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With New Testament Eyes: 17 - The Day of Atonement

By Henry Mahan


      Leviticus 16:1-22

      Before Adam sinned he lived in communion with God; but after he had broken the commandment, he could have no more familiar fellowship with God. Even under the Mosaic dispensation when God was pleased to dwell among a chosen people, it was painfully revealed that the sin and separation were still there (Isa. 59:2). The presence of God was hidden away from mortal eye, hand, and foot. God's presence was revealed in the Holy of Holies of the wilderness tabernacle; and no man might come near except in one way, and then only the High Priest once a year--not without the blood (Heb. 9:1-8).

      How can a son of Adam approach God? How can a sinner come before God, be accepted, and forgiven? Only in the way God has decreed--no other way! God has, in grace and mercy, purposed to show mercy and grace to sinners in a way consistent with his righteousness, justice, and truth. That way is by the obedience and death of his only begotten Son, by whom we have received the atonement (John 14:6; Rom. 5:8-11; Heb. 9:11-12; Heb. 10:19-22). Long before Christ came to earth and fulfilled all that was promised and prophesied of him, God pictured the person and work of Christ, our great High Priest and Redeemer, in the Day of Atonement, taught in this chapter.

      This Day of Atonement was only a type, a shadow of good things to come by Christ. These sacrifices could not put away sin (Heb. 10:1-4). These blood atonements only continued until Christ died, and they are no more (Heb. 10: 11-14, 18).

      v. 2. The Holy of Holies might be called God's presencechamber, where he appeared in his glory upon the mercy-seat.

      Neither Aaron, the High Priest, nor any man might approach God except at the time God designates and in the way God appoints.

      v. 3. Only Aaron shall come into the Holiest. There were other priests who ministered about the tabernacle; but Aaron represents our Lord Jesus Christ, the one great High Priest of the eternal covenant. All believers are kings and priests unto God (1 Peter 2:9; Rev. 1:6; Rev. 5:9-10). But only Christ is the great High Priest, the one Mediator, and his atonement and intercession make our presence acceptable.

      v. 4. Aaron, the humble and spotless High Priest, came into the holiest. Over and over Aaron must wash his flesh in pure water (Exo. 30:18-21) and be clothed in simple, white linen. Christ, our High Priest, was holy and harmless and undefiled (Heb. 7:26); and having laid aside his glorious adornment, he was clothed in the humility of flesh.

      vv. 5-8. Aaron was to select two goats for a sin-offering and one ram for a burnt-offering. The ram was to be offered as an atonement or sacrifice for himself and for his house. He was then to cast lots upon the two goats. One would be for the sinoffering on the mercy-seat and the other would serve as the scape-goat (Lev. 16:20-22). Christ Jesus is both our scapegoat, on whom God laid our sins, and our sin-offering, who died for us.

      vv. 12-13. In the first part of the tabernacle there was a candlestick, which is Christ the light of the world, a table of shew bread, which is Christ the bread of life, and, before the veil, an altar of incense which burned continually. This incense symbolizes the prayers and intercessions of Christ our Lord.

      When Aaron came into the Holiest, he was to bring a censer of live coals and a handful of that incense which he put upon the fire. The cloud of the incense covered the mercy-seat, as the intercession of Christ fills the throne of grace for us (Rom. 8:34).

      vv. 14-16. Aaron sprinkled the mercy-seat with the blood of the sin offering and made atonement for the sins of the people. Our Lord Jesus has died, entered the presence of God with his own blood, and made an eternal reconciliation and atonement for our sins (Heb. 9:11-15; 9:22-28; 10:12-14).

      v. 17. No man was to be anywhere near to Aaron as he accomplished this work of atonement. Even so, Christ, our Lord, by himself purged our sins (Heb. 1:3; John 16:32).

      The sacrifice of our Lord Jesus enables us to enter into the presence of the eternal Holy God (Heb. 10:19-22). The veil was rent in twain when he died (Matt. 27:50-51).

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See Also:
   Foreward & Acknowledgements
   1 - The Fall
   2 - Abel's Offering
   3 - The Ark Of Noah
   4 - Sarah and Hagar; Law and Grace
   5 - The Lord Will Provide
   6 - A Bride for the Heir
   7 - Bethel - The House of God
   8 - Peniel - The Face of God
   9 - Joseph Opens the Storehouses
   10 - Joseph and His Brothers
   11 - Shiloh
   12 - The Passover
   13 - The Manna
   14 - Water from the rock
   15 - The Blood Before the Lord
   16 - The Ram of Consecration
   17 - The Day of Atonement
   18 - Caleb - The Faithful Dog
   19 - The High Priest Intercedes
   20 - The Brazen Serpent
   21 - A Prophet Like Moses
   22 - The Cities of Refuge
   23 - Joshua
   24 - The Scarlet Line in the Window
   25 - The birth of Samson
   26 - The Kinsman Redeemer
   27 - The Song of Hannah
   28 - Give us a King
   29 - Saul's Great Sin
   30 - David and Mephibosheth
   31 - Why God Permitted David to Fall
   32 - Comfort from God's Covenant
   33 - I Will Not Offer to God that which Cost me Nothing
   34 - The Queen of Sheba Comes to Solomon
   35 - Three Examples of Faith
   36 - Where is the Lord God of Elijah?
   37 - Empty Vessels Filled
   38 - Naaman, the Leper
   39 - Open his Eyes that He may See
   40 - Four Lepers Teach us a Lesson
   41 - Nehushtan--A Piece of Brass
   42 - Bringing Back the Ark
   43 - Uzziah's Great Transgression
   44 - Four Things Learned in Trouble
   45 - How Can Man be Just With God?
   46 - Three Vital Questions
   47 - I Know that my Redeemer Liveth
   48 - Now Mine Eye Seeth Thee
   49 - The Psalm of Messiah the King
   50 - God's two great books
   51 - The Psalm of the Cross
   52 - The Lord is my Shepherd
   53 - True God - True Israel - True Redeemer
   54 - Eight Great Precepts
   55 - My Hope is in Thee
   56 - Many, O Lord, Are Thy Wonderful Works
   57 - A Song of Love
   58 - The Sinner's Prayer
   59 - My Rock and my Salvation
   60 - Our Lord's Sufferings for Our Sins
   61 - Mercy and Truth are Met Together
   62 - The Victory of the Messiah
   63 - Bless the Lord, O my Soul
   64 - Let the Redeemed of the Lord Say So
   65 - The King-Priest
   66 - The Chief Cornerstone
   67 - The Observer and the Observed
   68 - Praise the Lord O my Soul
   69 - Wisdom in Christ
   70 - The Conclusion of the Whole Matter
   71 - Remember Now Thy Creator
   72 - My Beloved is Mine and I am His
   73 - What is Thy Beloved more than Another Beloved?
   74 - The Lord Our Righteousness
   75 - The Believers Hope
   76 - From Nothing to Everything
   77 - Lost, Driven Away, Broken, Sick
   78 - Can These Bones Live?
   79 - Four Things God Taught Nebuchadnezzar
   80 - Thy God Will Deliver Thee
   81 - Hosea--Type of Christ
   82 - A Famine to be Feared
   83 - Salvation is of the Lord
   84 - A Fountain Opened for Mourners
   85 - The Messenger of the Covenant

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