Hope of Israel Ministries (Ecclesia of YEHOVAH):
Who or What Is the "Azazel" Goat of Leviticus 16?
In the days of the Tabernacle and Temple, the Jews once a year on Yom Kippur or the Day of Atonement took two goats -- one for YEHOVAH God, and one for "Azazel" -- the first goat was sacrificed, and the second goat carried the sins of the people into the wilderness led away by a "fit man" to perish in the desert. What was this second goat, or "Azazel" goat, symbolical of -- what did it represent? Was it a type of the Messiah? Was it a type of the enemy of mankind, Satan the devil? Controversy rages over this seemingly innocuous question. What is the plain TRUTH? Here is new information never before put together to reveal the incredible saga of the mystery of the "scapegoat" -- or Azazel!
by John D. Keyser
In the book of Leviticus we read of an intriguing ceremony which was performed every year on the Day of Atonement, or Yom Kippur, in ancient Israel. YEHOVAH God commanded the people of Israel, "From the Israelite community he [the high priest] is to take two male goats for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering...Then he is to take the two goats and present them before the LORD at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting. He is to CAST LOTS for the two goats -- one lot for the LORD and the other for the scapegoat. Aaron shall bring the goat whose lot falls to the LORD and sacrifice it for a sin offering. But the goat chosen by lot as the scapegoat shall be presented alive before the LORD to be used for making atonement by sending it into the desert as a scapegoat...
"He shall then slaughter the goat for the sin offering for the people and take its blood behind the curtain and do with it as he did with the bull's blood: He shall sprinkle it on the atonement cover and in front of it. In this way he will MAKE ATONEMENT for the Most Holy Place because of the uncleanness and rebellion of the Israelites, whatever their sins have been....
"When Aaron has finished making atonement for the Most Holy Place, the Ten of Meeting and the altar, he shall bring forward the live goat. He is to lay both hands on the head of the live goat and confess over it all the wickedness and rebellion of the Israelites -- all their sins -- and put them on the goat's head. He shall send the goat away into the desert in the care of a man appointed for the task. The goat will carry on itself all their sins to a SOLITARY PLACE; and the man shall release it in the desert" (Leviticus 16:5-22).
What is this mysterious "scapegoat" that carries the sins of all the people into the desert? What does this strange ceremony symbolize and foretell?
All commentators are agreed that the first goat, which is sacrificed for a sin offering, whose blood is sprinkled over the Most Holy Place, the Tent of Meeting and the altar, represents Yeshua the Messiah, the Lamb of YEHOVAH God, who was slain for the sins of Israel. John the Baptist looked upon Yeshua, and declared to his disciples, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world [the "world" of Israel]!" (John 1:29). The apostle Paul wrote of the Messiah, our High Priest, "Such a high priest meets our need -- one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens. Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his owns sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their [Israel's] sins ONCE FOR ALL when he offered himself" (Hebrews 7:26-27).
Paul explained further, "When Christ came as high priest of the good things that are already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not man-made, that is to say, not a part of this creation. He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place ONCE FOR ALL BY HIS OWN BLOOD, having obtained eternal redemption" (Hebrews 9:11-12).
As Paul wrote, "For Christ did not enter a man-made sanctuary that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God's presence. Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place ever year with blood that is not his own. Then Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But now he has appeared ONCE FOR ALL at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people [of Israel]; and he will appear a second time, NOT TO BEAR SIN, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him" (Hebrews 9:24-27).
Notice! Yeshua gave his life for our sins ONCE and for all time. His sacrifice COMPLETELY paid the penalty of our sins. This awesome event is portrayed by the first of the two goats, the one whose lot fell "to the LORD," the goat that was sacrificed by the high priest as a SIN offering for the people of Israel! As Paul explains to the Corinthians, "God made him who had no sin to BE SIN for us, so that in HIM we might become the righteousness of God" (II Corinthians 5:21).
The purpose of the sacrifice and blood ritual of the LORD'S goat is clearly stated in Leviticus 16:16 -- notice!
"And he shall make atonement for the holy place, because of the uncleannesses of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions, all their sins."
The blood ritual performed inside the Holy of Holies (Leviticus 16:17), and on the altar in the court (Leviticus 16:18-19; Exodus 30:10) had the express purpose of cleansing the uncleanness of the Israelites by removing their sins away from the sanctuary in a complete and permanent way.
As solemn as the services of the Day of Atonement were, the Old Testament worshippers would chiefly think with awe of the High Priest going into the Holy of Holies and the immediate presence of YEHOVAH God, finally coming out alive and securing for them, by the blood of the goat, the continuance of the Old Testament privileges of sacrifices and of access to YEHOVAH God through them.
Writes Alfred Edersheim concerning this ritual --
"Then he [the high priest] killed the goat set apart for Jehovah, and, entering the Most Holy Place a third time, sprinkled as before, once upwards and seven times downwards, and again deposited the bowl with the blood of the goat on a second golden stand before the veil...
"By these expiatory sprinklings the high priest had CLEANSED the sanctuary in all its parts from the defilement of the priesthood and the worshippers. The Most Holy Place, the veil, the Holy Place, the altar of incense, and the altar of burnt-offering were now clean alike, so far as the priesthood and as the people were concerned; and in their relationship to the sanctuary, both priests and worshippers were atoned for. So far as the law could give it, there was now again FREE ACCESS for all; or, to put it otherwise, the continuance of typical sacrificial communion with God was once more restored and secured. Had it not been for these services, it would have become impossible for priests and people to offer sacrifices, and so to obtain the forgiveness of sins, or to have fellowship with God. But the consciences were not yet free from a sense of personal guilt and sin. That remained to be done through the 'scape-goat'" (The Temple, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, MI, 1987. Pp. 315-316).
Likewise, when the Messiah died, his blood cleansed the Heavenly Sanctuary and provided free access for all those of Israel who came to YEHOVAH God through the Messiah!
What, then, does the SECOND GOAT -- the "scapegoat" -- represent? Notice!
