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Wednesday, July 24th, 2024
the Week of Proper 11 / Ordinary 16
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Bible Commentaries
Leviticus 16

The Expositor's Bible CommentaryThe Expositor's Bible Commentary

Verses 1-34


Leviticus 16:1-34

IN the first verse of chapter 16, which ordains the ceremonial for the great annual day of atonement, we are told that this ordinance was delivered by the Lord to Moses "after the death of the two sons of Aaron, when they drew near before the Lord, and died." Because of the close historical connection thus declared between this chapter and chapter 10, and also because in this ordinance the Mosaic sacrificial worship, which has been the subject of the book thus far, finds its culmination, it seems most satisfactory to anticipate the order of the book by taking up at this point the exposition of this chapter, before proceeding in chapter 11 to a wholly different subject.

This ordinance of the day of atonement was perhaps the most important and characteristic in the whole Mosaic legislation. In the law of the offerings, the most distinctive part was the law of the sin offering; and it was on the great annual day of atonement that the conceptions embodied in the sin offering obtained their most complete development. The central place which this day occupied in the whole system of sacred times is well illustrated in that it is often spoken of by the rabbis, without any more precise designation, as simply "Yoma," "The Day." It was "the day" because, on this day, the idea of sacrificial expiation and the consequent removal of all sin, essential to the life of peace and fellowship with God, which was set forth imperfectly, as regards individuals and the nation, by the daily sin offerings, received the highest possible symbolical expression. It is plain that countless sins and transgressions and various defilements must yet have escaped unrecognised as such, even by the most careful and conscientious Israelite; and that, for this reason, they could not have been covered by any of the daily offerings for sin. Hence, apart from this full, solemn, typical purgation and cleansing of the priesthood and the congregation, and the holy sanctuary, from the uncleannesses and transgressions of the children of Israel, "even all their sins" (Leviticus 16:16), the sacrificial system had yet fallen short of expressing in adequate symbolism the ideal of the complete removal of all sin. With abundant reason then do the rabbis regard it as the day of days in the sacred year.

It is insisted by the radical criticism of our day that the general sense of sin and need of expiation which this ordinance expresses could not have existed in the days of Moses; and that since, moreover, the later historical books of the Old Testament contain no reference to the observance of the day, therefore its origin must be attributed to the days of the restoration from Babylon, when, as such critics suppose the deeper sense of sin, developed by the great judgment of the Babylonian captivity and exile, occasioned the elaboration of this ritual.

To this one might reply that the objection rests upon an assumption which the Christian believer cannot admit, that the ordinance was merely a product of the human mind. But if, as our Lord constantly taught, and as the chapter explicitly affirms, the ordinance was a matter of Divine, supernatural revelation, then naturally we shall expect to find in it, not man’s estimate of the guilt of sin, but God’s, which in all ages is the same. But, meeting such objectors on their own ground, we need not go into the matter further than to refer to the high authority of Dillmann, who declares this theory of the post-exilian origin of this institution to be "absolutely incredible"; and in reply to the objection that the day is not alluded to in the whole Old Testament history, justly adds that this argument from silence would equally forbid us to assign the origin of the ordinance to the days of the return from Babylon, or any of the pre-Christian centuries for "one would then have to maintain that the festival first arose in the first Christian century; since only out of that age do we first have any explicit testimonies concerning it."

Again, the first verse of the chapter gives as the occasion of the promulgation of this law, "the death of the two sons of Aaron," Nadab and Abihu, "when they drew near before the Lord and died"; a historical note which is perfectly natural if we have here a narrative dating from Mosaic days, but which seems most objectless and unlikely to have been entered, if the law were a late invention of rabbinical forgers. On that occasion it was, as we read, {Leviticus 5:2} that "the Lord said unto Moses, Speak unto Aaron thy brother, that he come not at all times into the holy place within the veil, before the mercy seat which is upon the ark; that he die not: for I will appear in the cloud upon the mercy seat." Into this place of Jehovah’s most immediate earthly manifestation, even Aaron is to come only once a year, and then only with atoning blood, as hereinafter prescribed.

