Thursday, February 03, 2011

New Year: Lev 16-19 for Feb 3

Each year there would be an event done by Aaron in the "tent of meeting" (Lev 16:23) "that he shall make atonement for you to cleanse you: you will be clean from all your sins before the Lord." (16:30). Lev 16:34 repeats the yearly emphasis: "to make atonement for the sons of Israel for all their sins once every year."

The parallelism between these two verses leads to a definite association between the making atonement for the sons of Israel, and its effect: "you will be clean."

Speaking about the sacrificial system: "how do you like it now?" And yet, this is not imprecise language, but precise language. This yearly event is not a substitute for, but in addition to, the whole sacrificial system described previously. Lev 4 (:20; :26; :31; :35) and Lev 5 (:10; :13; :16; :18) also talk about making atonement, but use the language of forgiveness. Then, in Lev 6:7, the specific nature of these sacrifices is described: "the priest shall make atonement for him before the Lord, and he will be forgiven for any one of the things which he may have done to incur guilt."

Any one sin -- needs forgiveness. On top of that, the year's cumulative record of sin for all the community -- has to have cleansing. Atonement is necessary for each.

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