Set free - Explore the Bible for November 19, 2017
Explore the Bible
November 19, 2017
Leviticus 16:3-1-10, 29-30 (HCSB)
The word “sin” is almost nonexistent in popular culture. It is usually used in terms of wrong done to a person or to the environment but has nothing to do with God. Scripture understands sin as an offense against God. To say there is no sin is to be self-deceived (1 John 1:8).
The Day of Atonement reminded the Israelites that regular sacrifices made in the Tabernacle were inadequate to cleanse them from their sin. The Tabernacle, the priests and the people needed further sanctifying (Lev. 16:16,18,20). The Israelites would inevitably fail to follow all the provisions God had made, and there would be an accumulation of unrecognized sins, which contaminated the Most Holy Place.
The high priest would bathe, dress in white, and sacrifice a bull for himself and the other priests. He would enter the Most Holy Place and sprinkle the blood of the bull on the mercy seat, which made atonement for him and the other priests. He would then sacrifice one of two goats on behalf of the people. The blood of the first would be sprinkled on the mercy seat. This represented God’s wrath turned from the sinner (propitiation). The second goat would become the scapegoat in which God removed the sinner’s guilt (expiation). The high priest would place his hands on the scapegoat’s head and confess the people’s sin and then release the scapegoat into the wilderness.
Sin was serious business, and the appropriate sacrifice was needed to turn God’s wrath and remove their guilt. It is the same for the Christian. As sinners, we need God’s wrath turned from us and the guilt of our sin removed. The New Testament teaches us that Jesus is the “Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29, HCSB). The Israelites had to make sacrifices for sin daily, weekly, monthly and then one special day a year. Christians can rest in the assurance of the completed work of atonement of Christ (Heb. 9:11-15).