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Bible Pathways 02/07/2002

February 07

Read Leviticus 16 -- 18

In Today's Reading:

Three vital spiritual truths are revealed -- atonement, sacrifice, and holiness. We must know their meaning in order to understand their fulfillment in the life of Jesus. The key verse is 17:11. The most important day in the Hebrew calendar is described.

Verses for Today:

Aaron. . . . shall take of the congregation of the children of Israel two kids of the goats for a sin offering. . . . And Aaron shall offer his bullock of the sin offering, which is for himself. . . . he shall take the two goats, and present them before the Lord. . . . And . . . cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the Lord. . . . Then shall he kill the goat of the sin offering, that is for the people, and bring his blood within the veil . . . and sprinkle it upon the Mercy Seat . . . he shall make an atonement (covering). . . . for all the congregation of Israel. . . . And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him . . . all their sins . . . and shall send him away . . . into the wilderness (Leviticus 16:3).


Day of Atonement; the scapegoat; the eating of blood forbidden; civil and religious laws; immorality forbidden.

One goat was sacrificed upon the altar as a Sin Offering for the people. Then Aaron laid his hands upon the head of the remaining goat, the scapegoat, and confessed the sins of the congregation, thereby transferring their sins to the innocent scapegoat. It was then led away into the wilderness (Leviticus 16:22) where it disappeared from sight. Two goats were necessary to express the twofold aspect of our Lord's redemptive work on the cross. One goat was sacrificed to represent how He would come to die for our sins. The scapegoat was sent into the wilderness to show the precious mercy of God in removing the sins of His people from His sight. After the resurrection of Christ, the sins of all believers, from Old Testament history onward, would be forever removed: As far as the east is from the west (Psalms 103:12; compare Hebrews 10:17).

Without Jesus' resurrection we would still be in our sins. The word atonement means to cover sin, or to secure the sinner from guilt and punishment. It conveys the idea of God's wrath being appeased, but it stops short of inferring full and complete satisfaction for sin -- that awaited Jesus' undefiled blood sacrificed on the cross. The word atonement is used only once in the English New Testament. In Romans 5:11, the Greek word translated as atonement means reconciliation. So, while "atonement" temporarily covered sin, Christ's blood alone made it possible for man to be fully "reconciled" -- brought into fellowship with God.

On the Day of Atonement, Israel knew its sins had been covered for one more year. How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? (Hebrews 9:14).

For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that makes atonement for your souls (Leviticus 17:11). The blood is sacred because it contains life. Therefore, God has said that whoever eats any manner of blood; I will even set My face against that soul (17:10).

A Thought from Proverbs: Hatred stirs up strifes: but love covers all sins (10:12).

Christ Revealed:

Through the two goats sacrificed on the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16:8). John saw Jesus coming to him, and said, Behold the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29). Now in Christ Jesus you who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ (Ephesians 2:13).

Word Studies:

16:4 mitre = turban; 16:8 scapegoat = goat of sin removal; 16:19 hallow it = dedicate it only to God; 16:21 a fit man = a man appointed to do it; 16:31 afflict your souls = humble yourselves, practice self-denial; 17:4 cut off = executed; 17:15 of itself = naturally; 18:3 ordinances = laws; 18:6 uncover their nakedness = have sexual intercourse; 18:23 confusion = perversion a violation of nature.

Prayer Needs:

Government Officials: Rep. Richard (Doc) Hastings (WA) and Sen. Herbert Kohl (WI) · Pray for the President · Country: Seychelles (79,000) a group of islands in the Indian Ocean between Madagascar and India · Major languages: English and French · Religious freedom · 89% Roman Catholic; 8% Protestant · Prayer Suggestion: Pray not to be envious of others (Psalms 37:1).

Optional Reading: Mark 10

Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 5:8

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