After Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, had wrongly come before the Lord and were punished (10:1), the Lord had said to Aaron, “Among those who are near me I will be sanctified, and before all the people I will be glorified” (Lev. 10:3). The Lord is holy, and he will have a holy people. Israel (like we), are always sinning, and our sin must be accounted for.
The people’s sin burdened them with guilt and even stained the altar and the innermost parts of the tabernacle. Their sin came between them and their God, and they moved farther and farther away from God. And, so, Israel was to observe an annual statute, the Day of Atonement, when sacrifice was made for the people (16:34). But this sacrifice, like the daily sacrifices, was repeated over and over. But consider what Jesus has accomplished! “For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year, make perfect those who draw near” (Hebrews 10:1). However, Jesus “has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by his sacrifice” (Hebrews 9:26). What a Savior! What an offer! What an invitation!
O come to the mercy seat , come as thou art,
Wait not from thy sins and thy burdens to part;
There only thy soul can find blessed release,
Thy burdens be lifted, thy wanderings cease. –William Stevenson (1889)