Can I Trust The Bible? (Part 25)
Gabriel and Michael we know, but who is the archangel Raphael? Raphael is not mentioned in the Bible, but we meet him in the apocryphal books of Tobit and Enoch. Catholics and Orthodox Christians believe that Tobit is God’s Word and Ethiopian Orthodox and Eritrean Orthodox believe Enoch is God’s Word. They believe that Raphael is one of God’s chief angels who is personally involved with God’s people. True?
The book of Tobit is about a member of the Israelite tribe of Naphtali named Tobit. He lived in Nineveh with his wife and son (Tobias) after the northern tribes were defeated and moved to Assyria. A woman named Sarah lived far away in Media and prayed for death because she had lost seven husbands to a demon named Asmodeus. The demon killed every man she married on their wedding night before the marriage could be consummated. The story has God answering Sarah’s prayer by sending the archangel Raphael to free her from the demon. Raphael disguised himself as a man and went with Tobias on a journey to Media. Many Christians believe Raphael is one of seven archangels named in Scripture. Where did that come from? “I am Raphael, one of the seven holy angels, which present the prayers of the saints, and which go in and out before the glory of the Holy One.” (Tobit 12:15) Raphael disappeared from view and was not heard from again in the Book of Tobit. Interestingly, Raphael played a prominent role in John Milton’s Paradise Lost.
Enoch chapter 10 mentions Uriel, Raphael, Gabriel, and Michael in the same paragraph. Uriel is another archangel mentioned in the apocryphal books – specifically in Enoch and the Second Book of Esdras (also known as Esdras 4 in Catholic versions). Also note the use of the term “Watchers” in Enoch 10. This is another concept that has been used often in both Christian and non-Christian literature. Enoch 10 is supposed to reveal more of what was happening during the events of Genesis 6.
“Then said the Most High, the Holy and Great One spake, and sent Uriel to the son of Lamech, and said to him: ‘〈Go to Noah〉 and tell him in my name ‘Hide thyself!’ and reveal to him the end that is approaching: that the whole earth will be destroyed, and a deluge is about to come upon the whole earth, and will destroy all that is on it. And now instruct him that he may escape and his seed may be preserved for all the generations of the world.’ And again the Lord said to Raphael: ‘Bind Azâzêl hand and foot, and cast him into the darkness: and make an opening in the desert, which is in Dûdâêl, and cast him therein. And place upon him rough and jagged rocks, and cover him with darkness, and let him abide there for ever, and cover his face that he may not see light. And on the day of the great judgement he shall be cast into the fire. And heal the earth which the angels have corrupted, and proclaim the healing of the earth, that they may heal the plague, and that all the children of men may not perish through all the secret things that the Watchers have disclosed and have taught their sons. And the whole earth has been corrupted through the works that were taught by Azâzêl: to him ascribe all sin.’ And to Gabriel said the Lord: ‘Proceed against the bastards and the reprobates, and against the children of fornication: and destroy [the children of fornication and] the children of the Watchers from amongst men[and cause them to go forth]: send them one against the other that they may destroy each other in battle: for length of days shall they not have. And no request that they (i.e. their fathers) make of thee shall be granted unto their fathers on their behalf; for they hope to live an eternal life, and that each one of them will live five hundred years.’ And the Lord said unto Michael: ‘Go, bind Semjâzâ and his associates who have united themselves with women so as to have defiled themselves with them in all their uncleanness. And when their sons have slain one another, and they have seen the destruction of their beloved ones, bind them fast for seventy generations in the valleys of the earth, till the day of their judgement and of their consummation, till the judgement that is for ever and ever is consummated. In those days they shall be led off to the abyss of fire: 〈and〉 to the torment and the prison in which they shall be confined for ever. And whosoever shall be condemned and destroyed will from thenceforth be bound together with them to the end of all generations. And destroy all the spirits of the reprobate and the children of the Watchers, because they have wronged mankind. Destroy all wrong from the face of the earth and let every evil work come to an end: and let the plant of righteousness and truth appear: and it shall prove a blessing; the works of righteousness and truth shall be planted in truth and joy for evermore. And then shall all the righteous escape, And shall live till they beget thousands of children, And all the days of their youth and their old age Shall they complete in peace. And then shall the whole earth be tilled in righteousness, and shall all be planted with trees and be full of blessing. And all desirable trees shall be planted on it, and they shall plant vines on it: and the vine which they plant thereon shall yield wine in abundance, and as for all the seed which is sown thereon each measure (of it) shall bear a thousand, and each measure of olives shall yield ten presses of oil. And cleanse thou the earth from all oppression, and from all unrighteousness, and from all sin, and from all godlessness: and all the uncleanness that is wrought upon the earth destroy from off the earth. And all the children of men shall become righteous, and all nations shall offer adoration and shall praise Me, and all shall worship Me. And the earth shall be cleansed from all defilement, and from all sin, and from all punishment, and from all torment, and I will never again send (them) upon it from generation to generation and for ever.” Enoch 10
The writer of Enoch has the archangel Uriel speaking to Lamech, Noah’s father, telling him to warn his son to hide himself because of the approaching deluge God was going to send upon the earth. Enoch has God telling the archangel Raphael to “bind Azazel” hand and foot, and cast him into darkness, making an opening in the desert in Dudael. The Hebrew word la-aza’zeyl is used in Leviticus three times to refer to the “scapegoat” (absolute removal).
“He shall take the two goats and present them before the Lord at the door of the tabernacle of meeting. Then Aaron shall cast lots for the two goats: one lot for the Lord and the other lot for the scapegoat. And Aaron shall bring the goat on which the Lord’s lot fell, and offer it as a sin offering. 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.” Leviticus 16:8-10
Moses wrote about the double blessings of God’s forgiveness: sin remitted and sin atoned. The goat for the Lord was killed as a sin offering. The scapegoat was presented alive before the Lord and sent into the wilderness. Another way of saying this is that God forgives and forgets. The Lord’s goat was killed as payment for the debt (thus forgiven) and the scapegoat carried the memory of the sins into the wilderness to be remembered no more – forgiven and forgotten.
Enoch presents Azazel as an evil supernatural being [e.g. demon, Satan] and Raphael as the archangel who binds and casts Azazel into a deep, dark hole to be held there until the judgment at which time Azazel would be cast into “the fire”. The Book of Revelation (Chapter 20) says that “an angel” (not named) will bind Satan and cast him into “the bottomless pit” and shut him up and set a seal on him for a thousand years. After the thousand years, Satan will be released from his prison and allowed to deceive the nations of the earth and gather them together to fight against Christ in Jerusalem. Fire will come down from God out of Heaven and devour all of the armies of the earth. Satan will be cast into “the lake of fire and brimstone” and be tormented day and night forever and ever.
Though Enoch and Revelation are not identical in every detail about this event, it is interesting to read something written before the Birth of Christ that is similar to the Revelation Christ gave the Apostle John many years after His Birth, Death, and Resurrection.
So, is Enoch God’s Inspired Word? What about Tobit? Should they be included in the Bible? More on that question in the next part of our study.
In Christ’s Love and Grace,
Building Confidence Through Evidence
“Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”