The LORD spoke to Moses after the death of Aaron's two sons, who died when they burned a different kind of fire than the LORD had commanded.
The LORD said to Moses, "Warn your brother Aaron not to enter the Most Holy Place behind the inner curtain whenever he chooses; the penalty for intrusion is death. For the Ark's cover -- the place of atonement -- is there, and I myself am present in the cloud over the atonement cover.
"When Aaron enters the sanctuary area, he must follow these instructions fully. He must first bring a young bull for a sin offering and a ram for a whole burnt offering.
Then he must wash his entire body and put on his linen tunic and the undergarments worn next to his body. He must tie the linen sash around his waist and put the linen turban on his head. These are his sacred garments.
The people of Israel must then bring him two male goats for a sin offering and a ram for a whole burnt offering.
"Aaron will present the bull as a sin offering, to make atonement for himself and his family.
Then he must bring the two male goats and present them to the LORD at the entrance of the Tabernacle.
He is to cast sacred lots to determine which goat will be sacrificed to the LORD and which one will be the scapegoat.
The goat chosen to be sacrificed to the LORD will be presented by Aaron as a sin offering.
The goat chosen to be the scapegoat will be presented to the LORD alive. When it is sent away into the wilderness, it will make atonement for the people.
"Then Aaron will present the young bull as a sin offering for himself and his family. After he has slaughtered this bull for the sin offering,
he will fill an incense burner with burning coals from the altar that stands before the LORD. Then, after filling both his hands with fragrant incense, he will carry the burner and incense behind the inner curtain.
There in the LORD's presence, he will put the incense on the burning coals so that a cloud of incense will rise over the Ark's cover -- the place of atonement -- that rests on the Ark of the Covenant. If he follows these instructions, he will not die.
Then he must dip his finger into the blood of the bull and sprinkle it on the front of the atonement cover and then seven times against the front of the Ark.
"Then Aaron must slaughter the goat as a sin offering for the people and bring its blood behind the inner curtain. There he will sprinkle the blood on the atonement cover and against the front of the Ark, just as he did with the bull's blood.
In this way, he will make atonement for the Most Holy Place, and he will do the same for the entire Tabernacle, because of the defiling sin and rebellion of the Israelites.
No one else is allowed inside the Tabernacle while Aaron goes in to make atonement for the Most Holy Place. No one may enter until he comes out again after making atonement for himself, his family, and all the Israelites.
"Then Aaron will go out to make atonement for the altar that stands before the LORD by smearing some of the blood from the bull and the goat on each of the altar's horns.
Then he must dip his finger into the blood and sprinkle it seven times over the altar. In this way, he will cleanse it from Israel's defilement and return it to its former holiness.
"When Aaron has finished making atonement for the Most Holy Place, the Tabernacle, and the altar, he must bring the living goat forward.
He is to lay both of his hands on the goat's head and confess over it all the sins and rebellion of the Israelites. In this way, he will lay the people's sins on the head of the goat; then he will send it out into the wilderness, led by a man chosen for this task.
After the man sets it free in the wilderness, the goat will carry all the people's sins upon itself into a desolate land.
"As Aaron enters the Tabernacle, he must take off the linen garments he wore when he entered the Most Holy Place, and he must leave the garments there.
Then he must bathe his entire body with water in a sacred place, put on his garments, and go out to sacrifice his own whole burnt offering and the whole burnt offering for the people. In this way, he will make atonement for himself and for the people.
He must also burn all the fat of the sin offering on the altar.
"The man chosen to send the goat out into the wilderness as a scapegoat must wash his clothes and bathe in water. Then he may return to the camp.
"The bull and goat given as sin offerings, whose blood Aaron brought into the Most Holy Place to make atonement for Israel, will be carried outside the camp to be burned. This includes the animals' hides, the internal organs, and the dung.
The man who does the burning must wash his clothes and bathe himself in water before returning to the camp.
"On the appointed day in early autumn, you must spend the day fasting and not do any work. This is a permanent law for you, and it applies to those who are Israelites by birth, as well as to the foreigners living among you.
On this day, atonement will be made for you, and you will be cleansed from all your sins in the LORD's presence.
It will be a Sabbath day of total rest, and you will spend the day in fasting. This is a permanent law for you.
In future generations, the atonement ceremony will be performed by the anointed high priest who serves in place of his ancestor Aaron. He will put on the holy linen garments
and make atonement for the Most Holy Place, the Tabernacle, the altar, the priests, and the entire community.
This is a permanent law for you, to make atonement for the Israelites once each year."Moses followed all these instructions that the LORD had given to him.
Then the LORD said to Moses,
"Give Aaron and his sons and all the Israelites these commands from the LORD:
If any Israelite sacrifices a bull or a lamb or a goat anywhere inside or outside the camp
and does not bring it to the entrance of the Tabernacle to present it as an offering to the LORD, that person will be guilty of a capital offense. Such a person has shed blood and must be cut off from the community.
