Leviticus 16


I.    Introduction.  16:29-34

A.     The time of the atonement offering.

1.       The tenth day of the seventh month.

2.       This is supposed to be the time Moses came down from Mt. Sinai the second time with the renewed commandments.

B.     The purpose of the atonement offering.

1.       This is an annual cleansing of sin before the Lord.

2.       The priesthood is to be cleansed.

3.       The tabernacle and all the items used in the worship are to be cleansed.

4.       The people are to be cleansed.

5.       This ought to show the people that all the other sacrifices offered during the year do not cleanse from sin.  They ought to be looking forward to the yearly atonement offering.  But as they offered the yearly atonement offering, they ought to realize that that offering didn't cleanse from sin either.  This should point them to the complete cleansing of the blood of Christ at Calvary.

C.     There is to be no work done during the atonement days.

1.       It would be work enough to realize the awfulness of sin and the confession of that sin.

2.       The atonement day is a sabbath day.  Not a 7th day, but a holy day to the Lord.

D.     The administrator of the day of atonement.

1.       Only the high priest.

2.       He shall anoint (not appoint).

3.       The one He consecrated.  This is to be a perpetual thing.  When Aaron dies, his son will continue in his stead.  Then Aaron's grandson will continue in his sons stead.


II.    Before any sacrifice is given.

A.     V. 1 - After the death of Abihu and Nadab.

1.       So everyone will know that God will continue with the Levi tribe.

2.       So the Levites will know that God is still with them.

3.       So the priest will be very careful about performing their services before God.  What happened to their brothers could happen to them.

B.     V. 2 - The coming into the Holy Place.

1.       There are three openings into the place of worship.

a.      The gate - This is the opening into the court of the tabernacle.

b.      The door - This is the opening into the Holy Place of the Tabernacle.

c.      The vail - This is the opening into the Most Holy Place.  There doesn't seem to be an opening in the vail for the priest to go through.  I believe he entered the Most Holy Place by going beside the vail, between the vail and the wall of the tabernacle.

2.       The High Priest couldn't come just any time, else he would die.

a.      He could only come once a year, and that only with blood, and the particular ceremonies God commanded.

b.      Heb. 10:19,20 - Today we can have boldness to enter into the Holy of Holiest through the blood of Jesus Christ.

c.      Heb. 4:16 - Let us come boldly unto the throne of Grace.

3.       V. 3-5 - Special preparation before coming into the Most Holy Place.

a.      The sacrifices for the High Priest.

1.)    A young bullock for a sin offering.

2.)    A ram for a burnt offering.

b.      The sacrifices for the tabernacle and the people.

1.)    Two kids of the goats, for a sin offering.

2.)    A ram for a burnt offering.

c.      V. 4 - Put off his clothing of daily administering, and put on the linen clothing.

1.)    Didn't wear the ephod with the twelve stones representing Israel, but put that off.  The atonement not only "rolled forward" the sins of Israel, but the sins of the whole world.

2.)    Wore linen - The righteousness of the saints, Rev. 19:8.  A sign of humiliation because of sin.

3.)    Linen is more or less the “working clothes” of the priest.

4.       All of these things must be done and set in order before going into the remainder of the work of the atonement.

C.     Verse 16-20 - Presenting the sacrifices.

1.       Verse 6 - Aaron shall bring his sin offering and his burnt offering before the Lord.

2.       Verse 7 - Aaron shall bring the sin offering and the burnt offering of the people before the Lord.

3.       Verse 8 - A determination by lot is made concerning the goats (one for a blood sin offering and one for a scapegoat).

4.       There is no death of the animals at this point.  The shedding of blood starts in v. 11.


III.    The procedure of the offerings.

A.     Verse 11-14 - The blood sin offering of the High Priest and his household.

1.       The first thing is to make an atonement for himself.  A person cannot be a help to anybody else until first he is cleansed.  This shows that even the priesthood is defiled because of sin.  Even though they work everyday with the blood sacrifices and are closest to the things of God, they still are sinners and must be cleansed by the blood of Christ.

