November 19 – The Day of Atonement

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Read Leviticus 16:3-28 

            Once a year, one man could enter the Holy of Holies to do one thing – purify the people from their sins. God had given the Commandments to tell the people how they should live. He gave them ordinances to explain how to keep the Commandments in a variety of situations. God knew, however, that the people would not be able to keep the Commandments and ordinances in spite of the specific instructions. Each step of the process previewed or foreshadowed what Jesus would do on the Cross.

First, the high priest prepared himself to go into the Holy of Holies. After securing the animals to be sacrificed (a ram for himself and two goats and a ram for the people), he made himself ready to offer the sacrifice. He took off his ornate robes, an act of humiliation, and then bathed himself in the laver, an act of sanctification.

Jesus gave up His place in heaven as the Son of God and came to earth. As Philippians 2:6-7 says, “(Jesus) who, though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.” He gave up the robes of Heaven to be born as a baby in a very humble setting.

He had no sin, but He did set Himself apart to be the sacrifice for sin. 

The High Priest Offered a Personal Sin Offering 

            After changing clothes and ceremonially washing himself, the priests offered the bull offering as a sacrifice for his sins and the sins of his family (probably including all the priests). He took some of the bull’s blood, a censer of coals from the altar, and incense into the Holy Place. He put the incense on the coals so that the smoke would cover the mercy seat on top of the Ark. He then sprinkled some of the blood on the mercy seat and in front of the mercy seat.

The incense represented the glory of God. The Holy Place filling with smoke symbolized that the glory of God was the most important thing in the process. It is a direct connection to what Jesus prayed at Gethsamene, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you” (John 17:1).

The ultimate goal of God’s plan of salvation was for God to glorify Himself. (See Ephesians 1:6, 12 and 14.) 

            How does salvation by grace through faith in Jesus demonstrate God’s glory?


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