Leviticus 16:2-5,20-22,29-32 (ESV) and the LORD said to Moses, “Tell Aaron your brother not to come at any time into the Holy Place inside the veil, before the mercy seat that is on the ark, so that he may not die. For I will appear in the cloud over the mercy seat. But in this way Aaron shall come into the Holy Place: with a bull from the herd for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering. He shall put on the holy linen coat and shall have the linen undergarment on his body, and he shall tie the linen sash around his waist, and wear the linen turban; these are the holy garments. He shall bathe his body in water and then put them on. And he shall take from the congregation of the people of Israel two male goats for a sin offering, and one ram for a burnt offering… “And when he has made an end of atoning for the Holy Place and the tent of meeting and the altar, he shall present the live goat. And Aaron shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, and confess over it all the iniquities of the people of Israel, and all their transgressions, all their sins. And he shall put them on the head of the goat and send it away into the wilderness by the hand of a man who is in readiness. The goat shall bear all their iniquities on itself to a remote area, and he shall let the goat go free in the wilderness… “And it shall be a statute to you forever that in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall afflict yourselves and shall do no work, either the native or the stranger who sojourns among you. For on this day shall atonement be made for you to cleanse you. You shall be clean before the LORD from all your sins. It is a Sabbath of solemn rest to you, and you shall afflict yourselves; it is a statute forever. And the priest who is anointed and consecrated as priest in his father’s place shall make atonement, wearing the holy linen garments.
We arrive at an annual tradition that served to atone for the sins of God’s chosen ones and this was a carnival of forgiveness of sins for an entire nation at the same time.
The question that comes to mind is why do we not mark it if we are followers of this same God and have we missed God’s clear instructions to us?
The two sons of Aaron who died before this event are the same ones mentioned in Leviticus 10 and God’s caution to Aaron was for his own safety for he bore in himself sins that would cause his death when he entered the veil or the Holy of Holies.
On the day of Atonement, the high priest was required to wash himself and wear the holy garments of linen and then to offer the sacrifice of the ram and two goats procured from the ones who were being atoned for. Would that suffice to wipe out our sins?
Hebrews 10:1,3 (ESV) 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. But in these sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year.
One goat was sacrificed while the other carried the sins of the entire nation of Israel, which were confessed by the high priest before God, and it was then sent away into the wilderness.
When we look at our lives today, we seem to be living in sin or carrying the burden of sins and don’t we wish that our sins could be atoned for and we could have a clean slip of life without the burden of our guilt on us?
The whole ritual of sacrificing animals is gruesome and traumatic to endure but wouldn’t it be better them than us going through it and thereby we get to live without the scarring of sin in our lives?
In Jesus, we have the High Priest whom God required to go into the Holy of Holies for us because He is God’s only son and is the only person who can enter the veil because He is sinless.
His garments were linen and were seamless as was required of the High Priest and also recorded in John 19:23-24 (ESV) When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his garments and divided them into four parts, one part for each soldier; also his tunic. But the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom, so they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it shall be.” This was to fulfill the Scripture which says, “They divided my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.” So the soldiers did these things.
He is the first goat that was sacrificed and His blood is upon the mercy seat and the altar and it is a picture of Christ dying for us.
He is also the second goat that bears the sins of the nation and was sent out into the wilderness. The atonement is complete with His sacrifice and His bearing of our sins.
John the baptist recognized Jesus and his statement is recorded in John 1:29 (ESV) The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”
When Jesus entered heaven, He entered into the Holy of Holies for us as was required. Hebrews 9:7 (ESV) reads, but into the second only the high priest goes, and he but once a year, and not without taking blood, which he offers for himself and for the unintentional sins of the people.
The High Priest in the Old Testament would hopefully come out after the atonement but Jesus continues to be before God the Father and continues to intercede for us before God.
What is needed for us to receive this permanent pardon is our willingness to receive Christ’s sacrifice as the final payment for our sins and our hope is in His resurrection and the fact that He continues to mediate for us before God.
The question that really needs to be asked is if we are willing to accept Jesus and His sacrifice as the atonement for our sins?
For those of us who have been saved by His shed blood, the question we are asked is if we live Holy lives? 1 Peter 1:15-16 (ESV) but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
In His Loving Service,
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