“But the goat chosen by lot as the scapegoat shall be presented alive before the LORD to be used for making atonement by sending it into the wilderness as a scapegoat.”
It’s amazing to me how we Christians beg God for repeated forgiveness each day yet our Creator has never forgiven anyone through this method. I was taught, “God will forgive you, all you have to do is ask.” The problem is, the words ask for forgiveness are not in the Bible–front to back.
God only forgives through blood, not words. We’ve adopted this theology of daily-forgiveness-begging by aimlessly trusting those who don’t understand what the Cross has done. Just because someone is out of control, overly-emotional, or manipulatively sweet and gentle–therefore making us feel like trash–we don’t have to believe them. Especially if their emotionalism is contrary to proper interpretation of Scripture in light of Jesus’ finished work.
Even deeper, God only forgives by faith in blood, not by asking. We can ask, yes, but faith has to be the foundation of that original query. And if we did ask, He forgives us once and for all time, never again. If this weren’t true then Old Covenant Judaism sounds much more appealing than Christianity. After all, the Hebrew people received forgiveness once a year at the Day of Atonement. I repeat, once a year.
On this side of the Cross the author of Hebrews explains how the Jews had their sin-slate cleaned prior to Messiah:
“In fact, the Law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” (Hebrews 9:22)
Israel, the Israelites, the Jews, the Hebrews (all the same group, the same race; we non-Jews are called Gentiles), they were forgiven of every sin for the previous year on the Day of Atonement. These men, women, and children had 613 rules to follow. When they broke one they didn’t neurotically stop what they were doing and ask God to forgive them. Nor did they list off all their sins before bed, pleading with Yahweh for forgiveness as they promised to do better. Never did they confess to a priest, either. Not once is this recorded in the Old Testament. They had to wait.
The truth is, the priests were simply middlemen from one of their twelve tribes, the tribe of Levi. They were unemployed people who could only work at the temple. The tithe was meant to support them because they weren’t allowed to have any other vocation. The Levitical priests would laugh if someone tried to merely confess sins to them. Blood had to be shed, and they all knew it.
The Jews also knew when they sinned those transgressions of the Law were “put on their books” so to speak. Each sin added up over the course of the year. As the following annual Day of Atonement arrived, they’d present their best animal to be slaughtered to pay off that sin-debt. The priest would then present that blood offering at the temple behind the curtain where only they were allowed to go.
What most Christians don’t understand is that animal blood simply atoned for, or covered up, or paid off their past sins–never permanently taking them away. As soon as they walked down the stairs of the temple and broke one of the 613 commandments they’d need forgiveness again. For this exact reason such priestly duties had to be performed annually.
“Atonement is to be made once a year for all the sins of the Israelites.” (See Leviticus 16:34)
This passage from Leviticus is before Jesus came–keep that in mind. This was a commandment by Moses according to the Law, the Old Covenant. Sins had to be atoned for year after year because there was no way to remove them forever. The Jews were tired of this trip!
But wait! Christ did not atone for sins! He doesn’t cover them up! He takes them away! Gone! He banishes them as far as the east is from the west! Even future sins are annihilated because He’s not bound by time! He created time!
“It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.” (Hebrews 10:4)
Do you see that? Animal blood cannot compare. John the Baptist, who never missed a Day of Atonement, when he simply saw Christ, the Spirit of God revealed the truth about Him:
The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29)
HOW AMAZING! God, through Messiah, would choose to allow His blood to not just atone for sins but to throw them into oblivion!
“For I will be merciful to their iniquities,
And I will remember their sins no more.” (Hebrews 8:12)
What if I told you, “I can see the future because I created the notion of time. I already know you won’t always make the right choices, in fact, you’ll make tons of mistakes. I can see them. But I’m still here for you. I’ll never hold those faults against you. I’ve chosen to forgive you and I’ll never leave you alone. Instead, I’ll counsel you gently each day into the truth of who you truly are.”
This is what God has done through His Son for all who will believe in Him once!
