Luke 24:27 says, “then beginning from Moses and from all the prophets, He (Yeshua) explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures”. Have you ever wondered how He did this since the Hebrew Scriptures never explicitly say that He will come twice, that He will be crucified the first time, and come to reign the second time?
Fall feasts are an exciting time of anticipation. Since there have been some extraordinary signs lately, I'd like to mention one of the passages that I believe Yeshua used to explain “the things concerning Himself”. The rituals performed by the High Priest on the Day of Atonement or Yom Kippur are a beautiful picture of the two comings of Messiah. This article focuses on the two goats although a ram and a bull were also offered. This Feast Day is established in Lev. 23:26-32.
“The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 'On exactly the tenth day of this seventh month is the day of atonement; it shall be a holy convocation for you, and you shall humble your souls and present an offering by fire to the LORD. You shall not do any work on this same day, for it is a day of atonement, to make atonement on your behalf before the LORD your God. If there is any person who will not humble himself on this same day, he shall be cut off from his people. As for any person who does any work on this same day, that person I will destroy from among his people. You shall do no work at all. It is to be a perpetual statute throughout your generations in all your dwelling places. It is to be a sabbath of complete rest to you, and you shall humble your souls; on the ninth of the month at evening, from evening until evening you shall keep your sabbath.'”
Leviticus 16 gives specific instructions. Below are the verses that refer to the two goats.
“He shall take the two goats and present them before the LORD at the doorway of the tent of meeting. Aaron shall cast lots for the two goats, one lot for the LORD and the other lot for the 'azazel'. Then Aaron shall offer the goat on which the lot for the LORD fell, and make it a sin offering. “But the goat on which the lot for the 'azazel' fell shall be presented alive before the LORD, to make atonement upon it, to send it into the wilderness as the scapegoat. Then he shall slaughter the goat of the sin offering which is for the people, and bring its blood inside the veil and do with its blood as he did with the blood of the bull, and sprinkle it on the mercy seat and in front of the mercy seat. He shall make atonement for the holy place, because of the impurities of the sons of Israel and because of their transgressions in regard to all their sins; and thus he shall do for the tent of meeting which abides with them in the midst of their impurities. When he goes in to make atonement in the holy place, no one shall be in the tent of meeting until he comes out, that he may make atonement for himself and for his household and for all the assembly of Israel. Then he shall go out to the altar that is before the LORD and make atonement for it, and shall take some of the blood of the bull and of the blood of the goat and put it on the horns of the altar on all sides. With his finger he shall sprinkle some of the blood on it seven times and cleanse it, and from the impurities of the sons of Israel consecrate it. When he finishes atoning for the holy place and the tent of meeting and the altar, he shall offer the live goat. Then Aaron shall lay both of his hands on the head of the live goat, and confess over it all the iniquities of the sons of Israel and all their transgressions in regard to all their sins; and he shall lay them on the head of the goat and send away into the wilderness by the hand of a man who (stands) in readiness. The goat shall bear on itself all their iniquities to a solitary land; and he shall release the goat in the wilderness.” (Lev 16:7-10, 15-22)
Notice that Aaron 'cast lots' for the goats, to see which one was 'for the LORD' and which one to release into the wilderness. Remember that the Roman soldiers cast lots for Yeshua's tunic, also the sailors cast lots to discover that Jonah was the cause of the storm (Jonah is a type of Messiah).
There is much controversy regarding who or what is 'azazel', the second goat. The word occurs only four times and only here in Lev 16. If we use the Bible to define it we will not get much. If we use ancient literature we get more. Some versions render it "scape-goat". Some Jewish interpreters regard it as the name of a place some 12 miles east of Jerusalem, in the wilderness. Others take it to be the name of an evil spirit, or even of Satan. The two goats together form a type of Christ, on whom the Lord "laid the iniquity of us all". The root meaning of this word is "separation". The one goat which was "for Jehovah" was offered as a sin-offering, by which atonement was made. When the ritual of the first goat was complete (“It is finished”, Jn 19:30) Aaron then laid his hands on the head of the second goat, symbolically transferring sin to the goat so the sins could be visibly banished into the wilderness. The form of this word 'azazel' indicates intensity, and therefore signifies the total separation of sin: it was wholly carried away.
Jewish tradition added to God's instructions and saw to it that the second goat was destroyed by pushing it off a cliff. This is not the picture God wants. The second goat was to be released into the wilderness and nothing more. (This second goat also corresponds to the second dove of Lev. 14 that was released alive into the field/world). One could argue that the two goats picture the first work of Yeshua, accomplished during the spring feasts. The first goat paid the penalty for sin and the second goat removed sin completely so that the people could be legally declared righteous before God. And perhaps the second dove and the second goat represent the sending forth of the Holy Spirit into the world. However, if we honestly look at our own hearts and look around in our own congregations we must admit that sin has not been eradicated. How then are we legally declared righteous? This is where faith comes in. Our hope/expectation is that when Yeshua returns – and logic tells us it will be at the time of the fall feasts – unrighteousness will be permanently removed. We will have new bodies that never sin, never get sick, never die. Hallelujah!