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Old Testament remedies for sin; Send it away

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posted on Jul, 17 2015 @ 05:02 PM
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The ritual of the “scapegoat” was part of the ceremonial relating to Atonement.
We find the description in Leviticus ch16.

The first part of the rite appears in vv7-10.
Aaron, or whichever priest is presiding, will select two goats.
He will then “cast lots” to decide which one will be “for the Lord” and which one will be LA AZAZEL.
The second one will then be presented alive before the Lord, “that it may be sent away into the wilderness LA AZA’ZEYL”.

There are two strands of thought about the way that Hebrew word should be translated, and what it implies.

In writings found among the Dead Sea Scrolls, Azazel is identified as the name of a demon.
The current fashion is to accept that reading of the word.
Many modern translations (but not the NIV) talk about “the goat for Azazel”.
Commentators will suggest that Azazel was a local wilderness deity, once known to the Israelites, and that the goat was being sent in his direction.
I don’t know that they come up with any satisfactory reason why a wilderness deity should want “sin” to be given to him, or why it should be thrust in his direction against his will.

On the other hand, most translations of Leviticus, before modern times, assumed that the word was derived from AZEL, meaning “go away”.
AZ AZEL might mean “the goat that goes away”.
Alternatively, duplicating the “AZ” could have the effect of intensifying the meaning, into “going right away”. LA AZAZEL would then mean something like “for the purpose of absolute removal”.

Thus from the early Greek translations, we find;
APOMPAIOS (“sent away”) in the Septuagint
APOLOLUMENON (“dismissed”) in the translation of Aquila.
APERCHOMENON (“going away”) in the translation of Symacchus.
The Vulgate Latin text gives us CAPRO EMISSARIO (“the emissary goat”).
While the traditional “scapegoat” of the AV comes, of course, from “escape”, which carries the same idea.

The main problem with the “demon called Azazel” interpretation is that this would stand in complete isolation within the Old Testament. There is no other scriptural reference to any wilderness power which wants or deserves to have the ownership of “sin”.
Scholars who study the other cultures of the time can find parallels for a ritual of “sending away” bad spiritual things, but not, it seems, for the intention of sending them TO anyone in particular.
So it’s possible that “Azazel the demon” is a complete misunderstanding. He comes from the demon-obsessed thought world of the era when the Dead Sea Scrolls were written, rather than the thought-world of the early Israelites who developed the rite in the first place.
It would be comparable to the mistake of the men of Athens, who thought that Paul was talking about a new god called “Resurrection”.
In that case the traditional translations would have it right.

We can find support for that conclusion in the second part of the ritual, when the goat is dismissed (vv21-22).
“Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the people of Israel… and he shall put them upon the head of the goat, and send him away into the wilderness… The goat shall bear all their iniquities upon him to a solitary land; and he shall let the goat go in the wilderness”.
There is no mention here of going “to Azazel” or in any particular direction.
The central thought is simply that the goat is taking the sin far, far away from God’s people.

So I think that gives us the real meaning of the scapegoat ritual.
It is not a case of sending the sin TO any place or entity.
Instead, the whole point is that the sin is being sent AWAY.

On previous occasions, I’ve described Original Sin as humanity taking itself out of alignment with God’s will, a misalignment which interferes with their relationship with the God who made them.
If this is a fair description, then it’s obviously not possible for sin to be literally “carried away”.
What we have here is a dramatized metaphor which expresses and teaches two important points.

1 ) It is necessary for sin to be remedied. It must not be allowed to remain part of the life of the people.

2 ) It is possible to find a remedy for sin.

These are lessons which we can still absorb from the spectacle of the scapegoat.




posted on Jul, 17 2015 @ 05:49 PM
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a reply to: DISRAELI

In Leviticus 16:8-10 and in the Dead Sea Scrolls a curious Hebrew ritual is recorded that features Azazel as the name for the ‘scapegoat’ that takes on the communal sins of Israel. It says that the high priest Aaron took two goats from the flock and cast lots (practised divination) to choose which one would be the scapegoat and sacrificed as a “sin offering.” The Scrolls say that the high priest confessed all the “impurities of the children of Israel” over the head of the Azazel goat. By this ritually symbolic act he transferred to the unfortunate animal all their guilt and sins so they could be absolved of them. The goat was then either cast out into the wilderness to die or thrown over a cliff to be dashed to pieces on the rocks below.