The object of the whole service of this day is represented as atonement; expiation of sin, in the highest and fullest sense then possible. It is said to be appointed to make atonement for Aaron and for his house (Leviticus 16:6), for the holy place, and for the tent of meeting (Leviticus 16:15-17); for the altar of burnt offering in the outer court (Leviticus 16:18-19); and for all the congregation of Israel (Leviticus 16:20-22, Leviticus 16:33); and this, not merely for such sins of ignorance as had been afterward recognised and acknowledged in the ordinary sin offerings of each day, but for "all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions, even all their sins": even such as were still unknown to all but God (Leviticus 16:21). The fact of such an ordinance for such a purpose taught a most impressive lesson of the holiness of God and the sinfulness of man, on the one hand, and, on the other, the utter insufficiency of the daily offerings to cleanse from all sin. Day by day these had been offered in each year; and yet, as we read, {; Hebrews 9:8-9} the Holy Ghost this signified by this ordinance, "that the way into the holy place hath not yet been made manifest"; it was "a parable for the time now present"; teaching that the temple sacrifices of Judaism could not "as touching the conscience, make the worshipper perfect". {Hebrews 9:9} We may well reverse the judgment of the critics, and say-not that the deepened sense of sin in Israel was the cause of the day of atonement; but rather, that the solemn observances of this day, under God, were made for many in Israel a most effective means to deepen the conviction of sin.

The time which was ordained for this annual observance is significant-the tenth day of the seventh month. It was appointed for the seventh month, as the sabbatic month, in which all the related ideas of rest in God and with God, in the enjoyment of the blessings of a now complete redemption, received in the great feast of tabernacles their fullest expression. It was therefore appointed for that month, and for a day which shortly preceded this greatest of the annual feasts, to signify in type the profound and most vital truth, that the full joy of the sabbatic rest of man with God, and the ingathering of the fruits of complete redemption, is only possible upon condition of repentance and the fullest possible expiation for sin. It was appointed for the tenth day of this month, no doubt, because in the Scripture symbolism the number ten is the symbol of completeness; and was fitly thus connected with a service which signified expiation completed for the sins of the year.

The observances appointed for the day had regard, first, to the people, and, secondly, to the tabernacle service. As for the former, it was commanded (Leviticus 16:29) that they should "do no manner of work," observing the day as a Sabbath Sabbathon, " a high Sabbath," or "Sabbath of solemn rest," (Leviticus 16:31); and, secondly, that they should "afflict their souls" (Leviticus 16:30), namely, by solemn fasting, in visible sign of sorrow and humiliation for sin. By which it was most distinctly taught, that howsoever complete atonement may be, and howsoever, in making that atonement through a sacrificial victim, the sinner himself have no part, yet apart from his personal repentance for his sins, that atonement shall profit him nothing; nay, it was declared, {; Leviticus 23:29} that if any man should fail on this point, God would cut him off from his people. The law abides as regards the greater sacrifice of Christ; except we repent, we shall, even because of that sacrifice, only the more terribly perish; because not even this supreme exhibition of the holy love and justice of God has moved us to renounce sin.

As regards the tabernacle service for the day, the order was as follows. First, as most distinctive of the ritual of the day, only the high priest could officiate. The other priests, who, on other occasions, served continually in the holy place, must on this day, during these ceremonies, leave it to him alone; taking their place, themselves as sinners for whom also atonement was to be made, with the sinful congregation of their brethren. For it was ordered (Leviticus 16:17): "There shall be no man in the tent of meeting when the high priest goeth in to make atonement in the holy place, until he come out," and the work of atonement be completed.

And the high priest could himself officiate only after certain significant preparations. First (Leviticus 16:4), he must "bathe in water" his whole person. The word used in the original is different from that which is used of the partial washings in connection with the daily ceremonial cleansings; and, most suggestively, the same complete washing is required as that which was ordered in the law for the consecration of the priesthood, and for cleansing from leprosy and other specific defilements. Thus was expressed, in the clearest manner possible, the thought, that the high priest, who shall be permitted to draw near to God in the holiest place, and there prevail with Him, must himself be wholly pure and clean.

Then, having bathed, he must robe himself in a special manner for the service of this day. He must lay aside the bright-coloured "garments for glory and beauty" which he wore on all other occasions, and put on, instead, a vesture of pure, unadorned white, like that of the ordinary priest; excepting only that for him, on this day, unlike them, the girdle also must be white. By this substitution of these garments for his ordinary brilliant robes was signified, not merely the absolute purity which the white linen symbolised, but especially also, by the absence of adornment, humiliation for sin. On this day he was thus made in outward appearance essentially like unto the other members of his house, for whose sin, together with his own, he was to make atonement.

