December 08, 2003
Another question for people who know more than me

Dash is up to Leviticus 16, which describes the story of the scapegoat. She says:

Aaron has to take two goats, and one of them is to be sacrificed as a sin offering. The other one is to be sent into the wilderness. The interesting thing is that the one that gets sent away is the scapegoat. The goat gets to escape. The thing is, that's the goat that got infused with all the sins. Aaron is supposed to put his hands on the goat's head and put the sins of the people onto it. Then the goat is permitted to escape, or maybe more rightly, sent into exile. But it is not killed for the sins of the people. Punished, maybe, by being sent away, but not killed.

Seems a little backwards, doesn't it.

I'd always been under the impression that a goat being sent out to the "wilderness" (i.e. desert) would mean certain death, since it had neither flock nor shepherd to look after it. But with the other goat being killed also, it's true that death doesn't seem to be the point. Maybe just by sending it away, you send your sins away from yourself? Dunno.

Posted by Camassia at December 08, 2003 07:15 PM | TrackBack

God accepted only flawless sacrifices, until such time as the sacrifice became God himself, bearing the sins of mankind. (?)

Posted by: Rob on December 9, 2003 06:21 AM

I suspect part of it is that, in the wilderness, the goat becomes the LORD's, to deal with as He will. Going out into the desert is a Scriptural motif for drawing close to God. With the scapegoat, the Israelites effectively placed their sins in God's hands.

Posted by: Tom on December 9, 2003 07:20 AM

But wasn't the goat that was sacrificed, sacrificed as an atonement for sin? Why were both goats needed?

Posted by: Rob on December 9, 2003 08:07 AM

Because sacrifice is about obedience, not about forgiveness. Forgiveness is given to those who ask for it and reprent. Obedience is about devotion to God, and that's what sacrifice REALLY represents.

--Kynn, making it up as he goes along

Posted by: Kynn Bartlett on December 21, 2003 11:33 PM

True, but not quite what I was asking. Sacrifice is certainly not about forgiveness, it's about atonement, which is what you have to do when you aren't forgiven (hence Christians' ability to dispense with it). However, I assume that God doesn't test obedience by asking people to do random things -- there's some sort of logic to this system. Or is there?

Posted by: Camassia on December 22, 2003 07:09 AM

Duh. The logic is that it is better to have a scapegoat bare your sins than to bare them yourself and thus be held to the nazi-like biblical standards of the Irealites

Posted by: Tim Peters on January 5, 2004 10:58 PM
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