Did God Really Ordain Sacrifices to Satan?
Refuting the Blasphemous Lies of A Leading Taqiyyist Pt. 2
We continue our discussion.
Ibn Anwar’s Misuse of Sources
The Muslim neophyte culled together different sources to show that Azazel could not be a place name, but had to refer to a personal being. He also used these references to demonstrate that according to later traditions, such as those found in certain Jewish and Christian writings like the book of Enoch or the writings of Origen, Azazel was viewed to be the name of an evil spirit or demon.
What makes this rather ironic is that these very same sources which the greenhorn appealed to actually end up refuting his entire argument.
Some of these scholars affirm that the traditions are not uniform concerning the exact identity or meaning of Azazel in Leviticus 16, e.g. whether it is a place-name or a personal being, and that even among those sources which do identify Azazel as an evil spirit none of the earliest ones connect him in anyway with Leviticus 16.
In fact, we will not only quote the very same authorities cited by this greenhorn, we will also provide those parts which the Muslim neophyte conveniently chose to omit from his article.
We begin by citing Archie T. Wright. Yet before we do the readers need to keep in mind that the letters BW which appear all throughout Wright’s quotation stand for the pseudepigraphal writing 1 Enoch 1-36, which is also referred to as the Book of Watchers:
“The proposal offered by Hanson that the ‘Azazel’ tradition was taken up by the author of BW from Leviticus 16 should be examined on several points. First, no linguistic evidence exists within 1 Enoch that can date the adoption of this name PRIOR TO THE EARLY CENTURIES OF THE COMMON ERA. No textual evidence can be found that this name existed as such in the extant Greek versions, which the majority of scholars agree were derived from an Aramaic (or Hebrew) original. Second, there is no textual evidence that the name existed in the Aramaic versions of BW found at Qumran. Third, one should consider that if the author of BW was attempting to draw the ‘atonement motif’ of Leviticus into his work, why would he choose to use the name Asa'el rather than simply the term Azazel?
“In defence of Hanson, there are fragments of the Book of Giants (4Q203 7.6 - 4QEnGiantsa), which contains the name la’azazel (‘for Azazel’), but there is no clear reference in the fragment to the atonement ritual. The name in 4Q203 7.6 does apparently correspond to the spelling found in Leviticus 16 (… but there is little within the context of the fragment that would correspond to Leviticus). It is possible that what is represented by the name azazel in 4Q203 7.6 may be the beginning of the inclusion of the Asa'el motif into BW in order to interpret the Day of Atonement motif in Leviticus. But based on the difficulties of dating the fragments of BG, it is problematic to interpret the presence of the name azazel as evidence for the Leviticus atonement motif within a possibly much earlier BW. Based on this type of evidence (i.e. that discussed above), the present-day interpreter must use caution when attempting to apply traditions or interpretations of a later text to an earlier text… Stuckenbruck suggests that the author of 4Q180 perhaps borrowed the figure of Azazel from the Leviticus story and related it to the birth of the giants, but there is little in 4Q180 that suggests similar language to that of 1 Enoch 10.8, although this is not necessary. He suggests that the author of 4Q180 (see frag 1.7-10) may have been following the tradition found in 1 Enoch 10, the binding of Asa'el and allocating all sin to him, thus linking him to the atonement ritual of Leviticus 16. However, within what little context there is of the fragment, there is no clear indication in the text that there is any allusion to Leviticus 16.70 Stuckenbruck correctly states that an ‘expiatory role’ for Azazel in Ethiopic 1 Enoch 10.4, 5, 8 cannot be discounted. However, the corresponding Aramaic fragment of 1 Enoch 10.4 does not use the name Azazel; instead, the name has been reconstructed by Milik to read Asa'el. Stuckenbruck suggests the presence of the biblical form Azazel in the Ethiopic witnesses may be, ‘a deliberate connection to the Yom Kippur ritual,’ however, its presence in the Ethiopic text does not mean that was the original author's intention.
