And further the Lord said to Raphael: “Bind Asael by his hands and his feet, and
throw him into the darkness. And split open the desert which is in Dudael, and
throw him there. And throw on him jagged and sharp stones, and cover him with
darkness; and let him stay there forever, and cover his face, that he may not see
light, and that on the great day of judgment he may be hurled into the fire."
1 Enoch 10:4-6
The Demise of the Scapegoat in Rabbinic and Patristic Accounts
There are striking differences between the classic description of the scapegoat ritual found in Leviticus 16 and later renderings of this rite in rabbinic and early Christian authors. Several enigmatic additions to the Levitical blueprint of the scapegoat ritual appear in later interpretations of this rite found in mishnaic, targumic, and talmudic accounts, especially in the description of the conclusion of the scapegoat ceremony. Some of these accounts insist that in the final moments of the ritual in the wilderness the crimson band of the scapegoat was removed and then placed back onto the animal. The scapegoat was then pushed off the cliff by its handler. These traditions are not attested in the biblical description of Leviticus, yet they figure into many rabbinic and early Christian interpretations. Take, for example, Mishnah Yoma 6:6:
What did he do? He divided the thread of crimson wool and tied one half to the rock and the other half between its horns, and he pushed it from behind; and it went rolling down, and before it had reached half the way down the hill it was broken in pieces.1
This account depicts the climax of the scapegoat ceremony, in which the scapegoat’s handler strips away the infamous crimson band from the cultic animal and then, according to the Mishnah, the band was divided into two pieces, one of which was tied to a rock, and the other bound again around the animal’s horns. Scholars have previously suggested that the scarlet band2 here represents an impure garment, or more specifically, an attire of sins,3 which the cultic animal was predestined to carry into an uninhabitable realm, in this case, the wilderness.4 Loosing the cultic band at the end of the rite might signify the forgiveness of the Israelites’ sins,5 since, in some Jewish accounts, the imagery of untying is closely connected to the forgiveness of transgressions.6
The aforementioned mishnaic passage also hints at the fact that the final destination of the scapegoat’s exile was not merely the desert, as described in Leviticus 16, but rather the underworld or abyss, the descent to which being symbolically expressed through the action of pushing the animal off a cliff. This tradition of the unusual demise of the atoning agent is attested in a panoply of rabbinic sources.7 Early Christian testimonies reflected in the Epistle of Barnabas,8 Justin Martyr,9 and Tertullian10 are also cognizant of the peculiar details of the final demise of the scapegoat in the wilderness.
The Demise of the Eschatological Scapegoat in Jewish Apocalypticism
I previously argued that these additions to the scapegoat ritual found in rabbinic and early Christian sources — including the motifs of the scapegoat’s binding, the hurling of the scapegoat off a cliff, and the alteration of its garment of sins represented by the crimson band immediately before its death — all stem from the eschatological reinterpretations of the scapegoat rite found in some early Jewish apocalyptic writings, including, the Book of the Watchers, the Animal Apocalypse, and the Apocalypse of Abraham.11 In these accounts, which were written earlier than the aforementioned rabbinic and patristic testimonies, one finds a striking refashioning of the traditional atoning rite, where the scapegoat’s features are transferred to an otherworldly antagonist bearing the name “Asael” or “Azazel.”
One of the earliest apocalyptic reinterpretations of the scapegoat ritual in Jewish tradition can be found in the Book of the Watchers, in which the story of the cultic gatherer of impurities receives a novel conceptual makeup. This early Enochic booklet refashions the scapegoat rite in an angelological way, incorporating details from the sacrificial ritual into the story of its main antagonist, the fallen angel Asael. 1 Enoch 10:4-7 presents a striking depiction laden with familiar sacerdotal details:
And further the Lord said to Raphael: “Bind Asael by his hands and his feet, and throw him into the darkness. And split open the desert which is in Dudael, and throw him there. And throw on him jagged and sharp stones, and cover him with darkness; and let him stay there forever, and cover his face, that he may not see light, and that on the great day of judgment he may be hurled into the fire. And restore the earth which the angels have ruined, and announce the restoration of the earth, for I shall restore the earth….”12
Several scholars have noticed numerous details of Asael’s punishment that are reminiscent of the scapegoat ritual as it is reflected in Mishnah Yoma. Daniel Olson, for instance, argues that “a comparison of 1 Enoch 10 with the Day of Atonement ritual … leaves little doubt that Asael is indeed Azazel.”13 Additionally, Daniel Stökl Ben Ezra observes that “the punishment of the demon resembles the treatment of the goat in aspects of geography, action, time and purpose.”14 He also notes that "both in the description of the prison of the demon in 1 Enoch and in traditions about the precipice of the scapegoat ritual an element of ruggedness appears. This ruggedness could reflect an early Midrash on the meaning of rzg (cut, split up) in hrzg Cr) (Lev16:22) and/or historical memory of the actual cliffs in the mountains of Jerusalem."15 Furthermore, the place of Asael’s punishment designated in 1 Enoch as Dudael is reminiscent of the terminology used for the designation of the ravine of the scapegoat in later rabbinic interpretations of the Yom Kippur ritual, down which the scapegoat was hurled.16 This tradition is explicitly attested in m. Yoma and Targum Pseudo-Jonathan.17
The tradition of apocalyptic reinterpretations of the scapegoat ritual reaches its symbolic pinnacle in the Apocalypse of Abraham. This Jewish text, which was most likely written during the period in which the mishnaic descriptions of the atoning rite received their conclusive textual codification, provides us with a unique glimpse into the final stages of the ever-changing scapegoat imagery that began many centuries earlier in the Enochic books. Although the early traits of the Enochic apocalyptic blueprint and the Watchers tradition still play a formative role in the Apocalypse of Abraham, this conceptual core is now greatly enhanced by some novel developments that are essential in mishnaic and early Christian versions of the atoning ritual. Thus, the imagery of the celestial scapegoat’s clothing, only vaguely alluded to in the early Enochic books through the symbolism of covering the antagonist with darkness, now receives its distinctive conceptual expression as the impure vestment of human sins.18
The details of the angelic scapegoat’s exile into the lower realms found in the Slavonic apocalypse are similarly indebted to the early Enochic blueprint. As with Asael in the Enochic tradition, the antagonist’s exile in the Apocalypse of Abraham encompasses two movements: first, to the earth,19 and second, to the fiery abyss of the subterranean realm.20 Although early versions of the scapegoat ritual found in the Book of Leviticus only attest to a one-step removal of the goat to the wilderness, the tradition of the two-step removal plays a prominent role in later mishnaic versions of the rite, in which the cultic animal is first taken to the wilderness and then pushed from a cliff into the abyss.
