February 24: The Day of Atonement
Leviticus 15–16; John 9:1–12; Song of Solomon 7:5–9
When it comes to the cost of sin, the average person probably thinks in terms of “What can I get away with?” rather than “What does this cost me and other people emotionally?” These calculations aren’t made in terms of life and death, but that is literally the case when it comes to sin.
The Day of Atonement is a beautiful, though horrific, illustration of this. It takes three innocent animals to deal with the people’s sin: one to purify the high priest and his family, one to be a sin offering to Yahweh that purifies the place where He symbolically dwelt (the holy of holies), and one to be sent into the wilderness to remove the people’s transgressions (Lev 16:11, 15–16, 21–22).
After the blood of the first two animals is spilled on the Day of Atonement—demonstrating the purification of God’s people—the final goat demonstrates God’s desire to completely rid the people of their sin. “Aaron shall place his two hands on the living goat’s head, and he shall confess over it all the Israelites’ iniquities and all their transgressions for all their sins, and he shall put them on the goat’s head, and he shall send it away into the desert” (Lev 16:21).
The Day of Atonement symbolized God’s desire for His people: one day, sin would no longer stand between God and His children. Like the goat, Jesus lifts the people’s iniquities (Isa 53:12). He fulfills this prophecy, becoming the ultimate ransom; no other sacrifice is ever needed.
As the author of Hebrews says, “For the law appoints men as high priests who have weakness, but the statement of the oath, after the law, appoints a Son, who is made perfect forever” (Heb 7:28). He then goes onto say, “And every priest stands every day serving and offering the same sacrifices many times, which are never able to take away sins. But this one, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God” (Heb 10:11–12).
The price of sin may be great, but Christ has paid that price.
In what ways do you take Jesus’ sacrifice for granted? What can you do differently?
JOHN D. BARRY
- Moreover the Lord spake unto Moses, and to Aaron, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, Whosoever hath an issue from his flesh, is unclean, because of his issue. And this shall be his uncleanness in his issue, when his flesh avoideth his issue, or if his flesh be stopped from his issue, this is his uncleanness. Every bed whereon he lieth that hath the issue, shall be unclean, and everything whereon he sitteth, shall be unclean. Whosoever also toucheth his bed, shall wash his clothes, and wash himself in water, and shall be unclean until the even. And he that sitteth on any thing, whereon he sat that hath the issue, shall wash his clothes, and wash himself in water, and shall be unclean until the even. Also he that touceth the flesh of hiim that hath the issue, shall wash his clothes, and wash himself in water, and shall be unclean until the even. And he that sitteth on any thing, whereon he sat that hath the issue, shall wash his clothes, and wash himself in water, and shall be unclean until the even. If he also that hath an issue, spit upon him that is clean, he shall wash his clothes, and wash himself in water, and shall be unclean until the even. If he also that hath the issue, spit upon him that is clean, he shall wash his clothes, and wash himself in water, and shall beunclean unti lthe even. And what saddle soever he rideth upon, that hath the issue, shall be unclean. And whosoever touchet any thing that was under him, sahll be unclean auntil the even: and he that beareth those things, shall wash his clothes, and wash himself in water, and shall be unclean until the even. Likewise whomsoever he toucheth that hath the issue (and hath not washed his hands in water) shall wash his clothes, and wash himself in water, and shall be unclean until the even. And the vessel of earth that he toucheth, which hath the issue, shall be broken: and every vessel of wood shall be rinsed in water. But if he that hath an issue, be cleansed of his issue, then shall he count him seven days for his cleansing and wash his clothes, and wash his flesh in pure water: so shall he be clean. Then the eighth day he shall take unt ohim two turtledoves, or two young pigeons, and come before the Lord at the door of the Tabernacle of the Congregation, and shall give them unto the Priest, And the Priest shall make of the one of them a sin offering, and of the other a burnt offering: so the Priest shall make an atonement for him before the Lord for his issue. Also if any man’s issue of seed depart from him, he shall wash all his flesh in the water, and be unclean until the even. And every garment, and every skin whereupon shall be issue of seed, shall be even washed with water, and be unclean unto the even. If he that hath and issue of seed do lie with a woman, they