In our study of Leviticus chapter sixteen, we look at the Yom HaKippurim (Day of Atonements) which points us to the work of our great high priest who is Yeshua Messiah.
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ADONAI spoke with Moshe after the death of Aharon's two sons, when they tried to sacrifice before ADONAI and died; ADONAI said to Moshe, "Tell your brother Aharon not to come at just any time into the Holy Place beyond the curtain, in front of the ark-cover which is on the ark, so that he will not die; because I appear in the cloud over the ark-cover.
This passage gives us a reminder of the events that happened in chapter 10 and the effects of improper worship. Then, God gives a warning for Aharon about entering the Holy of Holies and he is told that he cannot just wander in anytime that he desires to worship God. Once again, we are reminded that, at this time, God dwelled in the cloud over the mercy seat which covered the ark of the covenant in the Holy of Holies inside the tent of meeting.
"Here is how Aharon is to enter the Holy Place: with a young bull as a sin offering and a ram as a burnt offering. He is to put on the holy linen tunic, have the linen shorts next to his bare flesh, have the linen sash wrapped around him, and be wearing the linen turban - they are the holy garments. He is to bathe his body in water and put them on. "He is to take from the community of the people of Isra'el two male goats for a sin offering and one ram for a burnt offering.
Here, we see that much has to be done before Aharon can enter the Holy of Holies and it all begins with collecting the offerings for himself and the other priests as well as the offerings for the rest of the people of Israel. This is a reminder that all have sinned and require atonement and redemption. Next, we see that he had to be immersed and put on the right clothing with this clothing being set aside just for this purpose.
Aharon is to present the bull for the sin offering which is for himself and make atonement for himself and his household. He is to take the two goats and place them before ADONAI at the entrance to the tent of meeting. Then Aharon is to cast lots for the two goats, one lot for ADONAI and the other for 'Az'azel. Aharon is to present the goat whose lot fell to ADONAI and offer it as a sin offering. But the goat whose lot fell to 'Az'azel is to be presented alive to ADONAI to be used for making atonement over it by sending it away into the desert for 'Az'azel.
Here, we find out why there was two goats brought for the sin offering instead of just one as usual. We see that lots were used to decide which goat was slaughtered for the sin offering and which was to be what we call the scapegoat. The scapegoat would be led into the wilderness for judgement and it speaks of the sins of the community going away through the process of atonement.
"Aharon is to present the bull of the sin offering for himself; he will make atonement for himself and his household; he is to slaughter the bull of the sin offering which is for himself. He is to take a censer full of burning coals from the altar before ADONAI and, with his hands full of ground, fragrant incense, bring it inside the curtain. He is to put the incense on the fire before ADONAI, so that the cloud from the incense will cover the ark-cover which is over the testimony, in order that he not die. He is to take some of the bull's blood and sprinkle it with his finger on the ark-cover toward the east; and in front of the ark-cover he is to sprinkle some of the blood with his finger seven times.
Now, we see details of what Aharon was to do inside the tent of meeting. First, the bull was slaughtered for a sin offering for him and the rest of the priests and then he was to take coals from the altar that was in the holy place along with a handful of the special incense. Inside the Holy of Holies, he was to put the incense on the altar which would create a cloud so that it would cover the mercy seat where God would appear. Then, he was to sprinkle blood from the bull on the east side of the ark as well as in the front and he was to do this seven times.
"Next, he is to slaughter the goat of the sin offering which is for the people, bring its blood inside the curtain and do with its blood as he did with the bull's blood, sprinkling it on the ark-cover and in front of the ark-cover. He will make atonement for the Holy Place because of the uncleannesses of the people of Isra'el and because of their transgressions - all their sins; and he is to do the same for the tent of meeting which is there with them right in the middle of their uncleannesses.
We see that Aharon is to do the same thing with the blood from the goat that was offered as the sin offering and we are told that the reason was to make atonement for the tent of meeting as well as all of the sins of the people. This atonement would purify the place and the people so that God could dwell there with the people.
No one is to be present in the tent of meeting from the time he enters the Holy Place to make atonement until the time he comes out, having made atonement for himself, for his household and for the entire community of Isra'el.
