A Response to the Video:
Seventh-day Adventism, the Spirit Behind the Church
by Bob Pickle
Answers to Questions Raised by:
Mark Martin, Sydney Cleveland
Dale Ratzlaff, The White Lie
. . . and Others
Discern Fact from Fiction
Sunday vs. the Lord's Day, and the Scapegoat
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|#191: "Adventists further deviate in their
salvation doctrine by teaching that Satan ultimately becomes
the sin-bearer. They teach he bears away the sins of the world. 'As the priest in removing
the sins from the
sanctuary, confess them upon the head of the scapegoat, so Christ will place all these sins
upon Satan, the
originator and instigator of sin...' Great Controversy p. 485."—Mark
#191: Satan becomes the
sin-bearer. Though the term "sin-bearer" appears in Mrs. White's published
and released writings at least
186 times, she not once said that Satan is our "sin-bearer." She consistently taught that
Christ is our "only sin-bearer":
In His intercession as our advocate, Christ needs no man's virtue, no man's
intercession. He is the only sin-bearer, the only sin-offering.—Signs
of the Times, June 28, 1899.
How hard poor mortals strive to be sin-bearers for themselves and for others! but the
only sin-bearer is Jesus Christ. He alone can be my
substitute and sin-bearer. The forerunner of Christ exclaimed, "Behold the Lamb of God,
which taketh away the sin of the world."—Review and
Herald, June 9, 1896.
Proclaim remission of sins through Christ, the only Sin-bearer, the only Sin-pardoner.
Proclaim the remission of sins through repentance toward
God and faith in Christ, and God will ratify your testimony.—The Voice in Speech
and Song, p. 340. [p. 126]
Now if Jesus is our "only sin-bearer," how can
Satan be one too?
Mr. Martin's quote from Great Controversy appears in its entirety
under "Point 90" in the documentation package, the only "proof"
given for the charge. Notice carefully what even the part quoted in the video says: "As the
priest in removing the sins from the sanctuary . . . ."
Now if the high priest, representing Jesus Christ, removes the sins by carrying them
in his own person, must he not be the sin-bearer?
Mr. Martin refers to what Seventh-day Adventists believe that the closing ceremonies
of the services of the Day of Atonement represent.
This has nothing to do with who the sin-bearer is. Consider carefully the following verses:
And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the LORD, and the other lot
for the scapegoat [the Hebrew reads "for Azazel"]. (Lev.
And when he hath 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 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. (Lev. 16:20-22)
Notice that the goat for Azazel has the sins put upon him only after the high priest has
made an end of reconciling. Since the word for
"reconciling" is the Hebrew word for "atoning," this means that the sins are only put upon
him after the end of the atonement.
The high priest represents Jesus. Whom would Jesus put the sins of God's people upon
after He has finished the atonement? Himself? If
so, why would He need to have sins placed upon Himself after the atonement is
If the only atonement that ever was or ever shall be occurred at the cross, why would
Jesus place sins upon Himself after He had already
died for sin?
The Adventist position that Azazel is Satan makes more sense and raises less
questions: After the atonement is finished, Jesus our high priest,
the great Sin-bearer, will place all our sins upon Azazel, Satan, since he is the cause and
instigator of all sin.
Let's deal with several points one at a time. First of all, how do we know that Azazel
is a name for Satan? We already saw that the book of
1 Enoch identifies Azazel as being a fallen angel. Consider also the following discussion by
John N. Andrews, and his citation of scholars who
were not Adventists:
Mr. [Charles] Beecher states two views respecting the meaning of this term Azazel,
each of which he shows to be manifestly untrue. He then
gives his own view, as follows:—
"The third opinion is, that Azazel is a proper name of Satan. In support of this, the
following points are urged: The use of the preposition implies
it. The same preposition is used on both lots, La Yehova, La Azazel; and if the one indicates
a person, it seems natural the other should, especially
considering the act of casting lots. If one is for Jehovah, the other would seem for some
other person or being; not one for Jehovah, and the other
for the goat itself.
"What goes to confirm this is, that the most ancient paraphrases and translations treat
Azazel as a proper name. The Chaldee paraphrase and
the targums of Onkelos and Jonathan would certainly have translated it if it was not a proper
name, but they do not. The Septuagint, or oldest Greek
version, renders it by apopompaios, a word applied by the Greeks to a
malign deity, sometimes appeased by sacrifices.
"Another confirmation is found in the Book of Enoch, where the name Azalzel,
evidently a corruption of Azazel, is given to one of the fallen
angels, thus plainly showing what was the prevalent understanding of the Jews at that
"Still another evidence is found in the Arabic, where Azazel is employed as the name
of the evil spirit.
