The Scapegoat in The Sanctuary

Christmas Tree Cerca Pier

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

There is a song I remember singing a hundred years ago, when I was a teenager. It went something like this, “I owed a debt I could not pay. He paid a debt He did not owe.” Beautiful song, but not exactly theologically correct if you want to get technical. And no, I do not like to get technical and I guess it may be theologically correct in one way, but in another way, it’s not. You see, fact is, I can pay the debt that I owe myself. Romans 6:23 tells us the wages of sin is death. I can pay for and atone for my sins all by myself with no help from Jesus, by dying. I am eternally grateful though, that Jesus did paid that debt for me! Because fact is, I could not pay the debt and live.

Satan, on the other hand, will have to pay the debt and atone for his sins himself.

“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.” Leviticus 16:10

The scapegoat is cast into the wilderness to atone for sin. The scapegoat represents Satan who, after the cleansing of the sanctuary and investigative judgment, has now been blamed for the sin problem. The guilt and responsibility for sin is placed upon the scapegoat who goes off to the wilderness. This represents Satan, after the literal investigative judgment, spending a thousand years after the Second Coming here on earth, as it lies wasted and barren. After a thousand years of considering his great idea to rebel against God’s government and start his own, he will then realize it was not such a great idea after all.

Still, many have trouble with the scapegoat representing Satan. The Seventh-day Adventist church is unique in believing Satan is the scapegoat. Other denominations ask how can Satan bear our sin? Good question! Fact is, he does not bear our sin, he bears his own sin. He shares our guilt when he tempts us to sin. While Jesus died for our guilt, He did not die for Satan’s guilt, so it is still placed upon Satan. Others point out that the word “atonement” is used. How can Satan atone for our sins? Again, he does not atone for our sins, he atones for his own sin by dying an eternal death. You see, often it is said Jesus died for our sins because we could not atone for our own sins, but this is not true. We can atone for our own sins by dying an eternal death. The wages of sin is death and we can pay those wages in full if we so choose. We can atone for our own sin if we want. Satan atones for his own sin and shared guilt in our sins by being the scapegoat sent off to die an eternal death (Revelation 20). The universe will no longer blame God for the sin problem. Ironically, when the sin problem has been done away with, the only trace of sin will be the nail scars in Jesus’ hands. Thus, the only Person who will bear eternally the result of sin will be the only Person who was totally innocent.

The perfect Lamb of God is my Savior for all eternity! Hebrews 7:25 says, “Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.” My Savior does not live so that He can force angels and humanity to worship Him and sing His praises. He does not live so that He can be a tyrant and boss everybody around. Once the sanctuary is cleansed, and guilt is put in its proper place, it will be seen that the Son of God lives to make intercession for sinners. We will be able to look as far in the past as eternity goes and as far into the future as eternity goes, and see that Jesus lives for one reason; to be our Savior!

You can study this week’s SS lesson here. You can download the SS lessons to your phone here.

Matthew 26; Thoughts on Gethsemane

tampa-bay-016I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

 

Luke 22:43 says, “And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.” In His darkest hour his friends let Him down and one even betrayed Him, but Jesus was strengthened by an angel. I believe that we can have every advantage that Jesus had. If our friends let us down God will send us an angel or help us Himself if He needs to. As a matter of fact, check this out from The Great Controversy page 560.  “He [God] would sooner send every angel out of Heaven to protect his people, than leave one soul that trusts in him to be overcome by Satan.”  Imagine it. The Father sent an angel to aid the Son of God but will empty all of heaven of every single angel and send them to our aid in time of need. Why depend on the weak arm of man?

 

When Jesus’ friends let Him down and fell asleep when He needed them the most, instead of holding a grudge He excused their weakness when He said, “the spirit indeed [is] willing, but the flesh [is] weak.”  Matthew 26:41. In His darkest hour He looked to heaven and not to man. He was not disappointed in man because He did not expect anything from man. Since He did not expect too much He was not hurt too much by them and even referred to Judas in Matthew 26:50 as His Friend! By calling Judas His friend it shows us Jesus did not demand much at all from His friends while He gave all of Himself.

 

Mark 14:33 says Jesus became “sore amazed.”  You become amazed when you realize something you did not before. This shows us the true humanity of Jesus and that He was amazed as He experienced something He had never known before-the wrath of God-abandonment. In Gethsemane Jesus was facing more than a six hour pain endurance marathon on the cross. He was facing abandonment. The Desire of Ages brings this home for us on page 753, “Satan with his fierce temptations wrung the heart of Jesus. The Saviour could not see through the portals of the tomb. Hope did not present to Him His coming forth from the grave a conqueror, or tell Him of the Father’s acceptance of the sacrifice. He feared that sin was so offensive to God that Their separation was to be eternal. Christ felt the anguish which the sinner will feel when mercy shall no longer plead for the guilty race. It was the sense of sin, bringing the Father’s wrath upon Him as man’s substitute, that made the cup He drank so bitter, and broke the heart of the Son of God.”   

