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Julie Ferwerda Christian Blog and Commentary

OYB February 25

  • Julie Ferwerda
    Are you ready for change in 2009? Grab a One Year Bible (NLT), commit to reading it daily, and join Julie Ferwerda on an extraordinary adventure that will transform your life as you experience its relevance in a fresh, understandable way. In addition to 20+ years in Bible teaching ministry, Julie is a professional speaker and writer. Her works have appeared in publications such as Focus on the Family, Discipleship Journal, Christianity Today, Marriage Partnership, Brio, and Revolve Biblezines & Devotional Bible (for teens). She's also the author of "The Perfect Fit: Piecing Together True Love," and also the upcoming book, "One Million Arrows for God: Raising Your Children to Change the World." Learn more at www.JulieFerwerda.com.
  • 2009 Feb 24
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Today's One Year Bible Reading

Leviticus

16:29 "On the tenth day of the seventh month you must fast. Neither native-born Israelites nor foreigners living among you may do any kind of work. This is a permanent law for you. On that day offerings of atonement (purification) will be made for you, and you will be purified in the Lord's presence from all your sins. It will be a Sabbath day of complete rest for you, and you must fast. This is a permanent law for you. This is The Day of Atonement, and falls around the end of September. The Hebrew calendar goes by moon cycles, so it is not the same day every year. Notice that even foreigners must participate, which reveals God's redemptive plan for Gentiles from early days. I hate to beat a dead horse, but I also notice that God requires the Gentiles celebrate/observe His holy days in His way. Even though it appears that this was a Tabernacle event, and one could make the argument that the Temple was destroyed so we should not observe it any longer, don't forget that we are now God's Temple/Tabernacle and can still observe a sacred day of repentance!

Here's a cool perspective. The Day of Atonement falls 5 days before Feast of Tabernacles, which I believe there's great evidence historically that Jesus was born on this Feast (we covered it in an earlier entry). If that's accurate, then that means that all of Israel was purifying themselves, readying for the day when Yeshua was coming to Tabernacle with them 5 days later! Through the "dress rehearsal" that they had been practicing for at least 1,500 years, God orchestrated a beautiful welcoming ceremony where hearts were clean and ready for Messiah to come dwell with them!

17:7 The people must no longer be unfaithful to the Lord by offering sacrifices to the goat idols. Yesterday we learned about "Azazel" from Leviticus 16:10: When [the scapegoat] is sent away to Azazel in the wilderness, the people will be purified and made right with the Lord. After new research today, I have discovered that Azazel was actually a demon goat, and "scapegoat" was a mistranslation, according to many sources, including Wikipedia:

Scapegoat : The word "Scapegoat" is a mistranslation of the word Azazel (In Hebrew: עזאזל) originated by William Tyndale in his 1530 Bible, and appropriated in the King James Version of the Bible (Leviticus chapter 16) in 1611. Confounded by the word, Tyndale had interpreted Azazel as ez ozel - literally, "the goat that departs"; hence "(e)scape goat." According to the Talmud, Yoma 67b, Azazel is a contraction of az (harsh) and eil (strong) and refers to the most rugged of mountains. This identification is supported by Rashi, the great Medieval grammarian, who interpreted Azazel to be the name of a specific mountain or cliff over which the goat was driven[4]. According to R.H. Charles, it was called so for its reputation as the holding place of the fallen angel of the same name[5]. Modern scholars generally reject Tyndale's interpretation and favor one related to a fallen angel/evil demon interpretation. Today in modern Hebrew Azazel is used derogatorily, as in lekh la-Azazel ("go to Azazel"), as in "go to hell".

Azazel the demon goat : Leviticus 16:8-10: "and Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats, one lot for the Lord and the other lot for Aza'zel. And Aaron shall present the goat on which the lot fell for the Lord, and offer it as a sin offering; but the goat on which the lot fell for Aza'zel shall be presented alive before the Lord to make atonement over it, that it may be sent away into the wilderness to Aza'zel." The name of a supernatural being mentioned in connection with the ritual of the Day of Atonement (Lev. xvi.). After Satan, for whom he was in some degree a preparation, Azazel enjoys the distinction of being the most mysterious extrahuman character in Jewish sacred literature. Unlike other Hebrew proper names, the name itself is obscure.

Something is going on here with the goats, the demon, and the Day of Atonement. There are a lot of loose ends, all part of the same puzzle, and I'm not sure how they all fit.

  • Event occurs on the Day of Atonement

  • Azazel goat is sent into wilderness carrying people's sins, while other goat is sacrificed for people's sins

  • God told the Israelites not to sacrifice to the goat demon in 17:10 (Azazel) yet He named a goat Azazel (after the demon?) and sent it away to Azazel with the people's sin?

  • Jesus was the goat of sacrifice & Barabbas (who's name was thought to have been "Jesus Barabbas" according to some Greek texts or "Jesus son of the father") was the Azazel

  • Jesus was identified as a goat, yet He said this about goats (Matt. 25:33, 41): He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then shall he say also to those on the left hand, Go ye from me, the cursed, to the fire, the age-during, that hath been prepared for the Devil and his messengers (Young's literal).

Anyone want to take on this woolly beast? I have an educated guess after quite a bit of study, but it's pretty long and complicated. I'd love to hear your ideas or study findings first!

Here's an exhaustive list of the names and history of demons/gods of old.  I do not know if this is all accurate, but it is informative!

Questions for reflection:

The Word of God is really one complicated puzzle, but I believe by staying steadfast, God wants to reveal some more amazing things to us this year out our studies. Why do you think it's so important to dig so deeply into the Word? What can happen if we get too busy or even lazy and leave it up to others to do all the study for us? On the contrary, what will happen if we stick with it wholeheartedly? I'll give you a hint: Proverbs 2:1-22!