Leviticus 16: This chapter is about the Great Day of Atonement. This holiday is celebrated on the tenth day of the seventh month. The word atonement means “to cover up.”
The Day of Atonement reveals Messiah as our Great High Priest, going into the Holy of Holies for us.(Heb. 9:11-12).
It has been stated by some that we should not celebrate this great Feast of Yahweh. However, He commands us to celebrate it throughout the generations (Lev. 23:26-32). Paul celebrated it even late in his ministry and life (Acts 27:9).
The Day of Atonement is a time to reflect on two things. One, we are to reflect on our sin and how we have been an offense to Elohim and His perfect ways. Secondly, we reflect on Yeshua as our High Priest and the sacrifice He had to make for our redemption because of our sin.
(Lev 16:1 NASB) Now the LORD spoke to Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron, when they had approached the presence of the LORD and died.
Lev 16:1: The instructions in this chapter were given right after two of Aaron’s sons were consumed by fire in the Holy of Holies (Lev. 10:1-3).
(Lev 16:2 NASB) And the LORD said to Moses, “Tell your brother Aaron that he shall not enter at any time into the holy place inside the veil, before the mercy seat which is on the ark, lest he die; for I will appear in the cloud over the mercy seat.
Lev 16:2: Elohim is telling them that access to Him is very limited. Aaron cannot come into His presence just any time he feels like it. He can only enter into the Holy of Holies once a year.
The death of Yeshua Messiah ripped open the veil that separated the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies (the Most Holy Place) which had the presence of the Father. When this veil was torn, it opened the Holy of Holies to signified that the death of Yeshua sufficed for sacrifice for the Day of Atonement.
(Lev 16:3 NASB) “Aaron shall enter the holy place with this: with a bull for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering.
(Lev 16:4 NASB) “He shall put on the holy linen tunic, and the linen undergarments shall be next to his body, and he shall be girded with the linen sash, and attired with the linen turban (these are holy garments). Then he shall bathe his body in water and put them on.
Lev 16:4: The high priest was told in verse 4 put aside his high priest garb and to put on the outfit of a normal priest. He was to wash himself and put on his linen garments only. He was not to wear any adornments or jewelry. He was to look like just another priest.
This is another picture of Yeshua Messiah. When the Father manifested Himself in the person of Yeshua, He was made a little lower than the angels and came down to be one of us (Heb. 2:9-10). He was indistinguishable from any one else by His appearance (Isaiah 53:2). He came down and looked like any other man (Phil. 2:5-8).
It says that he shall bathe his body in water before he does this. This is another picture of Messiah in that he had to be totally clean and free from sin in order to be our High Priest.
(Lev 16:5 NASB) “And he shall take from the congregation of the sons of Israel two male goats for a sin offering and one ram for a burnt offering.
(Lev 16:6 NASB) “Then Aaron shall offer the bull for the sin offering which is for himself, that he may make atonement for himself and for his household.
Lev 16:6: The High Priest must be sinless in order to face Elohim. Since Aaron and the other High Priests after the Levitical Priesthood were not perfect, he had to offer sacrifices for himself and his household in order to atone for his sins before he entered the Holy of Holies.
(Lev 16:7 NASB) “And he shall take the two goats and present them before the LORD at the doorway of the tent of meeting.
(Lev 16:8 NASB) “And Aaron shall cast lots for the two goats, one lot for the LORD and the other lot for the scapegoat.
(Lev 16:9 NASB) “Then Aaron shall offer the goat on which the lot for the LORD fell, and make it a sin offering.
(Lev 16:10 NASB) “But the goat on which the lot for the scapegoat fell, shall be presented alive before the LORD, to make atonement upon it, to send it into the wilderness as the scapegoat.
Lev 16:10: The two goats had to be used. One animal was insufficient to picture the entire lesson which the people were to be given. One animal was to be offered for a sin offering to demonstrate the fatal consequences of sin. The other was the “scapegoat” (“goat of removal”), which would be directed into the wilderness. This would demonstrate that their sins, once the atonement was provided, would indeed be carried away and forgotten.
Yeshua Messiah fulfilled both types of offerings in Himself, being offered as a sacrifice for sins, removing our sins, and giving us His righteousness through the Spirit of the Father.
