IN OUR consideration of the Day of Atonement we omitted one important part of the service, which deserves special treatment, namely, that of the scapegoat. On this subject much has been written and many different views are held. We shall consider what we believe to be the true view and which harmonizes best with the general purpose of the atonement.
It will be remembered that the blood of the Lord's goat cleansed the most holy place, the holy, and the altar of the uncleanness of the children of Israel and of their transgression in all their sins. Leviticus 16:16. (See verse 19) It was emphasized that this was not merely forgiveness but also cleansing. Forgiveness had been obtained in the daily service when individual sin offerings were brought. The blood had then been ministered and the sin forgiven. Repeatedly it is stated that the priest shall make an atonement for him, and it shall be forgiven him. (Leviticus 4:26,31,35) The record of the sin remained, however, until the Day of Atonement, when it was finally blotted out.
This is a type of what happens in the great day of judgment, of which the Day of Atonement was a type. Then the books are opened, and the sins of the righteous are blotted out. (Acts 3:19; Revelation 20:12; Daniel 7:10) Those who do not have their sins blotted out, will have their names blotted out. (Exodus 32:33; Revelation 3:5; Psalm 69:28) This means eternal loss.
When lots were cast upon the two goats taken from the congregation, one lot was for the Lord's goat and the other for the scapegoat. (Leviticus 16:8) Some believe both goats to be symbolic of Christ, representing two phases of His atoning work. Others believe that they represent two opposing forces, and that as one is for the Lord, and the other for Azazel, the latter means Satan. Some scholars, probably the majority, hold that Azazel is a personal, wicked, superhuman spirit; others contend that it means one who removes, especially by a series of acts. It seems most, reasonable to believe that as the one goat is for the Lord, a personal being, so the other also is for a personal being. As the two goats are evidently antithetical, the most consistent view would be that Azazel must be opposed to the Lord. He could then be no other than Satan.
While we believe the weight of evidence to be in favor of considering Azazel a personal, wicked spirit, there are certain difficulties in this view which should have consideration. Chief among these is the statement that the scapegoat shall be presented alive before the Lord, to make an atonement with him, and to let him go for a scapegoat into the wilderness. Leviticus 16:10. If Azazel means a wicked spirit, Satan, how can it be possible to make an atonement with him?
We believe that a consideration of the office of the scapegoat furnishes a solution to this problem. The scapegoat was brought into prominence on the Day of Atonement only after the work of reconciliation was completed. After Aaron bath made an end of reconciling the holy place, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar, he shall bring the live goat. And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness. And the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited. And he shall let go the goat in the wilderness. Verses 20-22.
The priest had made an end of reconciling; the sanctuary and the altar had been cleansed; atonement had been made; an end had been made of cleansing; then, and not until then, did the scapegoat appear in its special role. Thus the scapegoat had no part in the atonement, which had already been accomplished with the blood of the Lord's goat. That work was completed.
The objection is made that as the iniquity of the children of Israel was put on the head of the scapegoat, our argument cannot be sound. The text in question says that Aaron shall confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness. Verse 21. Let us consider this.
Most sins admit of shared responsibility. The person committing the sin is often mostly to blame, though this is not always the case. Some are more sinned against than sinning. The man who educates a child to steal cannot escape responsibility by saying that he himself does not steal. The one who lures a girl into sin, though not participating in it himself, is guilty. The parents who fail to instill right principles in their children, must someday give an account. This is as it should be. Responsibility for sin is not traceable to one person only. This is true of all sins except the personal sins of Satan. When lie speaks a lie, he speaks of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. John 8:44.
We come now to a consideration of the sins which Satan bears, the sins which men bear, the sins which Christ bears. It is to be kept in mind, however, that only Christ bears sins in substitutionary atonement. Men and Satan bear sins by way of desert and punishment.
