Meeting the Specious "Scapegoat" Charges

The following article is the substance of a chapter in a forthcoming pamphlet which has been written in an­swer to E. B. Jones' pamphlet: "Forty Bible-Supported Reasons Why You Should Not Be a Seventh-day Ad­ventist."

By MILTON E. KERN, General Field Secretary, General Conference

The following article is the substance of a chapter in a forthcoming pamphlet which has been written in an­swer to E. B. Jones' pamphlet: "Forty Bible-Supported Reasons Why You Should Not Be a Seventh-day Ad­ventist." For some time the Jones pamphlet, with its false and misleading charges, has been widely circulated by enemies of the truth in an endeavor to neutralize Ad­ventist efforts. The M. E. Kern Pamphlet in reply deals fully and fairly with the whole series of Jones' charges, answering them to the satisfaction of any honest seeker for truth. Elder Kern has Provided the field with a piece of defense literature of great and practical value. It is published by the Review and Herald.—F. D. Nichol.

Because Seventh-day Adventists teach that the scapegoat in the tabernacle services of the Day of Atonement represented Satan, we are often accused of substituting Satan for Christ as a vicarious sufferer for sin. Of course we do not believe or teach that the devil is our savior in any sense of the word; and in the light of Biblical scholarship it seems strange that the charge of heresy should be hurled against us be­cause we believe that the scapegoat represented Satan.

There has been much discussion among Biblical scholars over the question of what-the scapegoat symbolized—some taking the position that the two goats represented different phases of Christ's work ; and others, perhaps the majority, that "the Lord's goat" represented Christ, and the scapegoat (margin, "Azazel") is a personal, wicked, super­human being.

Meaning of "Azazel."—The Hebrew word is "Azazel" and is so transliterated in the Revised Version. The English word "scapegoat" was doubtl6ss used in the common version because of the final disposition of the animal. A learned Jewish scholar, Dr. M. M. Kalisch, speaks of the scapegoat as the "evil demon, or devil, Azazel, the author and originator of sin." Azazel is a noted character in Eastern legend—doubtless reflections of the story of Satan's fall from heaven.

In commenting on Azazel's part in the services of the Day of Atonement, Kalisch says : "It would be too much to consider both [goats] virtually as one sin offering presented to God; the two worked out the desired object in a very different manner ; one was a victim intended to atone for sins, the other carried away sins already atoned for ; the one was dedicated to God, the other to a different power (Lev. 16 :8). . . They implied the acknowl­edgment of two opposite and opposing forces in the moral world, since Azazel, though passive in the ceremonial of the Day of Atonement, was con­sidered to have been most active throughout the year as a tempter and instigator to sin."—Com­mentary on Leviticus (English or Abridged Edi­tion), Part 2, p. 209.

Again, Dr. Kalisch says: "The goat was no sacrifice presented to Azazel, no offering meant to appease his wrath; it was not slaughtered, but left in the desert . . . to its fate; it did not work the atonement of the people, which was effected solely by the blood of the second goat killed as a sin offering; it served, in fact, merely as a symbol of complete removal."—Ibid., p. 185.

An article by T. M. Chambers, in The Presby­terian and Reformed Review ( January, 1892), in speaking of the function of the two goats on the great day of atonement, says that "the double of­fering [one for Jehovah and the other for Azazel] typified not only the removing of the guilt of the people, but its transfer to the odius and detestable being who was the first cause of its existence." That is, Satan.

In What Sense Did Scapegoat Bear Sin?

Is it not self-evident that if one goat was "for the Lord" and the other "for Azazel" these two were antithetical? The scapegoat could in no sense be a part of the atonement, for it was not killed, and "without shedding of blood is no remission." Heb. 9:22. How could a live goat, bearing all the sins of the people (Lev. 16:21), sent into the wil­derness, entirely separated from the people, repre­sent Christ?

The Lord's goat was a "sin offering, that is for the people," the blood of which was brought within the second veil and sprinkled on the mercy seat. With this blood, atonement was made "for the holy place," "for the tabernacle of the congregation," and for the altar of burnt offering, "because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions in all their sins." (Lev. 16:15, 16, 18, 19.) Not until the high priest had "made an end of reconciling" ("atoning," A.R.V.) did the live goat have any part in the ceremony. (Verse 20.) After the atonement was finished and judgment passed, the high priest confessed over the scapegoat all the signs of the people, and it was sent away into an uninhabited wilderness, entirely separated from the camp of Israel. The scapegoat then atoned for sin, only as a criminal atones for his crime.

A man who influences another to commit a crime is recognized as sharing the responsibility for it, and is regally punished. Satan is the origi­nator of sin. He is the direct instigator of all the sins that have cursed our world, and which caused the death of the Son of God. It is nothing but justice that he should suffer for all his own sins, and as the great tempter, for his part in the sins of God's children.

When the investigative judgment is finished and our Lord Himself descends from heaven with the trump of God to raise His sleeping saints, they with the righteous living will be caught up to meet their Lord. (1 Thess. 4:16, 17.) The wicked will be destroyed by the brightness of His coming (2 Thess. 2 :8) and will not live again until after a thousand years. (Rev. 20 :5.) The earth will be left a desolation, a land uninhabited (the bottom­less pit), where Satan, the antitypical scapegoat, will have a thousand years in which to contemplate the terrible havoc and suffering that sin has caused. (Rev. 20:1-3.) At the close of the thousand years the wicked dead will be raised to life, and the devil and all the wicked host will be utterly destroyed. (Rev. 20:5, 7-10, 14, 15.)

The beloved John saw a new heaven and a new earth, and the Holy City coming down from God, and heard "a great voice out of heaven saying, Be­hold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears frofn their eyes ; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away." Rev. 21 :3, 4.

Here the great controversy is ended. The blood-washed throng have received their inheritance. Sin and sinners are no more. The character of God has been vindicated.

Advertisement - Ministry in Motion 300x250

Ministry reserves the right to approve, disapprove, and delete comments at our discretion and will not be able to respond to inquiries about these comments. Please ensure that your words are respectful, courteous, and relevant.

comments powered by Disqus

By MILTON E. KERN, General Field Secretary, General Conference

Digital delivery

If you're a print subscriber, we'll complement your print copy of Ministry with an electronic version.

Sign up
Advertisement - Southern Adv Univ 180x150 - Animated


Recent issues

See All
Advertisement - Healthy and Happy Family - Skyscraper 160x600