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Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary
This animal was one of the clean beasts, and used in the Jewish church both for food and sacrifice. (Leviticus 16:5) and the veil of the tabernacle was made of the hair of the goat. (Exodus 25:4) But in the after ages of the church, the goat became figurative of the ungodly. And, perhaps, this arose from the calves and devils (literally goats), which Jeroboam set up for idol worship. (See 2 Corinthians 11:14-15) Hence the Lord is represented by the prophet, as punishing the goats; that is, the worshippers of those dunghill idols. (Zechariah 10:3) Hence also another prophet exclaims, "Hell from beneath is moved for thee, to meet thee at thy coming; it stirreth up the dead for thee, even all the chief ones of the earth;" The margin of the Bible hath it, even all the great goats of the earth; meaning the princes and great men. (Isaiah 14:9) Hence our blessed Lord, in describing the solemn events of the last day, describes the wicked and ungodly as goats on his left hand, destined for destruction. (Matthew 25:33)
I have been more particular on this subject, in order to explain wherefore it is, that as the goat was by the Lord's own appointment of the clean beasts both for good and sacrifice, that the Lord Jesus and his servant should make the goat a figure, or emblem, of the reprobate, and as distinguished from the sheep of his fold. And this the account of the goat set up as an idol by Jeroboam, and sacrificed to by the people in direct opposition to the God of Israel, very fully explains.
While I am upon this subject of the goat, it may not be unacceptable to the pious reader, to say a few words on the very striking ceremony appointed by the Lord of the scape goat on the great day of atonement. I need not describe the ceremony itself, for the reader will find a full account thereof, Leviticus 16:1-34. There is somewhat most wonderfully interesting when this service of the scape goat is considered with an eye to Christ. The high priest laying both his hands on the head of the beast, and making a confession over him of all the iniquities of the children of Israel, with all their transgressions in all their sins, as if transferring both the sin and guilt from themselves to another; certainly this had no meaning but in reference to the Lord Jesus Christ; and certainly, beheld in allusion to him, the whole service becomes plain and obvious. The Suretyship of Christ is hereby most blessedly shadowed forth; and both the law of God and the justice of God in that Suretyship evidently satisfied. Indeed, the type falls short of the thing itself in one point; for the scape goat was altogether passive in the act, but Christ, in his voluntary surrender of himself, manifested a willing offering. On the part of God the Father, the type, and the thing signified by the type, became one and the same. For though it is out of any creature's power, to make a transfer of sin to another, yet it is not beyond the sovereignty and prerogative of God. And when the Lord Jesus, at the call of God, stood up from everlasting as the covenant Head of his people, his voluntary offering gave efficacy to the whole. In this he undertook to answer for all their sins, and to do away the whole of their guilt and pollution by the sacrifice of himself. Hence JEHOVAH is represented by the prophet, as "laying upon him the iniquity of us all." (Isaiah 53:6) And Jesus is no less represented as saying, "Lo, I come to do thy will, O God." (Psalms 40:7-8)
I would just ask the reader, whether such a view doth not bring comfort to the soul, in thus beholding the transfer of sin, with all its defilement, taken from our poor nature, and put upon the person of Christ. How blessed must it have been in God the Holy Ghost, to have had the representation made of it in an age so distant from the thing itself, as if to testify the Lord's approbation of it in the people's safety. Though the Scriptures are silent upon it, yet the history of the scape goat among the Jews, has handed down by tradition the account, which is not uninteresting. It is said, that when the two goats were led into the inner court of the temple and presented to the high priest, according to the Lord's appointment of casting lots, (Leviticus 16:8) the scape goat, or as the margin of the Bible expresseth it, the Azazel, had then a fillet, or a narrow piece of scarlet, fastened to its head, which soon became white. And hence the prophet is supposed to allude when saying, "though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool." (Isaiah 1:18) The scape goat was then sent away, by the hand of some fit man, or as the margin of the Bible hath it, by a man of opportunity, into the wilderness. Some of the Jews say, that the edge of the wilderness had a precipice where the Azazel fell over, and was dashed to pieces. But the "wilderness which no man went through, and none inhabited," carried with it the same idea, that "the iniquity of Israel when, sought for, there should be none; and the sins of Judah, and they should not be found." (Jeremiah 50:20) When the Lord puts away sin, in Scripture language it is said, "that he remembers it no more." (Hebrews 8:12 with Jeremiah 31:34)
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Hawker, Robert D.D. Entry for 'Goat'. Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance and Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/pmd/g/goat.html. London. 1828.