The chapter below is a good explanation of the purpose of the laws as given to Moses that have baffled bible students for centuries as to why God would have the priests do these kinds of things but as you can see from reading other pages in this website everything God does has a purpose and God is not arbitrary or cruel but it is quite the contrary as he uses things like this to give us a good and clear picture of what his plans and his purposes are.
The Two Works of Christ
This portion of our study deals with the reason Jesus was to come twice to the earth. It seems fitting to refer to these two comings as two "works," because in both of His appearances He has a work to do as part of the divine plan of salvation in the earth. In His first appearance, Jesus fulfilled the spring feasts. The autumn feasts, which have yet to be fulfilled, give us the timing and purpose of His second appearance.
The main patterns that we will be dealing with in this study are found in Leviticus 14 and 16, the two birds used in cleansing the leper, and the two goats of the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur). These two passages embody the laws regarding the two works of Christ.
As we will show, leprosy depicts our mortality, which we inherited from Adam, even as Paul says in Romans 5:12, "and so death spread to all me." The two birds were used to cleanse lepers-that is, the two birds depict the two stages by which we are cleansed of mortality. The first bird was killed to provide a blood covering for the second bird. The first bird's death imputed life to us, while the second bird, when released into the "field" (i.e., the world), will infuse us with inherent immortality and life.
As for the two goats in the ritual of the Day of Atonement, these deal not with the death question, but rather the sin question. Again, there are two stages by which our sin is eradicated. The first goat covered our sin; the second will remove it. We will show that the first goat (Christ) was killed in order to atone for (cover) our sin by His blood. The second goat was different in that it removed all sin to a land not inhabited. This shows us that the second coming of Christ will accomplish the removal of sin from our bodies.
As Christians today, we are yet sinners, saved by grace. Our sins have been covered by Jesus' blood, whereby God imputes righteousness to us, calling what is not as though it were (Rom. 4:17). Though we are unrighteous in ourselves, God has made provision by His first work on the Cross to cover our unrighteousness by His blood, so that legally speaking God could call us righteous. This is why the Bible calls believers "saints," even though they may be babes in Christ and still subject to human frailties.
There is, however, a second work to come, wherein Christ is sent into the world to remove sin from us, making us actually righteous. This will be the fulfillment of the prophetic law where the second goat was led into the wilderness to remove all sin.
The Cleansing of Lepers (Leviticus 14)
Leviticus 14:2-20 tells us the ceremonial law of the cleansing of lepers, which, as we have said earlier, shows us the legal process of going from mortality to immortality:
2 This shall be the law of the leper in the day of his cleansing. Now he shall be brought to the priest, 3 and the priest shall go out to the outside of the camp. Thus the priest shall look, and if the infection of leprosy has been healed in the leper, 4 then the priest shall give orders to take two live clean birds and cedar wood and a scarlet string and hyssop for the one who is to be cleansed. 5 The priest shall also give orders to slay the one bird in an earthenware vessel over running water. 6 As for the live bird, he shall take it, together with the cedar wood and the scarlet string and the hyssop, and shall dip them and the live bird in the blood of the bird that was slain over the running water. 7 He shall then sprinkle seven times the one who is to be cleansed from the leprosy, and shall pronounce him clean, and shall let the live bird go free over the open field. 8 The one to be cleansed shall then wash his clothes and shave off all his hair, and bathe in water and be clean. Now afterward, he may enter the camp, but he shall stay outside his tent for seven days.
9 And it will be on the seventh day that he shall shave off all his hair: he shall shave his head and his beard and his eyebrows, even all his hair. He shall then wash his clothes and bathe his body in water and be clean.