2.       Censer full of burning coals.

a.      Burning coals do not smoke - the smoke of the coals and the smoke of the incense do not mix.

b.      The burning coals come from the altar before the Lord.  This is not strange fire as Nadab and Abihu presented before the Lord.

3.       Verse 12 - Hands full of sweet incense beaten small.

a.      incense represents the prayers of the saints.

b.      hands full represents an abundance of prayers.

c.      sweet represents the sweetness of our prayers before God.  These are not prayers of us complaining about our situation.

d.      beaten small represents the constant attention to praying, not just praying every now and then.

4.       He goes into the Most Holy Place with these three things:

a.      blood.

b.      burning coals.

c.      sweet incense.

5.       When he gets inside the Most Holy Place, the first thing he does is put the incense on the burning coals.  A smoke is produced that hides him from the sight of God and God from his sight.

a.      If God would look upon him, He would immediately kill him.

b.      If the High Priest would look upon God, he would immediately die.

c.      Our prayers are a protection to us.

6.       Next, he sprinkles the blood of the sin offering on the mercy seat seven times, and on the ground before the mercy seat seven times.  The word "eastward" means on the east side.  The mercy seat was placed on the back wall of the tabernacle.  He didn't get on the west side of the mercy seat and sprinkle toward the east.

B.     Verse 15-19 - The sin offering of the place of worship and the people.

1.       The High Priest now comes out of the Most Holy Place and kills the sin offering of the people before the door of the tabernacle.

2.       We can understand why the people must have a sin offering, but why must the place of worship be cleansed?

a.      It is in the center of a sinful people.  (All of Israel dwell around the tabernacle.)

b.      This is a type of heavenly tabernacle.  The earthly type is always sinful, though the heavenly is without sin.

c.      The daily procedure of giving sacrifice and forgiveness of sin is naturally polluted because of sin.  At the very best we can do, we still have sin.  Even our worship is filled with sin.

3.       V. 18,19 - The blood of the bullock and the kid of the goats is mingled and sprinkled on the altar (brazen altar) and the horns of the altar.  This is a "pulling together" of all the sins "left over".  This shows the imperfection of worship and the sin offering of that day.

C.     Verse 20-24 - The "Scapegoat".

1.       When the two offerings for sin have been offered and the people cleansed and the place of worship cleansed, then the scapegoat shall be brought.

2.       V. 21 - lay hands on the head of the goat and confess the sins of the people.  (This doesn't mean that all the sins of the people are mentioned.  It means that the sinfulness of the people is confessed.)

3.       This is a type of removing the sins of the people and removing them to a place where they will not ever return.  (When Christ forgives our sins, He removes them as far as the east is from the west.  The Bible doesn't say as far as the north is from the south.  We can reach the north pole and the south pole, but there isn't an east or west pole.  Therefore, when Christ removes our sins, He puts them in a place where they will never be reached.)

4.       A fit man removes the sin laden goat.

a.      Christ is that fit man.  Rev. 5:1-8.

b.      Christ is pictured in a dual role.

1.)    That of the sin bearer.

2.)    That of the one who removes sin from our presence.

5.       V. 22 - The scapegoat is taken to an uninhabited place.  Our sins are not transferred to another people, but are put in a place where they are remembered no more!

6.       V. 23 - The putting off of the linen clothes (humility caused by sinfulness).  Now, and only now, can there be a continuation of worship.

a.      Christ is our High Priest, who, in his righteousness, represented by the linen clothes of the High Priest, does the work of redemption on the cross.

b.      Christ is our High Priest who in his “normal” High Priestly garments completes the work of atonement before a most holy God and righteous judge.

D.     Verse 24-28 - The burnt offering of the High Priest and the people.

1.       The burnt offering is a picture of Christ dying for our sinfulness.

2.       There can be no accepted picture of Christ dying until our sins have been forgiven.

E.      Other people connected with the scapegoat.

1.       The fit man who loses the scapegoat.

a.      The fit man represents Christ who loses our sins.

b.      V. 26 - After the fit man washes his clothes and flesh, he comes back into the camp.  This is a picture of Christ who returned to the church after he was raised from the dead, having loosed us from the pangs of our sins.

