There is coming a time when Satan will never again be able to influence the human race, or the family of God, or the angelic host. Satan's power and influence will end. Jesus Christ will rule. This is the really good news pictured by the Day of Atonement, one of God's seven annual holy days.
In my previous sermon, I explained why there is so much evil in this world. There is an adversary of both God and man, an accuser of the brethren. He is called Satan, the devil.
He was created by God as a brilliant powerful angelic being -- a covering cherub at the very throne room of the universe - and originally his name was Lucifer. Sadly, the Bible reveals at some time in the past, before the creation of Adam and Eve, Lucifer rebelled against God, and along with a third of the angels, attempted to take over the control of the universe.
He, and the angels who followed him, were defeated and they were thrown back to the earth where they are bound in darkness awaiting a final judgment. Though bound in darkness, Satan is still able to influence the human race towards evil instead of good.
The apostle Paul gives us a little insight into how Satan influences the human race.
Ephesians 2:1-2 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience.
Here the apostle Paul explains that there is a 'spirit' who now influences the minds of people - he was active in Paul's time and he is still active today - and Paul wrote that he is the 'prince of the power of the air.'
What is it that every human being needs to survive? It's air.
No matter where we go, or where we are, we need air.
Somehow, someway, Satan is able to use the "power of the air" to his advantage. He is able to transmit his attitudes to the minds of human beings 'through the air.' No matter where we are on this earth, Satan can reach us.
Because we all need air to survive, he can reach every human being on earth. And the end product of Satan's broadcasting is disobedience - disobedience to God and His way of life. Human beings, under Satan's influence, have become the 'sons of disobedience' - as the apostle Paul wrote.
We can understand Satan's broadcasting more today by the fact that we can transmit messages through the air. We have the broadcast station, a radio transmitter, and a radio receiver. We can tune our radio receiver into the radio station and hear what is being broadcast.
Satan is the broadcaster, he transmits his messages through the air, and our minds are the receivers, able to be tuned into his broadcasting. Many times we may not be aware that we are actually receiving his broadcasting.
Notice again just how powerful Satan's influence is in the world - just how powerful is his broadcasting - through the air.
Revelation 12:9 So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world.
His is a work of deception on a grand scale - every nation, every city, every town, every village, every person around the entire world falls under his influence.
The Apostle John wrote:
I John 5:19 We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one .
Notice also what Jesus said about this evil one:
Speaking to the Jews, Jesus said:
John 8:44 You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.
And what is the end product of this liar, this murderer, this one who has no truth in him,
this one who deceives the whole world?
We know what the end product is.
Every day we are assailed by the news media with reports of people suffering in some way. There is anger, hostility, war, hatred, rage, muggings, rapes, murders, thievery, greed, corruption, stealing, addictions, and every evil work imaginable.
Our news headlines leave us almost breathless because on the day after day reporting of bad news upon bad news upon bad news.
Now God is a God of love, but He is also a God of justice. And God holds Satan accountable for his sin, and for every evil work that he has committed.
This is made clear by a ceremony which was enacted once a year in ancient Israel on the Day of Atonement.
The Day of Atonement is one of God's seven annual holy days listed in Leviticus chapter 23.
The holy day seasons throughout the year begin with the Passover, then the Days of Unleavened Bread, then Pentecost, then the Feast of Trumpets, followed by the Day of Atonement, the Feast of Tabernacles and the Last Great Day.
These annual festivals of God teach us, remind us, proclaim to us, the plan of God for all mankind. The understanding that these holy days bring is fundamental to our understanding God's great plan and purpose for each and every human being that has lived, is now living, and who will yet live.
For those of you who may be listening to this sermon on CD and have never observed God's annual festivals, or who are not aware that they should be kept, I recommend you read and study our free booklet GOD'S HOLY DAY PLAN: Hope for all mankind.