10 Now on the eighth day he is to take two male lambs without defect, and a yearling ewe lamb without defect, and three-tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil for a grain offering, and one log of oil; 11 and the priest who pronounces him clean shall present the man to be cleansed and the aforesaid before the LORD at the doorway of the tent of meeting. 12 Then the priest shall take the one male lamb and bring it for a guilt offering, with the log of oil, and present them as a wave offering before the LORD. 13 Next he shall slaughter the male lamb in the place where they slaughter the sin offering and the burnt offering, at the place of the sanctuary--for the guilt offering, like the sin offering, belongs to the priest; it is most holy. 14 The priest shall then take some of the blood of the guilt offering, and the priest shall put it on the lobe of the right ear of the one to be cleansed, and on the thumb of his right hand, and on the big toe of his right foot. 15 The priest shall also take some of the log of oil, and pour it into his left palm; 16 the priest shall then dip his right-hand finger into the oil that is in his left palm, and with his finger sprinkle some of the oil seven times before the LORD. 17 And of the remaining oil which is in his palm, the priest shall put some on the right ear lobe of the one to be cleansed, and on the thumb of his right hand, and on the big toe of his right foot, on the blood of the guilt offering; 18 while the rest of the oil that is in the priest's palm, he shall put on the head of the one to be cleansed. So the priest shall make atonement on his behalf before the LORD. 19 The priest shall next offer the sin offering and make atonement for the one to be cleansed from his uncleanness. Then afterward, he shall slaughter the burnt offering. 20 And the priest shall offer up the burnt offering and the grain offering on the altar. Thus the priest shall make atonement for him, and he shall be clean.
In reading verse three, note that this cleansing ceremony did not heal lepers. In fact, no leper would have been foolish enough to go to the priest for cleansing except that he knew that he had already been healed. This ceremony was an inspection and an official pronouncement of healing. The healing resolved the leprosy problem itself; the pronouncement officially verified his healing to the community.
This is an important distinction, because verses 6 and 7 are the foundational law of baptism in the Scriptures. A leper who had been divinely healed was to go to the priest for cleansing, and the priest was to sprinkle him seven times with water. Baptism was an official recognition that the man afflicted with leprosy (Adam's disease--mortality) had been "healed." That is, baptism itself does not justify the sinner or make mortals immortal. Baptism is a public testimony of a work that God has already done. Baptism is a public testimony (Matthew 8:4) to the Christian community, where a minister bears witness that the sinner has been justified by faith and is now indeed a Christian. The minister's proclamation or witness does not make the sinner into a Christian. He merely bears witness to something God has already done within the sinner.
When Jesus healed lepers, He told them to go to the priest according to the law of Moses. A good example of this is found in Matthew 8:2-4,
2 And behold, a leper came to Him, and bowed down to Him, saying, "Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean." 3 And He stretched out His hand and touched him, saying, "I am willing; be cleansed." And immediately his leprosy was cleansed [i.e., healed]. 4 And Jesus said to him, "See that you tell no one; but go, show yourself to the priest, and present the offering that Moses commanded, for a testimony to them."
Cleansing was an eight-day process during which the leper presented himself to the priest three times. This reflects the need for two or three witnesses to establish truth. The afflicted person may have been physically healed before he came to the priest for cleansing, but he was not legally clean until after the prescribed process of the law was fulfilled on the eighth day. This is why Jesus instructed the man He healed of leprosy to go and show himself to the priest (Matthew 8:4).
Ceremonial Washings were Baptisms
The dipping and sprinkling in verses 6-7 deals not only with the concept of cleansing, but also presents the basic law of baptism, which originated with the ceremonial washings and sprinklings of Leviticus. These did not involve immersion, for the ceremonial washings under Moses were all done by sprinkling or pouring. The author of the book of Hebrews refers to these washings (baptismos) in Hebrews 9:10 and 13, where he says,
10 Since they relate only to food and drink and various washings [Greek: baptismos, "baptisms"], regulations for the body imposed until a time of reformation. 13 For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled, sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh, 14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
This law of baptismal sprinkling is mentioned again in Hebrews 9:19 and 21. In Mark 7:1-4 we also read of the washing of hands before eating, as well as the washing of cups, pitchers, and copper pots:
1 And the Pharisees and some of the scribes gathered together around Him when they had come from Jerusalem, 2 and had seen that some of His disciples were eating their bread with impure hands, that is, unwashed. 3 For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they carefully wash their hands, thus observing the traditions of the elders; 4 and when they come from the market place, they do not eat unless they cleanse [Greek: baptizo, "baptize"] themselves; and there are many other things which they have received in order to observe, such as the washing [Greek: baptismos, "baptisms"] of cups and pitchers and copper pots.