“Although documents DATED LATER THAN the Aramaic BW contain the Leviticus Azazel motif, to use these documents to support the reading of this tradition back into BW as Hanson and Grabbe have suggested IS UNTENABLE. Further, to suggest the same type of support for the Book of Giants (4Q203) by drawing parallels to it from the Midrash of Shemhazai and 'Aza'el IS AGAIN UNWARRANTED. Authors and translators in the first century B.C.E. and beyond likely knew of the angel Asa'el in 1 Enoch AND BEGAN TO CONNECT him to the story in Leviticus 16, but there is no evidence that this was the intention of the author of BW.74
“A second difficulty arises in accepting Hanson's suggestion that the name Asa'el would invite a comparison with the Yom Kippur story in Leviticus. This comparison would require first of all the personification of the term azazel from Leviticus 16.8. Jacob Milgrom suggests that there are three main readings of this term in connection with Yom Kippur. The first interpretation of azazel is derived from the LXX translation (16.8) to apopompaio – ‘for the one carrying away [the evil].’ A similar understanding is read in 16.26, ton chimaron ton diestalmenon eis aphesin – ‘the goat, the one dispatched for remission.’78 The second interpretation regards the term azazel as a ‘rough and difficult place’ which is a description of the destination of the goat. This interpretation is found in later Jewish texts such as Targum Pseudo-Jonathan; b. Yoma 67b; Sifra, Ahare 2.8. Some textual evidence exists (i.e. the presence of azazel) in the Temple Scroll (11Q19 26.11-13) that this was a possible understanding of azazel in the Qumran community – ‘… and will confess over its head all the sins of the children of Israel with all their guilt together with all their sins; and he shall place them on the head of the he-goat and will send it to Azazel, [to] the desert [la’azazel ham'midbar], from the hand of the man indicated.’ The third interpretation of azazel identifies it as a deity. The evidence for this interpretation PRIMARILY COMES FROM MIDRASHIM; e.g. 3 Enoch 4.6; Pirqe R. Eliezar 46. Milgrom suggests this idea is supported by the parallel structure of Leviticus 16.8 in which a goat is dedicated to the Lord and one dedicated ‘for Azazel.’ This, Milgrom argues, designates a divine name, i.e. a demon. Thus, he suggests that Azazel is referring to a demon to which the goat has been dispatched in the wilderness, the habitation of demons. This suggestion by Milgrom requires an interpretation of 1 Enoch 10.4-5 that betrays the text. He argues that the angel Raphael is ordered to bind the demon Asa'el and banish him to the wilderness. Initially, Milgrom's comment appears to be a legitimate parallel; however, nowhere in BW is Asa'el actually designated as a demon.83 Only in 1 Enoch 15.8 is there a reference to what one might consider demons and these are evil spirits that come from the giant offspring, not from fallen Watchers. The Septuagint offers further evidence that around the time of the writing of Aramaic BW the Azazel motif in the Leviticus 16 passage WAS YET TO BE EMBODIED AS A DEMON.
16.8 And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two he-goats one lot to the Lord and one lot to the one sent away. 9. And Aaron shall offer the goat, upon which the lot for the Lord fell, and offer it up concerning sin. And to the he-goat, upon which the lot of the remission fell he will set it living before the Lord to make atonement, and to send it out for the remission, he shall send it to the wilderness. 26. And the one sending out the he-goat, the one separated for forgiveness, will wash the garment and will bathe his body in water, and afterwards, he will re-enter into the camp.
