Foreward by Bob Barney: I realize that Jews follow a different Day of Atonement, but as I addressed at Passover time, God's Calendar is not the Jewish Calendar of today. I won't bother to get into that subject now, but for Christians, understanding God's Holy Days are very important to understand just who Christ is and why the so-called Old Testament is vital to understand the real Jesus and what our future holds. Starting tonight until the end of Wednesday Day (at sunset) is God's Day of Atonement.... The following is an article written 50 years ago by Herbert Armstrong...
Day of Atonement, or the Fast
Next, let us read Leviticus 23:26, 27, 31-32: "And the LORD spake ... saying, Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls [fast] ....Ye shall do no manner of work: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. It shall be unto you a sabbath of rest, and ye shall afflict your souls: in the ninth day of the month at even, from even unto even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath." Wonderful mystery! At-one-ment with God! Man at last made one with his Maker!
Again, in the 16th chapter of Leviticus, verses 29 and 31, where the symbolism of the Day of Atonement is explained, we find it instituted a holy Sabbath to be kept forever: "And this shall be a statute for ever unto you: that in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, ye shall afflict your souls, and do no work at all, whether it be one of your own country, or a stranger that sojourneth among you ....It shall be a sabbath of rest unto you, and ye shall afflict your souls, by a statute for ever."
Meaning Pictured by Day of Atonement
The Day of Atonement pictures a wonderful and great event, to take place after the Second Coming of Christ, which the world is in total ignorance of because it has failed to see the true significance of these annual Sabbaths holy unto the Lord. It has failed to keep them as a constant reminder of God's plan of redemption!
The symbolism is all expressed in the account of the events of the Day of Atonement, as carried out before the crucifixion, in the 16th chapter of Leviticus.
Verse 5 -- "And he [Aaron, or the high priest] shall take of the congregation of the children of Israel two kids of the goats for a sin offering ...."
Verse 6 -- The high priest offered a sin offering for HIMSELF and his house.
Verses 7 and 8 -- "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; the one lot for the LORD, and the other lot for the scapegoat" (margin, Hebrew, Azazel).
Now because this has not been understood -- because there are many different views and opinions and ideas and explanations of this, we here pause sufficiently to go into this in some detail. Let us, therefore, regardless of our own former convictions, study with open minds, without prejudice, proving all things. We want truth!
The key to the whole explanation lies in a correct understanding of the meaning of Azazel. This word does not occur elsewhere in the Old Testament. The Comprehensive Commentary has: "Spencer, after the oldest opinions of the Hebrews and Christians, thinks Azazel is the name of the Devil, and so Rosen ....The word scapegoat signifies the goat which went away." The One Volume Commentary says: "The word 'scapegoat' in the A.V. is not a translation." It is merely an interpretation of the supposed meaning by the translators.
True, the English word "scapegoat" signifies "one who bears blame or guilt for others." But "scapegoat" is an English word, and is not a translation of the Hebrew word Azazel. The word "scapegoat," and the meaning attached to this English word, is not a translation of the Hebrew word Azazel, and therefore it is not the word inspired originally. Continues the One Volume Commentary: "Azazel is understood to be the name of one of those malignant demons."
Types of Christ and Satan
These two goats were, of course, types. Notice, it was necessary to be decided by lot, which one was qualified to represent Christ, and which Azazel. Some say BOTH were qualified. The scripture does not say this. Let us not assume it. Now a "lot" is a solemn appeal to God to decide a doubtful matter. It is a sacred religious ceremony. It included a supernatural act of God. That is why lotteries and gambling are of the devil -- an actual profaning of a holy service appealing to God.
Notice, men were unable to decide which goat was qualified to represent Christ. This involved an appeal to God to decide! "One lot for the Lord, and the other lot for Azazel." Now one lot was for the Lord -- this goat typified Christ -- but the other lot was not for the Lord, did not typify Christ, but Azazel -- Satan! These words most naturally suggest that Azazel is the name of a person, here contrasted to the Eternal! Notice the contrast -- one for the Lord, the other for Azazel.
Now the goat which God selected -- through lot, to represent Christ -- was slain, as Christ, its anti type was slain. But the other goat selected by God to represent Azazel was not slain, but was driven, alive, into an uninhabited wilderness. It was not a resurrected goat, symbolizing the resurrected Christ, for it never died. The uninhabited wilderness, to which this goat was driven, cannot, as we shall show, represent heaven, where Christ went. Heaven is neither uninhabited, nor a wilderness.
After God designated which goat represented Christ and which Azazel, the high priest (verse 11) killed the bullock for a sin offering for himself, then took the burning coals of fire and the sweet incense into the Holy of Holies, also sprinkling the blood of the bullock before the mercy seat, typical of the throne of God, covering the tables of testimony (the law). This the high priest was required to do in order to purify himself to officiate, and to represent Christ as High Priest. In the anti type, this was not done, for Christ, our High Priest, had no need of this purification as the typical substitutionary priests did.
Now the Levitical high priest was ready to go out and officiate.
Next, the goat which God selected by lot to represent Christ, as the sin offering of the people, was killed. Thus the sins of the people were borne by the goat, even as Christ, finally, once for all, bore our sins on the cross. But Christ rose again from the dead, and ascended to the throne of God in heaven.
Now, who, or what, from this point on in the Levitical ceremony, typified the resurrected Christ, who went to heaven? Some say the goat representing Azazel. Let us see.
The risen Christ, now at the right hand of the throne of God in heaven (I Peter 3:22), is called -- what? Our High Priest! What was the earthly type of God's throne? The uninhabited wilderness? No! That is where the live goat went!
The earthly type of God's throne was the mercy seat in the Holy of Holies. After Christ died, He went to the heavenly mercy seat interceding for us, as our High Priest. "... Entereth into that within the veil; whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec" (Heb. 6:19-20).
Now, again, who, or what, in the Levitical ceremony of the Day of Atonement, typified the risen Christ, our High Priest, who went within the veil to God's throne in heaven? The one goat had been slain. It represented the slain Christ. It can no longer represent the risen Christ. The slain Christ was not our High Priest, because the Levitical priesthood, with its high priest, did not end until Christ rose from the dead and ascended to heaven as a High Priest after the order of Melchisedec. But the risen Christ was High Priest. Now WHO took this part in the Levitical ceremonies, temporarily re-enacted year by year, on this eternal Holy Day? Why, so obviously a child could see, it was the Levitical high priest, not the goat representing Azazel!