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"The Day of Covering"
Leviticus 16:1-34

Wednesday AM Bible Study
October 25, 2006

Theme: This chapter describes Jesus' atoning work for us through the picture of the Day of Atonement.

Chapters 1-7 were concerned with the offerings. Chapters 8-10 were concerned with the priesthood. Chapters 11-15 were concerned with the sin that made the offering through the priesthood necessary. And now, in this chapter, these things are all brought together in one event.

The Day of Atonement is referred to by the Jewish people as Yom Kippur. This name is taken from the Hebrew word for 'day' (“yoma”) and the word for 'to cover' (“kaphar”). “Atonement” in New Testament theology is a word that refers to the whole work of Christ on our behalf on the cross. But in this case, the word refers specifically to the “covering” of our sin until the time when the debt for it would be fully paid by Christ. This chapter gives us one of the most remarkable pictures in 'type' of Jesus' atoning work for us on the cross.


A. The context of this chapter is the death of Nadab and Abihu in Lev. 10:1-2. They approached God in an unholy manner.

B. Aaron was taught not to come before God in any other way but in the way prescribed by God, “lest he die”; because God is holy. No doubt, Aaron followed every word of God's instructions to the letter.


A. Concerning the priest who offers (vv. 3-6). Aaron was to come with an offering for himself. This finds no parallel in Christ; because Jesus was without sin. Rather, this makes Aaron fit to serve as a type of Christ. He puts on garments of a common priest; just as Jesus put on full humanity for us. He also brings the animals that will be used for the sacrifice on that day. Note that he comes alone (v. 17)—just as Jesus alone atoned for us.

B. Concerning the preparations for the offerings (vv. 7-14). The two goats represent both the essence and the effect of the atonement. One will die as an offering for sin; the other will be released as a bearer of sin far away. Jesus has done both for us. He has not only paid the penalty for our sins, but He has removed the guilt of our sins far from us. Aaron must offer for himself first, then he must place the censer of incense before the ark in order to cover it, then he must take the blood of the sin offering for himself and sprinkle the ark. Aaron made more than one trip in and out of the holy place on this day.

C. Concerning the offerings made for the people (vv. 15-22). First, he offers the goat that was to be slain and sprinkles the blood on the ark and then on the altar. It is sprinkled seven times as a number of completion. Then, he places his hands on the living goat and confesses the sins of Israel upon it; and it bears the sins of the people on itself. It is released into the wilderness—never to be seen again. The goat that was slain represents the essence of Jesus' atoning work for us (that is, a full payment for our sins); and the goat that was released represents the effect (our sins completely removed from us).

D. Concerning the events after the offerings are made (vv. 23-28). After all of this, Aaron leaves his garments in the tabernacle of meeting, washes, and puts on his high priestly garments. Then he makes a burnt offering for the people. All that is left of the offerings is taken out of the camp and burnt.

E. Concerning the attitude of the people with respect to the offerings (vv. 29-31). This is a day of solemn self-affliction. It is not a day for celebration, but of humility. Christ's atonement is fully made; but it is not “ours” until we humble ourselves and admit our neediness before Him, and receive His offering for us willingly.


A. It was by this day that a regular reminder was made for all that the tabernacle represents. It was repeated yearly; but it represented an offering that would one day only need to be made once.

B. It occurred on the tenth day of the seventh month. 10 represents God's revealed will for righteousness; and seven represents completion. In the fullness of time, Jesus likewise died for us—a perfect sacrifice in accordance with the righteous will of His Father.

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