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OUR HIGH PRIEST    by Edward Heppenstall


Day of Atonement — 5

In the Levitical order of the earthly sanctuary for any one year, the priestly ministry had two important aspects—the daily and the yearly.

Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary. . . . Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle [first apartment] accomplishing the service of God. But into the second went the high priest alone once every year (Heb. 9:1-7; see also 9:24, 25; 10:3, 4, 11, 12; 7:26, 27).

The daily or "continual" ministration was performed every day throughout the year. The yearly came at a fixed time, and ended within the limits of one natural day. It was called the Day of Atonement. The Day of Atonement was the climax of the whole Levitical system, the culminating point of all the religious ceremonies. On this day the high priest alone went into the most holy place in the presence of God to make a final atonement for the children of Israel and for the sanctuary. Every sin committed and every confession made, every service rendered since the previous Day of Atonement, bore witness before God, and constituted final evidence for that one day. Hence its great significance, for the services on that day taught a final judgment, a verdict from the throne of God.

The Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord. And ye shall do no work in that same day: for it is a day of atonement, to make an atonement for you before the Lord your God. For whatsoever soul it be that shall not be afflicted in that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people (Lev. 23:26-30).

Day of Atonement Ritual

The ritual performed on this day was unique. It centered in the ceremony over the two goats.

He [Aaron] shall take the two goats, and present them before the Lord at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the Lord, and the other lot for the scapegoat [Azazel]. And Aaron shall bring the goat upon which the Lord's lot fell, and offer him for a sin offering. But the goat, on which the lot fell to be 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 (chap. 16:7-10).

The high priest went into the Most Holy Place with the blood of the first goat to "make an atonement for the holy place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions in all their sins" (verse 16). Now, atonement had been made all during the year when the daily sacrifices were offered. Why was this not adequate? Why did the sin problem require a further act of atonement?

Evidently there was some aspect of the sin problem that had not yet been dealt with. Here is indicated a removal of sin not accomplished by the daily services. The ceremony over the two goats clearly set forth two different aspects of dealing with the sin problem. The second goat for Azazel was neither sacrificed nor its blood sprinkled before the mercy seat in the Most Holy Place. The sins atoned for by the blood of the first goat were now confessed over the head of the second goat, who was led "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" (verses 21, 22).

What is the significance of sending away the "scapegoat" loaded with the sins of Israel to a place of isolation, a banishment with no possibility of return? Much of the confusion regarding the Day of Atonement services has risen from the tendency of Biblical interpreters and theologians to believe that the two goats both represented the work of Christ at the cross. But these two goats symbolize two separate and distinct aspects of God's dealing with sin. The first goat, whose blood was shed, pointed to the atonement made by Christ for our sins. The second goat, whose blood was not shed, had no part in effecting personal redemption. Instead, it pointed to the final and total eradication of sin consequent on Christ's redemption. What is taught by means of the two goats is more than an offering for sin. What is involved is the banishment of Satan and his followers, the eradication of sin, as symbolized by the total isolation of the second goat which symbolized Satan.

Two factors favor the belief that Azazel is a personal being. One is the large number of Biblical scholars and interpreters who hold this view. The other is the evidence from the Hebrew text itself. The parallelism involved in the text strongly suggests that Azazel is a personal being who stands over against the Lord who is a personal being. The casting of lots shows that both goats are equal and parallel in this respect, both are an integral part of the sin problem, one to serve as the goat for the Lord and the other for Azazel.

The Hebrew word for scapegoat, [is] "azazel.". . . Many modern scholars hold, with the Jews, that Azazel denotes a personal, wicked, superhuman spirit, and nearly all agree that its root meaning is, "one who removes." . . . As one goat is for the Lord, a personal Being, so the other goat must also be for a personal being; and as they are evidently antithetical, the most consistent view would be that Azazel stands in opposition to the Lord, and hence can be no other than Satan.—The SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 1, p. 775.

Furthermore, the service was not only an atonement for the people but also for the sanctuary as a whole, a total cleansing, a complete removal of sin. This is definitely indicated by Scripture in the words:

On that day shall the priest make an atonement for you, to cleanse you, that ye may be clean from all your sins before the Lord. . . . And he shall make an atonement for the holy sanctuary, and he shall make an atonement for the tabernacle of the congregation, and for the altar, and he shall make an atonement for the priests, and for all the people of the congregation. And this shall be an everlasting statute unto you, to make an atonement for the children of Israel for all their sins once a year (Lev. 16:30-34).

To the Israelites the Day of Atonement was the settling of human accounts before God, the final vindication both of the sanctuary and the people. There was nothing casual about this day. They anticipated its coming each year with great solemnity. It was a day of separation. It existed primarily for the benefit of those who believed. It brought great anxiety and fear for those whose sins had not been forgiven. That day tried every man's work.

