Ach-arei Mot

Torah: Lev 16:1-18:30; Haftorah: Amos 9:7-15
©1997 Zion Messianic Congregation

"And this shall be a statute for ever unto you: that in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall afflict your souls, and do no work at all, whether it be one of your own country, or a stranger that sojourns among you: For on that day shall the priest make an atonement for you, that you may be clean from all your sins before the L-RD." (Lev. 16:29-30) What a glorious day this was and still is! This day, The Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur marked both an ending and a beginning. No other day is held in such "awe" as this one by the children of Israel. No other day is as mysterious.

On this day the high priest entered that most sacred of places, The Holy of Holies. He wore a white linen gown, a white girdle, and a white mitre. He took special baths. He was twice sanctified with the ashes of the Red Heifer, in case he had even had the remotest contact with the dead. All of this was done to demonstrate his purity. Several special sacrifices were offered to cleanse the tabernacle, the altar, the other priests who were in attendance, etc. Imagine the respectful silence that permeated the camp and later Jerusalem as all of Israel waited, wondering if the sacrifice would be accepted and their sins would be forgiven. Breathlessly, they awaited his return from behind the veil. When they saw him come out they knew their sins were forgiven. Then the priest walked over to another goat, the scapegoat, and placing his hands upon the goat’s head he confessed: "Ah, HaShem! they have committed iniquity; they have transgressed; they have sinned—Your people, the house of Israel. Oh, then HaShem! cover over, I intreat you, upon their iniquities, their transgressions, and their sins, which they have wickedly committed, transgressed, and sinned before You—Your people, the house of Israel. As it is written in the law of Moses, Your servant, saying: For on that day shall it be covered over for you, to make you clean from all your sins before HaShem you shall be cleansed!"

Then the other goat, called Azazel or the scapegoat was taken by another priest, away from the city into the wilderness, twelve miles up the mountain and shoved it over the cliff where it's bowels burst open on the rocks. (see Acts 1:16-19) The Talmud says, that the foreign Jews, of the Temple period, who were present used to burst into words and deeds showing impatience that scapegoat be sent forth speedily. As the scapegoat was led away the people knew that now their sins were also forgotten, in fact they were ‘removed from the congregation.’ Yoma 6:8 says "a strip of crimson wool was tied to the door of the sanctuary and when the he-goat reached the wilderness the strip turned white; as it is said, 'Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as the snow.'"

Next to Passover, the Messiah is seen most clearly here in the Day of Atonement. First, He is our High Priest. Second, His blood is the Propitiation sprinkled upon the Mercy Seat. Finally, He ‘who knew no sin, became sin for us and was led away from the people, bearing our iniquities upon Himself.’ The price was paid once and for all for each of us.

The Day of Atonement is the sixth special event following the beginning of the religious calendar. Passover, Unleavened Bread, First fruits, Shavuot, Rosh Hashanah then Day of Atonement. On the sixth day G-d made man in His own image. Out of the substance of the earth Adam was made. Out of the substance of Adam, Eve was made. Together, they are ‘man’ whom G-d made in His image. Yeshua, the second Adam is of the substance of G-d. The congregation of believers is of the substance of Yeshua. Together, they are the fulfillment of the declaration of the sixth day: "Let Us make man in Our image."

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