Adventists stand quite exclusive in the Christian world in regard to the teaching on the scapegoat of the sanctuary being a symbol of Satan. This position was at first brought forward in an impressive way by O.R.L. Crosier in an article of the Day Star Extra (1846). The Spirit of Prophecy sustained this position. It was with unanimity considered the confirmed teaching position of Adventists.
In the book of Leviticus we read regarding the scapegoat:
"And he shall take of the congregation of the children of Israel two kids of the goats for a sin offering, and one ram for a burnt offering... And he 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. 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... And when he had 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 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." - Lev. 16:5, 7-10,20-22.
From this passage of the Scriptures the following points are made clear to us:
On the Great Day of Atonement, the sins were to be removed from the sanctuary and placed upon the scapegoat.
Only the sins of repentant Israel, that is of the righteous, were removed from the sanctuary.
The sins of the redeemed were laid upon the scapegoat.
The purpose of this provision was, "to make an atonement with him (the scapegoat)." (See Lev. 16:10).
What Does the Spirit of Prophecy Teach on That Subject?
After investigation it was discovered, that not one of the first Sabbath keeping Adventists had deviated from this point of view. Beside this, the Spirit of Prophecy could not have expressed this point any plainer:
«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 to mind, so in the type they were borne away into the wilderness, forever separated from the congregation. Since Satan is the originator of sin, the direct instigator of all the sins that caused the death of the Son of God, justice demands that Satan shall suffer the final punishment. 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.» - PP, p.358.
«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 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." - Lev. 16:21. In like manner, when the work of atonement in the heavenly sanctuary has been completed, then in the presence of God and the 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 the scapegoat was sent away into a land not inhabited, so Satan will be banished to the desolate earth, an uninhabited and dreary wilderness.» - GC, p 658.
«In the typical service the high priest, having made the atonement for Israel, came forth and blessed the congregation. So Christ, at the close of His work as a Mediator, will appear "without sin unto salvation" (Heb. 9:28), to bless His waiting people with eternal life. 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" (Lev. 16:22); so Satan, bearing the guilt of all 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.» - GC, p. 485,486.
Shall the reader of these testimonies still be in doubt about the words of the Lord's handmaid; he may certainly overcome his doubt by the following testimony:
«Satan did not then exult as he had done. He had hoped to break up the plan of salvation; but it was laid too deep. And now by the death of Christ he knew that he himself must finally die and his kingdom be given to Jesus. He held a council with his angels. He had prevailed nothing against the Son of God, and now they must increase their efforts and with their power and cunning turn to His followers. They must prevent all whom they could from receiving the salvation purchased for them by Jesus. By so doing Satan could still work against the government of God. Also it would be for his own interest to keep from Jesus as many as possible. For the sins of those who are redeemed by the blood of Christ will at last be rolled back upon the originator of sin, and he must bear their punishment, while those who do not accept salvation through Jesus will suffer the penalty of their own sins.» - EW, p. 178.
There is no subject, which is more bitterly criticized and presented more wrongly by the so called evangelical Protestants than the Historic-Adventist doctrine of the scapegoat. Adventists have repeatedly been accused that they are making Satan the sin bearer and saviour. To escape from these troublesome accusations, Adventist scholars and teachers have in recent times tried to explain the question of the scapegoat in such a way, that it may be acceptable also to our none Adventist friends.(The removal of unnecessary causes of misunderstandings is always commendable and ought to be supported). Now in this matter the Adventist theologians came up with the illustration of the chief offender and his helpers. The argument goes something like this: Satan is the chief offender. Man is his little accomplice. Justice and equity therefore demand that the major offender be punished proportionate to his share in the deeds of his accomplices.
This illustration is definite truth. Satan is going to suffer for all his sins. His share must include the fact, that he seduces the ungodly and the just alike to commit sin. But we are to be clear, that this has nothing to do with the events involving the scapegoat. In the book of Leviticus and also in the writings of the Spirit of Prophecy, we can read that the sins transferred to the sanctuary were removed from the sanctuary and were laid upon the scapegoat. These are in truth the sins of penitent believers which were transferred to the sanctuary by virtue of the daily ministration there of the high priest.