"The Greek translators of the Hebrew text HAVE FAILED TO PERSONIFY Azazel in their Greek translation. Although this is an argument from silence, it challenges the idea that Azazel was personified in the second to third centuries B.C.E., perhaps casting doubt that this was a motif expressed by the author of BW." (Wright, The Origins of Evil Spirits, Chapter 4: Reception of the "Sons of God" in the Book of Watchers, 4.3.2 Asa'el and the Atonement Motif, pp. 109-114; bold and capital emphasis ours)
70 There are several documents at Qumran concerning Leviticus - IQ3; 2Q5; 4Q23 (frag of Lev 1 6. 1 5-29 - DJD 1 2 - 1 53-76) 4Q24; 4Q25; 4Q26; 4Q26a; 4Q26b; 6Q2; IIQI; IIQ2; unfortunately there are no fragments from Lev 16.8, 1 0. IIQ19 XXVI 13 (the Temple Scroll) contains a description of the sacrifice of the two goats on the Day of Atonement. Line 13 contains a similar spelling of Azazel to that which has been established in 4Q180 I 7-8, azazel. This text does not, however, identify azazel as a demon, but only as a place in the wilderness and therefore does not assist in determining a clearer interpretation of azazel. (Ibid, 112; bold emphasis ours)
74 Cf. Dimant, "Fallen Angels" 84. Dimant argues that it is unnecessary to connect the fall of Asa'el with the story of Satan (i.e. Azazel of Lev 16) at this early stage of the tradition. Cf. also Jubilees 5.17-18 (and Jubilees 34.18-19) which describes the Day of Atonement WITH NO MENTION OF THE AZAZEL GOAT. (Ibid, p. 112; capital emphasis ours)
78 In the later traditions which adopt the idea of the personification of Azazel as a demon in the desert, the sins of Israel are laid upon the scapegoat not upon Azazel; the goat is then removed from the camp. The tradition presents the idea that the scapegoat is being made a sacrifice to the demon Azazel in the desert. Hanson argues (see "Rebellious in Heaven," 221) that "the biblical source for the Azazel material supplies no accusation against the hapless scapegoat; rather he is to atone for the sins of others,” however, this would seem to indicate that Hanson is equating the scapegoat to Azazel, which is wrong. Azazel cannot play the part of both the goat that the sins are laid upon and the demon to which it is being sent. (Ibid, p. 113)
83 Cf. Nickelsburg, "Apocalyptic and Myth," 402. Nickelsburg argues that in 1 Enoch 10 As'el is "clearly a demon," which is an interpretation of the passage that can ONLY be made by application of the LATER CHRISTIAN TRADITION of the Fallen Angels as demons. The Eth. of 1 Enoch 19 describes how the spirits of the Watchers led men astray and caused them to sacrifice to demons, but it does not identify the angels as demons. The extant Greek text is less clear as to whom or what led the humans astray. The text perhaps hints that it is the spirits of their offspring at work until the Judgment Day – "and their spirits, becoming many forms, violently maltreated the men and led them astray to sacrifice to demons (daimoniois)." This passage, if it is describing the angels, contradicts what we have been told in 1 Enoch 10.12 in which the Watchers are bound up under the hills of the earth until the Judgment Day. (Ibid, p. 114; bold and capital emphasis ours)
Another source that the greenhorn quoted states:
“Still another rite (vv 20-26), of unquestionably ancient vintage, was blended into the Day of Atonement liturgy. Its earliest reference is found in the mention of the two male goats (vv 5,7-10). One of these, ‘for the Lord,’ became the people’s sin offering, whereas the latter, ‘for Azazel,’ became the bearer of the community’s guilt. With the purification of the sanctuary completed (v 20), the priest imposed his hands on the remaining goat and confessed the people’s sins, thus bringing about a transmission of the sins to the goat. Carrying its evil burden, it was led off to a desert place by an attendant, who became unclean in the execution of his task. The evil was thus removed from the people’s midst. The name Azazel only occurs in chap. 16. Driver (JSS 1  97-98) identifies it with a place-name meaning ‘rugged rocks’ or ‘precipice,’ from the root ‘zz (Arabic ‘azazu(n), ‘rough ground’). De Vaux finds the argument unconvincing in terms of the personal parallel demanded by the context: one goat for Yahweh one goat for Azazel. With most modern commentators, he explains the term as the name of a supernatural being, a devil whose customary haunt was the desert (Isa 34:14; also 1 Enoch 9:6; 10:4-8; cf. de Vaux, AI 509; H. Tawil, ZAW 92  43-59). The Vg, FOLLOWING THE LXX, refers to it as ‘the goat sent out’ (caper emissarius), whence the Eng escape goat or scapegoat. The idea of sin transference to animals is a found among the primitive customs of various peoples even today (see J. G. Frazer, The Golden Bough [NY, 1951] 626-27), and certain ancient Babylonian and Hittite parallels have been the object of a comparative study by S. Landersdofer (BZ 19  20-28). The most evident biblical parallel is the liberated bird of the leper’s purification.” (R. J. Faley, Leviticus, The New Jerome Biblical Commentary, edited by Raymond E. Brown, Joseph A. Fitzmyer & Roland E. Murphy [New Jersey: Prentice Hall, NJ 1990], pp. 71-72; bold and capital emphasis ours)
I. Both the etymology and the meaning of the name ‘aza’zel, which appears in the Old Testament only in Lev 16:8.10[twice].26, are not completely clear. Although the etymological hypothesis ‘z’zl < *‘zz’l < ‘zz (‘to be strong’) + ’l (‘god’), i.e. the result of a consonantal metathesis, appears to be the most likely explanation (JANOWSKI & WILHELM 1993:128 with n. 98, cf. the form ‘zz’l in 4Q 180, 1:8; 11QTemple 26:13 etc., see TAWIL 1980:58-59), the meaning of the name ‘z’zl remains controversial. In the main the following possibilities are under discussion (cf. also HALAT 762); 1) ‘Azazel’ is the name or epithet of a demon. 2) ‘Azazel’ is a geographical designation meaning ‘precipitous place’ or ‘rugged cliff’ (DRIVER 1956:97-98; cf. Tg. Ps-J. Lev 16:10.22 etc.). 3) ‘Azazel’ is a combination of the terms ‘ez (‘goat’) + ’ozel (‘to go away, disappear’, cf. Arabic zl) and means ‘goat that goes (away)’, cf. apopompaios (Lev 16:8,10a LXX), apopompe (v. 10b LXX), ho diestalmenos eis aphesin (v. 26) or caper emissarius (Lev 16:8.10a.26 Vg), English scapegoat, French bouc emissaire.
These quotes highlight the fact that neither the ancient traditions nor the scholarly community are in agreement concerning the exact meaning and identity of Azazel.
The following reference work, even though it was not cited by greenhorn, acknowledges that there are disagreements and also admits that Leviticus 16 does not ascribe sacrifices to Azazel:
“In order to define the word as the name or epithet of a demon one could refer primarily to the textual evidence: according to Lev 16:8,10 a he-goat is chosen by lot ‘for Azazel’ in order to send it into the desert (v 10.21) or into a remote region ‘for Azazel’. Since la‘aza’zel corresponds to leYHWH (v 8), ‘Azazel’ could also be understood as a personal name, behind which could be posited something such as a ‘supernatural being’ or a ‘demonic personality’. However, one should be cautious of too hasty an ascription…
IV. The Jewish and Christian history of interpretation of the figure of Azazel stands in no relationship to its laconic treatment in Lev 16. In the latter Azazel RECEIVES NO SACRIFICES (the ‘scapegoat’ is NO SACRIFICIAL ANIMAL), nor are any (demonic) actions ascribed to it. The eliminatory function of the Azazel-rite stands in the foreground.