This booklet explains the meaning of each of God's annual festivals and you are in for a treat of knowledge and understanding that is absolutely awesome. Perhaps for the first time in your life, you will begin to understand the awesome destiny God has planned for you, for your loved ones, for your family, for your neighbours, in fact - this awesome destiny was planned by God for each and every human being that has ever lived, is now living, or will yet live.
Understanding the Plan of God for all mankind through the observance of God's annual festivals is a pivotal dimension of knowledge sadly missing in the Christian world.
You need to have this knowledge .
GOD'S HOLY DAY PLAN: Hope for all mankind- that's the title of our free booklet. After you have read and studied it, you will be so glad that you did.
As I mentioned before one of God's seven annual holy days is called the Day of Atonement and it was on this day a special ceremony was enacted once a year in ancient Israel.
This ceremony is recorded in LEVITICUS 16
Before we read some specific verses in Leviticus chapter 16, I would like you to recall that Satan is called in the Bible the 'god of this age.'
The apostle Paul was personally very much aware of Satan's power and influence:
Referring to Satan Paul wrote:
II Corinthians 4:4 whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.
In Scripture, God has permitted him to be called a god - not THE GOD - but a god -- and he is god only for an age - for a limited period of time. There is coming a time when he will be no longer called 'the god of this age.'
And the removal of Satan from being the god of this age is pictured by this ceremony which took place in ancient Israel on the Day of Atonement.
Leviticus 16:7-10 "He (Aaron, the high priest) shall take the two goats and present them before the LORD at the door of the tabernacle of meeting. 8 "Then Aaron shall cast lots for the two goats: one lot for the LORD and the other lot for the scapegoat. 9 "And Aaron shall bring the goat on which the LORD'S lot fell, and offer it as a sin offering. 10 "But the goat on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat shall be presented alive before the LORD, to make atonement upon it, and to let it go as the scapegoat into the wilderness.
Notice these points: On the Day of Atonement in ancient Israel:
Now the symbolism of the goat offered as a sin offering is a sermon in itself. It represents Jesus Christ who was slain for the sins of the entire world.
Today, because of time, I need to concentrate on the goat that was taken into the wilderness.
More information about what happened to this goat that is taken into the wilderness is found in verses 20-22 of Leviticus 16
Leviticus 16:20-22 "And when he has made an end of atoning for the Holy Place, the tabernacle of meeting, and the altar, he shall bring the live goat. 21 "Aaron shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, confess over it all theiniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions, concerning all their sins, putting them on the head of the goat, and shall send it away into the wilderness by the hand of a suitable man. 22 "The goat shall bear on itself all their iniquities to an uninhabited land; and he shall release the goat in the wilderness.
Now there is some incredibly important understanding in this ceremony.
It is clear that the goat sacrificed as a sin offering for the children of Israel represented the Lord, the One who was sacrificed for the sins of the entire world.
Jesus Christ gave His life as a sacrifice once and for all - for all mankind. So the first goat looked forward to the time when the Son of God would die for the sins of the entire world - and that event has been fulfilled.
What happened to the second goat is very different to the first.
We need to note that this goat was not killed, as was the other.
This second goat is a called a "scapegoat" but the word 'scapegoat' is not a clear translation of the original Hebrew word inspired by God.
A marginal rendering for scapegoat is AZ-A-ZEL.
What does AZ-A-ZELmean?
Just by way of explanation, the meaning of "scapegoat" in modern times carries an entirely different meaning to what God intends in Leviticus 16. Originally -- when the Bible was translated by the King James Translators in 1611 -- the word "scapegoat" meant "escapegoat" -- the goat which was let escape -- which the translators took to be the meaning of the Hebrew word -- AZ-A-ZEL.
Today, the meaning of "scapegoat" is "one who bears the blame or guilt for another." This is definitely not the meaning God intends. AZ-A-ZEL, or Satan, bears his own guilt. Satan is no "scapegoat" bearing the sins of others. He will be punished for his own sins.