(Lev 16:11 NASB) “Then Aaron shall offer the bull of the sin offering which is for himself, and make atonement for himself and for his household, and he shall slaughter the bull of the sin offering which is for himself.
Lev 16:11: Before Aaron did anything with the goats, he had to make atonement for his own sins through the sacrifice of the bull.
(Lev 16:12 NASB) “And he shall take a firepan full of coals of fire from upon the altar before the LORD, and two handfuls of finely ground sweet incense, and bring it inside the veil.
(Lev 16:13 NASB) “And he shall put the incense on the fire before the LORD, that the cloud of incense may cover the mercy seat that is on the ark of the testimony, lest he die.
Lev 16:13: I’m sure that Aaron practiced these things many times before he went in on the Day of Atonement. It was definitely to his advantage to do so. But, as far as we know, no high priest ever died during this ceremony.
The high priest was to carry a firepan full of coals with two handfuls of finely ground incense and carry it in front of him into the Most Holy Place. He had to get a lot of smoke going to keep him from seeing Elohim. This was certain death for him.
(Lev 16:14 NASB) “Moreover, he shall take some of the blood of the bull and sprinkle it with his finger on the mercy seat on the east side; also in front of the mercy seat he shall sprinkle some of the blood with his finger seven times.
Lev 16:14: The high priest was to sprinkle the top of the ark with the blood of the sacrificial bull seven times. The number seven stands for completeness. This meant his sins were completely atoned for. The top of the ark of the covenant is now the mercy seat for the high priest.
(Lev 16:15 NASB) “Then he shall slaughter the goat of the sin offering which is for the people, and bring its blood inside the veil, and do with its blood as he did with the blood of the bull, and sprinkle it on the mercy seat and in front of the mercy seat.
Lev 16:15: He followed the same procedure for the goat. This made the top of the ark into the mercy seat for the people. Elohim can show mercy whenever He wishes, but there is still a penalty that has to be paid and that penalty involves blood (Heb. 9:22).
(Lev 16:16 NASB) “And he shall make atonement for the holy place, because of the impurities of the sons of Israel, and because of their transgressions, in regard to all their sins; and thus he shall do for the tent of meeting which abides with them in the midst of their impurities.
(Lev 16:17 NASB) “When he goes in to make atonement in the holy place, no one shall be in the tent of meeting until he comes out, that he may make atonement for himself and for his household and for all the assembly of Israel.
(Lev 16:18 NASB) “Then he shall go out to the altar that is before the LORD and make atonement for it, and shall take some of the blood of the bull and of the blood of the goat, and put it on the horns of the altar on all sides.
(Lev 16:19 NASB) “And with his finger he shall sprinkle some of the blood on it seven times, and cleanse it, and from the impurities of the sons of Israel consecrate it.
Lev 16:19: The blood of the sacrifice for the people had to be spread over the brazen altar because that is where the sins of Israel were confessed and atoned for (image).
After Yeshua was sacrificed , He offered His blood to the Holy of Holies in the tabernacle in heaven (Heb. 9:23).
(Lev 16:20 NASB) “When he finishes atoning for the holy place, and the tent of meeting and the altar, he shall offer the live goat.
(Lev 16:21 NASB) “Then Aaron shall lay both of his hands on the head of the live goat, and confess over it all the iniquities of the sons of Israel, and all their transgressions in regard to all their sins; and he shall lay them on the head of the goat and send it away into the wilderness by the hand of a man who stands in readiness.
(Lev 16:22 NASB) “And the goat shall bear on itself all their iniquities to a solitary land; and he shall release the goat in the wilderness.
Lev 16:22: Aaron was to confess all the sins of the people for that year. He must have been there quite a while because I’m sure he had a long list to read.
The laying on of hands signifies the transfer of sin from the people to the goat (image).
Then Aaron handed the goat over to someone who had no personal interest in it to lead it out into the wilderness.
(Lev 16:23 NASB) “Then Aaron shall come into the tent of meeting, and take off the linen garments which he put on when he went into the holy place, and shall leave them there.