The "Azazel" Goat
On the Day of Atonement in ancient Israel, after the high priest had thrust his hands into an urn containing the two lots, he laid one on the head of each goat. The high priest then tied a tongue-shaped piece of scarlet cloth to the horn of the goat for Azazel, and another around the throat of the goat for YEHOVAH. The high priest now lay his hands on the remaining live goat, and confessed the sins of the people and the nation, entreating YEHOVAH's mercy on His people for their iniquities, transgressions, and sins. And while the prostrate multitude worshipped, the high priest turned his face towards them as he uttered the last words, "You shall be cleansed."
Peake's Commentary on the Bible asserts, "Having thus isolated the sin of the people from all holy things, Aaron now proceeds to get rid of their sin altogether. He puts both hands on the head of the live goat, recites over it all the sins of the people of Israel and thus transfers their sins to the goat. The goat is then sent away and is lost in the wilderness. There was a man waiting in order to follow the goat and see that it was successfully lost. In the time of the Second Temple this man was usually a non Israelite" (p. 248).
"Then a strange scene would be witnessed. The priests led the sin-burdened goat out through Solomon's Porch, and, as tradition has it, through the eastern gate, which opened upon the Mount of Olives. Here an arched bridge spanned the intervening valley, and over it they brought the goat to the Mount of Olives, where one, especially appointed for the purpose, took him in charge. Tradition says that he should be a stranger, a non-Israelite. The Scriptures say that this goat is to be taken into the wilderness 'by the hand of a fit man.' At the edge of the wilderness, they halted, viewing afar off, while the 'fit man' led the goat forward, tore off the scarlet ribbon, and then, leading the animal backwards, he pushed it over the edge of a cliff. Says the Mishnah, 'He then pushed it over backward, and it rolled down the ravine. And it did not reach halfway down the mountain before it broke into pieces'" (Yoma 6:6, p. 275).
The arrival of the goat at the edge of the wilderness was immediately telegraphed by the waving of flags to the people and the priests back in the Temple precincts.
Peake's Commentary continues:
"According to Hebrew tradition, as preserved in the Mishnah. Yoma vi, 8, the goat was driven to a rocky terrace twelve miles east of Jerusalem, identified as the modern Bet Hudedun, and was driven over these jagged rocks to perish over the precipice ...G. R. Driver, 'Three Technical Terms in the Pentateuch, '...Shows that the 11th century Jewish commentator Rashi...understood AZAZEL to refer to the place to which the goat was sent. It means, 'jagged rocks, precipice,' and only later did the word come to refer to a desert demon...the Rabbis were very clear that the goat was in no sense a gift to Azazel. Rabbi Eliezer declared that the goat was not a gift to Semjaza (Sammael), the chief of the Fallen Angels, nor a bribe to him not to make their offerings void or falsely to accuse Israel. It was not a sacrifice since it was not slaughtered. It was SENT AWAY BY GOD'S COMMAND. God chooses the goat that is sent away to Azazel. Plainly and simply God himself is providing a means of getting rid of Israel's sin" (p. 248-249).
Thus this goat will finally carry the sins of the people of Israel, and be banished into the wilderness. Is this really a picture of the fate of Satan the devil -- as many in the churches believe?
Notice once more: This second goat is chosen "by lot," as is the first goat. That is, YEHOVAH God Himself chooses which goat will represent Messiah as our Savior and Redeemer, and which goat will represent this other symbolism -- the "azazel."
What does this "live goat" represent? We have already seen that the sacrificed goat represented the Messiah himself. But this goat was NOT "sacrificed." Yet the "sins" of the people were confessed over it, and put on its head. That is, it was made to be RESPONSIBLE for the people's sins -- it was to carry the BLAME! What person, or individual, does this goat represent, who is made to bear responsibility for the sins of the people?
Two Goats -- One Offering!
The KEY to answering this question is found in Leviticus 16:5, which says: "And he [Aaron] shall take from the congregation of the children of Israel two male goats for A [singular] sin offering and one ram for a burnt offering." In other words, the TWO goats made up a single offering -- not two different offerings!
Another factor is mentioned by Alfred Edersheim in his book on the Temple --
"The two goats, however, must be altogether alike in look, size, and VALUE; indeed, so earnestly was it sought to carry out the idea that these two formed parts of one and the SAME sacrifice, that it was arranged they should, if possible, even be purchased at the same time" (The Temple, p. 312).
An example of this can be found in the purification of lepers -- see Leviticus 14. According to the Mishnah, two birds offered for the leper were to be PRECISELY the same color, size and value, and, if possible, bought on the same day -- to mark the fact that the two formed integral parts of ONE AND THE SAME SERVICE. Edersheim makes the observation that "the rites [for lepers] are, in fact, twofold -- the first [analogous to the goat sacrificed on the Day of Atonement], to restore him [the leper] to fellowship with the congregation; the other [analogous to the scapegoat] to introduce him [the leper] anew to communion with God. In both respects he [the leper] had been dead, and was alive again; and the new life, so consecrated, was ONE HIGHER than the old could ever have been"! (ibid., p. 358).
This agrees amazingly with the rites of the Day of Atonement if we accept the fact that BOTH GOATS REPRESENT THE MESSIAH!
The identifications of the two goats with the Messiah can be traced back to early Christianity. In his dissertation on The Symbolism of the Azazel Goat, Ralph Levy takes a look at the interpretation of Azazel in both ancient Jewish and early Christian literature. He found that in many early Christian writings the two goats BOTH REPRESENT YESHUA THE MESSIAH! We find a clear example of this in the General Epistle of Barnabas written, according to some experts, before the Epistle of Jude and the writings of John. Some of the early Church Fathers believed that this epistle was written for the benefit of the Ebionites "who were tenacious of rites and ceremonies." Notice what Barnabas says:
"Take, says he, two goats, fair and alike, and offer them, and let the high priest take one of them for a burnt offering. And what must be done with the other? Let it say he be accursed. CONSIDER HOW EXACTLY THIS APPEARS TO HAVE BEEN A TYPE OF JESUS. And let all the congregation spit upon it, and prick it, and put the scarlet wool about its head, and thus let it be carried forth into the wilderness. And this being done, he that was appointed to convey the goat, led it into the wilderness, and took away the scarlet wool, and put it upon a thorn bush..."
