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February 2, 2024 - Leviticus 16

In the preceding chapters of Leviticus:  instructions about food, childbirth, leprosy, disease found in houses, and bodily hygiene.  Also, in earlier chapters, Moses explained the various blood offerings, which were provided in the case of sins committed unintentionally by individuals.  And now, in chapter 16, are the instructions for the day of atonement for the entire nation.


With the offerings on this day, the Lord responds to the sins of Aaron and his sons and, also, to those of the entire nation:  “Thus shall [Aaron] make atonement for the Holy Place, because of the uncleannesses of the people of Israel and because of their transgressions, all their sins” (16:16; emphasis mine).  Again in 16:21:  “all their sins.”  And in 16:22:  “The goat shall bear all their iniquities.”  The end result:  “For on this day shall atonement be made for you to cleanse you.  You  shall be clean before the Lord from all your sins” (16:30).  And, once again:  “And this shall be a statute forever for you, that atonement may be made for the people of Israel once in the year because of all their sins” (16:34).  All this brings to mind the words of Horatio Spafford:


Christ has regarded my helpless estate,

And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!

My sin, not in part but the whole,

Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,

Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

Really, really, I mean, really good news!   -- Horatio Gates Spafford (1873)

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