Daily Prayer Devotional for Women and Men | OnlinePrayerJournal


(From Scripture Union)


Holy Spirit, enlighten my mind and open my heart to receive and respond to what you show me in Scripture today.



The Day of Atonement 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. 3 “This is how Aaron is to enter the Most Holy Place: He must first bring a young bull for a sin offering[a] and a ram for a burnt offering.  4 He is to put on the sacred linen tunic, with linen undergarments next to his body; he is to tie the linen sash around him and put on the linen turban. These are sacred garments; so he must bathe himself with water before he puts them on.  5 From the Israelite community he is to take two male goats for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering. 6 “Aaron is to offer the bull for his own sin offering to make atonement for himself and his household.  7 Then he is to take the two goats and present them before the Lord  at the entrance to the tent of meeting.  8 He is to cast lots for the two goats—one lot for the Lord  and the other for the scapegoat.[b]  9 Aaron shall bring the goat whose lot falls to the Lord  and sacrifice it for a sin offering.  10 But the goat chosen by lot as the scapegoat shall be presented alive before the Lord  to be used for making atonement by sending it into the wilderness as a scapegoat. 11 “Aaron shall bring the bull for his own sin offering to make atonement for himself and his household, and he is to slaughter the bull for his own sin offering.  12 He is to take a censer full of burning coals from the altar before the Lord  and two handfuls of finely ground fragrant incense and take them behind the curtain.  13 He is to put the incense on the fire before the Lord , and the smoke of the incense will conceal the atonement cover above the tablets of the covenant law, so that he will not die.  14 He is to take some of the bull’s blood and with his finger sprinkle it on the front of the atonement cover; then he shall sprinkle some of it with his finger seven times before the atonement cover. 15 “He shall then slaughter the goat for the sin offering for the people and take its blood behind the curtain and do with it as he did with the bull’s blood: He shall sprinkle it on the atonement cover and in front of it.  16 In this way he will make atonement for the Most Holy Place because of the uncleanness and rebellion of the Israelites, whatever their sins have been. He is to do the same for the tent of meeting, which is among them in the midst of their uncleanness.  17 No one is to be in the tent of meeting from the time Aaron goes in to make atonement in the Most Holy Place until he comes out, having made atonement for himself, his household and the whole community of Israel. 18 “Then he shall come out to the altar that is before the Lord  and make atonement for it. He shall take some of the bull’s blood and some of the goat’s blood and put it on all the horns of the altar.  19 He shall sprinkle some of the blood on it with his finger seven times to cleanse it and to consecrate it from the uncleanness of the Israelites. 20 “When Aaron has finished making atonement for the Most Holy Place, the tent of meeting and the altar, he shall bring forward the live goat.  21 He is to lay both hands on the head of the live goat and confess over it all the wickedness and rebellion of the Israelites—all their sins—and put them on the goat’s head. He shall send the goat away into the wilderness in the care of someone appointed for the task.  22 The goat will carry on itself all their sins to a remote place; and the man shall release it in the wilderness. 23 “Then Aaron is to go into the tent of meeting and take off the linen garments he put on before he entered the Most Holy Place, and he is to leave them there.  24 He shall bathe himself with water in the sanctuary area and put on his regular garments. Then he shall come out and sacrifice the burnt offering for himself and the burnt offering for the people, to make atonement for himself and for the people.  25 He shall also burn the fat of the sin offering on the altar. 26 “The man who releases the goat as a scapegoat must wash his clothes and bathe himself with water; afterward he may come into the camp.  27 The bull and the goat for the sin offerings, whose blood was brought into the Most Holy Place to make atonement, must be taken outside the camp; their hides, flesh and intestines are to be burned up.  28 The man who burns them must wash his clothes and bathe himself with water; afterward he may come into the camp. 29 “This is to be a lasting ordinance for you: On the tenth day of the seventh month you must deny yourselves[c] and not do any work—whether native-born or a foreigner residing among you—  30 because on this day atonement will be made for you, to cleanse you. Then, before the Lord , you will be clean from all your sins.  31 It is a day of sabbath rest, and you must deny yourselves; it is a lasting ordinance.  32 The priest who is anointed and ordained to succeed his father as high priest is to make atonement. He is to put on the sacred linen garments  33 and make atonement for the Most Holy Place, for the tent of meeting and the altar, and for the priests and all the members of the community. 34 “This is to be a lasting ordinance for you: Atonement is to be made once a year for all the sins of the Israelites.” And it was done, as the Lord  commanded Moses.

Footnotes Leviticus 16:3 Or purification offering; here and throughout this chapter Leviticus 16:8 The meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain; also in verses 10 and 26. Leviticus 16:29 Or must fast; also in verse 31

New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.



Picture a big gulf separating you from God. Now think of the cross of Jesus Christ as a bridge and you walking across on it.

Think Further

Two of the many words that the English language owes to William Tyndale’s translation of the Bible are to be found in this chapter. First, ‘atonement.’ The word describes the ‘at-one-ment’ of sinful human beings who had been separated from their holy Creator God. To this day, Yom Kippur is celebrated as the Day of Atonement in Judaism. Atonement covers both the personal guilt and the public shame associated with sin, as explained by Jonathan Sacks.1

The first of the two goats in the communal sacrifice on the Day of Atonement is, fittingly, a sin offering. It is burned at the altar on behalf of the community only after Aaron had first offered appropriate sacrifices to cover his own sins and those of his family (vv. 6, 11). Included in the application of the blood in verses 15 and 16, and verses 18 and 19, are the people and the objects employed in worshipping God.

Second is the ‘scapegoat,’ a contraction of what Tyndale originally termed the ‘escape goat.’ Even when sin has been purged and we are at one with God, its stain and social implications remain behind. This is where the ‘escape goat’ has its place. Sin is confessed and is symbolically transferred with the laying on of hands, not on the sacrificed goat but on the live goat, which is then taken away from the community and released into the wilderness (vv. 20–22). As Paul puts it, this is the shadow, but Jesus Christ is the reality.2 He is the one who was led outside the city gate to be crucified as the sufficient sacrifice for both our guilt and our shame.3


‘The New is in the Old concealed; the Old is in the New revealed.’4 Praise God today for the unity of the two Bible Testaments.


Lord Jesus, thank you for not only offering yourself for my sin, but also for being my scapegoat—you not only paid for my sin; you take its humiliation and remove it from me.

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