Continues Barnabas --
"And to what end was this ceremony? Consider; one was offered upon the altar, the other was accursed. And why was that which was accursed crowned? Because they shall see Christ in that day having a scarlet garment about his body; and shall say: Is not this he whom we crucified, having despised him, pierced him, mocked him?.... But what then signifies this. That the wool was to be put into the midst of the thorns? THIS IS ALSO A FIGURE OF JESUS, sent out to the church. For he who would take away the scarlet wool must undergo many difficulties, because that thorn was very sharp, and with difficulty get it: So they, says Christ, that will see me, and come to my kingdom, must through many afflictions and troubles attain unto me" (6:6-9; 10-11, 14-15).
The origin of the two goats themselves may very well be found in the famous episode when Jacob is persuaded by his mother to dress up like his brother. Rebecca instructs him, in Genesis 27:9, to "go now to the herd and bring me two good goats..." The Mishnah expands on this, saying:
"How do we know that it was in the merit of Jacob [that we take the two goats]? These are the goats that his mother referred to 'Go now to the herd and bring me two good goats...' Why are they called 'good'?
"Rabbi Brechia said in the name of Rabbi Chelbo: 'They are good for you and good for your children. They are good for you when you enter, and take the blessings from you father, and they are good for your children, when they soil themselves in sin all year round. Then they will bring these two goats, and offer them and be cleansed'" (Pesikta Rabbati 47).
Jacob's entrance into his father may be paralleled with the once-yearly entrance of the High Priest into the Holy of Holies. Jacob prepared for this appearance with THE TWO GOATS, as his descendants would in the future.
We find, in the following encyclopedia, confirmation of the two goats forming ONE symbol --
"Two goats were needed, for just one goat could not serve as a sacrifice and still be used to carry away the sins of Israel. Both goats were referred to as ONE SIN OFFERING (Le. 16:5) and were treated similarly until the casting of lots over them, which indicates that together they formed one symbol. Not only was Jesus Christ sacrificed but also he carries away the sins of those for whom he died sacrificially" (Insight On the Scriptures, Vol. 1, p. 214).
A few pages later, in this same volume, we find some additional information --
"Both goats were to be unblemished, sound, and as much alike as possible. Before the casting of lots over them, both goats stood the chance of being selected as the goat for Jehovah. After sacrificing the goat for Jehovah, the high priest laid his hands upon the head of the living goat and confessed the sins of the people over it. This goat was then sent away, being taken into the wilderness by 'a ready man.' (Le. 16:20-22) The goat for Azazel thus symbolically carried off the people's sins of the past year, disappearing with them into the wilderness.
"THE TWO GOATS WERE REFERRED TO AS ONE SIN OFFERING. (Le. 16:5) Two were used to apparently add emphasis to what was accomplished by this provision to atone for the sins of the people. The first goat was sacrificed. The second, having the sins of the people confessed over it and being sent far away into the wilderness, added force to the forgiveness that Jehovah grants to repentant ones. Psalm 103:12 gives the assurance: 'As far off as the sunrise is from the sunset, so far off from us he has put our transgressions'" (p. 226).
Kaiser, Davids, Bruce and Brauch concur with this assessment in the Hard Sayings of the Bible -- notice!
"After the high priest had made atonement for his own sins and those of his household, he proceeded with the rites of atonement for the whole community. The community brought two male goats AS A SINGLE SIN OFFERING and a ram as a burnt offering. BOTH GOATS WERE FOR ATONEMENT: one dealt with the fact of atonement and the other with the effect of atonement in removing sin. The first goat had to be slain in order to picture the atonement proffered; the other goat was presented alive and then released into the wilderness, symbolizing the removal of the forgiven sins (on the basis of the slain substitute)" (InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL. 1996, p. 159).
Concludes the Insight On the Scriptures:
"As the apostle Paul explained, by Jesus' offering of his own perfect human life as a sacrifice for the sins of mankind, he accomplished far more than had been achieved by "the blood of bulls and of goats." (Heb. 10:4, 11, 12) HE THUS SERVED AS "THE SCAPE GOAT," being the "carrier of our sicknesses," the one "pierced for our transgressions." (Isa. 53:4, 5; Mt. 8:17; 1 Pe. 2:24) He "carried away" the sins of all who exercise faith in the value of his sacrifice. He demonstrated the provision of God to take sinfulness into complete oblivion. IN THESE WAYS THE GOAT "FOR AZAZEL" PICTURES THE SACRIFICE OF JESUS CHRIST" (p. 226).
The Epistle of Barnabas
In the Epistle of Barnabas -- which we looked at earlier in this article -- the author makes an intriguing statement concerning the second or azazel goat: "Consider; one [goat] was offered upon the altar, the other [goat] WAS ACCURSED [e)pikata/ratoj]" (Barnabas 6:10). The accursed goat is a clear reference to "the goat for Azazel" which, according to Barnabas, REPRESENTS THE MESSIAH. The identical word e)pikata/ratoj "cursed" also is found in Galatians 3:13 in reference to the Messiah -- notice!
"Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become A CURSE for us (for it is written, 'CURSED is everyone who hangs on a tree')."
Here Paul is alluding to Deuteronomy 21:23, which says, "...for he who is hanged is ACCURSED of God." It is difficult to determine whether the author of the Epistle of Barnabas (which we have seen was probably written before the Epistle of Jude and the writings of John) would have had access to the apostle Paul's writings; however, he would have been familiar with many of the ideas conveyed by Paul. Paul's notion of Yeshua being ACCURSED is clearly echoed in Barnabas 6:7 and 10. The question arises: How is the expression "for Azazel" interpreted in the Epistle of Barnabas?
In the Book of Deuteronomy, to which Paul alludes in Galatians 3:13, "to be accursed" is equated with "experiencing the wrath of YEHOVAH God":
"...the ANGER OF THE LORD and His jealousy would burn against that man, and every CURSE that is written in this book would settle on him..." (Deuteronomy 29:20).
Then, in Deuteronomy 29:27 --
"Then the ANGER OF THE LORD was aroused against this land, to bring on it every CURSE that is written in this book."