In the Book of Enoch it says that the leader of the fallen angels was called Azazel, and he is often identified with Lucifer (the Lightbringer) or Lumiel (‘the light of God’). He taught men to forge swords and make shields and breastplates (body armour). Azazel also taught them metallurgy and how to mine from the earth and use different metals. To the women he taught the art of making bracelets, ornaments, rings and necklaces from precious metals and stones. He also showed them how to ‘beautify their eyelids’ with kohl and the use of cosmetic tricks to attract and seduce the opposite sex. From these practices Enoch says there came much ‘godlessness’ and men and women committed fornication, were led astray and became corrupt in their ways.

The fallen angel Shemyaza, another form of Azazel, is said by Enoch to have taught humans the use of root cuttings and the magical art of enchantment; the fallen angel Armaros taught the resolving (banishing) of enchantments; Baraqijal taught astrology; Kokabiel, the knowledge of the constellations (astronomy); Chazaqiel, the knowledge of the clouds and the sky (weather lore and divination); Shamsiel, the signs of the sun (the solar mysteries); Sariel the courses of the moon (the lunar cycles used in horticulture and agriculture and the esoteric lunar mysteries); Penemuel instructed humans in the art of writing and reading; and Kashdejan taught the diagnosis and healing of diseases and the science of medicine.

www.newdawnmagazine.com...



posted on Jul, 17 2015 @ 05:54 PM
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a reply to: infolurker
Indeed, but I suspect the version in the Dead Sea Scrolls, making Azazel a personal name, of being a comparatively late development, after people got their imaginative juices flowing.




edit on 17-7-2015 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 17 2015 @ 06:01 PM
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originally posted by: DISRAELI
a reply to: infolurker
Indeed, but I suspect the version in the Dead Sea Scrolls, making Azazel a personal name, of being a comparatively late development, after people got their imaginative juices flowing.





I have always assumed that the scapegoat ritual was due to Azazel's role in teaching and encouraging mankind to sin. Promoting it. Thus in some way responsible for a portion of it before the resurrection of Yeshua.

edit on 17-7-2015 by infolurker because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 17 2015 @ 06:08 PM
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a reply to: infolurker
But what if the name "Azazel" was simply a mistranslation of a word which originally just meant "going far away"?
Then the whole account in Enoch would just be a case of story-weaving around that original mistranslation.
So the meaning of the ritual would be "Let's get rid of this; we don't care where it goes, just anywhere that isn't here".



posted on Jul, 17 2015 @ 06:15 PM
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a reply to: DISRAELI

"The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!"

What you have written about here is a very central theme of the Hebrew cleansing of the people and Jesus' eventual fulfilment as the sin offering for the people. When we read the gospels it is very clear that this was the crowning glory of Jesus' ministry to become the sacrifice for all humanity and take the sins away of those who believe in Him. Before He went to the cross He repeated to His disciples that it was vital that it should happen. He even told Peter that He had Satan in him to even suggest that plan should not be so.

The sin offering, the ultimate One.



posted on Jul, 17 2015 @ 06:22 PM
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a reply to: Revolution9
Yes, indeed. Though, from memory, I don't think the New Testament actually names the scapegoat when explaining Jesus. The church developed that analogy later. However, verbs like "taking" and "carrying" are offering the same basic idea.
I will be talking more about what Jesus was doing in later threads. My current strategy is to start with what the Old Testament was offering.
Thank you for those comments.




edit on 17-7-2015 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 17 2015 @ 06:33 PM
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And it's interesting to note that the goats keep getting sent away too right up until the final division when all the goats get sent away.



posted on Jul, 17 2015 @ 06:41 PM
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a reply to: ketsuko
Yes, that's true.
I wonder if that is why John did not call Jesus "the Goat of God". He hints at, rather than specifically applies, the scapegoat analogy.



posted on Jul, 17 2015 @ 06:51 PM
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a reply to: DISRAELI

From what I remember, lambs and rams are acceptable sacrifices. Do they ever actually offer a goat to God?

In this case, the goat isn't offered to God, it merely carries away the sin, and the other goat isn't offered it just goes back to being a goat, right? The ram of Abraham was a sheep, too, wasn't it?