“The process of the demonization of Azazel was intensively pursued in early Judaism under the influence of dualistic tendencies (8:1; 9:6; 10:4-8; 13:1; cf. 54:5-6; 55:4; 69:2; Apoc. Abr. 13:6-14; 14:4-6 etc.; see HANSON 1977:220-223; NICKELSBURG 1977:357-404; GRABBE 1987:153-155; JSHRZ V/6  520-521). Azazel taught human beings the art of working metal (1 Enoch 9:6; cf. 69:2). As an unclean bird he is the personification of ungodliness (Apoc. Abr. 13:7; 23:9) and the lord of the heathens (Apoc. Abr. 22:6). As a serpentine creature he tempted Adam and Eve in paradise (Apoc. Abr. 23:5.9); the Messiah will judge him with his cohorts (1 Enoch 55:4; cf. 54:5 and RAC 5  206f.). In rabbinic Judaism the name is only rarely to be found (RAC 9  684).” (Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible, edited by Karel Der Toorn, Bob Becking, and Peter W. Van Der Horst [William B. Eedrmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids MI/Cambridge, U.K.: Second Extensively Revised Edition, 1999], pp. 128, 130-131; capital and underline emphasis ours)
In fact, even those scholars who identify Azazel as Satan make sure to go out of their way to emphasize the point that Leviticus 16 in no way suggests that the high priest was commanded to offer sacrifices to Azazel:
“The language in the original is precise and peculiar. It reads ‘And Aaron shall cast lots on the two goats – ONE FOR JEHOVAH, ONE FOR AZAZEL.’ What we are to understand by Azazel has been much disputed. The language appears to us to imply the personality of Azazel – ‘One for Jehovah, One of Azazel.’ By Azazel we are inclined to understand Satan, as do almost all ancient versions, which leave the word, as they do the names of other persons, untranslated. Satan IS NOT here, as some allege against this opinion, put on an equality with God; for the two goats were both brought ‘to Jehovah,’ and were his; while the very casting of lots, which was in itself a solemn appeal to God, shows that Jehovah claimed the power of disposal. Neither can it be objected that this was in any sense a sacrifice to Satan, for the animal WAS NOT SLAIN TO HIM; it was only sent to him in disgrace. Bearing upon it sins which God had already forgiven, it was sent to Azazel in the wilderness.
“The phrase ‘scape-goat,’ by which the strange term Azazel is rendered in our version, came from the 'hireus emissarius' of the Vulgate. The term Azazel may mean the ‘apostate one’–a name which Satan merits, and which he seems to have borne among the Jews. It was Satan that brought sin into the world; and this seduction of man adds to his guilt, and consequently to his punishment. Sin is now pardoned in God’s mercy. The one goat was sacrificed as a sin offering; its blood was carried into the holy place, and the mercy-seat was sprinkled with it. Guilt was therefore cancelled; by this shedding of blood there was remission. But sin, though pardoned, is yet hateful to God, and it cannot dwell in his sight: it is removed away to a ‘land not inhabited’–severed from God's people, and sent away to man’s first seducer. The sins of a believing world are taken off them, and rolled back on Satan, their prime author and instigator. Though the penalty is remitted to believers, it is not remitted to him who brought them into apostasy and ruin. The tempted are restored, but the whole punishment is seen to fall on the arch-tempter. Hell is ‘prepared for the devil and his angel.’” (John Eadie, A biblical cyclopaedia, or, Dictionary of Eastern antiquities, geography, natural history, sacred annals and biography, theology and biblical literature, illustrative of the Old and New Testaments [Charles Griffith & Company, 1870], p. 577; bold and capital emphasis ours)
“The acceptance of Azazel, v. 8,10,26, as the name of a personal being placed in opposition to Jehovah, seems to be the only mode of justifying the relation in which the two lots stood to each other … The greater number of critics are inclined to take Azazel as the name of an evil spirit to whom the goat was sent… Several Jewish traditions point to the same conclusion. The name Azalzel, easily corrupted from Azazel, is applied to a fallen angel in the book of Enoch, which was most likely written by a Jew about 40 A.C. … Origen expressly says that Azazel denoted the Devil…. By this expressive outward sign [of sending away the goat for Azazel into the wilderness, v.10] the sins WERE SENT BACK TO THE AUTHOR OF SIN HIMSELF, p. 592.” (John William Colenso, The New Bible Commentary by Bishops and Clergy of the Anglican Church Critically Examined [Longmans, Green, and Co., London, 1874], p. 30; bold and capital emphasis ours)