The Israelites waited with concern and awe for the high priest to return from the presence of the Lord in the Most Holy Place, for their final vindication rested upon God's acceptance and cleansing. Then the high priest came out. The people watched him, heard the solemn confession of sins over the head of the live goat, saw the goat led into the desert. Then they knew that sin, in a sense different from that borne by the first goat, had been banished forever. Nothing more would be heard of those sins for that past year. They were all done with.

The symbolism and the typical services in the Levitical sanctuary are meant to clarify and not to confuse. They pointed to the impending realities in the high-priestly work of Christ in the heavenly sanctuary. We are here concerned with the substance of these ministrations, the nature of the work involved. The Day of Atonement taught the truth of Christ's ministration that goes beyond Calvary to the final solution of the sin problem. No truth about God or the mediatorial ministry of Christ in heaven can be complete without that. The blotting out of sin involves more than forgiveness. It involves also the banishment of sin and Satan. The gracious purpose of our Lord is not only to forgive sin but to triumph over it and eradicate it. The ministry of Christ will bring the universe back into complete harmony with God. Satan still reigns and advances everywhere in the world. Sin's increase defies description. But sin and sinners will finally be isolated, banished, and destroyed. The reasoning is sound. Not that God failed to make a complete atonement at the cross. But in the face of the finality and efficacy of that sacrifice it must ultimately effect Satan's end and final destruction. That ministry will not stop short until all sin is blotted out from the universe. If there is any place in the Levitical sanctuary and its services where this truth is taught and symbolized, it is on the Day of Atonement.

God had a purpose in singling out this final day of the ministration of the earthly sanctuary. This lays the capstone on the plan of redemption and earth's total restoration. The ritual over the two goats teaches the very destruction of evil and the originator of it. It points to Christ who in His priestly ministry is both Redeemer and Judge. Otherwise sin would never be destroyed. The work of redemption and the work of judgment are ministered by the same High Priest. God has committed all judgment to the Son (see John 5:22). The eternal mercy and grace of our Lord, the certainty of judgment for weal or woe, belong together as one truth from the sanctuary. They will be understood by those who follow Christ's ministry. God is concerned with both the triumph of righteousness and the overthrow of evil. Final victory will come only as a result of Christ's ministry both of redemption and judgment. That is what is taught in the Day of Atonement.

"Clean From All Your Sins Before the Lord"

He shall make for the sanctuary the expiation required by the ritual uncleanness of the Israelites. . . ; and he shall do the same for the Tent of the Presence, which dwells among them in the midst of all their uncleanness. . . . He shall sprinkle some of the blood on the altar with his finger seven times. So he shall purify it from all the uncleanness of the Israelites and hallow it (Lev. 16:16-22, N.E.B.).

According to the symbolic ritual, the Levitical sanctuary in all its parts was defiled by the sin and guilt of the Israelites as atonement was made and sins were confessed by the repentant sinner. With every daily sacrifice for the sins of Israel offered throughout the year, the growing uncleanness of the sanctuary brought the necessity for an annual cleansing on the Day of Atonement. When that day arrived the cleansing of the sanctuary and of the people of Israel formed a central feature of the high-priestly ministry. This was the high point to which the people of Israel looked forward with great solemnity and significance, for "on that day shall the priest make an atonement for you, to cleanse you, that ye may be clean from all your sins before the Lord" (verse 30).

There were, therefore, two cleansings—one for the individual when he presented his personal sacrifice and confessed his sins, for which the sanctuary thereupon assumed responsibility, and a cleansing of the sanctuary itself upon the Day of Atonement. Both cleansings were essential.

The cleansing of the Levitical sanctuary on the Day of Atonement has its counterpart in the heavenly sanctuary. In the Epistle to the Hebrews the correct interpretation is given by comparing the earthly and heavenly sanctuaries and their priestly ministrations.

Moreover he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry. And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission. It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these (Heb. 9:21-23).

Sin defiles. Blood cleanses. Cleansing is an essential aspect of the atonement. With the confession and forgiveness of sin, the believer is cleansed. This is an essential aspect of the believer's experience with God.

If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. . . . If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:7-9; see also Rev. 1:5).

This initial cleansing is effected by the blood of Christ and by the application of the blood to the life and experience of the believer. The believer can be sure that he is forgiven and cleansed, for "there is now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus" (Rom. 8:1).

But the earthly sanctuary teaches a further cleansing. According to the type, the confessed sins are figuratively represented as resting in the sanctuary until the final cleansing on the Day of Atonement.

This shall be a statute for ever unto you: that in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, ye shall afflict your souls, and do no work at all, whether it be one of your own country, or a stranger that sojourneth among you: for on that day shall the priest make an atonement for you, to cleanse you, that ye may be clean from all your sins before the Lord (Lev. 16: 29, 30).

The blood of Christ, while it was to release the repentant sinner from the condemnation of the law, was not to cancel the sin; it would stand on record in the sanctuary until the final atonement; so in the type the blood of the sin-offering removed the sin from the penitent, but it rested in the sanctuary until the day of atonement.—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 357.

