Leviticus Chapter 16

The book of Leviticus explains more information regarding the law of Moses. There was a lot of very specific instruction given to the children of Israel, which helped them to practice strict obedience to God. The instruction from the Lord, to the Israelites, continues as follows:

1 And the Lord spake unto Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron, when they offered before the Lord, and died;
2 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.
3 Thus shall Aaron come into the holy place: with a young bullock for a sin offering, and a ram for a burnt offering.
4 He shall put on the holy linen coat, and he shall have the linen breeches upon his flesh, and shall be girded with a linen girdle, and with the linen mitre shall he be attired: these are holy garments; therefore shall he wash his flesh in water, and so put them on.
5 And he shall take of the congregation of the children of Israel two kids of the goats for a sin offering, and one ram for a burnt offering.
6 And Aaron shall offer his bullock of the sin offering, which is for himself, and make an atonement for himself, and for his house.
7 And he shall take the two goats, and present them before the Lord at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.
8 And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the Lord, and the other lot for the scapegoat.
9 And Aaron shall bring the goat upon which the Lord’s lot fell, and offer him for a sin offering.
10 But the goat, on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat, shall be presented alive before the Lord, to make an atonement with him, and to let him go for a scapegoat into the wilderness.
11 And Aaron shall bring the bullock of the sin offering, which is for himself, and shall make an atonement for himself, and for his house, and shall kill the bullock of the sin offering which is for himself:
12 And he shall take a censer full of burning coals of fire from off the altar before the Lord, and his hands full of sweet incense beaten small, and bring it within the veil:
13 And he 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, that he die not:
14 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.

After Aaron’s sons, Nadab and Abihu, had died for offering strange sacrifice, the Lord spoke to Moses. The Lord said that Aaron was not to go into the holy place of the temple all the time. The Lord would be there, and Aaron would not have been able to live to behold the glory of the Lord. When Aaron was to go into the holy place, he was to bring the sin offering of a young bull and the burnt offering of a ram. He was first to be washed and put on his holy garments. For the host of Israel, he was to bring two young goats for sin offering and a ram for the burnt offering. Aaron was to take the bull and offer his own sin offering as an atonement for himself and his family. He was then to present the people’s offering of the goats, at the door of the tabernacle. He was to cast lots on the goats, I think meaning one of the goats would be chosen for the Lord, and one would be chosen as the scapegoat. The one which was the Lord’s was to be brought into the tabernacle and given as a sin offering for the people. The second was to be presented as a living offering and then set free. Once, the offerings were brought to the door of the tabernacle, he was to make the sacrifice of the sin offering bullock for himself and his family. He was to then take some of the coals from the altar’s fire in a shovel, and carry it with his hands full of the incense, into the holy place. He was to put the incense on the fire, so that a cloud of smoke would cover the mercy seat and block Aaron from death. Then the bulls blood was to be sprinkled on the mercy seat and before the mercy seat seven times.

15 Then shall he kill the goat of the sin offering, that is for the people, 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:
16 And he shall make an atonement for the holy place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions in all their sins: and so shall he do for the tabernacle of the congregation, that remaineth among them in the midst of their uncleanness.
17 And there shall be no man in the tabernacle of the congregation when he goeth in to make an atonement in the holy place, until he come out, and have made an atonement for himself, and for his household, and for all the congregation of Israel.
18 And he shall go out unto the altar that is before the Lord, and make an atonement for it; and shall take of the blood of the bullock, and of the blood of the goat, and put it upon the horns of the altar round about.
19 And he shall 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.

Aaron was to make a sacrifice of the goat that was chosen for the Lord as a sin offering for the people. That blood was also to be sprinkled on and before the mercy seat. This was an atonement for the holy place, necessary because the Israelites were unclean due to their sins. Then I think an atonement was made for the tabernacle of the congregation as well. None were to enter the holy place without making an atonement sacrifice for themselves, their house and the host of Israel. In the tabernacle of the congregation, the blood of the bullock and ram, were to be placed on the horns of the altar and sprinkled on the altar seven times for the Israelites and their uncleanliness before the Lord.

20 And when he hath made an end of reconciling the holy place, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar, he shall bring the live goat:
21 And Aaron shall lay 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 transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness:
22 And the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited: and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness.
23 And Aaron shall come into the tabernacle of the congregation, and shall put off the linen garments, which he put on when he went into the holy place, and shall leave them there:
24 And he shall wash his flesh with water in the holy place, and put on his garments, and come forth, and offer his burnt offering, and the burnt offering of the people, and make an atonement for himself, and for the people.
25 And the fat of the sin offering shall he burn upon the altar.
26 And he that let go the goat for the scapegoat shall wash his clothes, and bathe his flesh in water, and afterward come into the camp.
27 And the bullock for the sin offering, and the goat for the sin offering, whose blood was brought in to make atonement in the holy place, shall one carry forth without the camp; and they shall burn in the fire their skins, and their flesh, and their dung.
28 And he that burneth them shall wash his clothes, and bathe his flesh in water, and afterward he shall come into the camp.

