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Lev 16:1 Yahweh spoke to Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron, when they drew near before Yahweh and died-
The High Priest had to cleanse himself meticulously before entering the Most Holy. Access was now limited to the Most Holy as a result of inadequate preparation by some in the past. The Lord’s death reversed all this, it opened up the veil, for us to pass through with the utmost effort made by us in personal sanctification, in order to further God’s glory in the salvation of others. We cannot simply refuse to enter, turn away from the torn veil. To do so is to turn away from what the cross has achieved, and to place ourselves outside its scope. We must go forward, go onwards into the presence of God to replicate in essence the Saviour’s work, with the awed and humble spirit of the High Priest entering the Holiest on the day of atonement. He would surely have carefully analyzed his motives, as to why he was passing through that veil, and whether he was sufficiently personally sanctified for the work he was doing. He would have been comforted by knowing that his motives were solely for the glorification of his God in the redemption for his people which he was seeking to obtain.

Lev 16:2 and Yahweh said to Moses, Tell Aaron your brother not to come at all times into the Most Holy Place within the veil, before the mercy seat which is on the ark, in case he die; for I will appear in the cloud on the mercy seat-
This is one of a number of examples where the Law God gave Moses was changed by Him in consideration of human weakness. This shows that God’s law isn’t set in stone; those who argue that we must keep the Sabbath today must face the fact that God can change and abrogate His own laws. The wonderful thing in this case is that God meditated upon the sin of Aaron’s sons, and didn’t wish to put Aaron in the way of temptation which might be too much for him; because God never allows us to be tempted beyond our capabilities (1 Cor. 10:13). The way God here recognizes the extent of His own holiness and as it were seeks to protect humanity from being harmed by it is similar to how He warned Israel not to come too near to the burning mountain (Ex. 19:21), and how He urged Moses not to come too near to the burning bush (Ex. 3:5). This isn’t God distancing Himself from us, but His seeking to establish understanding of His holiness whereby we can ultimately draw near to Him in Christ (Heb. 10:22). When we struggle with God’s distance from us we must bear this in mind.

In the face of sin amongst His people, there are levels of God's withdrawal of His presence. The way the glory progressively departed from the temple as recounted in Ezekiel is a graphic illustration of this. Under the Law, Aaron initially could come at will within the Most Holy. But after the blasphemy of his sons, apparently for being drunk on duty, he was only allowed to come once per year, and only after an elaborate ritual emphasizing human sinfulness (Lev. 16:2 ff.). Likewise it seems that God's original intention was that the Angel of the presence should travel in the midst of Israel in the wilderness. But after the golden calf apostasy, God announced that He was still with Israel, but His Angel would "go before thee... for I will not go up in the midst of thee; for thou art a stiff-necked people: lest I consume thee in the way" (Ex. 33:2,3).


Lev 16:3 Herewith shall Aaron come into the sanctuary: with a young bull for a sin offering, and a ram for a burnt offering-
We note the contrast with Moses, who lived in a tent outside the tabernacle with the cloud of glory ever nearby, and the radiance from the Angel within it shining off his face. Aaron was being warned not to assume that intimacy with God experienced by Moses was the right of every man or priest. Relationship with God must be built up. It is not for us to assume that the close relationship with God enjoyed by another can be ours without personal effort at building that relationship.


Lev 16:4 He shall put on the holy linen coat, and he shall have the linen breeches on his body, and shall put on the linen sash, and he shall be clothed with the linen turban. They are the holy garments. He shall bathe his body in water, and put them on-
The ideas of washing in water and being clothed in white linen are interpreted in the New Testament as applying to Christian baptism, and the imputation of righteousness, as clean as the white linen clothes of the priests (Rev. 19:8). This means that the work of even the high priest himself is to be aspired to by every Christian. The veil was rent at the Lord's death so that the way into the holiest was open to every believer. They were to follow the High Priest into the holiest- but what did he do there? He obtained forgiveness for others. And it is our mission likewise to do this, through bringing others to the saving experience of the Lord's work. This was a high, challenging call for Jews in the first century, who assumed the priesthood did all their religious work for them, and they were effectively just spectators at a show.


