Who was Azazel?

Who was Azazel?

We must deal with the story of Azazel, as it is mentioned in the Bible and therefore cannot be ignored. Although the Bible does not go into detail about the identity and actions of Azazel, since God mentions him on one of the most important feasts, we must deal with this question.

“The Lord spoke to Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron, when they drew near before the Lord and died, and the Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron your brother not to come at any time into the Holy Place inside the veil, before the mercy seat that is on the ark, so that he may not die. For I will appear in the cloud over the mercy seat. But in this way Aaron shall come into the Holy Place: with a bull from the herd for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering. He shall put on the holy linen coat and shall have the linen undergarment on his body, and he shall tie the linen sash around his waist, and wear the linen turban; these are the holy garments. He shall bathe his body in water and then put them on. And he shall take from the congregation of the people of Israel two male goats for a sin offering, and one ram for a burnt offering. “Aaron shall offer the bull as a sin offering for himself and shall make atonement for himself and for his house. Then he shall take the two goats and set them before the Lord at the entrance of the tent of meeting. And Aaron shall cast lots over the two goats, one lot for the Lord and the other lot for Azazel. And Aaron shall present the goat on which the lot fell for the Lord and use it as a sin offering, but the goat on which the lot fell for Azazel shall be presented alive before the Lord to make atonement over it, that it may be sent away into the wilderness to Azazel. “Aaron shall present the bull as a sin offering for himself, and shall make atonement for himself and for his house. He shall kill the bull as a sin offering for himself. And he shall take a censer full of coals of fire from the altar before the Lord, and two handfuls of sweet incense beaten small, and he shall bring it inside the veil and put the incense on the fire before the Lord, that the cloud of the incense may cover the mercy seat that is over the testimony, so that he does not die. And he shall take some of the blood of the bull and sprinkle it with his finger on the front of the mercy seat on the east side, and in front of the mercy seat he shall sprinkle some of the blood with his finger seven times. “Then he shall kill the goat of the sin offering that is for the people and bring its blood inside the veil and do with its blood as he did with the blood of the bull, sprinkling it over the mercy seat and in front of the mercy seat. Thus he shall make atonement for the Holy Place, because of the uncleannesses of the people of Israel and because of their transgressions, all their sins. And so he shall do for the tent of meeting, which dwells with them in the midst of their uncleannesses. No one may be in the tent of meeting from the time he enters to make atonement in the Holy Place until he comes out and has made atonement for himself and for his house and for all the assembly of Israel. Then he shall go out to the altar that is before the Lord and make atonement for it, and shall take some of the blood of the bull and some of the blood of the goat, and put it on the horns of the altar all around. And he shall sprinkle some of the blood on it with his finger seven times, and cleanse it and consecrate it from the uncleannesses of the people of Israel. “And when he has made an end of atoning for the Holy Place and the tent of meeting and the altar, he shall present the live goat. And Aaron shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, and confess over it all the iniquities of the people of Israel, and all their transgressions, all their sins. And he shall put them on the head of the goat and send it away into the wilderness by the hand of a man who is in readiness. The goat shall bear all their iniquities on itself to a remote area, and he shall let the goat go free in the wilderness.” (Leviticus 16:1-22)

We can see that there were two goats which they casted lots upon; one for the Lord, whose blood was taken by the high priest (Aaron at the time) into the Most Holy Place as a sin offering, and another goat which was sent into the wilderness for Azazel. There are a lot of topics here for discussion, but I will only explore some of them in more detail. Regarding the goats, we can see that the sacrificial of one goat happened first, and only afterwards they took the other (living) goat into the wilderness. This is important because the blood of the goat offered for the people of Israel resulted in God’s forgiveness, but what we see is that even though the atonement for sins has happened, the high priest had to confess every transgression and sin of Israel onto the living goat afterwards! Therefore God did not abolish their sins, but ascribed them to someone else! Furthermore, by the high priest confessing the sins onto the goat, he also declared that they have nothing to do with these iniquities, transgressions and sins, as God let them go! Once again, God did not abolish their sins, but ascribed them to someone else. Bearing this in mind, we can understand the following lines of the author of Hebrews:

“For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year, make perfect those who draw near. Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, since the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have any consciousness of sins? But in these sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.” (Hebrews 10:1-4)

A bull was offered by the high priest for his and his household’s sins, and the goat was offered for the people of Israel. We have talked a lot about what it means to live without Jesus, and to live with Jesus. Sadly, even the most self-proclaimed believers think about it the wrong way. The power and authority of Satan lied in reigning over our bodies, by tempting and reminding us of desires, luring us into sinning which ultimately separated us from God. However, through Jesus’ sacrifice, Jesus living within us made us strong, so that we must not be slaves of our own body, but to have power over our body’s desires. This is how the way to the Lord opened up, and this is the reason why God stopped the sin offerings:

“For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace?” (Hebrews 10:26-29)

Let’s move back to the living goat, upon which the high priest confessed the people of Israel’s iniquities, transgressions and sins which was sent into the wilderness for Azazel. The question is the following: who is Azazel? For many, this is not even a question, as they assume that he is Satan, but Azazel is not Satan by any means! But before we talk about his identity, actions and his verdict in more detail, let’s take a look at a very important verse to start us off:

