Who is Azazel?
Leviticus 16:8-10 – “Aaron shall cast lots for the two goats, one lot for Yahweh and the other lot for Azazel. And Aaron shall present the goat on which the lot fell for Yahweh and use it as a sin offering, but the goat on which the lot fell for Azazel shall be presented alive before Yahweh to make atonement over it, that it may be sent away into the wilderness to Azazel.”
The name Azazel [עֲזָאזֵל H5799] appears in Leviticus 16:8–10, but nowhere in scripture do we find who Azazel is! It is interesting that Moses uses this noun, and scripture simply assumes that everyone knows what it means, as it is not repeated or explained elsewhere in scripture. Only by reading The Book of Enoch can we find the history and activities of Azazel!
So, what or who is Azazel? The word Azezel is used four times and translated both as goat and as Azazel, or in some versions as scapegoat. It comes from ‘ez [עֵז H5795]; a goat, she-goat, or kid, and ‘azal [אָזַל H235]; to go away, to go about, or to be used up, to be exhausted, evaporated. In the scripture above, Azazel appears to be either a place (to Azazel) or perhaps a being (for Azazel).
The first explanation, a place, derives from a definition of the word which means the hardest of mountains. Close to Jerusalem is a mountain called Har Azazel, which has one side covered with flint-stone, a very hard rock. Any animal thrown off this mountain would be ripped to pieces.
The second explanation, a being, is the more likely, however. To bring more understanding to this term as referencing a being, we must defer to the Book of Enoch, for only by reading The Book of Enoch can we find the history and activities of Azazel!
The Fallen Angel
1 Enoch 8:1-3 – “And Azazel 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 coloring tinctures. And there arose much godlessness, and they committed fornication, and they were led astray, and became corrupt in all their ways.”
Azazel taught “all unrighteousness on earth and revealed the eternal secrets which were (preserved) in heaven, which men were striving to learn” (1 Enoch 9:6-7). Chapter ten then goes into many of the reasons why Yahweh had to flood the earth. These events appear to be retold in Genesis 6.
Azazel, according to the Book of Enoch, is not only just one of the fallen angels who came down and procreated with the women (Genesis 6:2–4), teaching mankind many things that mankind would have been better off never knowing, but he is their leader. His followers and their teachings are also named: Semjaza taught enchantments, and root-cuttings, Armaros the resolving of enchantments, Baraqijal (taught) astrology, Kokabel the constellations, Ezeqeel the knowledge of the clouds, Araqiel the signs of the earth, Shamsiel the signs of the sun, and Sariel the course of the moon (1 Enoch 8:3b).
The Goat for Azazel
1 Enoch 10:8b-9 – “The whole earth has been corrupted through the works that were taught by Azazel: to him ascribe all sin.”
As part of the Day of Atonement, the goat whose lot was cast for Azazel was then cast out in the desert after all the sins of the entire Jewish people are confessed upon it by the High Priest (Leviticus 16). This casting out represents the people’s sins and their evil consequences being sent back to the spirit of desolation and ruin, the source of all impurity. This act also resembles the carrying off of the ephah with the woman inside who embodies wickedness into the land of Shinar, from whence she came (Zechariah 5:6-11).
The Newer Covenant Fulfillment
The two goats can be clearly seen in the sacrifice of Yeshua Ha’Mashiach as the goat of the sin offering, and the sending away of Yeshua Barabbus back into the land from whence he came as the goat to Azazel.
1 Enoch 10:3b-7 – “Yahweh said to Raphael: ‘Bind Azazel hand and foot, and cast him into the darkness: and make an opening in the desert, which is in Dudael, 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 judgment he shall be cast into the fire.'”
Chapter ten then goes into many of the reasons why Yahweh had to flood the earth. Genesis 6 also appears to be a short summary of 1 Enoch 10, which gives the full reasons why Yahweh had to flood the earth. 1 Enoch informs us that Yahweh commands that an angel, Raphael, was to “bind the hands and feet of Azazel and cast him into the darkness.”
The other angels (watchers) that were involved were also bound and cast into the darkness (1 Enoch 10:1-16:4). He will remain there until the Great Day of Judgment, and the Great White Throne, when he will be cast into the fire to be consumed forever, along with the other angels who also rebelled against Yahweh. Both Jude 1:6 and 2 Peter 2:4 clearly appear to be referencing these events described by the Book of Enoch. Azazel enjoys the distinction of being named as one of the angelic host who will have the same fate as Satan.
Azazel appears not to be a place, but indeed a being, the leader of the fallen angels. His domain appears to be in the wilderness, perhaps even in the land of Shinar, or Babylon. He is already bound in utter darkness; Satan will be bound and thrown into the bottomless pit. And like Satan, his final judgment is in the lake of fire.
Luke 21:28 – “When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is near!”
We are always to be ready for Yeshua to return. Are you ready? If not, then get ready. Exercise whatever time you have to repent and trust Yeshua for your eternal salvation. Do not test Yahweh’s patience and wait too long – the dress rehearsals will not continue much longer. May Yom Teruah this year be fulfilled in the resurrection of the dead and the rapture of Yeshua’s Bride.
Jeff is a retired Youth Worker and Christian camp employee/volunteer/board member with a Bachelor’s Degree in Biblical Studies. He has been teaching / writing/blogging about the Pre-Trib Rapture and many other subjects for many years and has written much on these topics. His primary focus is analysis and teaching his favorite subject – the Pre-Tribulation Rapture. Retirement allows him to concentrate on studying the Rapture and the Season of Yeshua’s Return, to blog, write, and teach what he learns, and to focus on Biblical exposition of his understanding of Biblical themes and patterns, word definitions, Hebrew idioms, and insights given by the Ruach Ha’Kodesh.