The Day of Atonement(A)

16 The Lord spoke to Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron who died when they approached the Lord.(B) The Lord said to Moses: “Tell your brother Aaron that he is not to come whenever he chooses(C) into the Most Holy Place(D) behind the curtain(E) in front of the atonement cover(F) on the ark, or else he will die. For I will appear(G) in the cloud(H) over the atonement cover.

“This is how Aaron is to enter the Most Holy Place:(I) He must first bring a young bull(J) for a sin offering[a] and a ram for a burnt offering.(K) He is to put on the sacred linen tunic,(L) with linen undergarments next to his body; he is to tie the linen sash around him and put on the linen turban.(M) These are sacred garments;(N) so he must bathe himself with water(O) before he puts them on.(P) From the Israelite community(Q) he is to take two male goats(R) for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering.

“Aaron is to offer the bull for his own sin offering to make atonement for himself and his household.(S) Then he is to take the two goats and present them before the Lord at the entrance to the tent of meeting. He is to cast lots(T) for the two goats—one lot for the Lord and the other for the scapegoat.[b](U) Aaron shall bring the goat whose lot falls to the Lord and sacrifice it for a sin offering. 10 But the goat chosen by lot as the scapegoat shall be presented alive before the Lord to be used for making atonement(V) by sending it into the wilderness as a scapegoat.

11 “Aaron shall bring the bull for his own sin offering to make atonement for himself and his household,(W) and he is to slaughter the bull for his own sin offering. 12 He is to take a censer full of burning coals(X) from the altar before the Lord and two handfuls of finely ground fragrant incense(Y) and take them behind the curtain. 13 He is to put the incense on the fire before the Lord, and the smoke of the incense will conceal the atonement cover(Z) above the tablets of the covenant law, so that he will not die.(AA) 14 He is to take some of the bull’s blood(AB) and with his finger sprinkle it on the front of the atonement cover; then he shall sprinkle some of it with his finger seven times before the atonement cover.(AC)

15 “He shall then slaughter the goat for the sin offering for the people(AD) and take its blood behind the curtain(AE) and do with it as he did with the bull’s blood: He shall sprinkle(AF) it on the atonement cover and in front of it. 16 In this way he will make atonement(AG) for the Most Holy Place(AH) because of the uncleanness and rebellion of the Israelites, whatever their sins have been. He is to do the same for the tent of meeting,(AI) which is among them in the midst of their uncleanness. 17 No one is to be in the tent of meeting from the time Aaron goes in to make atonement in the Most Holy Place until he comes out, having made atonement for himself, his household and the whole community of Israel.

18 “Then he shall come out to the altar(AJ) that is before the Lord and make atonement for it. He shall take some of the bull’s blood and some of the goat’s blood and put it on all the horns of the altar.(AK) 19 He shall sprinkle some of the blood on it with his finger seven times to cleanse it and to consecrate it from the uncleanness of the Israelites.(AL)

20 “When Aaron has finished making atonement for the Most Holy Place, the tent of meeting and the altar, he shall bring forward the live goat.(AM) 21 He is to lay both hands on the head of the live goat(AN) and confess(AO) over it all the wickedness and rebellion of the Israelites—all their sins—and put them on the goat’s head. He shall send the goat away into the wilderness in the care of someone appointed for the task. 22 The goat will carry on itself all their sins(AP) to a remote place; and the man shall release it in the wilderness.

23 “Then Aaron is to go into the tent of meeting and take off the linen garments(AQ) he put on before he entered the Most Holy Place, and he is to leave them there.(AR) 24 He shall bathe himself with water in the sanctuary area(AS) and put on his regular garments.(AT) Then he shall come out and sacrifice the burnt offering for himself and the burnt offering for the people,(AU) to make atonement for himself and for the people.(AV) 25 He shall also burn the fat of the sin offering on the altar.

