In the Book of Leviticus chapter 16, God instructed Moses and Aaron to select two goats every year for an offering. One was to be used as a sin offering to atone for the sins and trans-gressions of the people. Once killed, itís blood was to be sprinkled on Godís mercy seat on the Ark of the Covenant. There God would view the blood of the sin offering and have Mercy on the people and forgive their sins.
      The high priest would then lay hands on the second goat which was allowed to live, and he would confess the sins of the people putting them on the head of the goat. The goat would then bear the blame for all the transgressions of the people and would be set free into the wilderness, where God would remember their sins no more. The goat became known as the scapegoat.
high priest laying hands on scapegoat
      Jewish history records that it was a common practice to tie a red strip of cloth to the scapegoat. The red stripe represented the sin of the people which was atoned for by the red blood on the mercy seat. According to the Jewish Talmuds this red stripe would eventually turn white, signaling Godís acceptance of the offering.
      There is an amazing reference in the Talmuds that verifies that after Jesus was crucified, God no longer accepted the sin offering and the scapegoat offered by the Jewish high priests. The Talmuds state:
       "Forty years before the Temple was destroyed (30 A.D.) the chosen lot was not picked with the right hand, nor did the crimson stripe turn white, nor did the westernmost light burn; and the doors of the Templeís Holy Place swung open by themselves, until Rabbi Yochanon ben Zakkai spoke saying: 'O most Holy Place, why have you become disturbed? I know full well that your destiny will be destruction, for the prophet Zechariah ben Iddo has already spoken regarding you saying: 'Open thy doors, O Lebanon, that the fire may devour the cedars' (Zech. 11:1).'  Talmud Bavli, Yoma 39b
      It's important to note that this event recorded in the Talmuds occurred 40 years before the destruction of the Temple which was destroyed in 70 A.D. The date of this amazing event was 30 A.D, the same year that Jesus offered himself as a sacrifice on the cross.
      Jesus was the final sin offering and the scapegoat bearing the sins for all mankind.  
      "But Christ came as High Priest . . . . Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.
        . . . And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission. . . . so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation. . . . For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins. . . .
       By that will we have been sanctified through
the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all . . . . this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God. . . . For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified. . . . says the LORD: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them," then He adds, "Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more."
                               Hebrews 9:11--10:17 (NKJV)
      "Come now, and let us reason together," Says the LORD, "Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool."
                                             Isaiah 1:18 (NKJV)
      This article is a chapter from our 3 volume book series "Bible Believer's Archaeology" which can be downloaded for your ebook reader or mobile device by visiting our resource download page by Clicking Here.
The Holy Bible, Author: The Lord God
Scripture taken from the New King James Version unless noted.
Talmud, Rosh HaShanah 31b, & Bavli, Yoma 39b:  
the scarlet cord quit turning white the last 40 years the Temple was standing.
Talmud and the scapegoat
Artwork: The High Priest laying the sins of the people onto the scapegoat
Artist: William James Webb (19 th century)
Artwork: The scapegoat by artist Holman Hunt Illustrated in Virgil Aenid (1944) by author John Dryden. Publisher: Heritage Press.
Inscribed on the frame of Holman Huntís artwork: ďSurely he hath borne our Griefs, and carried our Sorrows/Yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of GOD, and afflicted.' (Isaiah 53:4)  'And the Goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a Land not inhabited.' (Leviticus 16:22)
 This was Hunt's first major painting made during his first stay in the Holy Land. Hunt's researches disclosed that on the Festival of the Day of Atonement, a goat was ejected from the temple with a scarlet piece of woolen cloth on its head. It was goaded and driven, either to death or into the wilderness, carrying with it the sins of the congregation. It was held that if these sins were forgiven the scarlet cloth would turn white. Hunt regarded the Old Testament scapegoat as a prefigurement of the New Testament Christ whose suffering and death similarly expunged man's sins. In the Book of Leviticus (which is quoted on the frame) the goat is said to bear the iniquities into a land that was not inhabited. Hunt chose to set his goat in a landscape of quite hideous desolation - it is the shore of the Dead Sea at Osdoom with the mountains of Edom in the distance. In his diary Hunt described this setting as 'a scene of beautifully arranged horrible wilderness 'and he saw the Dead Sea as a 'horrible figure of sin', believing as did many at this time that it was the original site of the city of Sodom.
(Qouted from the Liverpool Museum)
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