North Anderson Baptist Church
The Law of Atonement: Part 1-The Shadows
Locations & Times
  • North Anderson Baptist Church
    2308 N Main St, Anderson, SC 29621, United States
    Sunday 10:30 AM
Next week we will have the opportunity of observing the Lord’s Supper together as a congregation. We are graciously given the opportunity to remember the sacrifice of our Lord on the Cross at Calvary: His broken body and shed blood that declares the dead sinner righteous. With this event in mind, we look to the Scriptures to understand the context of this sacred event.
As we look at the argument from the writer of Hebrews, we must understand the CONTEXT of his argument. The only way to do this is to go to our Old Testament where is speaks SPECIFICALLY of the role of the High Priest, and the sacrifices that he offered.

· Hebrews states that Jesus is the faithful high priest. What does this mean?

· What was the writer of Hebrews assuming his audience knew?
Let us turn to Leviticus 16 in order to understand fully the work of the High priest on the day of atonement, and how Jesus fulfills this work.
The Role of the High Priest on The Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur)

1. Aaron (High Priest) was to take off his normal priestly garments, wash, and then put on the special garments which were prescribed by God for the sacrifices which took him into the Holy of Holies (verse 4)

2. Aaron was to secure the necessary sacrificial animals (verses 3,5)
a. A bull for his own sin offering
b. 2 male goats for the people’s sin offering
c. 2 rams, 1 for Aarons and the other for the people’s burnt offering

3. Aaron was to slaughter the bull for his own sin offering (Verses 6,11)

4. Before entering the Holy of Holies, he had to create a “cloud of incense” (verses 12-13)

5. Aaron was to take some of the blood of the bull and sprinkle it on the mercy seat seven times (verse 14)

6. Aaron was to cast lots to determine which goat would be slaughtered and which would be driven away (Verse 7-8)

7. The goat for slaughter-the goat for the sin offering of the people was sacrificed, and its blood was taken into the Holy of Holies and applied to the mercy seat, just as the bulls blood had been (verse 15)

8. Aaron was then to make atonement for the alter of burnt offering outside of the tent (verse 18-19)

9. The second goat, the one which was kept alive, had the sins of the nation of Israel symbolically laid upon its head, and was driven from the camp to a desolate place from which it must never return (verse 20-22)

10. Aaron then entered the tent of meeting, removed his garments, washed them, and then put on his priestly garments. (verse 23)

11. The burnt offerings of the rams, one for Aaron and his family and the other for the people are now offered (verse 24)

12. The earlier sacrifices of the bull and goat were completed
a. The fat of the sin offering burned on the alter (25)
b. The remains of the bull and goat taken outside the camp and burned (27)

13. Those who had been rendered unclean by handling the animals on which the sins of Aaron or the people were laid were to wash themselves and return to camp (verses 26,28)
The Context of Leviticus 16

· Verse 1- “The Lord spoke to Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron, when they drew near before the Lord and died,”
o Moses is given these instructions AFTER the death of Aaron’s two sons
· Their story sheds light on the entire 16th chapter of Leviticus
I would venture to say that we don’t necessarily like passages like this one.

· We don’t like the idea of God striking the sons of Aaron, the high priest dead
o What we are told is this:
· They offered unauthorized fire to the Lord, which he had not commanded them
· Aaron’s sons created innovation in their worship
o “I don’t like the incense that God desires, let’s try this instead
· They did what was contrary to the Lord’s command, and they paid the price for it.
Moses’ demand of Aaron (Leviticus 10:6-7)

· Tearing of clothes and disheveling of hair were signs of mourning, Moses tells Aaron and his sons not to mourn the loss of their son and brother. Why?

What bothers people about this passage:

· God kills Aaron’s sons and says:
o By those who come near me (priests) I will be treated as Holy (verse 3)
· The priests were not to make up the rules as they went along

Notice that the Bible tells us that Aaron kept silent during this.
· Aaron understood the mistake his sons made

For mankind to ignore how God COMMANDS to be treated is detrimental.

The context of Leviticus 16, then, is given to Aaron so that he may understand the EXACT circumstances into which he is able to enter into the Holy of Holies to give the sacrifice.
o Perhaps a clue as to why Aaron’s sons were killed…
· His sons desired to enter into the Holy of Holies any TIME they wanted and any WAY they wanted.

This text, then, provides the instructions as to HOW and WHEN the high priest was to enter into the Holy Place.

· Notice the end of the chapter (Leviticus 16:29-34 ESV)
· GOD chooses the day (Yom Kippur- the day of atonement)
o Israel doesn’t choose the day, God does

The Sacrifices of the Day of Atonement

· Let’s be honest with ourselves… These sacrifices are difficult to understand
o The bull, the goats, the rams, the sprinkling, the covering, the burning, the washing, etc.
· BUT…
NONE of this will ever make sense to us (the death of the sons of Aaron/the offerings given by the high priest) unless we truly grasp the seriousness to which God takes sin.

· UNFORTUNATELY, the doctrine of the atonement itself, especially the things which pointed to it in our Old Testament have not been the SUBSTANCE of the modern evangelical course of Action
o WHAT?!?!?! There’s a cross in every church…
· How many people ACTUALLY consider the atonement of Christ on Calvary’s tree, as the FULFILLMENT of God’s WRATH against sin? (Holiness)
· For most, the cross has become an escape ticket from Hell
· The exact point where God’s wrath and holiness intersect with His grace and mercy—the cross at Calvary
So… Why does Aaron have to make so many different offerings?

