XIX. THE ONE WHO BURNED THE BULL AND THE GOAT OF THE SIN OFFERING WASHING HIS CLOTHES, BATHING HIS FLESH IN WATER, AND AFTER THAT COMING INTO THE CAMP
“And he who burns them shall wash his clothes and bathe his flesh in water, and after that he may come into the camp” (v. 28). This signifies that the one who is defiled by contacting anything related to sin must deal with his outward living and with himself as well. The significance here is thus the same as that concerning the one who let the goat go to Azazel.
XX. AFFLICTING THEIR SOULS
Verse 29a says, “This shall be a perpetual statute for you: in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall afflict yourselves.” Literally, “yourselves” means “your souls.” The Israelites understood “afflict” here to indicate total abstinence from food, fasting (cf. Isa. 58:3, 5, 10). In Leviticus 16:29 afflicting one’s soul signifies mourning, repenting, and feeling sorrowful for sin.
XXI. NOT DOING ANY WORK
The people were not to do any work on that day (v. 29b), for it was “a sabbath of solemn rest” to them (v. 31). This signifies that redemption has been completely finished by Christ. There is nothing left for man to do, and man should rest in the redemption of Christ.
If we try to work for our redemption, we shall insult Christ and belittle His redemption. Since we have seen Christ’s redemption, have received it, and are enjoying it, we should cease from our labor. In this matter Martin Luther was right to revolt against the erroneous teaching of the Roman Catholic Church concerning working for our salvation. Complete redemption has been accomplished in a full way by Christ, and now we are enjoying it without any labor.
XXII. A PROPITIATION BEING MADE FOR THE PEOPLE OF THE ASSEMBLE FOR ALL THEIR SINS ONCE A YEAR
“And make propitiation for the holy sanctuary, and make propitiation for the tent of meeting and for the altar, and make propitiation for the priests and for all the people of the assembly. This shall be a perpetual statute for you to make propitiation for the sons of Israel for all their sins once a year” (vv. 33-34a). This signifies that the offering was unable to make man perfect and that it was only a shadow of the coming good things, until the Son of God would come to complete the full redemption. The “coming good things” (Heb. 10:1) refer to the things accomplished by Christ. These good things are revealed in Hebrews 9 and 10, two chapters that give us the content of this point.
What we have in Leviticus 16 is a shadow, not the reality. The reality, the body, of this shadow is Christ with all His accomplishments and achievements. The shadow helps us to appreciate the reality and to know the details of the reality. Nevertheless, we do not care for the shadow—we care for the reality. We care for Christ and for all He has achieved and accomplished.
(Life-Study of Leviticus, Chapter 47, by Witness Lee)