Leviticus 16 is reminding us of what happened to Nadab & Abihu when they attempted to serve God with unauthorized tools and stubborn hearts in ignorance, forging ahead with service to God that is dismissive of his holiness being more powerful than our attempt to emulate it, see 1st Sam.15:23. Heeding the warning to Aaron to not come into the Holy Place inside the veil…., so that he may not die…but in this way Aaron shall come into the Holy Place (16:1-3). There is a strong connection of timing, between the event of offering incense in Lev. 10 by the sons of Aaron, and the offering of incense in Lev. 16. Anyone can see how it seems backwards that Nadab & Abihu would presume to do this before their father the High Priest. Today we should praise God that there is a sure and effective way to enter his presence and be accepted with life and heaven’s blessings! But there is only one way. It is only through the sacrifice foreshadowed in the Levitical atonement rituals that were accomplished by the Great High Priest, Jesus Christ, John 14:6.
Why must the high priest first make atonement for himself and his own house? Hebrews 7:26-28
In the final phase of the Day of Atonement, the high priest changed out of the plain, linen robe he wore for the day’s sacrifices (v. 4) and back into his high priestly garments (vv. 23–24; compare Ex. 28:1-43. Ponder the significance of the high priest wearing plain linen robes for the sacrifices and changing into his glorious robes afterward, ref: Isaiah 61:3
Scripture encourages us with the glorious hope that, in these last days, the consequence of sin’s power is fully removed from our experience in the future, never to be felt again because of Christ’s resurrection. His holiness is powerful, 1st Cor. 15:42, Heb. 12:23, 2Pt. 3:13, 1Jn.3:2-5 & Rev. 6:11
The Old Testament high priest was a shadow of the Great High Priest, Jesus, who has entered into the heavenly Most Holy Place with the blood of our atonement and now stands in glory to intercede for us, Heb. 2:17-18, 4:14-16, 8:1-6, 9:6-14 & 10:11-14.
The design of the Most Holy Place was a reminder to Israel that this “divine palace” on earth was not the literal house of God, nor were its rituals the literal source of atonement. They were earthly shadows of the real atonement the true High Priest would present to God in the real temple—heaven itself. Exodus 25:40 & Hebrews 8:5 & 9:24. When we pray, we should take faith in the power of the Holy Spirit of Christ sanctifying our words & thoughts, interceding for us before the Throne of God our Father. Never let anyone tell you that you can not pray to His Spirit, because without His Spirit, we are mute before God and not allowed before His presence. In this God gifted way of His Son, is our atonement beneficial. We are “at one & meant” to be together.