Hang in there, fam! The biggest challenge we’re having in the group right now is that so many have made it to Leviticus and are afraid that God has finished speaking, so they’re taking what they know and trying to figure it out – meanwhile God is still at the podium for another 63 books. Think of how patient He has been with us, let us give Him this year.
Good Morning, Siblings!
Today’s reading are Leviticus 16-18
Today in our reading, the Day of Atonement is instated. This is one of YHWH’s Holy days, remember there are eight all together and one of those eight occurs weekly. Each of the Holy days are set up as teaching tools to teach us about our history, what is expected of us, and to bring us closer to Him. When the Father instates each of these Holy days He makes it a point to tell us that they are to be observed forever. It is very important to pay attention whenever the Father says words like “forever” and to pause a moment and realize that we’ve often treated those statements from Him as if He doesn’t know what forever means.
Each of these Holy days also foretell of a future event. The Day of Atonement foretells of the final judgement when Messiah returns. Observing or keeping (however you want to call it) the Day of Atonement will keep us prepared for that return, as do all of the Biblical Feasts. To read more of the feasts and understand why days such as this are referred to as “feasts” to begin with, click here.
- Note: when I say “Holy” day, I’m referring to true Holiness, the days that YHWH has made holy. Man has declared many things holy in his eyes but in the Bible the only things referred to as “holy” are what are holy in YHWH’s eyes.
So how do we observe the day of atonement today? This is something I get a lot of questions about so I’m going to answer for those interested. Feel free to scroll on by if this is not something you’re curious about.
The Day of Atonement is a very solemn day of reflection of the Grace the Father has shown us and our behavior which put us in need of that grace. Messiah is, understandably, at the forefront of this day for Believers today. Some people fast on this day, some spend it in prayer, many do both or other things as well. YHWH tells us to “deny” ourselves this day. The Hebrew sheds more light on this as the words used in Hebrew tell us to humble or submit our souls. Goodness. That goes deep for me. This day is a day of rest, we are to do no regular work. (Not all Holy days command us to rest. In fact, some command us to rejoice!)
Personally, I see the Day of Atonement how some people see the new year. It is a time of reflection on the previous year. I prayerfully consider where I fell short, where I missed the mark, and seek the Father’s wisdom in all of this. From there, I work with Him on my hopes of moving forward.
What does “do no regular work” on Holy days mean? Well, everyone needs to seek that out for themselves. Some have gone so far as to say they can’t even flip on a light switch. Ricky and I do our level best to refrain from doing our “regular” work, which is our weekday jobs. I also try to have food prepped ahead of time so I can spend less time doing that. Often, I put supper in the crock pot in the morning. If we had a nice meal the night before, the dishes from that will wait until the day is over. On Holy days that are sabbaths (days of rest) I acquire what I call my “Sabbath Vision”. I do all I can to get housework and such done ahead of time but once the day is here, any leftover tasks such as laundry that needs folding or dishes that need putting away are rendered invisible thanks to my Sabbath vision! Y’all, it’s a freeing thing! lol
Let’s play a game, count how many times YHWH say Forever in just these verses below.
Leviticus 16:29-34 English Standard Version (ESV)
29 “And it shall be a statute to you forever that in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall afflict yourselves and shall do no work, either the native or the stranger who sojourns among you. 30 For on this day shall atonement be made for you to cleanse you. You shall be clean before the Lord from all your sins.31 It is a Sabbath of solemn rest to you, and you shall afflict yourselves; it is a statute forever. 32 And the priest who is anointed and consecrated as priest in his father’s place shall make atonement, wearing the holy linen garments. 33 He shall make atonement for the holy sanctuary, and he shall make atonement for the tent of meeting and for the altar, and he shall make atonement for the priests and for all the people of the assembly. 34 And this shall be a statute forever for you, that atonement may be made for the people of Israel once in the year because of all their sins.” And Aaron did as the Lord commanded Moses.
When does a parent repeat Himself? When it’s important.
We don’t have the Levitical priest system or the temple right now but we can still keep the day of atonement to the best of our ability.
Here is a condition for receiving atonement: This atonement is only for the people who recognize their need for it and look to the priest to atone for them. Their hearts have to be truly repentant. Does this sound familiar? Yes, this is the pattern set forth for our Messiah. When we recognize our sin and that we deserve judgement, we can turn to Him and His sacrifice will serve as our atonement, freeing us from righteous and deserved judgement for our sins.
Leviticus 16:1 may offer another bit of information as to why Aaron’s son’s died. It is referencing Aaron approaching the holy of holies.
16 The Lord spoke to Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron who died when they approached the Lord. 2 The Lord said to Moses: “Tell your brother Aaron that he is not to come whenever he chooses into the Most Holy Place behind the curtain in front of the atonement cover on the ark, or else he will die. For I will appear in the cloud over the atonement cover.
This is a special inner part of the tabernacle that was only to be entered by the high priest once per year on the day of atonement. This may be telling us that Aaron’s sons also tried to enter this but that can’t be more than speculation with what information we have right now.