Thus washed and robed, wearing on his white turban the golden crown inscribed "Holiness to Jehovah," {Exodus 28:38} he now took (Leviticus 16:3, Leviticus 16:5-7), as a sin offering for himself and for his house, a bullock; and for the congregation, "two he-goats for a sin offering"; with a ram for himself, and one for them, for a burnt offering. The two goats were set "before the Lord at the door of the tent of meeting." The bullock was the offering before prescribed for the sin offering for the high priest, {; Leviticus 4:3} as being the most valuable of all sacrificial victims. For the choice of the goats many reasons have been given, none of which seem wholly satisfactory. Both of the goats are equally declared (Leviticus 16:5) to be "for a sin offering"; yet only one was to be slain.

The ceremonial which followed is unique; it is without its like either in Mosaism or in heathenism. It was ordered (Leviticus 16:8): "Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the Lord, and the other lot for Azazel"; an expression to which we shall shortly return. Only the goat on whom the lot fell for the Lord was to be slain.

The two goats remain standing before the Lord; while now Aaron kills the sin offering for himself and for his house (Leviticus 16:11); then enters, first, the Holy of Holies within the veil, having taken (Leviticus 16:12) a censer "full of coals of fire from off the altar before the Lord," with his hands full of incense (Leviticus 16:13), "that the cloud of the incense may cover the mercy seat that is upon the testimony (i.e., the two tables of the law within the ark), that he die not." Then (Leviticus 16:13) he sprinkles the blood "upon the mercy seat on the east"-by which was signified the application of the blood God-ward, accompanied with the fragrance of intercession, for the expiation of his own sins and those of his house; and then "seven times, before the mercy seat,"-evidently, on the floor of the sanctuary, for the symbolic cleansing of the holiest place, defiled by all the uncleannesses of the children of Israel, in the midst of whom it stood. Then, returning, he kills the goat of the sin offering "for Jehovah," and repeats the same ceremony, now in behalf of the whole congregation, sprinkling, as before, the mercy seat, and, seven times, the Holy of Holies, thus making atonement for it, "because of the uncleannesses of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions, even all their sins" (Leviticus 16:16). In like manner, he was then to cleanse, by a seven-fold sprinkling, the Holy place; and then again going into the outer court, also the altar of burnt offering; this last, doubtless, as in other cases, by applying the blood to the horns of the altar.

In all this it will be observed that the difference from the ordinary sin offerings and the wider reach of its symbolical virtue is found, not in that the offering is different from or larger than others, but in that, symbolically speaking, the blood is brought, as in no other offering, into the most immediate presence of God; even into the secret darkness of the Holy of Holies, where no child of Israel might tread. For this reason did this sin offering become, above all others, the most perfect type of the one offering of Him, the God-Man, who reconciled us to God by doing that in reality which was here done in symbol, even entering with atoning blood into the very presence of God, there to appear in our behalf.

Verses 20-28


Leviticus 16:20-28

"And when he hath made an end of atoning for the holy place, and the tent of meeting, and the altar, he shall present the live goat: and Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel and all their transgressions, even all their sins; and he shall put them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a man that is in readiness into the wilderness: and the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a solitary land: and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness. And Aaron shall come into the tent of meeting, and shall put off the linen garments, which he put on when he went into the holy place, and shall leave them there: and he shall bathe his flesh in water in a holy place, and put on his garments, and come forth, and offer his burnt offering and the burnt offering of the people, and make atonement for himself and for the people. And the fat of the sin offering shall he burn upon the altar. And he that letteth go the gent for Azazel shall wash his clothes, and bathe his flesh in water, and afterward he shall come into the camp. And the bullock of the sin offering, and the goat of the sin offering, whose blood was brought in to make atonement in the holy place, shall be carried forth without the camp; and they shall burn in the fire their skins, and their flesh, and their dung. And he that burneth them shall wash his clothes, and bathe his flesh in water, and afterward he shall come into the camp."

