Other comments on this day's readings can be found here.
Reading 1 - Lev 16
Outline of events on the Day of Atonement:
The day would seem to begin as usual with the offering of the
morning sacrifice, the burnt offering of a one-year-old lamb (Exo 29:38-42; Num
28:3-6). After these duties were performed, the High Priest would commence the
ceremonies of the Day of Atonement, as prescribed in Lev 16:
Aaron was to take off his normal priestly garments, wash, and then put on
the special garments which were prescribed for the sacrifices which took him
into the holy of holies (v 4; cf Exo 28; 39).
Aaron secured the necessary
sacrificial animals: a bull for his own sin offering and two male goats for the
people's sin offering; two rams, one for Aaron's and the other for the people's
burnt offering (vv 3,5).
Aaron slaughtered the bull for his own sin offering
Before entering into the Holy of Holies with the blood of the
bull, Aaron had to create a "cloud" of incense in the Holy of Holies, covering
the mercy seat, to "veil" the glory of God so that he could enter in (vv 12,13).
In the case of Aaron, he was to offer only the prescribed incense so as to
create an obscuring veil of smoke, thus dimming the glory of God's presence and
sparing his life.
Aaron then took some of the blood of the bull and
sprinkled it on the mercy seat seven times (v 14).
Lots were then cast for
the two goats, to determine which would be slaughtered and which would be driven
away (vv 7,8).
The goat for slaughter, the goat of the people's sin
offering, was sacrificed, and its blood was taken into the Holy of Holies and
applied to the mercy seat, as the bull's blood had been (v 15).
was then made for the holy place (v 16), seemingly by the sprinkling of the
blood of both the bull and the goat. The atonement of the holy place is done
alone, without anyone present to help, or to watch (v 17).
Next, outside the
tent, Aaron was to make atonement for the altar of burnt offering, using, it
would seem, the blood of both the bull and the goat (vv 18,19).
second goat, the one which was kept alive, had the sins of the nation
symbolically laid on its head, and was driven from the camp to a desolate place,
from which it must never return (vv 20-22).
Aaron then came out of the tent
of meeting, removed his linen garments, washed, and put on his normal priestly
garments (vv 23,24).
The burnt offerings of rams, one for Aaron and his
family and the other for the people, was now offered (v 24)
sacrifices of the bull and the goat were completed. The fat of the sin offering
was burned on the altar (v 25), and the remains of the bull and the goat were
taken outside the camp, where they were burned (v 27).
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 then return to camp (vv
Reading 2 - Psa 119
Christ in Psalm 119:
How did Jesus spend the "hidden years" from age 12 to age 30?
Of course, there was his labor (very probably as a carpenter, along with
Joseph), and many ordinary tasks as required. But, as regards the special work
for which he must have prepared himself, it may be taken as fairly certain that
Jesus, born King of the Jews, did one very special thing: he wrote out his own
copy of the Law and also of the rest of the Old Testament Scriptures (see Deu
Considering this monumental Psalm 119, think with what zest he
would have written out these 176 commentaries on the Word of God and their
expression of his own delight in the ways of his God! It makes a wonderful
exercise to read the psalm slowly, in short sections, all the while trying to
see the words through the eyes of young Jesus in Nazareth.
As we summarize Psalm 119, it becomes evident Jesus and his
life are to be found throughout:
Jesus was sorely tried, but in his trials he recognized his Father's loving
discipline for his good (vv 50,67,71,75,107,153).
He had to suffer contempt
(vv 22,39,42) and even ill-treatment (vv 121,134) because of his adherence to
He was despised and persecuted by the authorities (vv 23,161); he
was mocked, lied against, and opposed by men of position and power, whom he
designates as "the proud" or "the wicked" (vv 51,61,68,78,84,85,86,
He was in danger of his life (vv 87,109).
persecutors were for the most part not heathen, but faithless Israelites, since
he describes them as forsaking God's law (v 53), wandering from His commandments
(v 21), and forgetting His words (v 139). They were selfish, self-satisfied men
of the world, incapable of appreciating true faithfulness (v 70). Their
indifference to the law aroused his burning indignation (v 53), as well as his
profound sorrow (v 136).
He was confronted by laxity and apostasy (vv
113,126,158), and by evil example calculated to draw him from his faith into the
way of evil (vv 29,37,115).
But, understanding his Father's estimation of
such men and such a course (vv 118,119) and their ultimate destiny (v 155), he
resisted the temptation.
Surrounded by difficulties of many kinds, he
sought refuge in prayer, seeking for a fuller understanding of the divine
purpose, for strength to keep the law, and for relief from the distressing
circumstances that threatened to destroy him.
Reading 3 - 2Co 12:10
"That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in
insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak,
then I am strong" (2Co 12:10).
"It is in our very weaknesses that the strength of God is
perfected. If we are so foolish as to admit of no weaknesses of our own, may we
not be, in that very attitude, denying God the opportunity to work in us and
through us? This must be a possibility to consider. Paul's thoughts on the
matter indicate that, at the very least, it may be suggested as a possibility
and with all reverence, that Divine strength needs human weakness as its vehicle
or medium of operation" (CE Hinde, The Christadelphian 114:405).