The Ultimate Day of Atonement
As we read Leviticus we have to be ever mindful of the fact that salvation is not earned through the obedience of the law. Obedience is the proper response to the salvation God has provided.
It is helpful to read through passages in Hebrews to fully understand Leviticus and why Jesus is the greater priest and the greater, perfect atoning sacrifice.
Let’s take the Day of Atonement described in Leviticus 16. Known today as Yom Kippur, the Jewish People still consider this to be the holiest day of the year, a day of atonement and repentance.
But here in our story, despite all the law and regulations described in Leviticus, sins and impurities remained and defiled the camp and the Lord’s holy dwelling among His people.
God therefore provides the ceremony of the Day of Atonement, to cleanse the tabernacle and the camp of these sins and impurities.
The heart of the ceremony consisted of three rites: purification offerings to cleanse the tabernacle (16:11–19), the scapegoat to bear the Israelites’ sins out of the camp (vv. 20–22), and burnt offerings to emphasize the atonement made that day (vv. 23–24).
For these rites to be effective, it was important that the Israelites had repentant hearts (vv. 29, 31).
As we move through the Lent season in preparation of Easter weekend, we are reminded of Jesus’ crucifixion, the ultimate Day of Atonement.
In reflection and fulfillment of the purification offerings, He cleansed our sin by means of His own blood (Hebrews 9:12, 14, 24).
In reflection and completion of the sign of the scapegoat, He bore our sins away (Hebrews 9:28).
In reflection and fulfillment of the burnt offerings, He made atonement for us.
We look to him with hearts that not only mourn and repent of our sin but that also rejoice that His sacrifice cleanses us so completely that we can draw near to God with the full assurance that He accepts us completely (Hebrews 10:19–22).
Until next time…keep reading…
Excerpts taken from the Gospel Transformation Study Bible.