The Apocalypse of Abraham clearly contains the tradition of sending the scapegoat into the lower realm, since in chapters 13 and 14 the heavenly priest-angel Yahoel banishes Azazel first to the earthly realm and then into the abyss of the subterranean sphere. It is noteworthy that, much like the scapegoat in mishnaic testimonies, the antagonist’s exile in the Slavonic apocalypse coincides with his dis-robing and re-robing. The text reports that the fallen angel was first disrobed of his celestial garment and then re-clothed in the ominous attire of human sins; it reads: “For behold, the garment which in heaven was formerly yours has been set aside for him, and the corruption which was on him has gone over to you.”21
Book of Revelation
This chapter will argue that the Book of Revelation also belongs to the aforementioned group of the apocalyptic writings which offer an eschatological reinterpretation of the scapegoat ritual. The limited scope of my investigation does not allow me to explore all of the Yom Kippur allusions found in the Book of Revelation.22 Instead, I will focus on the tradition of the Dragon’s demise in the Book of Revelation and its possible connection with the scapegoat ritual.
Before we proceed to a close analysis of the conceptual developments found in the Book of Revelation, let us again reiterate the main features of the final moments of the scapegoat ritual, as reflected in apocalyptic, mishnaic, and patristic testimonies. They include the following elements:
1. The motif of the scapegoat’s removal, represented as a two stage movement, which includes, first, the antagonist’s banishment into the wilderness, and second, his placement in the abyss or underworld which is symbolized in the atoning ritual by pushing the goat off the cliff;
2. The motif of the (angelic) handler who binds and pushes the scapegoat off the cliff;
3. The motif of the scapegoat’s binding;
4. The motif of sealing the abyss of the scapegoat;
5. The motif of the temporary healing of the earth;
6. The motif of the scapegoat’s temporary unbinding before its final demise;
7. The motif of the scarlet band of the scapegoat.
The Motif of the Antagonist’s Banishment
Let us start by exploring the eschatological scapegoat’s processions. As mentioned above, in 1 Enoch 10 the deity orders Raphael to open the pit in the desert and throw Asael into the darkness. The text goes on to describe the celestial scapegoat’s fall into the depths of the abyss. Yet, the exile of the apocalyptic scapegoat may begin even earlier in the narrative when the infamous watcher descends from heaven to earth with other members of the rebellious angelic group.
My previous analysis of the otherworldly scapegoat traditions demonstrates that, both in the Book of the Watchers and the Apocalypse of Abraham, the exile of the apocalyptic scapegoat encompasses a two-stage development. The antagonist first descends to the earth and then into the underground realm, represented by the abyss.23 I argued that such a two-stage progression of the antagonist’s exile corresponds to the two stages of the earthly scapegoat’s movements, reflected in later rabbinic and patristic sources by the scapegoat’s banishment to the wilderness and its descent into the abyss when the animal was pushed off the cliff.24
In the Book of Revelation, we may see a similar two-stage progressive movement when the main antagonist, the Dragon, is first banished to the earth in chapter 12, and then to the underground realm, represented by the abyss in chapter 20. We must examine these traditions more closely.
Revelation 12:9 relates the following tradition: “the great dragon was thrown down … he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.” It is intriguing that here, like in the Book of the Watchers and the Apocalypse of Abraham, the eschatological scapegoat is demoted along with his “portion.”
One important detail of the aforementioned story of the angelic descent in Revelation 12:9 is that the antagonist and his angels did not descend to earth voluntarily, like in the early Enochic booklets, but rather they “were thrown down.” This links the tradition found in the Book of Revelation even more closely to the scapegoat ritual, in which the animal was involuntary led out into the wilderness by its handler. It also places the Book of Revelation’s rendering of the celestial antagonist’s demotion in very close connection to the interpretation found in the Apocalypse of Abraham. There, the main antagonist of the story – the fallen angel Azazel – is also forcefully demoted by his angelic handler, Yahoel.
Furthermore, it is noteworthy that the Dragon’s exile to the earth coincides in Revelation 12 with the wilderness motif, since upon his exile to earth the Dragon pursues the woman clothed with the sun in the desert (εἰς τὴν ἔρημον). This is relevant for our study of the imagery of the scapegoat, whose exile to the wilderness represents an important topological marker in many apocalyptic Yom Kippur accounts. Thus, as one remembers in the Apocalypse of Abraham, Yahoel banishes Azazel not simply to the earth, but to "the untrodden parts of the earth.” The word “untrodden” (Slav. беспроходна, lit. “impassable”)25 is significant because it designates a place uninhabitable to human beings, reminiscent of the language of Lev 16 where the scapegoat is dispatched to the solitary place in the wilderness.26
Second, the “underground” stage of the scapegoat’s exile can be identified in Revelation 20:2-3, where the antagonist is thrown into the subterranean chamber: “He seized the dragon … and threw him into the pit, and locked and sealed it over him.”27 Here, again, like in the Book of the Watchers28 and the Apocalypse of Abraham, this underground imprisonment is temporary, since on the Day of Judgment the antagonist will be thrown for a second time, but this time into the abyss of fire29 — an event labeled in Revelation as “the second death.”30
As we recall, 1 Enoch 10:6 describes Asael’s second punishment in the following terms: “on the great day of judgment he may be hurled into the fire.”31 In Rev 20:10 this second ordeal is rendered in the following way: “And the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.” Both apocalyptic descriptions betray a similar symbolism, namely, the distinctive imagery of fire.
