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Bible Commentaries

Parker's The People's Bible

Leviticus 16

Verse 10

"Handfuls of Purpose"

For All Gleaners

"... a scapegoat" Lev 16:10

We must be very careful in the application of this term. It is one of the terms liable to abuse. The image has always been accepted as one symbolical of the work of Christ in bearing away the sins of the world. Considered strictly as a figure, it is full of beauty and helpful suggestiveness. It has, nevertheless, been open to the most mischievous perversion. We use the term now too freely in describing the action of a man who wishes to lay upon another the blame of actions which he himself has done We speak of certain men as being "mere scapegoats"; as if they had been dragged in to meet the necessities of a situation and to relieve others from the burden of just penalties. The figure is not the less appropriate that it is open to perversion. Sometimes the value of an analogy depends upon the fineness and even subtlety of its relations. We are never at liberty to abuse an analogy. Jesus Christ comes before us in the aspect of one who voluntarily takes upon himself our sins and bears them away so that they never can be found again. Notice that he accepts the position voluntarily. Notice that he himself actually proposes to become, in this sense, the Scapegoat of the human family. Notice also that the sinner must be a consenting party to this most mysterious arrangement. The Scapegoat does not come into the world and carry away the sins of mankind in any arbitrary fashion. Every sinner must put his hands, as it were, upon the Christ of God, and by that act intimate his desire that Christ would bear his sins away. Do not make a mere convenience of Christ. Do not consider the presence of the Scapegoat a licence to sin. The deceitful heart may say, Take your own course, do just what you please, and at the end of the sinful day place all your iniquities upon the head of the Scapegoat, and he will bear them away into the wilderness of oblivion. This is perversion; this is more than perversion, it is unpardonable blasphemy. Blessed is the thought that the sin is borne away where it can never be found any more. To have the memory of sin, to be for ever reminded of the commission of sin, to suffer all the inflictions possible to imagination in connection with sin, would be to destroy the very heaven which is connected with forgiveness. In some mysterious way, not to be measured by human words or even conceived by human thought, sin is cast away where even the accuser cannot find it, or the enemy bring it back to fling it in our burning face. This is a divine dispensation. It is therefore not to be explained or made easy to the comprehension of mere reason. It is rather to be accepted by faith and by love, and being so accepted, the heart is aware of its certainty of preciousness by the sweet peace which steals into it and rules it into profound repose.

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Parker, Joseph. "Commentary on Leviticus 16". Parker's The People's Bible. 1885-95.