Lev 16:5 He shall take from the congregation of the children of Israel two male goats for a sin offering, and one ram for a burnt offering-
This repeats the usual progression from sin offering to burnt offering to peace offering (although that isn't specifically required here- the experience of forgiveness was the equivalent). Conviction of sin leads to a desire to make complete dedication to God, which results in the peace with God celebrated in the peace offering.


Lev 16:6 Aaron shall offer the bull of the sin offering which is for himself, and make atonement for himself and for his house-
This has been wrongly interpreted to mean that the Lord Jesus likewise offered for Himself, as if He were alienated from God by His nature. Whatever we posit about human nature, we say about the Lord Jesus who fully had our nature. And He was undefiled and perfect before God. He showed us what is possible within human nature. See on :11.


Lev 16:7 He shall take the two goats, and set them before Yahweh at the door of the Tent of Meeting-
This looks ahead to the death of the Lord Jesus "before Yahweh"; His special presence was at Golgotha. 


Lev 16:8 Aaron shall cast lots for the two goats: one lot for Yahweh, and the other lot for the scapegoat-
The two goats represent the death and resurrection of Christ. The scapegoat bounding away in relieved, joyful freedom symbolizes the genuine freedom and joy of forgiven sin which we can experience in Christ. It’s clear that human beings are eager for a scapegoat, we seem wired with a psychological need for one, someone upon whom we can place our sins and thereby feel free from them personally. The scapegoat has been provided for us in Christ, and therefore we shouldn’t seek to scapegoat others.

The Hebrew for "scapegoat" is azazel, and there has been much misunderstanding of the term. It simply means the removed or separated one, and although the word doesn't occur elsewhere, the idea connects with what we have been reading in the last three chapters of Leviticus, where condemned sinners were to separated or removed from the community. The Lord Jesus was associated with the condemned, and died for them; and yet He is also represented by the goat which ran free into the wilderness in resurrection life.

The Jewish apocryphal Book of Enoch was instrumental in forging the Jewish misunderstanding of Satan as a personal being. This book shifts the blame for sin from humanity to a Satan-figure called Azazel, whose name is taken from the scapegoat: "The whole earth has been corrupted through the works that were taught by Azazel: to him ascribe all sin" (1 Enoch 9:6; 10:8). There is a subtle but significant difference between this and the Biblical record in Gen. 6:11- which states that the earth became corrupt before God because of human sin. The Biblical record makes no attempt to pass the blame for this onto any other being- humanity was punished because they sinned. It would in any case be surely unethical for God to punish humanity because of what 'Azazel' supposedly did.

But the two goats were in a sense one "for Yahweh" and the other "for Azazel". It could be that there is indeed an allusion to wrong understandings about an 'Azazel' being who supposedly lurked out in the uninhabited desert, the supposed haunt of demons and evil. The allusion was in order to deconstruct this wrong idea. The real issue was not Azazel; it was human sin which needed atonement for. The real 'Azazel' was not a Satan like being out in the desert. It was human sin, which had now been dealt with. Just as 'Satan' is not a real cosmic being, but is defined in the New Testament as human sin, which has been dealt with and its power negated by the Lord's death on the cross. It was to that death which the day of Atonement pointed ahead to. Hence even the azazel goat was offered before Yahweh (:10) before its release- and not offered to any Satan like being.


Lev 16:9 Aaron shall present the goat on which the lot fell for Yahweh, and offer him for a sin offering-
This is the language used in Is. 53:4,6 about the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus, upo
n whom God laid the iniquity of us all. The Jewish commentator Ibn Ezra refers to a tradition that at the age of 33, a man would understand the meaning of this. It can be no coincidence that the Lord Jesus was sacrificed at age 33. The thoughtful Jews would have perceived that He was indeed the sin offering.


Lev 16:10 But the goat on which the lot fell for the scapegoat shall be presented alive before Yahweh to make atonement for him, and then sent away as the scapegoat into the wilderness-
Presented alive [Heb. 'stood up'] before Yahweh clearly looks ahead to the Lord's resurrection (Acts 1:3).
The description of the believer as a “living sacrifice” (Rom. 12:1) alludes to the scapegoat, the only living sacrifice, which was a type of the risen Lord (Lev. 16:10 LXX = Acts 1:3). As the Lord ran free in His resurrection, bearing away the sins of men, so we who are in Him and preach that salvation can do the same. As Christ bore away our iniquities (Is. 53:11), so “we then that are strong ought to bear the iniquities of the weak” (Rom. 15:1).