26 “The man who releases the goat as a scapegoat(AW) must wash his clothes(AX) and bathe himself with water;(AY) afterward he may come into the camp. 27 The bull and the goat for the sin offerings, whose blood was brought into the Most Holy Place to make atonement, must be taken outside the camp;(AZ) their hides, flesh and intestines are to be burned up. 28 The man who burns them must wash his clothes and bathe himself with water; afterward he may come into the camp.(BA)

29 “This is to be a lasting ordinance(BB) for you: On the tenth day of the seventh month(BC) you must deny yourselves[c](BD) and not do any work(BE)—whether native-born(BF) or a foreigner residing among you— 30 because on this day atonement will be made(BG) for you, to cleanse you. Then, before the Lord, you will be clean from all your sins.(BH) 31 It is a day of sabbath rest, and you must deny yourselves;(BI) it is a lasting ordinance.(BJ) 32 The priest who is anointed and ordained(BK) to succeed his father as high priest is to make atonement. He is to put on the sacred linen garments(BL) 33 and make atonement for the Most Holy Place, for the tent of meeting and the altar, and for the priests and all the members of the community.(BM)

34 “This is to be a lasting ordinance(BN) for you: Atonement is to be made once a year(BO) for all the sins of the Israelites.”

And it was done, as the Lord commanded Moses.

Footnotes

  1. Leviticus 16:3 Or purification offering; here and throughout this chapter
  2. Leviticus 16:8 The meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain; also in verses 10 and 26.
  3. Leviticus 16:29 Or must fast; also in verse 31

God’s Faithfulness

What advantage, then, is there in being a Jew, or what value is there in circumcision? Much in every way!(A) First of all, the Jews have been entrusted with the very words of God.(B)

What if some were unfaithful?(C) Will their unfaithfulness nullify God’s faithfulness?(D) Not at all! Let God be true,(E) and every human being a liar.(F) As it is written:

“So that you may be proved right when you speak
    and prevail when you judge.”[a](G)

But if our unrighteousness brings out God’s righteousness more clearly,(H) what shall we say? That God is unjust in bringing his wrath on us? (I am using a human argument.)(I) Certainly not! If that were so, how could God judge the world?(J) Someone might argue, “If my falsehood enhances God’s truthfulness and so increases his glory,(K) why am I still condemned as a sinner?”(L) Why not say—as some slanderously claim that we say—“Let us do evil that good may result”?(M) Their condemnation is just!

No One Is Righteous

What shall we conclude then? Do we have any advantage?(N) Not at all! For we have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under the power of sin.(O) 10 As it is written:

“There is no one righteous, not even one;
11     there is no one who understands;
    there is no one who seeks God.
12 All have turned away,
    they have together become worthless;
there is no one who does good,
    not even one.”[b](P)
13 “Their throats are open graves;
    their tongues practice deceit.”[c](Q)
“The poison of vipers is on their lips.”[d](R)
14     “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.”[e](S)
15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood;
16     ruin and misery mark their ways,
17 and the way of peace they do not know.”[f](T)
18     “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”[g](U)

19 Now we know that whatever the law says,(V) it says to those who are under the law,(W) so that every mouth may be silenced(X) and the whole world held accountable to God.(Y) 20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law;(Z) rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.(AA)

Righteousness Through Faith

21 But now apart from the law the righteousness of God(AB) has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.(AC) 22 This righteousness(AD) is given through faith(AE) in[h] Jesus Christ(AF) to all who believe.(AG) There is no difference between Jew and Gentile,(AH) 23 for all have sinned(AI) and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified(AJ) freely by his grace(AK) through the redemption(AL) that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement,[i](AM) through the shedding of his blood(AN)—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished(AO) 26 he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.

27 Where, then, is boasting?(AP) It is excluded. Because of what law? The law that requires works? No, because of the law that requires faith. 28 For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law.(AQ) 29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too,(AR) 30 since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith.(AS) 31 Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law.

Footnotes

  1. Romans 3:4 Psalm 51:4
  2. Romans 3:12 Psalms 14:1-3; 53:1-3; Eccles. 7:20
  3. Romans 3:13 Psalm 5:9
  4. Romans 3:13 Psalm 140:3
  5. Romans 3:14 Psalm 10:7 (see Septuagint)
  6. Romans 3:17 Isaiah 59:7,8
  7. Romans 3:18 Psalm 36:1
  8. Romans 3:22 Or through the faithfulness of
  9. Romans 3:25 The Greek for sacrifice of atonement refers to the atonement cover on the ark of the covenant (see Lev. 16:15,16).

12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”(A)

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