That Satan should suffer for his personal sins is axiomatic. He is a murderer from the beginning and the originator of sin. If sin is to be punished at all, Satan cannot escape. His responsibility reaches beyond that of his personal sins to the sins which he has caused others to commit. This embraces all sin, by whomsoever committed. He is responsible for the sins of the angels which fell, and he is responsible for the sins of men. There is no sin committed anywhere, in heaven or on earth, for which he is not primarily responsible. Whether the sin is committed by saint or sinner, Satan is the instigator of it. This does not mean that the angels who sinned will not have to suffer for what they did; nor does it mean that men are without responsibility. It is only fair and just that each sinner bear the punishment of his sins to the extent to which he is guilty. Satan does not bear their sin as such. They must bear their own sin. The sin for which he will be held responsible is his evil work in tempting them to sin, urging them on, luring them to their ruin. This is often worse than the sin itself.
The principle of joint responsibility is illustrated in the sin of our first parents. Satan tempted them, and they fell. Because of Satan's part in the sin, the serpent was cursed; because of Adam and Eve's sin, they were banished from Eden. God did not hold Adam and Eve solely responsible, neither did He excuse them. Satan was guilty; so was man. There were no extenuating circumstances. All were guilty, and all were punished, each according to his deserts. This principle of joint responsibility, illustrated in God's treatment of the first sin, still holds good. It is God ordained, and its justice finds response in man's own sense of right.
As Satan is primarily responsible for the sins of all men, these sins must finally be placed on him and he must bear the punishment due him. This punishment is not expiatory; nor is it substitutionary; neither is it atoning, except in the sense that a criminal atones for his sins by being hanged on the gallows. He simply suffers for his own sins and for his influence in causing others to sin. This principle is well stated by Mrs. E. G. White when she says, The punishment of the sinner will be measured by the extent to which he has influenced others in impenitence. - The Youth's' Instructor, May 9, 1901. Of all the sins that God will punish, none are more grievous in His sight than those that encourage others to do evil. -Patriarchs and Prophets, page 323. In harmony with this is the statement that Satan must bear the guilt of all the sins which he has caused God's people to commit. The Great Controversy, page 485. Putting these statements together, We find that Satan will be punished for his part in the sins of the impenitent, and also for his part in the sins of the righteous. This is just, for it is the one who led them into sin.
Satan's guilt is particularly heinous in the case of professed Christians. No Christian' wishes to sin. He abhors it. But Satan tempts him. A thousand times the man resists, and a thousand times Satan comes back. At last the man yields; he sins. But he soon repents; he asks forgiveness. The sin has been 'recorded in heaven. Now forgiveness is placed against it. The man is happy. He is forgiven. He has placed his sin upon the great Sin Bearer, who willingly takes it upon Himself, pays the penalty, and suffers the punishment due the sinner.
Then comes the final judgment. The sin is blotted out. The man's record is clear. But what about Satan's part in causing him to fall? Has that been atoned for? It has not. Satan must pay for it himself with his life. An incident that occurred years ago may be of interest.
In a certain college a student janitor was attempting to close the windows during convocation in chapel. He was quietly walking along the outside aisle with a long pole upraised, his eyes on the windows. A fellow student saw an excellent opportunity that he felt should not pass unimproved. As the young man with the pole passed by, intent on his work, the student put out his foot, and with a resounding crash janitor and pole went to the floor. A prompt rebuke for his clumsiness was as promptly rescinded when the circumstances were understood. One man did the falling. The other was responsible.
So, ideally, it should be with the Christian. He may fall, but if he does it should be only because Satan trips him up and not because of any desire on his part. We say ideally. In too many cases the Christian yields because of some weakness for which there is no excuse. For though a Christian may fall, we do not admit the necessity of his falling. God is able to keep him, and if Satan succeeds in tripping him up, his life and intent should be such that he could say with Paul, It is no more I that do it, but sin that dwells in me. Romans 7:17,20.
We have presented this illustration, not to lead any to think that he can fall and avoid responsibility for his fall, but rather to show that there are cases where Satan is almost entirely responsible, and the guilt may justly be placed on him.
The reader who has followed the argument so far will note that in each sin we hold Satan guilty on two points:
First, he is responsible as the instigator of all sin. Whether he personally does his evil work, as in the Garden of Eden, or whether he uses one of his agents as is usually the case-his guilt is clear. Even in the case where the man is entirely willing to sin Satan must bear primary responsibility. As the liquor dealer becomes partly responsible for the crimes committed by a man who is under the influence of the liquor he has sold, so Satan must be held responsible for his part in every sin.