These were ceremonial pourings or sprinklings, not immersions. They were prescribed in the law for certain cleansing ceremonies, but the priests of Jesus' day had extended their application far beyond the law of leprosy. The priests of the day, in their zeal, had gone too far in their interpretations of the law, and had made the law a burden to the people. Thus, one must always make a clear distinction between the traditions of men and the law of God. Jesus kept the divine law perfectly, but He rejected the traditions of men. This is why the Pharisees attempted to find fault with Jesus and His disciples in the above verses. Jesus refuted them, saying,
6 And He said to them, "Rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, 'This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far away from Me. 7 'But in vain do they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.' 8 Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men."
As we have seen, the Greek text refers to these ceremonial sprinklings as baptisms (baptismos). It is important to know, then, that baptism was not invented by John the Baptist. He merely learned it as a priest in the temple, where they had been performing baptisms since the days of Moses. Among these candidates for baptism were lepers who had been healed by God. They were sprinkled seven times with water, according to the biblical prescription in Leviticus 14:7.
The story of Naaman, the leprous Syrian captain (2 Kings 5) is a prime example of baptism in the Old Testament. In 2 Kings 5:10 the prophet told Naaman to wash [Hebrew: rachats] in the Jordan river seven times. Naaman was angry but finally did as he was told. However, the text says that he "dipped" himself, and the word used is tabal, rather than rachats. Whether or not this word change indicates that Naaman baptized himself in a manner contrary to the mode prescribed by the prophet is debatable. But we do know that if he followed the biblical prescription for lepers in Leviticus 14:7, he would have been sprinkled seven times. If Naaman in his ignorance immersed himself in the Jordan--contrary to the precise legal requirement--God healed him anyway, because the man's faith was the important issue, not the mode of baptism.
The Septuagint Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament (280 B.C.) uses the term baptizo to describe his actions in 2 Kings 5:14. From this we know, at least, that the law's command in Leviticus 14:7 to be sprinkled seven times with water was, in Jesus' day, understood as baptism. Naaman is a good example of baptism in the Old Testament and should dispel any notion that baptism was a new revelation given to John the Baptist.
Three Baptisms and Three Feast Days
There are three baptisms (washings and sprinklings) in the cleansing of the leper. They involve oil (spirit), blood (soul), and water (body). In Leviticus 14 we find that all three cleansing agents were used in the cleansing of lepers. The three baptisms related to the cleansing of the whole man, spirit, soul and body, who was pronounced clean three separate times. This related directly to the three divisions in the tabernacle of Moses and the temple of Solomon, in that these speak of the three steps toward full fellowship with God. They also related to Israel's three main feast days: Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles, which, in turn, commemorate the path from Egypt to the Promised Land.
These types and shadows of the Old Testament reveal that the path of restoration to full fellowship with God does not begin and end with one's justification by faith. That is only the first step in the full salvation of man. It is his Passover experience, which brings him out of "Egypt" (the world), but does not bring him into the Promised Land. The second stage of salvation is one's Pentecostal experience, which commemorates the giving of the law at Horeb. Pentecost signifies the writing of the law upon our hearts through the hearing of the Word. Whereas Passover justifies us by faith apart from works, Pentecost begins the process of sanctification through the obedience that is the result and outworking of our faith.
Pentecost is the transitional feast between Passover and Tabernacles. Passover is the beginning; Tabernacles is the end. Passover imputes righteousness to us by covering us with the blood of the Lamb; Tabernacles brings us actual righteousness by removing sin from us altogether. Meanwhile, Pentecost begins at Mount Horeb and empowers us to be led by the Spirit through our wilderness wandering.
Properly speaking, the two birds of Leviticus 14 represent the Passover and the Tabernacles work of Christ. When Jesus said on the cross, "It is finished," He did not mean that there was no more work to be done to establish the Kingdom of God upon the earth. He meant that the work of Passover was finished, for He was crucified on Passover, and this was the purpose of His first coming.