“Now, in respect to language, there can be no objection to interpreting Azazel as meaning Satan… The positive reasons which favour this explanation are the following:–
1. The manner in which the phrase לעזאזל, ‘for Azazel,’ is contrasted with,’ליהוה’, ‘for Jehovah,’ necessarily requires that Azazel should denote a personal existence, and, if so only Satan can be intended. 2. If by Azazel, Satan is not meant, there is no ground for the lots that were cast. We can then see no reason why the decision was referred to God; why the high-priest did not simply assign one goat for a sin-offering, and the other for sending away into the desert. The circumstance that lots are cast implies that Jehovah is made the antagonist of a personal existence, with respect to which it is designated to exalt the unlimited power of Jehovah, and to exclude ALL EQUALITY OF THIS BEING WITH JEHOVAH… The relation in which, according to this explanation, Satan is here placed to the desert, finds analogy in other passages of the Bible, where the deserted and waste places appear as peculiarly the abode of the Evil Spirit. See Matt. xii. 43, where the unclean spirit cast out of the man is represented as going through 'dry places;' also Luke viii 27; and Rev. xviii. 2, according to which the fallen Bablyon is to be the dwelling of all unclean spirits…
“Dr. Hengstenberg then proceeds to meet the objections which have been brought to bear against the view adopted by him–'adopted,' for this explanation is by no means a new one, though he has brought it forward in greater force than before, and with new illustrations.
“The most important of the objections, and the one which has exerted the greatest influence, is this, that it gives a sense which stands in direct opposition to the spirit of the religion of Jehovah. It is asked, 'Could an offering properly be made to the Evil Spirit in the desert, which the common precepts of religion in the Mosaic law, as well as the significance of the ceremony, entirely oppose?' To this Hengstenberg answers–'Were it really necessary to connect with the explanation of Azazel as meaning Satan, the assumption that sacrifice was offered to him, we should feel obliged to abandon it, notwithstanding all the reasons in its favour. But nothing is easier than to show that this manner of understanding the explanation is entirely arbitrary. The following reasons prove that an offering made to Azazel CANNOT BE SUPPOSED:'–
1. Both the goats are, in verse 5, taken together as forming unitedly one single offering, which wholly excludes the thought that one of them was brought as an offering to Jehovah, and the other to Azazel. And further, an offering which is made to a bad being can never be a sin-offering. The idea of a sin-offering implies holiness, hatred of sin in the being to whom the offering is made.
2. Both the goats were first placed at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the Lord. To him, therefore, they both belong; and when afterwards one of them is sent to Azazel, this is done in accordance with the wish of Jehovah, and also without destroying the original relation, since the one sent to Azazel does not cease to belong to the Lord.
3. The casting of lots also shows that both these goats were considered as belonging to the Lord. The lot is never used in the O. T. except as a means of obtaining the decision of Jehovah. So then, here also, Jehovah decides which of the goats is to be offered as a sin-offering, and which to be offered to Azazel.
4. The goat assigned to Azazel, before he is sent away is absolved (xvi. 21). The act by which the second goat is, as it were, identified with the first, in order to transfer to the living the nature which the dead possessed, shews to what the phrase 'for a sin-offering,' in verse 5, has reference. The two goats (as Spencer had before observed) became, as it were, one goat, and their duality rests only on the physical impossibility of making one goat represent the different points to be exhibited. Had it been possible, in the circumstances, to restore life to the goat that was sacrificed, this would have been done. The two goats, in this connection, stand in a relation entirely similar to that of the two birds in the purification of the leprous persons in Lev. xiv. 4, of which the one let go was dipped in the blood of the other one slain. As soon as the second goat is considered an offering to Azazel, the connection between it and the first ceases, and it cannot be conceived why it was absolved before it went away.