It does not benefit us when we say that the high priest transfers Satan’s part in the sins of the righteous and the wicked upon Satan’s head. For Satan’s part in the sins of other people is his own sin. But how could we say, that the sins of Satan will be transferred from the sanctuary back upon his head through the blood of Christ?
Neither human logic, nor any other reason or craftiness, can change the doctrine about the scapegoat. It stands as follows:
As in the daily service the sinner entered the sanctuary and confessed his sins, his sins were through virtue of the blood of the sin offering transferred in figure to the sanctuary. (See chapters 4-6 of Leviticus, GC, p. 418).
These "confessed" sins rested upon the sanctuary until the Great Day of Atonement. On that Great Day of Atonement the high priest, after he had finished the final atonement, came before penitent Israel and laid his hands upon the head of the scapegoat and now transferred the sins, which he had taken beforehand, from the sanctuary upon the scapegoat.
«For the sins of those who are redeemed by the blood of Christ will at last be rolled back upon the originator of sin, and he must bear their punishment, while those who do not accept salvation through Jesus will suffer the penalty of their own sins.» - EW, p. 178.
Many Adventist theologians are embarrassed because of this testimony from "Early Writings." M.L. Andreasen (a deceased theologian) was probably one of the first who deviated from the historical understanding, namely, that Satan will bear the sins of the just. Friends of this scholar who knew him well, reported that he admitted, that he did not understand this testimony of Early Writings. The authors of "Questions on Doctrine" declared, that Satan does "in no wise" bear the sins of the just. (QD, p. 400).
It is remarkable that this book, quoting otherwise extensively from the Spirit of Prophecy in other places, fails to quote on the question about the scapegoat. Regarding this question the book contradicts the teachings of the Spirit of Prophecy. Questions on Doctrine asserts, «Satan 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.» - QD, p. 397. Then the attempt is made to prove, that this is the meaning of the scapegoat question. In truth, the question of the scapegoat, has nothing to do with the sins which other people under the suggestion of Satan have committed. These sins are already upon his head and are not taken from the sanctuary in order to place them upon his head. It is totally wrong and a heresy, to include the "righteous and the wicked" with the events of the scapegoat. The events around the scapegoat have nothing to do with the wicked at all.
We repeat once more: It is the sins of contrite Israel which are placed upon the head of the scapegoat. We cannot overlook the fact, that this is the doctrine of the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy.
Among Adventist Bible scholars and theologians remains this misconception around the scapegoat, the most inconvenient doctrine. They are embarrassed and ashamed of this teaching. The one, who still believes the Spirit of Prophecy, is usually not able to explain the fact, why Satan would have to suffer for the sins of the righteous once more, when Jesus has already born them and suffered for them. Besides this there is one more thing, for the Bible not only says, that the iniquities of the children of Israel are laid upon the head of Satan (Lev. 16:21), but these are placed upon him for the reason, "to make an atonement WITH HIM" (vs. 10).
Why must Satan again expiate, or - in other words - make an atonement, when Jesus has already accomplished that? Because Adventist teachers and theologians cannot find an explanation for this and are embarrassed, many have evaded this problem, by denying that Satan must bear the sins of the just. This reminds one of the Bible verse: "And if a man did flee from a lion, and a bear met him; or went into the house, and leaned his hand on the wall, and a serpent bit him." - Amos, 5:19.
For he who claims that the sins of the righteous will not be put upon Satan, must also necessarily deny the Spirit of Prophecy. When the Spirit of Inspiration is held as unreliable once in view of a crucial point of our doctrine, with what confidence could we then look to Inspiration in other aspects of truth, that seem to be contradictory to us?
Atonement for the Transgressed Law!
There is nothing that Satan hates more than the thought, that Christ places the sins of the redeemed upon him, "to make an atonement with him." He not only rejects this aspect of divine justice, but undertakes great efforts to win God's people on his side, that they also may refuse this concept. And today Satan can score great success among us. This is because our spirit is blind and does not perceive the grand climax, which results in salvation through Jesus Christ.