“And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day –” (Jude 1:6)

The fallen angels are waiting for their judgement in chains, meaning they are imprisoned! By the way, did any of you think about where did Jude get this information from? What writings did he base this opinion on? Brothers, Jude didn’t speak unverifiable words, as he was referring to the book of Enoch, in fact not for the first time, but we will return to further references later on. Let’s take a look at this specific reference of Jude found within the book of Enoch:

“And the Lord said unto Michael: 'Go, bind Semjâzâ and his associates who have united themselves with women so as to have defiled themselves with them in all their uncleanness. And when their sons have slain one another, and they have seen the destruction of their beloved ones, bind them fast for seventy generations in the valleys of the earth, till the day of their judgement and of their consummation, till the judgement that is for ever and ever is consummated. In those days they shall be led off to the abyss of fire: 〈and〉 to the torment and the prison in which they shall be confined for ever. And whosoever shall be condemned and destroyed will from thenceforth be bound together with them to the end of all generations.” (Enoch 10:11-14)

We can see God’s order towards archangel Michael, to bind the fallen angels. We can read about the binding of Azazel here:

“And again the Lord said to Raphael: 'Bind Azâzêl hand and foot, and cast him into the darkness: and make an opening in the desert, which is in Dûdâêl, and cast him therein. And place upon him rough and jagged rocks, and cover him with darkness, and let him abide there for ever, and cover his face that he may not see light. And on the day of the great judgement he shall be cast into the fire. And heal the earth which the angels have corrupted, and proclaim the healing of the earth, that they may heal the plague, and that all the children of men may not perish through all the secret things that the Watchers have disclosed and have taught their sons. And the whole earth has been corrupted through the works that were taught by Azâzêl: to him ascribe all sin.'” (Enoch 10:4-8)

Did you pay attention? Binding Azazel into the desert, namely the wilderness, this is where God ordered the living goat, bearing the people of Israel’s iniquities, transgressions and sins! How did the last verse end?

“And the whole earth has been corrupted through the works that were taught by Azâzêl: to him ascribe all sin.'”

These are the sins which were sent by God through the goat for Azazel. But what sin did he commit, to make God punish Azazel with such verdict? Let’s read about it:

“And Azâzêl taught men to make swords, and knives, and shields, and breastplates, and made known to them the metals 〈of the earth〉 and the art of working them, and bracelets, and ornaments, and the use of antimony, and the beautifying of the eyelids, and all kinds of costly stones, and all colouring tinctures.” (Enoch 8:1)

These were the secrets, which Azazel unveiled to the humans, which lead to more unrighteousness on the Earth.

“Thou seest what Azâzêl hath done, who hath taught all unrighteousness on earth and revealed the eternal secrets which were (preserved) in heaven, which men were striving to learn:” (Enoch 9:6)

Let’s see his verdict:

“And Enoch went and said: 'Azâzêl, thou shalt have no peace: a severe sentence has gone forth against thee to put thee in bonds: And thou shalt not have toleration nor †request† granted to thee, because of the unrighteousness which thou hast taught, and because of all the works of godlessness and unrighteousness and sin which thou hast shown to men.'” (Enoch 13:1-2)

Moving away from Azazel for now, let’s talk about the book of Enoch in a summary. We meet with the book of Enoch in many locations of the Bible, as well as from Paul’s writings:

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.” (Romans 1:18-21)

We need to pay attention to two things within these verses from Paul. Firstly, that God’s power, authority, and divine nature can be seen in His creations. As the created world followed God in obedience, fulfilling the service which it was created for by God. Secondly, we need to see in Paul’s writing, that while many people saw God’s power in these, they did not subordinate themselves under God to fulfil his commandments, despite seeing God’s power. This is how they become futile and live in darkness. Let’s look for unity between Enoch’s and Paul’s words:

“Observe ye everything that takes place in the heaven, how they do not change their orbits, [and] the luminaries which are in the heaven, how they all rise and set in order each in its season, and transgress not against their appointed order. Behold ye the earth, and give heed to the things which take place upon it from first to last, [how steadfast they are], how [none of the things upon earth] change, [but] all the works of God appear [to you]. Behold the summer and the winter, [[how the whole earth is filled with water, and clouds and dew and rain lie upon it]]. Observe and see how (in the winter) all the trees [[seem as though they had withered and shed all their leaves, except fourteen trees, which do not lose their foliage but retain the old foliage from two to three years till the new comes. And again, observe ye the days of summer how the sun is above the earth over against it. And you seek shade and shelter by reason of the heat of the sun, and the earth also burns with growing heat, and so you cannot tread on the earth, or on a rock by reason of its heat. Observe [[ye]] how the trees cover themselves with green leaves and bear fruit: wherefore give ye heed [and know] with regard to all [His works], and recognize how He that liveth for ever hath made them so. And [all] His works go on [thus] from year to year for ever, and all the tasks [which] they accomplish for Him, and [their tasks] change not, but according as [[God]] hath ordained so is it done. And behold how the sea and the rivers in like manner accomplish and [change not] their tasks [from His commandments]. But ye--ye have not been steadfast, nor done the commandments of the Lord, But ye have turned away and spoken proud and hard words With your impure mouths against His greatness. Oh, ye hard-hearted, ye shall find no peace. Therefore shall ye execrate your days, And the years of your life shall perish, And [the years of your destruction] shall be multiplied in eternal execration, And ye shall find no mercy.” (Enoch 2-5:1-5)

So every created being knows its order, its place and its role, except the human who wants to live free from God!

