Leviticus 16 Commentary

Leviticus 16 Commentary: Day of Atonement


After the death of Aaron’s two sons the LORD forbids ‘free and anytime’ entry into the Most Holy place. A procedure is put in place. In essence the LORD shields Himself from regular interaction with man. The tabernacle was meant to be a place of regular interaction but we have two deaths even before we take off. How do we reach out to the Creator God without endangering our lives? For sure even this physical symbol isn’t safe! So detailed instructions are given here but with heavy, history long consequences. The curtain shielding the Most Holy place would remain in place until the LORD Jesus tore it apart on His earthly exit. A new Era had begun!

So we take a look at these rituals with the Jesus lens. We see what it took the LORD Jesus to break through on man’s behalf.

The day for this grand entry is called the day of Atonement. It’s was a single entry on Israel’s calendar. Aaron carried two sets of animals for both sin offering and burnt offering. One set was for himself and the other was for the community. Physical cleansing was important before putting on the vestments. The LORD Jesus carried within himself all these animals and the processes required for entry into the LORD’s presence.

The LORD Jesus wasn’t following a script from Leviticus, rather Leviticus is written following the script of the life of the LORD Jesus in his redemption work. It’s amazing! The events we are reading about in Leviticus are telling us a story of the completed work of the LORD. It remains true that access into the Most Holy Place is restricted and only through the Son can man reach out to his Creator. The blood of bulls and the rituals are still important but in reality we are talking about the blood of Jesus. Repentance is still important. As the LORD put it, ““This is to be a lasting ordinance for you'”

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Published by Joseph Malekani

Joseph Malekani is a born-again Christian with a strong PAOG/Baptist background. He is heavily involved in student ministry with ZAFES – an IFES movement with focus on student ministry in Zambia. He is married to Audrey and they have two lovely children.

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