In this chapter, we see the origins of a word still used today to describe someone who bears the guilt of many.
The word translated from the original Hebrew means "to remove." The scapegoat was sent away into the wilderness to picture the removal of Israel’s sins as a nation, never to be seen again. But for this to occur, a sacrifice was required to be made in it’s place revealing a picture of Jesus Christ.
1. Justice expected
Lev. 16:7-10 “And he shall take the two goats, and present them before the LORD at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the LORD, and the other lot for the scapegoat.”
2. Judgment executed
“And Aaron shall bring the goat upon which the LORD's lot fell, and offer him for a sin offering.”
3. Grace & Mercy extended
“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.”
V20-22 “And when he hath 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: 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.”
LESSON - Warren Wiersbe offers the following commentary on The Scapegoat described in Lev. 16. “The two goats were considered one sin offering. They illustrate two aspects of the work of the cross. After the high priest returned from sprinkling the blood of his sin offering, he took the goat that was designated to die and killed it as a sin offering for the entire nation. He then entered the holy of holies for the third time, this time with the blood of the goat. He sprinkled the blood on the mercy seat and before it, and thus covered the sins of the nation. Having applied the blood, the high priest then took the live goat, laid his hands on its head, and confessed the sins of the people, thus symbolically transferring their guilt to the innocent animal.”
This substitutionary act reveals how Jesus transferred our sin to Himself while laying upon us His righteousness as described in Romans 3 & Hebrews 9. It was also plainly stated in Is. 53:6b “the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all” and Ps. 103:12 “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.”
We can rest assured that our sins are GONE because He has become our Scapegoat!