shall both wash themseles with water, and be unclean until the even. Also when a woman shall have an issue, and her issue in her flesh shall be blood, she shall be put apart seven days: and whosoevr toucheth her, shall be unclean until the even. And whatsoever she lieth upon in her separation, shall be unclean, and everything that she sitteth upon, shall be unclean. Whosoever also toucheth her bed, shall wash his clothes, and wash himself with water, and shall be unclean unto the even. And whosoever toucheth anything that she sat upon, shall wash his clothes, and wash himself in water, and shall be unclean until the even: So that whether he toucheth her bed, or anything whereon she hath sat, he shall be unclean unto the even. And if a man lie with her, and the flowers of her separation touch him, he shall be unclean seven days, and all the whole bed whereon he lieth, shall be unclean. Also when a woman’s issue of blood runneth log time beside the time of her flowers, or when she hath an issue longer than her flowers, all the days of the issue of her uncleanness she shall be unclean, as in the time of her flowers. Every bed whereon she lieth (as long as her issue lasteth) shall be to her as the bed of her separation: and whatsoever she sitteth upon, shall be unclean, as her uncleanness when she is put apart. And whosoever toucheth these things, shall be unclean, and shall wash his clothes, and wash himself in water, and shall be unclean unto the even. But if she be cleansed of her issue, then she shall count her seven days, and after, she shall be clean. And in the eighth day she shall take unto her two turtles, or two young pigeons, and bring them unto the Priest at the door of the Tabernacle of the Congregation. And the Priest shall make of the one a sin offering, and of the other a burnt offering, and the Priest shall make an atonement for her before the Lord, for the issue of her uncealnness. Thus shall ye separate the children of Israel from their uncleanness, that they die not in their uncleanness, if they defile my Tabernacle that is among them. This is the law of him that hath an issue, and of him from whom goeth an issue of seed whereby he is defiled: Also of her that is sick of her flockers, and of him that hath a running issue, whether it be a man or woman, and of him that lieth with her which is unclean. Furthermore the Lord spake unto moses, after the death of the two sons of Aaron, when they came to offer before the Lord, and died: And the Lord said unto Moses, Speak unto Aaron thy brother, that he come not at all times into the holy place within the veil, before the Mercy seat, which is upon the Ark, that he die not, for I will appear in the cloud upon the Mercy seat.After this sort shall Aaron come into hte Holy places even with a young bullock for a sin offering, and a ram for a burnt offering. He shall put on the holy linen coat, and shall have linen breeches upon his flesh, and shall be girded with a linen girdle, and shall cover his head with a linen miter, these are the holy garments: therefore shall he wash his flesh in water, when he doth put them on. And he shall take of the Tabernacle of the Congregation children of Israel, two he goats for a sin offering, and a ram for a burnt offering. then Aaron shall offer the bullock for his sin offering, and mae an atonement for himself, and for his house. And he shall take the two he goats, and present them before the Lord at the door of the Tabernacle of the Congregation. Then Aaron shall cast lots over the two he goats: one lot for the Lord, and the other for the Scapegoat. And Aaron shall offer the goat, upon which the Lord’s lot shall fall, and make him a sin offering. But the goat, on which the lot shall fall to be the Scapegoat, shall be presented alive before the Lord, to make reconciliation by him, and to let him go (as a Scapegoat) into the wilderness. Thus Aaron shall offer the bullock for his sin offering, and mae a reconciliation for himself, and for his house, and shall kill the bullock or his sin offering. And he shall take a censer full of burning coals from off the altar before the Lord, and his hand full of sweet incense beaten small, and bring it within the veil, And shall put the incense upon the fire before the Lord, that the cloud of the incense may cover the Mercy seat that is upon the Testimony: so he shall not die. And he shall take of the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it with his finger upon the Mercy seat Eastward: and before the Mercy seat shall he sprinkle of the blood with his finger seven times. Then shall he kill the goat that is the people’s sin offering: and bring his blood within the veil and do with that blood, as he did with the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it upon the Mercy seat, and before the Mercy seat. So he shall purge the Holy place from the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and