In Leviticus 16, God tells Moses and Aaron how the sins of Israel are to be taken care of. Sin offerings were made to cover up and atone for the sin, but the sin was still there; it was just covered with the blood of an animal. No animal’s blood could wash away sin . . . only cover it.
So, in order for Israel to be “free” of their sin, they needed something to take their sin upon them. In Old Testament times, this was done by way of a scapegoat.
A scapegoat was a selected animal that would bear the sins of Israel upon itself. But, contrary to what you may think, the scapegoat was not killed. An animal could not bear the sins of a nation and die for them . . . a goat is not pure enough to take a nation’s sin to the grave. No, the scapegoat was released into the wilderness.
And the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited: and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness.
The scapegoat simple took the sin elsewhere . . . no blood atonement. That was not accomplished until Christ, the perfectly pure sacrifice, came and took the sins of the entire world, past, present and future, upon Himself and died for them. His blood washed away the sins, whereas the scapegoat just carried the sins somewhere else.
Christ is more than a scapegoat. He washed away our sins so that we may be like Him. What an amazing, loving sacrifice!