· Verse 2—Aaron must cleanse Himself because God will be tabernacleing with him
o EVERY YEAR the high priest had to do the same thing OVER AND OVER
· Smear blood
· Sprinkle blood
· All to cleanse his own sin
· Sin is such a stench in the nostrils of our Holy God that it must be cleansed!!!
o Notice, first, an offering was made for Aaron himself (verse 6,11)
o Then, an offering was made for the ITEMS USED FOR THE OFFERING—the mercy seat and the alter, because of the sins of the people (Verse 14-16)
o THEN there is an atonement specifically for the people of Israel (verse 15)

BUT… the sacrifice is not enough…
· The sacrifice for himself
· The sacrifice for the items
· The sacrifice for the people
· There is still more that must take place
The Scapegoat (16:20-22 ESV) Another picture of the seriousness of Sin to a Holy God


· Aaron, who has just finished the sacrifices for his sin, and the sins of the people of God, his hands still warm with the blood of the goat and bull and ram, now lays his hands on this goat and begins to CONFESS the SINS OF THE PEOPLE.
o This could not have been an enjoyable experience for Aaron
· CONFESSION is NEVER enjoyable
· The scapegoat is then taken to an uninhabited place and let go

We have the advantage of being 1,000’s of years removed from these events.

· We have the advantage of prophets who have come after
· We have the advantage of the New Testament that sheds light into the truth that the measures taken on Yom Kippur were TYPES AND SHADOWS OF THINGS TO COME.
· These practices point to something REAL
o The giving of life in the sacrifice of sin—life is represented in the blood of the animal
o The costliness of forgiveness seen upon the horns of the alter—the blood of the dead animal
o The atonement being made for sin
· A picture of what was to come
o A reminder of the sins of the people of Israel
· The high priest would see the blood from the previous years sacrifice on the alter every time he went in to make a sacrifice
o A promise of what God will do with sin (scapegoat)
· Psalm 103:12 ESV
· as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
o East to West—immeasurable distance

One of the reasons we don’t ponder this more seriously is because, sadly, we don’t take sin very seriously.

· God will forgive me
· My sin isn’t that bad

BUT… When you must do what Aaron had to do every single year, regularly, repeatedly, it gives light to the wrath of God and his hatred of sin.

· We learn from this passage the importance for Christians to regularly remind ourselves of the Holiness of God.

When we continuously dismiss the Old Testament revelation and its relevance to us today:
· That’s the law
o We’re not under the law, we’re under grace
· We cut ourselves off from these VIVID illustrations of God’s holiness
o We undermine the truth of Hebrews 7-8—that Christ is the FULFILLMENT of ALL OF THIS
· His priesthood is greater
· He doesn’t have to pass his priesthood off to someone else
· He has entered into the Holy place FOR US!!!

When we have a less than Biblical understanding of the Holiness of God, we are in danger of accepting substitutes for God’s salvation.

· Works Salvation—Mormon missionaries
o Man can, in some way find in their actions things that can have salvific effectiveness before a Holy God.
o It always lessens it

When you take what the Bible says about the Holiness of God seriously:
· God’s complete “otherness”
· The depravity of sin
· The depth of our sin
· Sin is a stench in the nostrils of this Holy God

You understand:
· You need to have a means of reconciliation between sinners and God that is ABSOLUTELY divine!
So What???
· If anything is to be said about the book of Hebrews, specifically chapters 7-8, it is that it should heighten our awareness of the Holiness of God.
God Himself was the fulfillment of these types and shadows

God himself had to be the Sacrifice

This should show us, without a doubt, the holiness of God and His wrath against sin
· If you look at the cross at Calvary and don’t see God’s wrath against sin, you don’t see His love there either!


Dear friend if you are reading this by way of the internet please know that you are loved and cared for. If you have no relationship with God the Father through Jesus Christ His Son, then I invite you to trust Him by faith and receive Him as your personal Savior. Jesus Christ died on the cross for the sin of everyone in the world that they may have eternal life. All of us have sinned and all are guilty before Almighty God who made us to have fellowship with Him. But sin broke that ability to have a relationship and Jesus has restored the possibility to know God personally through His sacrifice. Please know that if you will seek God and turn from your sin and pray He will respond with His love and give to you a personal relationship through your belief in His Son and the sacrifice He made just for you. He will call for a change in your life too. He wants you to follow Him, not the world, not your own desires, but to follow Jesus. That brings a life change when you turn from sin and self and by faith believe in Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord. There is no Savior without Him being Lord of your life. Your willingness to change by following Him daily in your life will be the proof of your faith. When life throws its curves your way and you have found yourself broken by others or by the world let us introduce you to the only One who can help you…Jesus! You can write or call the office and we will follow up by contacting you. Office phone number is 864-225-2575 and the website address is and the physical address is 2308 N. Main St., Anderson, SC 29621. Dear friend if you are a believer and you have been touched by the Lord and you would like to talk to someone at the church just contact us in one of the ways you see above. If you are a believer and would like to talk about the church and your interest in being a part, please call and we can set up an appointment for you and get to know you. It would be a great pleasure to share our Lord’s love with you. This is a loving church and you are important to us, so please let us know what we can do for you in the Lord.