This is my reflection on the two videos linked below and how Leviticus 16 relates to Hebrews 9-10. These videos are not my work, but I encourage you to check them out!
"Sacrifice and Atonement" by The Bible Project: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G_OlRWGLdnw
After watching the Bible Project video, what struck me was their application to the sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s supper. Connecting the fact that the Old covenant sacrificial system was temporary, pointing forward to Christ’s once-for-all sacrifice is definitely consistent with the theology of Hebrews. They take that a step further, as would the author of Hebrews in his exhortation sections, to make sure Christians understand the newness of life we should be experiencing in light of Christ’s atoning sacrifice.
In speaking of Leviticus 16, Garret Kell said, “The Day of Atonement is the Calvary of the Old Testament.” “God provides a way for our sins to be covered and carried away forever.” We see this through the goat which was sacrificed as a way to enter the tent of meeting and the scapegoat which was sent into the wilderness after the sins of the people were put on it.
The day of Atonement is the shadow where Christ is the substance (Hebrews 8:5). Hebrews 9:22 says, “without shedding of blood there is no remission [of sins].” The way into the Holy of Holies for the High priest was to purify the entrance to the tent of meeting and the mercy seat by the blood of the goat. Christ’s blood made it to where humankind can enter God’s presence again by His entering once for all after “making purification of sins” Hebrews 1:3. Further, it is our hearts which are sprinkled clean which makes it possible for us to enter God’s presence even now through the Holy Spirit who will dwell in us (Hebrews 10:19-22).
The scapegoat was a foreshadowing of the truth which the prophet Jeremiah also looked forward to: “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more” (Jer. 31:34, cf. Heb. 10:17).
Interestingly enough, the Day of Atonement described in Leviticus 16 and referenced in Hebrews 9-10 happened every year. The main point the author of Hebrews is making is that the perpetuity of the old covenant sacrificial system demonstrated its insufficiency. In contrast, “By one offering He [Jesus] has perfected forever those who are being sanctified” (Heb. 10:14).
The thrust of the exhortation passage in the second half of Hebrews 10 is to not think lightly of this immense sacrifice. God has made it possible for us to enter His presence—even now—and He has quite literally forgotten our sins. Praise God He actually has the power to completely forgive and forget.
This is the blog of Tyler Shepard, the Associate Pastor for Centre Union Church in Yeagertown, PA.
I hope you are encouraged and challenged to walk more closely with Jesus Christ!