The cycle of revenge and paying back has to be resolved in sacrifice- many societies have shown that. I was a few times in far northern Russia, and it was fascinating to hear the traditions of the Chukchi people. In the past, they say, when a big crime was committed and the criminal convicted, an innocent person had to be sacrificed. The study of primitive societies reveals this basic human need for a scapegoat. There was a psychological value to the Mosaic rite of the scapegoat (Lev. 16:10). All the sins, all the grudges that called for revenge, were to be placed upon that animal, and it was released into the desert. They could watch it scampering away into the bush. This is how we are to understand the placing of human sin- yes, the sins committed against you this day by others- upon the Lord as He hung on the cross. And we must remember that “Vengeance is mine [not ours, not the state’s], and requital" (Dt. 32:35). That taking of vengeance, that requital, was worked out by God on the cross.

Lev 16:11 Aaron shall present the bull of the sin offering which is for himself, and shall make atonement for himself and for his house, and shall kill the bull of the sin offering which is for himself-
Aaron was a sinful mortal, and had to offer for himself. This has been misread to mean that the Lord Jesus, the great high priest, had to offer as it were for the sin of being human. But I suggest this is a careless reading of the type, driven by a desire to prove a theological point. The New Testament commentary is at Heb. 5:3; 7:27: "And because of it, he is required to offer sacrifices both for his sins and also for the sins of the people". The "weakness" of the high priest included moral weakness, which required him to offer also for his own sins. But the Lord Jesus had none of this. The references to the High Priest are to present the Lord Jesus by way of both similarity and contrast. Thus the way the high priest served standing is contrasted with the way the Lord serves sitting (Heb. 10:11); and the contrast here at this point is that the Lord had no sins to offer for. The Lord indeed was subject to weakness (Heb. 5:2), but without the need to offer sin offerings for his own sins.   

Heb. 7:27 must be given its full weight in what it says about the Lord Jesus: "Who needs not to offer up sacrifices daily, like those high priests, first for his own sins and then for those of the people. For this he did once for all, when he offered up himself". "This he did once" is a contrast with how the old High Priest offered ["this"] daily [Jesus did it only "once"]. The reference to "first for his own sins, then for the people's" is as it were in parenthesis, a throw away comment, to indicate again the inferiority of the old High Priests who themselves were sinners and therefore needed to offer for their own sins as well as those of God's people. My own suspicion that Paul was the author of Hebrews is based upon the style of writing we have there which we see in Paul elsewhere- so often, a comment is made in passing like this example of commenting that the old Priests had to offer for their own sins too. This kind of style is typical of Paul, Ephesians and Colossians are full of this kind of thing- making an argument, but throwing in a comment in the midst of it, a kind of aside, which often phases the reader. It is not the day of atonement which is in view here, because the contrast is with the "daily" offerings of the priests. A sincere priest would have offered daily sin offerings for himself as well as for the people. The Lord Jesus didn't need to do this; the parallels with the Levitical priesthood are by way of both contrast and similarity. They stood; He sits. They offered animals, He offered "Himself". But as He offered for "the people" so too did the mortal priests; but He did so once, whereas they did so daily. They offered for their own wins too; He did not. If the Lord in any sense had needed to offer for His own "sins", He would have had to do so daily. But He offered only one offering, for us. That Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures is the clear emphasis of the entire Biblical revelation. "This He did" refers to His offering for the people, for us; and not for His own 'sins'. This point is underlined in the next verse, which notes that the priests were morally weak, whereas the Son of God is perfect and shall be forever, unable to sin.


