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The Day of Cleansing

16 Now two of Aaron’s sons had died while offering incense to the Lord. At that time the Lord spoke to Moses. He said, “Talk to your brother Aaron. Tell him there are times when he cannot go behind the curtain into the Most Holy Place where the Ark of the Covenant is. If he goes in when I appear in a cloud over the lid on the Ark of the Covenant, he will die.

“Aaron may enter the Most Holy Place only on the Day of Cleansing. Before he enters, he must offer a bull for a sin offering. And he must offer a male sheep for a whole burnt offering. He must put on these clothes. He will put on the holy linen inner robe. The linen underclothes will be next to his body. His belt will be the cloth belt. And he will wear the linen turban. These are holy clothes. So he must wash his whole body with water before he puts them on.

“Aaron must take from the people of Israel two male goats for a sin offering. And he must take one male sheep for a burnt offering. Then he will offer the bull for the sin offering. This sin offering is for himself. Then he will perform the acts to remove sins from him and his family so they will belong to the Lord.

“Next Aaron will take the two goats. He will bring them before the Lord at the entrance to the Meeting Tent. Aaron will throw lots for the two goats. One lot will be for the Lord. The other lot will be for the goat that removes sin. Then Aaron will take the goat that was chosen for the Lord by throwing the lot. He must offer this goat as a sin offering. 10 The other goat was chosen by lot to remove the sin. It must be brought alive before the Lord. The priest will use it to perform the acts to remove Israel’s sin so they will belong to the Lord. Then this goat will be sent out into the desert.

11 “Then Aaron will offer the bull as a sin offering for himself. This will remove the sins of him and his family so they will belong to the Lord. He will kill the bull for the sin offering for himself. 12 Then he must take a pan full of burning coals from the altar before the Lord. Aaron must take two handfuls of sweet incense that has been ground into powder. He must bring it into the room behind the curtain. 13 He must put the incense on the fire before the Lord. Then the cloud of incense will cover the lid on the Ark of the Covenant. Then when Aaron comes in, he will not die. 14 Also, Aaron must take some of the blood from the bull. He must sprinkle it with his finger on the front of the lid. Then, with his finger he will sprinkle the blood seven times in front of the lid.

15 “Then Aaron must kill the goat of the sin offering for the people. He must bring this goat’s blood into the room behind the curtain. He must do with the goat’s blood as he did with the bull’s blood. He must sprinkle the goat’s blood on the lid and in front of it. 16 The people in Israel have been unclean. So Aaron will perform the acts to make the Most Holy Place ready for service to the Lord. Then it will be clean from the sins and crimes of the people of Israel. He must do this because the Meeting Tent stays in the middle of unclean people. 17 When Aaron makes the Most Holy Place ready for service to the Lord, no one is allowed in the Meeting Tent. No one must go in until Aaron comes out. So Aaron will perform the acts to remove sins from himself and his family so they will belong to the Lord. Then he will remove the sins of all the people of Israel so they will belong to the Lord. 18 Afterward he will go out to the altar that is before the Lord. And he will make the altar ready for service to the Lord. Aaron will take some of the bull’s blood and some of the goat’s blood. He will put it on the corners of the altar on all sides. 19 Then he will sprinkle some of the blood with his finger. He will sprinkle it on the altar seven times. In this way Aaron will make the altar holy for the Lord. And it will be clean from all the sins of the people of Israel.

20 “Aaron will make the Most Holy Place, the Meeting Tent and the altar clean. Then he will bring the goat alive to the Lord. 21 He will put both his hands on the head of the living goat. Then he will confess all the sins and crimes of Israel over the goat. In this way Aaron will put the people’s sins on the goat’s head. Then he will send the goat away into the desert. A man who has been appointed will lead the goat away. 22 So the goat will carry all the people’s sins on itself. It will go to a lonely place in the desert. The man who leads the goat will let it loose there.

23 “Then Aaron will enter the Meeting Tent. He will take off the linen clothes. (He had put them on before he went into the Most Holy Place.) He must leave these clothes there. 24 He will wash his whole body with water in a holy place. Then he will put on his regular clothes. He will come out and offer the whole burnt offering for himself. And he will offer the whole burnt offering for the people. He will remove sins from himself and the people so they will belong to the Lord. 25 Then he will burn the fat of the sin offering on the altar.

26 “The person who led the goat into the desert must wash his clothes. Then he must wash his whole body with water. After that, he may come back into the camp.

27 “The bull and goat for the sin offerings must be taken outside the camp. The blood from these animals was brought into the Most Holy Place. It was to make the Holy Place ready for service to the Lord. The priests will burn the animals’ skins, bodies and intestines in the fire. 28 Then the one who burns them must wash his clothes. And he must wash his whole body with water. After that, he may come back into the camp.

29 “This law will always continue for you: On the tenth day of the seventh month, you must not eat. You must not do any work. The travelers or foreigners living with you must not work either. 30 On this day the priests make you clean so you will belong to the Lord again. All your sins will be removed. 31 This is a very important day of rest for you. And you must not eat. This law will continue forever.

32 “So the appointed priest will perform the acts for making things ready for service to the Lord. He is the priest on whom oil was poured. He is appointed to take his father’s place. That priest must put on the holy linen clothes. 33 He must make the Most Holy Place ready for service to the Lord. He must make the Meeting Tent and the altar ready for service to the Lord. He must remove the sins of himself and all the people of Israel so they will belong to the Lord. 34 That law for removing the sins of the Israelites so they will belong to the Lord will continue forever. You will do these things once a year.”

So they did the things the Lord had commanded Moses.

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