“This shall be an everlasting statute unto you, to make an atonement for the children of Israel for all their sins once a year.” Leviticus 16:34
Suggested Further Reading: Hebrews 9:6-14
Jesus Christ “died, the just for the unjust, to bring us to God.” That day of atonement happened only once a year, to teach us that only once should Jesus Christ die; and that though he would come a second time, yet it would be without a sin offering unto salvation. The lambs were perpetually slaughtered; morning and evening they offered sacrifice to God, to remind the people that they always needed a sacrifice; but the day of atonement being the type of the one great propitiation, it was but once a year that the high priest entered within the veil with blood as the atonement for the sins of the people. And this was at a certain set and appointed time; it was not left to the choice of Moses, or to the convenience of Aaron, or to any other circumstance which might affect the date; it was appointed to be on a peculiar set day, as you find at the 29th verse: “In the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month;” and at no other time was the day of atonement to be, to show us that God’s great day of atonement was appointed and predestined by himself. Christ’s expiation occurred but once, and then not by any chance; God had settled it from before the foundation of the world; and at that hour when God had predestined, on that very day that God had decreed that Christ should die, he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers, he was dumb. It was but once a year, because the sacrifice should be once; it was at an appointed time in the year, because in the fulness of time Jesus Christ should come into the world to die for us.
For meditation: Daily and annual sacrifices of animals could never bring salvation from sin—that required only the single sacrifice of Christ on a single day (Zechariah 3:9; 12:10; 13:1; Hebrews 9:25,26; 10:11,12).
Sermon no. 95
10 August (1856)