The ceremony of the two goats for the Day of Atonement is given in Lev. 16, and reveals a blueprint of the first and second coming of Christ.
As I shared in my last blog, on the Day of Atonement, the High Priest would present two goats before the Lord. The High Priest would then cast lots to determine which goat he would sacrifice to the Lord and which goat he would lead into the wilderness as the “scapegoat.”
“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”(Lev. 16:8-10).
The first goat was killed and it’s blood was brought into the Holy of Holies, sprinkled on the Mercy Seat by the High Priest.
The first goat was symbolic of Christ, our High Priest, who atoned or COVERED our sins before a Holy God, yet does not REMOVE the sinful nature inside us. This explains how sinners, who then accept Christ as Savior, can be reunited with the Lord through His atoning sacrifice, yet still continue to contend with the wages of sin working in their soul and body even after they are saved.
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord”(Rom. 6:23).
The Bible is clear that Christ the King eradicates the wages of death at His second coming. The first sign is when we get our glorified bodies:
“So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory”(1 Cor. 15:54).
The second goat the High Priest used was not killed, and was called “the scapegoat.” The High Priest would lay his hands on the goat’s head, confess the sins of the people, and “put their iniquities on the goat’s head” and send it away. The goat was then escorted about 12 miles away by a “suitable man,” who would release the goat into the wilderness in a place uninhabited by people (Lev. 16:20-22).
The second goat REMOVES our sins, sending them away permanently so there is no need to keep working at fighting against our sinful nature. This is the fulfillment of the second coming of Christ, and the Bride getting her glorified body (incorruptible) is the inheritance of that promise (Heb. 9:7,12).
“For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life. Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee” (2 Cor. 5:4,5).
After the Millennium, when the “new earth” is revealed, the glory of God will be covering the earth. Jesus will have come back with His remnant to lead the nations in establishing His righteousness, justice and truth, which will manifest the “Kingdom of God” here on the earth.
“Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells” (2 Peter 2:13).
It is written in Jewish history records, that as far back as Solomon’s Temple, there was a ritual of the High Priest tying a crimson wool thread around the throat of the goat that was to be sacrificed, and around the horns of the scapegoat. A portion of the same crimson thread was also attached to the door of the temple.
The red strip represented the sin of the people which were atoned by the blood on the Mercy Seat. The crimson thread wrapped around the door of the sanctuary was said to turn from red to white once the goat was released in the wilderness. This was a divine sign to the people that God had accepted their sacrifice and the sins of the nation were forgiven.
Many bible scholars believe that Isaiah referred to this event when he wrote, “though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they will be like wool” (Isaiah 1:18).
There is an incredible reference in the Jewish Talmud that verifies that after Jesus was crucified, the Lord no longer accepted the goat sin offering and the scapegoat offered by the High Priest:
“Forty years before the destruction of the Temple, the western light went out, the crimson thread remained crimson, and the lot for the Lord always came up in the left hand. They would close the gates of the Temple by night and get up in the morning and find them wide open” (Jacob Neusner, The Yerushalmi, p.156-157).
The religious leaders considered it a good omen if the lot for the goat marked “for the Lord” was drawn by the priest in his right hand. But according to this Jewish history record, for 40 years prior to the destruction of the temple in 70 AD, the lot “for the Lord” appeared in the priest’s left hand.
It makes sense that God would confirm what He had accomplished, fulfilling His word through Christ as “He sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb. 12:2). There was no more need for a goat to “cover” their sins to make a way for their relationship to be restored with God since Christ had fulfilled the offering. God was trying to get their attention.
The Talmud also spoke of the temple gates opening by themselves each night between 30 and 70 AD. Jewish leaders knew this was a sign of impending doom for the temple.
Jesus had prophesied that the temple’s downfall would take place in His own generation (Matthew 24:1-34). Scripture also reveals that God’s temple is Jesus and His followers, both individually and corporately:
“Jesus answered them, ‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.’ The Jews then said, ‘It took forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days? But He was speaking of the temple of His body’” (John 2:19-21).
“For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, ‘I will make My dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be My people‘” (2 Cor. 6:16).
Believers in Christ are the “New temple” as the Lord’s presence dwells in us individually through the Holy Spirit. But the “New Jerusalem” the Lord speaks of in scriptures, is the manifestation of the corporate promise to the body of Christ receiving their glorified bodies, and is the purpose of the blueprint of the Feast of Tabernacles, which is the Feast that follows the Day of Atonement.
“He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name” (Rev3:12).
I will share in the final blog on the Day of Atonement of how the law of Jubilee ties into our inheritance to receive our gloried bodies.