It is said with tongue-in-cheek that the following are the seven phases of a project:
1. Wild enthusiasmPhase 5 is the "blame" and phase 6 is offering the "scapegoat". That "goat" is the innocent who pays the price for the guilty. The entomology of the word is Hebrew and means "for entire removal".
5. Search for the guilty
6. Punishment of the innocent
7. Promotion of non-participants
I'll use an example which most people won't like. Remembering that "the victor writes history", we have all been molded into fictions. As an example, let's do a "what if?" The United States won the war in the Pacific during WWII against Japan. in 1945 Hiroshima and Nagazaki were bombed, and 154,000 people died and as many injured. About 70% of the entire cities were destroyed and the war effectively ended. Truman was re-elected and his legacy is one of being a "great president". Harry S. Truman is ranked within the top 8 of presidents by both liberals and conservatives. But "what if" the United States had lost the war? Would Truman have been a great man or perceived as a "loser" as is Jimmy Carter? It's obvious that Truman's legacy would be entirely different if America's greatness had been thwarted!
I'm not making any points as to the righteousness of dropping atomic bombs. It was a hard decision I'm sure and in retrospect, others may have done things differently. Knowing the mind-set of this era, if this happened at this point in time, Truman would have been sharply criticized. The point is that "the victor writes history" and regardless of the wrongness or rightness of atomic bombing the outcome has exonerated Mr. Truman. Few biographers today would rewrite history and make it otherwise, even if a "different truth" was discovered in the dusty files of history.
I was raised in Indiana. My views were formed by what history books, written in the north, said about the "Civil War". That, coupled with the fact that great-grandpa James Francis Herrin was a Sergeant in Union Co. F of the 7th Regiment of the Kentucky Calvary, led my pride to reinforce what I was being taught. The reason I was taught history in a light 100% favorable to the Union side, was because "the victor writes history" and they did so in such a way that most negativity was removed from the winning side and blame was placed on the losing side.
In short, phase 5 of writing the history of the "Civil War" was "placing blame". Now I have learned from primary sources that the war was not about slavery, but was about maintaining the union. I have learned that it wasn't a "Civil War" but a war between two independent nations over sovereignty . I have learned that The Emancipation Proclamation never freed any slaves in the United States, but was a political ploy to maintain England's sentiments and I have learned that although there was no enemy blood shed at Ft. Sumter, the Confederacy was blamed for starting the war, although it is clear that they were provoked by the north.
I had been taught partial truths and "spin" because "the victor writes history"! I no longer accept what I'm taught without investigating what's taught myself. This example is not used to change taught history, but to encourage others to question everything and seek truth!
The south was blamed for this "project", commonly called the "Civil War", although in truth it was more a "War of Northern Aggression" If you'll remember the 5th phase of this project was the "search for the guilty". The guilty party was the south and it's leader was President Jefferson Davis. Davis became the "scapegoat". It was 6th phase "the punishment of the innocent"! If one reads primary sources of Jefferson Davis they will find that he hated the war and only accepted the presidency by acclaim as he had no inclinations to lead.
Not only was Davis an honorable man, but he was not to blame for the war! Lincoln commenced the war by intrigue, but Davis shouldered the blame, even later by his own countrymen who also sought to find a scapegoat for all the destruction. Seldom do defeated leaders gain glory!
At the end of the war Lincoln's secretaries, Nicolay and Haye, wrote volumes on Lincoln. Their volumes became the most accepted because they painted a beautiful picture of a martyred man. "The victors wrote history". Lincoln started the war, failed on many attempts to negotiate a peaceful settlement by Davis, but is ranked by liberals and conservatives as in the top 2 in greatness. The name "Jefferson Davis" has become despicable to most Americans. Davis is a "scapegoat". A painting of that "scapegoat" hangs on my study wall as a remembrance that "blame" is not necessarily one-sided. An "innocent" man accepted the wrongs which the entire north and south and shouldered him and did so admirably. He never showed resentment, even though he was the only one who never regained citizenship during his lifetime.
Let's do another "what if"! 800,000 people died as a result of the Civil War. What if the south had won the civil war? Lincoln would likely have lived and Lincoln would have been blamed for the unnecessary loss of all those lives. The outcome, being different, would certainly have changed his legacy. "The victors (the South) would have written history and Lincoln would have received the blame!
The "scapegoat" essentially gets all the wrongs of everyone and "entirely removes" the blame. Davis moved to Louisiana along with the sins of the north and south on his shoulders, although the "blame" was unjustly placed on his shoulders. (My thought: Lincoln maybe wasn't the blame, but the radicals, such as Stanton, who always pressured him to force the slavery issue!)
