Ark of the Covenant - Bible History Online
Bible History Online
Picture Study Bible with Maps and Background Information

Leviticus 16:11 "Then Aaron shall offer the bull of the sin offering which is for himself, and make atonement for himself and for his household, and he shall slaughter the bull of the sin offering which is for himself.

< Leviticus 16:10
Leviticus 16:12 >

      11-19. Aaron shall bring the bullock of the sin offering which is for himself, &c.--The first part of the service was designed to solemnize his own mind, as well as the minds of the people, by offering the sacrifices for their sins. The sin offerings being slain had the sins of the offerer judicially transferred to them by the imputation of his hands on their head (Le 4:4, 15, 24, 29, 33); and thus the young bullock, which was to make atonement for himself and the other priests (called "his house," Ps 135:19), was killed by the hands of the high priest. While the blood of the victim was being received into a vessel, taking a censer of live coals in his right hand and a platter of sweet incense in his left, he, amid the solemn attention and the anxious prayers of the assembled multitude, crossed the porch and the holy place, opened the outer veil which led into the holy of holies and then the inner veil. Standing before the ark, he deposited the censer of coals on the floor, emptied the plate of incense into his hand, poured it on the burning coals; and the apartment was filled with fragrant smoke, intended, according to Jewish writers, to prevent any presumptuous gazer prying too curiously into the form of the mercy seat, which was the Lord's throne. The high priest having done this, perfumed the sanctuary, returned to the door, took the blood of the slain bullock, and, carrying it into the holy of holies, sprinkled it with his finger once upon the mercy seat "eastward"--that is, on the side next to himself; and seven times "before the mercy seat"--that is, on the front of the ark. Leaving the coals and the incense burning, he went out a second time, to sacrifice at the altar of burnt offering the goat which had been assigned as a sin offering for the people; and carrying its blood into the holy of holies, he made similar sprinklings as he had done before with the blood of the bullock. While the high priest was thus engaged in the most holy place, none of the ordinary priests were allowed to remain within the precincts of the tabernacle. The sanctuary or holy place and the altar of burnt offering were in like manner sprinkled seven times with the blood of the bullock and the goat. The object of this solemn ceremonial was to impress the minds of the Israelites with the conviction that the whole tabernacle was stained by the sins of a guilty people, that by their sins they had forfeited the privileges of the divine presence and worship, and that an atonement had to be made as the condition of God's remaining with them. The sins and shortcomings of the past year having polluted the sacred edifice, the expiation required to be annually renewed. The exclusion of the priests indicated their unworthiness and the impurities of their service. The mingled blood of the two victims being sprinkled on the horns of the altar indicated that the priests and the people equally needed an atonement for their sins. But the sanctuary being thus ceremonially purified, and the people of Israel reconciled by the blood of the consecrated victim, the Lord continued to dwell in the midst of them, and to honor them with His gracious presence.

JFB.


Questions Related to this Verse

Where in Scripture does it mention the Holy Place in the sanctuary of God?

Dynamically load content in Bootstrap Modal with AJAX

Select a Chapter

Leviticus Images and Notes

The Book of Leviticus

Leviticus 16:30 - For on that day shall the priest make an atonement for you, to cleanse you, that ye may be clean from all your sins before the LORD.

The Old Testament - A Brief Overview

Photo of the Sinai Wilderness
Photo of the Sinai Wilderness

Summary of The Book of Leviticus

Bible Survery - Leviticus
Hebrew Name - Vayyiqra "and He called"
Greek Name - Leviticus "from Levi"
Author - Moses
Date - 1490 BC Approximately
Theme - God's Laws for the Hebrew Nation
Types and Shadows - In Leviticus Jesus is the High Priest

