Blaming others seems to be a norm today. You’ve heard of pointing the finger or passing the buck? What about the idea of a scapegoat? Today we’ll hear where the term “Scapegoat” came from.
Many people don’t read the Old Testament Books because of the belief that it’s all about Jesus found in the New Testament. Today we’re looking in the Old Testament Book of Leviticus because Jesus IS found there. Leviticus is a book dedicated to how to worship a Holy God and how to live a Holy life. The Israelites were just set free from Egypt in what’s called the Exodus. Now they’re learning how to come to God in the “real way.” We can too. The sacrifices, priests, and festivals opened the way to come to God. There are some great things for us to learn about. We learn of purity laws, rules for daily living, family responsibilities, sexual conduct, personal conduct, relationships, values, and vows. These all impact our holy walk with God even today.
There are so many places in Leviticus where we see evidence of Jesus (1400 years before he was even born). The Day of Atonement is the one we’ll look at today. The Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) is the most solemn day on the Jewish calendar, celebrated in September. It’s a day of national mourning, humiliation, fasting, repentance, and then forgiveness. This is the day God removed the sin from the people and the nation. We can read in Leviticus 16:7-10 that the priests set aside 2 goats. The 1st goat was meant as a sacrifice for the sins of the people. The 2nd goat became the scapegoat and was sent into the wilderness to remove the sins from Israel. The priests laid hands on the scapegoat and “confess over it all the iniquities of the people, all their transgressions, all their sins and he shall put them on the head of the goat and send it away” Lev 16:21. Verse 22 says, “The goat shall bear all their sins on itself.” This is absolutely the foreshadowing of Christ who was the perfect sacrifice, and who was led to the slaughter to take the iniquities of all of us in Isaiah 53:6. This atonement restored fellowship with God.
What does this have to do with us? Well, it still speaks to us today. God has not changed, God was the same in Leviticus as He is today, and will be forever (Hebrews 13:8). His principles are for all times. As people and societies change, and they do, we need to constantly search for ways to apply the principles of God’s Word in our present circumstances. Confess our sins, and Jesus, who is the perfect sacrifice, and the only one who could took on all our sins as the scapegoat, will forgive us and bring us to that right fellowship with God.