We’ve heard Jesus called the Lion, the Lamb, the Good Shepherd, and many other things. But did you know according to the Bible He’s also a Goat? Don’t confuse the “goats on the left sheep on the right” passage with a different section of Scripture about a goat found in Leviticus.
When a person believes Jesus has forgiven them they tap into His innocence. He did nothing wrong but was no longer innocent because He took on our sin. By way of Jesus being the greatest Scapegoat ever, we can blame all our mistakes on Him–we Christians have done this. This is why He lived! So the created people of the world can place their sins onto Him! He’s our Scapegoat! A scapegoat is always innocent and removes all guilt!
The self-righteous individual sees this truth as a “license to sin” because they think they’re doing a wonderful job at not sinning. HA! Christ said if we want to look to not sinning for righteousness we must be perfect like God! Good luck! (See Matthew 5:48). Juxtapose, the individual who knows they have sins only Jesus can remove once and for all time by His blood, we’ve seen this truth as life! We’ve seen Him as life! (See Colossians 3:3-4, John 10:28, 14:19).
We get the very word scapegoat from the Jewish Day of Atonement. If you get time, read all of Leviticus 16 and it’s spelled out plainly. One ritual during this day required the priest to take two healthy goats and cast lots to decide which one would be used for the blood atonement, and the other, the scapegoat atonement.
The goat for the blood atonement was slaughtered; its blood then used behind the curtain in the temple to cover the people’s sins for the previous year. The second goat was used to symbolically transfer the sins of the people onto the goat by the priest laying his hands on it. After he had “transferred” the sins onto the formerly-innocent-animal, he sent it off into the wilderness as the scapegoat which took their sins away–from the previous year–therefore symbolizing the take-away atonement. When the goat was far off into the distance and nobody could see it any longer the Jews erupted in celebration!
Unfortunately this had to be repeated annually–but only until Christ came! He one-upped the bloody goat and the scapegoat! He banished sins by one offering, Himself, thus causing the people to become perfect forever!
God was never truly pleased with animal blood. That blood simply reminded the Jews of how much they needed a Savior. They’d even burn the remains of the sacrificed animals, thinking such would bring God permanent pleasure. It did not. He only found absolute pleasure in His Son! (See Matthew 3:17). Those sacrifices and offerings were mere foreshadowings of what Christ would do with His own body and blood! He’d finish it all! Just look at this!
Therefore, when He (Christ) comes into the world, He says,
“Sacrifice and offering You have not desired,
But a body You have prepared for Me;
In whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You have taken no pleasure.
“Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come
(In the scroll of the book it is written of Me)
To do Your will, O God.’”
After saying above, “Sacrifices and offerings and whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You have not desired, nor have You taken pleasure in them” (which are offered according to the Law), then He (Christ) said, “Behold, I have come to do Your will.” He takes away the first (the Old Covenant) in order to establish the second (the New Covenant). By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins; but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time onward until His enemies be made a footstool for His feet. For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.
(Hebrews 10:5-14, notes added)
So today, my friends, know this: Christian, YOU have been sanctified! YOU have been made perfect forever! How? By one offering! The body and blood of Jesus Christ! He’s not only the innocent Scapegoat to blame, He’s the Gate! He’s the Vine! He’s the Bread of Life! He’s everything and He always will be!
A prayer for you: Father, my goodness I get so excited when I write about this subject. Knowing that Jesus has removed all my sins brings such an explosion of enthusiasm from my fingertips! Thank you for revealing these truths to me! Right now, I lift up all who are reading this, directly to you. So many of these dear readers have just had a New Covenant lightbulb turn on in their minds. I remember when this first happened to me, finally realizing Christ’s blood removed all my sins forever, causing me to become perfect? What a supernatural epiphany for us to enjoy! Take them deeper into this knowledge of Jesus! Remind them moment by moment what you’ve done to them because they’ve believed in your Son! In His mighty name I pray, amen.
This devotional is from my upcoming book, The Christian Identity, Volume 3. Check out my other bestselling books here!