In the Apocalypse of the Abraham, the pit of the eschatological scapegoat is also portrayed with fiery imagery. There, the underground domain of the antagonist is depicted as the very place of fire. For instance, in Yahoel’s speech found in chapter 14, which reveals the true location of the chief antagonist, the arch-demon’s abode is designated as the furnace of the earth. Azazel himself, moreover, is depicted as the “burning coal” or the “firebrand” of this infernal kiln.
Unlike the Book of Revelation, the Book of the Watchers does not describe a temporary release of its antagonist. Yet such an idea might be hinted at in the Apocalypse of Abraham, where Azazel, despite his exile into the underground prison, still retains his ability to corrupt humankind.
The Motif of the Angelic Handler
A prominent feature of the mishnaic depiction of the scapegoat ritual is the motif of the scapegoat’s handler, who performs ritual actions with regards to the animal by leading it into the wilderness, binding and unbinding its crimson band, and finally throwing the animal into the pit. In the apocalyptic versions of the atoning rite, these sacerdotal actions are performed by angelic figures, namely, Raphael in the Book of the Watchers and Yahoel in the Apocalypse of Abraham. Similarly, in the Book of Revelation there is an angelic figure that binds and handles the eschatological scapegoat. In Rev 20:1 the seer reports that he saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain.
As one remembers, in rabbinic renderings of the scapegoat ritual the animal is thrown into the abyss by its handler. The same order of events can be seen in the Book of the Watchers, where Raphael throws Asael into the dark underground pit, and in Rev 20:3, where the angelic figure throws the Dragon into the abyss. In the Apocalypse of Abraham, the angel Yahoel orders Azazel to be banished into exile to the lower realm, namely, the abyss.
The Motif of the Scapegoat’s Binding
Although the biblical account of the scapegoat ritual found in Leviticus does not mention the binding of the scapegoat, this motif became very prominent in the mishnaic accounts, including a passage found in Mishnah Yoma 4:2 where the scapegoat is bound with scarlet thread upon its selection by lottery. Even more important for our study is a tradition found in Mishnah Yoma 6:6 which relates that, in the final moments of the scapegoat ceremony, immediately before its demise off the cliff, the go-away goat was unbound and then re-tied with the crimson band.32 The features that mishnaic authors weave into the fabric of the ancient rite are intriguing, and seemingly novel. Yet it should not be forgotten that, several centuries before the composition of the Mishnah, some apocalyptic accounts already link the scapegoat ritual with the symbolism of binding.33 We have seen, already in 1 Enoch 10 the handler of the celestial scapegoat, the archangel Rafael, is instructed to bind the demon by his hands and feet immediately before throwing him into the subterranean pit. This tradition represents a remarkable parallel to Mishnah Yoma 6:6, in which the cultic animal is bound with a crimson band immediately before its demise.
The motif of the antagonist’s binding receives its distinctive expression also in the Book of Revelation. In Rev 20:1-2 the seer beholds an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain.34 The angel then seized the Dragon and bound him for a thousand years. Robert Henry Charles already has noted a parallel between this passage and the tradition of Asael’s binding in the Book of the Watchers.35 David Aune,36 and recently Kelley Coblentz Bautch,37 also both reaffirm the connection between Revelation 20 and 1 Enoch 10 by cataloging numerous parallels. Coblentz Bautch concludes that “the binding and imprisonment of Satan in an abyss and a second punishment by fire strongly evoke the fate of the rebellious angels as presented in numerous accounts."38Although Aune and Coblentz Bautch do not discuss the relationships between the Dragon’s binding and the scapegoat motif, Lester Grabbe entertains this implicit connection. He argues that the punishment of the Dragon in Revelation has been assimilated to the apocalyptic scapegoat tradition found in 1 Enoch 10.39
The Motif of Sealing the Scapegoat’s Abyss
Another important connection that ties Revelation 20 to 1 Enoch 10 is the motif of sealing the abyss of the antagonist’s first imprisonment. From Rev 20:3 one learns that, after the Dragon was thrown into the abyss, the executing angel then locked and sealed the pit over him.
Similarly, in the Book of the Watchers, Raphael seals the abyss of the eschatological scapegoat with sharp rocks and darkness. As one remember, in 1 Enoch 10 God commands Raphael to throw onto Asael jagged and sharp stones, and cover him with darkness. The motif of sealing the tomb of the eschatological scapegoat might also be present in the story of another – this time Christian – eschatological scapegoat, namely Jesus, whose temporarily placement in the underground chamber was also accompanied by the sealing of his tomb with a stone.
