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Azazel also called Azazil is a demon of the second order, guardian of the goat. In islamic demonology is a Djin.
The exact meaning of Azazel is disputed; some rabbis identify it as a cliff or a place of rocks while others vision it as a supernatural power, perhaps composed of two fallen angels, Uza and Azael. In Modern Hebrew, the expression "Go to Azazel" is the equivalent of "Go to Hell."
According to Milton, Azazel is the principal standard-bearer for the infernal armies. It is also the name used by Mark, the heretic, when producing his magic spells.
This ritual was performed on the Day of Atonement, which is Biblically described (Leviticus 16:8); "Aaron shall cast lots on two goats, one lot for the Lord and the other for Azazel." The one on which the lot of the Lord fell was sacrificed, and his blood served for expiration. The High Priest then placed both of his hands on the head of the other, confessed his sins and those of the people, charged the animal with them, and permitted him to be led into the desert and set free. And the people, having left the care of their iniquities to the goat of Azazel-also known as the scapegoat-returned to their homes with free consciences. The ritual also is described in the avodah.
Azazel, Semjaza in the Book of Enoch, was the leader of some 200 angels who disobeyed God. They lusted after beautiful and comely daughters of men of the earth. Not only lusted after these women but desired children of their own who was prohibited them being spiritual children of heaven. The angels were of the order of the Watchers, sleepless ones. They descended Mount Hermon to the earth. There they took wives, and entered them, thus defiling themselves. They taught their wives charms, enchantments, botany, and the cutting of roots. Azazel taught the men to make weapons of war, swords, knifes, and shields.He also introduced the evil art of cosmetics.
As a punishment the Watchers and their offspring, the great giants, were made to suffer. After the offspring had pillaged everything including man and beast, God sent the archangel Raphael to imprison Azazel in the desert till the last judgment when he will be thrown into the eternal fire. The other Watchers were forced to watch their children being killed. Then the archangel Michael, upon God's order, was to bind then in the valleys of the earth until the day they were to be cast into the torment in the abyss of fire. However, the earth was not purged of evil, demons emerged from the bodies of the dead giants causing wickedness, destruction,and oppression ever since.
Here again, there seems to be an apparent indication that God wanted to keep knowledge from man, a belief closely akin to Gnosticism. The two main examples are the serpent tempting Eve in the Garden of Eden and the fallen angels given the Kabbalah to Adam and humankind. In each case the adversary of God gave man knowledge. One wonders whether God originally intended to keep man unintelligible; if he intended for man not to use his mind and be totally dependent on him; ishe the selfish God as he described himself. Of course, there is the parallel situation between Prometheus and Zeus when the former gave mankind fire. Also, performing charms and enchantments,and practicing botany are chief arts of Witchcraft.
It may be noted here that some support the theory proposing that the human race gain its additional intelligence from some alien race which visited earth in the distant past. One such proponent of this theory was Erich von Daniken in his book Chariot of the Gods?, 1968. Even though von Danikenhas received much criticism, he has stated that he think artifacts and statures around the world such as at Stonehenge and on Easter Island were either made by extraterrestrial visitors, possessing supernatural intelligence and perhaps Gods themselves, or by humans who received such knowledge from these visitors. Another example he gave to empathize his theory is the depiction of the landing of a space craft in the Book of Ezekiel. Such theories seem to support the possibility of ancient alien visitors on earth. A.G.H.
Cavendish, Richard, The Black Arts, New York: Peigee Books, Berkley Publishing Group, 1967, pp. 285-286
Erich von Daniken <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Von_Daniken>
Welcome to the World of Mysteries of Erich von Daniken <http://www.daniken.com/>
Spence, Lewis, An Encyclopedia of Occultism, New
York, Carol Publishing Group Edition, 1996, p 57
Unger, Merrill F., Unger's Bible Dictionary, Chicago, Moody Press, 1966, p. 117