Thoroughly Equipped: He Paid It All

Today’s reading includes Leviticus 15:1-16:28, Mark 7:1-23, Psalm 40:11-17, Proverbs 10:13-14.

Today, we get an eye-opener with all the talk of bodily discharges.  I just couldn’t go there.  You are on your own for that interpretation!  I will point out that as you are reading through chapter 15 consider the filthiness of sin and the contagion of sin.  We sometimes forget how filthy our sin really is.  But its seriousness is beyond description, for it cost the life and blood of our Savior.

And an appropriate following of the reminder of the filthiness of sin is the understanding of the cure for it, which we find in chapter 16.  This chapter caused a stirring in my spirit.  The scapegoat.  Oh, what symbolism is there!  This was a description of the Day of Atonement.  What was the Day of Atonement?  It was an annual day of fasting and prayer among the Israelites, which is still observed today by the present-day Jews. Jews call this day Yom Kippur.  It occurs once a year on the 10th day of Tishri, which is the 7th (take note!) month of the Hebrew calendar.  This was the day the high priest came into the Holy of holies.  The priest performed elaborate preparation before he went into the Most Holy Place.  He cleansed himself and sacrificed a bull for a sin offering for himself and his family.  Note that Jesus, the greatest High Priest would not have to offer a sin offering for Himself, as He never sinned.  He was the perfect Lamb without blemish.  He was the sin offering. That is why there is no further need for the rituals which were necessary after the fall and before the Savior came to take away the sin of the world.

27 He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, qfirst for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this ronce for all when he offered up himself.

                                                                                                    Hebrews 7:27

After the high priest was dressed in the holy linen and cleansed physically and spiritually, he would tie a robe around his leg so that the people could pull him out if the holiness of the Most Holy Place caused him to die.  The high priest brought two goats, one to sacrifice and the other used as a scapegoat.  The high priest would then place his hands on the head of the goat and confess over it the rebellion, sin, and wickedness of all the people.  Then the scapegoat was released into the wilderness.  The goat itself carried on itself all of the sins of all of the people.  And because the scapegoat carried it away into the symbolic hell of the wilderness, the people were forgiven for another year.  (vs. 30)

Jesus descended into the wilderness of hell on our behalf, carrying our sins on Himself.  He declared “It is finished” just before He died.  It is finished.  No more needed to be done.  No more sacrifice needed to be made.  Read Hebrews 10:1-12 and discover new understanding as we now more understand the Old Covenant.

The old system under the law of Moses was only a shadow, a dim preview of the good things to come, not the good things themselves. The sacrifices under that system were repeated again and again, year after year, but they were never able to provide perfect cleansing for those who came to worship. If they could have provided perfect cleansing, the sacrifices would have stopped, for the worshipers would have been purified once for all time, and their feelings of guilt would have disappeared.

But instead, those sacrifices actually reminded them of their sins year after year.For it is not possible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. That is why, when Christ[a] came into the world, he said to God,

“You did not want animal sacrifices or sin offerings.
    But you have given me a body to offer.
You were not pleased with burnt offerings
    or other offerings for sin.
Then I said, ‘Look, I have come to do your will, O God—
    as is written about me in the Scriptures.’”[b]

First, Christ said, “You did not want animal sacrifices or sin offerings or burnt offerings or other offerings for sin, nor were you pleased with them” (though they are required by the law of Moses). Then he said, “Look, I have come to do your will.” He cancels the first covenant in order to put the second into effect. 10 For God’s will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time.

11 Under the old covenant, the priest stands and ministers before the altar day after day, offering the same sacrifices again and again, which can never take away sins. 12 But our High Priest offered himself to God as a single sacrifice for sins, good for all time. Then he sat down in the place of honor at God’s right hand.

See what Leroy Ford had to say in his article Design for Teaching and Training.

The sufficiency and completeness of the sacrifice of Christ is also seen in the two goats. The blood of the first goat was sprinkled on the ark, ritually appeasing the wrath of God for another year. The second goat removed the sins of the people into the wilderness where they were forgotten and no longer clung to the people. Sin is both propitiated and expiated God’s way—only by the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. Propitiation is the act of appeasing the wrath of God, while expiation is the act of atoning for sin and removing it from the sinner. Both together are achieved eternally by Christ. When He sacrificed Himself on the cross, He appeased God’s wrath against sin, taking that wrath upon Himself: “Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!” (Romans 5:9). The removal of sin by the second goat was a living parable of the promise that God would remove our transgressions from us as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12) and that He would remember them no more (Hebrews 8:12; 10:17).

The Old Testament rituals seem odd and unnecessary to us, but they are necessary to understand so that we embrace that gift God gave us when He made these rituals unnecessary, by giving His Son as the sacrifice as well as the scapegoat.

8 He is to cast sacred lots to determine which goat will be reserved as an offering to the Lord and which will carry the sins of the people to the wilderness of Azazel. 9 Aaron will then present as a sin offering the goat chosen by lot for the Lord. 10 The other goat, the scapegoat chosen by lot to be sent away, will be kept alive, standing before the Lord. When it is sent away to Azazel in the wilderness, the people will be purified and made right with the Lord.[c]

The name Azazell in Hebrew meant “for absolute removal” and was also the name of place in the wilderness 12 miles from Jerusalem. Note the number 12.  The goat was banished for the family of God. When the first goat was slaughtered, it fulfilled the wrath of a holy God.  When the second goat was sent away to the wilderness, carrying the sins away, it was for the absolute removal of the sin, not just the punishment for it.  When Christ served as both the sacrifice and the scapegoat, He won for us the absolute removal of our sins.  They are not apart of us any longer.  Therefore, we are new creations.

This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

                                                                                              2 Corinthians 5:17


Of the three assignments listed as necessary for the Day of Atonement–High Priest, Sacrifice, and Scapegoat–our Jesus played all three roles on our behalf. Praise God from Whom all blessings flow!

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