Second, Satan is also responsible for the part which he has in the sin itself. To use the illustration of the barkeeper: he ordinarily restricts his activity to the selling of the liquor and lets the man find his own Victim. But not so Satan. He follows the man, suggests possible victims, and helps him accomplish his evil desires. He will suggest to the woman that she take a drink also-there is no harm in it-and before long her will to resist is broken down. Satan thus becomes a direct partaker in the sin. It would be unjust to hold the woman solely guilty. Satan created circumstances that may make him even more guilty than she. True, he did not commit adultery-the man and the woman did that-but he was most intimately concerned in the sin, and however much the man and woman may later repent, Satan's guilt remains. In the judgment he will be charged with sins which he did not personally commit, but in which he was, nevertheless, a partaker. These sins will be placed upon him, and he must bear his responsibility for them.
Some have mistakenly concluded that if the sins of Israel are finally placed on Satan, he must have some part in the atonement. This is a great error. Satan has no part whatever in the vicarious atonement; the saints are in no way indebted to him; his bearing of sin is in no way related to salvation; his work is evil and only evil.
As the Lamb of God, Christ bore the sin of the world. (John 3:16) All the accumulated sins of men were placed upon Him. He is the Savior of all men, specially of those that believe. 1 Timothy 4:10.
Christ's sacrifice could not be and was not limited to those only who should finally accept Him. It included all men in its provisions. He bore the sins of all men, of Caiaphas, of Judas, of those who nailed Him to the cross. But He bore them efficaciously only for those who would finally accept Him. As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name. John 1: 12.
But even those who finally reject the offer of salvation have been the beneficiaries of Christ's atonement. No sinner has any inherent right to life, and his continued existence and opportunity of accepting salvation is provided for him only by the sacrifice on Calvary. Probationary time is granted him in which to make his decision, and this time is blood bought. When at last he finally and irrevocably decides that he will not accept life on the conditions on which it is offered, the die is cast and he must bear the consequences. God can do no more for him. Salvation has been offered him again and again, and he has spurned it. The Holy Spirit leaves him. He has settled his own case.
In the sanctuary service the simple principles of salvation were clearly taught. A repentant sinner brought his lamb, laid his hand on its head, confessed his sin, and then killed the lamb. The priest then ministered the blood and ate of the flesh, while the man went away forgiven. By eating of the flesh the priest took the sin on himself, thus becoming a type of Him who became sin for us. On the Day of Atonement the high priest, bearing the accumulated sins of the year, made atonement for all confessed sins with the blood of the goat, thus blotting them out with not even the record remaining. Repentant Israel was that day not merely forgiven their sins, but had them blotted out, and they existed no more. Those who had not confessed their sins and had not received forgiveness were cut off, excommunicated, a type of their final cutting off from the favor of God and the land of the living.
This is the simple lesson of salvation as taught in the sanctuary. In the daily burnt offering Israel saw Christ as the Savior of all men, a continual sacrifice applicable to all, providing temporarily and provisionally for all sin, confessed or unconfessed. In the sin offering they saw men accepting by faith the proffered salvation and receiving forgiveness. On the Day of Atonement they saw the high priest making atonement and providing complete cleansing for those who already had their sins forgiven and were still penitent, humbly bowing before God's dwelling place. With this the atonement was complete, and nothing needed to be or could be added. The sins were that day blotted out, and even the record was nonexistent.
Sin is not an entity existing apart from, and independent of, personality; it is an attitude of mind, a disposition, an attribute, a quality of personality, a way of life, a perversion of good. Goodness, love, mercy, or sin, hatred, evil, may be personified, but they are not separate existences. Sin may lie at the door; love and justice may kiss each other; evil and righteousness may battle to the death; but these are all personifications and exist only in connection with personality.
