In the sixteenth chapter of Leviticus, we read about the Day of Atonement, specifically about the scapegoat. This day involved two goats. One goat was a sin offering, and it was killed. The other goat, which was called azazel, or “scapegoat” (Leviticus 16:8), was led away into the wilderness. It was led off into an uninhabited land to wander there hopelessly and die of thirst. It never returned.
Jesus was the scapegoat in the figure of the Day of Atonement. He was banished from the presence of Almighty God. Jesus is actually typified by both goats. As the sin offering, He died on the cross. But as the scapegoat, He was banished from the presence of God, enduring our rejection for us. The opposite of banishment is acceptance. That is stated in Ephesians 1:6: “He made us accepted in the Beloved.”
We must all understand that we are accepted. Again, one of the most common problems that people have in modern America is the feeling of rejection. In any given congregation, I can guarantee that there are several people who are struggling with feelings of rejection. In most cases, these feelings are due to their parents—growing up, they may have never believed that their parents really wanted them, and so they never learned to feel accepted. They go through life feeling rejected, unhappy, unable to integrate with other people, and unable to show love, because they have never experienced love.
I have learned by experience that one of the great keys to helping such people is to impart to them the assurance that they are accepted by God. It is also comforting to know that He Himself knows the pain of rejection, for no one else was as utterly rejected as He when He died on the cross for our sins.