We take our stand without qualification on the gospel platform that the
death of Jesus Christ provides the sole propitiation for our sins (1 John
2:2; 4:10); that there is salvation through no other means or medium, and no
other name by which we may be saved (Acts 4:12); and that the shed blood of
Jesus Christ alone brings remission for our sins (Matt. 26: 28).
That is foundational.
Further, we hold to the recognized principle that no cardinal doctrine or
belief should be based primarily upon a parable or type, but upon the clear
unfigurative statements of Scripture, and understood and defined in the light
of explicit declarations of gospel realities. In other words, the type should
be understood in the light of the antitype, and not the reverse. Moreover, no
parable or type can be applied in all details. It is the central truth that is
to be sought out and applied. And it might be added that we do not place upon
the scapegoat the emphasis that some of our critics would indicate.
The transaction with the scapegoat, or Azazel (Lev. 16:8), springs from the
annual typical sanctuary service of ancient Israel. These types were simply
dramatized symbols or prophetic parables, of the great gospel realities take
place in this dispensation. Thus the ancient Passover lamb typified
"Christ our passover" (1 Cor. 5: 7), who was slain for us. And the
services of the ministering priests symbolized our great High Priest, Jesus
Christ, who, after the sacrifice of Himself at Calvary, now ministers for us in
the heavenlies (Hebrews 8 and 9).
In Leviticus 16, two goats entered into the service of the great day of
Atonement. One, in type, made atonement for sin. The other goat, for Azazel,
was not slain, but was kept alive, and hence made no atonement for anyone's
The first goat represented our Lord Jesus Christ, who, on the cross, made
atonement for our sins. The other goat, in antithesis, symbolized Satan, who
must bear the responsibility not only for his own sins but for his part in all
the sins he has caused others, both righteous and wicked, to commit. This live
goat, it is to be remembered, was not slain. (Many outstanding authorities
support our understanding that the live goat, or Azazel, typified Satan. See
Two goats were obviously required, and used, on the Day of Atonement, because
there is a twofold responsibility for sin—first, my responsibility as the
perpetrator, agent, or medium; and second, Satan's responsibility, as the
instigator, or tempter, in whose
heart sin was first conceived. When Satan tempted our first parents to take and
eat of the forbidden fruit, he as well as they had an inescapable
responsibility in that act—he the instigator, and they the perpetrators. And
similarly through the ages—in all sin Satan is involved in responsibility, as
the originator and instigator, or tempter (John 8:44; Rom. 6:16; 1 John 3:8).
Now concerning my sin, Christ died for my sins (Rom. 5:8). He was wounded for
my transgressions and bore my iniquities (Isaiah 53). He assumed my
responsibilities, and His blood alone cleanses me from all sin (1 John 1:7).
The atonement for my sin is made solely by the shed blood of Christ.
And concerning Satan's sin, and his responsibility as instigator and tempter,
no salvation is provided for him. He must be punished for his responsibility.
There is no savior, or substitute, to bear his punishment. He must himself
"atone" for his sin in causing men to transgress, in the same way
that a master criminal suffers on the gallows or in the electric chair for his
responsibility in the crimes that he has caused others to commit. It is in this
sense only that we can understand the words of Leviticus 16:10 concerning the
scapegoat, "to make an atonement with him."
Courts of law recognize the principle of dual responsibility. Thus a criminal
father may teach his child to steal, and the child becomes a habitual thief; or
a dissolute mother may teach her daughter to engage in professional
prostitution. Parental responsibility in such cases is crystal clear. The
instigator of a crime is punished, as well as the instrument that actually
committed the act. When the members of
"Murder Incorporated" were brought to book for a whole succession of
killings, the master mind, who had never technically taken a life, went to the
chair as instigator, along with the perpetrators. And under criminal law, the
instigator, or master mind, may be punished more severely than his agents.
In like manner, Satan is the responsible master mind in the great crime of sin,
and his responsibility will return upon his own head. The crushing weight of
his responsibility in the sins of the whole world—of the wicked as well as of
the righteous—must be rolled back upon him. Simple justice demands that while
Christ suffers for my guilt, Satan must also be punished as the instigator of
That is why, on the Day of Atonement, two goats were necessary. One was
"for the Lord" (Lev. 16:7) to provide the atonement through the
shedding of his blood; the other was "for Azazel" (Lev. 16:8,
margin). These two were, in the text, placed in antithesis. One typified our
Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who was slain as our substitute and vicariously
bore our sins, with all the guilt and punishment entailed. Thus He made
complete atonement for our sins. The other goat, we believe, stood for Satan,
who is eventually to have rolled back upon his own head, not only his own sins,
but the responsibility for all the sins he has caused others to commit.
Now two vital points involved are to be particularly noted: (1) that the
transaction with the live goat (or Azazel) took place after the atonement for
the sins of
the people had been accomplished, and the reconciliation completed; and (2)
that the live goat was not
slain, and did not provide any propitiation or make any vicarious atonement.
And without the shedding of blood there is no remission (Heb. 9:22). None of
the blood of the live goat was shed, or poured out in propitiation, and none
was taken into the sanctuary and sprinkled before the Lord, or placed on the
horns of the altar.
Satan makes no atonement for our sins. But Satan will ultimately have to bear
the retributive punishment for his responsibility in the sins of all men, both
righteous and wicked.
Seventh-day Adventists therefore repudiate in toto any idea, suggestion, or
implication that Satan is in any sense or degree our sin bearer. The thought is
abhorrent to us, and appallingly sacrilegious. Such a concept is a dreadful
disparagement of the efficacy of Christ and His salvation, and vitiates the
whole glorious provision of salvation solely through our Saviour.
Satan's death, a thousand times over, could never make him a savior in any
sense whatsoever. He is the archsinner of the universe, the author and
instigator of sin. Even if he had never sinned, he still could never save
others. Not even the highest of the holy angels could atone for our sins. Only
Christ, the Creator, the one and only God-man, could make a substitutionary
atonement for men's transgressions. And this Christ did completely, perfectly,
and once for all, on Golgotha.
It is our primary concern that all men shall come to a knowledge of full
salvation in and through Jesus Christ. Just how God finally disposes of sin,
although an interesting subject to contemplate, is something we
can safely leave to the infinite justice and mercy of God. It is evidently
revealed in part in the typical transaction of the scapegoat. But our
fundamental concern is that all who will respond shall come under the full
atoning provisions of the shed blood of Jesus Christ our Lord.