Richard Agee

Leviticus 15:1-16:19: Uncleanness of mankind and cleansing on Yom haKippurim

Richard AgeeLeviticus 10-16, which includes the teaching on Yom haKippurim (Day of Atonement), teach God’s view of “holiness” and “cleanliness” before Him and how God makes us holy and clean.

Lev. 15:1-15 discusses what to do if a person has a discharge, such a bout of diarrhea, this text tells us what to do to take care of the one with the discharge as well as how the caretaker(s) take care of themselves that they do not catch the uncleanness. 

At the end of the illness, the person is to bring a offering to signal that he or she is ready to return to communion with God. 

If a person has  diarrhea for seven days, you need to clean up every day during that time. Anyone taking care of a person with  diarrhea needs to clean themselves up daily, too. 

To me, this is just a manner of politeness. Do you go out of your way to approach people when you are ill with diarrhea? No. If you are taking care of a child or family member with a profound bout of diarrhea and some of it gets on you, you are to clean yourself up and become clean again. 

There are a lot of discharges beside diarrhea that can be dangerous and contagious. It’s just common sense to me that people would want to clean up after we have been exposed to discharges. 

All of this is about Israel and how Israel were to be clean and holy so He could live with them. God is teaching us what purity is. We know how God thinks, not how we think. 

In Leviticus 16, we learn a little more about how the High Priest was to perform His duties on the day of Atonement. 

“Now the LORD spoke to Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron, when they had approached the presence of the LORD and died.” (Lev. 16:1)

The sons were trying to God something that God did not command them to give at a time they were not commanded to give it. They were on their own, just making up their own thing, in a sense. They were going to do something they were not authorized to do. Only the High Priest can make atonement, not a regular priest. This was written down for us. They were not to do their job lightly. 

I believe that Aaron took his job even more seriously after his two sons died, not to imply that he didn’t take his job seriously before but Aaron’s position would take a new importance to Aaron and the community after that. Aaron understood that he could not enter the Most Holy Place at just any time when ever he felt like it. He could only enter when invited. 

“Aaron shall enter the holy place with this: with a bull for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering.” (Lev. 16:3)

Each offering on the Day of Atonement have a special purpose. There’s no peace offering, or guilt offering at this point. 

He wore a special garment only on the Day of Atonement, only when he is to go through the veil to meet in the Most Holy Place. 

“He shall put on the holy linen tunic, and the linen undergarments shall be next to his body, and he shall be girded with the linen sash and attired with the linen turban (these are holy garments).” (Lev. 16:4a)

Aaron had to bathe and then put on these special garments. Just as the veil hides the Most Holy Place from the Holy Place and the rest of the tabernacle, Yeshua hides us with His blood. 

Aaron had to prepare himself to carry the burden of the people, not the glory. Paul says we should carry each other’s burdens, not criticize or judge each others burdens. When we pray for each other, we are carrying each others burdens to the one who can cover it and take it away. 

After Aaron puts on his garments, he has additional sacrifices to perform. 

“He shall take from the congregation of the sons of Israel two male goats for a sin offering and one ram for a burnt offering. Then Aaron shall offer the bull for the sin offering which is for himself, that he may make atonement for himself and for his household.” (Lev. 16:5–6)

These are to make a reconciliation, to give something to God to reconcile with Him. The High Priests has to reconcile himself to God before he is worthy to help reconcile the people to be reconciled to God. Messiah Yeshua had to give a sin offering to God for us, we read about this in the book of Psalms and Hebrews. Yeshua Himself was the sin offering, without blemish, without fault. He was clean. 

“He shall take the two goats and present them before the LORD at the doorway of the tent of meeting. Aaron shall cast lots for the two goats, one lot for the LORD and the other lot for the scapegoat.” (Lev. 16:7–8)

What does he do after he casts the lots? The goat for the sin offering is killed and offered to God, the other is the scapegoat. Both of these goats represent Yeshua. Both of these goats atone for the sins. The goat that is killed atones, but the goat that is sent away also atones. Both of them have to be there to complete the task. 

He then sacrifices a bull for a sin offering as well.

“He shall take a firepan full of coals of fire from upon the altar before the LORD and two handfuls of finely ground sweet incense, and bring it inside the veil. “He shall put the incense on the fire before the LORD, that the cloud of incense may cover the mercy seat that is on the ark of the testimony, otherwise he will die.” (Lev. 16:12–13)

He has to cover the mercy seat completely in the smoke of the incense before Aaron could approach God. Why would you cover the mercy seat in smoke? 

“Moreover, he shall take some of the blood of the bull and sprinkle it with his finger on the mercy seat on the east; also in front of the mercy seat he shall sprinkle some of the blood with his finger seven times.” (Lev. 16:14)

This isn’t on the east “side” of the altar but simply that the priest is facing towards the east with his back to the west. The priest had to put the blood on the mercy seat and in front of the mercy seat. In a sense, the priest splatters the blood of the sacrifices on God’s lap and on God’s feet. Yeshua brought His blood to God’s lap and onto God’s feet. This is how we can approach God without shame. 

What is the purpose of all this atonement?

“’He shall make atonement for the holy place, because of the impurities of the sons of Israel and because of their transgressions in regard to all their sins; and thus he shall do for the tent of meeting which abides with them in the midst of their impurities.’” (Lev. 16:16)

He first purifies the Most Holy Place, then he purifies everything else in the Temple. No man is to supervise or check on the High Priest’s work. 

“When he goes in to make atonement in the holy place, no one shall be in the tent of meeting until he comes out, that he may make atonement for himself and for his household and for all the assembly of Israel.” (Lev. 16:17)

We’ll continue this conversation next week.

Reader: Jeff. Speaker: Richard Agee. Summary: Tammy

Note: Because of a technical error, there is no recording of this study.


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