So since Christ was a sacrifice, it wouldn't have been appropriate to call Him a goat. He was a lamb.

And at the end, the final division is goats/sheep. The shepherd knows his sheep and sends out the goats?



posted on Jul, 17 2015 @ 06:53 PM
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a reply to: DISRAELI

Anything is possible but the book of Enoch not only mentions Azazel in the context of a fallen watcher but names a bunch of others.



posted on Jul, 17 2015 @ 07:09 PM
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a reply to: ketsuko
In fact the goat that isn't sent away does get offered up to God;
"And Aaron shall present the goat on which the the lot fell for the Lord and offer it as a sin offering". Leviticus ch16 v9
So the Leviticus goat is not unclean because it is a goat. It only becomes unclean when Aaron "confesses all the iniquities of the people of Israel" over it.

It looks as though the use of "goats" to contrast with "sheep" actually begins with Jesus in the parable. If Jesus is the good shepherd, his people are naturally the sheep, leaving goats to represent those who are not his people.
So I think John was using "lamb" and avoiding "goat" because he knew the words of Jesus.
Also the scapegoat analogy doesn't quite match the case, because the scapegoat remains unclean and doesn't come back. So the word "goat" would have all the wrong associations.



posted on Jul, 17 2015 @ 07:30 PM
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a reply to: DISRAELI

I bow to your superior knowledge. You've spent far more time studying the Old Testament especially then I likely ever will, and as always, I appreciate that you take the time to share.




posted on Jul, 17 2015 @ 07:32 PM
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a reply to: ketsuko
I had the advantage that I was already looking over that chapter for this thread.



posted on Jul, 18 2015 @ 01:59 AM
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a reply to: DISRAELI

I agree with your assessment.

You must remember that Elijah proved demons have no power, outside of what God gives them. So a powerful wilderness demon would contradict the story of Elijah and the priest of Baal in my opinion.

Demons have no power over our freewill.
edit on 18-7-2015 by Isurrender73 because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 18 2015 @ 03:07 AM
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a reply to: Isurrender73
Yes, and the "send it to Azazel" theory allows the demon a kind of status within the system, which the religion of Yahweh would have been reluctant to concede, even to that extent.
I'm inclined to think that the theory of demons, and the naming of demons (and angels) is something which developed later, after the Exile.


edit on 18-7-2015 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 19 2015 @ 02:37 AM
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So, in other words...

some god felt like he wasn't being pleased enough and was disappointed that people weren't giving away all of their free-will/power to be his slave and do whatever he says, and now, the concern of this thread is not that animal sacrifice for no purpose other than some belief in some random god is inconsiderate, but that some people believe in a demon associated with the sacrificed animal.



posted on Jul, 19 2015 @ 02:54 AM
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a reply to: arpgme
Not "some random god", but the God who (ex hypothesi) brought us into existence.
If that is the case, then sorting out a good relationship with this Creator is not only reasonable but the only rational course.

The main concern of this thread was about the Israelites giving themselves a self-reminder, through a dramatised metaphor, that this needed to be done.
The fact that later generations, including some modern scholars, misunderstood the ritual and personified the goat's destination, was really something of a side-issue.

It's a thread about trying to understand what was going on. You are not trying.



posted on Jul, 19 2015 @ 03:53 AM
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a reply to: DISRAELI



Not "some random god", but the God who (ex hypothesi) brought us into existence.
If that is the case, then sorting out a good relationship with this Creator is not only reasonable but the only rational course


Any parent doing that would be thrown in jail, therefore the logic doesn't follow, that you should always obey someone just because they created you. It isn't rational. It isn't reasonable.



posted on Jul, 19 2015 @ 04:02 AM
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originally posted by: arpgme
" Not "some random god", but the God who (ex hypothesi) brought us into existence. "
Any parent doing that would be thrown in jail, therefore the logic doesn't follow, that you should always obey someone just because they created you. It isn't rational. It isn't reasonable.

No parent is going to be thrown into jail just for bringing a child into existence.
And you are missing the point.
The human parent's part in the existence of a child is a short-term one.
But if there is a Creator God, we are dependent upon him for our continuing existence.

Then understanding what he wants from us is the rational thing to do, and ignoring him altogether is a non-rational thing to do. It amounts to avoidance of reality, living in denial.

edit on 19-7-2015 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)



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