Thursday, 5 May 2011

Thinking Thursday: Azazel

In my Bible reading I read Leviticus 16, about the Day of Atonement. The main ceremony involved taking two goats without blemish. One was to be sacrificed for the sin of the people. The other was for Azazel.

This surprised me, as I was used to the expression 'scape-goat,' and had never heard of Azazel. So I looked it up, and it really blessed me. According to Easton's Illustrated Bible Dictionary, the root of the Hebrew word Azazel is 'separation,' and carries an intensity that signifies the total separation of sin. After the High Priest placed his hands on the goat and laid the sin of the people onto it, it was led out into the desert and let go. There was no interest in what became of it – it was totally removed from them and lost.

The two goats were a type, or shadow, of Christ, and showed how he was to deal with our sin. The first goat showed how the atonement was made, the second showed the effect of that atonement. Firstly, by the shedding of Christ's blood and his death, all sin was paid for in full. Secondly, the sin was totally removed and forgotten – Azazel.

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