When you consult the Bible commentaries and dictionaries, some identify AZAZEL as the name of a demon inhabiting a wilderness. Again there is that association of the name AZAZEL with a fallen angel.
Strong's Exhaustive Concordance says that AZAZEL means 'goat of departure' and is derived from the root Hebrew word AZAZ which means 'to depart.'
And when we consider what happened to the live goat on the Day of Atonement, and what is prophesied to happen to Satan, the Devil, the parallels are so significant that when we consider the known facts, and by logic and reason, it is evident that AZ-A-ZEL is a reference to, or type of, Satan the Devil.
But it has been said by some that the AZAZEL goat does not represent Satan but represents Christ. However, the symbolism of the second goat does not fit the work that Christ has accomplished.
Notice 1 Peter 3:18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit,
Now notice 1 Peter 2:21-24 For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: 22 "Who committed no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth"; 23 who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; 24 who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree
The sins of the world were laid on Christ but He was not then taken by another into a wilderness area where He continued to live. Christ bore the sins of the world on the tree - on the cross where He was crucified - and He died, He was slain, for the sins of the world.
The second goat was not killed, Christ was.
And notice where Christ is today . He is not off somewhere in a wilderness.
Hebrews 1:1-3 God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; 3 who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.
The symbolism of the second goat clearly does not represent Jesus Christ.
Let me read to you again what Scripture says about the AZAZEL goat - the scapegoat.
Leviticus 16:19-20 "And when he (Aaron, the High Priest) has made an end od atoning for the Holy Place, the tabernacle of meeting, and the alter, he shall bring the live goat. 21 "Aaron shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, confess over it all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions, concerning all their sins, putting them on the head of the goat, and shall send it away into the wilderness by the hand of a suitable man. 22 "The goat shall bear on itself all their iniquities to an uninhabited land; and he shall release the goat in the wilderness.
The very throne of God where Christ sits at God's right hand cannot be described as an 'uninhabited land' or a 'wilderness.'
This AZAZEL goat properly represents Satan the Devil, because what happened to the AZAZEL goat is a type of what is destined to happen to him.
As the live goat represented Satan and the sins of Israel were placed on the head of the live goat, we can see that this points to the time when God will lay upon Satan all the evil that he has perpetrated upon the human race, ever since the creation of Adam and Eve.
Satan's ultimate goal is to destroy all human beings -- his ultimate goal is to destroy the potential children of God. And he uses every trick in the book to cripple human beings.
The time is coming, a time pictured by the Day of Atonement, when this Fallen Angel of Death will be bound, restrained, put away from mankind for ever.
LEVITICUS 16 shows us that the goat representing Satan was taken by the hand of a suitable man (or a fit man) into the wilderness and released there.
This physical wilderness to which this goat was taken is a type of the ultimate wilderness into which Satan will be taken.
Revelation 20:1 Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. 2 He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; 3 and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished.
No longer will this world be held captive by Satan, but the captor himself will be placed behind bars - as we would say regarding a human criminal.
Jude gives us an indication of the ultimate wilderness to which Satan and the demons will be taken.
Jude 6 And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day;
Jude 13 --- wandering stars for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.
The angels who sinned (including Satan) will be removed completed away from the light of God's presence to a place which is described as 'the blackness of darkness for ever.'
We don't understand what this means in the spirit realm. We will probably understand it after the resurrection.
But we can understand that there is coming a time when never again will Satan be able to influence the members of God's family or the angelic host. Never again will Satan be able to roam the universe and cause division, or rebellion, or destruction.
This Day of Atonement is a day for rejoicing because it pictures God holding Satan responsible for all the suffering and death that he has caused over millenniums of time, and this Day of Atonement also pictures Satan being imprisoned in a place of darkness for ever.
Once Satan is removed, along with his broadcasting of vanity, jealousy, greed, selfishness and hostility, the human race can begin to learn and experience lasting peace.
The world will at last experience freedom from Satan's spiritual enslavement.
