Leviticus 16:5-22 (The Scapegoat)

We are unable to understand spiritual realities because they are invisible.
So God teaches us by using things we can see. The physical world we understand is parallel to the spiritual world. He teaches us spiritual truths by using visible representations of invisible realities. The sacrifices and ceremonies of Israel are types or pictures of Jesus and reveal the salvation he would bring. The climax of the sacrificial system was THE DAY OF ATONEMENT giving the most complete picture of the sacrifice of Christ.

God wants fellowship with His people. He gave Israel the law which revealed His perfect standards. But He knew they would sin and break the law and God's Justice required that sin be punished. In fact the law was given to reveal sin and it's consequences. Sin was a barrier to fellowship with God. So God gave the sacrificial system along with the law. The meaning of 'sacrifice' is 'to bring near'. The sacrifices showed how God would fix the sin problem so that the worshipper can be brought near, into fellowship with God.

The problem was:
(1) The presence of sin, defiling the man and putting him under satan's power and
(2) God's Justice requiring the punishment of death for that sin (Rom 6:23).

The sacrifice of an innocent animal as a SUBSTITUTE taught man that the penalty of sin is death but that an innocent one can die in the sinner's place and thus make atonement for him. The sacrifice takes his place (substitution) and pays the price (punishment) for his sin. Once Justice was satisfied (God is propitiated) then God was free to bless and have fellowship with him. Thus the only way for a sinner into God's presence was through the BLOOD of a substitute-
'without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin' (Heb 9:22)

But animal blood has no real power to save or satisfy God. It does not have the value to ransom a man's life. (Heb 10:4) It only had value in pointing to the ultimate sacrifice of Christ, whose blood alone has the power to atone. As they offered their sacrifice in faith in the coming Messiah, their faith united them to the true sacrifice (yet future) and a limited, temporary covering of sin was effected. However sin could not be removed fully until the final sacrifice was made. So sacrifices had to be offered daily to stay in fellowship.

The Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16) was the most solemn Feast day of the year. God wanted to build into the system of sacrifices a picture of the ultimate sacrifice that transcended all other sacrifices. This was done on the Day of Atonement. On this day ALL their sin for the whole year would be atoned for and forgiven by just one sacrifice. With all the other sacrifices offered up, why have a special day where a sacrifice is made for ALL sins? (v21)

God made it clear that the normal round of sacrifices was insufficient:
(1) the daily repetition implied sin wasn't really dealt with,
(2) many sins may not have been covered by a sacrifice (through ignorance or neglect) and
(3) EVEN the sins that had been sacrificed for, were still present and had not been put away from Israel by the sacrifices.

This led to the need for ONE GREAT SACRIFICE by which complete atonement would be made for all sins for that year. The other sacrifices were but preparations pointing to this final sacrifice that would be effective.
This was done on the Day of Atonement.

Now the fact that they repeated the Day of Atonement year after year
showed that even this was not the ultimate sacrifice but only pointed to it.
Only the sacrifice of Christ could put away all sin for all time.

'Not that He should offer Himself often, as the High Priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another -He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world;
but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.' (Hebrews 9:25-26)

However as the climax of the Old Testament sacrifices, the Day of Atonement gives the highest revelation of Christ's sacrifice.

This Day spoke of a DAY when God would put away all sin (past, present and future), ONCE FOR ALL, by the sacrifice of His Son. Each YEAR in Israel is a picture of ALL TIME- The timing of the Day of Atonement (10th day, 7th month) in the Jewish Year is in the same fraction through the year as the GREAT DAY OF ATONEMENT (the day of the cross) is in history (after 4000 years out of a total of 7000)! All the sacrifices through the ages were limited and ineffective and were just a preparation for the Great Final Sacrifice. They revealed the method but failed to put away sin. They pointed to the ONE SINGLE SACRIFICE THAT WOULD PUT AWAY SIN ONCE and FOR ALL.

'Jesus our High Priest doesn't need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself.' (Heb 7:27). 'Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.' (Heb 9:12)

It seemed disproportionate after all the blood spilt during the year, with no permanent effect that one sacrifice would deal with all the sins of all the people for the whole year.

THE DAY OF ATONEMENT reveals there is an ultimate sacrifice that removes all sin, and that no amount of other sacrifices can avail in it's place. As the sacrifice on the Day of Atonement superseded all other sacrifices and dealt with all sin for that year, so the cross supersedes all sacrifices and deals with all sin for all time! Thus the sin-offering sacrifice on the Day of Atonement is a Type of Christ in a greater way than any other sacrifice and it gives us far more detail about the work of Christ than the ordinary sin-offerings (which just revealed the main truth of substitution).