These truths are so patent that it would seem unnecessary to state them. Yet emphasis is needed on this point in view of the fact that there are those who accept the vivid description and personification of sin in the Bible as proof of its actual existence as an entity. This causes them to believe that sin still exists after it is atoned for, blotted out, made an end of, annulled, cast behind God's back, cast into the depths of the sea, erased from the memory of God; and that Satan is the only person who can annihilate sin. They believe that all which Christ did when He made an end of sin, when He died on the cross, when He made a grave for sin, and what He will do when He finally blots them out of the books of record-all this avails nothing as to its destruction and eradication from the universe. According to this theory, Satan is the only one who can extirpate sin; and thus he plays a vital part in the plan of salvation.
The confusion that has arisen in regard to this matter is based on a misinterpretation of the statement that sins are placed on the head of the scapegoat. This statement reads: And when he hath made an end of reconciling the holy place, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar, he shall bring the live goat. And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions and all their sins. Putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of fit man into the wilderness. And the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited: and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness. Leviticus 16:20-22.
Four different interpretations are given to this statement. Satan bears and is punished for (1) the confessed sins of the righteous only, (2) the sins of the wicked only, (3) the confessed and unconfessed sins of all men, (4) his own sins and those which he has caused others to commit.
1. To the Christian it is clear that Satan must not be permitted to assist Christ in bearing sins for atonement, nor help in the final dispositions of the sins which the righteous have by faith placed on the Lamb Of God and for which He suffered and died. Christ must do a complete work, and Satan must have no part in it. Only when the high priest had made an end of reconciling the holy place, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar, did he bring the live goat. Leviticus 16:20.
If the sins placed on Satan are the sins of the righteous only, then these sins are forgiven sins, blotted out sins, annulled, sins, canceled sins, sins that are as white as snow and as wool, sins from which the sting has been removed, sins which God has forgotten, cast into the sea and behind His back-sins, in fact, that no longer exist. For Satan to bear such sins-forgiven sins, white sins, canceled sins, nonexistent sins-would be a farce.
If we ask, Is Satan punished for the sins of the righteous only? The answer would still be in the negative. It would not be right to punish Satan for the sins of the righteous only and not also for the sins of the wicked. If he is to be punished for anyone's sins he must in justice be punished for sins by whomsoever committed, inasmuch as he is the instigator of all sin.
But the sins which the righteous commit and of which they repent are borne by Christ. He is the One who hath borne our grief and carried our sorrows. Isaiah 53:4. He is the One who was wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities; upon whom was laid our chastisement and by whose stripes we are healed. Verse 5. The Lord hath laid upon Him the iniquity of us all; for the transgression of my people was He stricken; He was numbered with the transgressors, and He bare the sins of many. Verses 6,8, 12.
If Satan suffers for the sins of the righteous only, then Christ and Satan both bear and suffer for the same sins. In view of the constantly reiterated fact in the Bible that Christ bore our sins and suffered for them, we are safe in believing that Satan does not bear them; and that for him to be punished for the sins of the righteous only would be entirely inadequate.
We thus reject the first proposition that Satan suffers only for the confessed sins of the righteous. These sins are forgiven, blotted out, dissolved in the precious blood of the Lamb. They were once like scarlet, they were red like crimson, but Christ has made them white as snow. For Satan to bear that kind of sin would not be a burden but an honor. To hold that all which Christ did on the cross, all that He has since done in His ministration in the sanctuary above for the saints, does not avail to the destruction and annihilation of their sin, but that it still exists and is finally destroyed only in Satan-such reasoning makes Satan a necessary part of the atonement for the righteous, which is. an untenable position. Christ must Himself finish the work of atonement, He must tread the winepress alone, and Satan must not be permitted to assist in any way. Those who hold the contrary view, who require Satan to finish the work for the saints which Christ has begun, make Satan necessary. Without him they cannot dispose of the sins of the righteous, Which disposition is a most vital part of the atonement.
2. The second proposition must also be rejected as unsound, somewhat for the same reasons as the first. Certainly Satan could not be held responsible for the sins of the wicked only, and escape punishment for the sins he has caused the righteous to commit. If we hold that men are responsible for their influence and for the sins which they cause others to commit, we cannot hold Satan guiltless when he tempts the wicked any more than when he tempts the righteous. He is guilty in both cases. There may, indeed, be degrees of guilt; but under no circumstances can Satan be held guiltless.