Lev 16:12 He shall take a censer full of coals of fire from off the altar before Yahweh, and two handfuls of sweet incense beaten small, and bring it within the veil-
Incense represents prayer offered by Christ (Rev. 8:3,4); the way it was taken beyond the veil into the Most Holy Place reflected how prayer,  be it the ‘mere’ words of a woman waiting at a bus stop, enters into Heaven itself. The fire of the altar was ideally intended to be that kindled at the time of Lev. 9:24 when the tabernacle was consecrated. It was to be kept perpetually burning by the sacrifices being continually placed upon it, a lamb every morning and every evening. The fire which never went out or was 'quenched' (Lev. 6:13). is a double symbol. The phrase is used multiple times with reference to the wrath of God in condemning sinners; it is the basis of the idea of eternal fire which will not be quenched. Rather like the cup of wine from the Lord being a symbol of either condemnation or blessing. So we have a choice- be consumed by the eternal fire now as living sacrifices, or be consumed by it anyway at the last day.


Lev 16:13 and he shall put the incense on the fire before Yahweh, that the cloud of the incense may cover the mercy seat that is on the testimony, so that he will not die-
For "the fire", see on :12.
Incense smoke in the surrounding religions was supposed to drive away demons; but the image is used to represent prayer and Yahweh's glory (Lev. 16:3,13; Rev. 5:8). And thereby fear of demons was to be replaced by fear of God's holiness and human sin.

Lev 16:14 He shall take some of the blood of the bull, and sprinkle it with his finger on the mercy seat on the east; and before the mercy seat he shall sprinkle some of the blood with his finger seven times-
The High Priest sprinkled the blood eastwards, on the mercy seat. He would therefore have had to walk round to God's side of the mercy seat and sprinkle the blood back the way he had come. This would have given the picture of the blood coming out from the presence of God Himself; as if He was the sacrifice. Acts 20:28 seems to teach (in the AV) that God purchased the church with His own blood. His manifestation in His Son was especially intense.


Lev 16:15 Then he shall kill the goat of the sin offering, that is for the people, and bring his blood within the veil, and do with his blood as he did with the blood of the bull, and sprinkle it on the mercy seat, and before the mercy seat-
The idea of entering within the veil is clearly in view when Paul speaks of the work of the Lord Jesus resulting in a hope which "enters into that within the veil" (Heb. 6:19; 9:3,7). The typical meaning of this was therefore that finally, all Israel, the true people of God however defined, would enter within the veil, thanks to the blood of the ultimate sin offering. Those identified with the blood would, like the blood, enter within the veil, and remain there in fellowship with God, in His very presence. We show that identity with the Lord's blood through baptism, the breaking of bread and a life lived in Him. 
 


Lev 16:16 and he shall make atonement for the Holy Place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions, even all their sins; and so he shall do for the Tent of Meeting that is situated amongst them, in the midst of their uncleanness-
Clearly the atonement was not made for the inanimate structure of the Holy Place. Rather was it for the sins of Israel. The idea would be that nobody is perfectly pure, and therefore the priests had indeed entered the Holy Place whilst impure; and this was being atoned for. The wonder was that God met with sinful man "in the midst of the uncleanness"- and this was to be recognized through these rituals.


Lev 16:17 No one shall be in the Tent of Meeting when he enters to make atonement in the Holy Place, until he comes out, and has made atonement for himself and for his household, and for all the assembly of Israel-
This perhaps helps us to understand the ultimate loneliness of the Lord Jesus in making His offering. These rituals have been misunderstood, in my opinion, to mean that the Lord Jesus offered for Himself, for His family [the believers] and for the world. That is indeed what the mortal, sinful High Priest did, but the type works by way of difference rather than exact correspondence. The New Testament therefore emphasizes that the Lord Jesus, unlike the Mosaic High Priests, offered only one sacrifice to achieve atonement- and that was "for us" (Heb. 10:14). The idea that the Lord atoned for the world as well as "for us" would imply some kind of universal salvation, of which the Bible is silent. Christ died for our sins, the sins of His people- that is the Biblical emphasis. See on :11.


