Thursday, June 22, 2017

Amazing Details by Design

Goats, Stone, Billy Goat, Nature

Sometimes I am amazed at how detailed God's word is ... and how no matter how much we study it, no matter how much we learn - the bottom line is there is so  much more to discover !
The treasure of God's word, buried in the pages of scripture - what a gift God has given us.

I learned something new this week ..  something I find fascinating.

Before I share my new knowledge ... I'll give you some background information.

In ancient Israel  there were  two goats that played an important role in a yearly ceremony.
We read about them in Leviticus 16.

This is their story.

The Day of Atonement was a very special day on Israel's calendar.  It came once a year, and it was the day the High Priest went into the Holy place to make atonement for the people.
On that day Aaron, the High Priest, was commanded to select two goats . By lot, Aaron, then choose which one would be 'for the Lord'  and which one would be 'the scapegoat'.

The goat 'for the Lord' was sacrificed as the sin offering for the people, and it's blood was sprinkled on the mercy seat in the Holy place.  Atonement was thus made for the people.
Then Aaron went out of the holy place and placing his hands on the scapegoat confessed over it all the iniquity of the people.   This goat was then sent away into the wilderness by the hand of a suitable man. We read in verse 22, "The goat shall bear on itself all their iniquities ... "   Doesn't that sound familiarly like Isa_53:6  which reads.... "All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. "

We have all heard how the two goats together give us a picture  of Jesus' death and Resurrection.  Though He died, yet He was alive!

When the man who took the goat away came back he needed to "wash his clothes and bathe his body".  When Jesus spoke to Mary outside the tomb, He warned her not to touch Him because He had not yet ascended to His Father. (Luke 20:17)  Could it have been that He had not yet been 'cleansed' of the iniquity He carried?  We  have a glimpse of what happened what Jesus did go to the Father in Zechariah 3:4,5, where we see a foreshadowing of Jesus standing, with the iniquity garments upon Him ... and then they are removed and he is given 'rich robes' ...

The goats are such a great  foreshadowing, pointing to what the coming Messiah would do.

But then it gets even more fascinating ...

The two goats represented the 'atonement' that happened between God and His people ...
 In Hebrew the word for sacrifice is stronger than what our English word suggests. In Hebrew the word for sacrifice is also the 'sin' ... So the sacrifice becomes the sin or sinner ...  the 'sin' is atoned for .. and then the atoned one becomes one with the one who did the atoning and he is free.

Flash forward to the trial of Jesus...  we have two who stand condemned to die.
Barabbas, a sinner,  and Jesus, the Righteous One ...   A lot is about to be cast - which one will live, which one will die.
All of creation should have been holding its breath.  If Barabbas had been chosen, then all mankind would have died with him, condemned sinners ... forever.
But if Jesus was chosen , then He was the Perfect Sacrifice to die for the sinner ... and the sinner atoned for could become one with Him ... taking on His righteousness.

The two goats chosen for the Day of Atonement had to be 'the same' .
Did you know that Barabbas and Jesus were also the same?
Bar means 'son' ... 'abba' means father ... Barabbas' first name was Jesus (check the margin notes of your bible)  
so Barabbas was      Jesus, son of the father ...
and we all know ...  Jesus, Son of the Father.
Co-incidence??  hardly!
Are you not thankful the lot fell to the One who could set us free?  The One that could cover us with His righteousness in exchange for our sin?