Annointed One”) would come at a certain time in history “to atone for wickedness” and “to bring in everlasting righteousness”
the Messiah would be “cut off and will have nothing”
then Jerusalem and the Temple would be destroyed — as Daniel noted, foreign invaders “will come and will destroy the city and the sanctuary”
Think about that. Daniel told us something extraordinary — that a coming Messiah would bring atonement for our sins before the Temple would be destroyed. That, in retrospect, makes sense, right? Why would the Lord take away the Temple before providing a new way for atonement?