The "finished work of Christ" has been taught in many Christian circles for many years, but it has not generally been defined in light of God's law. For this reason, many think that there was no more work to be done after He died on the Cross. But this is obviously not true. Fifty days from His resurrection He did another work of sending the Holy Spirit to the earth on the day of Pentecost. In other words, Jesus' work on the Cross did not complete the Pentecostal work, nor did it complete the Feast of Tabernacles work. Instead, His Passover work on the Cross made possible the fulfillment of the other feasts. (One must leave Egypt in order to get to Horeb and finally to the Promised Land.)
The law shows that the "finished work of Christ" is in two stages, foreshadowed by the two birds of Leviticus 14 (as well as the two goats of Leviticus 16). The first work was His death work, and this was "finished" in the sense that He no longer needs to die. His second appearance, however, will be a living work, as we will see shortly. It will be a work that will establish a righteous people on the earth who are capable of properly manifesting the character of Jesus Christ to the rest of the world. This will spark the last great revival and outpouring of the Holy Spirit that will not cease.
Jesus' Baptism and Wilderness Testing
The first bird was to be killed in an earthen vessel over running water. Jesus began to fulfill this work at His baptism by the hand of John in the river Jordan. With baptism as a symbol of death and resurrection, Jesus was "killed" through baptism. That is, death was imputed to Him, for He there presented Himself as the first dove and the first goat, committing Himself to die on the cross at the appointed season.
Though He no doubt stood in the Jordan River with John, there is no biblical statement that indicates He was immersed under the water. Early Christian paintings portray John using a pitcher to pour water over His head. Gregory of Nyassa, known as the Father of Fathers, wrote in his fourth-century treatise, The Great Catechism, XXXV,
"The descent into the water, and the trine [i.e., threefold] immersion of the person in it, involves another mystery."
The new believers, doubtless, stepped down into the water for baptism, but Gregory tells us that their mode of baptism was by pouring water over the head three times. By translating baptismos "immersion," the translators make it appear from this that people were immersed three times in their baptism. This merely reflects the bias of the translator and in no way reflects the reality of their practice. Gregory tells us that the threefold pouring was meant to portray Christ's "three days' state of death and then life again." Later in the same chapter, Gregory compares the burial of Jesus with our burial in baptism by saying, "instead of earth, water [is] poured on him." Then he writes:
"But since, as has been said, we only so far imitate the transcendent Power as the poverty of our nature is capable of, by having the water thrice poured on us and ascending again up from the water, we enact that saving burial and resurrection which took place on the third day, with this thought in our mind, that as we have power over the water both to be in it and arise out of it, so He too, Who has the universe at His sovereign disposal, immersed Himself in death, as we in the water, to return to His own blessedness."
Gregory also relates baptism to the washings at the laver under Moses. He speaks of "the grace of the laver" (ch. XXXV) and "washed in the laver of baptism" (ch. XL). It is fully accepted by all Bible scholars that no priest would have dared to immerse himself at the laver in the tabernacle of Moses. The laver had faucets by which the priests washed their hands and their feet with running water pouring upon them from above. This is witnessed by the prophet in Ezekiel 36:25 and 26,
25 Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. 26 Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
Whatever happened, we can safely say that Jesus fulfilled the law in every detail. Leviticus 14:6 says that the first bird was to be killed in an earthen vessel (an earthly body) OVER RUNNING WATER. This little preposition ("over") takes on great significance when we attempt to reconstruct the events of Jesus' baptism. The bird was not held under the water by immersion, but killed over the running ("living") water. After Jesus' baptism, the Spirit came and descended on him like a dove in order to identify the law that He was fulfilling.
The ceremony did not end there. The law tells us that the second bird was to be dipped in the blood of the first and let loose in the open field without experiencing death. Now we know that only a small amount of blood comes from a bird when it is killed. To dip the bird into the blood of the bird that had been killed does NOT indicate an immersion. There is no way that one could immerse the second bird in the blood of the first. The blood was smeared across the back of the wings of the second bird before the priest set it free in the open field. This tells us that the second work of Christ is based upon the first work and is indeed made possible by His death on the cross.
