Posted by Kyle Page on November 01, 2017
F260 Bible Reading Plan WEEK 9 (starting Nov 5)
This week’s reading in the F260 Bible reading plan includes one of the most important ceremonies in all of the Old Testament. You could even say this ceremony is so important in foreshadowing what Christ would later do for us that we would understand His sacrifice much less without it. Leviticus 16 records an annual ceremony for Old Testament Israel called the Day of Atonement (or Yom Kippur).
The Day of Atonement was the one day a year that the high priest, and only the high priest, would enter into the Holy of Holies to present blood from a sacrifice for the sins of the entire nation of Israel. Reading through the chapter you feel the weight of responsibility on the priest’s shoulders as there is a complex list of instructions that must be followed or risk certain death. Of course, even following the ceremony’s instructions to perfection didn’t insure forgiveness of sins from God. Even in the Old Testament God did not delight in sacrifice alone. God has never only wanted our outward actions, He wants a sincere heart of repentance.
A less famous part of the Day of Atonement was the release of a “scapegoat.” Today a scapegoat is someone who is willing to take the blame for something even if they aren’t the one who committed the wrong. On Yom Kippur this is exactly what happened to the literal scapegoat. The priest placed his hands on the head of the animal and confessed the sins of Israel to symbolize that the sins were transferred to the goat. The goat was then sent out into the wilderness to never be seen or heard from again.
The Day of Atonement helps us understand the sacrifice Jesus would later make in the New Testament in two ways. On the cross Jesus is like the first goat that was killed because He presented His own blood to cleanse and cover our guilt. Jesus is also like the scapegoat who was banished into the wilderness. In His sacrificial death Jesus carried our sins away to be forgotten forever.
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