In the Septuagint (The Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament), the third book of the Pentateuch is called "Levitikon" ("pertaining to the Levites"), which is an adjective that modifies the word "book." The Levites were the tribe in Israel from which the priests and others prominent in the worship services were chosen, in place of the firstborn sons of all the tribes (Num. 3:45). Leviticus plays a very important and essential role in the Pentateuch. In the same way that it is important to understand the book of Exodus before reading Leviticus, it seems just as important to read the book of Leviticus before reading the books of Numbers and Deuteronomy and the rest of the Old Testament for that matter. The purpose of the book of Leviticus is to make a clear focus on the holiness of God, and a clear distinction on the sinfulness of man in the light of God's holiness. God provides the necessary steps that man needs to take to restore the great fellowship which was lost between God and man as a result of the terrible defilement of sin. God explains the laws that make this restoration possible, in a general sense and also a very specific sense. These laws are intended to govern the whole life of the people chosen to serve God. Because of the focus on God's holiness and how to approach Him the book of Leviticus is clearly the most legalistic book in the entire Old Testament. The core message of God's laws is seen in the absolute statement "Ye shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy." Yet the great climax of this book can be clearly seen in Leviticus 16 where God gives the instructions for making atonement for sin on the Great Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur). When the high priest entered into the holy of holies and sprinkled the blood upon the Mercy Seat the sins of the entire nation for the previous year were forgiven by God. The mercy which God showed forth on the day of atonement so foreshadows the work of Christ that the Leviticus 16 has been called "the most beautiful flower of all Messianic symbolism."

In addition to the moral, ceremonial, and civil laws set forth in the book of Leviticus, there are also some historical sections, but these too are centered around the priesthood. These historical portions include the consecration of the priests in Leviticus 8 and 9, the sin and punishment of Nadab and Abihu (Leviticus 10), and the stoning of the blasphemer (Leviticus 24:10 ff). it is interesting that the Levites are not mentioned except one time very briefly and incidental (Leviticus 25:32 ff). 

ILLUSTRATION

The Tabernacle of Moses

The Tabernacle in the Wilderness

The ancient Tabernacle of Moses illustration with the curtain fence, the bronze laver, the bronze altar, the holy place, and the badger skin covering. (Click to Enlarge)

The book may be divided as follows :

Outline of the Book of Leviticus

1 ) Laws concerning Sacrifice (1-7). In this section five types of offerings are discussed: burnt offerings, meal offerings, peace offerings, sin offerings and guilt offerings. This is filled out by a discussion of the sin offering as it is to be observed by various classes of individuals.

2 ) An historical section featuring the consecration of the priests (8-9) and the sin of Nadab and Abihu (ch. 10).

3 ) A section on laws of purification from ceremonial uncleanness (11-15). These furnish instructions as to the appropriate sacrifices and ordinances for ridding oneself of impurity.

4) The Day of Atonement (ch. 16).

5 ) Laws dealing with the conduct of God's people (17-20). These include various religious and ethical laws designed to accent the separation between Israel and the heathen nations.

6) Laws concerning the holiness of the priests (21-22).

7 ) A discussion of holy days and feasts (23-24). Included in this section are the Sabbath, Passover, the feasts of first fruits and harvest, Pentecost, the Day of Atonement and the feast of Tabernacles.

8 ) The Sabbatical and Jubilee Years (ch. 25).

9 ) Promises and threats connected with obedience to the laws (ch. 26).

10) An appendix containing the laws concerning vows (ch. 27).

Quick Reference Map
Map of the Route of the Exodus
Map of the Possible Route of the Exodus (Click to Enlarge)

Quick Reference Maps - Leviticus

Israel During the Book of Exodus

The World During the Book of Exodus

The Exodus of the Hebrews From Egypt

Mount Horeb or Mount Sinai

The Red Sea at the Time of Moses

Canaan Before Joshua

Leviticus Resources

The Giving of the Law
The Tabernacle

More About the Book of Leviticus
Leviticus in the Picture Study Bible
The Old Testament
Timeline of the Ancient World
Back to Bible History Online