from their trespasses of all their sins: so shall he do also for the Tabernacle of the Congregation placed with them, in the midst of their uncleanness. And there shal be no man in the Tabernacle of the Congregation, when he goeth in to mae an atonement in the Holy place, until hec come out, and have an atonement for himself, and for his household, and for all the Congregation of Israel. After, he shall go out unto the altar that is before the Lord, and make a reconciliation upon it, and shall take the blood of the bullock, and of the blood of the goat, and put it upon the horns of the Altar round about. So shall he sprinkle of the blood upon it with his finger seven times, and cleanse it, and hallow it from the uncleanness of the children of Israel. When he hath made an end of purging the Holy place, and the Tabernacle of the Congregation, and the Altar, then he shall bring the live goat: And Aaron shall put both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their trespasses in all their sins, purging them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away (by the hand of a man appointed) into the wilderness. So the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities into the land that is not inhabited, and he shall let the goat go into the wilderness. After, Aaron shall come iinto the Tabernacle of the Congregation, and put off the linen clothes, which he put on when he went into the Holy place, and leave them there. He shall wash also his flesh with water in the holy place, and put on his own raiment, and come out, and make his burnt offering and the burnt offering of the people, and mae an atonement for himself, and for the people. Also the fat of the sin offering shall be burnt upon the altar. And he that carried forth the goat called the Scapegoat, shall wash his clothes, and wash his flesh in water, and after that shall come into the host. Also the bullock for the burnt offering, and the goat for the sin offering (whose blood was brought to make a reconciliation in the Holy place) shall one carry out without the host to be burnt in the fire, with their skins, and with their flesh, and with their dung. And he that burneth them shall wash his clothes, and wash his flesh in water, and afterward come into the host. So this shall be an ordinance forever unto you: the tenth day of the seventh month, ye shall humble your souls, and do no work at all, whether it be out of the same country, or a stranger that sojourneth among you. For that day shall the Priest make an atonment for you to cleanse you: ye shall be clean from all your sins before the Lord. This shall be a Sabbath of rest unto you, and you shall humble your souls by an ordiannce forever. And the Priest whom he shall anoint, and whom he shall consecrate (to minister in his father’s stead) shall mae the atonement, and shall put on the linen clothes and holy vestments, And shall purge the holy Sanctuary and the Tabernacle of the Congregation, and shall cleanse the altar, and make an atonement for the Priests and for all the people of the Congregatio. And this shall be an everlasting ordinance unto you to make an atonement for the children of Israel for all thier sins once a year; and as the Lord commanded Moses, he did. Leviticus 15–16
- And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth, And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents, but that the works of God should be showed on him. I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh when no man can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. As soon as he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and anointed eyes of the blind with the clay, And said unto him, Go wash in the pool of Siloam (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore and washed, and came again seeing. Now the neighbors and they that had seen him before, when he was blind, said, Is not this he that sat and beged? Some said, This is he: and others said, He is like him: but he himself said, I am he. Therefore they said unto him, How were thine eyes opened? He answered, and said, The man that is called Jesus, made clay, and anointed mine eyes, and said unto me, Go to the pool of Siloam and wash. So I went and washed, and received light. Then they said unto him, Where is he? He said, I cannot tell. John 9:1–12
- Thine head upon thee is as scarlet, and the bush of thine head like purple: the king is tied in the rafters. How fair thou art thou, and how pleasant art thou, O my love, in pleasures! This thy stature is like a palm tree, and thy breasts like clusters. I said, I will go up into the palm tree, I will take hold of her boughs: thy breasts shall now be like the clusters of the vine: and the savor of thy nose like apples, And the roof of thy mouth like good wine, which goeth straight to my well-beloved, and causeth the lipes of the ancient to speak. Song of Solomon 7:5–9