Jesus' appearing as the second dove is depicted in Revelation 19:11-13,
11 And I saw heaven opened; and behold, a white horse, and He who sat upon it is called Faithful and True; and in righteousness He judges and wages war. 12 And His eyes are a flame of fire, and upon His head are many diadems; and He has a name written upon Him which no one knows except Himself. 13 And He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood; and His name is called The Word of God.
He is referred to as the Word of God coming on a white horse clothed in a robe dipped in blood. "Dipped" comes from the Greek word bapto, or BAPTIZED. This shows that This identifies Him in this manner to show that He is fulfilling the law of Leviticus 14:6. It also proves that the dipping and sprinkling in the law of cleansing lepers is to be understood as a baptism.
While His first work was a death work, the second work is a living work by which "The Word" (both the Person and message) is preached to the world. He died once for our sins and will not need to die again. Yet the second work is based upon the first. The theme of LIFE completes the cycle depicted by baptism-death and life (resurrection). Though we have already been given eternal life through the shed blood of Jesus Christ, we find that Christians continue to die, either through sickness or through old age. The life that we have been given is at present imputed to us.
Perhaps millions of Christians in the past 2,000 years have sought immortality through the first work of Christ. Many have sincerely believed that they would never die. They have confessed it and laid claim to it, proclaimed it by faith, and prophesied life repeatedly, but they have all died not having received the promise. Why? Because the time of the second work of Christ has not yet fully arrived. There is an appointed time for everything. Meanwhile, at the present time the first work of Christ merely imputes life to us, but its main focus is death. Under the first work, we are called to DIE with Him. In the second work we are called into life and immortality. The second work is based on the first work, but they are two completely different works, and each are brought into the world at an appointed time.
Most Christians accept the idea of a second coming of Christ, because this is clearly stated in the New Testament. Yet not many ask why He has to come twice. The Jews know of only one coming of the Messiah. They, too, have not understood the purpose of the two birds and the two goats. In general, neither have a good comprehension of the difference between covering sin and removing it altogether. Neither have a good comprehension of the difference between imputed immortality and actual immortality.
The leper to be cleansed was pronounced clean for the third and final time on the eighth day and was anointed with oil. The eight days of this ceremony relate to the eight days of the Feast of Tabernacles (in the autumn of the year). The cleansed leper did not receive the full outpouring of the oil until the eighth day of his cleansing. Pouring out the oil foreshadows the pouring out of the fullness of the Holy Spirit on the eighth day of Tabernacles, wherein we are transformed from death to life, made perfect, and brought fully into the divine presence of the Holy of Holies.
This detail of the law settles another question of Christian doctrine. There are some Christians who argue that they have already received the fullness of the Spirit under the anointing of Pentecost. The Apostle Paul, of course, says we have received an earnest, or downpayment, of the Spirit only (2 Cor. 1:22; 5:5). In Leviticus 14:10-18 we find that the priest was not to pour the oil upon the healed leper until the eighth day of his cleansing. It foreshadows the fulfillment of the eighth day of Tabernacles, rather than Pentecost.
The Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16)
Even as the two doves deal with the problem of death, or mortality, so also do the two goats on the Day of Atonement deal with the problem of sin. While the law seems to deal with these two problems separately, they should be studied as though overlaid one upon the other. For this reason we must study both Leviticus 14 and Leviticus 16 in order to obtain a comprehensive view of Christ's two works. Leviticus 16 shows us what the priests were to do on the Day of Atonement:
5 And he shall take from the congregation of the sons of Israel two male goats for a sin offering and one ram for a burnt offering. 6 Then Aaron shall offer the bull for the sin offering which is for himself, that he may make atonement for himself and for his household. 7 And he shall take the two goats and present them before the LORD at the doorway of the tent of meeting. 8 And Aaron shall cast lots for the two goats, one lot for the LORD and the other lot for the scapegoat. 9 Then Aaron shall offer the goat on which the lot for the LORD fell, and make it a sin offering. 10 But the goat on which the lot for the scapegoat fell, shall be presented alive before the LORD, to make atonement upon it, to send it into the wilderness as the scapegoat. . . .15 Then he shall slaughter the goat of the sin offering which is for the people, and bring its blood inside the veil, and do with its blood as he did with the blood of the bull, and sprinkle it on the mercy seat and in front of the mercy seat. 16 And he shall make atonement for the holy place, because of the impurities of the sons of Israel, and because of their transgressions, in regard to all their sins; and thus he shall do for the tent of meeting which abides with them in the midst of their impurities. . . .
