My Take on Leviticus and Our Levitical Scapegoat

Posted: July 3, 2011 in Christian

I had never recalled reading the book of Leviticus before, because as I was raised, it really wasn’t that important to us as Christians. As I read the book of Leviticus though, one thing that stood out to me was the specifics of the book. God is very specific in how he wants to be thought of, worshiped and praised with specific punishments for violations, specific atonement for sins etc. The first half of the book deals mainly with the priestly rituals, while the last portion of the book deals more with the ethical injunctions and codes of living while stressing the holiness of the Lord throughout the whole book. If we mankind adopted the statutes laid out in the book of Leviticus we would much better off, for not only are there basic common sense rules regarding the treatment of each other, but there are the cleanliness aspects of the codes and of course, the main point, the recognition of the Holiness of our Lord and the expectations of worship and praise. Of course, I’m not advocating reverting to the Mosaic Law, but the basic tenants remain; the Lord is specific in how he wants to be treated, worshiped, spoken of and thought of and that will never change.

As a sidebar, I also understand Christianity a little clearer by reading Leviticus. For instance, I had not really paid attention to what a scapegoat was but Leviticus 16 explains that there would be two goats, one offered for atonement for sin and the other one would be released but expelled from the shelter and sent out into the wilderness. As I think more about this I realize that I could spend hours drawing parallels. There is one parallel that leapt out at me. I see how Christ was our scapegoat for he took on our sin and was then expelled and hidden form his Father’s eyes as the scapegoat was when it was kicked out to wander in the wilderness. That is why he couldn’t refer to God as Father, but had to refer to him as Lord, because he was hidden from God’s eyes while he was wearing our sin. He was no longer the perfect, sinless Son of God but he had become the sin of the world at that point. He became our scapegoat by taking on our sin upon himself while also becoming the atonement sacrifice offered to the Lord. Leviticus 16:15-16 tells that the goat of sin offering was killed and it’s blood was sprinkled upon the mercy seat and before the mercy seat because of the transgressions of the children of Israel and for all their sins. As we recall Christ was pierced and his blood was spilled just like the sin offering. Now whenever I hear someone mention a scapegoat, I will look at it in a different light and not take the term quite so lightly.

Leviticus 16:15-16 “Then he shall kill the goat of the sin offering, which is for the people, bring its blood inside the veil, do with that blood as he did with the blood of the bull, and sprinkle it on the mercy seat and before the mercy seat. “So he shall make atonement for the Holy Place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions, for all their sins; and so he shall do for the tabernacle of meeting which remains among them in the midst of their uncleanness. (NKJV)

God Bless, Jim

3-27-11

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