In the typical service, only those who had come before God with confession and repentance, and whose sins, through the blood of the sin-offering, were transferred to the sanctuary, had a part in the service of the day of atonement. So in the great day of final atonement and investigative judgment, the only cases considered are those of the professed people of God.The Great Controversy, p. 480.

Christ not only bore all our sins at the cross but in His priestly ministry in the heavenly sanctuary continued His work of salvation and reconciliation. He will effect a final cleansing, a total reconciliation, a complete eradication of sin, to the glory of God and His loyal creatures throughout the universe. Then no residue nor taint of sin will mark either His sanctuary or His people.

In the great day of final award, the dead are to be "judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works." Then by virtue of the atoning blood of Christ, the sins of all the truly penitent will be blotted from the books of heaven. Thus the sanctuary will be freed, or cleansed, from the record of sin. In the type, this great work of atonement, or blotting out of sins, was represented by the services of the day of atonement, —the cleansing of the earthly sanctuary, which was accomplished by the removal, by virtue of the blood of the sin-offering, of the sins by which it had been polluted.

As in the final atonement the sins of the truly penitent are to be blotted from the records of heaven, no more to be remembered or come into mind, so in the type they were borne away into the wilderness, forever separated from the congregation.—Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 357, 358.

The fact that the thoughts and deeds of all men, good and evil, are recorded with a view to the judgment reveals the necessity for a concluding settlement or cleansing. The opening of the divine records, when "every one of us shall give account of himself to God" (Rom. 14:12), requires a settling of accounts, when the saints of God will be proclaimed in the presence of the court of heaven: "Clean from all their sins before the Lord."

There is pressing moral and spiritual need for a clear understanding of the investigative judgment. The truth that proclaims the redemption of sinners is not confined to a superficial answer to the question, "What must I do to be saved?" Involved is complete sanctification, obedience to God's will, purity of life, perseverance in the faith by means of the divine power made accessible through the priestly ministry of the living Christ. The most weighty truths from God, unalterable for all time, are mediated to man from the divine sanctuary by the Holy Spirit.

Those who would share the benefits of the Saviour' s mediation should permit nothing to interfere with their duty to perfect holiness in the fear of God. . . .  The subject of the sanctuary and the investigative judgment should be clearly understood by the people of God. All need a knowledge for themselves of the position and work of their great High Priest. Otherwise, it will be impossible for them to exercise the faith which is essential at this time, or to occupy the position which God designs them to fill. Every individual has a soul to save or to lose. Each has a case pending at the bar of God. Each must meet the great Judge face to face. How important, then, that every mind contemplate often the solemn scene when the judgment shall sit and the books shall be opened, when, with Daniel, every individual must stand in his lot, at the end of the days. —The Great Controversy, p. 488.

The world of today is passing through a period of revolutionary change. The demand is for a radical readjustment of the whole of thought and life. Two forces strive for the mastery of men—Christ and Satan. The prevailing forces on the satanic side are marked by lawless thinking, the rejection of moral restraint and discipline, and religious apostasy from the Word of God. The voices that speak for God seek to call men back to the living Christ and to the Word of God. In view of the alarming conditions of our time, it is eminently urgent to return to the eternal truth of God. That truth alone will outshine the darkness. God's will and God's law are steadfast. Through the remnant church of God the truth shines on. The living Christ of the heavenly sanctuary presses upon men the need for a spiritual revival to make them ready to stand in the judgment now proceeding. Men need to ask themselves whether they are prepared to possess, enjoy, and obey the truth as it is in Jesus Christ.

We need to put the question to ourselves: Are we prepared to stand before God? In the third chapter of Revelation, Christ addresses the Laodicean church, seeking to arouse man's concern about himself. "I know what you are like," says Christ. "You are neither cold nor hot. You are lukewarm. You have only a short time to prepare. The investigative judgment is under way. I am your attorney for the defense. I want you to make it possible for Me to stand up for you. If you do this, then the investigative judgment is to your advantage. You have nothing to fear." (See Rev. 3:14-22.)

For this reason John in addressing this church speaks of Christ as the faithful and true witness. The picture seems to put Christ on the witness stand once the books of heaven are opened. The universe is prepared to abide by the judgment of Christ. He is called a faithful witness because He can be trusted to tell the truth and nothing but the truth. In this investigation there will be no evading of the issues, no twisting the facts of men's lives. Christ alone can bear witness to the facts in each case.

Christ is not saying that His followers are going to have a bad time in this judgment, that the believer's chances of making it are not good. Christ has no desire to be an accusing judge but a loving, saving friend. He seeks now to persuade men to take the one way to eternal life. He is pictured as standing at the door of the human heart, seeking entrance. "I counsel thee," He says, "to open the door, to buy of me gold . . . , and white raiment." Those who have fully opened their life to Christ will have no fear in the judgment. What Christ counsels may be summed up in a few words: "Gold"—faith and love; "white raiment"—the righteousness of Christ. He seeks earnestly to arouse in man the urgency to meet God in the judgment. But it will cost something. The Levitical Day of Atonement called upon Israel to make sure of their standing with God.

