Two Goats

a picture of two goats

Then Jesus took them through the writings of Moses and all the prophets, explaining from all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. 

Luke 24:27

Jesus in Leviticus

“The New Testament is in the Old concealed; the Old is in the New revealed.” – Augustine

As we found last time, Jesus is THE sin sacrifice, once for all time, to conquer sin in the bloodline of Adam – It’s not surprising that Jesus is called the second Adam (1 Corinthians 15:45). As part of Christ’s work, He fulfilled the Messianic Old Testament prophecies. Matthew 26:53-54: “Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?

So, we are looking for Jesus in the Day of Atonement ceremony that God gave to Moses. We already found Jesus in the sin atonement for the high priest. Now we are looking for Jesus in the actions required for the annual sin atonement for the nation of Israel (Leviticus 16:30). 

Two Goats

On the Day of Atonement, two goats were brought to the temple. Two goats were required because the Holy Spirit showed two aspects of the single offering which Jesus made on the cross, hence, two goats.

As I understand the ceremony, here’s what happened. A man would bring two goats to the high priest. The goats were presented to Yahweh (God). “And Aaron (the high priest) shall cast lots on the two goats; one lot for the LORD, and the other lot for the scapegoat.” (Leviticus 16:8) The lots consisted of two small tablets. One was engraved with the words “For Jehovah,” and on the other, the scapegoat, the tablet had the words “For Azazel.” The sins of the nation of Israel were transferred to the scapegoat and the scapegoat was taken / sent into the wilderness.

There were three priests involved in this ceremony, the high priest plus a priest to the right and a priest to the left of the high priest (some theologians think the trinity of priests was a type for the Triune God). The high priest shook the urn containing the two tablets. Then, at the same time (this shows that Jesus fulfilled both at the same time), the high priest would bring out both tablets. The high priest would put a tablet on each goat facing him. 

The Sin Sacrifice

Let’s say that the goat to the right of the high priest received the “For Jehovah” tablet. Then, the priest to the right of the high priest would proclaim to the high priest, in a loud voice, “Hold up your right hand!” And then the priest would proclaim, “To the Lord a sin offering!” The goat given the title, “For Jehovah,” would be sacrificed as a sin offering to pay for the atonement (covering over) of the sins of the nation of Israel. Remember, sin always requires death.

The Scapegoat

The Day of Atonement also points to Jesus through the scapegoat. When the cross was laid on Jesus and He was led outside of the city, to Golgotha (Matthew 27:33), He carried our sin into the wilderness, fulfilling the imagery of the scapegoat. 

After the sin offering is completed, then the other goat, called the scapegoat, is brought to the high priest. Leviticus 16:21, “And Aaron shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, and confess over it all the iniquities of the people of Israel, and all their transgressions, all their sins. And he shall put them on the head of the goat and send it away into the wilderness by the hand of a man who is in readiness.

The scapegoat was probably led into the wasteland to signify the place where the prince of evil spirits occupies (Isaiah 13:21Isaiah 34:14Matthew 12:43Luke 11:24).  The removal or pardon of sin is often represented in the Bible by its being banished into the uttermost parts of the earth and seas (Micah 7:19Psalm 103:12).

As we said, the scapegoat “carried” the sins of Israel away. The goat was a “type” for Jesus: Isaiah 53:4, “Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.Isaiah 53:6, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

Wrapping Up

If we spent more time excavating Leviticus, chapter sixteen, we would surely find many more sightings of Jesus. Sadly, we must move on for there are more sightings to come! Join me as we continue our quest to find Jesus in the Old Testament Scriptures (Luke 24:27).

Photo by Mikita Karasiou on Unsplash

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No animals were harmed during the writing of this devotional

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