Leviticus 16: "Yom Kippur" yesterday and today


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A look at Leviticus 16, Yom Kippur,

This Parashah speaks of the solemn Moed (appointed day) of Yom Kippur. The “Day of Redemption” which is also known as the “Day of Coverings” (Yom HaKipurim). It was the only day of the year when the High Priest could enter into the “Most Holy Place” (Kadosh HaKadoshim) the “Holy of Holies”. This is where the “Aron HaKodesh” (Ark of the Covenant) was kept and where the “Shekinah” (Glory of YHVH) hovered over the “Kaporet” (the covering of the Ark of the Covenant, looking down upon the Mercy Seat.

The Parashah starts out with; “Tell Aaron your brother not to come at just any time into the Holy Place inside the veil, before the mercy seat which is on the Ark, lest he die” Was this perhaps the reason why Nadab and Abihu died? Because they went into the Holy of Holies with their own fire? That is another thought. The high priest had to put on a special tunic, all white, of fine linen. Thus, today it is customary during Yom Kippur to wear all white, symbolic of how YHVH views us through Yeshua our Messiah, but ONLY through Yeshua, can we be viewed as “Holy unto the LORD”

We might ask why the white tunic and not the colorful kingly tunic of gold, blue, and white. One thought is that the Cohen Gadol is coming for the King of the Universe. It would be like a "king before another king." He would need to come before YHVH in a humble way, as a lowly sinner. White is the color of repentance and a desire of inner purity. So, the Cohen comes before Adonai in a humble way. When he leaves, he dresses again in his colorful tunic of gold, blue, and white. He represents Adonai before "Am Israel" as before.

Another thought is that wearing gold would remind the priest of the rebellion with the golden calf idol. Wearing that before YHVH would not be so kosher.

The High Priest had to sacrifice a bull and a ram for the sin and burnt offering. The bull could signify the “strength” of G-d, representing also Aaron and his family. and the ram, the reminder of the ram sacrificed instead of Isaac on “Mt. Moriah”. The ram symbolizes YESHUA who took our place on the cross of “Mt. Calvary”

Two goats were also present; one served as a “scapegoat” and the other the “sacrificial goat”. We see Yeshua symbolized in both goats. One was sacrificed as a sin offering, symbolizing Yeshua as our “sacrifice of sin” because we are sinners. The other goat carried symbolically our sins and was sent off into the desert, (Azazel) as “Yeshua took our sins away from us”, and as far as the East is from the West, so our sins will be separated from us.

The prayer that Aaron recited while placing his hands upon the goats was the following:

"Oh YHVH (he then pronounced the most Holy name) They (Israel) have committed iniquity, transgression, and sin. Your house, the house of Israel. Oh YHVH, cover, I implore you, their iniquities, transgressions, and sins that they have committed with evil before you, your people, the House of Israel. As it is written in the Torah of Moshe, your servant saying: "Because on this day, atonement will be made for you, and YOU WILL BE CLEANSED of all your sins before YHVH"

When Aaron came to the part "You will be cleansed" he said it with a loud voice with all enthusiasm, and the people praised God while prostrating on the ground.

Aaron then took a censor of hot coals from the brazen altar, and he took incense and put the incense on the hot coals, then, with the smoking incense, he went into the Holy of Holies and put blood on the Mercy Seat. We see our Messiah Yeshua in all of this. To have fellowship with our creator, we need to start at the cross, where our sins were judged. This is the brazen altar. The incense symbolizes our prayers that go up before our Heavenly Father, through our prayers, we have fellowship with HIM. The blood that is sprinkled on the mercy seat symbolizes the blood of Messiah, which was shed for all of our sins. Under the mercy seat are the commandments that were given on Sinai. These were broken by our rebellion, and the blood of Messiah “covers” the sins of us all, BUT, more than that, they have been REMOVED, once and forever.

While the Yom Kippur sacrifices had to be offered up year after year, Our Messiah's one-time sacrifice was sufficient for all time, and forever.
Our sins are not only covered, they were atoned for and wiped away. "Atonement" means "At One Mind" we are at "one mind" with our Heavenly Father through Jesus Christ (Yeshua HaMashiach) So, "Yesterday" sort of speaking, it was a year-by-year task. "Today" it's been done once and for all time.

Ben Avraham