In view of the fact that Satan is primarily responsible for all sin, does he therefore bear all sin, is he punished for all sin? This, at first sight, seems a reasonable conclusion; yet it needs to be carefully stated and interpreted, lest it be misunderstood and there be no sins left for Christ to bear. Some have unintentionally erred in this and placed all sins upon Satan, leaving little room for Christ's atonement. Any true theory of redemption must give Christ not only first place in the atonement but the only place, and any part which Satan may play must be entirely separate from Christ's work for His saints.
As proposition 3, is closely bound up with proposition 4, it may be best to consider them together to get an over-all picture of exactly which sins are placed on the scapegoat and why they are placed upon him.
We have already observed that the bearing of sins does not have the same meaning in the case of Satan as in that of Christ. If we look at the type we find that when sin was transferred to any sacrifice, it meant the death of the animal. The animal bore sin with the eventual view of the blotting out of that sin, and death ensued in each case. When Christ bore our sins, when our iniquities were laid on Him, He bore them to the cross, He died that we might live.
Not so when Satan bears sin. Although the scapegoat eventually died, Scripture is very careful not to mention this fact, lest some might draw wrong conclusions. When the sins were placed upon the scapegoat there was no ensuing death, no sprinkling of blood, no burning of the fat upon the altar, no eating of the flesh, no priestly ministration of any kind. Not even did a priest lead the scapegoat away, and the man who did so could not come into the camp again until he had washed his clothes and bathed his flesh in water. (Leviticus 16:26) All this is recorded to emphasize the fact that the scapegoat served a purpose entirely different from that of the Lord's goat. We should bear this in mind as we consider the scapegoat's place in the final disposition of sin.
An illustration might serve to make clearer how guilt is apportioned. In any sin three individuals at least are involved: the sinner, Satan, and Christ. As sins are ordinarily instigated by Satan through some agent of his, four individuals are ordinarily concerned.
Let us consider the case of the woman formerly referred to. She and the man are the transgressors, and they deserve punishment. Adultery in the old Testament was punishable by death, and of this they are guilty. Sharing their guilt is Satan. He tempted the man, he tempted the woman, and is guilty on both points. All three are worthy of death. Men may not know of the transgression, but God does. After a while the woman repents, seeks God earnestly, and receives forgiveness. In the day of judgment-or as in the type on the Day of Atonement where sin is blotted out, and even the record is no more. So he stands before God as though she had never sinned; he is clad in a robe pure and white, she is a new creature in Christ Jesus. Her sins which were many are washed away in the blood of the Lamb; the old sinful nature is buried in the baptismal waters; she is a new creature with a new name; all the old things are forgotten and all things have become new.
What has happened? The death penalty which hung over her has been removed. Christ has died for her, died in her place. He has taken upon Himself the punishment which was due her. He has suffered for her sake, and by His stripes she, has been healed. The old life is a thing of the past. She is a new creature. Christ has taken her sins with Him into the grave; there He paid the penalty; there He made an end of sin; and there, through death, He destroyed him that had the power of death, that is, the devil. Daniel 9:24; Hebrews 2:14.
It seems almost incongruous to ask what has become of her sin, of her adultery. Yet this question must be answered by those who believe in the existence of sin.
Let us consider the case of the woman formerly transferred to. She and the man are the transgressors, and both deserve punishment. Adultery in the Old Testament was punishable by death, and of this they are guilty. Sharing their guilt is Satan. He tempted the man, he tempted the woman, and is guilty on both points. All three are worthy of death. Men may not know of the transgression, but God does.
After a while the woman repents, seeks God earnestly, and receives forgiveness. In the day of judgment-or as in the type on the Day of Atonement her sin is blotted out, and even the record is no more. She stands before God as though she had never sinned; she is clad in a robe pure and white, she is a new creature in Christ Jesus. Her sins which were many are washed away in the blood of the Lamb; the old sinful nature is buried in the baptismal waters; she is a new creature with a new name; all the old things are forgotten and all things have become new.
