When the Jews participated in the Day of Atonement, the ceremony involved two goats. The first goat was called, “the goat for the Lord,” and it foreshadowed Jesus’ death on the Cross at Passover. Jesus’ death atoned for the sins of all people for all time. Once Jesus made this sacrificial gift on our behalf, no longer was it necessary for the priests to make this offering on the Day of Atonement. In fact, Jewish custom led the priests to tie a scarlet cord on the door of the Temple on this day. When the sacrifice of atonement was accepted by God, this cord turned white. This happened every year, until 30 A.D., the year that Jesus was sacrificed once and for all. God was saying this ritual has been fulfilled!
The second goat was called the scapegoat and was a picture of what happens when we confess our sins. The Jews would confess their sins and symbolically place them on the scapegoat. Then the goat would be sent out to the wilderness, as a reminder that their sins and their guilt had been taken away. This part of the Day of Atonement activities is still relevant to us today.
The Day of Atonement is a Day of Judgment. God judged the sin of the people and because of the blood, they were found “not guilty.” Because of the Blood of Jesus, all those who believe in Him are found “not guilty.” When Jesus comes again, He is coming as Judge. Could it be that His Second Coming, called the Day of the Lord, will occur on the Day of Atonement? I believe so.
“But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left.” Matt 25:31-33
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. 2 Corinthians 5:10
Those who have believed in Jesus’ sacrifice and received cleansing through His blood by faith will be put on His right and they will hear Him say, “Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” Matt 25:34 But to those on His left, He will say, “Depart, from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels.” Matt 25:41
Truly, it was never God’s intention for any person to go to this awful place, but He allowed each one a free will with which they can choose to receive Jesus’ sacrifice or not. This is the day to choose! We receive forgiveness by faith in what Jesus did. All we have to do is receive it.
Once you receive His forgiveness, He tells us to confess our sins. Why? Because until we confess or admit what we have done, we feel guilty and condemned. So many Christians walk around feeling guilty. This should not be. God does not see us as guilty, He sees us as righteous. We must see ourselves as He sees us. Only then are we restored to perfect fellowship with God.
The process of confession and cleansing is to prepare us for the next Feast, the ultimate celebration that represents God making His dwelling place among His people. He invites us to come boldly into His Presence. Let us prepare our hearts so that we can fully enter in!
This understanding is vital to our part in the end-times scenario. Each year, as we celebrate His Feasts, we enter into deeper and deeper revelation of His plans and purposes. He is coming soon, so let us pursue the Lord wholeheartedly and continue to receive the unfolding revelation of Jesus’ blood and our standing with Him.