Here, we see that it was the sole responsibility of the high priest to perform the work associated with atonement as nobody else was allowed in the tent of meeting during this time. This is a reminder to us that it was only through the work of Yeshua Messiah that our sins are forgiven; there is no other way.
Then he is to go out to the altar that is before ADONAI and make atonement for it; he is to take some of the bull's blood and some of the goat's blood and put it on all the horns of the altar. He is to sprinkle some of the blood on it with his finger seven times, thus purifying it and setting it apart from the uncleannesses of the people of Isra'el.
Next, Aharon was to make atonement for the altar which was outside the tent of meeting using blood from the bull and the goat. Once again, we see that the blood is sprinkled seven times and we are reminded that, throughout the Bible, the number seven refers to holiness and sanctification.
"When he has finished atoning for the Holy Place, the tent of meeting and the altar, he is to present the live goat. Aharon is to lay both his hands on the head of the live goat and confess over it all the transgressions, crimes and sins of the people of Isra'el; he is to put them on the head of the goat and then send it away into the desert with a man appointed for the purpose. The goat will bear all their transgressions away to some isolated place, and he is to let the goat go in the desert.
This Day of Atonements continues with the scapegoat after the atonements have been made for the Holy Place, tent of meeting, and the altar. We see that there is a transfer of the sins from Aharon to the goat as he places his hands on its head. Once the sins are transferred, a man that has been set aside for the purpose leads the goat into the wilderness where it is released.
"Aharon is to go back into the tent of meeting, where he is to remove the linen garments he put on when he entered the Holy Place, and he is to leave them there. Then he is to bathe his body in water in a holy place, put on his other clothes, come out and offer his burnt offering and the burnt offering of the people, thus making atonement for himself and for the people. He is to make the fat of the sin offering go up in smoke on the altar. "The man who let go the goat for 'Az'azel is to wash his clothes and bathe his body in water; afterwards, he may return to the camp. "The bull for the sin offering and the goat for the sin offering, whose blood was brought in to make atonement in the Holy Place, is to be carried outside the camp; there they are to burn up completely their hides, meat and dung. The person burning them is to wash his clothes and bathe his body in water; afterwards, he may return to the camp.
In this passage we see that Aharon was to remove the clothes that he wore for the atonement and leave them in the holy place. He was to be bathed by immersion in living water and then put on his normal priestly clothes before going out to the altar and making the burnt offerings for himself and the people of Israel. We also see that there were people that helped with the service outside the tent of meeting and, when their service was done, they also had to wash their clothes and bathe in living water.
"It is to be a permanent regulation for you that on the tenth day of the seventh month you are to deny yourselves and not do any kind of work, both the citizen and the foreigner living with you. For on this day, atonement will be made for you to purify you; you will be clean before ADONAI from all your sins. It is a Shabbat of complete rest for you, and you are to deny yourselves. "This is a permanent regulation.
This Day of Atonements was to be observed every year on the tenth day of the seventh month and, in this timing, we see that the purpose was to restore complete holiness to the community of witnesses that is the people of Israel. We also see that this day is a High Sabbath meaning it does not matter if it falls on the regular Sabbath day or not; it is still observed as a Sabbath with rest replacing work and, in this case, it also involves fasting for the people. Further, we see that this is a permanent regulation which means that, even though the sacrifices are not required, we see kingdom principles and the day is to be marked and remembered. We are reminded that purity is the preparation for blessing.
The cohen anointed and consecrated to be cohen in his father's place will make the atonement; he will put on the linen garments, the holy garments; he will make atonement for the Especially Holy Place; he will make atonement for the tent of meeting and the altar; and he will make atonement for the cohanim and for all the people of the community. This is a permanent regulation for you, to make atonement for the people of Isra'el because of all their sins once a year." Moshe did as ADONAI had ordered him.
This passage speaks of the high priest being anointed for this purpose and we are reminded that the word for anointed comes from the same word as messiah. This all points to Yeshua Messiah and His work on behalf of the Father to make permament atonement for all of our sins.