Leviticus 16:4 tells us that Aaron was to wear special garments that were set aside just for this ceremony. Throughout this passage the Father is using many different devices and ceremonies to help us understand just how significant it is to approach Him and ask for atonement for our sins. This is no light matter.
Pay special attention to how many times YHWH adds “and the foreigners among you” or “and the foreigners who have joined themselves to you” (some Bibles say sojourners). This addition is a provision put in place that allows Gentiles to become part of God’s chosen people long before Peter’s vision of the sheet in Acts which opened up a superhighway for us.
There is a lot of talk about being unclean and clean with regards to people. Remember that being unclean isn’t necessarily a sin. It is just something that needs to be rectified.
We are introduced to the origin of the “Scapegoat” term in our readings today. Some translations state that the scapegoat is to be released into the wilderness of Azazel. The translation I am using uses this but this word does not appear in NIV and a few others. Still, the name Azazel is used several times and it leads us to question, just who or what is Azazel?
Scholars are at odds on this but some believe it is a name for a demon or a name meant to mean satan. However, one of my Bibles states that this is a Hebrew word meaning “goat of departure”. Yeah, that made me chuckle a bit. Others state that this goat represents Satan and that is why we are sending it out into the wilderness, away from the camp along with the sin.
It’s one of those “we cannot know for sure” type situations in which we can explore further and form our own hypothesis or just let it go and keep reading, knowing that we will know this and many more things one bright day.
There are all sorts of legends surrounding this ceremony with the two goats. It may be a fun rabbit trail for you to take but before you do, I encourage you to read what the Word says first and take everything else with a grain of salt. If you chase this one, you’ll likely read about wool strings, cliffs, demons, and more. It may be interesting to chase a few rabbits but don’t forget to come back and make sure you keep them in a separate place in your mind from YHWH’s known truth.
Now, you may have noticed that I’m not one to talk much about old lucifer and I’m certainly not one to call him out for being the cause of our troubles. Why? Because I think he gets credit where credit isn’t due.
It is a tragic tradition of the body of believers to blame satan for things we just don’t want to be accountable for.
Am I denying satan exists? Absolutely not. I’m just denying that he has the power we try to say he has over our lives – and more often than not he is blamed so that we can claim innocence for ourselves in situations in which we willfully and wholeheartedly did what we knew we shouldn’t have. It’s the classic “the devil made me do it” schtick.
Naw, he didn’t make us do it. We do 99% of that stuff ourselves and just hope to blame someone else when it comes time to fess up. And coming full circle, this is where we try to make satan our scapegoat.
If we are going to mature spiritually we must learn to own our sins by repenting: turning from our ways, and turning to the ways of YHWH. It is far more than a few words said at an altar call – it’s a change of life that changes everything.
We are learning a lot and some of it may seem useless but keep in mind, as you read, that this is YHWH speaking.
If His words were in red as they are in many bibles when Jesus speaks, we would pay more attention and show more reverence to them. In fact, I have a wonderful little Bible that does have the words of our Father in red. I use it as a reference to remind me of the importance of these words. I’m going to put in a photo of it below, opened to today’s readings. I just got the least expensive one as I use it only for reference. See if Amazon still has some in stock by clicking here.
This is part of today’s readings. When YHWH is speaking, the words are in red.
This really makes me stop and think.
Personal sidenote: Reverence. We just don’t show Him enough reverence. That’s something He started revealing to me years ago and I’m always working on that. We, you and I, do not show Him enough reverence.
Leviticus 18:4-5 4 You must obey my laws and be careful to follow my decrees.I am the Lord your God. 5 Keep my decrees and laws, for the person who obeys them will live by them. I am the Lord.
Leviticus 18:26-28 But you must keep my decrees and my laws. The native-born and the foreigners residing among you must not do any of these detestable things, 27 for all these things were done by the people who lived in the land before you, and the land became defiled. 28 And if you defile the land, it will vomit you out as it vomited out the nations that were before you.
Some things we need to keep in mind about the above verses. Remember that we talked about chapter and verse numbers being added later? They were not present when these books were written. It is important to know that this is a continuous conversation and what we are reading today is a continuation of what we’ve been reading. All of this to say, most folks I know who like to call out people for doing what we are told not to do in Leviticus 18 live in open rebellion themselves to Leviticus 11. This is why we really need to focus on the beam in our own eye rather than spending our time going around on splinter hunts. Matthew 7:5
I just checked my schedule for the week and, as it turns out, I’m still a work in progress.
I’m afraid this is an indefinite condition so, once again, I find myself lacking the time and energy it would take to judge and condemn others.
I’m afraid y’all are just gonna have to settle for me loving you.
May we encourage one another, build one another up, and help each other to become more and more like our Messiah with each day we are given. ??
The world is filled with demolition teams. Let us volunteer for the construction crew!
Test everything, hold tight to what is good.~ 1 Thess 5:21
We are saved by Grace alone: Obedience is not the root of our salvation, it is the fruit!