(Lev 16:24 NASB) “And he shall bathe his body with water in a holy place and put on his clothes, and come forth and offer his burnt offering and the burnt offering of the people, and make atonement for himself and for the people.
Lev 16:24: When Aaron was finished with his work of atonement, he had to remove his priestly garments used for this occasion and clean himself.
(Lev 16:25 NASB) “Then he shall offer up in smoke the fat of the sin offering on the altar.
(Lev 16:26 NASB) “And the one who released the goat as the scapegoat shall wash his clothes and bathe his body with water; then afterward he shall come into the camp.
(Lev 16:27 NASB) “But the bull of the sin offering and the goat of the sin offering, whose blood was brought in to make atonement in the holy place, shall be taken outside the camp, and they shall burn their hides, their flesh, and their refuse in the fire.
(Lev 16:28 NASB) “Then the one who burns them shall wash his clothes and bathe his body with water, then afterward he shall come into the camp.
Lev 16:28: All those who came into contact with the sacrificial animals had to wash themselves. These animals carried the sin of the people and were unclean. Elohim was impressing upon them the fact that they were sinners and that their sin separates them from Him. Even contact with that sin separates them from Him.
(Lev 16:29 NASB) “And this shall be a permanent statute for you: in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall humble your souls, and not do any work, whether the native, or the alien who sojourns among you;
(Lev 16:30 NASB) for it is on this day that atonement shall be made for you to cleanse you; you shall be clean from all your sins before the LORD.
Lev 16:30: The Day of Atonement is the most important single day of the Year. It is known by the name “Yom Kippur” which means “The Day of Atonement.” It is also referred to as just “The Day” or “The Fast.”
(Lev 16:31 NASB) “It is to be a sabbath of solemn rest for you, that you may humble your souls; it is a permanent statute.
Lev 16:31: Once again, we are told this is a special Sabbath that is a permanent statute. The NKJV says we are to “afflict our souls (lives)” on this day. We are told to “humble our souls.” The Hebrew word for “humble” is “anah.” H6031a. anah, [776a]; a prim. root; to be bowed down or afflicted:– afflict(16), afflict at all(1), afflicted(22), affliction(1), by force(m)(1), disturbed(1), do violence(1), humble(12), humbled(6), humbling(1), Leannoth(1), mistreat(1), oppressed(1), oppressors(1), ravish(1), ravished(2), silenced(m)(1), submit(1), treated harshly(1), violate(1), violated(5), weakened(1).
We are told again in Leviticus 23 that this is a day to humble or afflict ourselves and it is a special Sabbath (Lev. 23:27-32). How do we “afflict ourselves?” While we are not given explicit directions on this, we have the example of Daniel who afflicted himself for a period to pray for his people because of their sin (Dan. 9:1-19). He prayed again for his people and afflicted himself even more (Dan. 10:1-3).
While we do not know exactly what it means to afflict ourselves, we can go by the example of Daniel in observing this special day. Daniel was “afflicting” (Heb. – anah) himself (Dan. 10:12).
(Lev 16:32 NASB) “So the priest who is anointed and ordained to serve as priest in his father’s place shall make atonement: he shall thus put on the linen garments, the holy garments,
(Lev 16:33 NASB) and make atonement for the holy sanctuary; and he shall make atonement for the tent of meeting and for the altar. He shall also make atonement for the priests and for all the people of the assembly.
(Lev 16:34 NASB) “Now you shall have this as a permanent statute, to make atonement for the sons of Israel for all their sins once every year.” And just as the LORD had commanded Moses, so he did.
Lev 16:34: The Day of Atonement is the only day of mourning and fasting given to Elohim’s people. It was not intended to be a celebration. It is intended to afflict the people. It is a time of rest. It is a time to reflect on our transgressions against Elohim and understand the severity of our sin. The Apostolic Scriptures also tell us to reflect on this day as a time of cleansing, mourning and humility (James 4:8-10).
Also, it is a time to reflect on our High Priest who performed the sacrifice necessary to provide redemption for all of His people.
Patrick McGuireCopyright 2014 Patrick McGuire and Beit Yeshua Torah Assembly All rights reserved, no portion of this Lesson may be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations in articles and reviews. Beit Yeshua Torah Assembly Fort Smith, Arkansas