7 Minute Read + Scripture readings

Today’s Bible Reading:

Leviticus 16
Psalms 19
Proverbs 30
1 Timothy 1

Today’s Bible Verse(s):

“Atonement will be made for you on this day to cleanse you, and you will be clean from all your sins before the Lord.”
Leviticus 16:30 (CSB)

Reflections on Today’s Bible Verse(s):

At sundown on Sunday, September 27th, the holiest day of the Jewish year begins. It’s called Yom Kippur. In Bible times, it was called “The Day of Atonement” and is explained in Leviticus 16.

In a nutshell, this day was the only day of the year in which the High Priest was able to enter the Holy of Holies (where God’s glory was visibly present) in the tabernacle/temple. On this day, he would enter with the blood of an animal that had been killed and sprinkle that blood upon the Mercy Seat (the lid over the Ark of the Covenant).

This act did not forgive the sins of the people. Instead, it simply pushed the sins forward one more year. Ultimately, this massive debt of sin was placed upon Jesus at Golgotha when He made atonement for them as our ultimate Passover Lamb.

Why blood and why on the Mercy Seat? The answer to that question is discovered when we realize what was in the Ark of the Covenant, under the Mercy Seat. Originally, there were a few things in the Ark but by the time King Solomon built the Temple, there was one remaining item.

2 Chronicles 5:10 “Nothing was in the ark except the two tablets that Moses had put in it at Horeb, where the Lord had made a covenant with the Israelites when they came out of Egypt.”

On those “two tablets” were written the Ten Commandments. Those ten laws condemned everyone of us!

Don’t think so?

Have you ever told a lie? Then you’ve broken the 9th commandment.
Have you ever been angry at someone? Then you’ve broken the 6th commandment (Jesus equated anger with murder in Matthew 5:21-22).
Have you ever lusted? Then you’ve broken the 7th commandment (Jesus equated lust with adultery in Matthew 5:28).

We could keep going but you get the point.

As God’s presence rested over the Ark of the Covenant in the Holy of Holies and He looked into the Ark, He saw the Ten Commandments. Those were a reminder that everyone of us had broken His holy laws. As guilty lawbreakers, we deserved a death sentence. God’s perfect justice and holiness demanded no less.

So, resting between God’s presence and the laws that condemned us was the Mercy Seat. And on that Mercy Seat was sprinkled the blood of an innocent animal once each year. The blood of that animal was shed as a substitute. The animal’s life was taken in place of guilty lawbreakers.

Fast forward to “Good Friday” and you observe Jesus, the ultimate Lamb of God, being killed as a sacrificial lamb (Isaiah 53:1-12). It was in this way that we could come into right relationship with God. He couldn’t do away with His holy laws. But, He found a way to uphold His laws while making us right with Him.

That is the beauty of the Day of Atonement and of the Cross. In these two, God maintained His holy standard and upheld His laws while at the same time made it possible for us to be completely forgiven and brought into relationship with Him because a substitute took our death sentence.

* * * * * * * * * *

Lord Jesus, thank You for taking my place there on that cross. Thank You for wearing my guilt and taking the punishment for my sin. And thank You for powerfully vacating the tomb, conquering sin and death, three days later. To You, I lift up my praise and surrender my life. Amen.

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Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash