Month 10:11, Week 2:3 (Shleshi/Bikkurim), Year 5935:269 AM|
Gregorian Calendar: Wednesday 4 January 2012
The Goat I
Symbol for Good or Evil?
Continued from Part 2
Mention the word 'goat' to most people and you will usually get a negative reaction - a conjuring up of a mental picture of one of the occultic designations of Satan as the 'Goat of Mendes' or as one of the false believers who, at the last day, is separated from the good believers or 'sheep':
This is a parable about Yahweh's judgment of His Flock, and connects with a similar passage in Ezekiel 34:11-31. The metaphorcal 'sheep' prove their emunah (faith) by their works in taking care of hungry, thirsty, homeless and prisoners - the 'goats' are those who do not do these things.
"All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left" (Matt.25:32-33, NKJV).
But had you ever thought of the goat as a positive symbol?
The fact of the matter is, the same symbol can have a positive or a negative meaning depending on the context. The lion is used in the Bible to illustrate both the strength of the Messiah (Rev.5:5) and the ravenousness of the devil (1 Pet.5:8). The goat has a double meaning too - but do you know what the positive one is?
Before I answer that, I need to tell you how Yahweh drew my attention to this subject. It was actually quite unexpected. I was shown a vision about three nights ago. I saw a lovely human being who then faded away and a beautiful white goat appeared instead. My initial reaction was 'goodness, this can't be right!' But I received no confirmation in my spirit that I had reached the right conclusion. After a little bit of research I realised that my initial reaction had been hasty and wrong.
Aside from Yah'shua's (Jesus') comparison of sheep with goats (Mt.25:33), and where they are used prophetically to represent oppressors and evil men (Ezek.34:17; 29:18), Scripture otherwise overwhelmingly paints the goat in a tov (good) light. In fact, the Hebrew 'ez is used of both she-goats (Gen.15:9; 30:25; 31:28), he-goats (Ex.12:5; Lev.4:23; Num.28:15) and kids (Gen.38:17,20) which means that when it is used symbolically it can represent any gender and age. More than that, 'ez also means 'strength', 'might' and 'power', and points to the superior strength of the goat as compared with the sheep. Thus a goat not only represents any kind of person but specifically a person possessing strength and hardiness, for this animal, domesticated from antiquity, could live in difficult terrain. It was also very useful. She-goats provided milk, skins were used for leather and bottles, the hair of some varieties was woven into cloth, and young goats or kids were used as meat. It should come as no surprise to learn, then, that an animal of such importance should have many different names in Hebrew . Of these, half are used in connection with the Mosaic sacrificial system.
We are well acquainted with the symbolic meanings of sheep and lambs because of their messianic significance, but do we realise just how close sheep and goats are in terms of shared symbology? The Hebrew for lamb, seh, is used both for baby sheep (lambs) and baby goats (kids). Yah'shua (Jesus), as we know, is described as "the lamb that takes away the sin of the world" (Jn.1:29, NKJV) and is thus remembered at Pesach (Passover) when the believer eats roasted lamb. However, the Torah also allows for the eating of the kid instead of a lamb! Recall also how goats are used at Yom Kippur or Day of Atonement. Yah'shua (Jesus) is therefore both the Pesach Lamb and the Yom Kippur Goat.
The first mention of the goat in Scripture is in Genesis 15:9, where Yahweh commanded what Abraham was to bring to Him, and was a part of the sacrifice that was cut in half. You will recall that Yahweh passed between the pieces to ratify the covenant concerning His seed or descendants.
The goat is clearly identified by Yahweh as a kosher animal, and is the first animal mentioned as suitable for human consumption after the ox and sheep (Dt.14:4). Anciently the goat was considered an asset and also as part of a person's wealth. This is seen in Proverbs 27:23-27 when the writer admonishes the listener to be diligent to know the state of his flocks and to attend to them, mentioning that the goats will provide the price of a field, and provide enough goat's milk for food and nourishment for the man, his house and his servants. It is also seen in Deuteronomy 32:13-15, where Yahweh speaks of the richness and goodness that was given Jeshurun before they grew fat and forgot Elohim (where both the "milk of the flock" and the goats are mentioned along with the honey, oil, cattle, lamb, wine and choice wheat), and also with Jacob's agreement with Laban, and later confrontation because of where Laban avoided giving the rightful payment of goats he had been promised (Genesis 30:27-43, Genesis 31:1-42) and part of what is accounted for when Scripture accounts for the wealth of the gift Jacob gave when meeting and seeking to make peace with Esau (Gen.32:13-14). Yahweh commanded that the curtains of the tabernacle be made from goat hair (Ex.26:7; 35:23,26; 36:14). But the most sacred application of the goat is in connection with atonement (e.g. Lev.1:10; 3:12; 4:23-28; 5:6; 9:3,5; 22:19; cp. Heb.9:12-15,19-22; 10:1-10) where the blood of goats is contrasted with blood of Yah'shua (Jesus), both when it comes to atonement and also with reference to entering into covenant, and identified as a shadow of Messiah.
This is highly significant because an unkosher animal could never be used to make atonement for a person. The firstborn of the goat (along with the firstborn of the ox and the sheep) belonged to Elohim (God), and could not be redeemed (bought back from Him - only the firstborn of men and unclean animals could be redeemed) and these firstborn goats were considered set-apart or holy, and to be a special offering to Yahweh (Num.18:15-18). A goat (like a cow or sheep) was to be allowed to stay with its mother for the first 7 days of its life, and from the 8th day and thereafter would be accepted as an offering to Yahweh (Lev.22:26-27).
As I mentioned, the Pesach (Passover) 'lamb' could be taken either from among the sheep or from the goats (Ex.12:5) At Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement), Yahweh especially commanded 2 goats to be used with the moed (appointment) - one an image of the atonement made through Yah'shua's (Jesus') death and blood, and the other where Yah'shua (Jesus) became our sin and was 'sent out into the wilderness' - was made a curse and sent away in our place (Lev.16).
When Joseph's brother had sold him into slavery, they killed the kid (or lamb) of a goat and dipped his coat in it (Gen.37:31) - thus, in a sense, the goat kid or lamb died in Joseph's place, and his clothes were dipped in its blood, a shadow of Yah'shua (Jesus) and where our own garments would have to be dipped and washed in His blood too.
Some of the few places where there is a negative connection with goats is where Rebekah told Jacob to slaughter goats to make the savoury meat, and placed the goat skins on Jacob to make him feel more hairy like his brother (Genesis 27:9, Genesis 27:16), and otherwise, when Judah believied he was going to lie with a 'prostitute' and promised a young goat as payment (Genesis 38:17 - 20) - though with both cases the problem is not so much the goat, but the ungodly choices these people made and their use of the goat in the process (much as gold in itself is not bad, but when used to make an idol, was the instrument of much evil).
Summing up, we are forced to the conclusion that the goat is used overwhelmingly as a metaphor for the Messiah Himself, and therefore something very, very tov (good). Are we therefore surprised that the enemy has sought to so demonise it, as a means of mocking the Son of Elohim (God) and keeping vital aspects of His atonement hidden from mankind? And how did this happen?
We will examine this tomorrow.
Continued in Part 4
 attud = "rams" (Gen.31:10,12), "he-goats" (Num.7:17-88; Is.1:11) and "goats" (Dt.32:14; Ps.50:13), used metaphorically for princes or chiefs (Is.14:9) and leaders (Zech.10:3) - cp. Jer.50:8; gedi = kids, eaten as a delicacy (Gen.27:9,14,17; Judg.6:19); sa'ir, the shaggy hairy goat, a he-goat (2 Chr.29:23), "a goat" (Lev.4:24), "satyr" (Is.13:21), and"devils" (Lev.17:7), the goat used for the sin-offering (Lev.9:3,15; 10:16); tsaphir, a he-goat of the goats (2 Chr.29:21) used a a symbol of the Macedonian Empire (Dan.8:5,8); tayish, a "striker" or "butter", rendered "he-goat" (Gen.30:35; 32:14); 'Azazel, the "scapegoat" of Yom Kippur (Lev.16:8,10,26). The two remaining words refer only to the undomesticated goat: yael = mountain goats (1 Sam.24:2; Job 39:1; Ps.104:18) derived from the word meaning 'to climb', known to us as the Ibex and which abounded in the mountains of Moab; and finally, 'akko = the wild goat (Dt.14:5).
 Elah Oakman, Blog, 2 January 2012