“And he shall take the two goats, and present them before the Lord at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the Lord, and the other lot for the scapegoat. And Aaron shall bring the goat upon which the Lord‘s lot fell, and offer him for a sin offering. But the goat, on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat, shall be presented alive before the Lord, to make an atonement with him, and to let him go for a scapegoat into the wilderness,” (Leviticus 16:7-10, KJV)
When I was young, we learned that the kid who almost always got blamed for things, was not the actual one who did them, but was punished nonetheless, in the other kid’s place. When I got to Woodward Academy, I found they officially used the word “scapegoat” for a student that tends to get blamed for things by the other students who had actually broken the rules, for example.
There is no doubt this word came from the Scriptures quoted above, a Jewish ceremony. You have two kinds of goats. The first one, chosen by lot, was offered for sacrifice on the Day of Atonement. The second one, had all the sins of Israel symbolically placed upon it by Aaron:
Verse 21, 22:
21 And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness: And the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited: and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness.
Who does these goats represent? They both represent Jesus. The first one pictures his death as an atonement for the sins of His people. The second one, pictures Christ as the Resurrected Savior, escaped death with our sins with him.
How do we know that it is referring to Jesus Christ? Verse 4
He shall put on the holy linen coat, and he shall have the linen breeches upon his flesh, and shall be girded with a linen girdle, and with the linen mitre shall he be attired: these are holy garments; therefore shall he wash his flesh in water, and so put them on.
We know that holy linen refers to the righteous One (Rev 9:18, 7:14)
And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.
And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
He escaped with sins that were not His own, for He had no sin. But he bore my my sins. He did it voluntarily.
David is currently an adjunct instructor of Composition and Speech at Marshalltown Community College in Iowa. His wife and he have also owned a business selling antique and collectible postcards on eBay since 1999. David was an activist with Operation Rescue in the early 1990s. He is a member of Trinity Presbyterian Reformed Church in Johnston, Iowa.
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