Dr. Lawrence Butler, The Bridge Church, Pembroke.
Lev. 16:1-34, 23:26-32 Observation – “And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD.
And ye shall do no work in that same day: for it is a day of atonement, to make an atonement for you before the LORD your God” (Lev.23:26-28).
The Lord commanded the people to honor this day with a separation from daily activities and confession of sin.
This was one of the most solemn of all feasts.
Interpretation – Explicit instructions were given the Israelites in chapter 16. A ram was to be offered as a sacrifice for the priest and his house. Two goats were to be selected and separated. One was used as a sin offering for the people, being slain by the priest. The other was used as a scapegoat. Over this animal were the sins of Israel confessed.
The goat was then led away to the wilderness and set free, but driven away from the congregation. Notice, the priest had to first offer for his own sins, and then he could fill the position of offering for the sins of the people. The sins were forgiven through the blood sacrifice, but taken away by the scapegoat. This was the only method of maintaining fellowship with the Lord. It looked forward to Calvary, and symbolized the coming “Lamb of God” who would forever forgive and take way our sins.
Correlation – God knew that the Israelites could never have sin completely eradicated from their hearts by the sacrifices of animals. He did, however, have a perfect plan for the deliverance of His people from sin.
This plan was executed in the life and death of Christ, followed by the resurrection of our Savior. The use of the ceremonies, feasts and animal sacrifices were to prepare them for their coming deliverance. Through faith in God, and understanding the symbolism of the lambs, goats and other animal sacrifices, the Jewish people could see and grasp what God was doing through Christ. It was not that much of a stretch for those of religious understanding, who would then be able to teach others. Unfortunately, the leaders of that day refused to see and believe, and the multitudes of people were left spiritually blind, and lost.
Application – Let us do our best to fully grasp the will of God. It is through His mercy that Christ came, not having to first cleanse Himself from sin, but able to be our High Priest and deliverer. Through Him we have the forgiveness of sin.