The Motif of the Temporary Healing of the Earth
In his analysis of the similarities between the punishment of Asael in 1 Enoch 10 and Yom Kippur traditions, Daniel Stökl ben Ezra argues that the restoration of the earth by the removal of sin in 1 Enoch 10:7-8 alludes to the cathartic rationale behind Yom Kippur.40 It is noteworthy that in the Book of the Watchers, "the healing of the earth" occurs immediately after Asael’s banishment into the abyss but before his fiery demise. This final ordeal will happen much later, on the Day of Judgment, which will occur (as in the case of the other Watchers) after seventy generations of entombment.41 Such sandwiching of "the healing of the earth" between the antagonist’s first and second punishments brings to mind several developments found in the Book of Revelation, where the dragon’s first banishment precedes the peace of the millennium, which will later be interrupted by the dragon’s brief release. The removal of the antagonist into the bottomless pit appears to accomplish, as in Asael’s episode, cathartic and purifying functions which allow the earth to flourish. This context underlines the principal “elimination” aspect of the scapegoat ritual, whereby impurity must be removed from the human oikoumene and sent into the uninhabitable realm.42 This period of prosperity, however, ends with the unchaining of the Dragon. Scholars drawn attention to the fact that "the millennium is deliberately framed by the chaining of the dragon and his unchaining which follows in Revelation 20:7-10."43 The apocalyptic portrayal of earth’s healing as a temporary event might be rooted in Yom Kippur traditions, according to which the purification of the land and the community must be repeated on a regular basis.
The Motif of the Scapegoat’s Temporary Unbinding before His Final Demise
In m. Yoma 6:6 we saw that, immediately before the scapegoat’s final demise its handler briefly removed its crimson band. Such a procedure might signify a short-term release of the antagonist from bondage. It is possible that this theme of the temporary unbinding of the cultic ribbon is also attested in some apocalyptic scapegoat traditions. For example, in addition to the Dragon’s binding, the Book of Revelation reports his release from captivity. Thus, after the description of the millennium in Rev 20:4-6, during which the Dragon remains chained in the bottomless pit, the text discloses the mystery of his release from imprisonment. The event of the dragon’s release is closely tied to the previous section pertaining to his imprisonment through a subtle yet significant terminological link between the chaining and the unchaining, which is formulated by λυθήναι in Rev. 20:3 and λυθήσεται in Rev 20:7.44
The Motif of the Red Band
A particularly important motif, absent in Leviticus 16 but present in mishnaic and early Christian testimonies, is the theme of the scapegoat’s crimson band that was put on the animal’s head during the ritual of the goats’ selection.45 This scarlet band is regularly reinterpreted in the apocalyptic Yom Kippur traditions as the (red) garment. Thus, for example, the Apocalypse of Abraham speaks about Azazel’s garment and the Epistle of Barnabas reinterprets the crimson band as a long scarlet robe around Christ’s flesh. As one can see in apocalyptic scapegoat traditions, the crimson color was often projected onto the entire extent of the eschatological characters.
In light of these developments, special attention should be drawn to Rev 12:3, where the Dragon is associated with a fiery red color (πυρρός). Scholarly interpretations of this color symbolism have proffered a panoply of references to various Egyptian,46 Mesopotamian,47 and Greek traditions.48 What is sometimes overlooked in these scholarly debates is that in ancient Jewish lore, the color red was often associated with impurity and defilement. Already Isa 1:18 hints at such an understanding, delivering a promise from the deity that although Israel’s "sins are like scarlet, they shall be like snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool." This passage, associating sin with the color red, was predestined to play a special role in the mishnaic testimonies concerning the crimson band of the scapegoat. Thus, both m. Yoma 6:849 and m. Shabbat 9:350 connect the tradition of the crimson band to the aforementioned passage from Isaiah that speaks about the forgiveness of sins. Elsewhere, a connection was made between the scarlet thread and human sins, since Jewish lore often associated the color red with sin, and white with forgiveness. The Book of Zohar II.20a-b neatly summarizes this understanding of the color’s symbolism:
Sin is red, as it says, “Though your sins be as scarlet”; man puts the sacrificial animal on fire, which is also red; the priest sprinkles the red blood round the altar, but the smoke ascending to heaven is white. Thus the red is turned to white: the attribute of Justice is turned into the attribute of Mercy.
A very similar appropriation of the color imagery appears to be reflected in the scapegoat ritual. The band’s transformation from red to white, signaling the forgiveness of Israel’s sins, strengthens the association of the red coloration with sin.51 Numerous mishnaic and talmudic passages attest to the whitening of the band52 during the scapegoat ritual, which signifies the removal of sins.53
The author of Revelation is likely cognizant of this symbolic conception in which the color red is able to turn white, thus signifying the removal of human transgressions.54 So, for example, in Rev 7:14 one finds a statement which reports that the righteous had "washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.’"
In light of the aforementioned traditions, it should not be considered coincidental that, in the Book of Revelation many antagonists, onto some of whom human sins were literally heaped in the course of the story, are associated with the color red. Thus, for example, the Scarlet Beast and the Harlot55 are portrayed in crimson (κόκκινον) garments.56 These color associations evoke the memory of the scarlet band of the scapegoat.57 Future investigations into these intriguing developments might help to bring clarity to the true extent and nature of the Yom Kippur traditions found in the Book of Revelation.
1 H. Danby, The Mishnah (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992) 170.
2 The tradition of the scarlet band is also reflected in m. Shekalim 4:2: “The [Red] Heifer and the scapegoat and the crimson thread were bought with the Terumah from the Shekel-chamber.” Danby, The Mishnah, 155; m. Shabbat 9:3: “Whence do we learn that they tie a strip of crimson on the head of the scapegoat? Because it is written, though your sins be as scarlet they shall be as white as snow.” Danby, The Mishnah, 108.
3 m. Yoma 4:2 attests to the initial “clothing” of the two goats of the Yom Kippur ritual, in which one crimson band is tied around the horns of the scapegoat, while the other is tied around the neck of the immolated goat: “He bound a thread of crimson wool on the head of the scapegoat and he turned it towards the way by which it was to be sent out; and on the he-goat that was to be slaughtered [he bound a thread] about its throat.” Danby, The Mishnah, 166.