This rule will stop the Israelites from sacrificing animals in the open fields. It will cause them to bring their sacrifices to the priest at the entrance of the Tabernacle, so he can present them to the LORD as peace offerings.
That way the priest will be able to sprinkle the blood and burn the fat on the LORD's altar at the entrance of the Tabernacle, and it will be very pleasing to the LORD.
The people must no longer be unfaithful to the LORD by offering sacrifices to evil spirits out in the fields. This is a permanent law for them, to be kept generation after generation.
"Give them this command as well, which applies both to Israelites and to the foreigners living among you. If you offer a whole burnt offering or a sacrifice
and do not bring it to the entrance of the Tabernacle to offer it to the LORD, you will be cut off from the community.
"And I will turn against anyone, whether an Israelite or a foreigner living among you, who eats or drinks blood in any form. I will cut off such a person from the community,
for the life of any creature is in its blood. I have given you the blood so you can make atonement for your sins. It is the blood, representing life, that brings you atonement.
That is why I said to the Israelites: 'You and the foreigners who live among you must never eat or drink blood.'
"And this command applies both to Israelites and to the foreigners living among you. If you go hunting and kill an animal or bird that is approved for eating, you must drain out the blood and cover it with earth.
The life of every creature is in the blood. That is why I have told the people of Israel never to eat or drink it, for the life of any bird or animal is in the blood. So whoever eats or drinks blood must be cut off.
"And this command also applies both to Israelites and the foreigners living among you. If you eat from the carcass of an animal that died a natural death or was killed by a wild animal, you must wash your clothes and bathe yourselves in water. Then you will remain ceremonially unclean until evening; after that, you will be considered clean.
But if you do not wash your clothes and bathe, you will be held responsible."
Then the LORD said to Moses,
"Say this to your people, the Israelites: I, the LORD, am your God.
So do not act like the people in Egypt, where you used to live, or like the people of Canaan, where I am taking you. You must not imitate their way of life.
You must obey all my regulations and be careful to keep my laws, for I, the LORD, am your God.
If you obey my laws and regulations, you will find life through them. I am the LORD.
"You must never have sexual intercourse with a close relative, for I am the LORD.
Do not violate your father by having sexual intercourse with your mother. She is your mother; you must never have intercourse with her.
Do not have sexual intercourse with any of your father's wives, for this would violate your father.
"Do not have sexual intercourse with your sister or half sister, whether she is your father's daughter or your mother's daughter, whether she was brought up in the same family or somewhere else.
"Do not have sexual intercourse with your granddaughter, whether your son's daughter or your daughter's daughter; that would violate you.
Do not have sexual intercourse with the daughter of any of your father's wives; she is your half sister.
Do not have intercourse with your aunt, your father's sister, because she is your father's close relative.
Do not have sexual intercourse with your aunt, your mother's sister, because she is your mother's close relative.
And do not violate your uncle, your father's brother, by having sexual intercourse with his wife; she also is your aunt.
Do not have sexual intercourse with your daughter-in-law; she is your son's wife.
Do not have intercourse with your brother's wife; this would violate your brother.
"Do not have sexual intercourse with both a woman and her daughter or marry both a woman and her granddaughter, whether her son's daughter or her daughter's daughter. They are close relatives, and to do this would be a horrible wickedness.
"Do not marry a woman and her sister because they will be rivals. But if your wife dies, then it is all right to marry her sister.
"Do not violate a woman by having sexual intercourse with her during her period of menstrual impurity.
"Do not defile yourself by having sexual intercourse with your neighbor's wife.
"Do not give any of your children as a sacrifice to Molech, for you must not profane the name of your God. I am the LORD.
"Do not practice homosexuality; it is a detestable sin.
"A man must never defile himself by having sexual intercourse with an animal, and a woman must never present herself to a male animal in order to have intercourse with it; this is a terrible perversion.
"Do not defile yourselves in any of these ways, because this is how the people I am expelling from the Promised Land have defiled themselves.
As a result, the entire land has become defiled. That is why I am punishing the people who live there, and the land will soon vomit them out.
You must strictly obey all of my laws and regulations, and you must not do any of these detestable things. This applies both to you who are Israelites by birth and to the foreigners living among you.
"All these detestable activities are practiced by the people of the land where I am taking you, and the land has become defiled.
Do not give the land a reason to vomit you out for defiling it, as it will vomit out the people who live there now.
Whoever does any of these detestable things will be cut off from the community of Israel.
So be careful to obey my laws, and do not practice any of these detestable activities. Do not defile yourselves by doing any of them, for I, the LORD, am your God."
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)