The Hebrew word translated "scapegoat" in the 16th chapter of Leviticus is `aza'zel (az-aw-zale') which is a compound word.
One part is derived from `ez (aze) which refers to a she-goat and/or goat's hair.
The remainder is derived from 'azal (aw-zal') which basically means to go away, i.e. to disappear.
In other words an `aza'zel is the loosed goat itself rather than some sort of mystical spirit being. It's a cute legend, but nevertheless, a fantasy.
The scape goat doesn't disappear.
It was released into the wilderness to fend for itself. Assuming there was neither food nor water to sustain life, the animal's fate was thus determined by destiny - or the hand of God instead of the hand of man.
As part of the LAW of redemption the tradition isn't a fantasy. According to the book of Hebrews, written millennia later, it was the imperfect part of God's LAW that Christ fulfilled and made perfect.
How did Christ make the LAW perfect?
According to the LAW of Moses, God's forgiveness was temporary (imperfect). It was temporary and imperfect because the blood of animals was required to obtain it. But those animals, however devoid of blemish they might have been, were still mortal
. Their blood, their life, their payment for SIN was temporary because of their mortal nature. Thus was the sacrifice temporary and needed to be repeated often. It wasn't a fantasy. It was simply temporary.
The blood of Christ is perfect because His blood, His life, IS permanent immortal eternal. Therefore the sacrifice of Christ upon the cross fulfills the LAW because it is perfect. It only needed to be done once - for all time - eternally as is His life/blood.
When the book of Hebrews tells us the LAW is becoming obsolete (8:13) it was obviously written during the period when the temple still stood - before Roman armies destroyed it. Animal sacrifices were still being performed until they were taken away. This does two things for us. First is that it clarifies what is written about the efficacy of Christ's sacrifice and the obsolescence of animal sacrifice. Second is that it affirms that scripture of the New Testament was written DURING THE GENERATION that saw Christ walk upon the earth.
This is no fantasy. The redemption of man is based upon it.
that's me, hollering from the choir loft...