Therefore, Barnabas 6:7 and 10 reflects the idea that "the goat for Azazel" was accursed in the sense of being destined "for the powerful wrath of God."
Although the New Testament writers never mention explicitly that YEHOVAH's anger was upon the Messiah, this idea seems to be implied. Shortly before his suffering and death, Yeshua begs his Father "let this cup pass from me" (Matthew 26:39; Mark 14:36; Luke 22:42 and John 18:11), the cup signifying, in all likelihood, "the cup of God's wrath" spoken of by the prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah -- see Isaiah 51:17, 22 and Jeremiah 25:15. This "cup" is used as a metaphor for punishment and divine retribution for sin. Moreover, it can be argued that Paul -- in Romans 3:24-25 -- speaks of the Messiah's death as a propitiation (i(lasth/rion), that is, his death appeased the anger of YEHOVAH God against sin, resulting in the sinner's deliverance from YEHOVAH's wrath as mentioned in I Thessalonians 1:10 --
"...and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come."
These implied references in the New Testament to YEHOVAH's wrath or anger upon the Messiah clearly strengthen the argument that Barnabas interpreted "the goat for Azazel" as a TYPE OF THE MESSIAH who bore the wrath of YEHOVAH as a divine retribution for sin.
The Epistle of Barnabas brings out another fascinating concept -- that of Yeshua as the abused scapegoat. In the New Testament we find, within the story of the Messiah's trial, the idea that he is spat upon and poked with a reed. We find this in Mark 14:65, where he is on trial before the Jewish authorities -- "And some began to SPIT on him, and to cover his face, and to STRIKE him..." Then, when on trial before the Roman authorities: "And they struck his head with a REED, and SPAT upon him...(Mark 15:19). It seems odd that these incidents, which are minor details in the overall picture of the crucifixion and death of the Messiah, should be mentioned by Mark. Why is it in the text, why did the Roman soldiers, who were just doing their job, bother to spit on the Messiah and poke him with a reed?
Writes John Dominic Crossan in the Biblical Archaeology Review:
"Let's take a look at the Epistle of Barnabas, a document that is not in the New Testament. It's a work of exegesis written towards the end of the first century in which Christians meditate explicitly on Hebrew Scripture, or Old Testament texts, and find them fulfilled in the passion of Jesus. As far as we can see, the author doesn't seem to know any of the canonical Gospels. He hasn't read the stories. HE EQUATES JESUS WITH THE SCAPEGOAT from the Jewish Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur). Jesus is the scapegoat who carries away the sins of the people. But he knows not only Leviticus 16, which is where you find the story of the scapegoat. He also knows details that aren't in Leviticus 16 but which we find later in the Mishnah, the codification of Jewish law compiled around 200 CE by Judah the Patriarch. It looks like he's actually remembering the ceremony; he's not just reading Leviticus."
Crossan continues, by saying --
"Barnabas 7[6?]:7 says, 'Note what was commanded: "Take two goats, goodly and alike, and offer them (notice how the type of Jesus is manifested)....And do you all SPIT on it and GOAD it [with reeds], and bind the scarlet wool about its head and let it be cast into the desert."' Apparently, Barnabas knows...that this is probably historically correct, that when the scapegoat was being ushered into the desert, the poor beast was spat upon by the people, not as cruelty to animals, but simply TO SPIT THEIR SINS OUT UPON IT, to get rid of their sins in a physical sense. And POKING THE GOAT WITH THE REED, the ordinary instrument they would have at hand, pushes it on its way. You can hardly imagine a more graphic way of saying I empty my sins onto this beast, and get away from me, beast, into the desert" ("The Passion, Crucifixion and Resurrection" in The Search for Jesus).
"The scapegoat," concludes Crossan, "TYPIFIES JESUS, who dies "for our sins."
What's In a Name?
The very name "Azazel" itself is very significant. Writes Alfred Edersheim regarding the term "la-Azazel",
"Both the interpretation which makes it a designation of the goat itself (as 'scape-goat' in our Authorised Version), and that which would refer it to a certain locality in the wilderness, being, on many grounds, wholly untenable, two other views remain, one of which regards Azazel as a person, and denoting Satan; while the other would render the term by 'complete removal.' The insurmountable difficulties connected with the first of these notions [that of the second goat supposedly representing Satan] lie on the surface. In reference to the second, it may be said that it not only does violence to Hebrew grammar, but implies that the goat which was to be for 'complete removal' was not even to be sacrificed, but actually 'let go!' Besides, what in that case could be the object of the first goat which was killed, and whose blood was sprinkled in the Most Holy Place?" (The Temple, p. 323).
Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible points out that this term literally means "GOAT OF DEPARTURE." It comes from two roots -- aze, "a she goat (as strong)," and azal, aw-zal -- "a primitive root to GO AWAY, hence to DISAPPEAR, fail, gad about, go to and fro, BE GONE, SPENT."
Discussing the fate of the second goat, Edersheim remarks that
"We may here at once state, that the later Jewish practice of pushing the goat over a rocky precipice was undoubtedly an innovation, in no wise sanctioned by the law of Moses, and not even introduced at the time the Septuagint translation was made, as its rendering of Lev. xvi.26 shows. The law simply ordained that the goat, once arrived in 'the land not inhabited,' was to be 'let go' free, and the Jewish ordinance of having it pushed over the rocks is signally characteristic of the Rabbinical perversion of its spiritual type."
"The word Azazel," concludes Edersheim, "which only occurs in Lev. xvi, is by UNIVERSAL CONSENT derived from a root which means 'wholly to put aside,' or, 'wholly to go away.' Whether, therefore, we render 'la-Azazel' by 'for him who is wholly put aside,' that is, THE SIN-BEARING CHRIST, or 'for being wholly separated,' or 'put wholly aside or away,' the truth is still the same, as pointing through the temporary and provisional removal of sin by the goat 'let go' in 'the land not inhabited,' to the final, real, and complete removal of sin by the Lord Jesus Christ, as we read it in Isa. liii.6: 'Jehovah hath made the iniquities of us all to meet on him'" (The Temple, pp. 323-324).