The powerful influence of Satan which incites wars, blood shed, murders, mistrust, deceptions, robberies, greed, rape, incest, child molestation, drug abuse, alcohol abuse, sexual immorality, violence, family arguments, husbands against wives, wives against husbands, children against parents, family against family, tribe against tribe, nation against nation, will cease. His broadcasting of deception, hostility and hatred will come to an end.
Satan, the god of this world, will no longer be god. He will have been removed from his throne.
ONE ADDITIONAL IMPORTANT POINT
I want to make ANOTHER additional IMPORTANT POINT which we can derive from the ceremony of the two goats.
Leviticus 16:8 "Then Aaron shall cast lots for the two goats: one lot for the LORD and the other lot for the scapegoat.
When the two goats were brought to the door of the tabernacle, one represented the Lord and the other represented Satan.
But Aaron could not tell which was which. They looked so much alike. He had to cast lots so that God would reveal which goat was to represent the Lord and which was to represent Satan.
Please turn with me to II Corinthians 11:12-14. Here the Apostle Paul is defending his right to minister to the congregation at Corinth, against false ministers.
II Corinthians 11:12-14 But what I do, that I will do, that I may cut off occasion from them which desire occasion; that wherein they glory, they may be found even as we. 13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. 14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.
Satan does not present himself as an angel of darkness or evil. That would not fool anyone. It would actually drive people away from him. But he comes reasonably, promoting good works, saying of course we should love God and our neighbour but loving God really has nothing to do with obeying the Commandments of God. Those Commandments of God are done away. They were against us. We have been liberated from the law. It all sounds so plausible. By doing away with the Commandments, he actually deceives people to continuing in sin for which the penalty is death.
Satan is a master at promoting a mixture of good and evil. He promotes a mixture of truth and error.
He remembers that once he was an angel of light - His name was Lucifer - meaning 'shining one' or 'light bringer.' But now he is an angel of darkness --an angel who brings darkness and death. He is a fallen angel who is hell bent on destroying the human race. The wisdom that was given to him by God is now a cunning wisdom. He masquerades as an angel of light but in reality he is savage demented being whose mind is to destroy. He is Satan the Adversary, both of God and man.
Revelation 12:9 So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
We may ask a legitimate question here: As God is all powerful, why does He allow Satan to influence mankind?
Why did God not remove him completely before Adam and Eve were created?
Time does not permit me to comment at any length on this point in this sermon but the answer is explained in our free booklet entitled Is There Really a Devil? If you do not already have a copy, we can mail you a printed copy, or you can read the booklet online on our website.
Because of God's plan for human beings to become like He is, God endowed us with the power of free choice. It was essential that each human being personally choose to follow God, to personally choose to wholeheartedly embrace the very purpose of our existence - to become like God is.
And in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve exercised that right of free choice. They chose to listen to the Serpent - a symbol of Satan - they chose to listen to Satan's suggestions and reasoning and were deceived into believing him, rather than carefully following their Creator's instructions.
Adam and Eve, by free choice, came under the sway of this evil one - they chose to allow themselves to come under the sway of this great deceiver. And the human race has been held captive by Satan's deception ever since.
As a master of deception, Satan works to deceive mankind into focusing on everything but God. For example, through the theory of evolution, he has convinced billions that God doesn't exist at all.
Though hundreds of differing religions he has convinced billions of people to worship anything but the true God who created them. People worship the sun, the moon, the stars, animals, nature, deceased ancestors, sport, wealth, power, and a bewildering array of other things - or they may worship nothing at all.
Even among Christianity, we find the churches divided and teaching different doctrines but all stating their teachings come from the Bible. And there are those who teach that Satan does not actually exist at all.
Satan has done a most effective job in confusing people, and providing something for everybody.
He doesn't care which of these groups people fall into. Whether they believe in God, don't believe in God, or worship some false god, Satan still has them in his power and influence. Satan deceives the whole world.
