This morning in Leviticus, I came across the use of a scapegoat. It is always interesting to find something in the Bible and to realize that this is where a familiar term originated.
“‘And he shall take the two goats and present them before the LORD at the doorway of the tent of meeting. And Aaron shall cast lots for the two goats, one lot for the LORD and the other lot for the scapegoat. Then Aaron shall offer the goat on which the lot for the LORD fell, and make it a sin offering. But the goat on which the lot for the scapegoat fell, shall be presented alive before the LORD, to make atonement upon it, to send it into the wilderness as the scapegoat.'” ~ Leviticus 16:7-10
In Leviticus 16, God gave Moses instructions for the Day of Atonement. This was the one day of the year where the High Priest was to offer special offerings for his sins, as well as for the sins of the entire camp. It was the only day he was allowed “‘into the holy place inside the veil, before the mercy seat which is on the ark, lest he die; for I will appear in the cloud over the mercy seat'”. ~ Leviticus 16:2b
One goat was killed to pay for the sins of the people, and one goat was set free into the wilderness, representing the sins of the people being removed and taken away.
“‘When he finishes atoning for the holy place, and the tent of meeting and the altar, he shall offer the live goat. Then Aaron shall lay both of his hands on the head of the live goat, and confess over it all the iniquities of the sons of Israel, and all their transgressions in regard to all their sins; and he shall lay them on the head of the goat and send it away into the wilderness by the hand of a man who stands in readiness. And the goat shall bear on itself all their iniquities to a solitary land; and he shall release the goat in the wilderness.'” ~ Leviticus 16:20-22
One died to pay, one lived with the weight of their sins. Both were sacrificed so that the sons of Israel might have a right relationship with God.
The Hebrew word in verse 20 that is translated as “atoning” is kaphar, which literally means “to cover, purge, make an atonement, make reconciliation”. On this annual Day of Atonement, the sins of the people were purged, reconciling them with God, so that He might continue dwelling among them in His holy place in the tabernacle.
I am SO thankful that Jesus was our scapegoat and Passover Lamb, taking our sins upon Himself and paying the price for them, so that we don’t have to bear the weight and penalty for our sins. We are reconciled with God, through Christ. We can have life, through Him!
“‘…I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.'” ~ John 10:10b-11
He died for all of the sheep. We sheep just need to hear His voice, admit we are sinners and lost without Him, and follow our Good Shepherd! 🙂