20 When he finishes atoning for the holy place, and the tent of meeting and the altar, he shall offer the live goat. 21 Then Aaron shall lay both of his hands on the head of the live goat, and confess over it all the iniquities of the sons of Israel, and all their transgressions in regard to all their sins; and he shall lay them on the head of the goat and send it away into the wilderness by the hand of a man who stands in readiness. 22 And the goat shall bear on itself all their iniquities to a solitary land; and he shall release the goat in the wilderness.
We see that the Day of Atonement ceremony involves two goats. The first was killed, and its blood brought into the Holy of Holies to be sprinkled on the mercy seat for the atonement of the sanctuary. The second goat was not killed. The priest was to lay his hands upon the head of the second goat and impute all the sins of the people upon its head. Then "a man who stands in readiness" was to take this goat into the wilderness and release it in a place that was not inhabited by people, "a solitary land."
The blood of the first goat covered sin (death work). The second goat (living work) removed all sin (Leviticus 16:21-22 and Hebrews 9:28). The first goat had the power to impute righteousness to us, making us perfect in the eyes of God even though we are still afflicted by mortality and its effect, sin. The second goat, however, actually makes us righteous before God, because it removes sin.
Two Doves and Two Goats Compared
Let us now overlay the work of the two doves over the work of the two goats. The first dove was killed to impute life to us, and as a result, the first goat was also killed to impute righteousness to us. Then in the second work, the second dove was set free in the open field to typify the gift of immortal life, and as a result, the second goat was also kept alive to typify perfection from sin.
Relating this to the two works of Christ, Jesus came the first time to die. Hebrews 9:12 tells us that after His death and resurrection, Jesus Christ-our High Priest-entered into the Holy of Holies in heaven to sprinkle His own blood upon the mercy seat. By faith (like with Abraham) we may appropriate this provision, whereby righteousness is imputed ("reckoned") to us, even as Paul tells us in Romans 4:22-24,
22 Therefore also it was reckoned to him [Abraham] as righteousness. 23 Now not for his sake only was it written, that it was reckoned to him, 24 but for our sake also, to whom it will be reckoned, as those who believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead.
After the crucifixion, Jesus entered the Holy of Holies in heaven with His own blood to sprinkle on the heavenly mercy seat. This fulfilled the law of the first goat. Then, instead of immediately fulfilling the law of the second goat, He sat down at the right hand of the Father. Hebrews 10:12 and 13 says,
12 But He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God, 13 waiting from that time onward until His enemies be made a footstool for His feet.
Jesus Christ did not immediately fulfill the work of the second dove or the second goat. Instead, He sat down at the right hand of the Father to make intercession for us for the Pentecostal Age. During the past 2,000 years, He has awaited the day when His enemies are put under His feet. Then and only then will He stand up and come as the dove from heaven. Then and only then will He come forth as the second goat from the temple of His body on earth to remove all sin from their hearts.
Since Jesus' first work on the cross, we have been in an interim period which we call the Pentecostal Age. It is the transition from Passover to Tabernacles. In biblical types and shadows, it was historically represented by Israel's journey from Egypt to the Promised Land. We believe that we are now coming close to the time of the second work of Christ and the fulfillment of the Feast of Tabernacles. For this reason, God is now beginning to reveal some of the deeper things in the law and how they prophesy of things that will shortly come to pass.