The apostle Paul wrote that 'the god of this age has blinded the minds of people and prevented the light or understanding of the Gospel from shining upon them.' He has pulled the wool over the eyes of every human being.
And it is only by the grace of God, and by a miracle from God, that we can be freed from that deception.
Let me emphasize that again:
Only by the grace of God, and by a miracle from God, can we be freed from Satan's deception.
John 6:43-44 Jesus therefore answered and said to them, "Do not murmur among yourselves. 44 "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.
We need to understand why Jesus said these words.
God the Father and Christ are the only Ones who can rescue us from Satan's deception.
You have to be called by God the Father to Christ in order to be released from Satan's deception. We cannot free ourselves.
But, as being of free choice, we have the right to respond or not respond to God's offer to rescue us from the bondage of Satan.
II Timothy 1:8-9 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, 9 who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began.
The apostle Paul was writing to Timothy and he said, we have been saved and called with a holy calling, not because of anything we have done. Not because we are more intelligent than others, not because of our good looks, not because of our numbers, not because of our education, not because of anything we have, or are, or have done, not because of our wealth or status in life, but the choice was God's. He chose to call us to Christ.
He chose to remove the blindness from our minds, and open our minds to understand the truth. God chose to let the light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ illuminate our minds and dispel the darkness that was there through Satan's broadcasting.
It is God who sets us free from Satan's deception.
And this is the one additional point I am making.
On the Day of Atonement in ancient Israel, when the two goats were brought to the door of the tabernacle, God had to reveal to Aaron the High Priest which goat represented the Lord, and which goat represented Satan .
Of, and by himself , he could not make the distinction.
Because the whole world has been deceived by Satan, has been blinded by Satan, only a miracle from a greater being - only a miracle from Almighty God -- can remove the blindness, can remove the deception.
When the two goats were brought to Aaron at the door of the Tabernacle, it was impossible for him to discern which goat was to represent the Lord and which goat was to represent Satan. God is telling us, through the ceremony of the two goats, that Satan's deception is powerful and it is brilliant.
Only God could reveal to Aaron which goat was which.
We understand the truth because God reveals it to us.
We are released from Satan's deception because God sets us free. We could not, we cannot, do this -- of and by ourselves.
But there is good news. The time is coming when the deception that holds the WHOLE WORLD will be removed. The entire human race will be released from being slaves to Satan's broadcasting and their minds will be opened to understand the same truth that is so precious to us today.
The time is coming, a time pictured by the Day of Atonement, when this Fallen Angel of Death will be bound, restrained, put away from mankind for ever.
And Satan knows this.
Revelation 12:7-9 And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, 8 but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. 9 So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
Revelation 12:12 "Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time."
Satan knows that his time of influence over the peoples of the earth is rapidly coming to an end. His throne is soon to be taken completely from him.
It is recorded in John 12:31 that Jesus said,
John 12:31 "Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out.
Satan will be stripped of all authority, he will be cast out; he will be removed to a place called in Scripture 'the blackness of darkness' forever. Like the goat that was taken and released into the wilderness Satan will be taken and placed into a wilderness of darkness forever.
There is coming a time when he will never again be able to influence the human race, or the family of God, or the angelic host. Satan's power and influence will end. Jesus Christ will rule. This is the really good news pictured by the Day of Atonement, one of God's seven annual holy days.
There is much more we could discuss on this subject but we are restricted by time.
If you have not already done so, I again urge our readers and listeners to read and study our booklet God's Holy Day Plan - Hope for All Mankind.
Contained in the pages of this booklet is understanding that is absolutely awesome and priceless.
You need to really read and study this material carefully and then you need to take action:
That a loving, all-powerful God would allow terrible human anguish perplexes many people. Some even see it as justification for denying God's existence.
The biblical account of the years leading up to defeat and deportation of the ten tribes of Israel by the Assyrians is recorded as a warning of the consequences of turning away from God.
Forgiveness does not come easily for most of us, but the commandment to do so is not optional.