 

This Gospel, not the six hour pain endurance marathon gospel, but the gospel of Jesus being willing to say goodbye to life forever to save us shall be preached in all the world before He returns. In Revelation 14 the first angel has the everlasting gospel, not the six hour pain endurance marathon gospel, but the everlasting gospel to give to the whole world! As Seventh-day Adventists lets not let anything distract us from taking this gospel to the world!

 

This gospel will heal lives and mend hearts and change lives for eternity. It already has. Joseph saw this gospel when he told his brothers that he forgave them even though they betrayed him and caused him to suffer because it led to their salvation and the salvation of others! The gospel healed Joseph’s relationship with his brothers when the self sacrificing gospel was manifested in Joseph. Moses saw the goodness and mercy of this gospel and reflected it when he offered to have his name blotted out of the book of life to save others. This gospel was manifested in a thirteen year old Amish girl who during a violent siege of her school asked to be shot first hoping to buy time for the rescue of the others.  Her request was granted. In Revelation 15 this gospel is manifested in a large group who sing the song of Moses and the Lamb. They share the experience of Moses and Jesus in coveting the salvation of others more than they covet their own salvation.

 

Jesus was more than natural when He gave His life for those who let Him down and betrayed Him. He was supernatural. This gospel, not the six hour pain endurance marathon gospel, but this gospel is supernatural. Is it in you? Next time a friend lets you down or even betrays you do more than what comes natural. Do the supernatural. Let Jesus manifest Himself in you just as He was manifested in Joseph, Moses, Marion Fisher the Amish girl, and a whole host of people in Revelation 15.  If you do the supernatural all heaven will be on your side, and if need be every angel will be by your side, and you will heal hearts, mend lives, and change people for all eternity.

 

Your Christian Servant,

William

 

You can find more of my studies and stories at In Light Of The Cross.

The Two Mysteries of the Sanctuary Revealed

 

I am writing to you today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

 

Friday’s section of this week’s SS lesson says, “Think about the fact that Lucifer was a “perfect” being and yet iniquity was found in him.” This is a mind boggling thought. How could someone so perfect become so sinful? This is the mystery of iniquity, and here is what Ellen White has to say in the book Great Controversy p. 493, “Sin is an intruder, for whose presence no reason can be given. It is mysterious, unaccountable; to excuse it, is to defend it. Could excuse for it be found, or cause be shown for its existence, it would cease to be sin.”

 

This brings up the two mysteries in the Great Controversy between God and Satan. The first is the mystery of iniquity. How could someone so perfect become so sinful? Is it God’s fault for making us with a free will or is Lucifer to blame?

 

The question is answered and the controversy is settled with another mystery. The cleansing of the sanctuary will place the blame for sin upon Satan and will also present a mystery of its own. Speaking of the sanctuary service in Revelation 10, verse seven tells us “the mystery of God should be finished” The mystery of God is the exact opposite of the mystery of iniquity. First lets see what the mystery of God is. Colossians 1:27-28 reads, “To whom God would make known what [is] the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.” So while the mystery of iniquity asks, how could someone so perfect become so sinful, the mystery of Godliness will counteract that by taking a sinful people and making them perfect in Christ. Revelation 7 tells us about people from every tribe and walk of life, who will be sealed with the Character of God before Christ returns. Sound impossible? Remember that sin seemed as impossible in heaven as perfection seems here on earth. Both are mysteries.

 

As we continue to explore the atonement this quarter the sanctuary will reveal to us the true character of God and the true character of Satan. The lies will all be washed away. Satan’s only power over Eve was his power to lie. Without lies Satan is totally powerless. He has no power. All he has are lies. The cleansing of the sanctuary will wash away all of Satan’s lies leaving him powerless. With a lie Satan gained control of Eve and the human race. The truth found in the sanctuary will free us from those lies and from Satan’s control and thus will begin the mystery of Godliness, and a race of people from all different backgrounds being sealed with God’s character. All the blame for sin, suffering, and rebellion will be placed on Satan; the scapegoat. No one will blame God for the sin problem anymore and we will be reconciled to Him. Thus the mystery of godliness will overtake the mystery of iniquity.

 

Someone asked me just this week, “If Satan who was so perfect became so sinful, how do I know I will not sin in heaven?” The answer has nothing to do with our natures. Satan sinned with a perfect nature. Jesus perfectly obeyed in a human nature. Jesus obeyed because He knew something we did not, the truth about Satan’s lies. The cleansing of the sanctuary washes away Satan’s lies thus cleansing us from all unrighteousness both now and forever!

 

check out the Bible Studies at In Light of the Cross.