For whatsoever soul it be that shall not be afflicted in that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people (Lev. 23:29).

We are now living in the great day of atonement. In the typical service, while the high priest was making the atonement for Israel, all were required to afflict their souls by repentance of sin and humiliation before the Lord, lest they be cut off from among the people. In like manner, all who would have their names retained in the book of life, should now, in the few remaining days of their probation, afflict their souls before God by sorrow for sin and true repentance. There must be deep, faithful searching of heart. The light, frivolous spirit indulged by so many professed Christians must be put away. There is earnest warfare before all who would subdue the evil tendencies that strive for the mastery. The work of preparation is an individual work. . . . He will examine the case of each individual with as close and searching scrutiny as if there were not another being upon the earth. Every one must be tested, and found without spot or wrinkle or any such thing. . . . The judgment is now passing in the sanctuary above. . . . In the awful presence of God our lives are to come up in review. At this time above all others it behooves every soul to heed the Saviour's admonition. "Watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is."—The Great Controversy, pp. 489, 490.

Unfortunately, modern man is not worrying about his sins. He is content with his own righteousness. The Biblical term sin seems to have lost its meaning for many. In a world that has accepted for the most part the evolutionary view of origins, sin is simply a vestige of man's animal ancestry. But the Bible treats sin and disobedience as a most serious matter. Sin is not something to be regretted only; it is a state of heart and life that is wholly incompatible with God, which will eventually separate man from God and plunge him into the agony of eternal loss.

The only remedy is the Christ who knocks at the door, the Son of God, who bore our sins, who was raised from the dead, and who is now alive forevermore. The one thing needful is to allow God to re-create our lives around that divine Center, to impart the very life of Christ, which breaks the power of sin and sets the prisoner free, changes the sinful desires, restores the spiritual capacities of the mind, and brings the whole life into harmony with the truth of God. Any remedy that fails to do this for sinful men is not true salvation and will not pass the test in the investigative judgment.

God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life (1 John 5:11, 12).

This is the only way. This is what the investigative judgment will reveal, in Christ or out of Christ. The committed Christian may dare to believe that in this judgment Christ will witness to his triumph and final cleansing before the universe.

The future cleansing of the saints does not mean uncertainty but triumph before the court of heaven. Christ will declare before an assembled universe that these, His children, are forever separated from sin; that they have chosen righteousness, and in them sin can never rise again. Having made this judgment, the work of the divine Advocate is finished. Christ has rendered a verdict in their favor. Nothing can now reverse that verdict.

All who have truly repented of sin, and by faith claimed the blood of Christ as their atoning sacrifice, have had pardon entered against their names in the books of heaven; as they have become partakers of the righteousness of Christ, and their characters are found to be in harmony with the law of God, their sins will be blotted out, and they themselves will be accounted worthy of eternal life. . . . Said Jesus: "He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before His angels"—Ibid., p. 483.

"Clean from all your sins before the Lord." This, then, is the final Day of Atonement message. What wonderful news is proclaimed in this sentence from the heavenly sanctuary! What is it to receive Christ's verdict on our behalf? The phrase "clean before the Lord" is most expressive. It means to be saved to the uttermost. It means to be clothed with the righteousness of Christ. It means to have ordered one's allegiance to God, "found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless" (2 Peter 3:14). There is no greater security than to be "clean before the Lord." Christ is everything to us. "I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me" (Gal. 2:20). Do we know this spiritual reality? Do we base our everlasting prospects upon it. The saints are blessed forever, for no one can condemn them or pronounce them unclean. They dwell in the realm of infinite purity. No corruption can stain them. No iniquity can tempt them. No uncleanness can defile them again, throughout eternity.

The grandest scene in the investigative judgment is this divine proclamation from the throne of God. A chord of loving assurance sings throughout the universe regarding God's people. "Cleansed from sin for all eternity" resounds to the ends of the universe. Man cannot declare it of himself. But when Christ, our great High Priest, proclaims it, no one can gainsay it. Heaven was created for spiritually and morally clean persons. Christ presents before the court of heaven a host of those who will never again desire to sin.

With this proclamation we feel carried along in a divine tide, the impulse and direction of which are derived from Christ alone. Here are all the redeemed, totally subject to Him, and on each head is a crown. Whatever hope and joy there is in this present sinful order, whatever regret and sorrow has been the lot of the saints, Christ then declares that they are beyond the reach of sin and death. God's people reflect only the presence and the glory of the Lord. The antitypical Day of Atonement that began in 1844 is full of promise. The children of God on earth are wanted in heaven. One remarkable proof of the saving power of Christ is His presentation of so large a multitude of these His redeemed, clean before the Lord and before the universe.