What has happened? The death penalty which hung over her has been removed. Christ has died for her, died in her place. He has taken upon Himself the punishment which was due her. He has suffered for her sake, and by His stripes she has been healed. The old life is a thing of the past. She is a new creature. Christ has taken her sins with Him into the grave; there He paid the penalty; there He made an end of sin; and there, through death, He destroyed him that had the power of death, that is, the devil. Daniel 9:24; Hebrews 2:14.
It seems almost incongruous to ask what has become of her sin, of her adultery. Yet this question must, be answered by those who believe in the existence of sin independent of personality. What did become of her sin? It simply ceased to exist. When she, by the grace of God, gave up her sin, when she received forgiveness and cleansing, when she heeded the admonition, Go, and sin no more, sin came to an end; there was no more sin, no more uncleanness, no more transgression. It had all vanished. Christ had done a complete work. At the conclusion of the judgment even the record is blotted out, and the sin can no more come to mind.
What happened in this supposed case happens in the case of every truly converted person; Christ takes entire charge. He takes the sin and its punishment, He forgives and cleanses, He creates a new heart and mind, and the sinner becomes an entirely new creature. In all this Satan has no part whatsoever.
But what happens to Satan? Does he escape punishment because the woman repents? By no means. His guilt is not diminished by her change of heart. He must suffer for his part in tempting her and leading her into sin. He is responsible for putting evil desires into the heart of man and inciting him to tempt the woman. For this he must suffer. He does not suffer for the man's part in the sin. The man himself suffers for that. He does not suffer for the woman's part in the sin. She must suffer for that, unless she repents and turns to God, in which case Christ takes her burden. What Satan suffers for is his part in the sin.
His sinfulness is primary; he instigated the sin; he caused others to sin, and for this he suffers. The others suffer for their own sin.
The case is therefore this: Satan suffers for his own sins, those he has personally committed and those he has caused others to commit. The sinner suffers for his own sins, those he has personally committed, and those he has caused others to commit.
The sinner who repents casts himself upon the mercy of God. Christ takes his sins, bears them, suffers and dies for them, and the sinner is set free. Christ pays the penalty due to sins, and redemption is accomplished. The sinner is restored fully and completely to the love and favor of God, and stands before God as though he had never sinned. It is after this work of atonement is completed that the scapegoat appears to have sins placed upon him.
These are the sins which he has caused others to commit, the sins in which he has joint responsibility. The sinner himself must bear his own sins and suffer for them, or he may cast his burden on the Lord, but in neither case can Satan avoid first responsibility. He is guilty in all sin, and man's repentance does not lessen Satan's guilt. Hence, Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness. Leviticus 16:21, 22.
The confessed sins have already been disposed of. Aaron has already made an end of reconciling the holy place, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar. Verse 20. He has made an atonement in the holy place (most holy), an atonement for himself, and for his household, and for all the congregation of Israel Verse 17. Then and not until then is the goat produced. The sins that are put on the head of the scapegoat are not the atoned-for sins, the white, canceled sins, the nonexistent sins: they are Satan's share in all these same sins, the share for which no atonement was made and which were not provided for in the Lord's goat. Satan bears his own personal sins, and also a share in all the sins for which he is responsible. These include all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins. Verse 21.
In this way all sin is provided for. Christ bears and annuls, in His own body, all the confessed sins of His people; the unrepentant sinner who does not accept Christ as his sin bearer bears his own sin. Satan bears his own sins and in addition the terrific weight of the guilt of all the sins which he has caused others to commit. If to this we add the sins of the angels who fell, we have a complete and just disposal of all sin in this world and in the universe.
In the view here presented we have in the two goats prefigured the complete extermination of sin. The first goat represents Christ, who is not only the Savior of the world, the divine Son of God, but also the representative man, the second Adam. He is a type of all who will be saved. The second goat represents Satan, who is not only the first sinner, and the instigator of all sin, but also the representative sinner. He is a type of all who will be lost. The people could choose either one as their representative.
If they chose the Lord's goat they identified themselves with Christ and through Him received pardon and cleansing; for on that day shall the priest make an atonement for you, to cleanse you, that you may be clean from all your sins before the Lord. Leviticus 16:30. When the work was done, the sanctuary was cleansed, the priesthood was cleansed, the people were cleansed, from all their sins.