And now followed the second stage of the ceremonial, a rite of the most singular and impressive character. The live goat, during the former part of the ceremony, had been left standing before Jehovah, where he had been placed after the casting of the lot (Leviticus 16:10). The rendering of King James’ version, that the goat was so placed, "to make an atonement with him," assumes a meaning to the Hebrew preposition here which it never has. Usage demands either that which is given in the text or the margin of the Revised Version, to make atonement "for him" or "over him." But to the former the objection seems insuperable that there is nothing in the whole rite suggesting an atonement as made for this living goat; while, on the other hand, if the rendering "over" be adopted from the margin, it may not unnaturally be understood of the performance over this goat of that part of the atonement ceremonial described as follows:-

Leviticus 16:20-22: "When he hath made an end of atoning for the holy place, and the tent of meeting, and the altar, he shall present the live goat and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions, even all their sins; and he shall put them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a man that is in readiness into the wilderness: and the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a solitary land: and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness." And with this ceremony the atonement was completed. Aaron now laid aside the robes which he had put on for this service, bathed again, and put on again his richly coloured garments of office, came forth and offered the burnt offering for himself and for the people, and burnt the fat of the sin offering as usual on the altar (Leviticus 16:23-25), while its flesh was burned, according to the law for such sacrifices, without the camp (Leviticus 16:27).

What was the precise significance of this part of the service, is one of the most difficult questions which arises in the exposition of this book; the answer to which chiefly turns upon the meaning which is attached to the expression, "for Azazel" (O.V, "for a scapegoat"). What is the meaning of "Azazel"?

There are three fundamental facts which stand before us in this chapter, which must find their place in any explanation which may be adopted.

1. Both of the goats are declared to be "a sin offering"; the live goat, no less than the other.

2. In consistency with this, the live goat, no less than the other, was consecrated to Jehovah, in that he was "set alive before the Lord."

3. The function expressly ascribed to him in the law is the complete removal of the transgressions of Israel, symbolically transferred to him as a burden, by the laying on of hands with confession of sin.

Passing by, then, several interpretations, which seem intrinsically irreconcilable with one or other of these facts, or are, for other reasons. to be rejected, the case seems to be practically narrowed down to this alternative. Either Azazel is to be regarded as the name of an evil spirit, conceived of as dwelling in the wilderness, or else it is to be taken as an abstract noun, as in the margin (R.V), signifying "removal," "dismissal." That the word may have this meaning is very commonly admitted even by those who deny that meaning here; and if, with Bahr and others, we adopt it in this passage, all that follows is quite clear. The goat "for removal" bears away all the iniquities of Israel, which are symbolically laid upon him, into a solitary land; that is, they are taken wholly away from the presence of God and from the camp of His people. Thus, as the killing and sprinkling of the blood of the first goat visibly set forth the means of reconciliation with God, through the substituted offering of an innocent victim, so the sending away of the second goat, laden with those sins, the expiation of which had been signified by the sacrifice of the first, no less vividly set forth the effect of that sacrifice, in the complete removal of those expiated sins from the holy presence of Jehovah. That this effect of atonement should have been adequately represented by the first slain victim was impossible; hence the necessity for the second goat, ideally identified with the other, as jointly constituting with it one sin offering, whose special use it should be to represent the blessed effect of atonement. The truth symbolised, as the goat thus bore away the sins of Israel, is expressed in those glad words, {Psalms 103:12} "As far as the east is from the west, so far hath He removed our transgressions from us"; or, under another image, by Micah, {; Micah 7:19} "Thou wilt cast all their sins into the depth of the sea."

So far all seems quite clear, and this explanation, no doubt, will always be accepted by many. And yet there remains one serious objection to this interpretation; namely, that the meaning we thus give this word "Azazel" is not what we would expect from the phrase which is used regarding the casting of the lots (Leviticus 16:8): "One lot for the Lord, and the other lot for Azazel." These words do most naturally suggest that Azazel is the name of a person, who is here contrasted with Jehovah; and hence it is believed by a large number of the best expositors that the term must be taken here as the name of an evil spirit, represented as dwelling in the wilderness, to whom this goat, thus laden with Israel’s sins, is sent. In addition to this phraseology, it is urged, in support of this interpretation, that even the Scripture lends apparent sanction to the Jewish belief that demons are, in some special sense, the inhabitants of waste and desolate places; and, in particular, that Jewish demonology does in fact recognise a demon named Azazel, also called Sammael. It is admitted, indeed, that the name Azazel does not occur in the Scripture as the name of Satan or of any evil spirit; and, moreover, that there is no evidence that the Jewish belief concerning the existence of a demon called Azazel dates nearly so far back as Mosaic days; and, again, that even the rabbis themselves are not agreed on this interpretation here, many of them rejecting it, even on traditional grounds. Still the interpretation has secured the support of the majority of the best modern expositors, and must claim respectful consideration.