In Pentateuch and Haftorahs, by Dr. J. H. Hertz (late Chief Rabbi of the British Empire), we read --
"The Heb. Azazel, however, is not a proper name, but a rare Hebrew noun...meaning, "dismissal" or, "entire removal" (RV Margin, Gesenius, Hoffmann, and the Oxford Hebrew Dictionary). It is the ancient technical term for the entire removal of sin and guilt of the community, that was symbolized by the sending away of the goat into the wilderness" (Soncino Press, 1990, p. 481).
Another source states --
"The word lz)z( is a contraction of lzlz( and means 'entire removal,' derived from the Aramaic root lz( 'to remove,' intensified by the reduplication lz. According to this interpretation, 'for Azazel' signifies 'for the entire removal of GUILT'" (BDB, 481; D. Hoffman, Das Buch Leviticus 1-11, Berlin 1905/1906, 444).
The encyclopedia Insight On the Scriptures provides us with the Hebrew Masoretic understanding --
"If we hold to the spelling in the Hebrew Masoretic text, 'aza'.zel' seems to be a combination of two root words meaning 'goat' and 'disappear.' Thus the meaning 'Goat That Disappears'....The Latin Vulgate renders the Hebrew word as capro emissario, that is, 'the emissary goat,' or 'the scapegoat.' And the Greek expression used in the Septuagint means 'THE ONE CARRYING AWAY (averting) EVIL'" (Vol. 1, p. 225).
The Greek translators did not regard azazel as a proper name, but connected it with 'azal, a verb that does not appear in the Old Testament. The meaning they gave it was "to send away." Hence the full meaning of the Hebrew expression would be "in order to send away." The Latin translation followed this same understanding.
Expounds Kaiser, Davids, Bruce and Brauch --
"The most adequate explanation is to view the term 'aza'zel as being composed of TWO WORDS: the first part, 'ez, meaning 'goat,' and the second part, 'azel, meaning 'to go away.' With recent evidence from the Ugaritic (the language of ancient Canaan from which Hebrew is derived), compound names such as this one are turning up more frequently than what we had expected based on evidence from the Hebrew alone. This is how the rendering 'scape goat' came to be. Today, however, we would need to call it the 'escape-goat,' for by 'scape goat' we mean the one who always gets blamed or gets stuck with a task that is distasteful. Originally, however, the King James translators meant 'THE GOAT THAT WAS LED AWAY'" (Hard Sayings of the Bible, pp. 159-160).
Can Satan Make an Atonement?
The most important point concerning the scapegoat is found in Leviticus 16:10, which says -- "But the goat on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat shall be presented alive before the LORD, to make ATONEMENT upon it, and to let it go as the scapegoat into the wilderness." If we choose to believe that "azazel" represents Satan -- as many in the churches do -- this raises the question of whether or not Satan can make an atonement for YEHOVAH's people Israel! Nowhere in the Bible is there a reference to Satan having any part in the atonement process.
The authors of the Hard Sayings of the Bible pose the question:
"Why do some scholars [and so-called ministers] say that this goat was offered to Azazel, a desert demon that was capable of feeding on an animal laden with the sins of the entire nation of Israel? Does the Old Testament actually give aid and comfort to such views and teach that demons inhabit the desert?
"And if the demon view is true, WHY does Leviticus 17:7 EXPRESSLY FORBID making offerings or sacrifices to demons?" (p. 159).
Let's take a look at this passage in the Bible and see what it really says! Notice!
"They [the Israelites] shall no more offer their sacrifices to demons, after whom they have played the harlot. This shall be a statute forever for them throughout their generations" (NKJV).
Now, in a footnote to the word "demons" in the passage above, my Bible says "having the form of a GOAT or satyr." How interesting! If we check this verse out in The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible we find this rendition --
"And they [the Israelites] shall no longer sacrifice their sacrifices TO THE GOAT IDOLS with which they play the harlot. This shall be a statute forever to them throughout their generations."
This is corroborated by the Tanakh, which says
"that they may offer their sacrifices NO MORE TO THE GOAT-DEMONS after whom they stray. This shall be to them a law for all time, throughout the ages."
If we make the azazel goat to represent Satan, or a demon, we are disobeying YEHOVAH's injunction in Leviticus 17:7!! There is absolutely no way the Pharisees, who controlled the Second Temple ritual, would have allowed such an abomination or affront to YEHOVAH God to occur! NEVER!!
Adds Kaiser, Davids, Bruce and Brauch --
"Since this ceremony is PART OF ONE SIN OFFERING, in no sense is the second goat an offering to the devil [Satan] of his demons. The arguments that are brought in to support the view that the second goat is for the devil or his demons are unconvincing. One says that since the first clause of verse 8 indicates that the goat is designated for a person -- the LORD -- the second clause also must refer to the goat's being designated for a person -- Azazel. While this is a grammatical possibility, IT IS NOT REQUIRED BY THE TEXT, and the specific prohibition of making such offerings to demons, found in Leviticus 17:7, is DECISIVE IN RULING OUT THIS POSSIBILITY" (Hard Sayings of the Bible, p. 160).
"According to another argument," state Kaiser, Davids, Bruce and Brauch, "the words in [Leviticus] 16:10 cannot mean that atonement is being made with azazel (that is, azazel as the scapegoat) to propitiate the Lord, but rather that atonement is being made to propitiate Azazel (that is, Azazel as a wilderness demon). The reply is that the same Hebrew expression for atonement is used throughout the chapter. Moreover, in Exodus 30:10 the same expression is translated "to atone over or upon." Here the high priest was to make atonement 'over' the scapegoat by putting Israel's GUILT on it and then sending it away. If the expression appears strange, the answer is that the act described is itself unusual, and no other word could fit it better" (ibid., p. 160).
To repeat -- NOWHERE in the Bible is there a reference to Satan having any part in the atonement process!
The Bible clearly states that the Messiah made the atonement for us BY HIMSELF! In spite of this, it is suggested by many that the first goat represented the atoning work of Yeshua while the second goat represented Satan. It is argued that, since Satan was "the original cause" of all sin, "justice demands that God place right back on the head of the devil his guilt -- not our guilt, but his own guilt -- for leading us into sin" (Pagan Holidays or God's Holy Days -- Which? Herbert W. Armstrong. Worldwide Church of God, 1974, p. 46). Armstrong goes on to say that the "driving away of the second live goat shows the final atonement, by placing the sins on their author where they belong, and the complete removal of the sins and their author from the presence of God and His people -- and thus the complete deliverance of the people from the power of Satan" (page 47).