Sometimes I do insert too much opinion because I'm passionate about truth. Now, since that is finished, let's look at the spiritual aspect of it all, since the practical has been examined:
Leviticus 16:7 "And he shall take the two goats, and present them before the Lord at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. 8 And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the Lord, and the other lot for the scapegoat.9 And Aaron shall bring the goat upon which the Lord's lot fell, and offer him for a sin offering. 10 But the goat, on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat, shall be presented alive before the Lord, to make an atonement with him, and to let him go for a scapegoat into the wilderness."
There were two goats. One was sacrificed. That goat was killed and remained dead. That was payment for the sins of the people. Because people had sinned, they had to sacrifice and animal whose blood was payment. It wasn't a sufficient sacrifice, but under The Law, that's all they had! That goat belonged to the Lord because it was sacrificed to him!
The second goat was presented alive to the Lord. It was for atonement, when God and man are reconciled. It's a peace offering so to speak. "I have wronged you, Lord and I'm sorry!" For the Lord's part "I love you anyhow and you are pardoned completely. Let's start afresh because I no longer will hold your sins against you!" This reconciliation is in effect sorrow, repentance, acceptance, forgiveness and love and are the same things as we Christians must do in order to be saved.
Romans 5:11 And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement."The scapegoat was symbolic. That goat was innocent and all the Jews (and pagans) were guilty of sin. As one goat was sacrificed (by the blood are sins forgiven), the scapegoat made the atonement. It took all the sins of the people, and that goat was sent off into the wilderness with all the sins upon it.
That scapegoat is symbolic of Jesus who was to come. As Paul said in his Letter to the Romans, it's Jesus who made atonement for us! Jesus is the scapegoat!
Hebrews 9:12 "Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us."Sacrifices, under The Law, were made continuously for people continually sinned and were held accountable. The goats and calves died and shed their blood, a lot of it and many animals! it was by God's grace that he accepted those unsatisfactory sacrifices and it was by grace that the scapegoat carried the sins of the people out into the wilderness, but it wasn't the death and release of the goats that worked God's divine magic, but the hearts of the people. Since they spoke with "The Word" they knew that those goats represented Jesus. They knew about Jesus because they communed with him continually and in person!
On the Cross, both goats were sacrificed! The first goat was the blood shed by Jesus in place of yours and mine. That was the Son of Man who shed the blood. However, the Son of God, the divine portion of Jesus, accepted those sins onto himself and took them into the wilderness. He suffered hell for us, that wilderness in the nether area. Jesus was the sin offering and the scapegoat!
There are two requirements for the scapegoat: 1) the goat must be innocent and 2) the goat must be punished! These, as pertains to the vicarious death of Jesus, follow:
Matthew 27:4 Saying, I (Judas) have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood.
Acts 2:31"He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.The former declared Jesus' innocence, the latter his punishment! Jesus was a scapegoat for all our sins and thousands of years before the Hebrews knew it was to be! They performed the ceremony about things to come! They provided the goats in fore-membrance of Jesus.
There is an argument about whether Jesus actually descended into hell. The Apostle's Creed says he did. Most modern theologians say that Acts 2:31 merely implied that he never suffered the punishment which sinners do. I agree with the latter. Jesus, being holy, could never have suffered hell because only evil is there! He did suffer and he did go to the "wilderness". That wilderness is that unlike the sacrificial goat from Leviticus. Jesus shed his blood and died, but yet he lives! He also is like the scapegoat in that he carried our sins off in our place.
"The victors write history!" Jesus is the victor and his "secretaries" wrote his history, Nothing required "spinning" and deception was not used. As with Nicolay and Haye did with Lincoln; Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and Paul wrote the biography of Jesus, but although Christ was martyred as was Lincoln, Pilate wasn't the scapegoat as Davis was! Jesus accepted all responsibility for his actions and although the world was to blame, Jesus willingly accepted all the blame for us and became the scapegoat for us who are without excuse!
Nicolay and Haye had a motive. They loved Lincoln and wanted his legacy to honor the martyr. Much distortion was used to achieve that! The Bible is a book of truth. There is no deception and no spin! Truth includes all the faults of the apostles, such as Peter, and the tale of the murderer Paul. No attempt was made to "clean up" who people truly were. Jesus used failing people to spread the truth. He used failed fisherman, a doctor, a tent maker and murderer, and a crooked tax collector and other deficient men to spread truth!
"The Victor really did write the history" and I thank God he did!