An act by which satisfaction is made for a crime and the liability to punishment for it is cancelled. It supposes penitence and faith on the sinner’s part. Among the Jews, expiation was effected by a divinely appointed and typical system of sacrifices, all pointing to Christ. The New Testament shows Him to be the true sin-offering for mankind, "the Lamb of God," "our Passover," offering "his own blood," and putting away "sin by the sacrifice of himself," John 1:29 1 Corinthians 5:7 Ephesians 1:7 Hebrews 9:26.
THE DAY OF EXPIATION, OR ATONEMENT, was a yearly solemnity, observed with rest and fasting on the tenth day of Tisri, five days before the feast of tabernacles, Leviticus 23:7 25:9. The ceremonies of this all-important day are minutely described in Leviticus 16:1-34. On this day alone the high priest entered the Most Holy Place, Hebrews 9:7; but the various rites of the day required him to enter several times. First with the golden censer and a vessel filled with incense. Then with the blood of the bullock, which he had offered for his own sins and those of all the priests, in which he dipped his finger, and sprinkled towards the veil of the tabernacle eight times; and having mixed it with the blood of the bullock, he sprinkled again towards horns of the altar of incense seven times, and once above it towards the east; after which, having again left the sanctuary and taken with him the basins of blood, he poured out the whole on the floor of the altar of burnt-offering. The fourth time he entered to bring out the censer and vessel of incense; and having returned, he washed his hands and performed the other services of the day. The ceremony of the scapegoat also took place on this day. Two goats were set apart, one of which was sacrificed to the Lord, while the other, called the azazel or scapegoat, which was determined by lot to be set at liberty, was sent into the desert burdened with the sins of the people. All these solemn rites pointed to Christ, and in every age there were many believers who had spiritual discernment of their sacred meaning, Hebrews 9:1-11:40. They looked unto Him whom they had pierced, and mourned. As this day of expiation was the great fast day of the Jewish church, so godly sorrow for sin characterizes the Christian’s looking unto the Lamb of God, and "the rapture of pardon" is mingled with "penitent tears."