In the judgment now proceeding in the heavenly sanctuary, Christ asserts of His faithful followers: "clean forever from all your sins." Men's hearts throb with loyalty and love for their King. Such a declaration supersedes all the claims and pronouncements of men. This divine verdict is not the opinion of the wisest on earth, nor the tradition of the eldest, nor the voice of the majority, nor the judgment of the best. It is the word of God alone. What it enjoins is eternal purity and sinlessness in a perfect universe.

Christ said, "The hour of his judgement is come." No voice in the universe has force but His. It is under His crown and sovereignty that the children of God have taken their stand. The decision of this judgment proclaims the steadfastness of the saints in their cleanness, holy before the Lord. The judgment will reveal the impress of Christ's righteousness upon the character stamped with the seal of God. None shall be able to pluck them out of His hand. What glorious recognition by Christ as King of kings and Lord of lords! Are we subjects of Christ? Are we His? "Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect?" (Rom. 8:33).

These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. . . . For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes (Rev. 7:14-17).

When the saints shall stand upon that vast sea of glass amid the multitudes of the heavenly hosts, more countless than the waves of the sea, seen from the judgment seat of Christ, His children will have a happy destiny hereafter. Before that celestial court it will not be asked, whence are you, but what are you—in Christ or out of Christ? "and every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure" (1 John 3:3).

Man was created good, beautiful, and clean. Our Lord will not bring His children less than complete restoration and reconciliation in a universe of perfect beings. The entire past in a man's life examined in the judgment becomes luminous with Christ and His righteousness. The future shall be yet more so. They are forever blessed, for no one can condemn them or pronounce them unclean. The sanctuary of heaven and the government of God will be seen in all their purity and righteousness. Every doubt about God, His character, and His work for the redemption of our world will be removed. His sanctuary will indeed be cleansed. Nothing of sin will remain, not even the records. No pollution can stain that sanctuary; no uncleanness can defile it.

Let us cleave to Christ, that our names may be pronounced by Christ with eulogy before the universe and the court of heaven.

Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God (2 Con. 7:1).

Let us insist on cleanness of living, of thinking, of doing, not as a basis for salvation but as the very essence of our being in Christ, and for that divine verdict which all the true children of God will receive.

Atonement Over the Second Goat

From the Day of Atonement services it is clear that the second goat plays an integral part in the solution of the sin problem.

The goat, on which the lot fell to be 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 (Lev. 16:10). 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 21, 22).

Certain important facts are here stated regarding the second goat: First, an atonement is made with him. Second, the goat is to bear sin, the sins that are brought out of the Most Holy Place and confessed over him. Third, he is to bear sin into a place of total isolation and separation.

Why is sin borne by the second goat? Why is an atonement made with him as well as with the first goat? The atonement made with the blood of the first goat did not include the complete removal of sin. The Scripture clearly states that atonement is made with both goats. (See Lev. 16:10, 15-19.) In one case blood was shed; in the other it was not. Under the symbol of the goat that was sacrificed, Christ bore our sins. The role of the second goat is not redemptive because no blood is shed.

At the cross Christ bore sin's penalty for every man, but the cross did not eradicate sin. It laid the foundation for its ultimate annihilation. Satan is still active. Sin still reigns throughout the world. Satan is far from being isolated from the world of men and events, "for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time" (Rev. 12:12). The bearing of sin by the second goat reveals how sin is to be finally eradicated, for the goat was never seen again.

With the transfer of sin from the sanctuary all responsibility for sin now belonged to the scapegoat. No defilement remained anywhere else. Both the sanctuary and the people were clean. Thus sin's removal aided in the final reconciliation of all things. Only to the degree that he bears responsibility for sin is an atonement said to be made by the scapegoat.

How and when will the final end of sin and Satan be brought about?

There shall be no man in the tabernacle of the congregation when he goeth in to make an atonement in the holy place, until he come out, and have made an atonement for himself, and for his household, and for all the congregation of Israel (Lev. 16:17).

The coming out of the high priest pointed to an event in the priestly ministry of Christ. A review of a commentary by Westcott, interpreting this event, declares:

Christ the High Priest with the blood of His sacrifice is entered into heaven itself. He is there at this moment making atonement, and we, his congregation are waiting without. We are waiting until he comes forth, which will be at His second advent. Until that time the atonement goes on. . . . Christ as our High Priest is ministering His sacrifice in the sanctuary in heaven.—Review of Bishop Brooke Foss Westcott's "Epistle to the Hebrews," in the Church Quarterly Review, Vol. XXXII, No. LXIII, April, 1891, p. 18.

We are probably closer to the truth if we say that Christ's leaving the sanctuary follows the close of His ministry of intercession on behalf of His people. At any rate, Satan's part in the atonement comes after this, when the time for Christ to return to the earth is very close at hand. This means that Satan has no part in the work of redemption, for that work is exclusively Christ's.

