Doctrine of substitution

Jun. 8, 2015

“The Scapegoat”

In Genesis chapter 24:15-24, a goatskin is used to deceive Isaac into thinking that

Esau is Jacob. In the story of Joseph, a goatskin is used to deceive Jacob or Israel

into thinking his son Joseph is dead in Genesis 37:29-36.  (Stone)

            A goatskin is thought to be associated with deception in the Old Testament and

is thought to be associated with the term “scapegoat”.

            During Yom Kippur or Day of Atonement there is great symbolism; which

relates to the coming of Messiah. All of the Old Testament Feasts, types and shadows

point to the Messiah. the Day of Atonement or Yom Kippur.


Yom Kippur occurs 10 days after the 10th month on the Jewish civil calendar.  In


between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur there are 10 days which are called “The days


of awe”. This is a time for the Jews to prepare for the solemn day with a time of fasting


and prayer. This is a substitute as no animal sacrifices are instituted today.


The point of this feast involves a high priest that would enter the Holy of Holies in the tabernacle.  The tabernacle was divided into three sections, the outer court, the Holy place and the Most Holy Place or Holy of Holies. The priest would enter the Most Holy place once a year to atone for the sins of the people.

As part of his preparation the priest had to bathe his entire body wear special linen garments and had to offer the blood of a bull for himself and his household before he could offer atonement for the people.

Once in the Holy of Holies that priest would take the blood of the sacrificed animal and sprinkle it on the mercy seat that was on top of the Ark of the Covenant.

The Ark was said to have contained Aaron’s staff that budded, a jar of manna and the tablets of the 10 Commandments. The high priest would then take a live goat lay his hands on it and pass the sins of Israel over it and release it into the desert where it was symbolic of carrying the sins of the people away.  The remains of the sacrificed animal were taken outside the city and burned.  The day concluded with additional sacrifices as this was to commemorate the day of mourning over their sin.

According to the book of Hebrews chapter 9:26 and 10:5,8,12 & 26 Christ is our final sacrifice.  The ritual was a symbol of our great high Priest who sacrificed His own blood for our sins once for all.  Jesus was also sacrificed outside the city as fulfillment of the sacrificial system and what God had required.

Since the high priest of the Old Testament had to make a continual offering every year for himself and the people we know that Jesus was our final, permanent sacrifice and a sacrifice did not need to be repeated.

In the book of Leviticus chapter 16 God tells Moses to take two goats one for a sin offering and one for a burnt offering. Aaron will take the goat for the sin offering and make atonement for himself and his house. Then he will take two goats and present them before the Lord at the tent of meeting. Aaron is to cast lots to see which goat is for the Lord and the other one is for Azazel. Azazel is representative of the lost goat cast out into the wilderness. This goat is presented alive and the sins of the people are transferred to this goat, but before it is set out into the wilderness there is a scarlet thread which is tied upon one of the horns. That way if the goat makes it back to the camp the people will shun the goat because it is acursed with sin. The goat for the Lord is set aside and is sacrificed at the Temple. Aaron is to make a fire of burning coals before the Lord and this offering is a sweet smelling incense to the Lord. He is to take the blood and sprinkle it with his finger seven times. The killing of this goat is for the sins of the people and is to make atonement in the Holy place because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel and because of their transgressions of their sins.