IMMANUEL Part II
Leviticus 16:16 NIV: God said… “In this way he (the high priest) will make atonement for the Most Holy Place because of the uncleanness and rebellion of the Israelites, whatever their sins have been.”
Leviticus 16:30 NIV: God said … “because on this day atonement will be made for you, to cleanse you. Then, before the Lord, you will be clean from all your sins.”
On the Day of Atonement, the high priest performed the precise sacrifice and procedural rituals as prescribed by God to Moses to accomplish a ‘total’ cleansing from ‘uncleanness’. On this day, the main issue at hand is whether God will stay in residence with the nation, or not. The Sin/sins of the people, their state of uncleanness, the Sin condition that they had inherited from Adam, the sins that they as Sinners committed on a regular basis had built-up over the prior year. The tabernacle, God’s house, was unclean. The people, the nation, were contaminated with Sin/sins. Atonement had to be made for the tabernacle, God’s House, the Most Holy Place, and for the Sin/sins of the nation. This was a total cleansing as required by God to occur on one day each year ‘so that’ His law of holiness and justice were appeased and satisfied ‘so that’ He/God could continue to ‘dwell’ with them. (From the beginning to the end of the story of life..it is about a God/Creator and His children. God’s objective from day one has always been the same. He is a Father who wants many children and He desires to live ‘with’ them forever.)
After the high priest made atonement for himself and for God’s house, he would proceed to make atonement for the people. The procedure required the use of two goats. He would cast lots to see which goat would live and which goat would die. For the goat that would die, sacrificed for the uncleanness and sins of the people, the priest would symbolically transfer the sins of the people to the goat and then kill it. He would then initiate the ordinances of blood and burnt offerings and he would take the blood of the first goat behind the curtain/shield into the Most Holy Place where God resided and he would place the blood on the atonement cover of the Ark of the Covenant. Inside of the Ark were the tablets of stone that contained the Ten Commandments that God had given to Moses, the Law.
God resided above the Ark in the Most Holy Place, His house. God would look down at the Law and be reminded that the people were rightly judged, that they were Sinners by birth and by choice. God’s law of holiness and justice demanded that the people be punished and God remove Himself from being in residence with them. But God was also reminded that He had created and designed a system for reconciling and satisfying the requirements of His Law.
Out of His love as a father for His people…out of His nature of ‘mercy’, he divinely designed the system of Atonement. And on ‘this day’…the Day of Atonement…God looked down and saw the ‘the blood’ of an innocent third party that was placed on top of the lid of the Ark. This lid, the cover, was referred to as the ‘mercy’ seat. God’s Atonement Law said that the blood of the innocent third part would serve to ‘cover’ -over and satisfy the demands of the Law. (It was an amazing principle…the principle God installed related to sacrificial blood from an innocent 3rd part…God declared the blood to have ability to ‘cover-over’…to appease the law of justice…the mystical principle of blood.) God’s new and greater Law of the system of Atonement using the main principle of the shedding of blood of an innocent third party, declared that on ‘this day’..’this blood’…had the power to atone and cover-over (cleanse) the sins committed and the state of uncleanness. And God would accept the blood as an atonement offering and ‘forgive’ the sins of the people and would remain in residence for another year.
The Israelite people were gathered around the tabernacle during the Day of Atonement…waiting…to be forgiven…waiting for the high priest to come out in full view where they could see that he was still alive, that he had carried out the precise rituals in the exact manner…to see that his priestly work had been accepted before God. The people were waiting for the visual illustration that was the next part in the ritual of that great day.
After completing the work inside the tabernacle ‘before the Lord’ in the Most Holy Place, the high priest would proceed to the open air outside of the tabernacle. He would walk up onto a raised platform where all the people could see him…and he would lay his hands on the head of the 2nd goat (the live one) and he would confess over the goat the wickedness and rebellion and sins of the people, symbolically transferring the sins of the people onto the goat. Immediately he would have a man lead the goat away into the wilderness into a distant and solitary place. The 2nd goat was called the ‘scapegoat’ and it was used to visually illustrate to the people that their sins had been transferred to an innocent third party and that their sins had been carried away and that God had granted atonement.
(Why did God prescribe the use of the 2nd goat? Because He wanted His people to ‘see’ and ‘feel’ and ‘know’ of His mercy and forgiveness. He wanted them to see-feel-know at a personal realization level ‘how much’ He desired to be with them..how much He loved them. God has always loved His people ‘more’ than they love Him. If there is just one thing that you could know and learn today and carry it with you in your mind everyday for the rest of your life…know this.. “God loves you infinitely ‘more’ than you could ever love Him. Although, it is His desire that we love him with all of our heart, mind, and soul. I pray that once you see, feel, know,and understand what He did for you in the giving of the New Covenant, that you will come to know Him at a new level.)