If, on the other hand, they allied themselves with the scapegoat, they had no part in the atonement. During the whole service the scapegoat stood tied before the door of the tabernacle, awaiting its doom. When the atonement was finished, the scapegoat was led forward by the high priest, who took all the sins that were not provided for in the sacrificial death of the Lord's goat. Confessed these sins, and placed them upon the head of the goat, which was then sent into the wilderness. As they saw the goat being led away, not in a triumphant march headed by the high priest, but in a mournful procession led by a man appointed thereto, they saw in figure the fate, not only of Satan, but of each one who turned away from God. The sin laden goat was led on to its destruction, farther and farther from the house of God and the congregation of Israel, to perish alone in the wilderness, far from the camp of God.
As a criminal is led to the gallows, so the goat with a rope around its neck was led to destruction. As a criminal thus atoned for his transgression, so the goat likewise atoned-not atonement unto salvation,
but punitive atonement unto death.
The day of final judgment includes not only the blotting out of the sins of the righteous but also the eradication of sin from the universe. It includes the placing upon the head of Satan all sin for which he is responsible, and the cutting off of all who had not afflicted their souls. So likewise in the sanctuary service the sins were placed on the head of the scapegoat after the cleansing of the sanctuary had been completed. Then those who had not repented were cut off. (Leviticus 16:20-22; 23:29)
When the ministration in the holy of holies had been completed, and the sins of Israel had been removed from the sanctuary by virtue of the blood of the sin offering, then the scapegoat was presented alive before the Lord; and in the presence of all the congregation the high priest confessed over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat. In like manner, when the work of atonement in the heavenly sanctuary has been completed, then in the presence of God and heavenly angels, and the host of the redeemed, the sins of God's people will be placed upon Satan. He will be declared guilty of all the evil which he has caused them to commit. And as the scapegoat was sent away into a land not inhabited, so Satan will be banished to the desolate earth, an uninhabited and dreary wilderness. - The Great Controversy, page 658.
As the priest, in removing the sins from the sanctuary, confessed them upon the head of the scapegoat, so Christ will place all these sins upon Satan, the originator and instigator of sin. The scapegoat, bearing the sins of Israel, was sent away 'unto a land not inhabited'. So Satan, bearing the guilt of all the sins which he has caused God's people to commit, will be for a thousand years confined to the earth, which will then be desolate, without inhabitant. And he will at last suffer the full penalty of sin in the fires that shall destroy all the wicked. Thus the great plan of redemption will reach its accomplishment in the final eradication of sin, and the deliverance of all who have been willing to renounce evil.-Ibid., page 485, 486.
The Day of Atonement was the great day in Israel. On that day the people divided themselves into two groups. The one group afflicted their souls. They had already confessed their sins; they had made restitution and brought their offering. Now they awaited the outcome. When the bells of the high priest were heard as he finished the work of atonement, they knew that all was well. God had accepted them. Their sins were blotted out.
The other group had no part in the atonement. They had not afflicted their souls. They had not confessed nor made restitution. Now their sins returned upon their own heads. They were cut off.
Thus the Day of Atonement was the great day of division. Each person made his own decision, and this decision settled his destiny. When the day was over, the camp was clean. One of two things had happened: sin had been removed from the sinner, or he himself had been removed. In either case the camp was clean.
Thus it shall be in the end of the world. It shall come to pass, that he that is left in Zion, and he that remains in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, even every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem. Isaiah 4:3. God shall again cleanse His people. Those who remain in Zion shall be holy, every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem. The rest will be shaken out, cut off.
The leading away of the scapegoat must have been a solemn moment for all Israel. In him each man had a vivid illustration of what would happen to him as he failed in his duty toward God. Driven out of the camp, out into the wilderness, alone and forsaken, the prey of hunger and thirst, of heat by day and cold by night, surrounded by wild animals and other dangers of the night, laden with sin and with the curse of God resting upon him. This was the fate of the scapegoat, and this would be the fate of such as departed from God. The lesson must have been vivid and powerful, and one not easily forgotten.
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