Many consider that they hold an irrevocable objection by asking: "Why must Satan suffer for the sins of the righteous, when Christ has already suffered for these sins?" The one, who cannot answer this question, cannot answer the following question either: "Why must the godless suffer for their sins, when Jesus has already suffered for them?" Did Jesus not suffer for the sins of all men? Why does divine justice demand another suffering for the sins of the just and the unjust?
Let us first think about the significance of the atonement through Jesus Christ. There are two things which make the death of Christ important for the salvation of man:
- the law
"Sin is the transgression of the law" - 1.John 3:4. "The wages of sin is death" - Rom. 6:23. "The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law" - 1.Cor. 15:56.
By His suffering and His death, Christ bore the penalty for the broken law. He made reconciliation, an atonement for the broken law that demands the death of the offender.
«Through disobedience Adam fell. The law of God had been broken. The divine government had been dishonored, and justice demanded that the penalty of transgression be paid... He pledged Himself to accomplish our full salvation in a way satisfactory to the demands of God's justice, and consistent with the exalted holiness of His law.» - 1 SM, p. 308-309.
«He has proffered Himself as an atonement. His gushing blood, His broken body, satisfy the claims of the broken law, and thus He bridges the gulf which sin has made.» - Ibid. p. 314.
Christ died for the sins of the whole world (1.John 2:2). He died for the ungodly (Rom. 5:6). Concerning the transgressed law, Christ satisfied the claims of divine justice for all men. "Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life." - Rom. 5:18. We repeat here again: The death of Christ was for the transgressed law. His ministry of reconciliation in the heavenly sanctuary stands in connection with the transgressed law, as well as in relation to Him.
Atonement for the Sufferings of Christ
However, the suffering and dying agony of Christ has yet another important aspect which we must take into consideration. «In Gethsemane He had borne that which no human being could ever bare; for He had tasted the sufferings of death for every man.» - DA, p. 694. If God would not have intervened, then His Son would have died there in the garden of Gethsemane, without that the Jews and Romans would have to move so much as a finger to kill him. The sins of the world separated Him from God and caused the horror of eternal death to come over Him; that would have killed Him in that dreadful night. But God had to delay the situation, otherwise man would have never learned, or understood the horrible character of his sins. God delivered His Son into the hands of men, so that they did with Him what was in their heart.
Satan also was to reveal before the entire universe what was hidden in his heart. He was found to be a murderer. Now the true meaning of his rebellion came to light (see John 8:44; DA, p. 57).
It also became evident that man was infected with the same spirit (see 1.John 3:8; Rom. 8:7). On Calvary man acted in accordance to his unseen and unknown enmity and will to kill God. Calvary proves that the whole world is guilty of the murder of God's Son. (See DA, p. 745). Mankind is very slow to understand what the event at Calvary teaches.
«The cross is a revelation to our dull senses of the pain that, from its very inception, sin has brought to the heart of God. Every departure from the right, every deed of cruelty, every failure of humanity to reach His ideal, brings grief to Him.» - Ed, p.263.
«By every sin Jesus is wounded afresh.» - DA, p. 300.
When the death of Christ satisfied the requirements of the broken law, then how will justification be done unto righteousness in view of the death of Christ? Sin is not only the transgression of the law, but it means also the agony on the cross for Christ. Sin took the Son of God from His exalted position and caused Him to suffer the shame and the anguish of Calvary. In a certain sense, Christ still suffers the agony and the pain. Then doesn’t fair justice also demand justification for Christ's suffering?
In regard to mankind, we may say this: The suffering of Christ is the sum total of the suffering for the sins of the ungodly and of those who are righteous.
The death of Christ was an atonement for the sins of the whole world.
The atonement for the suffering of Christ must be equal to the sum total of the sins of the whole world: of the righteous and of the wicked. The unrighteous atone the suffering by bearing their own sins. They suffer "eye for eye, tooth for tooth", and end in "eternal death".
«A just God must avenge the death of His Son». - TM, p. 131.
