The Scapegoat

February 3

By Mr. Dennis Owens

“He shall take the two goats and present them before the LORD at the door of the tabernacle of meeting.  8 “Then Aaron shall cast lots for the two goats: one lot for the LORD and the other lot for the scapegoat.  9 “And Aaron shall bring the goat on which the LORD’s lot fell, and offer it as a sin offering.  10 “But the goat on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat shall be presented alive before the LORD, to make atonement upon it, and to let it go as the scapegoat into the wilderness“ (Leviticus 16:7-10 ).

            There is an event in the life of the Jewish believer called the Day of Atonement.   There is a lot of ceremony that goes into it.  The High Priest takes two goats:  One was the blood sacrifice for atoning for the sin. The other was the “scapegoat.” The high priest took the two male goats, perfect in every way, for a sin offering. He slaughtered the first one and sprinkled the blood on the mercy seat. (See Leviticus 16) It’s like God saying, “The wages of sin is death, but I will let this goat die instead of you.” It was to show that sin takes away life. Each person knew that goat was being killed in lieu of themselves for their sin. Bad for the goat; good for the people!

            The other goat bore their sins away. The high priest laid his hands on the head of the goat and confessed all the sins of Israel imparting them to this goat. Laying on of hands can impart spiritual realities. Every sin, every crime, every bad thought, every unkind deed or word is transferred to this goat for all the people by the authority of the High Priest.  This goat was then led out into the wilderness where it was released to wander and die. The sins on the goat would bring a sure death to him. Seeing their sins led away was a visual for Israel to grasp that the sins were no longer theirs. They were on the goat. In a similar way, Jesus took our sins away from us. They went onto Him who died in our place. We have a kind of scapegoat today in that just as the High Priest confessed Israel’s sins onto the goat, we can confess our sins to Jesus and they are removed from us. That’s the most profound truth in the universe! Nothing will impact your life more than that reality!!