4 A. Dorman, “‘Commit Injustice and Shed Innocent Blood’ Motives behind the Institution of the Day of Atonement in the Book of Jubilees,” in The Day of Atonement: Its Interpretation in Early Jewish and Christian Traditions (eds. T. Hieke and T. Nicklas; TBN, 15; Leiden: Brill, 2012) 57; A. Orlov, Divine Scapegoats: Demonic Mimesis in Early Jewish Mysticism (Albany: SUNY, 2015) 24-28.
5 R. Hiers, “‘Binding and Loosing’: The Matthean Authorizations,” JBL 104 (1985) 233-250 at 233. It also can be understood as release from the oath placed on the cultic animal by the high priest, following later rabbinic usage. Hiers, “Binding and Loosing,” 233.
6 C. H. T. Fletcher-Louis, “The Revelation of the Sacral Son of Man,” in: Auferstehung-Resurrection (eds. F. Avemarie and H. Lichtenberger; WUNT, 1.135; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2001) 284; J. A. Emerton, “Binding and Loosing – Forgiving and Retaining,” JTS 13 (1962) 325-31 at 329-30.
7 See b. Yoma 67a: “What did he do? He divided the thread of crimson wool, and tied one half to the rock, the other half between its horns, and pushed it from behind. And it went rolling down and before it had reached half its way down hill it was dashed to pieces. He came back and sat down under the last booth until it grew dark. And from when on does it render his garments unclean? From the moment he has gone outside the wall of Jerusalem. R. Simeon says: from the moment he pushes it into the Zok.” Epstein, The Babylonian Talmud. Yoma, 67a; y. Yoma 6:3: “All during Simeon the Just’s lifetime he [the scapegoat] did not fall down half the mountain before he dissolved into limbs; after Simeon the Just’s death he fled to the desert and was eaten by the Saracens.” The Jerusalem Talmud. Second Order: Moced. Tractates Pesahim and Yoma. Edition, Translation and Commentary (ed. H. W. Guggenheimer; SJ, 74; Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2013) 559; Targum Pseudo-Jonathan on Lev. 16:21-22: “Aaron shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, in this fashion: his right hand upon his left. He shall confess over it all the iniquities of the children of Israel and all their rebellions, whatever their sins; he shall put them on the head of the goat with a declared and explicit oath by the great and glorious Name. And he shall let (it) go, in charge of a man who has been designated previously, to go to the desert of Soq, that is Beth Haduri. The goat shall carry on himself all their sins to a desolate place; and the man shall let the goat go into the desert of Soq, and the goat shall go up on the mountains of Beth Haduri, and the blast of wind from before the Lord will thrust him down and he will die.” Targum Neofiti 1, Leviticus; Targum Pseudo-Jonathan, Leviticus (eds. M. McNamara et al.; ArBib, 3; Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 1994) 169.
8 Barnabas 7:6-11.
9 Justin Martyr’s Dialogue with Trypho 40:4-5.
10 Tertullian’s Against Marcion 3:7 and Against the Jews 14:9.
11 Orlov, Divine Scapegoats, 9-36.
12 Knibb, The Ethiopic Book of Enoch, 2.87-88.
13 D. Olson, Enoch. A New Translation: The Ethiopic Book of Enoch, or 1 Enoch (North Richland Hills: Bibal Press, 2004) 34.
14 Stökl Ben Ezra, The Impact of Yom Kippur on Early Christianity, 87; Olson, Enoch. A New Translation, 38.
15 Stökl Ben Ezra, The Impact of Yom Kippur on Early Christianity, 88.
16 A. Geiger, “Einige Worte über das Buch Henoch,” JZWL 3 (1864) 196-204 at 200.
17 See Targum Pseudo-Jonathan to Lev 16:10: “The goat on which the lot of Azazel fell shall be set alive before the Lord to make atonement for the sinfulness of the people of the house of Soq, that is Beth Haduri.” McNamara et al., Targum Neofiti 1, Leviticus; Targum Pseudo-Jonathan, Leviticus, 167.
18 In Apoc. Ab. 13:7-14, the following mysterious encounter between the heavenly high priest Yahoel and the celestial scapegoat Azazel takes place: “Reproach is on you, Azazel! Since Abraham’s portion is in heaven, and yours is on earth, since you have chosen it and desired it to be the dwelling place of your impurity. Therefore the Eternal Lord, the Mighty One, has made you a dweller on earth. And because of you [there is] the wholly-evil spirit of the lie, and because of you [there are] wrath and trials on the generations of impious men. Since the Eternal Mighty God did not send the righteous, in their bodies, to be in your hand, in order to affirm through them the righteous life and the destruction of impiety. … Hear, adviser! Be shamed by me, since you have been appointed to tempt not all the righteous! Depart from this man! You cannot deceive him, because he is the enemy of you and of those who follow you and who love what you desire. For behold, the garment which in heaven was formerly yours has been set aside for him, and the corruption which was on him has gone over to you.” Kulik, Retroverting Slavonic Pseudepigrapha, 20.
19 Apoc. Ab. 13:8: “Since Abraham’s portion is in heaven, and yours is on earth, since you have chosen it and desired it to be the dwelling place of your impurity.” Kulik, Retroverting Slavonic Pseudepigrapha, 20.
20 Apoc. Ab. 14:5: “May you be the fire brand of the furnace of the earth!” Kulik, Retroverting Slavonic Pseudepigrapha, 21.
