“For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually, year by year, make those who approach perfect.”– Hebrews 10:1
When we speak of Jesus’ birth, we must make it a point to also talk of His purpose. John pointed out our Lord’s intent when he said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). Jesus is God’s perfect sacrifice. No longer would the Day of Atonement be perpetual and incomplete. Salvation, through Jesus Christ, would come once for all!
The two goats used on the Day of Atonement formed one sacrifice. One for the sprinkling of blood and the other to be let go into the wilderness (Leviticus 16:6-10). They were each identified for their particular service by the casting of lots. Each one is specifically chosen by God. Once the scapegoat was identified, tradition has it that a scarlet cloth was tied to his horn. The High Priest would then turn him to face the crowd. It is reminiscent of our mocked and beaten Savior that was shifted toward the crowd when they called for Him to be crucified. Although we often associate the sprinkling of blood with Jesus’ blood shed for us, which is absolute truth, the more significant portion of the service was left upon the scapegoat. He was to be led out into the wilderness carrying the people’s burdens (Leviticus 16:21-22).
There is great symbolism in this former ritual. One that points directly to Jesus. The goat let go into the wilderness pointed directly to the coming of Christ. It was a “foreshadowing” of things to come. Although carrying the weight of the sins of the people, the scapegoat still lived. It was let go with no outcome. Sin was only atoned for but never wholly blotted out. The nation of Israel had to keep coming back year after year to give the same sacrifices. The patriarchs all died in faith, “not having received the promises” (Hebrews 11:13). Today, we have! Jesus Christ picked up where that sacrifice left off. He carried the burdens of our sins directly to the Cross where He cried, “It is finished!”
The sprinkling of blood provided a sin offering, which Jesus did on the Cross. No longer are we left wondering where that scapegoat was heading. That was imperfect! We now know where Jesus is…ascended! The transfer of sins had to be placed on former sacrifice. It is the same today. Salvation has been given, yet it must also be received. The transfer of sins to the new covenant can only be done through repentance. Repent today and see the salvation of the Lord! He paid the price, so you will never have to!
“He takes away the first that He may establish the second. By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.”– Romans 10:9-14