"In addition to these, we have the evidence of the Jewish work, Zohar, and of the
Cabalistic and Rabbinical writers. They tell us that the following
proverb was current among the Jews: 'On the day of atonement, a gift to Sammael [a Jewish
name for Satan].' . . .
"Another step in the evidence is when we find this same opinion passing from the
Jewish to the early Christian church. Origen was the most
learned of the Fathers, and on such a point as this, the meaning of a Hebrew word, his
testimony is reliable. Says Origen: 'He who is called in the
Septuagint apopompaios and in the Hebrew Azazel, is no other than the
"Lastly, a circumstance is mentioned of the Emperor Julian, the apostate, that confirms
the argument. He brought as an objection against the
Bible, that Moses commanded a sacrifice to the evil spirit. An objection he never could have
thought of, had not Azazel been generally regarded
as a proper name.
"In view, then, of the difficulties attending any other meaning, and the accumulated
evidence in favor of this, Hengstenberg affirms with great
confidence that Azazel cannot be anything else but another name for Satan.
. . .
"The meaning of the term, viewed as a proper name, was stated in 1677, by Spencer,
Dean of Ely, to be Powerful Apostate, or Mighty Receder."
Mr. Beecher, on the seventy-second page of his [p. 127] work, states that Professor Bush
considers Azazel to be a
proper name of Satan.
Gesenius, the great Hebrew lexicographer, says:—
"Azazel, a word found only in the law respecting the day of atonement.
Lev.16:8,10,26. . . . it seems to denote an evil demon dwelling in the
desert and to be plac[at]ed with victims . . . . This name Azazel is also
used by the Arabs for an evil demon."
Milton represents Azazel as one of the fallen angels, and the standard-bearer of Satan
. . . . Paradise Lost, book 1.
The "Comprehensive Commentary" has the following important remarks:—
"Scape-goat. See different opinions in Bochart. Spencer, after the oldest opinions of
the Hebrews and Christians, thinks Azazel is the name of
the devil; and so Rosenmuller, whom see. The Syriac has Azzail, the angel (strong one) who
"Cassell's Illustrated Bible" speaks thus of the scape-goat:—
"We offer the following exposition as much more likely, and much more satisfactory:
That Azazel is a personal denomination for the evil
one."—J. N. Andrews, The Judgment, Its Events and Their Order, pp.
Now for our next point. Leviticus 16:22 said that "the goat shall bear upon him all
their iniquities unto a land not inhabited." If this goat is
Satan, is he not a sin-bearer, even if the atonement is already over, since he is bearing sin?
And what about when Andrews said:
To show the reasonableness of that act which rolls back upon Satan the sins of the
people of God, and also to define the nature of the act, let
us carefully state the case. Every sin committed by men is instigated by Satan. This part of
the transgression is the sin of Satan alone, and belongs
solely to him, whether men repent or not. But consenting to the tempter, and obeying him, is
the sin of the one tempted. This part of the transgression
will, in the case of all who avail themselves of the work of our High Priest, be placed upon
the antitypical scape-goat, Satan, and he will have to
bear the full punishment of all such sins.
One of the most important events, therefore, in the opening of the great day of
judgment, is that of placing the sins of the overcomers upon the
head of the great author of sin.—Ibid., pp. 81, 82.
So what about it? If Satan bears "the full punishment" of certain sins after the
atonement is over, does that not make him a sin-bearer? Not
Every Bible-believing Christian knows that those who do not place their sins on the
great Sin-bearer Jesus Christ will have to bear the full
punishment of their own sins. Does then the unsaved person become his own sin-bearer? Of
course not. Even though he has to bear the full
punishment of his own sins, he does not become a sin-bearer.
The term "sin-bearer" carries the connotation of Savior, substitute, and mediator. This
the unsaved can never be.
How Jesus can transfer sin to something after the atonement is finished is not the only
thing Adventist theology explains. The first gospel
promise said that Satan's head would be crushed under the feet of the "seed," which Paul
identifies as both Christ and his followers (Gen. 3:15;
Gal. 3:16, 29). Paul also says that "the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet
shortly" (Rom. 16:20). While it is easy to see how Christ
will crush Satan's head, what part do the redeemed have in all this? If after the atonement is
over, Christ were to place their sins upon Satan,
and Satan were to suffer punishment for those sins, then the redeemed would indeed have a
part to play in the crushing of his head.
Placing sins upon the scapegoat after the atonement is over has nothing to do with our
salvation. It has everything to do with the punishment
of the great rebel who has caused so much misery on planet earth.
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