THE AZAZAL GOAT, REFRAMED
There is an overt movement in at least two branches of the scattered Church that attempts to change our overall understanding as to the role and identity of the second or Azazal goat on the Day of Atonement.
Traditionally, we viewed this second goat as a representation of Satan’s role of responsibility in the sins of the world, but some want us to believe a rather preposterous idea that the second goat represents Christ just as does the first. I see extreme danger for those who put forth such an idea, since Satan wants to be perceived as an angel of light, and in this case as Christ himself!
In this article we will examine briefly just four assertions of this diverse idea. Here is how the argument goes:
“The second goat had to be unblemished just like the first, therefore the second goat could never represent Satan, since he is blemished with sin.”
“It is not possible for Satan to be part of the Atonement God provides for his people, since it is only a role that can be fulfilled by the savior.”
“These two are one sin offering.”
“The term Azazel does not appear anywhere in the bible itself, but comes from writings outside the scriptures”
Okay, so let’s take the last point first. Of course the word does not appear in our English versions of the bible, since the translators use English words translated from the original Hebrew word Azazel. James Strong says it means goat of departure. The KJV authors unfortunately chose the word scapegoat, which usually carries connotations of an innocent bystander, whereas goat of departure does not.
I find it instructive that James Moffatt had no problem interpreting the word as “Azazel the Demon!”
A very brief search on the internet results in many, many references to the word being applied to a demon and often to Satan, so the Moffatt translation has abundant support for the word as some form of demon.
Okay, so what about both goats together representing one offering? This is impossible, since only one goat was offered on the altar, not two. Why the confusion? It is primarily because Lev. 16:5 clearly states that both goats are for the sin offering, but why?
This is because both goats at this point in Leviticus had to be equally spotless, and only the subsequent casting of lots could determine which one would be literally sacrificed, and which would be the “goat of departure”. Only one goat spilled its blood and died in the process. Only the blood of that one goat was taken into the Holy of Holies by the High Priest.
There is no description of the second goat as being “offered” in any form once it had been selected as the Azazal, but rather is sent out from the camp. It was then let loose alive in the wilderness. Remember, it did not die nor lose any of its blood in the process, and this alone makes it impossible for it to ever represent the sacrifice of the savior! Equally true is that the goat that was sacrificed on the altar is referred to as the sin offering at least four times! This fact is of supreme importance.
Now, how about the assertion that Satan could never be a part of Atonement, since he is the epitome of sin?
All we need to do is let Ezekiel speak to us about Satan’s past. There was a time when he literally was perfect, and completely sinless as the angel Lucifer. Then at some point, sin was discovered in him, at which time God sent him out from the throne, as the first type of the goat of departure; departure from God’s righteousness, and literally departure from God’s presence.
Satan’s story, as told by Ezekiel, is acted out in type on the Day of Atonement in the character of the second goat. This reflects his history, and also his fate of permanent separation from God, as well as God’s people.