After the holy place, tabernacle of the congregation, and altar were reconciled with the Lord, Aaron was to bring the living goat in and lay his hands upon its head. He was to place upon the goat, the burdens of the iniquities and transgressions of the Israelites. Then another man was to take the goat into the wilderness and be set free, taking all the iniquities and sins of the Israelites with him. The sins were removed, but not done away, because the literal atonement of the Lord, had not yet taken place. I think the imagery of our burdens being placed on another and being borne away for us, is a wonderful way to think of the repentance process. We bring our burdens to the priest, the authorized holder of the priesthood of God, and our burdens can be removed from us. Then we may be worthy of the atonement in our lives.

Aaron was to then return to the tabernacle of the congregation and remove his holy garments prepared for work in the holy place. He was then to be washed in a holy place and be clothed in his garments. Next, he was to offer the burnt offerings for himself and for the people, as an atonement for both. The man who had taken the scapegoat, was to wash his clothes, bathe and then return to the Israelite camp. The remaining parts of the sin offerings given, were to be carried out of the camp and burned. Then the man who had burnt them, was to wash his clothes, bath and return to the Israelite camp.

29 And this shall be a statute for ever unto you: that in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, ye shall afflict your souls, and do no work at all, whether it be one of your own country, or a stranger that sojourneth among you:
30 For on that day shall the priest make an atonement for you, to cleanse you, that ye may be clean from all your sins before the Lord.
31 It shall be a sabbath of rest unto you, and ye shall afflict your souls, by a statute for ever.
32 And the priest, whom he shall anoint, and whom he shall consecrate to minister in the priest’s office in his father’s stead, shall make the atonement, and shall put on the linen clothes, even the holy garments:
33 And he shall make an atonement for the holy sanctuary, and he shall make an atonement for the tabernacle of the congregation, and for the altar, and he shall make an atonement for the priests, and for all the people of the congregation.
34 And this shall be an everlasting statute unto you, to make an atonement for the children of Israel for all their sins once a year. And he did as the Lord commanded Moses.

A commandment was given, that on the tenth day of the seventh month, all who were there were to humble themselves and abstain from work. On that day, an atonement would be made for the Israelites. This was to be a day of sabbath rest. The priest called and consecrated to make the atonement, was to put on the holy garments and make the atonement for the church of God and for His people. This time, once a year, was the Day of Atonement for all Israel, which I believe is what we know as Yom Kippur. I am grateful for the opportunity to partake of the sacrament weekly and to be reminded very often of the need to repent and renew the covenants that I made at baptism.

The footnote in verse 2, to the words, “holy place”, references Hebrews 9, which gives us a greater understanding of this chapter. In Paul’s writing to the Hebrews, he explains some of the reasons for the work in the tabernacle. In verse 7 we read, “But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people:”. The high priest went alone into the Holy of Holies, once a year. He took the blood as a sin offering for himself and for the people. In later verses we read the following:

11 But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building;
12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. …
… 24 For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:
25 Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others;
26 For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.

Jesus-Portrait

The High Priest acted in the place of Christ the Lord, who would eventually enter the holy place of Heaven, in His perfect tabernacle. He entered as an offering, a sacrifice having been made once of his own blood, not the blood of bullocks or goats. Christ made this offering first in Gethsemane, when he prayed to the Father for the sins of the world (see Matthew 26) through being lifted upon the cross for all mankind (see 1 Nephi 11). Through this offering of Himself, Christ obtained an eternal redemption for all. Paul goes further to teach what we should do because of this offering. In Hebrews chapter 10, we read the following:

19 Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,
20 By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;
21 And having an high priest over the house of God;
22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.

We, as disciples of Christ, and covenant people of God, should come unto Him with a faithful heart. We should come with our hearts and bodies clean and free of the evil that comes with the natural man within us.

The manual I am studying along with, poses a great question. “How difficult do you think belief and faith would be if you lived 2000 years before [Christ] was born?” I have thought about this several times before, and I don’t think I can truly imagine what life would have been like then. The gospel of Christ, as he taught it in His mortal life and to the Nephites after his resurrection, is a huge part of the foundation of my faith. The prophets taught of Him, but did not teach what He taught. They were able to prophesy of His coming, but did not tell the people of all He did. I am sure that the faith of the Israelites had to be of great strength in order to continue hoping for what was promised to their fathers.

Faith is a Sunrise

I believe that Christ is the Savior, whom the Israelites look to for a redemption from their sins. I have a hope that He has the power to bear my own burdens away, through the amazing gift of the atonement, which he made for all mankind. I believe that because of His willing sacrifice, I will have the opportunity to enter The Holy of Holies, or the celestial kingdom, and return to dwell with Him and God the Father. My hope in these things, gives me the strength to live my life well and to return each week to partake of the sacrament and renew the covenants I have made and that I try to keep holy and sacred.

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About My Scripture Study Buddy

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I love the scriptures, but I am not a scriptorian. I've been told that I'm too "deep" for some, but if you are willing, I'd love to have others join me in my quest for a greater understanding of the gospel. Please feel free to leave me comments and hopefully we can help each other to learn.
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