September 27 of this year is an important religious holiday for Israel and Jews the world over. It is Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. Instructions were given to Moses on Mt. Sinai by God on how to make an annual sacrifice for the sins of the entire nation. On that day the High priest laid his hands on the head of an unblemished lamb or goat. The laying on of his hands on one lamb would be used as a burnt sin offering. Before it was burnt its throat would be slit and its blood sprinkled on the altar, thus providing a covering for their sin.
A second goat was brought into the Holy of Holies or the most Holy Place, the area in the temple where God revealed His presence in a cloud of smoke. There the high priest would lay his hands on the goat’s head symbolizing the transferring of the sins of the people onto the goat. This second goat or lamb would then be sent away into the desert bearing the sins of the nation and symbolizing the removal of guilt. (vs. 21)
Leviticus 16:20-21 “When Aaron has finished making atonement for the Most Holy Place, the tent of meeting and the altar, he shall bring forward the live goat. He is to lay both hands on the head of the live goat and confess over it all the wickedness and rebellion of the Israelites—all their sins—and put them on the goat’s head. He shall send the goat away into the wilderness in the care of someone appointed for the task.
As you can see there was a lot of blood shed for the nation of Israel. Leviticus 17:11 explains why: For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life. This was a constant reminder that blood, a life, was required to cover their sin. Too bad for all those animals that their blood could not forgive sin. That would have to wait.
This is what Yom Kippur means – a Day of Covering. It was a picture of what would come later, at the perfect time for the complete and final sacrifice for the complete forgiveness of sins.
Pr. Bob Snitzer
By the Way:
July 26, 9:00 Sunday morning worship. Sermon: How Many God’s?
Thursday 30, 10:00 quilting
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