21 Kulik, Retroverting Slavonic Pseudepigrapha, 20.
22 On Yom Kippur traditions in the Book of Revelation, see P. Carrington, The Meaning of Revelation (London: SPCK, 1931) 348, 392; D. T. Niles, As Seeing the Invisible (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1961) 110-113; A. Farrer, A Rebirth of Images (Gloucester, MA: Peter Smith, 1970) 177-178; J. Massyngberde Ford, Revelation (AB, 38; Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1975) 277, 287; G. L. Carey, “The Lamb of God and Atonement Theories,” Tyndale Bulletin 32 (1981) 97-122; K. A. Strand, “An Overlooked Old Testament Background to Rev 11:1,” AUSS 22 (1984) 317-325; B. Snyder, Combat Myth in the Apocalypse: The Liturgy of the Day of the Lord and the Dedication of the Heavenly Temple (Ph. D. diss.; Graduate Theological Union, 1991); R. D. Davis, The Heavenly Court Judgment of Revelation 4-5 (Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1992) 220-226; A. R. Treiyer, The Day of Atonement and the Heavenly Judgment (Siloam Springs, AR: Creation Enterprises International, 1992); J. Paulien, “The Role of the Hebrew Cultus, Sanctuary, and Temple in the Plot and Structure of the Book of Revelation,” AUSS 33 (1995) 245–64 at 255-256; E. Lupieri, “Apocalisse, sacerdozio e Yom Kippur,” ASE 19/1 (2002) 11-21; R. Stefanovic, Revelation of Jesus Christ: Commentary on the Book of Revelation (Berrien Springs, MI: Andrews University Press, 2002) 31-32; J. Ben-Daniel and G. Ben-Daniel, The Apocalypse in the Light of the Temple. A New Approach to the Book of Revelation (Jerusalem: Beit Yochanan, 2003); R. S. Boustan, From Martyr to Mystic: Rabbinic Martyrology and the Making of Merkavah Mysticism (TSAJ, 112; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2005) 197.
23 Orlov, Divine Scapegoats, 66.
24 Orlov, Divine Scapegoats, 73-4.
25 Philonenko-Sayar and Philonenko, L’Apocalypse d’Abraham, 68.
26 Lev 16:22: “The goat shall bear on itself all their iniquities to a barren region; and the goat shall be set free in the wilderness.”
27 The biblical roots of the motif of the incarceration of heavenly beings in the subterranean realm can be found in Isa 24:21-22: “On that day the Lord will punish the host of heaven in heaven, and on earth the kings of the earth. They will be gathered together like prisoners in a pit; they will be shut up in a prison, and after many days they will be punished.” Regarding this tradition, see D. D. Aune, Revelation 17-22 (WBC, 52C; Nashville: Nelson, 1998) 1078.
28 In relation to this tradition, Patrick Tiller suggests that “the temporary rocky prison of Asael may be somehow related to the offering of a live goat, which bears the sins of Israel, to Azazel on the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16).” P. A. Tiller, A Commentary on the Animal Apocalypse of 1 Enoch (EJL, 4; Atlanta: Scholars, 1993) 371.
29 Scholars note that the complex nature of the imagery of angelic imprisonment in early Enochic materials operates with various types of subterranean/desert prisons, temporary as well as permanent. Sometimes these separate entities are combined into a single prison. With respect to this, Patrick Tiller observes that “in both the Book of the Watchers and the Animal Apocalypse, there are two prisons into which the Watchers will be cast. The first, a temporary prison, is described as two separate places in 10:4-5 (=88.1) and 10:12 (=88:3). In 18:12-16 and 21:1-6 these two places are combined into a single prison for both the wandering and the fallen angels. In the later part of the Book of the Watchers (18:12-16; 21:1-6), this prison is not an abyss at all but a dark, desert wasteland. In chapters 6-12, it is not clear whether the temporary prisons are abysses or not. The permanent prison, the abyss of fire, is described in 10:6, 13; 18:9-11; and 21:7-10 in the Book of the Watchers and in 90:24-25 in the Animal Apocalypse. The abyss described by Jude seems to be a composite of all of these prisons: it is dark (10:4-5; 88:1); it is reserved for the wandering stars (18:12-16; 21:1-6); and it is eternal (10:6, 13; 21:7-10).” Tiller, A Commentary on the Animal Apocalypse of 1 Enoch, 252-254.
30 Rev 20:14: “Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire.”
31 Knibb, The Ethiopic Book of Enoch, 2.88.
32 It is possible that the loosing of the band at the end of the ritual signified the forgiveness of the Israelite sins. Some studies point to the connection of the formulae of loosing with the theme of forgiveness. On this, see Hiers, “Binding and Loosing,” 234.
33 Scholars have noted that the binding motif was very prominent in the tradition of the fall of the Watchers. On this, see R. Bauckham, Jude, 2 Peter (WBC, 50; Waco: Word Books, 1983) 53. On the binding motif, see also 1 Enoch 13:1; 14:5; 18:16; 21:3–6; 54:3-5; 56:1-4; 88:1; 4QEnGiants 8:14; Jub. 5:6; 10:7–11; 2 Enoch 7:2; 2 Bar. 56:13; Sib. Or. 2.289; Origen, Contra Celsum 5:52.
34 A curious parallel to the motif of a great chain can be found in 1 Enoch 54, where Enoch sees iron chains of “immeasurable weight” that are prepared for “the hosts of Asael/Azazel.” 1 Enoch 54:3-5 reads: “And there my eyes saw how they made instruments for them — iron chains of immeasurable weight. And I asked the angel of peace who went with me, saying: ‘These chain-instruments — for whom are they being prepared?’ And he said to me: ‘These are being prepared for the hosts of Azazel, that they may take them and throw them into the lowest part of Hell; and they will cover their jaws with rough stones, as the Lord of Spirits commanded.’” Knibb, The Ethiopic Book of Enoch, 2.138. The peculiar details of the punishment, which includes the motif of “rough stones,” brings to mind Asael’s demise in 1 Enoch 10.