Let us now look at this sacrifice: 'He shall take 2 male goats as a sin offering.' (Lev 16:5) The ONE SIN OFFERING involved 2 GOATS. Jewish law rightly required them to be identical. Why? Because they represent one sin-offering. Each represents Christ- our sin-offering in a different aspect. It was not physically possible for 1 goat to show how Christ put away our sin.
The 1st goat is Christ crucified on the cross.
The 2nd is Christ's spirit-soul after his death on the cross.

Another surprise is the use of a smelly GOAT who represents the unrighteous: 'He (Jesus) will set the sheep (righteous) on His right hand, but the goats (unrighteous) on the left.' (Matt 25:33)
Jesus, although he was the spotless, sinless lamb of God, identified with us, took sin upon himself, becoming sin (a goat) that we might become sheep (righteous) (2Cor 5:21)

'He shall take the 2 goats and present them before the LORD at the door of the tabernacle. Then Aaron shall cast lots for the 2 goats,
one lot 'for the LORD' and the other lot 'TO AZAZEL'' (Lev 16:7,8).
Both goats were dedicated to God for the work they would do, as Christ was.
One lot had 'for the Lord' on it. The other had 'to Azazel' on it.

Translators have trouble with the name 'Azazel' and translate 'goat to Azazel' as 'scapegoat' referring to the goat that 'escapes',carrying the sins of Israel on it's back. 'Scapegoat' then came into our language as one on whom all the blame is put. However by the language of v8, 'Azazel' must refer to a person in opposition to the Lord. One goat is 'for the Lord', the other 'for or to Azazel.' Azazel means 'apostate, fallen, removed one.' He was well-known as the prince of the demons of the wilderness. Azazel is satan. The goat sent to Azazel was released into the wilderness, where Azazel was, carrying all the sins back to their origin.

The 2 goats represent 2 phases of Christ's atonement
-one with respect to God, the other with respect to satan.
Sin originated from it's father satan. When we received it, it cut us off from God (spiritual death) and we came under satan's power.

Thus we have a DOUBLE PROBLEM:
(1) Sin cut man off from God, putting him under God's judgement, and
(2) the presence of sin puts him under the influence of satan.

Christ had to solve both problems as a sin-offering to put away our sin once for all.

In his death on the cross Jesus was the FIRST GOAT.
He bore and suffered the punishment for our sin in our place.
This was the sacrifice FOR THE LORD, which removed the barrier of sin between us and God, and satisfied God's Judgement upon sin. Thus we could now be forgiven and come under the blessing of God.

After his death, Jesus as the SECOND GOAT
carried our sins upon his spirit-soul into the wilderness of hell, where satan ruled. These sins having been expiated (forgiven) on the cross, could be now separated and removed from us. He took them 'to Azazel', dumping them all on the devil where they belonged! Thus Jesus, in the 3 days and 3 nights buried our sins in hell forever. When he rose again he left them all behind. Sin's final destination is with satan and hell (judgement) If we're not separated from sin it would take us into satan's hands and hell forever.
Either we can carry our own sin to hell or we can let Jesus carry our sin there for us! Jesus went to hell so we would not have to go there! With our sins forgiven our relationship with God is restored. With all sin and curse removed from us, having been returned to satan it's source, our relationship with satan is ended and his power over us is broken forever.

The greatest sacrifice of the year was the sin-offering on the Day of Atonement which was done through 2 goats, which revealed 2 phases of Christ's death.

GOAT 1: 'Aaron shall bring the goat on which the LORD'S lot fell, and offer it as a sin offering.'(Lev 16:9)
This goat was sacrificed 'for the Lord', to propitiate Godís Justice.
Hands were laid on it (as in v21) and thus the sins of Israel were transferred to the goat. In its death it symbolically paid the just punishment for sin, thus providing forgiveness. It was a Type of Jesus, the sinless substitute who alone was acceptable as the sacrifice for sin.

'He shall kill the goat of the sin offering, for the people,
bring it's blood inside the veil and sprinkle it on the mercy seat.
So he will make atonement for the uncleanness of the children of Israel, for their transgressions and all their sins...he makes atonement for all Israel' (v15-17)

When God saw the blood on 'the mercy seat' ('place of propitiation') above the tablets of the law, He saw the price had been paid for man's breaking the law, and manifested His glory between the cherubim, showing that sin was covered (forgiven) and man could have fellowship with God. This was a picture of Christ's death on the cross once for all the sin of all people. When he said: 'It is finished', this meant the price for sin was paid, but the complete work of redemption in all phases was not done until he arose.

