Leviticus chapter 16 explained a detailed instructions for the ritual of the Day of Atonement, a day of fasting and repentance for the Israelites. The chapter begins with the Lord speaking to Moses and instructing him on how the Day of Atonement is to be carried out.
The first step in the ritual is for the high priest, Aaron, to enter the Most Holy Place of the tabernacle, where the Ark of the Covenant is located. Here, he is to make a sin offering for himself and his household, as well as for the people of Israel. This is done by slaughtering a bull as a sin offering and a goat as a burnt offering. The blood from these offerings is then used to purify the tabernacle and the altar.
Next, Aaron is to take two goats and present them before the Lord. One of the goats will be designated as the “scapegoat” and the other as the “Lord’s goat.” The high priest will lay his hands on the head of the scapegoat and confess the sins of the Israelites over it. The goat is then sent into the wilderness as a symbol of the Israelites’ sins being removed from them.
The Lord’s goat is then slaughtered as a sin offering for the people. The blood from this offering is used to purify the Most Holy Place and the altar, as well as the high priest himself.
The chapter concludes with instructions for the Israelites to observe the Day of Atonement as a Sabbath of rest and a time of afflicting their souls. They are also told to make a sin offering for themselves and to bring their offerings to the Lord.
The themes in Leviticus 16 include the importance of purification and atonement, the need for repentance and the removal of sin, and the role of the high priest as a mediator between God and the people.
In relation to the church today, Leviticus 16 serves as a reminder of the importance of repentance and atonement in the Christian faith. The rituals described in the chapter point to the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus Christ, who is the perfect high priest and the ultimate atonement for our sins. The church today is called to follow in the footsteps of the Israelites by confessing our sins, seeking purification through the blood of Jesus, and striving to live a holy and sanctified life. The message is the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, his death and resurrection makes us purified and reconciled to the Father.
It also emphasizes the importance of afflicting the soul. This is an acknowledgement of the state of brokenness and need for redemption, it is a humbling process that brings us closer to God as we rely on his grace and forgiveness.
Additionally, the high priest’s role as a mediator between God and the people also points to the role of Jesus as the mediator of the new covenant. Through his sacrifice, we have access to God and the ability to approach him with confidence and boldness.
In conclusion, Leviticus 16 serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of repentance, purification, and atonement in the Christian faith. It teaches us the significance of the sacrifice of Jesus and the role of the high priest as a mediator between God and the people, and it calls us to follow the example of the Israelites by afflicting our souls and seeking the purification and reconciliation that only Jesus can provide.