If this scenario is true -- where in the Bible is the fulfillment of Leviticus 16:21, where the High Priest lays his hands on the azazel goat? The antitypical High Priest (Yeshua the Messiah) is -- according to Armstrong's interpretation -- to lay hands on Satan's head and confess the sins of Israel upon him. Where in the Bible is this even remotely mentioned? It could be said that the angel of Revelation 20:1 represents the "fit man" that sends the goat (Satan, in this interpretation) into the wilderness (represented by the "bottomless pit"), but without the fulfillment of the actual laying on of hands -- or any other references to Satan making an atonement for us -- it becomes nothing but total assumption, a mere theory that cannot be proved!
Some even go so far as to suggest that the angel is in fact the Messiah, portrayed in revelation 19:11-14 as coming down from heaven to earth to smite the nations. However, the trouble with this scenario is that Revelation 19:11-14 DOES NOT portray the return of the Messiah but the RETURN OF YEHOVAH GOD! For more information on this read our article The Return of YEHOVAH God and His Messiah! Even if this passage did indeed portray the return of the Messiah, the personage in Revelation 20:1 is NOT THE SAME and comes down from heaven -- at a later date -- to bind Satan. This ANGEL is the ONLY ONE who lays hands on Satan -- NOT TO CONFESS SINS ON HIS HEAD -- but to cast him into the bottomless pit!!
The Messiah As the Goat Sent Away
On the other hand, the Bible paints a beautiful picture of the fulfillment of Yeshua the Messiah as the goat that was sent away bearing the sins of Israel. Notice Leviticus 16:22 -- "The goat shall bear on itself all their iniquities to an uninhabited land; and he [the 'fit man'] shall release the goat in the wilderness." Now consider the following passages:
"And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation [atonement]" (Romans 5:11).
Also, in Hebrews 1:3 --
"Who being the brightness of His [YEHOVAH's] glory and the express image of His [YEHOVAH's] person, and upholding all things by the word of His [YEHOVAH's] power, when he [the Messiah] had BY HIMSELF PURGED OUR SINS, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty [YEHOVAH God] on high..."
Notice, now, Hebrews 9:25-26:
"Further, he [the Messiah] did not enter heaven to offer himself over and over again, like the high priest who enters the Holiest Place year after year with blood that is not his own; for then he [the Messiah] would have had to suffer death many times -- from the foundation of the universe on. But as it is [in reality] he has appeared once at the end of the ages in order to do away with sin through the sacrifice of himself" (Jewish New Testament).
ISAIAH 53:6 -- "And the LORD [YEHOVAH God] has laid on him [the Messiah] the iniquity of us all." The sins of Israel were laid on the Messiah. They were placed on him, and him ALONE.
ISAIAH 53:11 -- "For he [the "righteous Servant" -- the Messiah] shall bear their iniquities."
ISAIAH 53:12 -- "And he [the Messiah] bore the sin of many..." Yeshua the Messiah is the ONE who bore our sins. He carried them away upon his own head -- which is what the Hebrew "cabal" (bare) means.
ISAIAH 53:4 -- "Surely he [the Messiah] has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows: " The Messiah is the sin-bearer -- NOT Satan!
HEBREWS 9:28 -- "So Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many."
I PETER 2:24 -- "...who himself bore our sins in his own body on the tree..." There is NO OTHER sin-bearer!
JOHN 1:29 -- "The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, "Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!"
I JOHN 3:5 -- "And you know that he [the Messiah] was manifested to take away our sins, and in him there is no sin.
Yeshua the Messiah is the goat that carried away the sins of Israel. He took them upon himself and "was made to be sin for us" (2 Corinthians 5:21). He therefore fulfills the antitypical "azazel" goat. There is no need for Satan to bear anyone's sins -- he has his own sins to bear and they will prove to be unbearable!
How perfectly the Messiah fulfilled the role of the azazel goat is emphasized by Alfred Edersheim --
"The lot having designated each of the two goats, the high-priest tied a tongue-shaped piece of SCARLET CLOTH to the horn of the goat for Azazel -- the so-called 'scape-goat' -- and another round the throat of the goat for Jehovah, which was to be slain. The goat that was to be sent forth was now turned round towards the people, and stood facing them, waiting, as it were, till their sins should be laid on him, and he would carry them forth into 'a land not inhabited.' Assuredly a more marked type of Christ could not be conceived, as he was brought forth by Pilate and stood before the people, just as he was about to be led forth, bearing the iniquity of the people. And, as if to add to the significance of the rite, tradition has it that when the sacrifice was fully accepted the SCARLET MARK which the scape-goat had borne became white, to symbolize the gracious promise in Isa. i.18..." (The Temple, p. 312).
The "gracious promise" in Isaiah 1:18 reads as follows: "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as [white as] wool. Could Satan, as the Azazel goat, do this -- could he make the sins of Israel become as "white as snow"? The answer is obvious!!
Now the act of laying on of hands (Leviticus 16:21; also Leviticus 1:4; 3:2; 4:4, 15, 29, 33) symbolizes the TRANSFERENCE OF SINS from the guilty party (the children of Israel) to the INNOCENT party -- the azazel goat. The INNOCENT then becomes the sin-bearer. Undeniably, Yeshua the Messiah fulfills the type -- see Isaiah 53:4, 6, 11, and 12. Satan, however, CANNOT fulfill the type because he is not innocent! It simply will not satisfy YEHOVAH God's justice to transfer the sins of the guilty to another guilty party. Since lots were used to decide which goat was "for YEHOVAH," it meant that BOTH GOATS had to be unblemished and identical. The antitype of an unblemished goat was the sinlessness of Yeshua the Messiah. Can it be said that Satan is sinless and was to be represented by an unblemished goat? NEVER!!