The final work of reconciliation will be accomplished by Jesus Christ. What He began at the cross He will finish as our divine High Priest. The Levitical Day of Atonement foreshadowed the ultimate and final triumph of Christ over Satan. Without this the plan of redemption would be incomplete. The vindication of God's sovereign person and rule are part of the divine purpose. The limited perspective of some that limit Christ's priestly work to the "daily" ministration of intercession should not deter us from a wider perspective that does justice to the whole plan of redemption. Other scriptures make this clear, especially the eschatological messages of the books of Daniel and the Revelation, to be examined later.

The Vindication of God

Since the two goats symbolize Christ and Satan respectively, the final issue as to the disposal of sin is between Christ and Satan. On the positive side atonement includes the restoration of oneness and harmony throughout the universe. On the negative side atonement is the elimination of sin to the satisfaction of the moral universe. Underlying and basic to all this is the vindication of God's character in face of the reality of sin that has existed and prospered ever since its inception.

Ellen White identifies the banishing of the second goat with the eradication of sin and Satan.

Christ's work for the redemption of men and the purification of the universe from sin will be closed by the removal of sin from the heavenly sanctuary and the placing of these sins upon Satan, who will bear the final penalty. So in the typical service, the yearly round of ministration closed with the purification of the sanctuary, and the confessing of the sins on the head of the scapegoat.

Thus in the ministration of the tabernacle, and of the temple that afterward took its place, the people were taught each day the great truths relative to Christ's death and ministration, and once each year their minds were carried forward to the closing events of the great controversy between Christ and Satan, the final purification of the universe from sin and sinners.—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 358.

The scapegoat was sent away into a land not inhabited, never to come again into the congregation of Israel. So will Satan be forever banished from the presence of God and His people, and he will be blotted from existence in the final destruction of sin and sinners.—The Great Controversy, p. 422.

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 had 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., pp. 485, 486.

Thus Ellen White shows the eradication of sin and Satan to be part of Christ's final work as High Priest in the heavenly sanctuary. Sin began there with Lucifer as the covering cherub around the throne of God. It will be resolved there. The heavenly sanctuary is the divine center from which all acts in the great controversy between Christ and Satan are executed and resolved.

All significant Levitical types meet their fulfillment in the great antitype in the heavenly sanctuary. It is unfortunate that the final movements of Christ our High Priest, typified by the Levitical Day of Atonement, have either been ignored or misunderstood by most Biblical interpreters and religious leaders.

Limiting the atonement to the cross does not allow for the total process of the blotting out of sin and the final purification of the universe from sin. If we limit atonement, or "reconciliation," wholly to the work of Christ at the cross, then the scope of the sanctuary message is understood only in part. This broad picture of salvation history to its ultimate consummation as seen within the truth about the heavenly sanctuary gives Seventh-day Adventists a distinctive message for our time. The truth about the sanctuary constitutes one of the basic tenets of the Christian faith, particularly for these last days.

All need to become more intelligent in regard to the work of the atonement, which is going on in the sanctuary above.—Testimonies, vol. 5, p. 575.

We are in the great day of atonement, and the sacred work of Christ for the people of God that is going on at the present time in the heavenly sanctuary should be our constant study. —Ibid., p. 520.

The Sanctuary: The Divine Solution to Sin

The Day of Atonement both in type and antitype declares that the solution to the sin problem is a supernatural one. The priestly ministry of our Lord is not merely a manifestation of God's continued love and saving mercy toward man. It is also a battle with the forces of evil.

The divine revelations from the sanctuary above are beyond the workings of men or the natural historical processes of time. Salvation history is a universal drama wrought out by God from His dwelling place. By His work of judgment He alone will accomplish the final restoration of all things. This is the eschatological perspective to which the Day of Atonement points, the divine action of judgment in a final resolution of the great controversy.

In a way, sin put God on trial before the universe. A clever, subtle enemy arose within the universe and challenged God. Satan declared God's law to be unjust (see The SDA Bible Commentary, Ellen White Comments, vol. 5, pp. 1129, 1130) and he accused God of responsibility for sin (see The Great Controversy, pp. 670, 499).

In His dealing with sin, God could employ only righteousness and truth. Satan could use what God could not—flattery and deceit. He had sought to falsify the word of God, and had misrepresented His plan of government before the angels, claiming that God was not just in laying laws and rules upon the inhabitants of heaven.. .. Therefore it must be demonstrated before the inhabitants of heaven, as well as of all the worlds, that God's government was just, His law perfect. . . .

To the very close of the controversy in heaven, the great usurper continued to justify himself. . . . He denounced the divine statutes as a restriction of their liberty, and declared that it was his purpose to secure the abolition of law; that, freed from this restraint, the hosts of heaven might enter upon a more exalted, more glorious state of existence.

With one accord, Satan and his host threw the blame of their rebellion wholly upon Christ, declaring that if they had not been reproved, they would never have rebelled. . . . The same spirit that prompted rebellion in heaven, still inspires rebellion on earth. Satan has continued with men the same policy which he pursued with the angels. . . .