2.       Verse 27 - The one who carries the sin offering and the burnt offering out of the camp.

a.      This is another picture of Christ who suffered outside the camp.

b.      After his clothes and flesh are washed, he returns to camp.  The picture of Christ who returned after His resurrection.

F.      V. 27 - The total destruction of the sin offering, the burnt offering.  Christ was completely destroyed because of our sin, yet He still lives!


IV.    The representatives of the atonement.  [1]

A.     Christ is represented by the High Priest as he wears the linen “work” clothes to make the atonement.

1.       The linen work garments of the High Priest.

a.      A holy linen coat.

b.      Linen breeches – underwear.

c.      Linen girdle – not to restrain his stomach, but as a covering of his body.

d.      Linen mitre – a covering for the head.

e.      When the priest removed the linen mitre, it reflected the work of atonement was finished, only the scapegoat must be let loose. 

f.       All of this articles of clothing are not ordinary “street” clothing.

2.       Matthew 27:59 – The body of Christ was wrapped in a clean linen cloth.

a.      Mark 15:46 – Joseph bought fine linen to wrap the body of Christ.

b.      Luke 23:53 – Joseph wrapped the body of Christ in linen. 

c.      John 19:40 – The body of Christ was wrapped with linen.

d.      It must be remarked that the linen cloth was surely saturated with blood as Jesus shed his blood for our sins.

e.      Just as the linen work garments of the High Priest was saturated with the blood of the animal sacrifice. 

3.       What is the mitre for?

a.      Some foolishly believe the mitre worn by the priest annuls the head covering of the woman.

b.      Old Testament women also wore head coverings, as plainly described in the scripture.

c.      John 20:7 – Just as the mitre was a separate head covering for the working High Priest, so the head covering of Christ was different from the linen that covered his body. 

d.      The head covering set in a place by itself shows the work of redemption is finished.

B.     Christ is represented by the High Priest when he lays aside the linen garments and wears the garments of the High Priest.

1.       Verse 23 – The High Priest changes out of the linen clothes because they are bloody from killing the animals of his atonement and the goat atonement.

2.       Revelation 19:11-14 – When Christ judges this world, his garments will be dipped in blood, showing that this appearing of Christ is in judgment, not mercy. 

3.       Isaiah 63:3 – Christ will tread the winepress of his judgment alone. 

a.      His garments will be red with the blood of unbelievers. 

b.      Every person must submit themselves to the atonement of Christ, or they will face the judgment of Christ.

c.      Either the blood of Christ will stain the garments of Christ for the sins of the unbeliever, or his own blood will stain the garments of Christ. 

C.     Christ is represented by the two goats.

1.       Both goats must be as pure as possible from all blemishes. 

2.       Both goats must be presented before the High Priest, as both of the goats have a part to play in the picture of the atonement.

3.       These are goats, not sheep.

a.      Sheep represents saved people.

b.      Goats represent lost people, because lost people have no hope at all.

c.      Goats are not sheep and cannot become sheep except by a marvelous transformation of grace. 

4.       The goat of the atonement.

a.      Christ took all our unrighteousness upon himself, and gave us all his righteousness. 

b.      II Corinthians 5:21 - 21 – For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. 

c.      The blood of the atonement goat was shed to roll the sins of Israel forward to the time of the cross. 

5.       The scapegoat.

a.      The picture is that the sins of the people were put onto the head of the scapegoat, who was taken to a place never to return.

b.      Our sins are removed from us as far as the east is from the west.

c.      Our sins are forgiven by the blood of Jesus Christ, and we will never face them again.

d.      Once we are eternally saved, we will never be lost again. 

D.     Christ is represented by the fit man who carries the scapegoat into the wilderness, never to return again.

1.       Christ is the only fit man who can carry our sins into a place where they will never return to haunt us.

2.       Our sins are as far from us as the east is from the west.

3.       Our sins are forgiven.

4.       Our sins are covered (washed) by the blood of Jesus Christ.

5.       We are justified by faith, we appear before God as if we had never sinned.

[1] Preached Part IV 4/9/2006 IBC Sunday Morning