The Land "Not Inhabited"
The azazel goat was to bear the iniquities of the children of Israel into a land "not inhabited." We have just read passages from the Bible that undeniably teach that the Messiah is the ONLY sin-bearer. Therefore, he can be the ONLY person that fulfills the type of "azazel." With that in mind, HOW does the Messiah fulfill being sent to a land not inhabited and let go into the wilderness?
The Hebrew word for "not inhabited" is gezerah -- meaning "a desert (as separated)." It comes from the root word gazar, meaning "to cut down or off." The Messiah was certainly cut off and separated from not only the land of the living, but also from his Father YEHOVAH God. When Yeshua cried out, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Mark 15:34) it was because at that moment he was separated from YEHOVAH -- having taken upon himself the sins of Israel. Sin always causes a separation from YEHOVAH God, as Isaiah wrote: "But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His [YEHOVAH's] face from you, so that He [YEHOVAH] will not hear" (Isaiah 59:2). The Messiah's disciples also separated themselves from him by forsaking him and denying him.
Yeshua was even separated because he "suffered outside the gate" and "outside the camp" (Hebrews 13:11-13). Notice what Alfred Edersheim says about the "azazel" goat ritual --
"Then a strange scene would be witnessed. The priests led the sin-burdened goat out through 'Solomon's Porch,' and, as tradition has it, through the eastern gate, which opened upon the Mount of Olives. Here an arched bridge spanned the intervening valley, and over it they brought the goat to the Mount of Olives, where one, specially appointed for the purpose, took him in charge. Tradition enjoins that he should be a stranger, a non-Israelite, as if to make still more striking the type of him [the Messiah] who was delivered over by Israel unto the Gentiles [to be crucified]!
"Scripture tells us no more of the destiny of the goat that bore upon him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, than that they 'shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness'" (The Temple, p. 318).
Ernest Martin, in his book Secrets of Golgotha, elaborates on this theme by saying,
"Let us look at the sin offerings associated with the Day of Atonement. Since it was necessary for those sin offerings on that most holy day to be taken eastwards from the Temple, out the eastern gate, over the two-tiered arched bridge crossing the Valley of the Kidron, and then up to the summit of the Mount of Olives to be burnt to ashes, SO JESUS WAS ALSO TAKEN from the same Temple, out the eastern gate (Heb. 13:10-13), also over the two-tiered bridge, and up to the summit of Olivet just south of the Miphkad Altar and there crucified (and stoned to death). The SIMILARITY must have struck early Christians as highly significant. Even the ashes of all the animals sacrificed and burnt to ashes in the Temple had to be taken out the same eastern gate, over the two-tiered bridge, and up to the summit of Olivet to be poured out at the base of the Miphkad Altar."
Continues Martin --
"This means that Christ Jesus, with the events that happened to him on the day of his trial and crucifixion, FOLLOWED THE SAME PATH of all the animal sacrifices (or their ashes) in the ritualistic ceremonies of the Temple. With an understanding of these geographical and ritualistic indications associated with the passion of Christ, we are provided with even more symbolic and theological teaching that Jesus Christ did in fact FULFILL THE ROLE OF THE SIN-BEARER, and that he was the prophesied one to offer a pure and complete sacrifice to God for all people in the world [of Israel]" (ASK Publications, Alhambra, CA 1988, pages 246-247).
Yeshua the Messiah was the sin-bearer -- NOT Satan the Devil! Yeshua was sent into the wilderness of total separation as he bore our sins away.
The "Fit" Or "Ready Man"
Now, what about the "fit man" that escorted the goat to the edge of the wilderness? If the angel of Revelation 20:1 is not the fulfillment -- then who is'? Clearly, the "fit man" that the priests handed the azazel goat over to was fulfilled by one of the Temple Guard, or officer in charge of the Temple Guard, that carried out the crucifixion of the Messiah. While I consider this fulfillment of the "fit man" to be the correct one, there is another possible antitype.
The word "fit" comes from the Hebrew "timely, opportune, at hand." Some translations render it, "a timely man." "a man of opportunity," or "an appointed man." The Bible reveals there was a man who was "at hand" at the right time, "appointed" by YEHOVAH God to lead the Messiah to his "wilderness" separation. That man could, in all likelihood, have been Judas. Acts 1:16 states that Judas "became a guide to those who arrested Jesus." It also says, in Matthew 26:24, "The Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born." Yeshua was "going" to the wilderness bearing our sins upon him. Judas could have been the man appointed to lead and guide Yeshua on that journey into the wilderness of total separation.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is this: The Bible unequivocally declares Yeshua the Messiah to be the ONLY sin-bearer who not only died for the remission of sins for the people of Israel, but also the only one to actually take those sins away. When we realize that YEHOVAH's goat and the azazel goat are ONE atonement offering -- rather than two separate offerings separated by thousands of years -- we can understand and appreciate the symbolic fulfillment more readily. The Messiah is the perfect fulfillment of the typical atonement sacrifice. As YEHOVAH's goat his blood CLEANSED the heavenly sanctuary (Hebrews 9:23) and the Israel of YEHOVAH (Leviticus 16:17). As "azazel" he bore our sins and took them away forever!
After explaining the process whereby the two goats were chosen, author E. Raymond Capt adds that
"atonement was accomplished by the offering of blood and sprinkling it before the Mercy Seat. The LIVE GOAT [azazel] was public manifestation and proof of acceptance of the sacrifice in the Divine Presence and the transference of GUILT from the sinner to the Scapegoat. What was accomplished "within" was manifested "without." It signified the dismissal, (Azazel -- dismissal, R.V. margin) of our sins. Christ is our "Azazel," our "Scapegoat," "cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken" (Isa. 53:8)" (King Solomon's Temple, Artisan Sales, Thousand Oaks, CA. 1979, p. 59).
The "live goat," who has the sins of the people put on his head, and who is then led into the desert, to a solitary place AWAY from all people, also represents Yeshua the Messiah!
According to Alfred Edersheim,
"the sins of the people were confessed NOT ON "THE GOAT WHICH WAS KILLED, but on that which was 'let go in the wilderness,' and that it was this goat -- NOT the other -- which 'bore upon him all the iniquities' of the people [of Israel]. So far as the CONSCIENCE was concerned, this goat was the real and the only sin-offering 'for all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins,' for upon it the high-priest laid the sins of the people, after he had by the blood of the bullock and of the other goat 'made an end of reconciling the Holy Place, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar.'"