In the final execution of the judgment it will be seen that no cause for sin exists. When the Judge of all the earth shall demand of Satan, "Why hast thou rebelled against Me, and robbed Me of the subjects of My kingdom?" the originator of evil can render no excuse. Every mouth will be stopped, and all the hosts of rebellion will be speechless. . . .

The whole universe will have become witnesses to the nature and results of sin. And its utter extermination, which in the beginning would have brought fear to angels and dishonor to God, will now vindicate His love and establish His honor before the universe of beings who delight to do His will, and in whose heart is His law. . . . A tested and proved creation will never again be turned from allegiance to Him whose character has been fully manifested before them as fathomless love and infinite wisdom.— The Great Controversy, pp. 498-504. (Italics supplied.)

More is involved in the Day of Atonement than the ultimate restoration and vindication of humanity. The final priestly ministry of our Lord that banishes Satan and sin is more than a decree concerning human destiny. Not only will the earth be restored to its original purity and the saints inherit the earth, but the universe will be restored to eternal harmony. The cleansing of the altar, the holy places, and the tabernacle includes the vindication of God, His government, and His character.

The basic issue is God's manifestation of His absolute righteousness in all His dealings with men and angels, and in the final destruction of sin and Satan when the whole universe with one accord proclaims God vindicated. In this final phase of the antitypical Day of Atonement God deals with the very reality and existence of sin. The transfer of sin from the sanctuary to Satan points to Satan as the one who must bear the final responsibility for sin.

But the plan of redemption had a yet broader and deeper purpose than the salvation of man. It was not for this alone that Christ came to the earth; it was not merely that the inhabitants of this little world might regard the law of God as it should be regarded, but it was to vindicate the character of God before the universe. .

The act of Christ in dying for the salvation of man would not only make heaven accessible to men, but before all the universe it would justify God and His Son in their dealing with the rebellion of Satan.—Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 68,69. (Italics supplied.)

Satan continually has sought to misrepresent the character of God and of God's government.

By the same misrepresentation of the character of God as he had practiced in heaven, causing Him to be regarded as severe and tyrannical, Satan induced man to sin. And having succeeded thus far, he declared that God's unjust restrictions had led to man's fall, as they had led to his own rebellion.—The Great Controversy, p. 500.

God must produce a final, incontrovertible answer to Satan's charges. Sin is not eradicated by force, otherwise God could have taken care of it from the beginning. The universe must forever come to serve God from love and not from fear. To this end God executes the divine program from the heavenly sanctuary. The honor of the sanctuary is the honor of God's throne. The very security and honor of God's government have been in jeopardy because of sin. The cleansing of the sanctuary, the removal of sins from the sanctuary, in part, connotes the vindication of God.

The last demand of the soul is. . . that God would vindicate His ways to men. We are more concerned that God should do justice to Himself than even to our hopes.—P. T. FORSYTH, The Justification of God (London: Independent Press, Ltd., 1957), p. 121.

It is for this reason that the antitypical Day of Atonement constitutes a judgment for all concerned. Thus the redeemed thank and praise God for His righteous judgments.

I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God. And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints. Who shall not fear thee, 0 Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest (Rev. 15:2-4).

How then is sin finally dealt with before the universe? The nature of Christ's atonement at the cross points the way. The solution is redemptive, not punitive. Sin is not always visited by direct infliction of punishment. Satan must be shown to be the one responsible for sin.

The plan of redemption having been completed, the character of God is revealed to all created intelligences. The precepts of His law are seen to be perfect and immutable. Then sin has made manifest its nature, Satan his character. Then the extermination of sin will vindicate God's love and establish His honor before a universe of beings who delight to do His will, and in whose heart is His law.—The Desire of Ages, p. 764.

Time of Sin's Final Eradication

The righteousness of God requires a final judgment, a final vindication of His sovereign rule and character. Judgment climaxes at the end of the millennium.

I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, and cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season. . . . And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth . . . to gather them together to battle. . . . And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city.

And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. . . . And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:1-15).

With reference to the millennium, Satan is represented as not yet destroyed but bound, after which he breaks forth again with new energy and rage, only to share at last the fate that truly belongs to him as the originator of sin. The millennium comes in as an episode leading up to the final judgment on Satan and his followers. This takes place around the great white throne, over the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, which is now on this earth.

At that time will come the great panorama pictured by Ellen G. White in the last chapter of The Great Controversy, when the whole history of the conflict will be presented in review. All who have lived upon the earth will stand personally before God—the righteous inside the city, the wicked outside. Every person, including Satan, will see his place in time and destiny. The clear manifestation of God's moral righteousness in dealing with the rebellion of Satan and his followers will settle the long-standing issue of sin before a viewing universe and be acknowledged by the saved and lost alike.

Throughout the controversy the Bible presents the intense interest of all heavenly beings, especially as it concerns the morality and integrity of God's government and character. It is for this reason that most of the scripture passages in the book of Revelation that speak of God's judgments leading to the final consummation are occasions for rejoicing and praise to God. (See Rev. 11:18; 15:4; 16:5,7; 19:2.) The reason is that this final judgment is the long-delayed answer to the cry of those who during the ages of the reign of evil have cried for vindication.