«God will most assuredly call the world to judgment to avenge the death of His only-begotten Son, the One who stood at the bar of Pilate and Herod.» - TM, p. 139.
The righteous have also caused pain for Jesus. And here too justice demands "eye for eye, tooth for tooth". When God's people are sealed and forever secured by the blood of Jesus, then Satan will be brought to the scene as the antitypical scapegoat. Then the sins of the righteous will be rolled upon the head of Satan, and thus God makes an "atonement" with him (Lev. 16:10) for the part in the sins of the just, which caused Christ to suffer.
«Since Satan is the originator of sin, the direct instigator of all the sins that caused the death of the Son of God, justice demands that Satan shall suffer the final punishment.» - PP, p. 358.
In addition Satan is also going to suffer for his own sins with which he has hurt the Creator. Thus ample justice shall be done unto righteousness and be satisfied.
Sin is Not Destroyed by Christ's Atonement
The historic teaching of Adventism about the sanctuary, imparts to us a unique understanding of Christ's dealing to solve the problem of sin. He did not die in order to destroy our sins, as is shown plainly in the teaching of the sanctuary.
«Important truths concerning the atonement are taught by the typical service. A substitute was accepted in the sinner's stead; but the sin was not canceled by the blood of the victim. A means was thus provided by which it was transferred to the sanctuary...
As anciently the sins of the people were by faith placed upon the sin offering, and through its blood transferred, in figure, to the earthly sanctuary, so in the new covenant the sins of the repentant are by faith placed upon Christ, and transferred, in fact, to the heavenly sanctuary...
When the high priest, by virtue of the blood of the sin offering, removed the sins from the sanctuary, he placed them upon the scapegoat. When Christ, by virtue of His own blood, removes the sins of the people from the heavenly sanctuary at the close of His ministration, He will place them upon Satan, who in the execution of the judgment, must bear the final penalty.» - GC, p. 420-422.
According to this testimony the blood of Christ carries out the following for the removal of sin:
1. It transfers the sins of sinners to the sanctuary.
2. It transfers the sins from the sanctuary upon Satan.
Divine justice does not mean that God is overlooking sin at all. God cannot forgive someone who is in sin. But through the atonement of Jesus provision is made that the sins are taken from him if he accepts the offered atonement. That is why forgiveness means the deliverance and victory over sin. Is it not so, that Laodicea is languishing because of a lack of understanding about justification by faith?
Besides, the righteousness of God is also at stake. The great controversy is about the question: "Who is responsible for sin?" Satan still claims that God is responsible. He accuses God and argues that the law of God is an enemy to peace. And each unconverted person puts the guilt on God, just like Eve. "And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat." - Gen. 3:13.
In other words: "Lord, you made the serpent, therefore you are responsible."
At conversion the sinner is free from the law through the blood of Christ and later his sin will be accounted to Satan. However, if somebody might argue that God is responsible for the sin, then that person places himself on the side of Satan and he denies God the right, to place the sin upon the head of the originator of sin.
On the other hand, a repentant sinner justifies God by his confession that God is under no circumstance responsible for his (the penitent sinners) sins. When God has been justified in this way by a sinner, then God answers by the justification of the sinner through the merits of Christ's atonement. The believer and God work together, to roll the responsibility for sin back upon the head of Satan.
The Fit Man
There was still more to take place with the rites concerning the scapegoat. Someone was appointed to lead the scapegoat into the wilderness:
"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." - Lev. 16:21.
The sanctuary service could clear the sins out of the way successfully only then, when every detail of the service had been carried out in every particular. The moment had come, when the scapegoat bore all the sins of Israel; now it was of utmost importance, that he be led into the wilderness securely. If a careless hand let go of the scapegoat and the goat would return to the camp of the Israelites, then the entire ministry would have been in vain. The purpose, to remove the sins of the congregation would not have been achieved.
The antitype of the procedure with this scapegoat has been foretold in the book of Revelation. "And 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." - Rev. 20:13.
We shall now bring forward a few arguments, which show, why the task of the fit man, the man - prepared for his mission - is a symbol of the work, which Christ is going to accomplish in the saints of the last generation.
