LEVITICUS 16: THE SCAPEGOAT
REPRESENTED JESUS CHRIST
1. Leviticus 16:1: The
chapter begins with a reminder that two of Aaron’s sons had been killed because they offered “strange fire”
on the altar. This unclean defiled fire reminds us of the extreme holiness required of every thing and every person associated
with the sanctuary. The most holy high priest could not physically touch Satan himself on the most holy day of the year and
2. Leviticus 16:5 “And he shall take of the congregation of the children of Israel two kids of the goats for a sin offering.”Both goats were to constitute one sin offering. Both goats had been chosen
by the congregation from among the most spotless sacrificial animals which were all types of Jesus Christ. And both goats
had been ritually cleansed by washing before being present “before the LORD” at the doorway of the sanctuary.
This could not be said of Satan.
3. Leviticus 16:8 “And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the LORD, and the other
lot for the scapegoat.” Either goat could have been chosen because both were equally qualified. This is not true
of Satan. It is unfortunate that the Authorized Version (KJV) guessed and translated the obscure Hebrew word rather than leaving
it un-translated. The RSV leaves it as Azazel. Many linguists prefer to interpret
the term as merely “complete removal.”
4. Leviticus 16:9-10
“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.” For the second time the live
goat was presented “before the LORD.” Since verse five says that both goats were for one sin offering, it also
means that both goats were for different aspects of one and the same atonement.
5. Leviticus 16:19 “And he shall sprinkle of the blood upon it [the whole sanctuary] with his finger
seven times, and cleanse it, and hallow it from the uncleanness of the children of Israel.” There is absolutely
no difference between the sin offering of the Day of Atonement and the sin offering on other days. This is the same most holy
blood of the perfect most holy sinless sin offering which has been offered throughout the year. Whatever the sin offering
touches becomes most holy (Lev , 27).
6. Leviticus 16:20-21
“And when he has made an end of reconciling the holy place, and the tabernacle
of the congregation, and the altar, he shall bring the live goat: And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the
live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins,
putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness.” a)
The text does not state that the high priest must first wash his hands before laying them upon the live goat. His hands were
still wet with the blood of the bullock and goat which had just cleansed the Most Holy Place and the remainder of the sanctuary.
And, since both the touch of the most holy high priest and also the blood of a most holy sin offering confers “most
holiness” then it must be concluded that the live goat was also “most holy” (Lev 6:17-18, 25-27; Num 18:9).
Unless this can be disproved, then the SDAs have no grounds to state that the live goat represented Satan himself.b) The sins were those of ignorance, omission and inadvertent sins which “remain” un-confessed
and un-atoned at the end of the year. They were not pre-meditated high-handed sins which were punishable by the judges through
cutting off from Israel. c) There are two precedents for allowing sin-offerings to live after they have participated in atonement.
In Leviticus 14:1-7 two clean birds were used to cleanse a leper and one of the birds was released alive. Also in -53 two birds were
taken to “cleanse” a house from mold or mildew. Leviticus 14:52-53: “And he shall cleanse the house with
the blood of the bird, and with the running water, and with the living bird, and with the cedar wood, and with the hyssop,
and with the scarlet: But he shall let go the living bird out of the city into the open fields, and make an atonement for
the house: and it shall be clean.” Since only one chapter separates the living birds and the living goat, it is extremely
likely that both refers to the freedom and release resulting from cleansed sin.
7. Leviticus 16:22 “And the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited:
and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness.” a) Once a year for a very brief time Israel could be assured that
their sins had been removed from even the records and memory of God –until the very next sin offering and the cycle
began all over again! (Compare Heb 10:1-3). b) Jesus Christ is the ultimate sin-bearer and is even responsible for creating
Lucifer and allowing Lucifer to become Satan. Compare Isa 14:12-15; 53:6, 12; Mt 26:42; Jn 1:3; Rom 3:25; 2 Cor 5:21; Phil
2:9; Heb 1:3. Hebrews “Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many.” Isa 53:6 “… and the LORD hath laid on him
the iniquity of us all.” The wording of Isaiah 53:6 and Hebrews 9:28 is comparable to the high priest’s laying
on of hands and confessing all sin over the living goat on the Day of Atonement. c) The living goat functioned as the second
part of the one sin offering and atonement. The goat was for “complete removal” of sins in the view of the sinners.
Prior to entering the blessed kingdom, it symbolized God’s final act of cleansing even the records of atoned sin. God
chose to no longer remember atoned sin. The complete removal of sin by the living goat was the proto-type of the New Covenant
promise of Jeremiah 31:34 and Hebrews ; .
“As both goats
were intended for a sin-offering, the sins of the nation were confessed upon both, and placed upon the heads of both by the
laying on of hands; though it is of the living goat only that this is expressly recorded, being omitted in the case of the
other, because the rule laid down in Lev 4:4 ff. was followed” Keil and Delitzsch
The holiness code proves
the SDA doctrine of Satan as the sin-bearer to be wrong. (1) Both goats were chosen for one sin offering. (2) As usual both
goats had been ritually cleansed before being brought out. (3) Both goats were presented “before the LORD” at
the doorway as a sin offering and that conferred “most holiness” upon both. And (4) the most holy high priest
still had the blood of the most holy sin offering upon his hands when he touched the living goat which conferred more holiness
On the one hand, if
the high priest believed that the living goat was a co-sin-offering with the first goat, placing his hands upon the live goat
conferred even more “most holiness.” This is true because the high priest, the furniture of the sanctuary and
the blood of the sin-offering which was still on his un-washed hands were all “most holy” and conferred even more
“most holiness” to the live goat. Compare Ex 29:37; 30:26-29; Lev -18, 25-27; 10:3; 12:8; Rev 1:5; .
Lev 22:3 Say unto them [the priests], Whosoever he be of all your seed among your generations, that goes unto the
holy things, which the children of Israel hallow unto the LORD, having his uncleanness upon him, that soul shall be cut off
from my presence: I am the LORD.
And on the other hand,
if the high priest believed that the living goat represented Satan and willfully touched him while ministering, he would have
committed an un-atoneable sin and would have been put to death for pre-meditated uncleanness. Priests were very strictly forbidden
to willfully handle any manner of uncleanness while ministering. Compare Ex 30:19-21; Lev ; Num 19:3 and especially Lev 22:3.
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Russell Earl Kelly, PH. D., 316 Aonia Road, Washington, Ga 30673