Sin was now forgiven before God but for a complete salvation it must also be removed from us forever.

This was the work of GOAT 2.
'But the goat on which the lot fell to be the goat for Azazel (wrongly translated 'scapegoat') shall be presented alive before the LORD, to make atonement upon it (see v21) and to let it go as the goat to Azazel into the wilderness' (v10)

The 1st goat was Christ’s death on the cross paying the price for our sin, reuniting us to God. Only after this goat was slain and it's blood fell on the mercy seat, do we go to the 2nd goat: 'When he has made an end of atoning for the Holy Place (1st Goat) he shall bring the live goat.' (v20)

This 2nd goat continues the story of how Christ put away sin. At death his spirit-soul left his body. Now he is the living goat.

'He shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, confess over it all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions, concerning all their sins, putting them on the head of the goat, and shall send it away into the wilderness by the hand of a suitable man. The goat shall bear on itself all their iniquities to an uninhabited land; and he shall release the goat into the wilderness.' (v21,22)

The living goat took their sin into the wilderness-an uninhabited land, a land of separation and forgetfulness, an habitation of demons where Azazel was prince-a good picture of Hades-Hell. So when Jesus died physically, his spirit (still living) descended into hell, the domain of satan. He carried all our sin and sickness away. Our sin having been expiated (forgiven) on the cross by Jesus as the 1st goat, could now be separated and removed from us. Jesus as the 2nd goat took it back to its origin (satan) and dumped it on satan hence ending our relationship to him. Jesus went to Hell for us as a goat, because he was still 'sin' (2Cor 5:21). He carried our sin and was still identified with it. Thus, he was still cut off from God's Presence.
Thus, his spirit went to the land of the unrighteous dead, where unbelievers go - a place of separation from God, a place of demons and under satan's dominion.

'He was cut off from the land of the living' (Is 53:8).
'He was numbered (put in rank) with the transgressors, He bore the sin of many.' (Is 53:12)


Luke 16:19-26 shows that under the earth there were 2 compartments of Hades (Hell) where the dead people went. Believers went to 'Abraham's bosom', a place of comfort (also called Paradise). Unbelievers went to 'Torments'. This is a holding cell as they await final judgement. These 2 areas were within sight of each other with Paradise above Torments, and separated by a great gulf preventing any from crossing over.

In 2Cor 12:1-4 we see that since Christ's ascension, Paradise (where believers go) has been moved to the 3rd heaven. 'When He ascended on high, He led captivity (believers captive in Paradise) captive.' (Eph 4:8, see Matt 27:52-53).

2Peter 2:4 Under Torments is 'Tartarus' where certain evil angels are confined.

The lower regions of hell are also called the Abyss (Bottomless Pit)
After He died physically on the cross, Christ descended into lower-hell:

'Now, 'He ascended' means He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.' (Eph 4:9,10)

Loaded with our sin he sunk into the depths of hell, into the Abyss:
'Do not say in your heart: `Who will descend into the Abyss?'
(that is, to bring Christ up from the dead)' (Rom 10:6,7)
He went to the lowest place for us (Ps 88,Matt 12:40) before he rose to the highest place defeating all powers on the way up. (Eph 1:19-23)
So that now He is Lord of every region! (Phil 2:7-11)

Removal of sin. Jesus took our sins to the abyss and buried them there!

That's why it says: 'The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!' (John 1:29)
'Once at the end of the ages, he has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself' (Heb 9:26)
'As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.'(Ps 103:12)

That's why God can say: 'I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; and I will not remember your sins.' (Is 43:25)
'I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.'(Jer 31:34; Heb 8:12)

That's why we can say: 'You have lovingly delivered my soul from the pit of corruption, for You have cast all my sins behind Your back (out of sight).' (Is 38:17)

'He will again have compassion on us, and subdue our iniquities.
YOU WILL CAST ALL OUR SINS INTO THE DEPTHS OF THE SEA.' (Micah 7:19) The ocean depths represent the Deep or Abyss of darkness (Gen 1:2) When God sent the Flood he buried all sin in the Deep. Sin must be buried and put away. Instead of burying us in hell, he separated our sin from us and buried it in the depths of hell, in land of forgetfulness, to be remembered no more! So, instead of us carrying our sin to hell to await final judgement; Jesus bore our sin upon himself, carried it to hell, dumped it and left it there when he arose.