1. The fit man as representative
This fit man was from the people of Israel, whose sins were symbolically blotted out through the final atonement. According to Jewish tradition, the scapegoat was led away by the whole congregation of Israel. It was of great concern to them to see how the symbol or type of the origin of sin was being led into the wilderness. It was surely impossible, that each single Israelite held the scapegoat, but the fit man was really a type for Israel's whole congregation. All of Israel identified themselves with that man when he led the goat away.
2. The work of the last generation
In the symbolic language of the book of Revelation, the leading away of the scapegoat is expressed in the following words: "And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand." - Rev. 20:1. Before one rashly states that the leading away of the scapegoat is done by an angel and not by the hand of a man, may we remind ourselves, that the work of God, which is carried out by His children is generally symbolized by angels. This is a symbol very much used in the book of Revelation. Every Adventist knows the three angels of Revelation 14, represent the worldwide mission of the Adventists. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit and the tremendous results of the latter rain upon God's people are also represented by an angel: "After these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory." - Rev. 18:1.
If we consider, that the angel of Revelation 18, who comes down from heaven with power and glory, signifies a very specific phase of the work of the last generation, is it not justified then to say, that the angel with the great chain of Revelation 20 also represents a special phase of the work of the last generation?
3. God's intention for man
We need to occupy ourselves with the purpose God had in creation. Immediately after Satan was expelled from heaven, God created man. This is not insignificant. God undertook steps to refute Satan's accusations. For this reason He said: "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness!" - Gen. 1:26. Man was to be a tool in God's hands, with whom He might overthrow the kingdom of Satan. God purposed to manifest His infinite wisdom before the universe, and thus maintain the honor of His government. "For I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea I have made him." - Isa. 43:7.
Even the fall of man did not change the purpose of God for man. While Satan was still cheering with maliciousness about his victory over man in the garden of Eden, God said to His adversary: "And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel." - Gen. 3:15. With these words God let Satan know, that man is going to overcome him (Satan) at the end. Though this promise of the victory over Satan refers first of all to the man Jesus Christ, yet it also includes all those who are of the seed, as it is written:
"That is, ... the children of the promise are counted for the seed." - Rom. 9:8.
"And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you." - Rom. 16:20.
How appropriate it is that the sanctuary service, which is nothing but a kind of revelation of Gods purpose with mankind, finds its climax in the sealed, purified human being, that will bind the great foe; that foe, who has been binding the human race for six thousand years now.
4. The kingdom restored
Adam was the crowned king of the garden of Eden; but he lost his dominion to Satan who by this fact became the prince of this world. Man is the legitimate captive of the Babylonian king (Isa. 14:4-6). He is held in sin and sorrow by the most cruel tyrant. How many times we read in the word of God, that His people are held in the chains of the enemy.
"Wherefore the LORD brought upon them the captains of the host of the king of Assyria, which took Manasseh among the thorns, and bound him with fetters, and carried him to Babylon." - 2.Chron. 33:11.
"Against him came up Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and bound him in fetters, to carry him to Babylon." - 2.Chron.36:6; comp. Jer. 39:7; 52:11.
We can read also about others in the Bible who have been bound by the promptings of Satan: Joseph, Samson, the three Hebrew youth, the Christians who were taken captive by Saul of Tarsus; Peter, Paul, and even Jesus Himself. Because Satan wrested from man the rule over the earth, he is holding the keys of the "bottomless pit" (see Rev. 9:1,11) now. this rule of Satan has devastated the earth. But the dominion which man had lost, shall again be restored (Mic. 4:8). And the book of Daniel especially refers to this restoration. In the investigative judgment, that is at the Great Day of Atonement, the Son of man enters into the most holy place and receives from the Father the lost dominion (Dan. 7:9,10,13,14). With this Daniel gives us a view, that Christ and His people will regain the lost kingdom and government:
"But the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever." - Dan. 7:18.
"I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them: Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom." - Dan. 7:21,22.
"But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end." - Dan. 7:26.
