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which was called the holy of holies, from the outer, or holy place. And he put the golden altar of incense in the holy place before the vail, and the golden table of shew-bread on the one side, and the golden candlestick on the other side, and he lighted the seven lamps before the Lord.
Then he set up the wall of the court around the tabernacle, and he placed in the court of the tabernacle the brazen altar of sacrifice, and the brazen laver or vessel of water.
Then Moses anointed the tabernacle, and all that was in it, with the holy oil. And when he had thus done all that the Lord had commanded him to do, a cloud covered the tabernacle, and the glory of the Lord filled it. And the presence of God dwelt in the tabernacle, as He had promised,
Then Moses poured the anointing oil, as God had commanded, upon the head of Aaron his brother. And Aaron became the Lord's high priest to offer sacrifice before God for the people. After this, Moses anointed Aaron's four sons, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, to be God's priests.
Then the people brought a bullock and a ram to offer to the Lord. And Aaron and his sons took the bullock and the ram, and killed them, and sprinkled their blood upon the altar. Then fire came forth from the Lord and consumed the offering. And when the people saw the fire come forth from God, they fell on their faces and worshipped God.
The fire which God had sent from heaven to consume the sacrifice, was always to be kept burning upon the altar; and the priests were to offer sacrifice and burn incense with this fire only.
But Nadab and Abihu, the two eldest sons of Aaron, took other fire to burn incense with, which God had commanded them not to do, and not the fire which was burning upon the altar. And they offered the strange fire before the Lord.
Then God sent down fire from heaven, and destroyed them, because they disobeyed the command of God.
Exodus xxxv. xxxvi. xl. & Leviticus viii. ix. & vi. 13.
THE DAY OF ATONEMENT.
AFTER the death of Nadab and Abihu, the two sons of Aaron, who were slain for despising the command of God, and offering strange fire before Him, the Lord spoke again to Moses.
God commanded that Aaron the high priest should not come at all times into the holy of holies, where the ark of God was. He said, that on one day only in every year, Aaron should come into the holy of holies, within the vail, with a bullock for a sin offering, and a ram for a burnt offering.
This day was to be a solemn day, a day of rest for ever unto the children of Israel. On this day they were to do no work; they were to humble themselves before God, and afflict their souls for their sins, from the morning till the evening.
And Aaron was to offer for the sins of the people a sin offering of blood, to make an atone
ment for them. The people were to bring to Aaron two young goats for their sin offering, and a ram for their burnt offering. And Aaron was to take the two goats, and present them before the Lord at the door of the tabernacle, and cast lots upon them. The goat on which the Lord's lot fell, was to be offered for a sin offering, the other was to be left alive.
But before Aaron offered the sin offering of blood for the sins of the people, God commanded that he should offer the blood of a young bullock for his own sins, and for the sins of the priests. And when Aaron went into the holy of holies to make atonement for sin, he was to put off from him his garment of blue, and purple, and gold, and precious stones, and put on a holy garment of white linen. And before he put on these holy garments, he was to wash his flesh with water, and so put them on.
Then Aaron was to take a censer full of fire from off the altar of the Lord, and put incense therein, and bring it within the vail, and there burn incense, that the smoke of the incense might
cover the mercy seat. And then he was to sprinkle the blood of the bullock, which he offered for his own sin offering, upon the mercy seat, and seven times before the mercy seat.
Then Aaron was to kill one of the goats for the sin offering of the people, and to bring the blood of the goat into the holy of holies, and to sprinkle it before the mercy seat, as he had done with the blood of the bullock. And he was to sprinkle the blood of the bullock, and of the goat, upon every thing which was in the tabernacle, and upon the altar of burnt offerings, which stood in the court outside the tabernacle.
Thus Aaron was 66 to make an atonement for the children of Israel for all their sins."
Leviticus xvi. Heb. ix.
When God commanded His people to shed the blood of animals and offer them up to Him as a sacrifice for sin, He gave them a sign of very deep and solemn truths.
The animal which was slain had done no wrong. Its blood was shed as an atonement for the sins of God's priests and people.