35 Charles argued that “this idea of binding the powers of evil in prison for an undefined period is already found in Isa 24:22, and of their final judgment in xxiv. These powers consist of the host of heaven and the kings of the earth. This idea of the angels and the kings of the earth being judged together reappears in 1 Enoch 53:4-54:5, and the idea of the binding of the fallen angels in a place of temporary punishment till the day of the final judgment is found in 1 Enoch 18:12-16, 19:1-2, 21:1-6, from which the final place of their punishment an abyss of fire is carefully distinguished, 10:13-15, 18:11, 21:7-10, 54:6, 90:24-25. Their leader Azazel is bound in a place by himself (10:4-5) as a preliminary punishment, but at the final judging is to be cast into a place of everlasting punishment (10:6). In nearly all cases the evil spirits are spoken of in 1 Enoch as being ‘bound’ in a preliminary place of punishment, just as in Isa 24:22 and in our text.” R. H. Charles, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Revelation of St. John (ICC; 2 vols.; Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1920) 2.141-142.
36 David Aune notes that in “Rev 20:1–3, 7–10: (1) An angel descends from heaven with a key and a chain (v. 1). (2) The angel seizes and binds Satan (v. 2a). (3) Satan will be imprisoned one thousand years (v. 2b). (4) Satan is cast into a pit that is locked and sealed (v. 3). (5) Satan is released for an unspecified period (vv. 3b, 7–9). (6) Satan and his associates are cast into the lake of fire for eternal torment (v 10). 1 Enoch 10:4–6 contains the following motifs: (1) God sends an angel (Raphael). (2) Azazel (an alias for Satan) is bound by the angel. (3) Azazel is thrown into darkness and imprisoned ‘forever.’ (4) The time of imprisonment, however, will actually end at the great day of judgment. (5) On the great day of judgment Azazel is thrown into the fire. A similar sequence is evident in 1 Enoch 10:11–13: (1) God sends an angel (Michael). (2) The angel binds Semyaza (another alias for Satan) and his associates. (3) They are imprisoned under the earth. (4) The period of imprisonment is limited to seventy generations. (5) On the day of judgment they are thrown into the abyss of fire.” Aune, Revelation 17-22, 1078. Aune concludes his comparative analysis with the following: “Since the narrative pattern found twice in Rev 20:1–10 (i.e., in vv. 1–3 and 7–10) also occurs twice in 1 Enoch, it seems likely that both authors are dependent on a traditional eschatological scenario. The enumeration of motifs found in these three passages exhibits a striking similarity, though John has introduced the innovation of the temporary release of Satan.” Aune, Revelation 17-22, 1078-1079.
37 K. Coblentz Bautch, “The Fall and Fate of Renegade Angels: The Intersection of Watchers Traditions and the Book of Revelation,” in: The Fallen Angels Traditions (eds. A. Kim Harkins et al.; CBQMS, 53; Washington, DC: The Catholic Biblical Association of America, 2014) 69-93.
38 Coblentz Bautch, “The Fall and Fate of Renegade Angels: The Intersection of Watchers Traditions and the Book of Revelation,” 83.
39 For Grabbe, “although there is no explicit reference to the scapegoat ceremony, Rev 20:1-3 has clear connections with 1 Enoch 10:4-5. Note the common features: Asael is bound prior to the judgment just as is Satan. This binding seems to include chains, according to 1 Enoch 54:3-5, though the exact date of the Parables is disputed. Just as Satan is cast into the abyss, so are Asael and others according to Syncellus’ version of 1 Enoch 9:4: ‘Then the Most High commanded the holy archangels, and they bound their leaders [sc. of the fallen angels] and threw them into the abyss until the judgment.’ In the final judgment, just as Satan is cast into a ‘lake of fire’… so Asael and his companions are cast into an ‘abyss of fire’…. Thus, the punishment of Satan has been assimilated to the Asael tradition of 1 Enoch.” L. L. Grabbe, “The Scapegoat Tradition: A Study in Early Jewish Interpretation,” JSJ 18 (1987) 165-79 at 160-61.
40 Stökl Ben Ezra, The Impact of Yom Kippur on Early Christianity, 88.
41 Concerning the punishment of Asael and other fallen angels in the Book of the Watchers, Archie Wright notes that “1 Enoch 10:4-15 describes the punishment of the Watchers for their crimes against God and His creation. Asa’el is first to face his punishment for his role in the Instruction motif of BW (10:4-6, 8). He will be bound and cast into the darkness where he will be entombed until the Day of Judgment at which time he will be destroyed in the fire. The angels from the Shemihazah tradition face a similar punishment in 10:11-14. They will first view the death of their offspring (10:12) and secondly, they shall be bound under the earth until their judgment (10:12). The judgment occurs after seventy generations of entombment at which time they shall be cast into the fire where they will be destroyed (10.13-14).” A. T. Wright, The Origin of Evil Spirits: The Reception of Genesis 6.1-4 in Early Jewish Literature (WUNT, 2.198; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2005) 145-146. Other Enochic booklets reaffirm the same pattern: “the pattern recurs in the Animal Apocalypse as the Watchers are first consigned to an abyss (1 Enoch 88:1, 3) described as deep, dark and of the earth. At the time of the eschaton, the angels are brought forward for judgment (1 Enoch 90:21) and then thrown into a fiery abyss along with other sinners (1 Enoch 90:24-26). The Book of Parables describes a similar fate: chains are prepared for the host of Azazel (a later rendering of Asael and a reference to one of the Watchers) so that they might be thrown into an abyss of complete judgment and covered with jagged stones (cf. 1 Enoch 10:5). On the day of judgment, we are told, the archangels will throw the rebels into a burning furnace because they became servants of Satan and led astray humankind (54:3-6).” Coblentz Bautch, “The Fall and Fate of Renegade Angels: The Intersection of Watchers Traditions and the Book of Revelation,” 84.