For the daily sacrifices only one hand was laid on the animal, but on this Day the Priest put both hands upon it signifying a COMPLETE transfer of sin to the goat. God laid all sin and all curse (including sickness) upon Jesus.

One hand transmitted sin and the other the consequences of sin (the curse)
To this Isaiah also testifies: 'The LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all (and its consequences)'(Is 53:6)
'He made His soul an offering for sin'(v10)
'Surely He has borne (away to a distance) our sicknesses
and carried (as a heavy load) our pains' (v4)
'He shall bear(as a heavy load) their iniquities.' (v11)
'He bore (away to a distance) the sin of many.'(v12)

The 2nd goat does not denote a sacrifice to satan, no blood was shed.
It is returning sin to where it belongs. Jesus did this ONCE FOR ALL.

Forgiveness and healing doesn't just come by asking for it, for it's only available through the sacrifice. However we have to believe in and receive the sacrifice. The sacrifice was only effective for them if they appropriated it with the right heart attitude. On this Day Israel had to fast and be penitant and repentant for their sins. Then when they saw the 1st goat sacrificed and the 2nd goat taking their sin away they knew they were forgiven. They are a picture of God's people with contrite and believing hearts receiving forgiveness. Our attitude to our sin must likewise be serious, humble, and repentant. Then by faith we see Him remove it far from us. We must believe the report for it to be effective for us. (Is 53:1) We must see him do this through the eyes of faith and accept our forgiveness and freedom. 'Behold! (open your eyes and see) The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!' (John 1:29)

Our attitude to satan when he comes to condemn us for sins we have confessed, is to quote the scriptures above and say:
'Jesus took away my sins and sicknesses and buried them forever-
but your sin is still upon you and you're destined for the pit!'

The Jewish practice on the Day of Atonement as given in the Talmud
was for the scapegoat to be taken to a cliff in the wilderness they called Azazel and pushed it over the edge. Thus they made sure it did not return to town. This agrees with the picture of Christ descending into the Abyss.
They tied a red cord to the scapegoat, the cliff and the temple door.
The Talmud claims that when the goat fell, the scarlet cord on the cliff and temple door supernaturally turned white signifying that sin was thus put away. 'Come now, and let's reason together,' says the LORD
'Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow;
Though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool.' (Is1:18)

The Talmud also says that from AD 30 (when Jesus had started His ministry) it no longer turned white! He was the true Temple and the true final sacrifice, making the old system redundant. At the same time for 40 years (30-70 AD when the Temple was destroyed) all the lots for the goat for Jehovah were in the High Priest's left hand (which they took as a bad sign of impending judgement). This was against impossible odds-1 in 1,000,000,000,000 ! Also the Temple doors started opening by themselves and the west light of the Menorah (the servant candle used to light the others) failed to burn!

Appendix: Hebrews 8-10 presents the New Covenant in Christ as the fulfilment of the Old. It argues that the incompleteness and ineffectiveness of the old system meant it was but a picture pointing to the fulfilment by Christ. They were not of permanent effect for they only foreshadowed the sacrifice of Christ. (Heb 10:1-4; 9:7-14). It shows the Temple and it's ceremonies as all SYMBOLIC of Christ and the New Covenant. (8:5,6; 9:9,11,23,24;10:1) It says that the climax and centre-piece of this system (the Day of Atonement sacrifice) was fulfilled in Christ. (9:23-26)
Thus it contains the New Testament commentary on this Day.

It clearly shows that Christ fulfilled the picture of the final, perfect, complete, effective sacrifice that puts away sin once for all.
Thus it proves the sacrifices on the Day of Atonement are a Type of Christ. (Heb 9:7-14, 23-26; 10:1-12)

Hebrews 8:6-12 describes how the NEW and BETTER COVENANT was predicted. 'Better' because provision was made for the complete forgiveness and removal of sin through the better sacrifice so that man and God could be permanently united. Christ came to offer the perfect sacrifice, once for all, to end all sacrifices. (Heb 10:9-19) 'By one offering He has perfected forever those being sanctified.' (v14)

Thus sin has been forgiven and removed: 'Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.' (v17) and we can draw near even into the Holy of Holies, God's Presence, by the blood of Jesus. (v19)



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