5. According to verse 21, the already forgiven sins of Israel are laid upon the head of the goat. These he bears to Azazel in the desert. But where there is already forgiveness of sin, there is no more offering.
“The other objections which have on different principles been made to this view are of less weight.
“One of them, which alleges the apparent equality given under this explanation to the claims of Jehovah and of Satan, is answered by showing that it is rather calculated to act against the tendency of an ancient people to entertain that belief. The lot is under the direction of Jehovah, and is a means of ascertaining his will; and not a mediation between the two by an independent third agency which decides to which the one and to which the other shall fall.” (A Cyclopedia of Biblical Literature, edited by John Kitto, Volume I, pp. 775-776; bold and capital emphasis ours)
See also A Cyclopedia of Biblical Literature, originally edited by John Kitto, Volume II, pp. 141-142.
“If it should be objected that God would not sanction a sacrifice to Satan, even in appearance, and that therefore this view cannot be true, we reply, that it is not necessary to regard the goat as a sacrifice to Azazel; and that there is not even an appearance of it, but a studied prohibition.
“A sacrifice as has been well shown by the English author Outram, implies the taking of life. His words are: 'Offerings which were put to death, divided, consumed, were sacrifices in the vocabulary of the Jews….. This would exclude certain things sometimes called sacrifices; for example, the bird used in cleansing the leper, the scape-goat, &c.’
“Hence, not only was there no sacrifice, but there was a studied negation of the idea. It is known that the Egyptians offered such sacrifices to the Evil One, under the Typhon, and that the practice was almost universal. Now, by sacrificing the first goat to Jehovah, and letting the second go alive, and both by casting lots, i. e. an appeal to God, there was a direct contradiction of the Gentile practice. It said, virtually, this sacrifice is to God alone, and not at all to Satan. There is a relation to Satan, but not a sacrificial one. Hence, in the next chapter, it says, 'And they shall no more offer their sacrifices unto the demons.'
“To this rite, then, we may attribute THE DISSAPPEARANCE OF ALL SACRIFICES TO EVIL DEITIES, AS SUCH, FOREVER AFTER in Israel. They, indeed, worshipped idols, but always under the theory of their representing the good, not the evil power. (Charles Beecher, Redeemer and Redeemed: An Investigation of the Atonement and of Eternal Judgment [Lee And Shepard, Boston 1864], pp. 68-69; bold and capital emphasis ours)
That the above author is correct concerning Yahweh prohibiting all sacrifices to demons can be easily demonstrated from the following verse which follows immediately right after the instructions given in Leviticus 16:
“They must no longer offer their sacrifices to the goat-demons that they have prostituted themselves with. This will be a permanent statute for them throughout their generations.” Leviticus 17:7
Nor is this the only text which condemns sacrifices to demons:
“They provoked His jealousy with foreign gods; they enraged Him with detestable practices. They sacrificed to demons, not God, to gods they had not known, new gods that had just arrived, which your fathers did not fear." Deuteronomy 32:16-17
“Jeroboam appointed his own priests for the high places, the goat-demons, and the golden calves he had made.” 2 Chronicles 11:15
“And now you are saying you can assert yourselves against the LORD’s kingdom, which is in the hand of one of David’s sons. You are a vast number and have with you the golden calves that Jeroboam made for you as gods. Didn’t you banish the priests of Yahweh, the descendants of Aaron and the Levites, and make your own priests like the peoples of other lands do? Whoever comes to ordain himself with a young bull and seven rams may become a priest of what are not gods. 2 Chronicles 13:8-9
“They served their idols, which became a snare to them. They sacrificed their sons and daughters to demons.” Psalm 106:36-37
“Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry. I am speaking as to wise people. Judge for yourselves what I say. The cup of blessing that we give thanks for, is it not a sharing in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a sharing in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for all of us share that one bread. Look at the people of Israel. Do not those who eat the sacrifices participate in what is offered on the altar? What am I saying then? That food offered to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? No, but I do say that what they sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons and not to God. I do not want you to participate with demons! You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot share in the Lord’s table and the table of demons. Or are we provoking the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than He?” 1 Corinthians 10:14-22
“The rest of the people, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands to stop worshiping demons and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone, and wood, which are not able to see, hear, or walk.” Revelation 9:20
In light of such references, does this Muslim greenhorn expect us to believe that Yahweh would actually command his anointed high priest to sacrifice a goat to a demon? Does the neophyte really think that we are that naïve?
