Yeshua died as the Yom Kippur scapegoat
Sunday, October 2, 2011 at 9:06AM
Shema Yisrael in Holidays, Isaiah 53, Yom Kippur, goat, high priest, iniquity, sacrifice, scapegoat, sin

Each year, on Yom Kippur, the High Priest of Israel made atonement for the nation, enabling G-d’s presence to live in their midst so enemies couldn’t attack, crops would be plentiful, joy would abound, people would stay healthy, and justice would prevail.

At the heart of the atoning process was a ritual involving two goats, described in Leviticus 16. One goat was sacrificed in the Temple to atone for the nation’s sin and/or transgressions. The second, called the scapegoat, was sent into the wilderness to atone for iniquity, or the carnal nature.

Most people who read about the scapegoat in the Bible think it was the fortunate goat. However, Jewish sources explain that this goat was not so fortunate. Instead of being humanely sacrificed, it was pushed off a high cliff and died a painful death. Of all the sacrifices in the Bible, it was the only inhumane one and the only sacrifice made for iniquity, showing that, in G-d’s economy, iniquity required a greater price than sin or transgression.

Isaiah predicted that the Messiah would fulfill the Yom Kippur atonement 600 years before Yeshua (Jesus) walked the earth, using Hebrew words that describe the ritual for each of the two goats. Isaiah 53:5 says the Messiah was “wounded (kholal) for our transgressions; He was bruised (duekah) for our iniquities. (NKJV)” Kholal is the Hebrew word for a wound made by a sharp instrument as was done to the sacrificed goat, and duekah the Hebrew word for the bruising that resulted from the scapegoat’s fall.

In fulfillment of this prophecy, Yeshua later died like the sacrificed goat for mankind’s sin and transgressions. As the goat’s life blood flowed from a wound made by a sharp instrument, so too, the Messiah’s blood flowed from wounds made by sharp nails, a whip and thorns piercing His flesh.

But the greater price of iniquity also needed to be paid, and so He endured the greater suffering of the scapegoat as He was beaten and bruised. Modern medical science has discovered that bruising is actually internal bleeding. Though it wasn’t apparent, the bruising inside the scapegoat after its fall and inside Yeshua following His beating provided the blood shed required by atonement.

The Yom Kippur sacrifices, including the scapegoat’s painful death, enabled G-d’s presence to dwell in the Temple. In like manner, Yeshua’s atoning sacrifice did more than bring us forgiveness of sin; it enabled G-d’s presence to actually dwell in His followers, whose bodies are called Temples of the Holy Spirit, despite the fact that they—and we—still has have our carnal natures.

Yom Kippur sacrifices have not been made for 1,940 years since the Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed, but many Messianic Jewish synagogues still fulfill the Scriptural command in Leviticus 23:27 to have a holy convocation on Yom Kippur. Consider attending Yom Kippur services at your local Messianic synagogue to do the same.

Article originally appeared on Congregation Shema Yisrael - Rochester NY (
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