Lev 16:18 He shall go out to the altar that is before Yahweh and make atonement for it, and shall take some of the bull’s blood, and some of the goat’s blood, and put it around it, on the horns of the altar-
The New Testament observes that the blood of this bull and goat could not take away sins- even though the live goat apparently carried the sins away into the wilderness. If sin had really been carried away, there would have been no need for this annual day of atonement ceremony (Heb. 10:3,4). The conclusion is therefore drawn that God only operated this system of atonement on the basis that the blood of the sacrifices pointed forward to the blood of Christ, and on the basis of His faith and knowledge that Christ would make the perfect sacrifice, God accepted the animal blood on the basis that it was symbolic of Christ’s blood.


Lev 16:19 He shall sprinkle some of the blood on it with his finger seven times, and cleanse it, and make it holy from the uncleanness of the children of Israel-
Inanimate objects didn't need atonement. The cleansing was a recognition of the fact that the Israelites were unclean morally, and they had approached the altar and tabernacle furniture only technically clean when they were unclean morally.


Lev 16:20 When he has made an end of atoning for the Holy Place, the Tent of Meeting, and the altar, he shall present the live goat-
As explained on :19, this is not to imply that the furniture itself was somehow morally unclean; this atonement was because of "the uncleanness of the children of Israel" who had approached into God's presence whilst still sinners.


Lev 16:21 Aaron shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions, even all their sins; and he shall put them on the head of the goat, and shall send him away into the wilderness by the hand of a man who is in readiness to do this-
Time and again, the difference between Moses' account of history and the surrounding myths is seen in the fact that Moses emphasizes human sin. There was a common ancient Near East belief in Azazel as a desert demon who looked like a goat. Perhaps Moses wished to address this idea when he called the scapegoat of the day of Atonement ritual "Azazel" and sent the goat into the desert (Lev. 16:21)- as if to say 'Now for you, Israel, no belief in that Azazel- the Azazel for us is simply a literal goat, bearing our sins in symbol, which we let loose into the desert'. Again and again, Moses sought to refocus his people on the practical, the literal, the concrete, and away from the myths which surrounded them. And yet he does this by alluding to those myths, so as to alert Israel to the fact that the new, inspired record which he was writing was fully aware of the myths God's people were being assailed with.

Praise is related to the realization that sin has been forgiven. Hezekiah's praise on realizing God's mercy to him was expressed in a desire to walk in quiet fellowship with God for the rest of his life. There is no suggestion that praise was some kind of ecstatic exuberance of emotion. The normal Hebrew word translated "praise" is also translated "confess" in the context of confessing sin (Lev. 5:5; 16:21; 26:40; Num. 5:7). Contrition of heart because of appreciating our own failures is therefore one way of praising Yahweh's Name. So often does the word "praise" occur in the context of praising the Name of Yahweh, or the praising of "the God of Israel", i.e. Yahweh.


Lev 16:22 The goat shall carry all their iniquities on himself to a solitary land, and he shall let the goat go in the wilderness-
Is. 53:8 alludes here in saying that on the cross, the Lord Jesus was cut off from the land of the living. The experience of both goats was found in His sacrifice.
The phrase "let go" is often used of how God let Israel go from Egypt, overruling how the wicked Pharaoh refused to let the people go. The term is used later in the Mosaic legislation; the way Israel had been "let go" from Egypt was to determine how they "let go" others from slavery (Dt. 15:12,13,18); their own experience of redemption was to influence how they released others. Just as ours should. The letting go of the bird and scapegoat into the wilderness was likewise to remind them of how they had been let go from Egypt into the wilderness without being slain for their sins- all by grace (Lev. 14:7,53; 16:10,21,22,26).


Lev 16:23 Aaron shall come into the Tent of Meeting, and shall take off the linen garments, which he put on when he went into the Holy Place, and shall leave them there-
The Lord was buried in linen garments after His death; so as noted on :11, the typical meaning of these things is often by way of contrast rather than equivalent similarity.


Lev 16:24 Then he shall bathe himself in water in a holy place, and put on his garments, and come out and offer his burnt offering and the burnt offering of the people, and make atonement for himself and for the people-
As discussed on :11, the Lord Jesus didn't need to do this; the parallels with the Levitical priesthood are by way of both contrast and similarity. They stood; He sits. They offered animals, He offered "Himself". But as He offered for "the people" so too did the mortal priests; but He did so once, whereas they did so daily. They offered for their own wins too; He did not. If the Lord in any sense had needed to offer for His own "sins", He would have had to do so daily. But He offered only one offering, for us. That Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures is the clear emphasis of the entire Biblical revelation.