What makes this rather shameful is that this taqiyyist clearly knew about these objections, which thoroughly refute the notion that the high priest also sacrificed to Azazel, since he alludes to them in his article. Yet, despite the fact that he was fully aware of these arguments, the greenhorn didn’t bother to at least quote them so as to allow his readers to see for themselves the merits and strength of these objections which clearly establish just how utterly fallacious his claim that Yahweh ordained sacrifices for Satan happens to be. Sadly, the neophyte chose to keep these points hidden from his audience, and for that he should be ashamed of himself (that is if he even has any honor or shame to begin with).
And as far as Origen’s views are concerned, here is what he wrote concerning the identity of Azazel:
Mark now, whether he who charges us with having committed errors of the most impious kind, and with having wandered away from the (true meaning) of the divine enigmas, is not himself clearly in error, from not observing that in the writings of Moses, which are much older not merely than Heraclitus and Pherecydes, but even than Homer, mention is made of this wicked one, and of his having fallen from heaven. For the serpent — from whom the Ophioneus spoken of by Pherecydes is derived— having become the cause of man's expulsion from the divine Paradise, obscurely shadows forth something similar, having deceived the woman by a promise of divinity and of greater blessings; and her example is said to have been followed also by the man. And, further, who else could the destroying angel mentioned in the Exodus of Moses be, than he who was the author of destruction to them that obeyed him, and did not withstand his wicked deeds, nor struggle against them? Moreover (the goat), which in the book of Leviticus is sent away (into the wilderness), and which in the Hebrew language is named Azazel, was none other than this; and it was necessary to send it away into the desert, and to treat it as an expiatory sacrifice, because on it the lot fell. For all who belong to the worse part, on account of their wickedness, being opposed to those who are God's heritage, are deserted by God. Nay, with respect to the sons of Belial in the book of Judges, whose sons are they said to be, save his, on account of their wickedness? And besides all these instances, in the book of Job, which is older even than Moses himself, the devil is distinctly described as presenting himself before God, and asking for power against Job, that he might involve him in trials of the most painful kind; the first of which consisted in the loss of all his goods and of his children, and the second in afflicting the whole body of Job with the so-called disease of elephantiasis. I pass by what might be quoted from the Gospels regarding the devil who tempted the Saviour, that I may not appear to quote in reply to Celsus from more recent writings on this question. In the last (chapter) also of Job, in which the Lord utters to Job amid tempest and clouds what is recorded in the book which bears his name, there are not a few things referring to the serpent. I have not yet mentioned the passages in Ezekiel, where he speaks, as it were, of Pharaoh, or Nebuchadnezzar, or the prince of Tyre; or those in Isaiah, where lament is made for the king of Babylon, from which not a little might be learned concerning evil, as to the nature of its origin and generation, and as to how it derived its existence from some who had lost their wings, and who had followed him who was the first to lose his own. (Contra Celsus, Book VI, Chapter 43; bold emphasis ours)
According to Origen, the goat itself was Azazel!
In other words, Origen didn’t believe that the goat was sent to Azazel but that the goat itself was Azazel, or at least symbolized and/or represented him.
We are not through yet since we have saved the best citation for the second part of our rebuttal, so please proceed to the third part.