42 In relation to the dynamics of the scapegoat ritual, Jacob Milgrom points out that “purgation and elimination rites go together in the ancient world. Exorcism of impurity is not enough; its power must be eliminated. An attested method is to banish it to its place of origin (the wilderness or the netherworld) or to some place where its malefic powers could work in the interest of the sender.” J. Milgrom, Leviticus. A Book of Ritual and Ethics. A Continental Commentary (Minneapolis; Fortress, 2004) 172.
43 P. de Villiers, “Prime Evil and its Many Faces in the Book of Revelation,” Neotestamentica 34 (2000) 57-85 at 62.
44 de Villiers, “Prime Evil and its Many Faces in the Book of Revelation,” 63-4.
45 m. Yoma 4:2: “He bound a thread of crimson wool on the head of the scapegoat and he turned it towards the way by which it was to be sent out; and on the he-goat that was to be slaughtered [he bound a thread] about its throat.” Danby, The Mishnah, 166.
46 E. Lohmeyer, Die Offenbarung des Johannes (HNT, 16; Tübingen: Mohr, 1970) 99; Yarbro Collins, The Combat Myth in the Book of Revelation, 79.
47 Charles, Revelation, 1.318-319; Yarbro Collins, The Combat Myth, 77.
48 D. D. Aune, Revelation 6-16 (WBC, 52B; Nashville: Nelson, 1998) 683; C. R. Koester, Revelation: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary (AYB, 38A; New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2014) 545.
49 m. Yoma 6:8: “R. Ishmael says: Had they not another sign also?—a thread of crimson wool was tied to the door of the Sanctuary and when the he-goat reached the wilderness the thread turned white; for it is written, Though your sins be as scarlet they shall be as white as snow.” Danby, The Mishnah, 170.
50 m. Shabbat 9:3: “Whence do we learn that they tie a strip of crimson on the head of the scapegoat? Because it is written, Though your sins be as scarlet they shall be as white as snow.” Danby, The Mishnah, 108.
51 b. Yoma 39a: “Our Rabbis taught: Throughout the forty years that Simeon the Righteous ministered, the lot [‘For the Lord’] would always come up in the right hand; from that time on, it would come up now in the right hand, now in the left. And [during the same time] the crimson-colored strap would become white. From that time on it would at times become white, at others not.” Epstein, The Babylonian Talmud. Yoma, 39a; b. Yoma 39b: “Our Rabbis taught: During the last forty years before the destruction of the Temple the lot [‘For the Lord’] did not come up in the right hand; nor did the crimson-colored strap become white.” Epstein, The Babylonian Talmud. Yoma, 39b.
52 b. Yoma 67a: “But let him tie the whole [thread] to the rock? — Since it is his duty [to complete his work with] the he-goat, perhaps the thread might become fast white, and he would be satisfied. But let him tie the whole thread between its horns? — At times its head [in falling] is bent and he would not pay attention. Our Rabbis taught: In the beginning they would tie the thread of crimson wool on the entrance of the Ulam without: if it became white they rejoiced; if it did not become white, they were sad and ashamed. Thereupon they arranged to tie it to the entrance of the Ulam within. But they were still peeping through and if it became white, they rejoiced, whereas, if it did not become white, they grew sad and ashamed. Thereupon they arranged to tie one half to the rock and the other half between its horns. R. Nahum b. Papa said in the name of R. Eleazar ha-Kappar: Originally they used to tie the thread of crimson wool to the entrance of the Ulam within, and as soon as the he-goat reached the wilderness, it turned white. Then they knew that the commandment concerning it had been fulfilled, as it is said: If your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white wool.” Epstein, The Babylonian Talmud. Yoma, 67a.
53 Cf. also m. Shabbat 9:3: “Whence do we learn that they tie a strip of crimson on the head of the scapegoat? Because it is written, Though your sins be as scarlet they shall be as white as snow.” Danby, The Mishnah, 108.
54 Lupieri, “Apocalisse, sacerdozio e Yom Kippur,” 19.
55 Rev 17:3-4: “So he carried me away in the spirit into a wilderness, and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast (ἐπὶ θηρίον κόκκινον) that was full of blasphemous names, and it had seven heads and ten horns. The woman was clothed in purple and scarlet (κόκκινον), and adorned with gold and jewels and pearls, holding in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the impurities of her fornication.” The Epistle of Barnabas uses the same terminology in its descriptions of scarlet band: Barn. 7:8: “and wrap a piece of scarlet wool (τὸ ἔριον τὸ κόκκινον) around its head.”
56 The red colored attributes of the antagonists present a striking contrast with the white attributes of the sinless and the righteous (Rev 2:17; 3:4-5; 6:11; 7:9-14) and their eschatological leaders (Rev 1:14; 4:4). Scholars previously noted that “in Revelation the color ‘white’ consistently denotes purity.” L. T. Stuckenbruck and M. D. Mathews, “The Apocalypse of John, 1 Enoch, and the Question of Influence,” in Die Johannesapokalypse. Kontexte – Konzepte – Rezeption (eds. J. Frey et al.; WUNT 1.287. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2012) 191-234 at 198. See also D. D. Aune, Revelation 1-5 (WBC, 52A; Dallas: Word Books, 1997) 222-223.
57 Carrington, The Meaning of Revelation, 348, 392; Massyngberde Ford, Revelation, 277, 287.