The Feast of Expiation
Leviticus 23:26-32
And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,…

This great occasion, the ceremonies of which are more particularly described in chapter 16, was to be -


1. That sin must be mourned.

(1) It should be mourned in secret. There are matters which it may be proper to confess to God alone. The confession of these to others would serve no useful purpose. It might even be productive of harm.

(2) It should be publicly mourned. Where there are national sins they should be openly confessed. Sins against society should be publicly owned. The general public confession of sin is useful in calling individual sin to remembrance.

(3) Contrition for sin is indispensable. To neglect it is to incur excision (verse 29).

2. The mourning must be thorough.

(1) No secular work must be done on this day in which men were to afflict their souls. Not only were they on this day to rest from "servile work," as on the other annual feasts; the rest must be as strict as upon the weekly sabbaths. If we would have salvation, we must be in earnest. We must not suffer the claims of the world to divert us from this great business.

(2) The soul must be afflicted with fasting. The animal soul is here referred to (see chapter Leviticus 16:31; Numbers 29:7; Isaiah 58:5, 6). The spirit of a religious fast is abstinence from all kinds of sin.

3. The soul is to be afflicted because of the atonement.

(1) They were to bring an "offering by fire unto the Lord" on this day. The sin and trespass offering had respect to particular sins, but the burnt offering was for sin in the abstract. The sacrifices of this day were of the greatest importance, and eminently typified the Great Atonement of the gospel.

(2) Penitence is never perfect till we get a view of Calvary. Because he is merciful we fear God with a gracious fear. With such a fear is holiness perfected (2 Corinthians 7:1).


1. This was to suggest the riches of redemption.

(1) For the mystery of the number ten is wealth. So the Hebrew word for ten (עשר) is also the word for riches.

(2) Hence because of his riches of merit and wealth of blessings, viz. as the Depository of all the promises, Christ is called a Tenth (see Isaiah 6:13).

(3) When Isaiah calls Christ the Tenth, he describes the Tenth as of the nature of bread. Bread is the "staff of life," and Christ is the "Tree of life " - the Bread of immortality. Hence all the holy bread, as prefiguring Christ, was composed of tenth-deals of flour. So the meat, or bread, offering; so the firstfruits; so the shewbread; even the manna was gathered in omers, or tenths (see Exodus 16:36; see also Malachi 3:10).

2. The association of the tenth day with the seventh month also is suggestive.

(1) it suggests the perfection of riches to be associated with the mysteries of the day. This we find only in connection with the great atonement of Christ. Other wealth is poverty compared with the "riches of Christ."

(2) Note elsewhere the association of seven and ten in weeks of decades. Thus the term of human life is a week of decades, at the close of which the rich rewards of a faithful life are reaped (Psalm 90:10). But "the wicked do not live out half their days." They come short of the "durable riches." The week of decades was the term of the Babylonish captivity (Jeremiah 24:11; 29:10). And towards the close of that period the week of weeks of decades was revealed to Daniel as destined to mark the crisis of the great atonement (see Daniel 9:24).

(3) Dr. Lightfoot computes that the Feast of Expiation was the anniversary of that on which Moses came the last time down kern the mount, bringing with him the unbroken tables and the assurance of God's reconciliation to Israel, the very glory of the gospel beaming in his face. Moses in this was a similar type to the high priest on the Day of Atonement (see 2 Corinthians 3:12-18).

(4) It is stilt more remarkable that Jesus, on the anniversary of these events, actually entered the cloud of the Shechinah, and passed within the vail into the heaven of heavens (see reasoning to this conclusion in the appendix of Guinness's 'Approaching End of the Age'). These coincidences are not accidental. They are "the Lord's doing, and marvelous in our eyes." Such things as these, and in such the Holy Scriptures abound, prove them to be from God, and should encourage our faith and obedience. - J.A.M.

Parallel Verses
KJV: And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,

WEB: Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying,

The Day of Atonement
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