It is obvious, that the judgment - also called the Great Day of Atonement - is the great turning point in the history of the captivity of man. As shown already in the typical temple service of the Old Testament, this is the moment when the sins of God's people will be forever exterminated. With the seal of God in their foreheads, they are «forever secure from the tempter's devices.» - 5T, p. 475.
Then shall the supremacy of Satan be taken away. Isaiah speaks about the final victory:
"And they shall take them captives, whose captives they were; and they shall rule over their oppressors... That thou shalt take up this proverb against the king of Babylon, and say, How hath the oppressor ceased!" - Isa. 14:2,4.
The context of this text indicates that also the king of Babylon, Satan himself, is among those who will be taken "captive" by the saints of God. Once more the testimony of the Scriptures:
"He shall subdue the people under us, and the nations under our feet." - Ps. 47:3; comp. Rev. 2:26,27.
"Let the saints be joyful in glory: let them sing aloud upon their beds. Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two edged sword in their hand; to execute vengeance upon the heathen, and punishments upon the people; to bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron; to execute upon them the judgment written; this honour have all his saints, Praise ye the LORD." - Ps. 149:5-9.
When God's people shall receive power over the nations (Rev. 2:26), and shall bind kings with chains, then the conclusion is permitted, that also the king of Babylon (which is Satan, Isa. 14:10-14), is going to be bound by the saints. And in this sense John said in the Revelation: "And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having...a great chain in his hand." - Rev. 20:1. The Psalmist says: "...this honour have all his saints." - Ps. 149:9. The binding of the king of Babylon is being foreshadowed in symbol in the temple service by a "fit man" and the scapegoat.
All this is directing us to ponder earnestly about the time when this shall take place. According to "Early Writings" (p. 280-281), the sins of God's people will be laid upon Satan's head immediately after the close of probation, just before the seven last plagues shall be poured out. In the "Great Controversy" (p. 657-658) however we read with the same emphasis, that the sins of God's people will be laid upon Satan, when the earth has been ravaged by the seven plagues and the coming of Jesus.
What is the answer to this apparent contradiction? The testimony does not speak about the sins of all the people of God. «Jesus tarried a moment in the outer apartment of the heavenly sanctuary, and the sins which had been confessed while He was in the most holy place were placed upon Satan, the originator of sin, who must suffer their punishment.» GC 657-658
The other testimony talks about the sins of all the people of God, all the redeemed since Adam.
There are two groups of the redeemed. First we have the redeemed who are still alive when Jesus returns. These are the ones who confessed their sins while Jesus ministered in the most holy place. This group is also called the 144 000. (Together with the 144 000 will be the faithful which are raised at a special resurrection. They are those who died in the faith of the third angel's message. See to this Daniel 12:1; EW, p. 285; GC, p. 637).
Then there is the great multitude of the saved which take part in the resurrection of the just. According to the above stated testimonies, the sins of the 144 000 shall be laid upon Satan before the seven last plagues, whereas the sins of the righteous of all ages will be transferred unto Satan at the commencement of the thousand years.
we find the reason for this difference in the shadow-figure. When the sins were transferred from the sanctuary to the scapegoat, a fit man was to bring the goat into the wilderness. If this man should let the goat escape, then Israel would not have been relieved of their sins, but the sins would have been brought back to the camp of the people..
When the cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary is completed, Christ must have such a fit man to lead away the scapegoat. ThisWhen the cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary is completed, Christ must have such a fit man to lead away the scapegoat. This "fit man" must be found among the redeemed that are still living, whose sins have already been blotted out, that is, under the 144 000.
«Then I saw that Jesus' work in the sanctuary will soon be finished. And after His work there is finished, He will come to the door of the first apartment, and confess the sins of Israel upon the head of the scape-goat. Then He will put on the garments of vengeance. Then the plagues will come upon the wicked, and they do not come till Jesus puts on that garment, and takes His place upon the great white cloud.. Then while the plagues are falling, the scape-goat is being led away..He makes a mighty struggle to escape, but he is held fast by the hand that leads him.. If he should effect his escape, Israel would lose their lives..I saw that it would take time to lead away the scape-goat into the land of forgetfulness after the sins were put on his head.» - Spalding andI saw that it would take time to lead away the scape-goat into the land of forgetfulness after the sins were put on his head.» - Spalding and Magan Collection, p. 2.