The second dove must come, as depicted in Revelation 19:13, as the Word coming on the white horse. His robe is said to be dipped in blood, even as the second dove was dipped in the blood of the first dove. This event signifies the complete removal of death from us, and this will immediately result in the removal of all sin as well. The second goat was sent from the temple to an uninhabited place. So also, Christ, the second Goat, will come forth from us, for we are the temples of the Holy Spirit. In coming forth from us, He will remove all sin from us. This is the birthing of the Manchild, who is "Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Col. 1:27). It is the moment when we are made fully in His image and likeness.
There is a heavenly work and an earthly work. Like a dove Jesus comes from heaven. Like a goat Jesus comes forth from his temple on earth. He is coming in both ways simultaneously. He must come from heaven to earth as a Dove, because the dove was let loose into the open field. Matthew 13:38 tells us that the field represents the world. Hence, He must come again into the world to do a second work to bring us immortality. But He is also coming forth out of His temple on earth, which is built of living stones. This is the work of the second goat to remove all sin from our bodies.
Jesus' Baptism on the Day of Atonement
We believe from our study of Bible events and chronology that Jesus came to John for baptism on the Day of Atonement while the first goat was being killed in Jerusalem. He had just turned thirty on the Feast of Trumpets, nine days earlier. (See our 26-page book, When REALLY Was Jesus Born?) In coming to John for baptism, He was the antitype of both the doves and the goats.
When Jesus was baptized, John saw a dove appearing over Him bearing witness that He was a type of the first dove. After His baptism He was led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil for forty days. In His going into the wilderness, He was the antitype of the second goat. This is a unique fusion of the two laws, showing that they were meant to be overlaid upon each other.
The Holy Spirit was the only One qualified to lead Him into the wilderness and thereby fulfill the law in Leviticus 16:21,
21 Then Aaron shall lay both of his hands on the head of the live goat, and confess over it all the iniquities of the sons of Israel, and all their transgressions in regard to all their sins; and he shall lay them on the head of the goat and send it away into the wilderness by the hand of a man who stands in readiness.
Matthew 4:1 shows the fulfillment of this prophetic law:
1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.
Leviticus 16:8 refers to the second goat as a "scapegoat." The literal Hebrew reads, "for Azazel." The word is derived from az, a female goat, and azel, to go away. However, in other ancient literature the word is a name for an evil deity, roughly comparable to the devil. This identification with an evil deity only makes sense when we interpret it according to Jesus' fulfillment of the passage in Matthew 4. Then we can see that the goat being sent away "for Azazel" is fulfilled by Jesus being led into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. It does not mean that the goat is of the devil, or evil in any way, but rather that it was to be tried and tested by the devil for a season in order to prove its worthiness. In the scriptures, evil beings are an integral part of the plan of God to test and perfect the overcomers.
Jesus remained fasting in the wilderness forty days as He was tempted. Then He returned and began to teach and preach the Word in His ministry. This foreshadows the Pentecostal Age as well, which appears to be a period of forty Jubilees (40 x 49 = 1960 years). The Church in the wilderness under Moses was tried and tested in the wilderness forty years. Likewise, God has raised up Jesus Christ, one like unto Moses, to lead the Church under Pentecost in the wilderness to try them and test their hearts to see if they would hear His voice and be obedient.
The first forty years ended with the destruction of Jerusalem in 70-73 A.D. On a wider scale, forty rest-year cycles (40 x 7 = 280 years) ended with the overthrow of the Roman empire and the establishment of the Christian Empire under Constantine from 310-313 A.D. Finally, the year 1993 saw the end of the forty-Jubilee cycle. If the pattern holds true, we might now watch for the destruction of the Babylonian world system prophesied by the prophet Daniel. But this is outside the scope of our present study.
Since Pentecost is like an interim feast between Passover and Tabernacles, we see in it patterns linking it to both. The Pentecostal Age has seen many martyrs who have been killed for their faith and who have identified with Jesus in His death. But Pentecost also gives us the downpayment, or earnest, of the Spirit (2 Cor. 1:22; 5:5; and Ephesians 1:14). We have been given an earnest of the inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession-that is, the redemption of the body (Romans 8:23).