Regarding Jude’s writings, I promised I would return to reference it to the book of Enoch, so let’s take a look at Enoch’s writings from Jude’s letter:

“It was also about these that Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of his holy ones, to execute judgment on all and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” (Jude 1:14-15)

Let’s take a look at the quoted verse within the book of Enoch:

“And behold! He cometh with ten thousands of [His] holy ones To execute judgement upon all, And to destroy [all] the ungodly: And to convict all flesh Of all the works [of their ungodliness] which they have ungodly committed, And of all the hard things which ungodly sinners [have spoken] against Him.” (Enoch 1:9)

I find it interesting, that while the Bible testifies the book of Enoch on many occasions, which they quote from as well, but they don’t accept the writings of Enoch. Why is this? This can have many reasons, such as how many people consider parts of the scripture do be fantasy. These people should think about: the strength of Samson, for instance. At the same time, others value the canonisation of humans over Apostle Jude himself. The ones, who can’t accept the book of Enoch, will be even less likely to accept the book of Jasher, especially the Acts of Solomon, which provides answers to many questions as well.

There is another thing, which needs clarification. Where is Satan? Satan has fallen before the guardian angels, in fact he fell before the creation of human.

“The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.” (Genesis 2:15)

If there would be no enemy, then there would be nothing to keep Eden safe from. Furthermore, the guardian angels’s occupation includes their role in their name: to guard! Adam and Eve fell, and so did the guardian angels. However, we are to keep what God has ordered us: the faith in God! Why was it a sin for Adam and Eve to eat from the forbidden fruit? It was not just about transgressing God’s commandments, but there are other reasons as well!

Before they ate from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Bad, they were learning what is bad and what is good from God. In other words: they believed to God. However, by eating from the forbidden fruit they did not only transgress His commandments, but they also declared: we will decice what is good and what is bad ourselves! As many people do it today, putting aside God’s commandments to decide for themselves what they are allowed and not allowed to do! Even today, this is how many people eat the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Bad.

What made me think is that the Word says the fallen angels were chained by the Lord, but then who do we think of as demons, or as evil spirits? Because Satan was the only one left unchained, but then who are the evil spirits? This is what we read in Genesis:

“The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of man and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men who were of old, the men of renown.” (Genesis 6:4)

It can be clearly seen within the book of Enoch, that the Watchers of Earth (angels) became fallen angels by lusting for the daughters of humans. Although the book of Enoch does not talk about what did the angels like about the daughters of humans in particular, but it is assumed that their hair could have been the reason. As women’s beauty comes from their hair, this is why Paul asks the wives to pray with their head being covered, partially because of the angels!

“but every wife who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, since it is the same as if her head were shaven. For if a wife will not cover her head, then she should cut her hair short. But since it is disgraceful for a wife to cut off her hair or shave her head, let her cover her head. For a man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God, but woman is the glory of man. For man was not made from woman, but woman from man. Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man. That is why a wife ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels.” (1Corinthians 11:5-10)

This is a clear instruction from Paul with a clear explanation! So, the guardian angels married the women on Earth, begetting children for theirselves, who were not ordinary humans, but giants, as they came from the seeds of angels. When these giants were destroyed, only their bodies have died, but their souls did not go into a sleeping state. Let’s look at God’s Words:

“And now, the giants, who are produced from the spirits and flesh, shall be called evil spirits upon the earth, and on the earth shall be their dwelling. Evil spirits have proceeded from their bodies; because they are born from men, [[and]] from the holy Watchers is their beginning and primal origin; [they shall be evil spirits on earth, and] evil spirits shall they be called. [As for the spirits of heaven, in heaven shall be their dwelling, but as for the spirits of the earth which were born upon the earth, on the earth shall be their dwelling.] And the spirits of the giants afflict, oppress, destroy, attack, do battle, and work destruction on the earth, and cause trouble: they take no food, [but nevertheless hunger] and thirst, and cause offences. And these spirits shall rise up against the children of men and against the women, because they have proceeded [from them].” (Enoch 15:8-11)

Therefore, they are the demons, who are not the same as the fallen angels. To summarise the message of today, there are writings which are not found within the Bible as we know it, yet we can still find God’s Word within them. However, delving into these requires a solid understanding of the Bible, and not just reading the entire Bible a few times. There are apocryphal writings which are invalid, and are not including God’s Word. On the other hand, there are valid ones, but many people can be deviated without sufficient knowledge of the Word.

Antal Farkas
(December 22, 2023)

Tagged: Azazel, fallen angel

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