September 18, 2010

The Scapegoat & The Scattering

Leviticus 16 & 23 may find parallel in Acts 8:1 & 11:19.  Here's how:

On Yom Kippur, Israel's High Priest would slay a bull and a goat, as a sin-offering to the Lord, for all of Israel's sins committed within the past year.  Christ's sacrifice on Passover was the ultimate fulfillment of these rituals for the Day of Atonement.  Thus, typology cannot be strictly tied to chronological parallel.  (For another example, see here.)  With that in mind, consider the following:

After sacrificing on the Day of Atonement, Israel's High Priest would take a second goat and declare all of Israel's sins should now rest with that goat, who then had to depart (or 'escape').  With that, someone would lead the goat out into the wilderness.  In later years, the goat may have been led off a cliff.  Leviticus prescribed simply that it be led out to wander.

On the day after Yom Kippur, all over Israel, faithful Hebrews would begin constructing their Sukkot, the temporary dwellings used to mark a week of feasting.  Each family had four days to build a sukkah (booth).  So, on Tishri 11, 12, 13 & 14, the sukkot (booths) would go up, and from Tishri 15 to Tishri 21, they were supposed to be lived in.  In later years, the booths were used only at dinner time, but Leviticus prescribed them to be dwelling places for seven days.

Now, here's how all of this may be paralleled by Acts 8:1 & 11:19.

On whatever day/evening Stephen was stoned, certain Jerusalemites unleashed pent up animosity against the new sect - perhaps even subliminal guilt leftover from calling for the death of an innocent man.  Jewish believers all over the city were dragged out of their homes and thrown out of Jerusalem.  Bearing the rage/shame of their own countrymen on their heads, the believers in Christ were sent out to wander... just like the scapegoat.

On the day after Stephen was stoned, the scattered Christians of Jerusalem began finding one another in cities elsewhere in Judea.  Whatever believers gathered together that evening, on that spot, the Lord put up a spiritual Sukkah for Himself - because the Church is a dwelling for Him.  Two and three days later, the Lord was still putting up more Christian Houses in places all over Israel.  By the fifth day, if not sooner, certain scattered believers must have been gathering unto the Lord in places outside the bounds of the holy land.

In other words, it just so happens that what Stephen spoke about, according to Acts, is what actually happened in days following.  Like Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Aaron & David - before them - the new people of God were now vagabonds.  As Christ had been.  As God had been, before Solomon built the Big Box.

For the first time, since the Ark and the Tabernacle, God's Testimony became mobile on Earth once again.

And all this took place in the pattern - and maybe also around the time - of the High Holy Season.

Praise the LORD.


Related posts:

3-7-10: Why are the Ushpizin so fitting for Sukkot?
3-9-10: Situating Stephen's Speech - 1
3-10-10: Racism and Geography
3-11-10: Luke liked most Jews
3-13-10: Situating Stephen's Speech at Yom Kippur
3-15-10: Chronology of Acts 1-9
3-16-10: Stephen's Real Bias
5-27-10: Stephen's Day of Atonement

1 comment:

Rick Wadholm Jr. said...

Love the connection you've made here Bill! That'll preach!!! :-)

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