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Bible Pathways 2/7/2001

February 7

Leviticus 16 -- 18

On the annual Day of Atonement, Aaron the High Priest was first required to present a young bullock as sacrifice for his own sins before he could proceed with the goat offering for the sins of the people. God had said that Aaron shall come into the Holy Place: with a young bullock for a sin offering, and a ram for a burnt offering. . . . And he shall take the two goats, and present them before the Lord. . . . Then shall he kill the goat of the sin offering. . . . And Aaron shall . . . confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel. . . . and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness. . . . For on that day shall the priest make an atonement for you, to cleanse you, that you may be clean from all your sins before the Lord (Leviticus 16:3,7,15,21-22,30). For this solemn occasion, Aaron had to lay aside all the prestigious garments of his high-priestly office. He then put on plain white linen garments and outwardly looked the same as all the other priests even though he still remained the high priest. So too our Lord Jesus Christ laid aside all His glory that He had with the Father in Heaven and put upon Himself the plain robe of humanity to become a Man like us.
Once the High Priest's sins had been covered, he proceeded toward the Holy of Holies to sprinkle the sacrificial blood on and before the Mercy Seat. There he would meet with God, who had promised: I will appear in the cloud upon the Mercy Seat (16:2). Aaron also carried a handful of incense and a censer of coals taken from the brazen altar, that he die not (16:13). The Holy of Holies was to be filled with this fragrance which was symbolic of the people's prayers ascending toward Heaven (Psalms 141:2; Revelation 8:3-5).
The Levitical laws specifically said: There shall be no man in the Tabernacle . . . when he (the high priest) goes in . . . until he comes out (Leviticus 16:17). So Christ alone was appointed of God as our Intercessor and High Priest (John 4:34; 5:19,30; 8:28; 9:4; I Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 5:4-10).
After the Tabernacle ceremonies, two sacrificial goats were brought before the High Priest. Lots were cast to decide which goat would suffer death as a sacrifice for sin, and which one would be taken away and released in the wilderness as a symbol that as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us (Psalms 103:12).
Two goats were necessary to express our Lord's twofold atonement. One goat was sacrificed upon the altar for a Sin Offering. 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 scapegoat which was led away into the wilderness (Leviticus 16:22) where it disappeared from sight. There was no justification of those sins, but merely a "covering" of another year's sins for the Israelites. But Christ, our great High Priest, did not need to present a sacrifice for Himself, as was required for Aaron the High Priest, for He is Holy, harmless, undefiled . . . Who need not daily . . . offer up sacrifice, first for His own sins, and then for the people's: for this He did once, when He offered up Himself (Hebrews 7:26-27).
The scapegoat has an added application for all of us, for we should both forgive and choose not to remember our offender's sin. Therefore, let all bitterness . . . and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice . . . even as God for Christ's sake has forgiven you (Ephesians 4:31-32).
Christ Revealed:
Through the two goats used on the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16:8). The slaying of the first goat typifies that our peace with God was restored by the blood of Christ. The second goat represents the precious mercy of God in forever removing from His sight the sins of His people -- As far as the east is from the west (Psa. 103:12; compare Heb. 10:17).
Word Studies:
16:29 afflict your souls means humble yourselves, practice self-denial; 17:4 cut off means excommunicated from family and the nation; 17:14 the blood of it is for the life thereof means its blood sustains its life; 18:6 uncover their nakedness means have sexual intercourse.


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Optional Reading:
Mark 10

Memory Verse for the Week:
Colossians 3:5

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