Reading Leviticus 14 – 16.
Cleansing and forgiveness of sin are two of the main ideas we receive from these chapters. From leprosy to the scapegoat on the day of atonement we find the provisions of God for these things; for His people.
One thing that I observe as I read these chapters is that I am glad these offerings, and cleansings have taken place in the perfect, sinless sacrifice of Jesus Christ. All the law has been fulfilled in Him. There is no more need for ritual and blood sacrifices. It was all taken care of – not done away with – but fulfilled in Christ Jesus.
One of the sacrifices mentioned is that involving two birds. One was to be slain; the other was to live and use the live bird to dip into the blood of the slain bird with cedar wood and hyssop with scarlet; and the living bird was to be let go. This is for the cleansing of one’s house from a plague in the house. This was probably some mold or something of that order.
There are matters of issues of blood, and copulation; and the uncleanness of these, and how they were to be cleansed.
In chapter 16 we come to one of the most important events or Feasts of Israel. I believe it is the final one of their year. This day of atonement is a once a year event. It required particular care from the high Priest.
“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.” Leviticus 16:21-22 (KJV)
This day required much sacrifice. The blood of a bullock was offered by the high priest; first slaying the animal at the altar of burnt offering, taking the blood into the holy of Holies, sprinkling the blood seven times upon the Mercy seat, then, coming out getting the two goats; killing one goat, shedding its blood, while the priests laid their hands (as they had done with the slain goat) on the live goat. The live goat was then taken away by a “fit man”. There are some who believe that the man who took the live goat into the wilderness would take the goat to a bluff and push the goat over the edge so the goat would not return.
This offering of the scapegoat was and is a picture, a shadow of the substitutionary death of Jesus Christ on the cross for the sins of mankind. The dead goat shows Christ Jesus as becoming our sin, paying the ultimate price for sin. The living goat being taken into the wilderness could be a shadow of His burial, taking our sins away; never to see them; never to be bound by them again; always having forgiveness for sins committed; never to have them held against us.
One of the elements of the gospel that I see is much overlooked is the “burial”. We say the gospel is “The death, the burial and bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ”, but we never hear it mentioned. The message of the cross and resurrection is powerless without the burial of Christ. First, it shows that He died. Second it shows that there is the cleansing and removal and forgiveness of sin; which God will never hold against us.
When we put our faith in Christ Jesus and His finished work on the cross; and this includes the burial and bodily resurrection; then all our sins are cleansed; we are forgiven; and made righteous, just and holy in the sight of God. As Paul the apostle has written;
“There is therefore now no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus…” Romans 8:1
Please read Leviticus 14-16
-Tim A. Blankenship