Continues Edersheim --
"The blood sprinkled had effected this, but it had done NO MORE, and it could do no more, for it 'could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the CONSCIENCE.' The symbolical representation of this perfecting was by the LIVE GOAT, which, laden with the confessed sins of the people, carried them away into 'the wilderness' to 'a land not inhabited.' The only meaning of which this seems really capable, is that though confessed guilt was removed from the people to the head of the goat, as the symbolical substitute, yet the goat was not killed, only sent far away, into 'a land not inhabited,' so, under the Old Covenant, sin was not really blotted out, only put away from the people, and put aside till Christ came, not only to take upon himself the burden of transgression, but to blot it out and to purge it away" (The Temple, pp. 320-321).
The blood of both the bullock and the first goat -- which the High Priest carried once a year into the Holy of Holies -- was offered only for himself (including the priesthood) and for the errors (more correctly, ignorances) of the people.
"But this live scape-goat," explains Edersheim, "'let go' in the wilderness, over which, in the exhaustive language of Lev. xvi.21, the high-priest had confessed and on which he had laid 'all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins,' MEANT SOMETHING QUITE DIFFERENT. It meant the inherent 'weakness and unprofitableness of the commandment;' it meant, that 'the law made nothing perfect, but was the bringing in of a better hope;' that in the covenant mercy of God guilt and sin were indeed removed from the people, that they were 'covered up,' and in that sense atoned for, or rather that they were both 'covered up' and removed, but that they were not really taken away and destroyed till Christ came; that they were only taken into a land not inhabited, till he [the Messiah] should blot it out by his own blood; that the provision which the Old Testament made was only preparatory and temporary, until the 'time of the reformation;' and that hence real and true forgiveness of sins, and with it the spirit of adoption, could only be finally obtained after the death and resurrection of 'the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world"' (ibid., pp. 321-322).
The live (azazel) goat that was let go every year was a remover of sins which were never really removed in the sense of being blotted out -- only deposited, as it were, and reserved until the Messiah died for our sins on the tree.
Philo, a leading Jewish historian and writer of the first century, who was a friend of the apostle Peter, wrote of the Azazel goat, "The one goat is given to 'the fugitive creature,' and the lot which it received is named in the prophesy 'sent away,' because it is persecuted, expelled, and driven far away by wisdom" (Hastings Dictionary of the Bible, "Feasts and Fasts," p. 862). What a perfect picture of the Messiah!
Although the Messiah has fulfilled BOTH typical goats, there remains one major aspect of the Day of Atonement that remains unfulfilled. The antitypical JUBILEE TRUMPET marking the beginning of the Jubilee year (which was typically blown on the Day of Atonement when it came due) has yet to be blown. When YEHOVAH God -- through the Messiah -- returns His verdicts towards the end of the Day of Atonement, the JUBILEE TRUMPET will sound to set the captives free from death and the Day of Atonement will see its total fulfillment.
The Fate of Satan
While Satan clearly has no part in the atonement process, he still must pay dearly for leading the line of Adam astray these past 6.000 years. The Scriptures say, "The wages of sin is DEATH" (Romans 6:23 ). That applies to the sin of Satan and his henchmen as well as the sins of Israel. There is not a different penalty for Satan and the demons. They, too, will DIE -- be destroyed -- because of their wickedness! YEHOVAH God is Creator, and the Creator is greater than the created objects He makes and fashions. If He chooses, He can destroy any part of His creation that He decides to destroy. YEHOVAH God Almighty is perfectly able to destroy the devil and his demons, when the day of final retribution and judgment comes!
The demons know their fate. That is why they are so terror-stricken when they contemplate it. When the Messiah approached a man with a demon, the demon cried out to him, "What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to DESTROY US? I know who you are -- the Holy One of God!" (Mark 1:24). The Greek word for "destroy" here is APOLLUMI, and means literally, "TO DESTROY FULLY, PERISH, DIE."
A clue to the fate of Satan and the demons is found in the 82nd Psalm. The Psalmist David writes, "I have taken you for DIVINE BEINGS, sons of the Most High, all of you, BUT you shall DIE as men do, fall like any prince" (Psalm 82:6-7). The Moffatt translation renders this verse with an unusual interpretation, translating "prince" as "demon" -- as the demons are regarded in the Scriptures as "princes" of the darkness. Paul writes, "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the RULERS, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms" (Ephesians 6:12). Says Moffatt: "Or, I say, though you are gods, all sons of the Most High, yet, like mere men, you shall die, you shall PERISH LIKE A DEMON" (Psalm 82:6-7).
Peter describes that awesome day when the devil will be destroyed, and the very elements of the heavens will blaze and be consumed, and YEHOVAH God will created a NEW heavens and a NEW earth wherein only righteousness will dwell or exist!
Peter writes "But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a ROAR; the elements will be DESTROYED by FIRE, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the DESTRUCTION OF THE HEAVENS BY FIRE, and the ELEMENTS WILL MELT IN THE HEAT. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a NEW HEAVEN and a NEW EARTH, the home of righteousness" (II Peter 3:10-13).
The very heavens and galaxies will be destroyed by "fire." The very elements that comprise the Universe and every object in it, will "melt." The whole Universe will implode in a super-fiery ball of heat and incredible energy, like one gigantic "black hole" or "neutron star." In this fiery age-ending Holocaust, the devil and his angels will also PERISH and be DESTROYED! They, along with all the wicked, will be reduced to nothing -- the equivalent of random atoms and molecules or subatomic particles. Not even two atoms will cleave together in a molecular "element."
At that fiery judgment, the great Destroyer himself will be destroyed.
But, brethren, we the people of YEHOVAH God look forward to a NEW heavens and
a NEW earth, where no wickedness will exist -- where there will be therefore
no evil, no Satan, no demons, no wickedness of any kind. Let us look forward
with eager hearts and thrilling excitement and anticipation of that great and
glorious time! Let us pray more fervently to YEHOVAH God our Father, THY KINGDOM
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