The fit man is a symbol of the 144 000. God will use men in the last days to conquer Satan in the last great struggle. When probation is closed, God will have a sealed, sinless people on earth. In answer to Satan’s accusations, that the law of God cannot be kept, God says: "Here are they that keep the commandments of God, and have the faith of Jesus." - Rev. 14:12. The time has come in which the sins of God's people are to be laid upon Satan.
"You (Satan) gave man a wrong representation of My (God, the Lord) character and thus tempted them to sin. But here is a people now that will never sin again. Therefore you (Satan) are responsible for the sins of My people. These sins have caused Me and My Son much sorrow and pain." Satan has no choice: he must take up the battle. He undertakes a mighty struggle to escape the sins of the righteous. These efforts to flee from the burden of sin, are not efforts to escape from the earth, but the desperate and determined attempt, to entice one of the 144 000 to sin. If one of them would sin in the time of the great tribulation, the time without a mediator in the sanctuary, then this would mean that the "fit man" (prepared man) would let the scapegoat escape. The glory and honor of the throne of God would come into discredit. But no one of the 144 000 will fail in that coming crisis. «Like Jacob, every one, without an exception, was earnestly pleading and wrestling for deliverance.» - EW, p. 272.
This is the proof that God saves from sin. Without this proof the "firstfruits" (Rev. 14:4) would not be accepted. There would be no resurrection, if it cannot be proved first, that the blood of Christ is an effective antidote for sin.
In this last struggle with Satan, the 144 000 are going to gain the victory over Satan. He, who kept God's people captive for so long, has now been defeated. Now he is going to be lead into captivity. «They shall take them captives, whose captives they were.» When this mission is successfully accomplished and the authority of God and His supremacy vindicated by His saints before the whole universe, then the resurrection of the just will take place. «In the presence of God and the heavenly angels, and the host of the redeemed, the sins of God's people will be placed upon Satan.» - GC, p. 658.
Concerning the "fit man", the leading away of the "scapegoat" and the freedom from the guilt of sin for ever, we read in the Spirit of Prophecy (PP, p. 356):
Then in his character of mediator the priest took the sins upon himself, and leaving the sanctuary, he bore with him the burden of Israel's guilt. At the door of the tabernacle he laid his hands upon the head of the scape-goat, and 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." - Lev. 16:21. And as the goat bearing these sins was sent away, they were with him regarded as forever separated from the people. Such was the service performed "unto the example and shadow of heavenly things." (Heb. 8:5).
L. Shouten says to this:
«We said when talking about the lot that has been cast upon the two goats, that tradition says, between the horns of the goat Asasel a crimson woolen thread was fastened, and that later on we are going to get back to this; now is the moment to say something about this tradition. We find it several times in the Talmud Tractat "Yoma Chapter 6" which says, that the scarlet rope, when the goat came to the spot, and God was gracious to His people, turned white, as the sign, that Israel's sins, for which atonement had been made on the great Day of Atonement, truly were forgiven. Talmudists learn in the "Gemara" of "Yoma Chapter 4", that forty years before the destruction of the temple, the scarlet threat did not turn white anymore, also that in that year the evening lamp of the temple would not burn, and one of those heavy temple gates had opened by itself during the night.» - De Tabernakle, L.Shouten, p. 355,356 (Also see GC, first chapter).
Forty years before the destruction of the temple, the thread ceased to become white. The destruction of the temple took place 70 years after Christ was born. This brings us to the great Day of Atonement in the year 30 after Christ.
Thus, the last time it could be observed that the crimson thread turned white, was at the Great Day of Atonement in the year 30 A.D. Jesus died at the next Passover feast. This was 31 A.D. and after that the incident never occurred again. The typical ceremonial service came to an end. The true sacrifice, for which all ages have been waiting, was accomplished. Has the word of God not been wonderfully fulfilled?