Lev 16:25 The fat of the sin offering he shall burn on the altar-
Some manuscripts have :23 after this verse :25. The altar in view is that of burnt offering and not the incense offering (Ex. 30:9). There is special emphasis upon the fat, which was perceived as the best part of the animal, and the most covered inward parts. After recognizing our sin, we must be prepared to offer these to God. David understood the spirit of the trespass offering when after his sin with Bathsheba he offered to God his inward parts (Ps. 51:6). Elsewhere the idea is as in LXX "the fact [even] the fat tail" (as Lev. 3:9). There were species of sheep with a large fatty tail, which was considered in their culture to be a great delicacy. We see here how the law of Moses was limited in application to an immediate context, and was simply not intended to be a global law for all time. But the take away lesson is that we are to give to God whatever is for us, in our culture and worldview, the best and most desirous.


Lev 16:26 He who lets the goat go for the scapegoat shall wash his clothes, and bathe his flesh in water, and afterward he shall come into the camp-
Throughout the rituals there is the idea that those involved in making this atonement were themselves "compassed with infirmity" (Heb. 5:2). The thoughtful Israelite would have perceived that there was something lacking in all this; sinners were making atonement for sinners. There was thereby presented the need and longing for a righteous priest who was morally sinless although able to understand and relate to the weakness of men. And that need was met in the Lord Jesus.

Lev 16:27 The bull for the sin offering, and the goat for the sin offering, whose blood was brought in to make atonement in the Holy Place, shall be carried forth outside the camp; and they shall burn their skins, their flesh, and their dung with fire-
The Lord Jesus suffered and died, shedding the blood of atonement, "outside the camp" (Heb. 13:13). We are bidden go forth to the Lord Jesus "outside the camp", just as those who "sought Yahweh" did when there was no tabernacle (Ex. 33:7). The people watching Moses as he walked out to it, without the camp, therefore looks ahead to a faithless Israel lining the via Dolorosa and watching the Lord walk out to His place of crucifixion. And we are to get behind Him and follow Him there, stepping out from the mass of Israel. As the Lord Jesus suffered "outside the camp", so various parts of the Mosaic sacrifices were to be burnt there (Lev. 4:12,21; 8:17; 9:11; 16:27); and yet it was the blood of those sacrifices which achieved atonement (Heb. 13:11; Num. 19:3,9). "Outside the camp" was the place of excluded, condemned sinners (Lev. 13:46; 24:14; Num. 5:3,4; 15:35,36; 31:13,19), and it was here that the Lord Jesus died, in identification with us. 


Lev 16:28 He who burns them shall wash his clothes, and bathe his flesh in water, and afterward he shall come into the camp-
As discussed on :26, in all these
rituals there is the idea that those involved in making this atonement were themselves unclean. The thoughtful Israelite would have perceived that there was something lacking in all this; sinners were making atonement for sinners. And thus the desire was prepared for the perfect priest, the Lord Jesus.


Lev 16:29 It shall be a statute to you forever: in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall afflict your souls, and shall do no kind of work, the native-born, or the stranger who lives as a foreigner among you-
This was to help them understand that no works could produce atonement. It was all of grace.
"Afflict your souls" is the word used of how the Egyptians had afflicted the Hebrews (Ex. 1:11,12). Repeatedly, Israel were taught that they were to remember the state they had been in prior to their redemption from affliction; and redeem others from their affliction on that basis, and never to afflict people as Egypt had done to them. All this is an abiding principle for us. True redemption of others has to be rooted in an awareness of our own affliction. This is particularly necessary for those who were as it were schooled into Christ by reason of their upbringing.

Lev 16:30 for on this day shall atonement be made for you, to cleanse you; from all your sins you shall be clean before Yahweh-
Every kind of sin was atoned for (:21). Sins of ignorance, of omission rather than commission, were all met in this atonement. And likewise even moreso with the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus. There should therefore never now be any sense that some sins are dealt with, but others aren't.

