The priests and their work on the Day of Atonement

Leviticus Bible Background

02.13.2018 – Old Testament: Lev 16.23–28

To read the Bible in a year, read Leviticus 15–17 on February 13, In the year of our Lord 2018

By Don Ruhl

The high priest of Israel had a special job on the Day of Atonement, for he made atonement for the sins of Israel and his work represented the work that the Divine High Priest would perform centuries later. Here is part of what Israel’s high priest had to do,

“Then Aaron shall come into the tabernacle of meeting, shall take off the linen garments which he put on when he went into the Holy Place, and shall leave them there. And he shall wash his body with water in a holy place, put on his garments, come out and offer his burnt offering and the burnt offering of the people, and make atonement for himself and for the people. The fat of the sin offering he shall burn on the altar. And he who released the goat as the scapegoat shall wash his clothes and bathe his body in water, and afterward he may come into the camp. The bull for the sin offering and the goat for the sin offering, whose blood was brought in to make atonement in the Holy Place, shall be carried outside the camp. And they shall burn in the fire their skins, their flesh, and their offal. Then he who burns them shall wash his clothes and bathe his body in water, and afterward he may come into the camp (Leviticus 16.23–28).

That also included the work of the one who would take the goat into the wilderness and release it.

Notice that the high priest would leave the linen garments behind when he left the Holy of Holies and entered the Holy Place. He would then wash and put his other garments back on.

This work was so special that he could not wear the clothes that he wore through out the day, nor could he continue to wear them after he had finished this task. He wore those linen garments for only one reason. This would have helped to highlight just how special his work on the Day of Atonement was.

Questions:

  • What do you think of the work that Israel’s high priest performed?
  • What do you think of the work of our High Priest, Jesus Christ?

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