But if Azazel indeed denotes an evil spirit to whom the second goat of the sin offering is thus sent, laden with the iniquities of Israel, the question then arises: How then, on this supposition, is the ceremony to be interpreted?

The notion of some, that we have in this rite a relic of the ancient demon worship, is utterly inadmissible. For this goat is expressly said (Leviticus 16:5) to have been, equally with the goat that was slain, "a sin offering," and (Leviticus 16:10, Leviticus 16:20) it is placed "before the Lord," as an offering to Him; nor is there a hint, here or elsewhere, that this goat was sacrificed in the wilderness to this Azazel; while, moreover, in this very priest code {; Leviticus 17:7-9, R.V} this special form of idolatry is forbidden, under the heaviest penalty.

That the goat sent to Azazel personified, by way of warning and in a typical manner, Israel, as rejecting the great Sin offering, and thus laden with iniquity, and therefore delivered over to Satan, is an idea equally untenable. For the goat, as we have seen, is regarded as ideally one with the goat which is slain; they jointly constitute one sin offering. If, therefore, the slain goat represented in type Christ as the Lamb of God, our Sin offering, so also must this goat represent Him as our Sin offering. Further, the ceremonial which is performed over him is explicitly termed an "atonement"; that is, it was an essential part of a ritual designed to symbolise, not the condemnation of Israel for sin, but their complete deliverance from the guilt of their sins.

Not to speak of other explanations, more or less untenable, which have each found their advocates, the only one which, upon this understanding of the meaning of Azazel, the context and the analogy of the Scripture will both admit, appears to be the following. Holy Scripture teaches that Satan has power over man, only because of man’s sin. Because of his sin, man is judicially left by God in Satan’s power. {1 John 5:19, R.V} When as "the prince of this world" he came to the sinless Man, Jesus Christ, he had nothing in Him, because He was the Holy One of God; while, on the other hand, he is represented {; Hebrews 2:14} as having over men under sin "the authority of death." In full accord with this conception, he is represented, both in the Old and the New Testament, as the accuser of God’s people. He is said to have accused Job before God. {Job 1:9-11; Job 2:4; Job 2:5} When Zechariah {; Zechariah 3:1} saw Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of Jehovah, he saw Satan also standing at his right hand to be his "adversary." So, again, in the Apocalypse {Revelation 12:10} he is called "the Accuser of our brethren, which accuseth them before our God day and night," and who is only overcome by means of "the blood of the Lamb."

To this Evil One, then, the Accuser and Adversary of God’s people in all ages-if we assume the interpretation before us-the live goat was symbolically sent, bearing on him the sins of Israel. But does he bear their sins as forgiven, or as unforgiven? Surely, as forgiven; for the sins which he symbolically carries are those very sins of the bygone year for which expiating blood had just been offered and accepted in the Holy of Holies. Moreover, he is sent as being ideally one with the goat that was slain. As sent to Azazel, he therefore symbolically announces to the Evil One that with the expiation of sin by sacrificial blood the foundation of his power over forgiven Israel is gone. His accusations are now no longer in place; for the whole question of Israel’s sin has been met and settled in the atoning blood. Thus, as the acceptance of the blood of the one goat offered in the Holiest symbolised the complete propitiation of the offended holiness of God and His pardon of Israel’s sin, so the sending of the goat to Azazel. symbolised the effect of this expiation, in the: complete removal of all the penal effects of sin, through deliverance by atonement from the power of the Adversary as the executioner of God’s wrath.

Which of these two interpretations shall be accepted must be left to the reader: that neither is without difficulty, those who have most studied this very obscure question will most readily admit; that either is at least consistent with the context and with other teachings of Scripture, should be sufficiently evident. In either case, the symbolic intention of the first part of the ritual, with the first goat, was to symbolise the means of reconciliation with God; namely, through the offering unto God of the life of an innocent victim, substituted in the sinner’s place: in either case alike, the purpose of the second part of the ceremonial, with the second goat, was to symbolise the blessed effect of this expiation; either, if the reading of the margin be taken, in the complete removal of the expiated sin from the presence of the Holy God, or, if Azazel be taken as a proper name, in the complete deliverance of the sinner, through expiatory blood presented in the Holiest, from the power of Satan. If in the former case, we think of the words already cited, "As far as the east is from the west, so far hath He removed our transgressions from us"; in the latter the words from the Apocalypse {Revelation 12:10-11} come to mind, "The Accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accuseth them before our God day and night. And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb."

