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"On exactly the tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement; it shall be a holy convocation for you, and you shall humble your souls and present an offering by fire to the LORD. You shall not do any work on this same day, for it is a day of atonement, to make atonement on your behalf before the LORD your God. If there is any person who will not humble himself on this same day, he shall be cut off from his people."

 

Leviticus 23:27-29

Day of Atonement:  Day of Reconciliation

The 16th chapter of Leviticus details what God commanded the Levitical high priests to do on the Day of Atonement. The purpose of the rituals God gave His Levitical priests was to remind the Israelites of their sins, that the penalty for sin was death, and that they would need a Savior to pay the penalty for them. Once the Israelites had agreed to worship the LORD, the One who became Jesus Christ (Exodus 24:3), He then began to detail to them how He should be worshipped. The first instructions He gave were for His Tabernacle (Exodus 25-27 and 30).

Aaron and his sons were divinely chosen as priests (chapter 28). God's priests were appointed, not elected. God was in charge. The Most Holy Place in the Tabernacle represented God's throne in heaven. The Ark of the Covenant, with the wings of the cherubim spread overhead, was in the Most Holy Place (Exodus 25:10-22; 26:33-34). Inside the Ark were the tables of stone upon which God had written the Ten Commandments. The lid of the Ark, which was called the mercy seat, was where Jesus Christ manifested Himself as the LORD. Only one person-the Levitical high priest-was ever allowed to enter the Most Holy Place. He was allowed to enter it only once each year-only on the Day of Atonement to perform a special ceremony. This day is symbolically linked to man's access to God. Before our reconciliation we had a superficial view of Jesus Christ. Now we view Him as the Eternal Creator, Lord, Savior, and High Priest who lives in us by His Spirit, and with whom we are now in fellowship. This truth has a tremendous impact on how we conduct our lives.

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