Summary: In this sermon we will be meditating four important understanding on the justification by faith: 1. Meaning of Atonement, 2. meaning of two he-goats 3. meanings of a goat for YHWH 4. meanings of a scapegoat.
Theme: Scapegoat and Other Goats
Text: Leviticus 16:06-10
Introduction: Men talk about black sheep and scapegoat.
Black sheep means a person who carries the message to opponents. The origin of the phrase comes from the rare presence in a flock of white sheep of a sheep with black fleece. Rather than being a delightful surprise, these black sheep were a disappointment, since their wool couldn't be dyed. Scapegoat refers usually, a person who is blamed for the wrongdoings, mistakes, or faults of others, especially for reasons of expediency. Men are associated with sheep and Goat from time immemorial. Men used to tend sheep. Often Jesus is pictured as good Shepherded with Sheep. The judgement talks about the categories of goat and sheep.
David sang psalms of Shepherd and Sheep. Psalm 23 & 119:176.
In this sermon we will be meditating three important understanding on the justification by faith:
2. Two he-goats
3. A goat for YHWH
4. A scapegoat
1. Day of Atonement:
Atonement phrase was used by the ANE countries to mark the sign of reconciliation made between two persons who had broken their covenant relationship.
The word ‘atone’ means ‘to make at one’. Bible explains that atonement is not mere reconciliation of the separated persons but removal of sin through expiation. Abel offered a Sheep, Abraham offered Sheep instead of Isaac.
The Israelite used this expiation concept to redeem the first-born, to redeem the land and to redeem the enslaved kin through paying ransom. Expiation is placed in OT as an important sacrificial system.
Atonement came into being between YHWH and Israel whenever their covenant relationship was broken by their rebellion or sinful acts. The Original Covenant was “you will be my people and I will be your God”.
Today the atonement refers to our Sunday worship, our daily personal time with God and our family altar. We all need to offer Christ or claim the blood of Christ before we stand before God. We overcome this world by the blood of Jesus Christ.
There was a mechanical understanding of an efficacy of sacrifice. People used the sacrifice as a cause and effect method. The chain reaction was continuing on as Sin-Sacrifice-Sin-Sacrifice, there was no end to it. Malachi 1:8 “When you offer blind animals for sacrifice, is that not wrong? When you sacrifice lame or diseased animals, is that not wrong? Try offering them to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you?" says the LORD Almighty”. Hence, God hated the sacrifices because of their attitude and the extreme altitude of sin in the lives of the worshipers. Some treated sacrifice as an anticipatory bail. Expiation and cleansing or the removal of the sin and its results are purely depended upon the mercies of God (Psalm 65:4, 78:38, 79:9).
2. Two He-goats ( & Jesus)
On the day of atonement, two he-goats were brought before the priest for sacrifice. The priest will examine those he-goats, and will declare their fitness. The goats qualifications must be equal in age, color and quality (ref. Exodus 12:5, 13:2). It must be free from defects, not blind, not fractured nor maimed nor having a running sore or eczema or scabs, not overgrown or stunted member, not testicles bruised or crushed or torn or cut (Leviticus 22:20-24).
Then a lot would be cast for the selections - He used to cast lots to fix one of the goats for YHWH and another goat for AZAZEL (scapegoat), one to be slain as sacrifice for sin, another to bear the transgressions of the people. The one which is identified and chosen by YHWH for scapegoat will be sent away from the camp after the priest confessed the sins of the community over its head, and then to be sent away into the wilderness (Leviticus 16:8, 10, 26).
Where to find a goat with these qualifications. All have sinned, fallen short, turned away, became worthless, no one does good and not even one (Romans 3:10-18). Therefore Jesus came into this world to sacrifice himself. He himself became the Goat for YHWH and a Scapegoat. Jesus was blameless and was separated for all of us (Read: 1 Peter 1:19, John 1:29; 8:46, Hebrews 7:26,). The human attributes and the divine attributes are present here as two he-goats.
The spiritual meaning of the goats and their sacrifices are ‘the goat that was slain prefigured Christ’s human nature and his death; the goat that escaped pointed out his resurrection’. One goat expressed atonement for sin, as the ground for our justification; the other goat shows Christ's victory, and total removal of sin in the sanctification of the soul. Christ was the scapegoat and the sacrificial goat. Christ was crucified accepting the sins of the whole world as scapegoat (Leviticus 16:21-22 and 2 Corinthians 5:18-21) And he became the sacrificial goat, he became complementary to one another. The resurrection brings justification, our baptism is death and our coming out of water is resurrection & justification.