On other particulars in the ceremonial of the day we need not dwell, as they have received their exposition in earlier chapters of the law of the offerings. Of the burnt offerings, indeed, which followed the dismissal of the living goat of the sin offering, little is said; it is, emphatically, the sin offering, upon which, above all else, it was designed to centre the attention of Israel on this occasion.

And so, with an injunction to the perpetual observance of this day, this remarkable chapter closes. In it the sacrificial law of Moses attains its supreme expression; the holiness and the grace alike of Israel’s God, their fullest revelation. For the like of the great day of atonement, we look in vain in any other people. If every sacrifice pointed to Christ, this most luminously of all. What the fifty-third of Isaiah is to his Messianic prophecies, that, we may truly say, is the sixteenth of Leviticus to the whole system of Mosaic types, -the most consummate flower of the Messianic symbolism. All the sin offerings pointed to Christ, the great High Priest and Victim of the future; but this, as we shall now see, with a distinctness found in no other.

As the unique sin offering of this day could only be offered by the one high priest, so was it intimated that the High Priest of the future, who should indeed make an end of sin, should be one and only. As once only in the whole year, a complete cycle of time, this great atonement was offered, so did it point toward a sacrifice which should indeed be "once for all" {Hebrews 9:26, Hebrews 10:10}; not only for the lesser aeon of the year, but for the aeon of aeons which is the lifetime of humanity. In that the high priest, who was on all other occasions conspicuous among his sons by his bright garments made for glory and for beauty, on this occasion laid them aside, and assumed the same garb as his sons for whom he was to make atonement; herein was shadowed forth the truth that it behoved the great High Priest of the future to be "in all things made like unto His brethren" {; Hebrews 2:17}. When, having offered the sin offering, Aaron disappeared from the sight of Israel within the veil, where in the presence of the unseen glory he offered the incense and sprinkled the blood, it was presignified how "Christ having come a High Priest of the good things to come, through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands nor yet through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, entered in once for all into the holy place," even "into heaven itself, now to appear before the face of God for us". {Hebrews 9:11-12; Hebrews 9:24} And, in like manner in that when the sin offering had been offered, the blood sprinkled, and his work within the veil was ended, arrayed again in his glorious garments, he reappeared to bless the waiting congregation; it was again foreshown how yet that must be fulfilled which is written, that this same Christ, "having been once offered to bear the sins of many, shall appear a second time, apart from sin, to them that wait for Him, unto salvation". {; Hebrews 9:28} To all this yet more might be added of dispensational truth typified by the ceremonial of this day, which we defer to the exposition of chapter 25, where its consideration more properly belongs. But even were this all, what a marvellous revelation here of the Lord Jesus Christ! The fact of these correspondences between the Levitical ritual and the New Testament facts, let it be observed, is wholly independent of the questions as to the date and origin of this law; and every theory on this subject must find a place for these correspondences and account for them. But how can anyone believe that all these are merely accidental coincidences of a post-exilian forgery with the facts of the incarnation, and the high priestly work of Christ in death and resurrection as set forth in the Gospels? How can they all be adequately accounted for except by assuming that to be true which is expressly taught in the New Testament concerning this very ritual: that in it the Holy Ghost presignified things that were to come; that, therefore, the ordinance must have been, not of man, but of God; not a mere product of the human mind, acting under the laws of a religious evolution, but a revelation from Him unto whom "known are all His works from the foundation of the world"? Nor must we fail to take in the blessed truth so vividly symbolised in the second part of the ceremonial. When the blood of the sin offering had been sprinkled in the Holiest, the sins of Israel were then, by the other goat of the sin offering, borne far away. Israel stood there still a sinful people; but their sin, now expiated by the blood, was before God as if it were not. So does the Holy Victim in the Antitype, who first by His death expiated sin, then as the Living One bear away all the believer’s sins from the presence of the Holy One into a land of forgetfulness. And so it is that, as regards acceptance with God, the believing sinner, though still a sinner, stands as if he were sinless; all through the great Sin Offering. To see this, to believe in it, and rest in it, is life eternal; it is joy, and peace, and rest! IT IS THE GOSPEL!

Bibliographical Information
Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Leviticus 16". "The Expositor's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/teb/leviticus-16.html.
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