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The Goat Has Left the Building

We can live in forgiveness and freedom, because Jesus took away our sin.

Leviticus 16 deals with the Day of Atonement. In the Jewish feast calendar there are seven major feasts—four in the spring, three in the fall. The fall feasts begin with the Feast of Trumpets, also called Rosh Hashanah. The Feast of Trumpets inaugurates the ten days of awe, which is ten days of repentance, of soul searching. They begin the New Year getting right with God. You fast, deny yourself, you search your heart. God, I want to start the New Year right. We as a community want to start the New Year by letting you clean us.

This leads up to the Day of Atonement, which is in Leviticus 16. It's called Yom Kippur. Yom Kippur centers around several animals and the high priest. We need a high priest, a person who speaks on behalf of the people.

The High Priest Represents the People Before God

Verse 3. "This is how Aaron is to enter the sanctuary area: with a young bull for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering. He is to put on the sacred linen tunic, with linen undergarments next to his body." The only reference to underwear I know of in the Bible. "He is to tie the linen sash around him and put on the linen turban. These are sacred garments; so he must bathe himself with water before he puts them on."

We have to understand the picture here. Some scholars believe that at the time—this is the second temple period—you could fit 210,000 people on the temple mount. When Herod was done building the temple, 18,000 people were unemployed. They used 2.3 million stones to build it. Some of the stones are ten feet by ten feet by eighty feet—hundreds of tons. They don't even know how they were moved into place. One historian says that when the temple was built, not the sound of ...

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Rob Bell is teaching pastor at Mars Hill Bible Church in Grandville, Michigan. He is the featured teacher in the Nooma film series and author of Sex God (Zondervan).

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Sermon Outline:


The Day of Atonement celebrates God cleansing his people from their sin.

I. Jesus is the scapegoat for our sins, and our high priest.

II. The goat has left the building.


Rejoice, because our great high priest completed his work and sat down.