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Our Scape Goat

But the goat chosen by lot as the scapegoat shall be presented alive before the LORD to be used for making atonement by sending it into the desert as a scapegoat…. [Aaron] is to lay both hands on the head of the live goat and confess over it all the wickedness and rebellion of the Israelites – all their sins – and put them on the goat’s head. He shall send the goat away into the desert…. The goat will carry on itself all their sins to a solitary place; and the man shall release it…. – Lev 16:10, 21-22

This was the procedure for the Day of Atonement in Israel. Two goats were selected – one for slaughter and one as the scapegoat.

Several years ago, I visited a church and sat in a class taught by one of their elders. He was teaching from Leviticus 16 and did an excellent job presenting the rituals of the Day of Atonement. As the class was nearing an end, I kept wondering when he would make THE point. When it became obvious he would not, I raised my hand and preached the gospel for about five minutes from my seat. Afterward, many people (including the teacher) told me they had never heard anything like that before – but that it was wonderful. All I did was relate the Jewish Day of Atonement, the most holy day of the Jewish year, to Jesus and Him crucified.

The Jewish Day of Atonement was a type and shadow of the reality that is in Jesus. He is both the sacrificial goat and the scapegoat in our atonement.

1 Pet 2:24 – He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by His wounds you have been healed.

Though the blood of bulls and goats could not take away sin, the better sacrifice of the New Covenant gives complete atonement for our sins – so they are never to be called to memory against us!

Because of Jesus, we do not make new sacrifices every year (or every day), because His once-for-all sacrifice is sufficient. Let’s live in it every day!


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