The Hebrew here and especially in Lev. 23:28 definitely reads as if it is the day of atonement which made atonement. This verse has been clung on to by Judaism at times when the temple was not standing and the sacrifices associated with the day of atonement were not offered. Their argument was and is that it is the day of atonement which makes atonement, because the atonement is from God's sovereign grace. And indeed there is some truth in this. For it was ever impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sin, and Paul's argument in Hebrews is based upon the implications of the day of Atonement. It indeed looks ahead to another and more ultimate atonement, by God's grace through His pronouncement. And that pronouncement was made regardless of the Levitical priesthood and sacrifices; it was made over the blood of His crucified Son.


Lev 16:31 It is a Sabbath of solemn rest to you, and you shall afflict your souls; it is a statute forever-
They were to "do no kind of work" (:29). Because this was the day of atonement (:30). The point was that God was providing atonement by His grace and on account of the blood which represented Christ’s blood- and not on the basis of our works.


Lev 16:32 The priest who is anointed and who is consecrated to be priest in his father’s place shall make the atonement, and shall put on the linen garments, even the holy garments-
The language here is pregnant with allusion to the future Lord Jesus, the "Christ" or anointed priest, who operated in the name and place of His Father, God Himself.


Lev 16:33 Then he shall make atonement for the Holy Sanctuary; and he shall make atonement for the Tent of Meeting and for the altar; and he shall make atonement for the priests and for all the people of the assembly-
It is clarified in :19 that this cleansing of the furniture was to make them "holy from the uncleanness of the children of Israel". Inanimate objects didn't need atonement. The cleansing was a recognition of the fact that the Israelites were unclean morally, and they had approached the altar and tabernacle furniture only technically clean when they were unclean morally.


Lev 16:34 This shall be an everlasting statute for you, to make atonement for the children of Israel once in the year because of all their sins. It was done as Yahweh commanded Moses-
The Sabbath is described as a perpetual, eternal ordinance between God and His people (Ex. 31:16). Yet in the New Testament we read that the Old Covenant has been done away; and the Old Covenant clearly included the ten commandments (Dt. 4:13), one of which was concerning the Sabbath. For this reason the New Testament is at pains to explain that Sabbath keeping is not now required of God’s people (Col. 2:14-17; Rom. 14:1-3). Indeed, the whole Law of Moses is described as an everlasting covenant (Is. 24:5; Dt. 29:29), but it has now been done away (Heb. 8:13). The feasts of Passover and Atonement were to be “an everlasting statute unto you” (Lev. 16:34; Ex. 12:14); but now the Mosaic feasts have been done away in Christ (Col. 2:14-17; 1 Cor. 5:7). The Levitical priesthood was “the covenant of an everlasting priesthood” (Ex. 40:15; Num. 25:13), but “the priesthood being changed (by Christ’s work), there is made of necessity a change also of the law” (Heb. 7:12). There was an “everlasting covenant” between God and Israel to display the shewbread in the Holy Place (Lev. 24:8). This “everlasting covenant” evidently ended when the Mosaic Law was dismantled. But the same phrase “everlasting covenant” is used in 2 Samuel 23:5 concerning how Christ will reign on David’s throne for literal eternity in the Kingdom. In what sense, then, is God using the word olahm, which is translated “eternal”, “perpetual”, “everlasting” in the Old Testament? James Strong defines olahm as literally meaning “the finishing point, time out of mind, i.e. practically eternity”. It was God’s purpose that the Law of Moses and the associated Sabbath law were to continue for many centuries. To the early Israelite, this meant a finishing point so far ahead that he couldn’t grapple with it; therefore he was told that the Law would last for ever in the sense of “practically eternity”. For all of us, the specter of ultimate infinity is impossible to intellectually grapple with. We may glibly talk about God’s eternity and timelessness, about the wonder of eternal life. But when we pause to really come to terms with these things, we lack the intellectual tools and linguistic paradigms to cope with it. Therefore there is no Hebrew or Greek word used in the Bible text to speak of absolute infinity. We know that death has been conquered for those in Christ, therefore we have the hope of immortal life in his Kingdom. But God speaks about eternity very much from a human viewpoint.