The judgment around the great white throne is the final adjustment before the universe, the moral balance of everyone including Satan.

This final judgment, as typified by the closing act of the Day of Atonement and pictured in Revelation 20, is not concerned primarily with the redeemed. It is the final working out of sin and righteousness in the history of the controversy. God's righteousness and holiness have moved forward irresistibly to ultimate triumph.

Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Phil. 2:9-11).

For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God (Rom. 14:10-12).

Nothing has so exercised the mind and the workings of the Godhead as the vindication of God's character before the universe. That will be done on a public, universal scale. Without this final judgment that magnifies God, no true end to sin can be realized. God's creatures throughout the heavens and on the earth, both saved and lost, will voluntarily acknowledge the righteousness of God. God and His government will have priority in the outcome of this controversy. He will not rest until this is accomplished.

How can God secure His righteousness in the face of such a world? . . . That is what we want in a real and searching theodicy [justification of God]—the righteousness of God not only admitted but adored, not only dreamed but done—and done in a world not of suffering alone but still more of sin. Can God so secure His righteousness that the unrighteous world shall be His praise? Can He get such a world to call Him from the heart of its evil, guilt, and misery, and under the ban of His judgment, yet holy, wise, and good? That would be the supreme theodicy, the last justification of God, uttered in silent action by a humanity that forgets its own fate in entire concern for His righteousness and glory.—P. T. FORSYTH, The Justification of God, pp. 168, 169.

This is the eschatological moment to which the Day of Atonement pointed, the final confrontation between Christ and Satan.

How can we be sure that righteousness will triumph over sin unless this judgment guarantees the triumph of a righteous God? The truth about the character of God will come home to saint and to sinner alike. This is the climax in the age long controversy that is decisive for eternity in favor of the God of heaven.

This will be the occasion for universal praise and rejoicing, for sin shall never rise again. For six thousand years the universe has witnessed the action of a loving, patient God, not willing that any should perish. At long last, greater than all the workings of men in history, is an eternal verdict for God's righteousness.

The judgment will bring everything out into the open. . . . Men will shout Amen to their own Eternal condemnation. . . . In order that his justice, mercy, love and holiness be exemplified, it must be shown that his throne is untarnished; that all these doubts and questions concerning his Divine administration must be fully known. . . . It will be shown, that from the day Satan tempted and ruined the race in the Garden, he has seduced men and women to do evil, and has accused God of injustice, partiality, and cruelty. The fixedness of Eternity cannot take place until all this falsehood and slander will have been wiped out. This will be done before the dazzling Great White Throne to an assembled universe.—C. F. WIMBERLEY, The Seven Seals of the Apocalypse (New York: Fleming Revell, 1922), pp. 157-160.

The climactic triumph is not to the praise of men but to the universal praise of God. Here at last all roads converge around the New Jerusalem with all its triumphs and tragedies. Here is revealed the glorious future and eternal destiny of those who have followed Christ. The solution to the sin problem is now reality. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. From one end of the universe to the other there reigns eternal reconciliation.

The dramatic climax to the antitypical Day of Atonement is summed up by Ellen G. White as follows:

The aim of the great rebel has ever been to justify himself, and to prove the divine government responsible for the rebellion. To this end he has bent all the power of his giant intellect. . . . But the time has now come when the rebellion is to be finally defeated, and the history and character of Satan disclosed. In his last great effort to dethrone Christ, destroy His people, and take possession of the city of God, the arch-deceiver has been fully unmasked. Those who have united with him see the total failure of his cause. . . . He is the object of universal abhorrence. . . .

Every question of truth and error in the long-standing controversy has now been made plain. . . . The working out of Satan's rule in contrast with the government of God, has been presented to the whole universe. . . . God's wisdom, His justice, and His goodness stand fully vindicated. . . . With all the facts of the great controversy in view, the whole universe, both loyal and rebellious, with one accord declare, "Just and true are Thy ways, Thou King of saints.". . .

Notwithstanding . . . , (Satan's) character remains unchanged. . . . Filled with frenzy, he determines not to yield the great controversy. The time has come for a last desperate struggle against the King of heaven. He rushes into the midst of his subjects, and endeavors to inspire them with his own fury, and arouse them to instant battle. But of all the countless millions whom he has allured into rebellion, there are none now to acknowledge his supremacy. His power is at an end.—The Great Controversy, pp. 670-672. 

To get the total picture we recommend reading the entire last chapter, "The Controversy Ended," pages 662-678.

Men need a living faith today that will follow Christ in the sanctuary above, to believe each day in the grandest thing that can ever happen to us and to our world—God's total victory over sin and Satan, a clear and joyous conviction that God's work in and from the heavenly sanctuary is now moving toward this final destiny, which is life eternal for us all.

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